Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial day is like the day after Thanksgiving.

Memorial day is the beginning of the best time of the year.  Memorial day is my favorite day of summer just like the day after Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the Christmas season. Christmas Eve is always bittersweet because it signals the end of the festivities--during summer break it's football practice.  Football practice means the schedules and routines and empty house of the school year are on their way back. I love having an entire season of summer to look forward to and that's why I love Memorial Day.

So what's so great about summer?  Why do I love it so? 

I love the simple things the most--waking up to the sound of sprinklers and birds, eating watermelon with lime,  the smell of cut grass and dirt, burned marshmallows, drive-in movies, camping trips...the list goes on.  I especially love to have the kids home.  I function better when I have a clear and well planned purpose and six kids definitely gives me a well planned and busy purpose.  And I work better when I have someone working with me;  six kids means that I always have someone to work with me.

This year we spent Memorial Day at home and I spent most of my days and nights rocking this little one. 
 Jackson has an absolutely terrible case of Hand, foot and mouth disease.  He has had high fever followed by chills and shaking followed by absolute misery.  He cries to be picked up and then cries to be put down then cries to move to the other shoulder or nurse only to fall asleep for a few minutes and wake up squirming and crying again.  Poor baby. His little mouth and throat and hands and legs and feet are covered with blisters.

There is no treatment for Hand, foot and mouth disease.  Just Tylenol or Motrin for comfort and keep the sores clean so they con't get infected.  Actually the pediatrician gave us a prescription for some stronger medicine but thankfully today (day three) he seems to be feeling a little better.  No fever and he ate some food.  Good thing babies heal so quickly!

The kids still have a few more days of school (we don't start in the fall until after labor day) so we are busy with all the end of the year tests and assignments and picnics and then it is summer in full force.  Can't wait!

*Three weeks after the virus finally cleared up, Jackson lost his fingernails and toenails so it looks like Jack had the newer strain of the virus going around (coxsackie A6 instead of coxsackie A16).

Monday, May 21, 2012


Benson broke his collar bone last week. Again.

Thankfully Ben has a high pain tolerance.  He always has.  We know when Benson cries he is probably really injured. Landon is like that too.

After I picked Benson up from school (he fell from the monkey bars--a failed 'cherry drop'...)  I got him settled down in the car and asked him if his shoulder hurt and he just looked up and said "no, Mom I'm fine," but then he cried when we hit a big bump in the road--a dead give away for a broken bone.  Sprains, cuts etc. don't hurt from bumps on the road or from just sitting down or getting jostled.

And for the record--we have never had a broken bone that made it impossible to move the injured extremity.  Even when Landon broke his metacarpal (finger bone in the hand--twice) he could always move his fingers.

This makes a total of eight broken bones for our family.

Did you know you shouldn't give ibuprofen (Advil)  if you suspect a broken bone?  Tylenol is better because it doesn't have any anti-coagulation effects.  Bet you wanted to know that...

Casts are a pain.  And they are expensive. But they really do help with pain control with broken bones.

Benson broke the same collar bone three years ago but last time  the bone pieces (broken in two places) were displaced and it caused extreme pain.  He {and I} were just miserable for three or four days.  Of all the injuries and surgeries our kids have had (we have honestly lost count...), Benson's first collar bone break was definitely the most painful.  There is no way to cast or set a collar bone so it is just a matter of stabilizing the arm and waiting for the bone to heal--usually 4 weeks or so.  They don't set or pin collar bones either.  They say if the bones are in the same area they will grow back together.  Good thing!

Ben's a trooper and I'm sure with a few more days to let the bone start to knit back together he will be bouncing around as usual.

Just in time for school to get out!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My bed makeover.

My bed used to look like this.

We had a mishmash of tables and blankets and pillows.  And kids.

When Jackson was born it was time for change. 
To start we repositioned the bed to the other wall where we hung curtains to cover the off center and non-existent windows.
Then we added new bedding. I LOVE sheets.
Rustin gave me sheets for my birthday--he knows nothing makes me happier than new sheets.

I found a hideous solid wood headboard at the DI for $40.

My dad and I carefully chiseled out the old ugly yellow carved 70's style panels.

And replaced them with solid wood.

It would have been WAY too ambitious to strip and try to match stains on the different types of wood.

Soooo-I took the drawers out of my existing dresser and night stands. (kind of Antiqued Cherry) and I took it to Home Depot to color match.  The paint guy insisted it wouldn't work but I did it anyway. I got a $2 sample of the suggested color match.

I used a foam brush and a rag and I rubbed the paint all over the headboard.  It was too purple-ish. So I broke the rules again and rubbed a dark walnut stain over the whole thing and some watered down black around the edges.

The stain refused to dry completely on the old varnished part of the headboard.  The unfinished wood panels did fine with the mix of paint and stain.  We wiped everything down a bunch of times with a cloth or two and then my dad slathered it with sawdust which absorbed the last of the stickiness and then rubbed it down one more time. Then I polished it with some orange oil and--

Much better.  Even though it is still covered with a mishmash of children most of the time.
Total headboard cost $42. 50.
Next up--my bathroom vanity!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I love spring.

I almost bought chickens today.  Soooo close! I have the cutest little playhouse that my children have abandoned.  {Actually they never played in it.}  
I think the playhouse is begging to be the cutest chicken coop ever. 

But what if my neighbors get mad?  
Would you be mad if your neighbor put five or six chickens in her yard?
Or what if I totally regret the decision in a few months when it's cold outside?

Rustin will have nothing to do with chickens.  Mostly because he CANNOT stand the smell.  He spent many, many childhood weekends and summers working in chicken coops so I guess I can't blame him.  

I think he would change his mind once he saw his lovely children skipping merrily with their little aprons filled with piles of corn to hand feed the sweet and totally tame birds.

I did buy a climbing rose bush today.  That's a big step for me.  I never buy perennials because it requires too much commitment. Planting perennials means I am planning on staying in a house long enough to see the plant thrive.  And perennials will come back every year in the same place.  I can't start over every spring from scratch.  Commitment...

So I bought the rose but I haven't planted it. Baby steps.

I've got a million projects going and a thousand things to write about.  Maybe I'll get it done after I plant the roses. Happy Spring!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Right now I'm washing my third load of laundry.  Actually I'm washing the same load of laundry for the third time.  Sheesh.  Four times is my record.

Have I mentioned that I have a tendency to be forgetful?

Jackson has grown like a weed lately.  All his clothes are belly shirts.

Speaking of weeds.  I have a plan for the garden.

I spread a good thick layer of grass clippings on the ground around the boxes.  I'm hoping for a complete weed free summer!

The trellis provides a good frame for a tent to cover the veggies when it gets cold at night.

The raised boxes have a mix of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. Ever read about square foot gardening?  It's awesome! The veggies really do grow in just six inches of soil.  This year I put trellises in the beds and I have big plans to grow all the vine plants--tomatoes, pumpkins, butternut squash, beans, peas...up the trellises. We'll see how it goes!

Speaking of tomatoes. I watched a video that explains how to prune tomatoes.  I've never really understood how before. I bought two tomatoes that are both indeterminate (watch the video...)--Early Girl and Lemon Boy.  Yellow tomatoes from the garden are the best thing ever.

And might I mention that the video is made by my uncle.  He really does grow amazing veggies.

I've also been busy planting my container gardens.  I love containers. Flowers make me smile.  I found some new plants this year.  I'll have to put some pictures up one of these days.

In the mean time Jackson has crawled out the dog door. Again.

And he's calling "Mam!" How can I resist that?!