"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Twirly

Eleanor has been pretty easy to dress for most of her life. She has opinions about shoes and hair things, but is generally pretty content to wear whatever I put her in. That’s changing a bit lately and the new standard to measure any outfit’s worthiness is the twirl test. Not all dresses are equally twirly. 



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Summer

Summer is here.  Not the summer that we refer to when school is out.  Not the summer that we happily declare when it's 85 degrees and warm enough to swim.  Not the summer that makes gardens grow.  I'm talking about "it's nearly August and my face is melting" summer.  This is "we haven't seen heat like this in 6 years" summer.  We are officially in "I've already had two showers today, but I think I still have body odor" summer.   It's hot.  Summer is here.
 You know what summer does to curly headed gals?  Bad hair things.  In case you didn't know, curly hair girls don't brush their hair.  The only time I brush it is if I'm straightening it, which I haven't done in months.  If you brush curly hair, it angers the beast.  So it's finger combing and done.  Sunshine & chlorine complicate things and sometimes I wind up with a rat like I'm a 7 year old girl (falsely) claiming to be responsible enough to handle her own hair. 
 Dottie passed her pressure canner on to me and last week I had enough green beans to do my first batch of pressure canning.   
 I currenlty have 24 jars of pickles (three different types), 4 jars of green beans, 8 jars of blueberry lemon jam, 2 jars of pickled okra, and 2 jars of dried basil.  I'm pretty much a pioneer woman.  Also, you're all getting pickles for Christmas.  Act surprised.  (And somebody please remind me to only plant one cucumber plant next year.) 
 Last night I made a pork roast from Casey's pig with carrots & onions from my garden, served over mashed potatoes from my garden.  (Served on a paper plate because I didn't want more dirty dishes!)
I also made my first batch of salsa from my own tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno.  I'm so fancy. 
 My hens are still awesome. 


 The last few days I've had 4 eggs per day.  They are still on the small side, but 4 eggs a day!  I think it's funny that there are 5 nesting boxes, but they would rather take turns using the same box. 
Eleanor & I took Kayla to the beauty shop on Monday and, of course, she's just lovely. 

 On Monday afternoon, after weeks of the spotty showers missing us, the rain arrived.  You know what else arrived?  This dude, trying to gas it and hot rod in the fresh rain and running COMPLETELY over our bricked mail box.  It's demolished.  His truck is surely totaled.  He was banged up but okay.  Nobody else was hurt, thank God.  So now we have to deal with his insurance company and try to get a check to have it rebuilt. 
 Eleanor is super happy about picking green beans (but you have to forcibly shove one in her angry mouth and then whisper threats while she refuses to swallow if you want her to eat one at dinner). 
 We got caught in the first of the rain while trying to finish up outside chores on Monday.  Eleanor cried and screamed as if acid was falling from the sky.  I made her stick it out.  Then when we got inside she beamed like she had willingly conquered the fiercest storm. 
 We did wind up getting nearly 3 inches of rain in less than 48 hours, so that's awesome.  I monitor these things like grumpy old farmers with nothing else to complain about.  Maybe I'll start getting up early to drink coffee with the old men at Mama Z's every morning.  We can talk about cucumbers and rain and how many cuts of hay everyone will get this year.  I do have overalls, so maybe I'll fit in.
Eleanor has been praying for the refrigerator man for more than two weeks.  Its must have worked, because we FINALLY have a working ice maker!!!
 I finally decided what I wanted to do to Eleanor's bathroom.  I picked out the wallpaper and ordered it online.  Then I set to work priming and painting the trim and ceiling so that I'd be ready to install wallpaper when it arrives.  I was 90% done and all I needed to do was carefully finish the crown molding over the bath tub.  I had perched on the edge of the tub to prime it because I didn't need to be precise, but with the gray paint I needed to be exact and couldn't seem to find a safe and steady perch.  So I grabbed the step ladder.  I hesitated because I didn't want to scratch the tub, but the legs have rubber covers, so I decided I'd be fine.  Then I stepped up on the ladder and heard the crack.  Oh yeah.  I put a hole in Eleanor's bathtub.  I briefly panicked, mentally cursed, considered throwing up, and then took the walk of shame across the house to interrupt Drew's work day and confess what I had done.  He's so remarkably calm with me.  Always has been.  Most of this is just his God given temperament.  The other part is that I beat myself up plenty without any extra help and he's kind enough not to throw fuel on the fire.  I'm currently on the hunt to find someone who can repair it and not have to replace the entire tub/shower.  It's not a huge hole, but any hole leaks water and that's obviously bad.  Here's the crack & hole (with a quarter next to the hole for size comparison).  If you happen to be an acrylic tub repair pro or know someone who is, please help. 
I got my eyes checked today and they forced me to dilate my eyes.  Okay, they didn't force me, but they strongly suggested and I didn't adamantly refuse.  Then I remembered why I dislike it so much.  They were all like, "Oh, it'll only last about an hour and a half."  They lied.  It's been four and a half hours and my pupils are still unhappy and uncooperative.  If they can make drops to open those babies up, why aren't there drops to make them normal again?  Anyway, I picked out frames for my new prescription sunglasses while Eleanor chatted up every person in the building and then had to use the disposable, slide behind your glasses, sunglasses to protect my gigantic pupils from the sun.  I looked amazing.  Then we drove to Bentonville because I WON A FACEBOOK CONTEST YESTERDAY!  You guys, I really don't win stuff.  Some people are super lucky.  I don't think I've ever won anything on Facebook, but I entered a contest from our realtor's page and I won an Instant Pot.  You'd think I won a car, I was so excited.  Then this sweet little social media director for the agency asked if she could take my picture to put on Facebook and I mumbled something super awesome about how I just got my eyes dilated, so please don't make it a close up that will show my freaky eyes.  I'm so naturally cool and not awkward at all.
 If you're an Instat Pot believer, send me your tips. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Memo board

She starts way too many sentences these days with, “Well...”
Sometimes it’s a lead into a convincing arguement.

Eleanor: Can w go swimming? 
Me: No. 
Eleanor: Well... later we can. Right Mom? Later we can go swimming. You promise? 

Sometimes it’s a lead into a complicated explanation. 

Me: Where did you get that? 
Eleanor: Well... first I was in the pantry because I was need a snack. Because I so hungry. Because you said I could. Right Mom? 




Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Recovery

Eleanor's birthday week wrapped up on Saturday with Drew's family, swimming, and pizza!




 She's having such fun with these blocks.  She wants Drew to build her a "dog house" and then sits inside like this. 
 Sunday morning.  Shirley is a champion egg layer these days.  She even lets me pet her if I come to gather eggs before she's done doing her thing.  I wonder if she feels any satisfaction from laying an egg or if she thinks, "Great, have to do that again today." 
 So we got ready for church and put on the cutest dress ever from Aunt Jessica...
 and then checked again.  Egg!  Shirley's eggs are normal sized now.
Chicken side note: Ethel started laying last week as well.  Her eggs are still quite small, as were Shirley's for the first couple of weeks.  This morning I had two small eggs, so someone else must be starting to lay, too! 
Eleanor is so loved that we celebrated her for a full week.  So much love and so many blessings, but the social hangover is so real for me, y'all. 
You know what you should not do after a week of entertaining and hosting and birthday celebrating?  You should not say to your husband, "I feel like we should go ahead and replace the back door." 
We've talked about it for months, but we've put so much other time and money into this place that we just kept putting the back door off.  The back doors we had were in fine shape, but not completely practical for us.  The storm door had a dog door (that's a life changer, y'all), but in order for it to be used, the main back door had to be left open all the time.  That created traffic issues in the hallway (blocking other door ways) and heating/cooling issues as well.  Plus, we'd really like to be able to leave the dogs home alone for short periods of time, allow them inside/outside access, and still keep our home secure.  So, I made the suggestion and Drew ran with it.  He's a handy guy to have around.  Sunday morning we went to church and attended the theology class that we've been taking.  I'll have more to share on that later because I'm learning so much.  
After church we went out to eat because I had zero interest in cooking or making a further mess in my house.  We ate too much and then went to Lowe's for all the supplies.  The actual replacing of the door took much longer than we had hoped because apparently door hinges in 1998 were placed differently than they are now.  We had hoped to simply replace the door. We wound up having to pull out the entire frame and then putting in the new framing for the new door. Turns out that our walls are thicker than typical, so the frame wasn’t deep enough and Drew had to run back to Lowe’s for wood to finish out the framing and not leave exposed walls & brick on the outside.  Drew did 95% of the work.  I helped a little, but mostly I moaned & groaned and declared my annoyance for the process.  I'm such a pleasure to be around sometimes.  When it was done we were both 100% worn out.  I've still got to paint it, but the door is in and it's great.  It has blinds between the glass, a dog door, and we don't have to leave it open all the time. 
My garden is fantastic and giving a good harvest every day. 
My cucumbers are slowing down. Thank goodness. I have so many pickles that if the zombie apocalypse happens and everyone runs out of food, we should be good for a few months. 
 These red (purple) onions are the most delicious onions I've ever tasted in my life.  Saute some green beans with a bit of fresh onion.  You won't regret it. 
 I've grown tomatoes for a few years now, but I haven't REALLY enjoyed them until now.  If this isn't on your snack list then you're doing summer wrong.  FRESH Roma tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt. 
 Turns out, I don't really love the carrots that I've grown this year.  It's either the type, my method, or just circumstances, but they just aren't delicious and I don't think they'll be on my list to plant for next year. 
Just last week I was questioning my okra.  The plants are huge, but you only get a couple pods off each plant every day or two.  And you really have to dig in there to find them and you can't just pluck them.  They are woody plants, so you have to snip them off.  And the leaves are prickly & kind of itchy.  I was starting to feel like it wasn't really worth it, but then this hot weather kicked into gear, we've gotten little rain, and the okra are coming in nicely enough to fry them up and really enjoy...
Eleanor loves her baby doll stroller that she got for her birthday and uses it to push around whatever possessions she may need.  Juice box?  Stroller.  Basketball?  Stroller.  Going outside to pull weeds?  Better take the stroller.  If she could pick Mac up then he'd be in the stroller, too. 

 We've been enjoying the pool to relax a bit the last couple of days.  It's fun to have friends and family over, but it's also nice to just float and play with my two favorite people.  Eleanor also gets braver when it's just us.  When there are more people she tends to stick close to the stairs. 
On Sunday we realized that we've never let Eleanor swim at night.  As a child I thought swimming in the dark with the pool lights on was the coolest thing ever.  So we let Eleanor stay up late and we went swimming in the dark.  She loved it and is still talking about how we glowed in the water. It will be a sweet memory for me to hold on to from this first summer in our home. No pictures, just the ones in my memories. 
Tuesday morning.  Ready for gymnastics, but just needs a little more rest before we leave. 
 Ready to go! 
 Eleanor is on the right.  Quite the size difference, right?!  It's a three to five year old class, so she's the youngest and the girl on the left is nearly five.
 Then yesterday afternoon she had her three year old well child visit.  We've watched Daniel Tiger episodes about the doctor, read books, and talked it up for a while now, so she was totally ready. 
"Can I get up there and lay down?" 
 Dr. Swindle is my favorite.  That's saying something, because my gold standard is Dr. LePichon in Kansas City.  I'm not sure anyone can or ever will live up to that standard, but Dr. Swindle is just exactly what this third time momma needs in a pediatrician.  He saw Eleanor in the hospital as a new born, he knows her adoption story & genetic history (as much as any of us do), and he knows that this isn't my first parenting gig.  He's kind and encouraging, but attentive and thorough.  That's his personality and I'm grateful for it. So his comments as we wrapped up the checkup made me think he was just being kind.  Then he elaborated. 

Dr. Swindle: She's really very bright.
Me: Well, we think so, but I suppose all parents think that of their children. 
Dr. Swindle: Yes, but she's really very bright. 
Me: thank you.
Dr. Swindle:  Really, she's very bright.  She's very cautious, but confident.  She's very articulate and her vocabulary is advanced.  She's speaking to me like a four year old and knows things I wouldn't expect to see for another year... really... she's very bright. 

So, you know, I left feeling pretty proud of my big girl.  God made her one of a kind, that's for sure.  Her poo struggles are not ideal, but are being handled and could very well just be a thing she has a hard time with forever.  Could be genetic.  I know a lot about birth mom, but it never occurred to me to ask her how she poops!  I'm sure that when Eleanor goes back through these blogs in her adult years, she'll be super glad I've shared so openly about her "I'm not going to do it!" attitude toward pooping.  Her skin is sensitive and she seems to have a bit of eczema, but nothing terrible.  She's growing exactly perfect.  She got one booster shot and took it like a champ.  She's still wearing the bandage as a mark of bravery & honor. 
 Today has been a day at home and I'm not feeling 100%  Probably just this heat and still recovering from feeling completely worn out.  But I did take a dip in the pool with this little beauty.  (If I had posed her for this then it would still be cute, but the fact that I just happened to pick up my phone and snap her photo while she patiently waited on me makes it even better.)  Also, note the bugs bunny band aid on her thigh.  She was very clear about wanting to wear it in the pool.  One more thing, toddler flip flops are adorable. 
Now she's napping and I'm going to make it a point to stay inside the rest of the day.  If I happen to be super productive then I'll fold some laundry. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friend Party

When we found out about Eleanor in 2015 we did a lot of thinking and praying. We also did a lot of math. We were 35 when she was born. The friends we parented with the first time all had kids Alex & Emma’s age. Where we going to be the oldest parents ever? Would we look like the grandparents at school drop off? How would we do this without other parents of littles going through the same things? How do you raise an only child? Would she have friends her age? 
Well guess what? We are not the oldest parents ever. I’ve maintained fantastic friendships from my first round of parenting and I’ve gained new friends. Many of those friends having children or grandchildren Eleanor’s age and we have a lovely circle of friendship & support. God is good. 

On the 4th we hosted our church community group for a cook out and pool party. I was 100 kinds of flustered before everyone got here, but we wound up having the nicest time. I’m grateful for new friends & fellowship and I’m grateful that we have a home to accommodate hosting everyone. 












And then we closed all the shutters and enjoyed the rest of Eleanor’s birthday with just us and lots of snuggles and rest. 

And playing games


This morning we had Eleanor’s friends over for a birthday pool party play date. My momma friends and their littles are simply the loveliest and I’m grateful for them. (I’m also thankful to have had Kayla & Braeden here to help corral little kids!) 

Eleanor shared her birthday candles with Cheryl since today was her birthday. 

Picnic lunch on the back porch 

Lucy & Eleanor

Ben 

Molly 

Eleanor & Annabelle 

Lucy, Annabelle & Eleanor 

Checking for eggs 


Having Kayla & Braeden so close means we get to enjoy some summer days together. 
I helped Kayla make candles.