Monday, January 30, 2012

Never-ending Chives

I remember last spring, the first plant to come up was chives. It was great to already have a fresh vegetable to use in the kitchen so early in the year! Well, spring went. Summer passed. Fall flew. And I was surprised to see I still had chives growing in October. And in November. In December, I used them in a dish I took to a Christmas party. Now it's January, and I am still able to go outside and pick some fresh chives to throw in a salad.

This has been the strangest winter. So mild. I almost feel like I live in the South instead of the Midwest.

I have felt all winter like I am "waiting for the other shoe to drop." (Is that the right expression?) Like any minute now, a blizzard will hit and Jill might actually use her snow pants for the first time all season.

We did have one ice storm, but then it was 50 degrees the next day, and it all melted. Today it got up to 60, and it is supposed to again tomorrow. The only bad part about a warm winter is that I look at my yard and feel like I need to go weed it.

Jill and our next-door neighbor, Mikey, enjoying the mild weather

My spring flowers are a little confused this winter. They started coming up in December. I can't wait to see their blooms! My friends, family, and I spent a lot of time and effort planting all of them!

If someone gave me a few hundred dollars for no specific purpose: I would buy mulch. Lots of it.

What a weird winter. :) I hope you've had a nice winter!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Two year old Logic

Jeff was recently contacted at work by a local business that had a fire. Apparently, some disgruntled employees (ex-employees now, I'm sure) went in, dismantled one of the video cameras (didn't know about the second one!), tried to disable the sprinklers, piled up papers in the office, and then set them on fire. The business was calling Jeff to get a quote on smoke removal (like the smell of the smoke). Anyway, Jeff came home and told us the story during dinner. I think I said something about how naughty it is to start fires.

Jill was quiet for a bit and then asked, "Were they naked?"

Jeff and I were quiet for a bit, and then I asked, "Did you just say 'were they naked'?"

She nodded yes. Jeff and I continued to stare at her.

Then she sort of sighed and explained, "naughty people are naked." (In a voice that implied this should have been very obvious to us.)

I love having an almost three year old in my house. Although perhaps I have been too strict on the naked rule. A toddler needs to have some fun, right?

On a more sober note . . .

My sister-in-law recently announced that she is expecting. I decided to try and share this information with Jill.

I said, "Jill, Aunt Rachel is going to have another baby."

Jill thought about it, looked at me, and asked, "baby Tabitha?"

I said, "No, Aunt Rachel already has a beautiful baby Tabitha. Remember?"

Jill then said, "Baby Tabitha is dead." She paused and then continued, "we still love her though."

It amazes me what Jill picks up on.

We do still love her.

And I am very excited for my brother, his wife, and my niece!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting Cozy

Recently, Jill has gotten really snuggly and is a fan of "getting cozy." To get cozy, one must be on the couch, under a blanket, and usually cuddled up with someone. :) And if Jill had her way, it would also mean to always be watching a TV show. She has recently discovered that her grandma's house has Winnie-the-Pooh movies, and she loves them. We are reading Winnie-the-Pooh to her at night. (I thought it didn't have enough pictures to keep her attention, but apparently it does!) I think she thinks it is fun to see the characters on the TV that we are reading about in her book. She also has started sleeping with her Pooh bear that GranB bought her a while back. And to add to her recent craze, she has announced she will be Winnie-the-Pooh for Halloween. She has not decided who Danny will be, but most often he is Christopher Robin or Tigger. (Whatever will we do when Danny decides he wants to pick what/who he should be for Halloween? My poor sweet dictator will be so sad.)

Jill and Danny Getting Cozy :)

Sometimes I want to call Danny "Bucky" after the cat in Get Fuzzy, because of his awesome front tooth. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

"That's impressive."

The other day Jeff did something. I can't remember what. But Jill witnessed his action and said, "that's impressive." Ha. We both thought it was pretty impressive that she said impressive. Have you seen anything impressive recently?

The other day Jill was flipping through a story at the library. On every page, she said, "oh my gosh!" . . . I think I need to start saying "oh my goodness." It is just too weird to hear my two year old saying "oh my gosh." Have you realized recently that you say anything too frequently?

The other day Jill was looking at a library book that had animals in it. She came upon an animal that she had never seen before. After some study, she announced that the animal on that page was a "beaver duck." The animal was a platypus, but isn't "beaver duck" a really good description of that animal? Have you made up any good words recently?

The other day I learned that I have been vacuuming without a vacuum belt. Do you know how dumb that made me feel? I've been doing basically nothing. It is amazing how much dust, etc., comes up out of the carpets when your vacuum has a belt in it! It is pretty gross to keep emptying the vacuum and realizing we've been living and breathing in all this dust and other particles. I wonder how long it hasn't had a belt. Has anything made you feel dumb recently?

And here is a visual representation of happiness!

Recently, Jill has started congratulating Daniel for his accomplishments. "That's so great, Danny!" "Yay for Danny!" "Good job, Danny!" It is pretty sweet. She's his personal cheerleader.

My children are growing up to be best friends, and that makes me really happy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Don't wake me up for cake!

Well, we celebrated his birthday, but it was rough. Both Jill and Daniel took late naps, and I think both of them thought they were already down for the night, because they were miserable during dinner. So much crying. So much drama. Danny cheered up a bit once dessert started, or maybe he was just really not sure about the candle.

Seriously! Right when I think he has started to grow into his eyes, he goes and opens them even wider! Sometimes I feel like the phrase "baby blue" was invented for his eyes. :)

Jill stayed upset until she helped open Danny's presents. Her sadness was not to be persuaded by simple delights like chocolate. (Honestly, I wish I had never woken her up.) (I hate late naps.)

That's about the extent of how messy he got. Now the floor below him got really messy. He loves to throw food over his shoulders. Silly boy. Jill did calm down a bit when trying to feed Danny her ice cream.

Jill has been telling people that her birthday is tomorrow. Poor girl. Not until April!

Monday, January 9, 2012

"He's not nothing anymore!"

Danny turned one on Saturday, and it was a beautiful day! Jeffrey actually got to play ultimate frisbee (in shorts! (in January!)), and Jill, Danny, and I got to play on the playground next to where Jeff was playing. The weather was so nice! We are going to do his cake and ice cream tonight, so I do not yet have any of the fun baby-completely-smeared-with-cake pictures, but hopefully I will soon!

On his birthday, we told Jill that Danny was one now, and she wanted to know what he was before. I think I said "zero" and Jeff said "nothing." Either way, Jill very excitedly went to her brother and exclaimed, "Danny! You're not nothing anymore!" And he really is something. ;)

Last night we were at my mother-in-law's house, and Jill and Danny were playing with the train table Santa gave them (and all the future grandchildren). Jeff was lucky enough to catch this moment on his camera.

January 7, 2011
(He was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice, 
which is why he looks so purpley in this picture. His red is normal though.)

January 7, 2012
He's a pretty handsome boy these days!

Happy Birthday, Danny. I am so blessed to be your mother. You are very precious to me.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tiny Home Intruders

You'd think it would be the itching that would drive you crazy, but it isn't. The itching can be overcome with will power. If you don't scratch, then eventually it won't itch—problem solved.

It's the sneakiness. The jumping. The unexpected appearances.

Some of you may have already guessed where I'm going with this. If you have guessed, then you can probably share my annoyance at these uninvited house guests I'm currently sheltering.

Last month, I took a shower and put on clean clothing. I looked in the mirror, and there was already one sitting on my shoulder. I didn't even get to be free of them for longer than a minute.

I picked up Danny to put him down for a nap. There was one on his head that I removed and killed. We go upstairs and get comfy in the rocking chair. I close my eyes for a few minutes and then I feel him falling asleep. I look down, and there is a new one on his forehead this time. I remove it and kill it quickly before it crawls somewhere really undesirable.

Before the bombings, I was killing so many that my fingertips were actually sore from the pressure of trying to crush their little bodies completely.

I took clothes out of the dryer and put them on the couch to fold. I get to a pair of Jill's pajamas. I see one on them already. I crush it. Nothing is really clean right now for long.

Jeff and I were sitting at the kitchen table addressing and stamping our yearly family letter, which I mail out to those whom live far away. Jeff feels one on his leg. He looks, and it jumps off and begins to crawl across the kitchen floor toward me.

Yes, toward me.

To date, Jill, Jeff, and Danny have no bites on their bodies. At one point, I counted 63 on my entire body. Then as the problem escalated, I counted 54 on one leg and just stopped counting.

I apparently am very delicious.

And I am going a little crazy.

This morning, I was eating pancakes. Jeff makes pancakes for us every Saturday morning, and we have the local church missionaries over. I felt one crawl out of my hair and land on my face. I tried to get it, but it jumped. Jeff saw it land on my arm, and he casually reached over and killed it. The elders watch the scene and ask, "so you have fleas?"

Yes. And I am so tired of having them.

And it's all my fault.

Months ago, I was petting my cat Chloe. I noticed black specks of something on her nose/face that flecked off when I was petting her. Then one day I went to read a book on the bed that she likes to sleep on and something jumped up at me. Then I started to get bites whenever I would nap in that bed. And then I caught one and knew that there were fleas in my house. There weren't many, and it didn't seem like a big problem. I had never treated our cats, because they had only been indoor cats, but then we started letting them out, and I didn't think about it.

A while after noticing them (and they were still contained only to Chloe—not even on Cosmo), I went to the vet and mentioned it. The vet gave me the treatment. It took me a while to get around to doing it, because I had to do it when the kids were not around and when Jeff was around to help me, and we put it on Chloe and Cosmo.

A few days later, I kept finding lots of dead flea bodies in all of Chloe's favorite resting places.

I thought that I was done, but I felt slightly concerned about part of the warning on the treatment label. It said something about how it might be necessary to retreat after six weeks due to eggs hatching. That thought was always in the back of my brain, nagging me, worrying me.

Then we gave the cats away, because they have been on edge since Danny was born and really stressed out since he started crawling and that made them do less-than-delightful things to our house, and I was not willing to go through that again with every new baby.

And then the eggs must have hatched. And the massive invasion began. They were no longer isolated to Chloe or to her favorite sleeping spots, and my body became an all-you-can-eat, 24-hour-a-day-and-night buffet for their perpetual enjoyment.

We bombed.

Many died. I went from finding seven in half an hour to finding seven a day.

We bombed again.

They still remain.

It has been over two months now, and I am really reaching my breaking point. Tonight we are going to put powder in all the carpets and spend the night at our in-laws' house. I hope that does it. Because not only is it a hassle to have fleas but also it is a hassle to keep putting pesticides in my house that can contaminate food and make us sick. I am tired of washing everything. I am tired of needing to vacuum all the time. I am tired of worrying about spreading them wherever I go. And I am tired of worrying about spreading them to anyone who comes over. (I know for a fact that we've shared a few with two different houses, but neither of them saw more than two at their house and no bites.)

And yet, even as I am considering wrapping flea collars around my ankles, wrists, and neck, I keep thinking of another flea story and telling myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, because my life truly is so good.

Have any of you read the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom?

Well, Corrie's family helped hide Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Her family was caught, and Corrie and her sister Betsie (along with other family members) were arrested. Corrie and Betsie ended up in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is a book that Corrie wrote about their experiences. While unbelievably sad and horrible, it is also amazingly inspiring. At one point, Betsie, in a prayer, thanks God for the fleas. Corrie can't believe that her sister would be grateful for the horrible pests. Later, Corrie learns that the reason why the Nazi soldiers never entered their sleeping area was how horrible the fleas were, so they really did have a reason to be grateful for the fleas.

Whenever I feel like I am going to go crazy because of my fleas, I remember their fleas and then feel ridiculous for complaining so much like I have this whole blog post.

I am really blessed. I live in a free country with a man who loves me and two great kids. I have an education, and I have food on my table. I have a roof over my head, and I am physically safe.

And eventually I will kill every single flea in my home.