Kiddies and Kitties

While we were in Houston, someone had the idea to take all the granddaughters to the movies one day. After some discussion, we realized that it would not work due to attention spans, energy levels, and competing naptimes. Instead, we popped some popcorn and everyone (except me - i escaped for a little while) settled in to watch 'Wall-E' at home. This photo shows Hope, Cole, Kuncle Keith, Olivia, and Lila. Oh, and Papa Joe's left shoulder.

I took Charlie to the vet this afternoon to check out his runny eyes. They said he's got pink eye, picked up who-knows-where, and gave me some ointment to put in it twice daily. What's more interesting, to me at least, is that Charlie is much more relaxed at the vet when Cordy is not there with him.

I always take them together because it's more convenient to make one trip rather than two. And Charlie usually hunkers down on the exam table, hides his head in my armpit, and growls while Cordy explores the room, rolls around on the floor, and generally flirts with anything that breathes. This time he didn't hide his head or growl and even tolerated having his eyes messed with.

When they spent the night at the clinic a couple of weeks ago, the staff tried putting the two of them in the same cage overnight and they freaked out on each other! Cordy got all hissy and spitty and Charlie was hiding in a corner, trying to escape her wrath. They had to put them back in separate suites to calm everyone down. I guess I'll start taking them in separately in the future.


Kick! Kick! Kick!

I'm kicking myself (very hard) in the tush right now. When we were in Houston, we saw an ad for the Wii Fit for only $90 at Target. That is an amazing deal! We were going to stop on the way home from church to try and pick one up. For some reason, I was feeling hesitant on the purchase, so I suggested that we wait. By this evening, I had decided that it really was a good idea (especially since we have gift money to use), but it's too late!

I called five different Target stores in our area and all are sold out. Maybe we would not have been able to get one even by the time we left church yesterday because they are THAT popular this year, but now we'll never know. And I would feel a lot better about missing out even though we got there as soon as we could than I do about missing out because I hesitated! Oh well. Let it go, Angela. Let it go...

We had a great Christmas in Houston with the Peelers and took about 150 photos, most of which you will probably never see. (much like i never got around to posting pictures from halloween.) The one you see here is Eli playing with Lila's favorite gift - a stuffed dog that she named Sparky. Eli's favorite gift, hands down, is his 'jump jump'. Maybe I'll finally take the time to post a little video on here so that you can see him in action. It's hilarious!


Difficulties of Life

Lila just started crying and said that Charlie had scratched her. Since I know that his aggression is rarely unprovoked, I asked her why he scratched her. That's a little more diplomatic than asking what she did to him. Anyway, she said, "I was trying to be kind to him, but I couldn't. I just wanted to be rude." Just to clarify, I asked her if that meant she was being rude to him and she said yes.

She tried to be kind but couldn't because she wanted to be rude.

That, my Love, is what we call 'battling the sin nature'. And it never ends.


The Day's Adventures

Lila and I had a fun little date today. We went to a free screening of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas at the Alamo Drafthouse (South Lamar)! They even had a live jug band play before the show. Lila's favorite part of the experience was getting to eat (she ordered a corn dog and ate only the corn, not the dog). Her least favorite part was the dark theater. It really wasn't that dark, but I think it was the pre-show anxiety about just how dark it would be that she didn't like.

I also put a big nasty scratch on our mini-van while we were out. I'm usually overly cautious about the boundaries of my vehicle because I just don't have a good sense of them. This time I thought I had room and it turned out I didn't. I scraped the back driver's side against the corner of a dumpster! Ugh. And then I got us into such a tight spot in this miniature parking lot that I couldn't get out!

I was seriously wondering if I'd have to just sit there until someone came and left in one of the cars I was stuck between, when I was saved by a homeless man. There was a guy who seemed to live in that parking lot, right by the dumpsters, and he helped me maneuver my way out. I was so thankful because he really rescued me! I gave him the leftover half of my pizza from the movie and then picked up some cash to give him while we were shopping.

I always wish I could do more though... like bring him home with me and give him a fresh start... I think maybe I have a dream for our future of starting some sort of home/program for homeless, to help those who really want to change and get their life back. Anyway, I digress. Doug is sitting just a few feet away, reading books to Lila, and it's hard to concentrate.


My head and neck hurt and I feel kind of ill. I'm going to do 10 minutes of yoga and see how I feel afterward. If I feel better, then you'll see another post from me this evening. If not...


Stretchy Jesus

Lila has spent most of the past 24 hours playing by herself. We brought out a Peanuts Christmas play set - it has all the characters with moveable arms, etc. and props. This morning, she incorporated Baby Jesus, a large rubber frog, and Cinderella into the crew. The funniest part is that the part of Baby Jesus is being played by Nearly-Headless Stretchy Man, a little yellow smiley face guy with only one arm (and the obvious attributes of being stretchy and having a nearly decapitated head). We've been referring to him as Stretchy Jesus.

Just a little while ago, Lila was playing with some of the characters and sang the following song:

"You have to be brave when you're sad.
You have to be brave when you're happy too.
You have to be when you're in the stroller.
You might be too big for it."


Boy, I crack me up!

I was attacked by the toilet paper dispenser in a public restroom today. It was one of those large plastic ones that has two big rolls of paper side-by-side. I pulled down on the paper, then pulled up to tear it off and the thing fell open and whacked me in the head! The best part, I think, was imagining the woman in the next stall, who had no idea what was going on. From her perspective, I just suddenly went "WOAH!" and then started laughing. These kinds of things never happen when there's someone around to witness it!

Ooh! I take that back. There was a witness for the falling-on-my-butt-the-day-before-giving-birth incident!... Wait - WHAT?!? I didn't record that one for posterity? I guess I was a bit preoccupied by the fact that I was going to have a baby in less than 24 hours. Well, the short version is that I woke up to the sound of Charlie scratching the carpet. I got up, grabbed the squirt bottle, and went running after him, squirting away. He ran into the living room and I followed, still squirting.

Here's a tip: Do not squirt water onto wood floors and then run across them. Especially not when you are nine months pregnant! I stepped on some water, my foot slipped out from under me and I landed on my bootie/back. Once again, the perspective of the other guy was even better!

Doug was standing in the kitchen when he suddenly hears the sound of a running cat and a thundering pregnant woman. He looks up to see his wife, who he thought was asleep, come running into the room and then disappear, with arms and legs flailing. The poor guy came running into the room, asking if I was okay, but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to answer him. Once he determined that I was, in fact, okay, he said something along the lines of, "What the heck were you thinking?!?"

Oh yeah. That one still cracks me up. I laughed until I cried just while typing this out! I occasionally ask Doug, "What would you have to laugh about if you weren't married to me?" or, alternately, "Imagine how boring your life would be without me!"



It seems like at least yesterday that I wrote that last post. Was it really just late this morning?!?

Doug has put our Christmas tree up and it's got lights and a skirt, but no ornaments so far. To be honest, I like the way trees look with just lights and no ornaments. Especially when 85% of your ornaments are Peanuts characters. Cute, but not classy. (Sorry, Irene. I know that's a traitorous statement.)

We went to Rudy's BBQ for lunch today and rediscovered a fabulous baby toy: butcher paper! I had completely forgotten, but we used to go there occasionally when Lila was a baby and she loved playing with that stuff. We'd just tear off a piece of paper for her and she'd let us eat our dinner in peace. Eli felt the same way about it. In fact, we had a bit of a hard time keeping him from stealing the paper out from under nearby diners' food.

I got a haircut this week, in case I haven't mentioned it, and I love it! It's cute and easy and I actually feel like a girl again. I'll have to update my little profile photo now. Especially since I haven't had that orange hair for about... a year and a half!

Lila Castro

Grammie and Uncle Bill (Grammie's brother/Doug's uncle) are visiting right now and Lila has turned into the Evil Dictator that she always does when grandparents are around. She's got a bossy streak in her anyway, but it gets 10 times worse with the grandmothers. We insist that she speak kindly and politely to us, so maybe she just goes nuts when she gets around someone who doesn't. I don't know, but it's frustrating (and a bit embarrassing)!

Oops! And now Eli is waking up and needs to eat. Rotten timing! I'll try to post more later...



My daughter is incredibly articulate. She has a tiny voice, but uses it clearly and distinctly... Most of the time. The child seems entirely unwilling to say 'YES' and 'NO'. Both words come out sounding the same. The following is a frequently recurring conversation:

Us: [Some question requiring a yes or no answer, such as,] "Do you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?"
Lila: "Nyeao."
Us: "Was that 'Yes' or 'No'?"
Lila: "Nyeao."
Us: "Yes?"
Lila: "NO!"
Us: [gently prompting] "No, thank you?"
Lila: [grudgingly] "No, thank you."

She gets very irritated when we ask her to repeat herself, but we have not been able to convince her that she would not need to repeat herself if she'd just respond to questions with 'Yes, please.' or 'No, thank you.'

There are two other times when we can't understand her. The first is when she's using her tiny voice from the back seat of the car. The other is when she's talking with one of those confounded pacifiers in her mouth. (which only happens just before and after bedtime, i feel the need to explain.) I'll complain about those another time though. Right now I need to go give my sweet girl some goodnight kisses and hugs.


Eli's Latest Stats

From his 6 month check-up on 11/20/08...

Weight: 16 lbs 13 oz (45th %ile)
Height: 25 inches (10th %ile)
Head Circumference: 44.1 cm (55th %ile)

As of yesterday, when we went in to have his ears checked, he had gained another pound! Must be all that baby food he's been packin' away.

Warning: Potty Talk

So, Lila went to the bathroom this morning and made a poopie. When she was done, she wanted to look at it, as always. She was so proud of her poopie that she wanted me to look at it next. She then enthusiastically proclaimed, "It's biiig and strooong and looong!" I did question how so much poop could come out of such a small person...

Tonight Lila is trying out 'sleep panties' for the first time. She's been daytime potty trained for some time now and rarely has an accident anymore. She also consistently wakes up with a very dry diaper, so I figured it's time to take the next step. We borrowed these panties from a friend and she was excited about them until the first time she tried them on. She says they are too poofy and does not want to wear them.

They are plasticy on the outside and padded on the inside. So if she does have an accident, they will feel wet, but hopefully not get the bed too messy. We just had a long conversation about them and why it's a good idea. We even prayed that God would help her be brave as she wears the new panties. I think that, if we can get past this first night or two, she'll be fine with them. We'll see...

Today was Doug's last day of work at Dell. He had to turn in his badge and his computer and sign things. As a parting gift, they gave him a cheap plastic pen. Oh yes, they are also giving him a very generous separation package. Doug is now officially unemployed!


Psalm 150

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.



Lila, Eli, and I went to a rescue ranch yesterday with some other friends and their kids. We chose this particular place because they have one male turkey [see photo] and I wanted Lila to see one. She claims that seeing the "big ol' turkey" was her favorite part, but I disagree. She was completely infatuated with the baby guinea pigs they had and spent a long time picking each one up and talking to them.

Eli, who I haven't mentioned much lately, is doing wonderfully. He gets really excited before bed and that's the best time to get chuckles out of him. His neck and ribs are ticklish, of course, and nibbling an ear is often a good way to make him laugh too. The funny part is that, for me at least, he seems to be ticklish only on his right ear, not his left.

Oh, and let me not forget our real news. Doug is leaving Dell!!! They recently offered up a Voluntary Separation Package to those who were interested and we were. After much discussion and prayer, we decided to go for it and they accepted Doug's request. His last day is December 2nd and, truly, only God knows what will happen after that. Whatever happens, I believe it will be very exciting!


Ho hum

I don't know why, but I always have a hard time with Wednesdays. Maybe it's because I know that I won't have Doug's help for most of the evening on that day. Or maybe it's because it's the middle of the week, so I'm starting to get worn out, but it's not really close to the weekend yet. Maybe it's the alignment of Venus, our neighbor's car, and my top left molar...

I am shamelessly hiding behind my computer right now (well, in front of it, technically) while Doug deals with both children and gets dinner started. I will go relieve him of at least one child and help with dinner in a moment, but because it's Wednesday, I'm feeling more than a little petulant and need a few moments to myself.

Okay, now Eli's crying and it's just wrong for me not to be helping. Gotta go.


The World of Lila (and a bit about me) (and a bit about Eli)

My daughter totally just taunted me. She was in the bathtub, clean and playing. I had a timer set to remind me to get her out in 7 minutes. In the meantime, I was at my computer, trying to read something. In the background, she starts yelling at me from halfway across the house, "HEY!... Mommy!... Come here!" It was very difficult to concentrate with this going on in the background, but I wanted to finish what I was reading!

I started hollering back, in response, "Just a minute.... Just a minute!... Just a minute!"

She finally replied, "Come here, Just-a-Minute Girl!"

I kid you not, those were her exact words. She also, a few nights ago, said the following to Doug: "I don't like the fact that you're doing your email." Those exact words. She frightens me sometimes.

Anyway... I was sick on Friday and Saturday, but I'm feeling mostly fine now. I'm still doing a lot of throat clearing and a little bit of coughing and my voice has, over the course of the day, gone from somewhat raspy to cutting in and out like a cell phone with bad reception. I feel fine though!

Eli has a double ear infection that turned him into a raving lunatic for the last half of last week, but he's feeling better too. He still sounds like a piglet because his nose is all congested, but he's sleeping much better and not crying inconsolably until I develop a twitch anymore. He's still on antibiotics, but back to his smiley self.



Lila just got a fun dessert - Birthday Cake ice cream. She wasn't sure if she wanted that or some of my chocolate, so Doug showed her both. When he told her there was cake, and icing, and sprinkles all in the ice cream, AND that it would turn her tongue blue, she got pretty excited.

She started cackling madly and slapping her knees, and said, "What-eee-ver!"


The photo I put in my last post is stressing my mother out, so I'm giving her a new one to fixate on... :)


Precocious Children

Lila and I had the following conversation on Monday morning.

Lila (who was feeling very contrary): I don't like having school. It's not fun.

Me: You don't like having school?!? What do you not like about it?

Lila: When my school friends come... [mumble mumble]

Me: You don't like it when your school friends come? You always seem excited when they get here. Why don't you like it when they come?

Lila: I don't like the shape of their car.

The things that go on in her head leave me speechless at times. Of course, Doug says the same thing about me...

I love my son ever so much, but he is driving me completely bonkers today. When I put him down for his last nap, he screamed for 45 minutes before he fell asleep. I feel quite traumatized by the experience. I'm sure he'll wake up and flirt with me as though nothing happened. Good thing his flirty little smiles have the power to wipe my memory clean!



I was going to type out a real update to go with this photo, but that was two hours ago. Then I got distracted by my husband and children and now I'm having a hard time staying awake. I have a strong desire to go to bed right now. I'm also having difficulty speaking in complete and grammatically correct sentences because I've already gotten into the habit of making little mini-updates on Twitter.


I was just fixing a couple of snacks for Lila and I to eat on the way to the library. I was pulling grapes off the stems and getting ready to rinse them when Lila walked into the room and said, "No I don't like grapes, remember?"

"Excuse me? Since when?!?" I replied.

"Two hours ago."




If you are getting sick of inane Election Result Chatter, then just look at this cute Baby and go to the Happy Place.


I don't WANNA come up with a title!

My plan for tomorrow is as follows: Vote in the morning. Avoid all media outlets until the day is over because I JUST DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT! I'm not going to share my opinions on the presidential race or who I'm going to vote for because there's enough of that going around lately. Also, my head hurts and I'm a bit grumpy.

I found a new addictive habit today. Twitter. I really don't need another reason to be drawn to my computer like a metal shaving to a magnet. I need to renew my habit of turning the monitor off when I'm not sitting down and doing something. That way I'm much less likely to be sucked in as I pass through the room.

Yeah - my head really hurts. Every noise seems amplified and grating. I told Doug I have a hangover - too many kids today. The time change has thrown everything out of whack. The children used to lose their minds precisely at 5 p.m. For the past couple of days it's happened at 4 p.m. That means that instead of dealing with two maniacs for a little while until Doug got home, I was dealing with them for what seemed a very long time until Doug got home.

Now I'm getting a wonderfully relaxing massage from my wonderfully wonderful husband, so I'm going to go.


So, Lila just told me she wanted some lunch and I was in the midst of being the Mommy Monster and "eating" Eli's cheeks to make him laugh. I asked her if she'd like some Eli for lunch and she said, "No." I told her that I was going to have some and started munching his cheeks again. She said, "No! We don't eat Eli." I asked her why not and she said,

"He just has germs on him. From your belly. That's why."



I'm very tired this evening and I don't know that I have anything very interesting to say. Or maybe I do have interesting things to say, but not the energy or brain functioning to type them out. At the moment, I'm waiting for the last of our small group friends to leave so that I can come out of my room. I'm not able to participate in the discussions these days because of Eli's bedtime.

I could go out and mingle now that the discussion is over and Eli's asleep, but, due to the aforementioned lack of energy and brain functioning, I really don't want to.

I went to my second meeting of Smoothing the Way last night. That's a support group/training course for new homeschoolers. We talked about learning modalities, learning styles, and love languages. It was right up my alley because I love any label that can help me better understand myself and those around me. (don't worry though - i don't use them as little boxes to stick people in and then file them away.) I'm still trying to decide whether I'm a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic/tactile learner...



I was just fixing a snack for myself (a pear - yuck - why do i force myself to eat healthy things?) and Lila was insisting that I was not cutting it up for myself, but for her. I finally relented and told her that I was, in fact, cutting it up for myself, but that I'd share it with her. I asked her to go get her bowl from the couch (where it had been left after an earlier snack).

She held up one of her hands (the one i had to torture her by removing a splinter from earlier) and said, "Actually, I have a bandaid on this one. I'd rather don't do it."

How do you argue with that?

If you need a reminder that she is, in fact, 3 years old, she also just told me that she's eating with a big Daddy Fork that's as big as her head and that I was eating with a little Baby Fork that's as small as my head. I'm not sure which image I find more disturbing - a fork as large as Lila's head or my head being as small as a salad fork!


The Most Beautiful Prayer

Shortly after I began doing the 60/60 Experiment, we had an idea to include Lila. We just explained that the watch beeps were to remind us to pray and then we'd pray out loud with her. It only took a couple of times for her to get the idea and then, whenever she'd hear the beep, she'd say, "Hey! We can pray!"

That lasted for a while and it got to be rather annoying, in a helpful way. I'd be oblivious to the beep or subconsciously putting off my moment of connection, when Lila would pipe up and I'd "have to" pray. Eventually, she started to lose interest, but we'd keep doing it. Sometimes she'd participate, and other times I think she might have been trying to block out my presence.

Well, every moment of this experiment was made worthwhile this morning. (not that i haven't seen God working in other ways as well, but this was enough even if i hadn't)

I was in our playroom/classroom, cleaning up before preschool, and didn't even have my watch on. I heard it beep from another room and only vaguely registered the sound. A few seconds later, Lila appeared beside me and said, "Let's pray to God!"

She got down on her knees next to me, folded her hands, bowed her head, closed her eyes (none of which we make her do when praying), and said,

"Hmm... Let's see... Thank you for school coming this week and please help me be kind and gentle to my friends. Amen."

She has been listening and she has been learning. Lila has offered her thanks to God before, but she has never asked for help on her own. What I am doing does make a difference and it fills my heart to know that God is using this experiment to make me a better godly example for my daughter.

Praise God for this beautiful child and all that He continues to teach me through her!


This is a cute little site to go to with your preschooler. You can dress up a fairie, turkey, or scarecrow and then print it out. Lila and I just did it and she especially enjoyed dressing up the fairie.



Want to be a Blob

I just put my son down for bed, left the room... and I haven't heard a peep out of him. He must have been really tired! Lila, on the other hand, is running around the house (naked) and giggling like a maniac.

My resolve not to watch TV for a while is being sorely tested this evening. I've gotten too much in the habit of sitting down and blobbing after the kids are in bed. That's alright now and then, but not every night. I want Doug and I to start talking and playing games again. And I could do a much better job of preparing for school if I were not being distracted by SVU/CSI/Cold Case/House!

Ooh, our anniversary is this weekend (the 26th) and I got a fabulous gift for Doug! I can't tell you what it is until after he's gotten it though. My own husband only reads my blog about three times per year (when i specifically ask him to do so). I'm afraid, however, that if I put a "secret" on here, then he will decide to visit on his own for once. Anyway, I'm very excited! Actually, I got him two gifts and both should make him laugh, though they are very different.

The Facts of Life

Lila just asked, with complete exasperation, "Why do my panties ride up my tushie every day?!?"



Am... so... sleepy.... Want... to go... to bed.... Must... clean... house.... Am... stalling... with blog....

Have you ever listened to a 3-year-old try to deliberately pick a fight? It usually begins with a seemingly innocent question, such as, "Why is it getting dark?" And then you, the parent, walk into the trap and answer with something logical (if slightly simplified), such as, "Because it's night time and the sun is going to shine on another part of the earth." GOTCHA! Now the 3-year-old comes back with, "Nooo! It's not night time!"

Much to Lila's chagrin, I refuse to engage in these absurd arguments. As she sits there, usually in the back seat, and tries to antagonize me with her powers of contrariness, I politely explain that I'm not going to argue with her. That usually only makes her more angry, but what can I do?!? I'm not going to actually have an argument with the child over whether or not it's night time (or whatever the chosen bait is). A few times she has even responded with, "Yes! I want you to argue with me!" We've decided to find a debate team for her when she gets older.


More of a Tangent than an Update

For those who live in Austin, you might be surprised to know that Freebird's has a really good kids' combo deal. You can get a cheese quesadilla, chips, and a drink for less than $3. I have a policy on Lila's food that I won't pay more in dollars than Lila is in years of age. That means that I currently won't pay more than $3.15 for her food. (don't worry, we don't deny her food altogether. she just eats off our plates.) Most places charge at least $5 for their kids' plates.

Anyway, I think there was something important or amusing I was going to relate... Oh, no, it's neither amusing nor important, but it might be of interest anyway. I rented The Happening and watched it last night. I truly don't know what I was thinking when I rented a creepy movie to watch while Doug was out of town. Thankfully, it was more of a Fascinating Creepy than a Scary Creepy.

I thought it was quite good and worth watching. I was mildly irritated by the environmental message at the end, not because I disagree, but because I GET IT ALREADY and I'm tired of watching that poor dead horse being beaten. Oh and I will warn you that there are some pretty disturbing images, especially at the beginning of the movie. But aside from all that, I enjoyed it!


"That ain't no happy child!"

Eli is on the bed next to me, screaming. I would like to scream too. Unfortunately, we have small group members showing up any minute, so I should probably not be found in a state of hysteria when they arrive. This is what happens when I put him down for his last nap of the afternoon and he refuses to go to sleep. He cries for 45 minutes instead and then I have to get him back up because it's too close to bedtime for him to go to sleep anymore.

Within an hour, he's a screaming maniac. It's too early to put him to bed for the night; too late to put him down for a nap. So we just have to try and keep him happy until bedtime. That means that one of us must be holding him constantly and probably also bouncing around in some way.

I would really like to walk out the door right now and not come back until they are both asleep.

Please do not leave comments about how sweet my children are or platitudes about enjoying these days before they are gone as that is guaranteed NOT to improve my mood. You may, however, leave comments about how you have days like this too, and how you have considered selling your children to gypsies before.

Thank you.


Things I don't want to talk about

Yeah, that whole "getting the kids to sleep" thing - I don't want to talk about it.

I have been a snotty mess all weekend. Actually, I've been sick for the better part of three weeks and I'm getting really tired of it! I think that what's going on now is mostly a heinous allergy attack, but it's compounded by the ulcer in my throat. Hmm... I don't want to talk about that either.

So, UT beat OU yesterday! Woot! Lila and I were gone for the first half of the game, but I got to watch the second half and it was the first fun game of the season. The others have been so one-sided that I lost interest pretty quickly and wandered away from the TV. Apparently Doug and Eli were watching the game before Lila and I got home and it sounds like it was very cute.

Eli was propped up in one corner of the love seat while Doug sat on the other side and ate his lunch. Eli was just staring at the football game, but every once in a while he'd look over at Doug, scowl at the food he was not getting to eat, and then grin at his Daddy. They were just chillin' on the couch, watchin' football!


Baby Stuff

I'm listening to Eli fuss as I try to get him to go to sleep on his own. At 3.5 months, when he was still in our room, I would put him down awake and he'd go to sleep with little to no fuss. At that time, he was also sleeping from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. When we moved him into Lila's room, we were suddenly unwilling to let him fuss because we didn't want him to wake her up.

We started rocking him until he was totally asleep and then putting him down. He then started regularly waking up in the night again. Due to that, and some severe bedtime drama on Lila's part, we've moved his bedtime half an hour earlier than hers and I'm trying to get him to fall asleep on his own again. Tonight is the first attempt and it mostly seems to be making him angry, so far.

I'll give him one more minute (for a total of 5) and then go in and try to relax him, but not all the way to sleep. I'll keep you updated...

Oh, Eli also got his first "solid" food today - extremely runny rice cereal mixed with breast milk. He thought it was quite good and at it all up. He also tried to eat his bib and the spoon.


I Hate Ragweed!

Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it!


Not a Story about my Children

If I am feeding Eli while Lila is in the bath, I sometimes turn the TV on because there's only so much time that can be spent in contemplation of a nursing baby, no matter how cute he is. I did this last night and ended up getting totally sucked in to a ghost movie on the SciFi channel. (An American Haunting, in case you're interested.) Doug ended up sucked in as well and we watched the whole thing. It wasn't the best movie ever, but it was good enough that I was completely creeped out after it was over.

There are a few things we do while getting ready for bed at night. For me, one of those things is cleaning out the kitties' litter box, and this I did, with only slightly irrational fears that something was going to jump out of it and scare me. When I was carrying the bag of goods out to the trash can, I remembered that all the windows on the playhouse were open and there was a chance of rain. There was no way I was going into the dark backyard and inside a small dark house after that movie, so I decided to ask Doug to do it for me.

I went back inside, finished the rest of my little pre-bed chores, then found Doug and asked him to be chivalrous and do me this favor. He agreed, and, with only minor grumbling, found his shoes and headed for the back door.

At this point, I should probably tell you that one of the other things I do before bed is set the alarm. Since I was operating on auto-pilot, I went ahead and set the alarm as usual, without thinking about Doug needing to go back outside. I should also tell you that, for some unholy reason, opening the back door when the alarm is armed makes it go off instantly...

So I'm brushing my teeth when I hear this remarkably loud noise that sounds something like a banshee, or at least what I imagine a banshee would sound like, if they existed. I then hear the sounds of Doug running for the alarm keypad (halfway across the house, in the laundry room) and slipping and sliding on the wood floors along the way. Charlie, apparently, was in the path of this running and slipping, and was already understandably disturbed by the noise, so he freaks out and starts running and slipping too.

Unfortunately for him, he chose the same destination as Doug and thought that he was being chased, which freaked him out even more. All of this seemed to last much longer than the few seconds it actually did and then Doug reached the keypad and the alarm finally stopped. It had only taken me half a second to realize what was happening and I was fighing very hard to control my laughter when Doug came into the bathroom, looking like he had seen a ghost, and informed me that I could go out and close my own stupid windows.

He was all bark though and went on to close them after all. That gave me a chance to laugh and him a chance to recover his sense of humor about the situation. It still cracks me up. That one's going onto my List of Reasons I Wish we had Video Cameras Installed in Every Room.

The children, incidentally, slept through all of this, despite the fact that the alarm is right outside their room. Amazing.


[cough cough]

Things have been nuts around here for a week! Lila was sick, I was sick, Eli was sick, I was still sick, Eli was sick again, Lila was sick again... I think we are finally all well now. Or mostly well. Eli is still a bit spotty - more so than usual, I mean (see photo). He's also politely requesting some milk, so I have to go. At least I got a brief update in.


All together again

Doug and Lila are back home this evening and, thankfully, both kids are in bed. I felt a bit better today than yesterday, but I'm still pretty icky. (Stupid Evil Ragweed!) Eli had a fever for about 24 hours because of his immunizations, but he's all better now. Lila developed one of her fevers on Thursday afternoon, but that is gone too (though she's still acting sick - i.e., whining a lot).

In an unusual turn of events, I started preparing for school early this week. Usually, I'm preparing at 10 p.m. the night before, which leads to difficulties when I discover that I don't have something I'll need. This time, I read the list of needed supplies early enough in the day that I was able to go out and get some tempera paint (which has been called for every week and i keep having to improvise)!

Now I think I'm going to sit down with a bowl of ice cream and try to ignore the fact that my eyelids feel like sandpaper and my throat is sore and swollen. (hey, if i can't complain on my blog, then where CAN i complain?!?)


Doctor Chuy

Eli had his 4 month check-up today (a bit late). He's up to 14 lbs 13 oz and 23.5 inches. So, he's still a bit short and big-headed, but he's average overall. They gave him some more immunizations, which he did not appreciate and the doctor gave us a referral to a dermatologist for his eyelid problem. He was born with all those red blotches - just birthmarks - but his eyelids started being dry and flaky several weeks ago. It's probably nothing, but this doctor likes to be careful.

Doug and Lila are on their way to Dallas without Eli and I right now. They are going to meet our new nephew, Cole Peeler, who was born last week. Originally, we were all going to visit together, but I am sick. Most likely, it is a case of Evil Allergies, but I don't want to risk bringing any germs around the baby. Plus, if I'm going to feel crummy, I'd rather feel crummy at home.

Eli and I are distraught at being left behind, so I think we will be having dinner at Chuy's tonight to console ourselves. It's purely for medicinal purposes, you understand...


My baby is cute.


Exotic Pets

A pygmy possum peed on my son's back this morning. And my daughter had a python around her neck. We had our preschool field trip to the Pet Store and it was fraught with amusement! I brought along a camera, but it stayed in my bag the whole time. I'm hoping that one of the other moms, who brought her camera and actually used it, will share a few photos with me. I asked Lila which animal was her favorite and she said all of them were!

The only part of the trip that I didn't like was when they fed a small rat to a very big python. The two older brothers of one of the girls were there with us and they really wanted to see what would happen. Boys. I was hesitant about witnessing the event myself because I really like small furry animals, but my curiosity got the better of me. It only took about 30 seconds to decide that I didn't need to see any more.

I mean, if the snake had just grabbed the thing and consumed it, I think I could have handled watching. But nooo. The snake first had to squeeze the poor thing to death and that took FAR too long. I was on the verge of tears for about ten minutes after that. I helped myself recover by holding a floppy little ferret. I know they are stinky and I'll never own one, but it doesn't stop them from being really cute!

P.S. - Would you get a load of the fat rolls on this baby!



We set Lila up with 'Finding Nemo' during our church small group meeting tonight. She usually hangs out with a few other kids during that time, but none of them were there this week. Anyway, she's seen this movie before, but always with other people around. Apparently, when watching it alone, the movie is too scary. She was particularly frightened by the sharks. Later, after we were home and doing before-bed prayers, she said of them, "Yeah. They're still freaking me out."


Quick One

I have approximately two minutes to finish this email before Eli must be fed. He's currently watching The Muppet Show with Lila (really, he's watching it - it's very cute). Once the video is over, we're going out for some fantastic New Jersey style pizza at Saccone's, so I want to get the boy fed before we leave. If he's feeling agreeable, then he'll just hang out while we eat. We'll see what happens.

This photo is from Lila's Olympic debut. Yesterday, her swim school held the 2008 Munchkin Olympics. She's showing off her medal (and her extreme fatigue) in this picture. That's my little swimmer!


Behold! A post!

Right now I have a headache and a soggy shoulder. The headache is from having my hair pulled back all day. The soggy shoulder is from the baby (that would be Eli) who insisted on spitting out his pacifier and licking my shirt while I was rocking him before bed. This is a symptom of his new love of fabric. He's not really interested in toys that we give him, but he'll play play endlessly with soft blankets and burp cloths. And they are always soggy when he returns them.

For those who haven't heard, we started our preschool class last week and it's going great! The girls love it and it's scratching the Teacher Itch that I've had as long as I can remember. We spent this week talking about Pockets, and next week we're moving on to Pets. We're even taking a field trip to an exotic pet store next weekend, where the girls will get to touch/hold some of the animals!

Oh, and Eli is out of our room! He has made a seamless transition to his crib in Lila's room and we have regained full use of our bedroom. Unfortunately, the aforementioned shirt-sogging baby is now fussing and needs to be rocked again...


A few free moments...

Ugh. I am sorry that it's been so long between posts lately. I don't have time to do it during the day and I can't do it in the evenings when I do have time. Soon, however, Eli will be sleeping in the room with Lila and I'll have full access to my bedroom again! I cannot wait!

Anyway, big things are happening here. Peeler Preschool starts tomorrow! For those who don't know, I'm going to be homeschooling Lila and three other little girls. I have a great preschool curriculum and we'll have class three mornings per week. I'm so excited that I could barely sleep last night and I'm not expecting tonight to be any better. I've wanted to be a teacher since I was a little kid!

Eli is growing and steadily improving his Skills of a Flirter. Lila, as an infant, liked to watch people. She'd make eye contact and just stare at you. She had one of those gazes that makes you uncomfortably suspicous that she might actually be reading your soul. Eli, on the other hand, wants to engage with people. He's not content to just be held or stare at things. He wants to be talked to and interacted with. It's fun to see his personality developing!


Long Time, No Post

I finally found a way to use this sling that works for Eli and I both. He loved being carried around this way because he was touching me, which is his favorite place to be, and he could look around at the world. I loved it because he wasn't crying and I could still use both my hands! Woot!

Things have been crazy busy since just before our vacation. We've been home for nearly a week, but I think it is only this afternoon that I can honestly say things are getting back to normal. I still have a disturbing pile of dirty laundry in my bathroom, but at least my to-do list is no longer following me around and throwing tomatoes at my head.

The beach was lovely and we took a LOT of photos. The cousins had a fantastic time playing together and kept each other nicely entertained most of the time. They did start to wear on each other by the end of the week, however. At the airport on Saturday, I was beginning to think that Lila and Olivia were going to end up in a fist-fight.

Oh, and one other great outcome from the girls spending so much time together: After seeing Liv go pee-pee on the big potty, Lila finally found the motivation she needed to potty train! She has been wearing Big Girl Panties most of the time since we got home and is doing a fantastic job! Hooray!


I tried...

I keep trying to type a post to go along with this photo, but Eli keeps sabotaging my efforts. I think it's time to give up and just leave you with a picture. :oI~


Alternate Identities and String Cheese

Lila and I have somewhat-recently discovered a kids' TV show called "Signing Time". The show teaches sign language and has hideously catchy songs that will get stuck in your head for days. The two main kids on the show are named Alex and Leah. Today, Lila has decided that she is Leah and her stuffed pig, normally known as Piggie, is now Alex.

She has been referring to herself in the third person all day. For example, "Leah is going to put some shoes on so the litter doesn't get on her feet." and "Are Leah's fingernails long?" One time, I accidentally referred to her as Lila and she corrected me. "No, I'm Leah!" Yes, of course. Excuse me. :oI~

On a different topic, I've discovered something odd about Charlie. Yesterday, I was eating a piece of string cheese and he started shadowing me and meowing like he thought I had something for him. I told him it was just cheese and let him smell it. Our cats, with a couple of amusing exceptions, have no interest in human food. Charlie has a weakness for peanut butter cookies and Cordelia can't resist barbecue potato chips.

Anyway, he sniffed the cheese and then kept hounding me, so I finally pulled of a small piece and gave it to him. He ate it and then started begging for more! I gave him one more piece, told him he was done, and thought no more of it. Today, Lila ate most of a piece of string cheese and then left a hunk on a plate on the coffee table when she went down for her nap. I looked up a bit later to see Charlie standing on his hind feet by the table and trying to rake the cheese off onto the floor! I guess he likes string cheese.



Poor Lila has one of her fevers today. My first clue this morning should have been when she wanted to sit in my lap and snuggle for more than 30 seconds. I didn't figure it out, however, until she started complaining of being cold. That's a sure sign that her temperature is on the rise. She didn't seem to feel bad this morning, but she's been much more puny this afternoon.

Earlier, I asked her if she wanted to call her Daddy at work - she has recently started to enjoy doing this and Doug gets a kick out of it - and she said yes. The following is an exact transcript of her side of the conversation (doug's side is pretty accurate - i had him on speaker phone - but i don't remember his exact words)...

[phone ringing]
Doug: Hello?
Lila: I have a fever.
Doug: ...what?
Lila: I have a fever.
Doug: You have a fever? How sad! I'm sorry you are feeling bad.
Lila: I just wanted to call you.
Doug: Well, I'm glad you called me. It's nice to talk to you.
Lila: Just be on your way home.
Doug: Oh, I'm not on my way home yet. I still have to work for a while.
Lila: Bye.
Doug: Bye-bye.
[lila closes phone]


What do I always talk about...?

Please behold the cuteness of my children's legs and feet. And take special note - Eli officially has chubbbbby thighs! WooHoo! [squeeze squeeze]

It was a degree or two below boiling yesterday, so we went out in the backyard. Lila and I both felt it was too hot (i could tell lila was hot by the way she started whining at me), but Eli had fun. He just lay there on the blanket with this little smile on his face. Maybe he was thinking, "Finally, I'm warm!" I'm pretty sure he thinks we're polar bears. And we don't even keep the house as cool as we'd like it! Anyway, I decided it was time to give up and come back in the house once I realized I was losing my battle against the random ants that kept finding our blanket and trying to attack us.

Lila has just spent the past half-hour putting "bandaids" all over my face, arms, legs, feet, neck, clothes, etc. These are actually stickers - most of them from Halloween. I look rather alarming, I fear. I took a picture, which I will post in due time.

Now I'm going to give Lila an early bath in hopes that Doug will agree to go to Chuy's for dinner... :)



This is a photo of my daughter, Fashion Statement Peeler. Rollers in her hair, a melon-pink outfit, navy blue pajama socks, and red shiny shoes that are two sized too big. All she needs to complete the outfit is a terrycloth robe. The rollers were our second failed attempt at curling her hair. The first attempt ended when she couldn't tolerate sleeping in them. This attempt ended when she insisted on removing them because they were "hurting." Oh well. We'll try again when she's older...

Eli had his two month check-up with the pediatrician yesterday. His latest stats are as follows:

Weight: 11 lbs (30th %ile)
Height: 21.5 in (5th %ile)
Head Circumference: 40 cm (50th %ile)

Translation: He's short and he's got a big head! :o)~

They checked him over and said he looks fine. He got his shots, which he hated, naturally. And everyone told me how much he looks like Lila (she's got a very large fan club at that doctor's office). Tomorrow, Lila goes for a follow-up visit with her Infectious Disease doctor.