Monday, June 27, 2011

Animal hugger? fido friend or fido foe?

Charlie is an animal lover. a fido friend. Already. I'm pretty sure.

You know how you hear, 'it takes one to know one'?

Well, in this case... let's just say 'it takes a non-one to know one'. :)

I'm not an animal hater. Promise. I love learning about animals; their habitats, how they care for their young, their instincts, the creativity of our Maker that is so evident in their unique appearances.... but I usually steer clear of them. Cats, dogs, hamsters, horses, squirrels, and of course the wild cats and snakes and the typical fear inducing animals-- they all make me tense up.

However, it seems that Charlie is going to have a soft spot for animals. He loves to pet any dog, runs to our windows after breakfast to watch birds and squirrels, and picks his favorite animal books to read over and over again. I've seen him get in a trance over tadpoles and become obsessed with a turtle. When we are playing out in the front yard and dogs are being walked down our street, I tend to walk towards the safety of our front door. While charlie runs to go pet the random. This makes me think of the whole nature vs nurture debate.

As for Annette, she doesn't seem to be too interested. She would rather read about an animal than touch it. Much like her momma. As for dogs, she is always saying 'go away, dolly sue!' to her Nonnie's dog:) ha! I'm just so Glad she isn't jumping onto her daddy's shoulders like I used to do!

Why am I so standoffish to four legged things? Bad experiences with certain species... and never ever having had a pet (with the exception of fish and a stray cat named Gloria who hung around our north spruce house) have both probably contributed to my tendency to keep a certain distance from them.

When Isaac and I first started dating, back in the good ole year of 1999, I was so scared of their two big dogs, Wilson and Wyatt, that Isaac would have to put the dogs out before I would come in. I think the whole family thought i was either crazy or a drama queen or high maintenance. Probably all three. But, after many months (maybe years), I finally became less scared of them. I got used to Wilson first. I thought black dogs were scarier, so it took awhile longer to conquer my fear of Wyatt.

Now looking back, its those two dogs that have allowed me to see how people can fall in love with animals. They made me realize that not all dogs jump on you. Or bark at you. And that dogs can be well behaved and be enjoyable to be around. It showed me the possibility that I could one day allow my kids to have a pet of their own. With the help of a dog loving husband, of course.

I do. I do want to have a dog one day. A lab. In honor of my favorite dog ever:) Not this year or next. But one day when my kids start begging for one. We will get a dog. Maybe one that is already potty trained and a few years old. I don't mind skipping that part.

Even to this day, I'm still unusually scared of dogs. New ones that I don't know especially. Big ones, small yippy ones, loud ones, etc.


Being a dog owner. Having a pet. It will be good for me to have one less thing to say I've never done. And maybe I'll even turn into an animal hugger like my little Charlie.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keepsakes: Annette Nette Bo Bette

We've hit a smattering of milestones this past month or so. Stuff that makes my first baby not so much a baby anymore.

I can't stop noticing ALL the ways Annette is physically and mentally growing right before my very eyes. I thought I'd focus on her for this post, and devote one to Charlie next week.

Besides the biggest milestone we've hit this summer (becoming potty trained- woohoo!) Annette has also hit some other biggies:

Big girl bed.
There was no way I had the energy while pregnant with Charlie to train a newly 1 year old to sleep in a bed. NOr did I really think Annette was ready at such a young age to make the switch. So, we have had two cribs for 2 1/2 years. I have become so used to it, I have dreaded this milestone. A bunch of dreading for nothing! She was so excited to get a bed, she actually WANTED to get in it. And she stayed in it. And hasn't tried to leave it.....yet:)

I'll have to take a picture of her big girl bed once I get the head board set up and make the bed all pretty. It's about #3 on my long list of to-do's. But, in classic Morgan Style, I just worked with what I had around the house already. That's an old quilt I've had since college. It is very well loved and super cozy. The mattress pad is really our old queen one, tucked in around the corners to fit her twin. And we took a family outing to Target to get some sheets the night of the switch. Not fancy or thought out, but very functional.

Hair cut.
Charlie has had three already. But Annette. Not until last week. Yes, yes, I cut off a little turtle tail/mullet thing when she was about 14 months. But she just got her first real haircut in the salon this past week. She. Ate. it. Up.

Charlie got his hair cut too. And ran around with his sucker fingers getting tables and armrests nice and sticky while it was sister's turn.

Love my Annette.

Besideds being a big talker herself, she has been able to figure out what Isaac and I are saying in our spell talk lately. For example, we are trying to limit pacifier use to nap and bedtime. So, I used to could ask Isaac 'where is a p-a-c-i for charlie?' and not have Annette know what we were talking about. Spell-talk. Well now, she has started spelling back to us. A couple days ago she said, "can I have a p-a-s-i?' I almost flipped. She even traded the s for a c. Interesting. As a teacher I'm ecstatic. She also spells 'mom' now too. And I'm getting all giddy just thinking about my next playtime with her!! We have been doing play-do letters lately and she enjoys physically forming the letters with me to construct words. We use cookie cutters sometimes and form the letters from long 'snakes' of dough. Anyway I can, I like to sneak in some pre-reading skills.

Annette has always been very strong, but recently she has figured out how to pick up Charlie. This was cute the first 5 times and then it turned into a Time-Out waiting to happen. She chases him, squeezes him around the belly, and attempts to haul him a few steps and then drops him. He is only about 6 lbs lighter than her. It's hilarious, ridiculous, and dangerous all at the same time... And all at Charlie's expense. Sorry Charles. She has been warned not to try picking you up again. I look forward to the day when you outweigh her and can easily protect yourself. Or get her back. : )

Luckily with all this growth, there are still some babyish things left to hang on to. She still loves her paci. Listening at her door, I can still tell by the sound of her suck whether she has fallen asleep yet in that new big girl bed. She also still asks to be rocked for one or two songs at night. And she still has the softest baby hair and smoothest baby skin.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

technical difficulties x3

I've had technology issues the last couple weeks.  As if the ruined iPhone Annette threw in the deep end of our pool last summer didn't teach me, i have now surely learned that ....

children + Expensive Tech Products + MEEE = An Accident Just Waiting To Happen

First off, the iphone charger in my car does not fit while my otter box is on my phone. So, the other day, I took my otter box off to charge my phone. Forgot to put it back in its case for about 5 minutes. Dropped it face down onto cement.  Picked it up.... my stomach jumped.... cracks all over glass. Felt like a pathetic puppy dog who had done something wrong on accident. Called Isaac to vent my sadness and madness at myself. Put the crackeling phone back in my otter box and am AMAZED that it is still functioning at about 95% to this day. (about 2 weeks later)  Sort of happy ending: I think I will be able to hold off on getting/needing a new one until my contract runs up in a few months. Then, hopefully I'll be able to get a new one for just 50 bucks. Here's to hoping it will hold out on me! Because, honestly, I've grown so attached. I love the convenience of being able to bank, browse, shop (for very important things:), read blogs, facebook, take instant photos, and communicate... all while at the indoor playground supervising my two children.
It makes me feel more connected to the adult world while I'm with little friends most of my day. Worth every (thousands of) penny:)

Secondly, I picked up Charlie to take him to change his diaper. I didn't realize the cup he was holding had some water in it. Somehow, the contents of that cup landed on my opened laptop computer. Splashing in and out of all the keys on my keyboard. I turned it over, tried to dry it with paper towels, and made myself get over it. A couple hours later, the computer would not work. On, but not responsive to any commands I gave it. I turned it off. Waited til the next day. It came on. The mouse worked. I was ecstatic!!! Then, I started typing. The backspace button doesn't work. The t and h and g buttons do not work. You would be surprised with how many words contain those letters. The shift button works half of the time. Anyways, I have to go get it fixed now. I guess I will call the DELL people we bought it from, or go see the Geek Squad. But until then, I have been using it some. To print and load pictures. Things that do not require much typing. BUT, I have had to type a few things and fill out a few forms online using it. HILARIOUS. Example:
My password to almost everything includes a T. So, I have to copy and past the letter T from another word document to enter my password. To type in my name, I have to copy and paste a G from some other word I find online on in a doc.  To backspace, I have to highlight and use the delete button. Let me tell you.... It makes me appreciate a fully working keyboard like the one I have on my CRACKED iPhone.

THIRDLY, my nice camera is making a funny 'stuck' sound when I try to take pictures. Nothing, thankfully, thankfully, has been spilled on it. And it has not been dropped. I'm thinking it is something minor. Hopefully. Anyways, I am stuck using just my iphone and old digital camera to take pictures of life's most fun moments.

 I bet you are all feeling sorry for me, now ; ) Well, No, DON'T.  Laugh with me about it:) Because regardless of all these things being a bit messed up, I don't feel one bit less happy. Luckily, I am used to things being hurt, dropped, ruined, stained. I'd rather just expect it, than get upset by it.  BUT... I will be super grateful if even one of these tech toys starts working to their full potential again sometime soon:)

Friday, June 17, 2011

our current version of homeschool

to make myself feel more productive about staying at home, it feels good to document some of our doings. i know for children, playing  =  learning.  so,  here are some of our most recent learning experiences.....

We went berry picking Thursday morning at Bo Brooks Farm out past Pinnacle. It was one of those things I'm super glad I did with my kiddies. Reminded me of my field trip days as a teacher. Without having to tame all the wild behavior.

Even at her young age, Annette could appreciate the fun in picking fruit straight off the plant. Such yummy, fresh goodness coming from the Earth. From our Creator. Wish we had a garden in our own backyard so we could enjoy picking fresh vegetables as a family on a regular basis. I have a couple of friends who have offered their help in the start up process, so I'll save that talk for another blog entry.

It was a great time. Beautiful and a little bit sweaty. I told Annette not to pick or eat the green ones. My stubborn child chewed a very green one...  and spit it out .... all while she thought I wasn't watching. Guess she is a lot like her momma. She ate tons of the blue ones too. I thought she would be sick, but luckily is fine. I can't wait to cook blueberry pancakes on Saturday morning.
Then we went to my moms to swim and for lunch.

Then, to make some fun
before dad got home, we came home and painted. one wiTh waer, one wiTh painT.

 if ou wan o know w m words don quie make sense ere, i is because carlie spil waer on m  lapops keboard. onl a few of e kes sill work. i;ll blo abou is  laer.

Today, Friday, we went to first baptist church's playground. I had to leave earlier than planned because my two year old threw a huge fit over having to sit it timeout. I mean big time huge. Had to leave huge. So, we came home, she apologized, and we napped, and we made up. :)

We played with blocks and play dough in the afternoon. And read a lot of books, as usual.


And now, my 'substitute teacher' is home. Isaac will be home all weekend and I will get to do some kiddie -free activities:) love. love. love weekends.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Keepsakes: omellance

My most recent keepsakes.....

I told Annette that she needs to hold my hand while walking in to Target. OF COURSE, she said "why?" For the thousandth time I explained that we must hold hands in parking lots because of all the cars. She said, "This is not actually a parking lot. It is white, not black." My word!!! She has noticed this little detail that most lots are blacktops, but that Target's is whiteish.  She is so literal at this stage. It makes me want to get all my old Child Development textbooks down from the top of my closet and start re-reading what all those 'experts' have to say about her little brain right now.

Singing and dancing to "I've Had the Time of My Life" with Isaac at the Pleasant Valley 4 Ball golf tournament dinner thing. I will always be loyal to my Dirty Dancing songs. Always.

Sadly, this is the only picture we took that night. I've got to do a better job of taking pictures with my real camera!

Charlie and Annette playing in a crib together for a few minutes, giving me a bit of time to do something useful... like make a small dent in the pile of clean clothes that need to be folded and put away, or be a lot less useful... by eating a mini Reese's peanut butter cup and catch up on my newsfeed.

Getting to enjoy a slow paced breakfast with my kiddos (pretty much every morning). I know one day I will be rushing around the house trying to get them to school on time.  Scary.
As of now, I end up making four or five omelettes almost every morning, because my toddlers keep eating them all up before I can sit down to eat one. Glad they like the same foods I do, but GEEZE... I end up sharing way more than I intended, prepared, or wanted to. And another extremely important keepsake to remember: Annette calls them 'omelances'. you know. a mix between omelette and ambulance.

Annette is now potty trained!!! Huge milestone in her life, and MY life:) She was so easy. I can't take much credit. Actually, I probably hindered her, because I was terrified to take her out in public without a diaper for a good while.  She made it easier than I ever thought possible.

We tell Annette that Mommy and Daddy are the bosses when she is (constantly) asking WHY she must obey. The other day she said, "OK, but one day when I get big, can I be the boss?" We say 'Sure. One day when you have your own babies, you can be the boss and make the rules.'  She says, "Ooooh, that gonna be fuuunnnn!?!?!"  Now everytime we say that she is breaking a 'rule', she says, "One day, I'm going to make the rules and it's going to be funnnnn."  My my my.

We took the kids to Tazikis because I was dying to get out of the house on Thursday night. Taking the kids out for dinner can either be a fun, happy time, OR turn into a disastrous attempt at keeping them from ruining every other diners dinner.  Therefore, we end up eating at home 80-90% of the time.  This week's Taziki trip went super-duper well. Annette loved their grilled chicken dish on the kids menu. She even told the waitress, "You are a good cooker''.  My sweet little encourager:) It went so well, that on Sunday evening, we went to Pizza Cafe. They did equally well. I'm wondering if just maybe, we are entering a tad bit easier phase? Perhaps going out to eat as a family can now be fun weekly occurance.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I love watching my kids playing in the pool with their dad. He is such a giving and fun loving Dad. I like to brag on him:)

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My First Real Job

As many of you know, my first job out of college was teaching first grade at Pike View Elementary School. A kind lady named Diane hired me. After the question part of my interview and after me showing off my college portfolio, the lack of teaching experience and all, she said, "Well, I can tell you really love kids. And that's not something I can teach anyone how to do". The next thing I knew, I was hired. And the next five years of my life would be filled in a way I could never have imagined. We went to Mrs. Crites retirement party this past week. What a wonderful lady.

Working with the students at Pike View was a tremendous challenge and blessing in my life. Something that changed my life view forever. I learned way more from those teaching years than I would have thought possible.

After deciding to stay home with my precious kids, I have still felt a strong urge to remain connected to pike view. To my surprise, I was given the chance to
work a small part time job as a Pathwise Mentor this past year at PV. I have loved every second. Seeing my old first grade students has been fun as well as tear jerking. My visits also remind me of how important teachers each child and to our whole community. Im so thankful for all they do.

Here are a few pictures of my last few visits this school year.

You will always be in my heart, pike view teachers and students!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

A tale of two dinners

I've heard of lots of different families doing dinner lots of different ways. Some of the things we've tried.....

Option 1: The eat as soon as dad walks in plan.

Pro- We get to eat as a family, or try to keep everyone happy while sitting at the table.
Con- I need to time dinner pretty perfectly and have to do the majority of the work before dad gets home. We wouldn't eat until 6:15ish and my kids are starving and cranky by then. My meals sometimes suffer because of having to multi-task and to make them kid-friendly.

Option 2: Give the kids a late snack to hold them off until a later dinner with the whole family.

Pros- We get to have dinner as a family, kids are less cranky, I can start dinner when dad arrives to help watch kids
Cons- I have to make sure the snack is a healthy snack, which means it might as well be called dinner in my opinion. Isaac and I don't get alone time until later in the evening.

Option 3: The eat out plan

Pros- too many to type:)
Cons- expensive, less healthy, constricted to kid-friendly places

Option 4: Feed kids an early dinner, cook and eat when kids go to bed plan

Pros- much less work for mom during the day=more time to play with the kids, one parent mans the kids  (walk, bath, read, bedtime) while other parent cooks, or we team cook which fills my huge need for quality time, and we get to eat dinner as a couple at the quiet table, plus, it usually means a better menu
Cons- we have to eat a late-ish dinner, I need to have something easy and healthy for kids to eat around 5:30.

Obviously, I am so not an expert on this 'mom' or 'wife' thing, but this is what we have decided works at our house: Now that our kids go to bed at about the same time, option 4 is the sure winner for us. I have found ways to pretty much overcome the cons of this option. I usually eat a snack when the kids are eating to hold me over til a yummy dinner:) and I have thought of some pretty easy ways to feed the kids at 5:30.

For example....
Yesterday, with Annettes help, I made vegetable soup that will be great for lunches or for the kid's early dinner. It will even freeze well if we don't go through it all in the next couple of days. And have I mentioned that my kids LOVE vegetable soup. I just use ground beef, beef stock, tomato paste, and a bunch of canned veggies.  The only tough part is finding time to brown the beef. But that only takes a few minutes and I got that done while kids played.

They don't seem to mind eating the same thing a few times a week the way Isaac and I do:) Isaac would never consider vegetable soup a meal, which is another huge reason 'separate dinners' work for us. He wants a real meal, with meat and sides and such. So, when Isaac got home, he took kids on a walk while I made this new dish. Some moms would rather not cook, and sometimes that's me. But, after a day full of kid-playing, I'm usually happy to do something that does not involve someone crying at my legs. That was last night. If I am sick of being on my feet, and want to give the kids a bath, Isaac will cook.

I forgot to take a picture of it before we gobbled it down. Isaac loved this as much as I did, which is not always the case with 'healthier' dinners:)

Some moms would rather not cook, and sometimes that's me. But, after a day full of kid-playing, I'm usually happy to do something that does not involve someone crying at my legs. That was last night. However, if I am sick of being on my feet, I'll give the kids a long playful bath, and let Isaac cook.

And I got to eat the leftovers for lunch. That's another perk to this system. The adult leftovers make great adult or kid lunches, and are also easy to reheat for early kid dinners on the following night.

my half eaten leftovers

A lot of nights, Isaac will want to grill something like flank steak or salmon, while kids play outside on the patio with him. I am fortunate that he likes to cook. And that  Isaac will pretty much let me pick which nights I want to cook and which nights he gets to cook.

Call us crazy, but I love this set up. I know I am basically cooking two meals some nights. BUT, having something fun to look forward to every night.., adult conversation and a good healthy meal... it works for us.  And, it keeps us from eating with the kids and then going through the bedtime routine and then cleaning up and then being pooped and wanting to just watch TV and do computer stuff.  We actually talk during dinner.... and then have some media time. LOVE both parts:)

I realize this isn't a good plan for lots of  families for different reasons, but it works really well for us in this current parenting phase with Isaac's working hours. At least most nights of the week:)

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

My number one mommy tool

I have a lot of favorite 'mom tools'. My iPhone and dish washer included. My kroger card and double stroller would make the top 10 for me too.

But for the last year, I have developed a pretty serious relationship with my......

Dust buster. Easier and faster than a broom or vacuum. A huge plus since I need to clean up messes about 13 times a day. And not just dust. It should be called a cheerio, cheeto, paper scrap, French fry, corn, goldfish...buster at my house. I love it. It takes up just an itty bitty spot on my washer. Even better: Annette can use it by herself now. And Charlie almost can. I am going to croak the day Mr. Buster has had enough with sucking up our messes and calls it quits. I have tried to find another just like it just in case... You buy as my back up. But, I cannot find it. It was a wedding gift over 4 years ago (maybe the best gift since it's used so often) and it is way more powerful than any other I've tried. So, because of several recent messes, I am dedicating this post to my Black and Decker Dust Buster 7.2 v.

Our floor on a pretty good day.

Our floor on a more 'interesting' day when Charlie discovered an opened bag of goldfish.

My favorite solution. My good pal.
Dust buster luster.

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