Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet Sally, Aunt Maude, and Naddy

Yesterday Willow decided to change her name to Sally. When she began insisting that I call her her new name, I insisted that she call me a new name, too. Hence, I am now Aunt Maude. Rhys wanted to get in on the game and decided that his name is Naddy. Willow actually remembered her new name this morning and that she wanted to be called by it, so here we are again today. Perhaps I shall have further exploits of Sally, Aunt Maude, and Naddy to share later today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Mother's Dilemma

My little Rhysie is so adorable right now. His current adorableness is that he has started saying "yay-yeh" instead of "yeah." It's so cute I find myself asking him things just to get him to say it again. My problem is, I also love my Willow, but she is growing out of the "so cute I must eat you right now" phase. So recently every time I want to get on my blog and say something hilarious and adorable about my kids, it is almost always about Rhys.

I know Willow had her day, back when she was the only one I had to talk about, and even when Rhys was a baby and in spite of the specialness that that is, you can only say so much about it, but I still feel bad that my attention seems so lopsided.

At the core of the matter is that my little girl is not a baby any more. Her id is giving way to ego. And with this new self-awareness comes trying to be cute, or funny, or adorable, which just isn't as adorable as genuine un-self-awareness is. I have memories of myself at that stage. I know I thought I was cute and clever, but I look back at myself and wince at how annoying I must have been to my older siblings, on whom I forced most of my wit. Don't get me wrong--Willow is not currently annoying. Hopefully she doesn't ever get that far before social skills start to develop that can compensate (unlike her mother, who's showoff skills far outweighed her social skills well into Jr. High. Acutally, I think they probably still do. sigh).

But I think I mourn a little bit for the effortless cuteness of babyhood that inevitably succumbs to the self-awareness of childhood.

I think what I want to say, and to be on the record for the day when my blog becomes my personal history and Willow, while reading it, comes to the shocking era of her mother's life where she is overshadowed in anecdote by her younger brother, is:

Willow, you are growing up. You are maturing beautifully and just as you should be. This process is important, and often serious. That's why it doesn't lend itself so well to being laughed at as babyhood does. Know that not being mentioned as often is a compliment to how well you are developing the ability to pay attention to and interact comfortably with those around you. I don't share as many of your mistakes because you are coming into an age where you will learn what embarrassment is, and I don't want to be the source of that, if I can help it. And I won't laugh at you when it will hurt you.

Thinking over this post, I feel a little ridiculous that I am literally crying as I think about my daughter and how much she is not a baby anymore. She's only 4 years old. But, My Word! She's 4 years old! Thats practically a Kindergartener, and once they start school, their nearly grown up. Ohhh. My babies. Aren't babies. Won't be babies forever. Sigh. *sniff*

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Long Post About Rhys. Please Comfort and Reassure Me.

Little boys who run around the house and yard incessantly pointing anything and everything they can find--sticks, necklaces, pillows, spoons, every toy, gold high-heeled shoes (from the dress-up box)--at other people and saying "pchew, pchew, pchew. I'm killing you," can still grow up to be normal, loving, righteous, well-adjusted non-violent non-criminals, right? I can't make him stop. It is his one consistent waking thought, "Shoot! Fight! Kill!!" Even when he is playing with toys (which he does adorably), he is almost invariably making them fight each other. It doesn't seem to matter what I say or how I react, it's just hardwired into his little brain. I'm glad we don't live in an era without guns, because then he would have to play that everything is a sword, and those require actual physical contact to kill, which means he would be hitting things all the time instead of simply pointing and making a sound.

I try to re-direct him (because I know just telling him to stop will have zero effect) by telling him to shoot chocolate love arrows, like we did with Sam and Willow, but, though he loves it when we pretend to catch and eat them, he will never admit that they are not real arrows for killing.

He seems to love us. He doesn't seem to be angry or really violent, he just has to "Kill!" all the time. I'm not quite sure what to do about this, or if I even need to try. I would really appreciate advice or wisdom from those of you who have been here before.

Some other notes on Rhys: He is continuing his dry streak. We had a day or two of two or three wet pants but mostly it was when we neglected to take him to the potty ever. And one accident always seemed to snowball into more. But if we took him and he went, we usually don't have to take him but every hour and a half or so. We even went to the Zoo yesterday and he was dry the whole time and went in the potty there. He was also dry during nap time. Yay!

This morning Rhys discovered a way to circumvent my blockading him downstairs by shutting the door. He can't open knobs yet, but this morning when I had shut the door to keep him from escaping upstairs while I was changing his clothes, he left the bathroom while I was finishing up and suddenly I hear Neoma from upstairs say, "What are you doing out there?" He had opened the sliding glass door and run around the the slider into the dining room upstairs and begged to be let in. He did it again later this morning, but let himself in upstairs because it was already unlocked. I needed him to be downstairs so I got him and brought him back down, but this time locked the sliding door. I set him down and shut the door to the upstairs and without hesitation he ran straight to the back door and tried to get out. When he found it locked he sat on the floor and wailed. I'll have to keep a better eye on him for now.

And a last funny: There is a big rock outside under a tree in the front yard. Rhys love to climb up and stand on this rock whenever we let him out of the car (which we park near it). As soon as he is there he starts calling out to everyone. And as you approach, he pauses he preaching to explain to you, "This is my 'Jesus Real.'" I assume he is referring to how Willow usually starts her testimony by saying, "I know that Jesus is real," because he then continues his dissertation, "I know Jesus real. Name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Then he climbs down and is on his way.

The Hand of the Lord in my Life: Kevin is gone. I'm a little sad, but mostly excited. How this is evidence of the Lord's hand: Kevin was able to be home for all of the vital things he needed to do to license to be foster parents and as soon as it was done, he had a job waiting for him. We got the application turned in, had all of the paperwork sent to us for him to sign, received our fingerprinting forms (for the background check), had our prints taken, took CPR and first aid classes, had TB tests done, and the day after our TB test was started, with our appointment already made to go back and have the TB spot interpreted the next day, he got a call to ask if he could come in the day after that. The Lord is arranging things and looking out for us. It is very important the Kevin be working right now not only because it has been a long time and our savings are being drained (which they are, but not so much that we are insolvent), but because we need to save up a little bit more for a down payment and have evidence of what his paychecks look like this year in order to successfully apply for pre-approval of a mortgage loan. After that, we can look for and buy a house. Hopefully sometime in the next two months. Whew!

Friday, May 13, 2011

An Addendum on Yogurt

For the beginning of my yogurt journey, see Crockpot Yogurt--More than you ever wanted to know.

I think I have discovered in my yogurt making exploits, that the warmer it is as it cultures, the firmer the product and the more easily the whey drains off. However, if it gets too warm, it kills the cultures and you cannot use it again. Also, if it gets cooked, too much whey tends to drain out and you are left with something more cheesy. This is not necessarily bad. You can do cool things with it like make German-style cheese cake (what you are left with when you super-drain it is similar to the German soft cheese quark. Be careful not to overcook the cake, it makes the edges have a really cheesy texture. It is best after it has completely cooled in the fridge). I've also substituted it for ricotta in lasagna.

Lately the yogurt I have been getting if it cultures at a cooler temperature is almost stringy, but with thick, gloopy, gelatinous strings. If you scoop a spoonful and try to pull it out, it is just as likely to get pulled right off the spoon back into the rest of it by the stringiness. It tastes fine, but the texture is strange and it tends not to drain as well, sometimes seeping right through the cheesecloth. Leaving it to culture longer once it is in this state does not help. I'm not sure if this development is a result of culturing at too high a temperature previously, or if the result would have been the same if I cooler-cultured it from the beginning. I definitely don't like it as well. This may be why some yogurt making sites recommend periodically refreshing your starter with new store-bought yogurt.

For more accurate information and additional insight on these issues, see More (Concrete) Yogurt Insights

I Must Shout My Excitement From the Top of Someplace Very High!

This is about the highest place I could think of. Yesterday Rhys was dry all day long!!!!! (Granted, he did have one poopy pants, but not wet.) And so far this morning he has been dry, too. I'm so excited! It's like magic.

And now that I have shared my excitement, I have to work on not being too hung up on it, because in all likelihood it is not permanent, at least, it is likely he will have periods of regression in the future, and I have to not set myself up for frustration. He is still in the process of learning. I have to remember that. But it is encouraging that he was dry all day long and we didn't even use a timer to remind us to take him potty. In fact, we forgot a few times for an extended period and he was still dry. He is doing so well, my little man. Not even 2 1/2!

And on Rhys these days--I can't even stand how stinkin' cute he is. I love to hear his little voice from the other room when he's playing by himself or talking to the other kids. He takes any random toy and will just play around by himself making it talk and jump off of things. He's all boy, forever making things into guns and shooting people (no, we don't have guns or gunbattles at our house. I don't know where he gets it. I haven't watched the A Team for a long time. . . ). Mostly he shoots "bad men" whom he seems to see everywhere. He is very vigilant in defense of our house. He love sticks, the bigger the better, but he will also carry around puny little twigs. I try to get him to leave them outside, but I still find them in the house. Oh, how I love that boy.

And I will conlcude with a conversation I had the other day with Willow, who was in the seat behind me in the car, next to Rhys:

Willow: Mom, do you think I am asleep? (this is actually not an uncommon question)
Me: No. Do you know why?
Willow: Why?
Me: Because I hear your voice talking to me, and you can't do that when you are asleep.
Willow: No, it is Rhys talking to you!
Me: Rhys is asking me if he is asleep?
Willow: No, he is asking you if I am asleep!