Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Day Pet

Last week on a library and playground walk, we found a grasshopper. It hopped out of our way and I pointed it out to the children. We studied it for a bit. Then came the inevitable question: Can we bring him home??
Well, sure. He can be a One-Day Pet.

And so home he came. First Cymbre tried carrying him in her hands but found it better to carry him in the fabric of her dress. All three of them made a soft spot for him in our "One Day Pet Jar."
They showed him around the house (in his jar) and watched him all day.
This is the wisdom of the title "ONE DAY Pet," that since it is in the name, they can't possibly forget how long he's staying for.

After they had gotten to know him, I asked what his name was.
I thought perhaps they wouldn't have thought of naming him.
I thought perhaps they would go with Grassy, Hop, Hoppy, Hopper, Greenie, Buggy - something like that.
Without missing even a beat, they answered, "We named him John,"
Okay, then!
Farewell, John! May you live long and hop much!
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Deck project!

Two years ago we had my dad put vinyl siding on our house. We decided to tear off our old deck because it was, well, old and poorly built. We wanted the new siding to go all the way down and to take care of any rotting at that time. Well, we are finally getting the deck put on with the amazing and generous help of my dad, who knows more about the right way to build stuff than pretty much anyone else we know. Thanks, Dad!!! The entire project is a two level deck with a pergola over the high deck. So far the high deck and pergola are almost done. We also have one new basement window and a real dryer vent installed in conjunction with this project - instead of the old window with one of the panes removed and the dryer vent wedged in with just some insulation and an old shirt!!! Why a colony of chipmunks hadn't taken up residence, we can't say since nothing was actually stopping them. This was a serious upgrade! Watch for updates!!
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

More camping highlights!

We had such a great time camping this year! This was our only trip
and in truth I was nervous about it.
We've often camped with our kids very happily - my struggle was more logistical!
We camped two years ago for more than a week in the UP and loaded out van so completely that I just didn't know how we could possibly go now that we have one more child! We settled on a "short trip" plan: to go just a little drive away for three nights and then come back! We went to the Whispering Surf Campground http://www.whisperingsurfcamping.com/ in Pentwater, Michigan. It was quiet and relaxing. They have a nice little playground that the kids could go to *within sight* of our campsite so that was a huge help for us. They also have a great "lodge" kind of rec room that would be great if you happened to camp during a rainy spell. The campground is between Bass Lake and Lake Michigan and there is a sweet spot you can play in the outlet water of Bass Lake that is shallow and warm but on the Lake Michigan Beach. It's fantastic, beautiful and perfect for kids.

Matt really loves to cook while camping. Suits me. It probably has something to do with lighting stuff on fire... but any reason to be cooked for is a good one in my book. He appointed himself to make bacon and eggs for us every morning - but we decided to eat all the bacon the first morning since it was easier to cook it once than to cook a little every day. Yum!

Eli enjoyed his breakfast and enjoyed feeding some to his brother too!!
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Camping highlights!

The best line of the whole trip was while we were playing
here, at the Bass Lake inlet to Lake Michigan.
Eli was so thrilled with the water and the sand and he just bubbled out,
"Now THIS is what I call summer fun!!!"

Shiloh thought this was fun for about 3 minutes. Then he seemed very unsure about touching the sand and water and thought we would all be better off if he were carried.

Allegra is sure now that she can "swim" because of this experience.

Cymbre and Eli were really excited to get to roast their own marshmallows.
Allegra was excited primarily about eating them. She is still asking for more marshmallows.
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For Olivia

Remember these?
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One race, two ball games, and three concerts, OH MY!

August is a great month for fun family activities and we've been soaking it up!
We've been to some of the free concert series at the Frederick Meijer Gardens,
a free concert through our radio station,
two Whitecaps games,
and an auto race.

And what do we have to show for all this all-American fun?

Cymbre and Eli are now fascinated by cotton candy.
I keep hearing them discussing what they think it might be like.
They may have crossed over into *coveting* cotton candy.
I keep telling them it really isn't that good and no, I'm not buying it for them. Ew.
Why couldn't they be interested in Elephant Ears or something at least resembling food???

Eli was especially interested in the baseball and wanted to know the name of every player as he came up to bat.

Cymbre loved the concerts.

Allegra's responses are usually the funniest.
At the baseball game, what she learned was that sometimes hot dogs fall out of the sky!
This is a new pretend obsession for her.
At the race, Allegra was pretty miserable *until* the cars started racing and a few of them would backfire as they were slowing down for the curve... suddenly she went from misery to squealing "pop pop pop!" every time the cars went by, backfiring.
That was a huge improvement in everyone's mood!

Shiloh clapped happily pretty much any time everyone else did.

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Shiloh's Birthday!

When Shiloh was born, I intended to have Matt plant his placenta in the yard
the same day - just as we did with Allegra. But since our boy surprised us by arriving
two weeks before we thought he would, I did not have a plant ready...
And because I had some trouble bouncing back after the birth, we went to the hospital
anyway, and took the placenta along in case anyone there would want to examine it.
They didn't care one way or the other about it, so Shannon, my trusty and fearless midwife
brought it home for me and put it in the freezer.
A year later, it still sat there, untouched and mostly forgotten.

And so although Shiloh's birth was a good one,
and although I was thrilled with my cute and clever baby boy,
I struggled with disappointment for a long time.
I was disappointed that my birth wasn't as *amazing* this time as it was last time.
I was disappointed that I lost a lot of blood and had a really tough recovery for many weeks.
I was disappointed that I felt so weak, struggled with fainting and had to go to the hospital after my home birth.

In celebration of Shiloh's first birthday
of my recovery from all his birth brought me, emotionally and physically,
I invited my many wonderful friends to help me
plant Shi's placenta.
For closure.
For the support of women who understand the depth of a mother's emotions.
For room in the freezer - because really, at this point, what else are we going to do with it??

Here's Shiloh and I starting to dig the hole!
Eli is tending the bag - faintly labeled "placenta!" (You rock, Shannon!!)
The tall black-eyed susan is the plant that will grow over the placenta, not more than 12 feet
from the spot Shiloh was born.

Many of the kids were really interested in the placenta itself.
This process brought up a lot of "where is my placenta?" thoughts
as well as started some children thinking about what their mamas might do
with placentas for their future siblings.

Here's some more of the group that attended!
We also had snacks and played in the sprinkler - it was a really fun day!
We are truly blessed with many, many wonderful friends
- and not just any friends - the kind of friends
who will really stick by you and turn out at a placenta planting party!!

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