Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Incredible, Edible... Allergy?

Kelsey's been having problems with stomach discomfort for some time now.  We finally thought to run the simple blood test for common food allergies.  The result?

Egg whites.  She's allergic to egg whites.

Why couldn't it have been something that was NOT one of the few proteins she'd eat??

Don't get me wrong - I'm so glad we know.  But the girl loves her eggs.  Scrambled, deviled, hard boiled, you name it.  And of course, the many, many things that eggs are in - pancakes, cookies, and who knows what else.  Guess I'm going to become an expert label-reader, eh?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I Did Today

Several weeks ago it started with a couple of these:
This is Kelsey's school bag, and we have another one with horses on it that Olivia uses for her band bag.

Since Kelsey needed to also have something with horses on it, we ended up getting some extra fabric to make the girls throw pillows for their beds.  Which we finally started last night.  Today, it progressed to this:

And this:

(It should be noted that I started this apron over two years ago for my mother-in-law's birthday.  Talk about a belated present!)

For the record, this was so easy that I'll never buy another couch cushion again.  We're really digging our nice, fluffy cushions!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Kelsey just walked into the kitchen and asked, "What does 'stress' mean?"

Olivia then replied, "Mom, why don't you tell her since your the one who has it the most."

I have nothing else to say.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lake Eufala

This past week the kids and I went with Terri and "E" on an overnight field trip to see some different landforms and ecosystems.  (Which is just a fancy way of saying that we went to see some cool nature stuff.)  Since there was so much to see at both the lake and Robber's Cave, I'm going to do them as two separate posts.

After weeks and months of very little rain, the weather decided to take a turn on the very day we left on our field trip.  Because of this, we spent most of the afternoon and evening indoors at Terri's parents' house on Lake Eufala.  However, even that provided a good bit of amusement for us because they are grandparents and have "grandparent" toys for the kids.  (Incidentally, I also go a great game of Texas Canasta out of it.)

Connor's favorite thing by far was the dress-up shoes.  And yes, I'm aware that someday he'll probably be mad at me for posting these pictures. I'll willing to risk it.

"E" had a great time being a four-legged animal friend with her ears and a tail.  Connor loves playing pretend with her - they are an unlikely pair of buddies but they have a great time!  She was, however, very concerned that Connor was playing with "girl toys".  Especially her old girl toys.

After dinner we went for a walk down by the lake.  It's unusually low right now because of the drought, and while I'm not happy about the lack of rain, it afforded us some great sights.  We got to walk along a beach that is usually underwater.

See the top of that tree on the left?  That was pretty close to the water's edge when we were here last summer (2010).

The black line that you see on the rocks here is the usual water line.

Olivia and Kelsey couldn't resist a run along the hard packed sand at the water's edge.

As I looked through the pictures after I got home, I realized that Connor had turned litterbug on me.  Here he is playing in the sand next to a old soda can.

I apparently caught him red-handed picking up the can.  (Note: I cropped this picture and the next - he wasn't the main thing I was photographing.)

And then he waved goodbye after he stuck it in the water.  I have other pictures of it floating further "out to sea", too!  That little stinker.

We saw a few really nifty things, such as a large bird's tracks.  You can see the girls comparing their hand size to the bird track.

We also saw these strange patterns of ridges in the sand that looked like an animal had been burrowing just underneath the surface.  Can you see the design in the sand?

One of my personal favorites was the dead bird(?) skeleton.

Or maybe the dead fish...
 Both were a little gross, but very interesting!

A few other tidbits we found:

A clam shell

An old tire buried in the sand:

A huge bird feather:

A root growing into the lake from at one of the trees.  You can see in the last picture just how far away the trees actually are from the lake!

Old tree stumps or something coming out of the water (note Olivia's expression in this one):

And last but not least, a LOT of blue-green algae.  It was in the water...

...and out.

 We also noticed in a number of areas that there was a greenish level of sand under the top level and before you got to the darker level underneath.  Can you see it here?

There have been warnings out for several weeks about the toxic levels of blue-green algae in areas of Lake Eufala for several weeks now.  Needless to say, the kids had to thoroughly wash their hands when we got back to the house.

Even though it was chilly and overcast, we had a great walk!
Though some of us preferred to dance:

On a closing note, do  you see how I took Maddox outside?

I didn't realize it was quite that chilly and windy.  I'm just praying he doesn't get a cold or something.  If he does, I'm going to get a big, fat "I-told-you-so" from Ben.  And I'll probably deserve it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our New Friends!

All night I've been trying to catch up on my blogging for one main purpose: to introduce you to our new friends, Kim and Mai!

(And for those of you who may wonder why I didn't just skip ahead to them and go back and finish blogging that other stuff... I guess you don't know me very well.  I'm too OCD for that.  Everything must be done in order.)

So.  On to Kim and Mai.  Who are they, you ask?

Recently I heard about CRISP (Community Responding to International Students Program) at one of the local universities here.  It's a family friendship program which connects local families with the international students attending there to give both groups the opportunity to learn more about the others' culture and make new friends.  A few weeks ago I asked Ben if we could participate and he agreed.  So I filled out an application and said that we would be happy to "host" one or two students.  This past Wednesday was the meet and greet kick-off dinner, and we met our newest friends.  Mai is on the left, and Kim is on the right.  They are both from Vietnam, so we hope to learn a lot about them and their country this year!  I can already tell we are going to have a lot of fun.

What's That?

I'm going to deviate a little from my usual story-telling format when we have a family outing.  In fact, I just have to start with the funniest picture of the day:

When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, they aren't kidding.  Do you notice Connor trying to look around the guy standing in front of him to see the horse doing "his business"?  He was so amazed!

We didn't start out with the intention of seeing horses at all that day.  In fact, we were just going to the Stone Tool Expo at Lake Thunderbird with our neighbors for an impromptu field trip.  There isn't aren't any horses there, right?

Actually, the stables were across the street.  I think we spent almost as much time there as we did looking at the rest of the stones and tools put together.  However, our last stop at the expo was a potter's booth and she brought clay for the kids to make things with.  So, rather than giving you a play-by-play (because let's face it, I'm tired and I've done a lot of blogging tonight!)... here are a few other pictures I really liked:

Kids hanging out in the teepee - who wouldn't like this one?

The building across the street near the stables.  I wonder what's in there?

All animals love Olivia.  The feeling is mutual.

Try as I might, I couldn't get Kelsey to actually look at the camera. 

See what I mean?
But here is the pinch-pot that she made and decorated.

And Olivia's:

And Connor's... car?  Dinosaur?  I don't remember which this was:

Oh, wait!  It was a dinosaur.  Here he is putting in the tail:

Maddox spent most of the day just looking cute and getting a little sunburned.

And this is probably my favorite picture of Olivia for the day.  This girl is serious about her art, I tell you.

And for good measure, I'll put in one more picture of the kids visiting the horses.

Bat Man

Our friends of the OKRA! dropped off a bat costume later that day, too.  It had belonged to their son and he had outgrown it.

When Connor woke up the next morning and saw the costume, he immediately wanted to put it on.  And he kept it on most of the day, though I did make him take it off for meals.

The next day it was the same story.  Incidentally, he also missed his nap that day.  Which allowed me to get this picture:

Guess we know what he's going to be for Halloween this year!

We Have a Walker!

It is now official.  On Labor Day last week Maddox realized that he can walk for real.  And all this time he thought he was limited to just a few steps at a time...

I know Blogger has been temperamental with videos lately, but hopefully these will work.  Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom and pause the music if you want to listen to the videos.

Video #1 - Maddox walking to Mommy (and being super-excited!)

Video #2 - Maddox thinking about walking to Daddy, then doing it.

And now for our bonus segment:
A Man-Baby of Many Faces

Monday, September 12, 2011


My husband loves fried okra.  But only a certain kind of fried okra, mind you.  According to him, batter-fried okra is a sin against nature.  Okra tossed with cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper then fried to crispy perfection - that's what he loves.

The other day some friends offered us some of their home-grown okra, and I snapped it right up to cook for Ben.

I was expecting okra.  What I received was OKRA!

See what I mean?  

How is this even possible?

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Bag of Mixed Nuts

Sometimes I think I am crazy.

Occasionally, I actually AM crazy.

But I really don't think I'm a flake.  Usually, when I make up my mind it stays made up.  But life with 4 kids requires one to be fluid, flexible, willing to make changes when necessary... right?


Keeping all this in mind, a crazy thing has happened.  Several weeks ago the thought crossed my mind that perhaps we should let Kelsey go back to public school.  She has only be asking since April, after all.  And who is the parent here, anyway?  So I dismissed the thought and went on with my life.

The other night I was talking with a friend and she made an observation about Kelsey that planted that idea right back in the middle of my mind.  And it wouldn't go away, either.  After talking with Ben, I realized that it was time to revert to my trusty decision-making method: The List of Pros and Cons.  And although I had a decent-looking "cons" list, my "pros" list was surprisingly full.

We talked with Kelsey; we talked with Olivia.  I had Kelsey make her own List of Pros and Cons.  I prayed with Kelsey; I prayed with Ben.

The result?  We're going to be a mixed bag of nuts.  A week from Monday I'm enrolling Kelsey in public school again.  She'll be there for second grade, maybe third.  We are taking it a year at a time.

She's currently ecstatic.  I'll remind her of that when she's complaining about having to do her homework.

In the meantime, I'm going to miss mornings like this:

And moments like this:

And projects like this:

I have mixed feelings, but I'm confident that for now this is the right choice.