Monday, August 29, 2011

Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe

Recently I accidentally started some Facebook drama by making a comment about how we had finally resorted to letting Maddox "cry it out" to go to sleep.  One reason I have always hated having to do this method is because I always feel bad when my baby cries.  And it always seems that no matter how long I do it, the baby always cries for at least a couple of minutes before settling down to sleep.  However, sleep deprivation and the need to have a daily routine finally drove me to it.

Little did I know that the secret to a painless bedtime and sleeping through the night was in my grasp.  It has to do with this little devil:

This is my baby monitor.

This past Tuesday morning I didn't get to go running with my friend because I had only gotten 4 1/2 hours of sleep by 5:15, which is when I would have had to get up for the day.  So I rescheduled for Wednesday morning.  Then Tuesday night I took the plunge: I turned off the baby monitor.  Not only is Maddox now over 10 months old, but he shares a room with his older brother.  I knew that if Maddox woke up and was really fussing, Connor would wake up and come into our room.  I dreaded having both boys awake in the middle of the night, but I really did need to get my sleep.

And an amazing thing happened.  I slept through the night.  And even more amazing, Connor slept through the night, which tells me that if Maddox woke up at all (and I'm pretty sure he did), then he didn't really need anything and went back to sleep without help.

That was Tuesday night.  I have left the monitor off every night since.  Both Wednesday night and Thursday night Connor came in and got me and I fed Maddox around 3:30 or 4:00.  Since then?  Nada.  Zilch.  Zip.  He has slept like a dream till way past 6am.  Surprisingly, this has also carried over into laying him down for naps and at bedtimes.  If I know he's tired, I can take him in to his room, snuggle with him a little, lay him down in the crib, and walk out.  No crying, no screaming - for either of us.  Just some jabbering and then sleep, blessed sleep.

I wish I had known about this secret years ago...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Oklahoma County Free Fair

I had my doubts.  Just because something says it's free, it doesn't mean that it really is free.

Oh, sure, it might be free to walk around and look at stuff, but if you want to get your face painted or get a balloon animal, you're dishing out the dough.  And there's always the possibility that you'll get stuck with having to pay for parking.

Fortunately, all my worries were unfounded.  It really was absolutely free.  (Except for the snack bar, but that's to be expected.)

At first I thought the coolest thing about our visit was going to be Connor's balloon hat.

Then he got his gnarly sword.

Yet the fun didn't end there!  The girls got some awesome face painting done by one of the clowns.
  Olivia went first, but looked a little concerned when she (the face painter) started applying liberal amounts of pink blush to her face and nose.  (Note: Olivia hates all things pink on principle.)

As we neared the end, she still wasn't sure if she was going to like it or not.

But in the end, I think she was happy with it.

And then it was Kelsey's turn!

She had to work hard to keep her hair out of her face while the artist was working,

Here's a picture of the clown-artist hard at work!

And our finished result?  Fabulous!  (Though Kelsey swore she was a man because she had a mustache...)

We had to get one picture of the three older kids together, of course.  Connor was very, very concerned that he was going to have to get his face painted.  He wasn't having any of that.

The clowns were also the ones making the balloon animals/items for the kids.  We sure appreciated their hard work!
Where was Maddox during all this fun?  Well, for a while he just stared and stared at everything around him.

But eventually he was just chillin'.

After we left the fair, we decided to check out the Spaghetti Warehouse in Bricktown.  The kids got coupons for a free kids meal in the bags from the Summer Reading Program at the library.  However, we rarely go out to eat, and hardly ever in Oklahoma City, so today was the perfect day to go since we were practically already there.

Unfortunately, I didn't think about the fact that Saturday afternoon in Bricktown is "rush hour".  Parking was difficult to find, though we eventually got lucky.  And then there was a 20 minute wait for a table.  At 11:15am.  As delicious as it was, lunch took forever!  I fed the meter for 90 minutes, and it had expired by the time we got back to the van.

I got Ben to pose with Kelsey for a picture while we were waiting, but I didn't use the flash.  Hence, I had to play with the tints and exposure once I uploaded this picture to the computer and the coloring looks a little different from the rest.  Why not take another one you ask?  It's simple.  With Ben and cameras, you don't usually get do-overs.

Can I just tell you how much I love the high-chairs at this place?  Maybe it's because their specialty is spaghetti, but it comes with a full tray and a plastic bib.  Rock on, people!

Do you notice what's missing from Kelsey's face here?  Her green nose paint.  Apparently glitter paint really itches, so while we were waiting for a table I took the girls to the bathroom and cleaned what I could off their noses.

Once again, Connor saw me taking pictures and decided to pose.  I can't help but laugh every time.

Then, while we were waiting a million years for our food, the girls both decided that it was time to take all of the make-up off.  They were still gorgeous!

And Connor was still goofy.  Cute,but goofy.

When the food finally came, Maddox got in on the pasta action.

He really, really likes table food.  Can't you tell?

I love days like this one!  Some family time in the morning, an afternoon nap, and the girls cleaned while I slept.  It doesn't get any better than this!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today we took a field trip so Kelsey could identify some landforms for her social studies unit.  And, since she's doing social studies with our neighbor's daughter over the next few months, they came with us.  Before we left, both Olivia and Kelsey were armed with clipboards and a "nature bingo" card.  Our first stop was Hafer park, which has the benefit of being about 2 miles away and also has a duck pond.  As usual, Kelsey's favorite activity was climbing on the rocks.

 After a quick visit to Hafer, we headed over to Martin Park Nature Preserve, which has a river, lake, forest, and even an area that looks like a prairie.  Unfortunately for us, we forgot that it's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  So we headed over to a park on Lake Hefner instead.  After a quick view of the lake, it was play time at the park of course!

Connor is turning into such a poser.

We've never been to this park before, and the girls had a blast climbing on all of the new equipment.

This was apparently the object of choice.  Everyone wanted to pose on it.

And I do mean everyone.

Kelsey had a hard time giving it up so Olivia could have a turn.

But eventually Olivia did get it all to herself.

Then it was Eva's turn.

They really had a blast.

Kelsey had showed her skills on the monkey bars!

Olivia didn't have to work quite as hard to get across...

And Connor couldn't even reach.

Sometimes it doesn't take much for you just feel like you've conquered the world.

One cool thing about this park is that they had this area of plastic percussion instruments that the kids could play.  They were groovin'!

And since the Lion's Club apparently sponsored a lot of this park, even the water fountain paid homage.

And where was Maddox during all this excitement?  Sleeping in the van next to where we were sitting. (Don't worry - it was overcast and breezy by the lake and we left the van door open for circulation.)

Oh, how I love being outdoors again!  We timed this field trip just right.  As soon as we got home the sun came out and it heated everything up.

P.S. A local news story in today's Edmond Sun: "Oklahoma City topped 100 degrees Monday for the 51st time this summer, breaking the 1980 record for the most days at or above 100."  How I am grateful for the clouds this morning!!


Someone's not happy.

You can't really tell in the picture, but he's covered in a rash from his face to below his waist.

Apparently, he really is allergic to amoxycillan.

Poor fella.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Home School Blog

Our family has started a separate blog to put all of our home school stuff on.  We'd like to keep a good record of our year, yet we'd like to keep it separate from our regular family journal (i.e. this blog). 

If you'd like to see what we're doing, come on over!

Centennial Land Run Monument

Recently, our fantastic neighbor introduced us to what I think she called the "Statue Walk" down at Bricktown in Oklahoma City.  According to the sign we found, it's officially known as the Centennial Land Run Monument.  And according to this website, it's not complete yet.  When it's done in 2015 it'll have "45 heroic (life and one-half size) figures of land run participants, frozen in motion as they race to claim new homesteads."

It's amazing how much history you learn when you move to Oklahoma.  I don't think I ever really learned about the whole "land run" thing before we moved here.

So anyway, I had to see a man about some fresh rhubarb, and since we were going to be downtown anyway we turned it into a field trip to go see the statues.  We've only been there one other time and it was so freezing that we didn't stay long and the kids couldn't climb on the statues.  Which, by the way, the sign tells us that we shouldn't be climbing.  Oh well.  We didn't know it at the time...

Here we are in the parking lot.  Connor has been making the darnedest faces lately...

The dog statue was the only one he even tried to climb.  It was too big.

I put Connor on top of the statue since he couldn't climb.  He kept slipping off, so I had him put his feet behind the ears to hold himself on.  He didn't feel very secure... can you tell?

Maddox seemed so small among the statues.

Since the girls couldn't really get on the horses, they  moved on to the one they were pretty sure they could climb: the wagon.  Success!

We made it!

Oh, look!  What's that?

Just some ducks and geese in the canal...

And now it's time to get down.  Not as easy as getting up, is it?

At least someone was enjoying the show.  I love that little half-smile!

The last time we were there, we didn't make it across this canal to see the statues on the other side.

So we set off to find the bridge.  On the way, we passed these crazy-looking mounds in the grass that seemed to be some sort of hive for a HUGE flying insect.  Bee, maybe?  All I know is that they were well over an inch long.  Maybe even an inch and a half.

See what I mean?  Can you see it there at the opening on the mound?

And just so you can get the big picture... this is where we have already been:

On to the bridge!  (That's where we found the sign.)

Note the face.

Pretty, innit?

The kids thought so, too.

Kelsey picked me some pretty wildflowers.

And I got the kids to pose for a picture on the wall.

Note the face.

You know, all these pictures of Connor's face remind me of a phase Kelsey went through when she was about 3 or 4.  She would cross her eyes every time someone snapped a picture.

Finally we made it to the other side.  This picture really gives you a perspective on just how big these statues are.  Can you see the kids?  They are right by the lead horse in the rear pack.

On the way back, Kelsey found a feather.  She was amazed.

But we found the perfect place for it.

It was such a nice trip, even though it got a little warm near the end.  It's just nice to be outside again in Oklahoma!