Saturday, January 22, 2011

The simple pleasure of cut and paste

After many frustrating moments on our computer I've finally accepted the fact that it's definitely been compromised.

A few months ago, I bet it was in late Spring, I clicked on a how-to video on a blog I regularly visit. Instantaneously my computer went berserk, downloading all sorts of things. We tried home remedies but slowly, slowly, over the weeks, it became bogged down and crashed the day before we moved from CT. It probably would have been smarter to take it to a repair shop soon after the incident, but we didn't.

So while our children and I were in Utah for our extended stay, Matt took the hard drive in (at this point it would turn on but we'd only ever get a black screen) to have it rebuilt and hopefully save some of our stuff.

Well they saved it, but many of our functions are gone. I've looked for answers on the internet and tried them, but I can't restore cut/copy and paste. What a pain. I never realized how often I use them. That's why for a while I wasn't able to control where pictures were placed on the blog.

Now when I post, it's usually from our laptop, so I can cut and paste to my heart's delight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Assateague Island National Seashore

Late last week Matt came home from work and said he had an idea for the weekend. Since we moved here our weekends have consisted of going to a building workshop at Lowe's or Home Depot for our children, and then grocery shopping. What happened to the adventure days when we were in Connecticut? We just haven't had that spark here. But I'm so glad he suggested we start.

So Saturday we got ready, packed some snacks and loaded in the car for a trip to Assateague Island National Seashore. It's a 40 mile or so strip of island off the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia, known for its wild horses and beautiful beach. It just happened that our entry fee was waived because of the MLK holiday; added bonus.

We'd prepared for some beach action by taking a bucket and two kid-sized snow shovels. This was the highlight of the trip for Wes and Kate. They were the only ones who braved the wind and cold, and we ended up coming home with a bucket full and hat full of beautiful shells. After the first beach stop we ran back to the car to warm up and head to a nearby town for lunch. As we were driving out of the park Matt said, "Oh! There are some horses." We hadn't seen any on the way in, so were happy to turn around to see three wild horses grazing on the side of the road.

We pulled up to them (picture Yellowstone and bison alongside the road, it's the same experience here) and I rolled down my window to get a picture. Then I noticed the lighting was better on Matt's side so I handed him the camera to get a shot of a horse in the sunlight.
All of our attention was focused out Matt's window until I felt a nuzzling in my lap. I snapped my head forward to see a whole horse's head in my window in my lap, sniffing the plastic bag of snacks we'd packed. I was scared to death but didn't scream for fear of being bitten. I quietly, but with great panic, whispered Matt's name, to which he turned his head to us and let out a surprised expression (all clean:)). He ended up just putting us in gear to move forward. The horse wasn't startled at all and just took the bag out the window with him.

We then started to laugh and recover from the fright, and then decided to turn around to try and rescue the horses from bellyaches of plastic bags, and fruit snacks in plastic packaging. We figured the oranges, bananas and vanilla wafers would probably be digested okay.

Matt got out of the car and approached the three eating horses and did his scarecrow dance that he does with his dad to move sheep, horses, cows, whatever animal needs to be moved. But these horses are evidently too used to humans and didn't budge. One ended up turning around with hind end facing Matt and back kicked a couple of times. I couldn't tell just watching it, but the horse did nick Matt in the elbow with one of those kicks. Needless to say, we only recovered the plastic sack the snacks were in.
After all that excitement we got lunch and then came back for more beach fun and a short hike through one of the marshes.

On the way out of the park we stopped at the visitor's center and played with the crab in the learn and grow tank, and watched a really cool movie on the history of the horses. They were owned by early Americans 300+ years ago, who let them graze on the island since it was a natural corral. Over the years some were never rounded up and the population on the Maryland side has been controlled at 80-100. It was fascinating. We've got to do more of these trips soon.A few months ago a member of our ward lent us a book called something like Day trips of Delmarva, and as I was browsing it today I've picked our next destination .... Smith Island.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Allergy History

When Wes was a baby I thought he had cradle cap. So I scrubbed faithfully, hoping to remedy the situation over time. But after a while I noticed his scalp just looked red and inflamed. So we went to the doctor and the diagnosis was eczema. Every time I was scrubbing his little head I was aggravating his condition. That made me feel like a good mom. Our doctor said sometimes eczema is linked to other allergies or asthma.

Well through the years (5 of them), he hasn't had any more scalp eczema. It's just shown up in the other typical places, on his legs, behind the knees, in the crease of the arm at the elbow joint, the crease between earlobe and head, etc. We've medicated quite successfully with hydrocortizone you buy at the store.

When he was 18 months old I was drinking a soy protein drink and gave him a sip. Within a couple of minutes his face around his mouth became red and puffy. Matt and I were alarmed but decided to wait a few minutes before calling the doctor. Good thing his reaction wasn't too bad and went away fairly quickly.

We've also noticed that when he rides horses, or is around them at Matt's parent's house he has a reaction. Our pediatrician in CT recommended a little allergy medication, which we've had on hand if we felt he really needed it.

Finally at his 5-year old check up I remembered to ask the doctor about this history. I told him Wes complains when we have pancakes ... "Mom, my throat feels funny." Followed by a growling/clearing the throat sound. So Matt and I started to experiment ... was it the pancakes, was it the syrup? We'd try straight wheat pancakes, we'd try strawberry jam instead of syrup. Finally we heard no complaints with corn meal pancakes and regular syrup, so that became our standard. This is just an example ... After each meal we'd look at him to see if the red blotches would appear; they usually would after at least half of the meals. Good grief, was he allergic to everything.

We never felt like it was serious enough to take him immediately to the doctor. It reminded me of something from Matt's family. I think (I could be wrong), but I think when his brother was on a mission he was tested for food allergies and found out that he was basically allergic to everything on a traditional hamburger, except the mustard. Nothing was bad enough to put him out of commission, just a ton of mild allergies.

Like I said, if more serious symptoms appeared we would've been more responsive, more quickly. I don't think we're running into the irresponsible parents category.

The doctor sent us to a lab to run blood tests. The results came back today, and now I think we'll start to get some answers (after another appointment with an allergist).

He's mildly allergic to dust, dogs, trees (maple, hickory and ragweed, specifically), tomatoes, whole eggs, cow's milk, and wheat.

He has higher levels of allergies to grass and peanuts (good grief, he gets peanut butter and honey sandwiches at least once or twice/week).

His highest allergy is to soy.

Luckily there are people smarter than I am to interpret all of this. My questions to the allergist will be like these ... does a mild allergy mean he can still eat it since he really hasn't ever complained about it before, i.e. he LOVES milk and hard boiled eggs ... and how do you cut out wheat? Luckily it's a mild allergy, so hopefully I won't have to cut it out. My news director has coeliac disease and I've always thought it would be a terrible thing to have.

We'll see.


Easiest Dessert

A few years ago my mother in law shared this easy dessert recipe. I've found if I'm in need of a quick something I can throw together, this is a great stand-by.

Triple Chocolate Cake

1 Devils Food Cake Mix
1 small pkg. chocolate pudding (instant)
2 cups milk
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix first three ingredients. Put in a greased cake pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. When cooled top with cool whip.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stroke

One of the side blessings of having young children is the comic relief they often provide, without meaning to. Another one of these moments happened at our house today.

Wes was pretty active, aka hyper, and running around like a mad man. His favorite thing lately is to scare Sophie by crawling/chasing her like a tiger. He's in the midst of this when Kate comes up to me and says exasperatedly, "Mom, he's giving me a stroke!"

Me too, is what I wanted to say.

At times like these I think ... it really would be confusing, trying to learn new words in this language that swirls around a child. All of these adults are using expressions that don't make sense, but if it's a cool word, why not try it out?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wrapped


This little lady has her daddy completely, utterly, and unmistakably wrapped around her little finger.

One of those days

Usually I try to keep my posts about events in our family's life and record fun times and such; but tonight I'm changing the focus a bit, just for true journaling purposes.

Today was just one of those days. I had a bad attitude and really had no reason for it (other than a headache, which these days is common. Some women are nauseated during pregnancy; not me, I'm of the headache variety). This makes mothering difficult. I was short tempered and unkind for much of the day. At the end of it, before Matt got home, I said to Wes and Kate, "I haven't been a very good mom today." They both agreed and said I hadn't. That made me laugh a little and then scold myself for such behavior. They (the twins) are pretty active by themselves, but you add in the synergistic energy of them together feeding off each other and you're in for more than a ball or explosion of fire.

Pre-teens and teenagers (I admit I was one of them), often wish for twins. I even had a Young Woman once tell me she wanted sextuplets. And it is true ... there's a ton of attention given to you and them, especially during pregnancy and as babies, and it's really a lot of fun. I would do it again all over. But boy, is it hard. I guess if you had mild children, it wouldn't be as much of a deal.

So that's that. Just some thoughts of today. No call for sympathy, just me documenting feelings during this short stage of life.

I think I'm about to embark on a study of motherhood. I'm leaning toward Ensign articles. So if there are suggestions in that arena, bring them on!

I think I need a cookie.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year thoughts and do-dads

This week we introduced the concept of goals to our children, essentially to set them for our family for 2011 ... resolutions of sorts. Since they're relatively young, we made suggestions and they approved or disapproved. I plan to make a nice computer print out of them and put them in a nice black frame so we can see them daily, an idea from my brother and sister-in-law.

Here are a few:
*Have more meaningful Family Home Evenings.
*Complete a family service project monthly.
*Be Healthy ... nutrition, exercise.

Tonight was a success in the FHE front. So here's to 51 more successes this year:).
------------------------------------------
Documenting section for posterity:

Wes and Kate had their annual well-check visit today and they met their new doctor. Things went well and both are growing well. Although I'm convinced they had the wrong growth chart measurement for Wes. They must've had him measured up against a 4-year old rather than 5-year old, because they put him in the 90th and 97th percentile, which is not true. He's a skinny little guy and has always been right around the 37th percentile in both. And I didn't see any shooting up this year, other than with Kate. She's now four lbs. heavier and 1 1/4" taller than Wes.

Sophie is our little potty training queen. We started last summer, but were interrupted by our extended stay in Utah and stay at a home owned by Matt's employer, which I didn't feel like cleaning the carpets everyday due to accidents. So we waited until we moved into our apartment. She's been ready to train for a while and so it's been a total breeze. The other day Matt looked at me and said, "I don't remember Wes and Kate being this easy." They WEREN'T. Part of the frustration was training two at one time, but also I think now we're more relaxed about it and it's worked wonders. So way to go Fia Fia!

Our next big project is getting back to the house hunt. Hopefully we'll avoid soap operas and 'one for the record books' (direct quote from our Realtor) this time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Back in business



After weeks and months of not posting with pictures, we're back in business! Thanks to a new camera, and getting our belongings out of storage, we have documenting capabilities again. The problem now, which I've never had before, is I'm unable to maneuver the pictures on blogger like I did before. Hopefully it's just a problem tonight, and I'll be able to rearrange them soon. But meanwhile there they are ... all at the top of the post.

A nutshell run through of our goings-on over the last 3 weeks prove to be mind spinning, but I'll try to be brief.

The day after the previous post about putting up our Christmas tree we were notified by Matt's work that the home we were staying in was booked for the Christmas holidays. What it essentially meant was that we had to move out in six days. So that Thursday our children and I toured multiple apartment units recommended by our Realtor, and found one that offered a 3-month lease since we plan on being in a home by Spring.

The bonus was we'd finally get our moving van unloaded (it has been stored outside of town since August) meaning we'd have different clothes and winter coats! The downside was that we'd be packing up and moving again in a matter of weeks, and our apartment is only two bedrooms; but there wasn't much else we could do, and we figured we've been jumbled for so long that 3 more months really can't be that bad.

Meanwhile we had a terrific Christmas! And even received an unusual snowstorm which brought about 10 inches. Our city declared a state of emergency for 72 hours. Welcome to the shore!

We were unable to go to the temple lights and concert series before Christmas, but made it shortly thereafter. We made a day of it and visited some places in D.C. we didn't get to during our visit last Spring Break. It was also before we realized we'd be moving here.

We LOVED the Library of Congress and envisioned scenes from National Treasure 2 (good grief I can't even create links tonight, otherwise there would've been one there).

We also went to the United States Botanic Garden, where they had a seasonal display of trains and Christmas trees. It was so beautiful.

Later, we went to the temple and enjoyed the lights and atmosphere. Matt and I commented that we picked the right week to go since the week prior had temperatures about 20 degrees cooler.

We also sledded a bit, and found the only decent hills in the area are near a city park and golf course. When we went to buy sleds after the snowstorm they were sold out. So by the time they came in our snow was pretty scarce, but everyone loved it anyway.

We feel so blessed to be here with a good job. That's what's most important right now. We're excited for 2011 and for the changes and experiences it will bring; namely a home, hopefully in March or April, and a baby in May.

Kate said to me on the way home from church today, "Mom, you're the luckiest mommy I know." And I'd have to say she's right.