Friday, December 30, 2011

wrapping up

I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas!  We had another lovely day, and it was so nice to be able to go to church in the morning.  We've spent the week playing games, eating, and enjoying each other -- very nice and relaxing.

::our annual line-up by age -- isn't Ella tall?
 ::looking at her loot
 ::Phin was most amazed be the fruit in his stocking!
 ::checking out a new book
 ::Ibby liked Phin's toys best
 ::looking cool in some new shades and cap

What a wonderful year this has been -- especially welcoming our little Archie into the family.  He is such a blessing!

::Here is his 4 month picture
 ::and sporting the sweater and cap grandma made for him -- so sweet!
Happy New Year to everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the terrible twos threes

I have never had much trouble from my two year olds -- it seems like they are just cute and fun to be around, curious about the world and learning new things every day.  I actually really like three year olds, too, there is just one three year old in particular who is causing all manner of distress around here and I am fairly certain that it has more to do with a certain plump baby than an age, but we don't want anyone carrying around that heavy burden of guilt, so we'll lay the blame at the feet of normal developmental stages.  I really had it better than I deserved, with Phin often playing for hours with his trains or legos, or just bopping around whatever I was doing, but then his world was turned upside down and a mere two weeks later all of his playmates went to school. It seems like he never quite recovered and we've had a bit of a rough autumn as I get used to my new boy while he figures out his place in the universe.  Last week while I was nursing the baby, it was very quiet for quite some time.  I hoped for the best and decided not to worry about what was going on, but the best was not to be.  When I went to Phin's room he had gotten into a lip gloss that I had given to Lucy only the day before and squished it out liberally all around the room -- on bedspreads, clothes, and of course, his endearing little face.  Well, it wasn't endearing enough because I got mad!  Really mad.  Far more than it deserved (although it didn't come out of the fabric items, so it was fairly serious, right?).  There were tears on both sides and I felt terrible.  I hate when I lose my temper!!!  What is my problem?!?  Deep breath.  So the very next day I had to feed the baby again.  A few times even.  And you'll never guess what happened -- almost the exact same thing!  This time he had stacked a stool on a chair (he had to work harder since I had given the girls a lecture on keeping their things out of his reach) and gotten into a cute little make-up kit that Ibby had gotten for her birthday.  It was even more exciting because there were several fun colors involved, including a lovely bright blue.  Well, I got angry again and while I was stomping around trying to clean up the mess I kept thinking to myself, and probably vocalizing a smidgen with some nice low muttering, "Why oh why doesn't he ever learn?  Doesn't he remember that he got into trouble yesterday (and lots of other times recently)?  Why is he having the same reaction (making a mess) to the same stimulus (tempting bright, gooey things) even though I have made myself more than perfectly clear that that is not okay?!  Didn't the bad feelings of being punished make any headway into his consciousness?"  And then I completely stopped in my tracks as I had an epiphany, as it were.   I realized that I never learn either.  For years I have been getting mad at my kids about stupid things and then feeling terrible afterward.  Why haven't those pangs of regret and remorse changed me into more of the person that I want to be?  The kind, long-suffering, ever patient, yet fun-loving, madonna?  I don't know!  I do think I am better than I used to be, but I still understood, for that moment anyway, that I can't expect a mischievous, slightly bored and very displaced, little boy to learn all of those lessons and be more mature than his mother, can I?  So I am determined to do better and over the past couple of days since we've gotten out the Christmas things and he has undone vignettes, relieved nutcrackers of their swords, smashed glass ornaments, and shattered a snow globe, you'll be happy to hear that I didn't even bat an eye -- they're just twitching a tiny bit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

babies!!!! (and all their cute stuff)

When Archie was one month old I suddenly decided that I really wanted to find the cute onesies that said how old they were on them because I'd seen some of my students' babies with them, but didn't know where to get such a thing.  I found a couple of websites where you could buy iron on decals, etc. but that seemed too complicated, and besides my husband thought it was one of the most ridiculous things he'd ever heard of.  I value his opinion, of course, but sometimes I need to realize that we are not the same and it's okay if we don't agree (speaking of that wonderful man, it's his birthday today!!!  He's getting old).  Unfortunately, that is not always the first conclusion I come to and instead just do what he suggests whilst stewing about what I really want.  I went to Hobby Lobby last week (to buy some things for my mantle to make it more interesting, but then after getting it all home decided it seemed too contrived), and found these cute month stickers -- how easy is that!!!  I know I missed the first two, but I squeezed in the third while he was still technically three months, and can use the rest.  Aaah, isn't he sweet?

One important thing my spouse is completely correct about is that I really need to rein in the spending because the cost of aiding and abetting six children through their college careers is looming large before us.  Funny how I didn't think about that at all when Ella was three months old...  I feel so disjointed as I quickly finish changing a diaper to run down and help Ella finish up some of her college applications.  So I am going to try and do better, BUT (that was a big but) I have such a hard time resisting diapers.  There is this one brand that my friend refers to as the cadillac of cloth diapers:
They are luscious minky on the outside and soft, absorbent bamboo on the inside.  I first bought some on the diabolical website Baby Steals -- the one where a new amazing deal pops up twice a day and all you have to do is hit one innocent little button flashing "steal me, steal me" coquettishly, and it comes to your house all wrapped up in a brown package!  I've only had two for a couple of months and I loved them right from the start.  On Sunday morning Matthew and I had a long heart to heart about being more frugal and I am completely on board, truly!  But while I was nursing the baby I decided to browse through facebook and someone posted, "Itti bitti tuttos on baby steals today."  Oh, I wasn't even going to go to the website that day because I don't believe in shopping on Sunday!  With wrenching heart and clenching stomach I just had to look, hoping there were still some left while also hoping they'd be gone so I wouldn't have to make the difficult choice.  I had gotten there soon enough and almost everything was still available (within 30 minutes I think most of them were gone).  I wasn't going to buy anything else, anything, but this was different and I just had to do it.  I bought three more diapers because they were such an amazing deal!  It didn't matter that I had recently sworn off consumerism and all of its evils.  It didn't matter that it was Sunday.   I even started thinking how sad it is that I won't be having more children to wear these breathtaking diapers, and how unfortunate it was that I would have to potty train Archie someday because I just want a reason to use these for years!  What am I thinking?  Complete irrationality has taken over.  THAT is how awesome these diapers are!!!  To make myself feel better I called my fellow diaper junkie to tempt her, be a bad influence, etc. etc. but she resisted.  I need just an ounce of that kind of courage and resolve.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I do love Thanksgiving and I was happy that we were able to host a boisterous crowd at our house -- reminds me of the good ole' days.  We had eight adults and sixteen children, so not quite up to the Farnsworth family numbers, but it will do to help me not feel so homesick.  Everyone helped bring lots of yummy food, the two younger girls helped set the tables and make place cards, Ella made some appetizers, and Charles made a green bean casserole with no help from anyone.  The two youngest did their part with Phin busily undoing most of the preparations as they happened and Archie perching on my back not sleeping the entire day.  I am so glad that we have a time to reflect on our blessings, although I do try to do a bit of that every day.  I have so much and the season reminds me to make a renewed effort to be a better steward of what I have been given.  Here's to resolve!

I never manage to find time to write in my blog anymore -- it's so sad!  And I really don't think about it during the day, but at night I have composed some wonderful posts.  You should all come join me then, because by morning they have vanished -- poof!

I went to the dentist this morning and had to take the baby with me.  I just didn't know six months ago when I made the appointment that Matthew would be teaching at that time on Tuesday mornings -- silly me!  So I dropped Phin off at a friend's and wondered how it would all work, but baby did great.  He determinedly concentrated on grabbing a toy, with his eyes crossed for good measure, throughout most of the scaling portion of the visit, but every once in a while he would gurgle adorably and the technician would gaze at him affectionately.  This is all very endearing to a mother, of course, except that she was madly digging at my teeth with some very sharp instruments, not missing a single beat, while she looked away.  I would will her eyes back to the task at hand, but soon they would veer back to the baby, all the while scraping, scraping, scraping and coming perilously close to my tender gums -- I may be a proponent of natural childbirth, but I definitely prefer kinder, gentler dentistry.  He didn't quite make it all the way through, sitting upright on my tummy during the cleaning and exam, smiling and talking to everyone who happened by.  And who wouldn't smile at the reaction he was getting -- you would think they had never seen a baby before!  "Look at those chubby cheeks!"  "He has so much hair!"  He is pretty cute, in my own humble opinion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1000 words

I seldom like to buy school pictures because they never look very good, so this year, since I have a new camera, I thought I'd try my hand at taking some pictures of the kids myself -- because a good camera makes me a professional, right?  I loved that post on "Seriously So Blessed" -- training shmaining, I can take pictures, and I'm going to buy a scalpel and open up a surgery in the garage -- so funny!!!  Here are some of the pics that we took last week.

 I don't know.  I should probably get photo shop and learn how to use that, too.  I've also been looking at all of our photos from our trip to Europe and thinking of making books for the kids for Christmas.  We have so many bad pictures -- blurry, dark, etc.  Oh, well.  C'est la vie!  What companies have you liked for photo books?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


There go the tornado sirens!  I am always so surprised when they go off, jumping a little and thinking, what on earth???  But then I remember that they are tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10:00, yet another reminder that my life is ticking away at slow and regular intervals.  There have been three since the baby came, but he still feels so new and fresh -- it can't be!  

::Speaking of fresh, he was a crisp from the garden chili pepper for halloween
::Isn't he gorgeous?
::Phin was a rocket and when I would ask, "What do you say?" meaning "trick or treat" he would either make a rocket sound or say "you're welcome."  Then we would jettison off to the next house -- it was very amusing to go with him.  When Matthew went back home to pass out candy (we had left Charles in charge and he had simply turned out the light -- when we noticed, Matthew was embarrassed) he said that he really missed being with Phin, which I thought was very sweet.
 ::I didn't get very good pictures of the girls -- a queen, and a pixie -- which I guess is what you get when you're not the littlest anymore
 Phin just asked if he could see pictures of him getting candy, but I had to disappoint and tell him that we haven't chronicled every single moment of his life.  His sticky candy face has pieces of lint stuck to it right now because we started on the candy first thing this morning.  I had to pull a chocolate tootsie pop out of his mouth and insist that he eat a whole wheat english muffin and a glass of milk before the gorging began.  I let them eat what they want for a few days before I confiscate it, which is meaner than my mom who let us keep it in our rooms for months -- I was one of those who paced myself and ate a little bit each day. Ugh, I already feel sick.  Phin is being so sweet offering me reeses pieces and candy corn, but if I'm going to be eating sugar I need it to be yummier than that.  We had a trunk or treat last week so they've all already been eating candy every day, lazily scattering the wrappers pell mell around the house -- because you can't just be a glutton without the accompaniment of disorder and chaos, can you?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

gambling man

I have often been heard to say that I never win anything, because I really don't.  I can enter any contest and be quite sure that the end result will be "not winning" -- but recently I did win something!  It was so exciting!  I entered a giveaway on a facebook page for cloth diapering moms and I won this cute pair of "longies."  It took very little effort to click "like" so I didn't really feel like I was taking too big a risk.
 ::I love the cable down the side -- she made these in about two days!
::oooh, isn't he snuggly?  I can't stand it!

However, there are some things that I have done that have taken a lot more sweat and tears to achieve with results that have been even more chancy and I realize that as far as taking a gamble I have "won" a lot.  Marrying a 22 year old student who had had five different majors and who was currently on academic probation, full of hopes to be able to make a living doing music, while I was a naive 20 year old sounds like a crazy thing to do (why did my parents allow it?), but look at us living the life now -- by any indicator we've won!  Deciding to trek across the country to Dartmouth could have been disastrous, moving to Japan was a very bold choice and there were definitely struggles there, and don't even get me started on deciding to have children -- we've played the lottery six times (well, more, but that's a different topic) and just look at the results -- definite success.  Each choice comes with certain odds of winning or losing, everything that we do is a gamble, and more correctly an act of faith, and I can see by taking just a moment to reflect that my wins far outnumber my losses -- I am a lucky girl indeed.  Perhaps I should take that karma and try my hand over at the riverboats...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

photo up(over)load

I've been remiss in posting pictures of our little Archie so I'll try to catch up a little bit here. 
::t - 5 days; 41 weeks pregnant
 ::not the best picture, but you can see that he is tongue tied
 ::four days old
 ::seven days old
 ::eleven days old
 ::two weeks old

 ::three weeks old
 ::he's always thought he was big enough to hold his head -- from the first day!
 ::four weeks old

 ::blessing day
 ::five weeks old
 ::six weeks old
 ::seven weeks old; matching boys -- I bought the tiny one at goodwill and my friend said she had a matching shirt Phin's size in her closet -- perfect!

 ::I love how Phin is still trying to smile even though the baby's crying is stressing him out!
He sleeps a lot and still makes the cute newborn purring sounds.  He is super sweet!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

boys will be boys

I have a baby who likes to be held all the time.  It makes it difficult to do the important things like get on facebook and write in my blog, let alone the more trivial tasks like laundry, dishes, and brushing my teeth.  Right now he is cozied up on the boppy on my lap.  Let's hope he doesn't roll off.

I know this is my last baby (that I want anyway) so I have been going crazy buying cute baby stuff!  I'm trying to control myself, but my friend Internet knows I have a baby and keeps sending me wonderful offers that are hard to refuse.  And Internet makes it so easy to purchase the amazing deals -- usually all I have to do is press a virtual button and in a few days it shows up on my doorstep.  I didn't even have to go anywhere!  Which is good since baby doesn't really like the car because I can't hold him for a few moments -- truly nightmarish in his opinion.

I did leave the house a couple of weeks ago to add to my fluffy diaper stash.  There is a local shop in someone's house so I went over to round things out.  I was enjoying talking to the owner when another customer came in with her little boy.  He was a few months younger than Phin and was acting like what he is -- a male preschooler, but she was on his case the entire time.  She pretty much kept her mouth running the whole time she was there so I just sat down in a rocking chair to watch and wait it out.  "So I'm having a baby and I want a few newborn things.  My son won't let the baby wear his diapers so I need some more things.  Precious!  Precious boy, don't jump.  Don't jump!  We don't jump.  I was thinking of some bamboo or hemp doublers.  Coleman!  Coleman Joseph!  We don't do that. (Looking at me)  Does your son like to jump?  I'm always telling him not to jump.  I bought some of those diapers, but that is because my daughter wanted those, but they are kind of expensive so can I return them?"  Blah, blah, blah.  Okay, you can't hear her voice which is a shame because when she called her son "precious boy" it was high-pitched and very grating, but perhaps you can see that on the one hand she's allowing her children to be very controlling by even caring whether the little boy wants the baby to use his old diapers and giving into her 5 year olds daughter's wishes for buying a really expensive diaper.  On the other hand, she was being overly strict with her little boy and thought that him wanting to jump down one step was way beyond the pale.  When she asked me if Phin jumps, I managed to fit in that yes, he jumps all the time, before she went prattling on again.  After observing her unrealistic expectations with her son for a moment I asked her if she knew the gender of her next baby and she said that it is a boy.  Heaven help her poor sons!  Hopefully she'll mellow out. 

It made me wonder if I'm too lenient, but for the most part I think it's okay to let boys climb, jump off things, run their little hearts out, bat sticks at one another...  Of course, I don't like guns at all -- not even water or bubble guns -- because then they walk around talking about killing people which is really not okay with me.  Charles would improvise by bending a barbie in half and shooting with her legs and Phin mostly uses his fingers and sometimes the bike pump, so I'm still being shot at on a daily basis, but at least I'm not condoning or encouraging it, which is worth something I imagine.  Hopefully it is the super fun sound effects which drives their behavior rather than a latent desire to be rid of me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

quilt pics

Fara kindly sent along the photos she took of the stunning quilt so here they are:

Isn't it amazing?  I am tempted to just put it on the wall, but we have been using it in his bassinet a little bit.  You can see on one of the leaves she wrote Arthur's name and birthdate, but I hadn't even filled out the birth certificate yet!  I was still hesitant on the name (still am a little bit), but there was no going back after that.

Oh, I just noticed how well it matches my blog background -- it just goes to show how well she knows me and what colors I would like the best!
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