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A story of poo: a saga in hillbilly mothering

On the good side, Brielle went poo in the potty. yay!

Now the down and dirty…we were going to some yard sales in a nice subdivision, you know, new construction, expensive cars, professional landscaping. We had just left a garage sale, when Aviana said she had to go potty. Now being the country girl she is, she has no problem going in the grass. I opened up the van door to block her from one direction, and she was blocked by some bushes in the other direction. Pretty innocuous, right?

I’m holding her so she doesn’t accidentally peepee on her legs, and she is taking for. ev. er. I ask her, “Aren’t you done yet?”

“No”, she grunts, “I have to poo!”
Alarm bells start flashing in my head and I break out into a cold sweat. What the heck? In our area you have follow your dog around with a plastic baggie and pick up the canine excrement. I’m not sure what the law says about little girls, but it’s probably not a good idea to let your child poo in what is, technically, someone’s yard.

I did what any loving and crazy mother would do. I wiped her with a wipe, put the whole mess –literally– in a ziplock, and put it in the van. If people can do it with their golden retrievers, surely I can do it for my dear daughter. I acted wonderfully nonchalant about the whole thing.

I rode home with a poo baggie on the floor of my van. I kept the window down the whole way, sure I was being followed by phantom stinkiness.

I arrived home to find one of the hired men was spreading manure, (they have to gather up the manure from the cattle yards and spread it on the fields) which smelled way worse. I threw the evidence on the burn pile and no one was the wiser.

And my poo story could have remained my little secret, until I decided to share it with you, my faithful readers, who probably will never come back. Or maybe it will take more than a little poo to drive you away.

If you decide the Farm Fresh life is a little too “fresh”, I totally understand. Thanks for the ride up ’til now, it’s been fun!

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Oh the joys.

So. Ahem.

Brielle tends to get a really bad rash. Sometimes after her diaper change, when I fear no evil, I will let her run around without a diaper, to sort of let her air out.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I changed her into a spare long-sleeved turtleneck onesie that still matched her outfit, since she had spilled pink milk all over the first one, and let her go.

Suddenly, Aviana says, “I smell dirtyness.”

OH NO!

Brielle was covered in it; her socks and shoes were filled; it was on our comfy chair, the couch, and a white chenille pillow with fringe (I don’t hold out much hope for that wedding present.) After everyone and everything was sprayed- wiped down- cleaned up-disinfected-and safely ensconced in a diaper, and I thought I could relax, Aviana brings me a poo decorated ball.

While I was in the bathroom dousing the toddler, Aviana started singing to the tune of “Happy Birthday!”–Diarrhea to you, Diarrhea to you, Happy Poo Day dear Mama, Diarrhea to you!”

Where was I while all of this poo action is going on? About three feet away, reading an email about illegal immigrants and cheap tomatoes. Grr. Stupid email. It’s deleted now!

***EDITED TO ADD***When Kevin came home a couple of hours later, he asked me if we’d had any strange animals in the house. I looked at him askance, and said, “No. Why?”

“Because there’s a big pile of poo in the middle of the kitchen floor.” On the carpet part. That we had cleaned a month ago.

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I think it’s official

I have a bad case of the end of winter blahs. I am stressed out, maxed out, at the end of my rope, exhausted, overtaxed, tense; to say the least.

We had a family overnight to an indoor water park and a children’s museum. I guess our kiddlets are still too young for that sort of thing. They really enjoyed the children’s museum, and the ice cream cones afterwards, and then we traveled on to the water park. After dinner in the hotel restaurant (during which Aviana loudly pointed out that some woman was underdressed for the weather), we went to check out the pool area.

We did not know there would be a huge bucket loudly dumping water all over the 0′ depth entry pool, and in a really unfortunate case of timing, it dumped when we’d been there 1.2 minutes and Brielle was walking into the water by herself. She was pretty much ruined for the rest of the trip and would not leave our arms until about 20 minutes before we were leaving the next day. Aviana was really brave though, and even went down the waterslide with her dada. She only wanted to play in the fountains and 2″ of water, but that was ok. Kevin and I both had the opportunity to go down the huge waterslides, which honestly, scared me a little.

I’m really irritated by the huge dumping bucket. Why does anyone even think that is fun? It’s too loud and not one of the bigger kids even took advantage of it the entire time we were there.

OF COURSE, the girls were completely off schedule –even though they are not on that rigid of a schedule–and were whiny and prone to tantrums for the next two days. I’m reservedly optimistic that today will be a better day. And, can I just point out?, there is no where to escape in a hotel room when your child is up at 5:25 a.m.!

It’s just frustrating–and disappointing– that I went to all the work of packing and trying to make sure everyone had everything we needed (Kevin pointed out things we didn’t have) and all the work in general it is for a young family of four to get out the door, and Kevin spent all the money on the food and lodging and it totally wasn’t worth it.

This coming weekend I am going to Chicago with four friends. I’m really hoping no one will have any tantrums or have to sit in time out or be up at the crack of dawn.

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Why I’m glad I got up this morning

*I had Heartstrings (Bible study) this morning. I didn’t really want to go. It was cold and I was running late and haranguing everyone out the door. Aviana, who only the day before went to MOPS preschool without so much as a backwards glance, clung to me with lobster claws, leaving me once again to feel like I was abandoning her. I forgot to drop off the diaper bag with Brielle so had to leave to give that to her. And my mom, who was supposed to be meeting us there, called in the middle of the hour.

However, once I could actually focus, and unwind a little bit, I totally connected with my Savior. The leader left a half hour at the end of class to journal, and then we independently did communion to one of my all time favorite songs. I’ve been totally struggling with something that I feel like God is asking me to do. After Sunday, I was feeling pretty comfortable with it, but after today, I am completely excited about it!

*I arrived home to clean carpets! We haven’t had the carpets cleaned since we moved in, and having the decrepit Daschund here was a wonderful catalyst to have them done. We realized that we never had the kitchen carpet (the eating area by the summer kitchen is carpeted, the food prep area is linoleum) cleaned. We realized this because the carpet, now that it’s clean, is a different color than we thought it was!

*For a short while, I had both kiddlets napping at the same time.

*I started making a yummy bean soup, lifted the lid off the simmering pot one-handed to add some sweet potato…
and this is why I wish I would have stayed in bed…You cannot even imagine how painful this is! I spent the next hour crying, with my hand in a pan of cool water. Nothing seemed to help.

To top it off, I had made a commitment to help our neighbor with Good News Club, an outreach for school age children, so I couldn’t even stay home and have a pity party. I thought I would be able to deal, but I almost fainted while I was there the pain got so bad! We fixed me up with an ice pack, and while I wasn’t that much help, I’m still glad I went.

After being a big baby all evening and keeping my hand submerged which was the only thing that was even tolerable, Kevin found a remedy online that actually helped. We dipped my hand in egg whites for about a half hour, and then I could actually sleep. It still hurt, but no where near as badly!

**Update**I actually wrote this Thursday afternoon, because as of last night I still couldn’t use my hand. Today it hurts a bit, especially if I bang it into something, which being the klutz I am, happens more than I’d like to admit. Even though it looked like my hand was covered with snot, I’d definitely declare the egg white a raging success!

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Today’s Top Ten

Defining Today

10–Making Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins with two little helpers –This recipe* is from Deceptively Delicious, which I just checked out from the library. It helps you figure out how to hide veggies in just about anything! Love that concept–

9–Figuring out that a single Smartie is a great bribe! I got the toys picked up and the floor Dustbusted with little prompting and no stress

8–Abbey, the decrepit daschund going home!!

7–Having my mother-in-law invite us over for lunch=no work for me and deliciously filled bellies!

7 1/2–Staying too long at their house + a cat = one sick mama. Thank goodness for a husband who understands and makes me lie down while he does kidlet duty

6–Hiding under the desk with an 18 month old is great fun

5–Realizing I can solve the problem of Brielle opening the door to the porch and constantly bringing in all the hats, mittens, scarves and boots and further cluttering up the house thereby driving be Ab.so.lute.ly Batty by stowing all the winter gear in the summer kitchen

5 1/2–Hitting my forehead that I didn’t think of that two weeks ago when she first learned how to open the door to the front porch.

4–Staying the night with Grandma for the three year old

3–Reading my new Wondertime cover to cover while DH puts one year old to bed

2–My new maternity jeans because I’m not having to constantly tug at and pull up again, and they provide a view I like from the back!

1–Watching our favorite show snuggled up under my childhood Hollie Hobbie quilt

*This Recipe:
Kevin loved these too and was incredulous they had carrots in them. I’d double the recipe next time.
1/2 c natural peanut butter
1/2 c carrot puree
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T butter (the recipe asks for trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, but I don’t believe in it)
1/2 c sour cream (the recipe calls for nonfat plain yogurt but I didn’t have any)
1 large egg white (but I used the whole egg)
1 c flour
1 t baking powder (which as I type this, I realize I forgot)
1 t baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c low sugar strawberry, blueberry, or grape preserves (but I used regular old jelly, we did 1/2 pink and 1/2 purple)

1–preheat oven to 350ยบ. Line a 12 cup muffin tin w/ baking cups or use cooking spray.
2– beat pb, carrot, sugar & butter. Add sour cream & egg.
3–add flour, bp, bs, & salt. Mix just til combined.
4–drop batter into muffin cups. Top w/ a dollop of jelly.
5–bake about 20-25 minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool. Be extremely careful, I burned my finger on the scalding jelly and it still hurts! Also the jelly sort of ran out all over the top of my pan. If you actually make this and find a tip for containing it, let me know, will ya?
6–store in airtight container for a few days (if they last that long; I think we have 5 left!) or wrap individually and freeze for up to a month.

Why do recipes always say, “in a large bowl” Do they think you are going to try to make your muffin mix on the counter top?

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Playing Ice Cream

It’s all fun and games until the house burns down.

If you look on the stove behind the ice cream scene, you’ll see the honey (in a plastic bottle) I was trying to decrystallize sending smoke signals. This is what happens when the bottle melts to the pan.

And while I’m feeling confessional, Brielle is half naked because she just dumped my cup of coffee (cold, thank goodness!) all over her beautiful snowflake dress.

And that cup of coffee contained the last of the French vanilla creamer.

And I had already cleaned up Brielle with the Tide-to-go before she and Dada left for church.

And I cleaned up two Abbey accidents. She slithers out of the doggie diapers every time.

And now no coffee!

On the bright side, it gives me blog fodder.

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So irritating…

We had a new group of people over the other night. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing, but I still had time to pick up the house and clean (which, to my way of thinking, are separate entities entirely). I love seeing the house tidy.

I love having an excuse to clean, because then at least other people can see the fruits of my labor, since my children and husband don’t really seem overly concerned with it, and it only stays spic and span for about 20 minutes before my kidlets clutter it all up again and drop pudding on freshly mopped floors.

Another couple brought in a couple of babysitters, who watched the children downstairs while we talked upstairs. We all paid $3-5 depending on the number of kids. The children (including mine) were 5, 4, 4, 3, 2 and 1. This was the first time I had met this group of people.

Where am I going with this?

Here. This was the state of my playroom after everyone had left.
Granted, it wasn’t in perfect condition before the kidlets descended on it like so many locusts. I had told the babysitters on the initial ‘rules tour’ I intentionally didn’t pick it up because I knew we’d have the kids here. I’m not sure what I expected, but I sure didn’t expect this. They even let the kids open some brand new toys I forgot were within reach and now some of those pieces are lost. There were also a lot of toys out in the living room, which had been previously spotless.

Kevin was even mad about it, more so than me, which made me more upset. I’m not sure if I should say anything now. It would only serve to make the parents feel bad, who I’m sure, are very well intentioned. But I sure would like to say something if we ever host this group again!

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Pumpkin Patch Adventures

An evening trip to the pumpkin patch would not be one of the brightest ideas I’ve ever had–why do these things only ever play well in my head?

Can I just live in my head?

Our bank was offering a children’s event at a local pumpkin patch. We would get to go and enjoy such offerings as a pumpkin bounce house, a caterpillar crawl inflatable, a barrel train, a petting farm, face painting, a goodie bag, a wagon ride to the patch and a free pumpkin. When we got the flier, I thought, “Sign me UP!”, but only if we’ve had no melt downs that day :-).

I called ahead of time to make sure I could swing by the bank and pick up our tickets on the way (which really, was 15 or so miles out of my way to begin with.) Reassured that this wouldn’t be a problem, I made our plans. I got saucy Parmesan chicken cooking on low in the oven, got the girls all tanked up with cheese and crackers, grabbed the cameras, coats, and crackers, invited my MIL and we were ready to roll.

I arrived to a closed bank. Shut up tight. I was about to cry when I saw someone coming out of the bank. He was carrying a big box and talking on the phone, but that didn’t stop me from soliciting his assistance. Obviously, he had a key, so he should be able to help me.

Small towns being what they are, he did help me, even though he couldn’t find the tickets. He placed a call to make sure we’d be able to be admitted. Turns out he was the bank’s owner and has known Kevin’s family for eons, and is even related somehow.

Anyway, crisis averted. We picked up Joyce only a few minutes later than I had planned.

Upon arrival at the pumpkin patch, we dived right into the fun. We stared at the goats from afar. We entered the Caterpillar Crawl Through, but the air needed to keep it inflated was too intimidating, so that lasted all of about 30 seconds. We went on the Barrel Train, but made the driver stop halfway through so we could get out. We were enthralled by the bunnies. We waited patiently until the Jumping Pumpkin had no other jumpers, and stayed on our knees close to the edge, wearing big grins. Aviana got out as soon as some other children got in, but Brielle crawled right to the middle of the fracas and let them bounce her, giggling delightedly. We watched the pigs rapturously. (And when I say we, I mean the three and one year olds in this thrill of an evening).

I had only planned to stay for 45 minutes to an hour, and we were nearing our time limit, when we decided to hop on the last (so they said) wagon ride of the evening. It was still completely light out. The grouchy-ish curmudgeon of a driver told me I didn’t have time to run back to the car (which I could see 100 yards away) for a blanket, but I wouldn’t need it anyway because we would only be gone for about 10 minutes.

Uh. Yeah.

As it turned out, Mr. Curmudgeon drove that tractor at speeds previously unknown to Deere, over the bumpiest path known to man. I thought my teeth would bounce right out of my head. Plus it was windier going so fast. We got to the patch and we had to walk forever to find a pumpkin that wasn’t smashed. I picked two little ones as quickly as I could, so we could get back to the wagon and home before full on dark.

Well. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Aviana felt the call of nature. As I’m taking her out of view (thank goodness, she’s a farm girl who has no compunction about going outside) Mr. Curmudgeon suddenly hollers to us and the several other families still dallying amongst the pumpkins, “Another wagon’s coming!” and LEAVES!

To me “Another wagon’s coming” means now. directly. posthaste. SOON.

Picture us, waiting. In the dark. No place to sit down. In the cold. With two babies who haven’t eaten a proper dinner. And are rapidly approaching their normal bedtime.

Finally, a full half hour later the other wagon roars up. Full of people. Who STILL HAVE TO PICK THEIR PUMPKINS! (Remember, we were supposed to be the last ride?) So we have to wait another half hour for them to choose their free pumpkin. In the dark. Sitting on hard wooden wagon benches. In the cold. With two babies who haven’t eaten a proper dinner. And are rapidly approaching their normal bedtime.

Really though, the girls handled it well. I think I was the only one freaking out. Brielle did fuss the entire way home, and the chicken was charred, but to quote Miss Hannigan, “All’s well that ends well, don’t you know, my little scissors legs?”

And to quote Miss Aviana, “The pumptin patch was NOT fun.”

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Follow-Up Visit

We went back over to see the surgeon today.

Our actual follow-up visit wasn’t scheduled until Thursday, but Aviana had complained all day yesterday of her stomach hurting, and was up several times in the night, crying. (Brielle was too, but that’s a different matter.) I just got worried, even though she wasn’t exhibiting any of the signs the docs told us to watch for to key in on a recurring infection. I paged the doctor this morning, and he told us to come on in.

They did an X-ray just to double check everything, and they think part of the problem is she’s a bit constipated. She’s been going everyday, but has more stool than normal in her colon. Doctor told us to give her suppository for a couple of days, and sort of clean out her system. I’m relieved that it’s something so simple.

I think the other part of the problem is she is just milking all the extra attention for all it’s worth.

In point of fact:

“Mama! Mama! I need you!” she screams from upstairs.
“What, what is it, baby?” I breathlessly ask after running up from the laundry room.
“I dist need you to watch dis movie wif me.”

“Maa-maaa! Maa-maaa!!” She wakes up crying from a sound sleep.
I go in and rock her. “Do you hurt, or do you just want some attention?”
“I dist want some attention.”

“It’s so hard to det better and be sit at the same time.”

The awful whining voice has got to go! She did a lot better today. In fact, she was a delight to be around today.

Except when Dada bought her a chocolate chip cookie instead of a cinnamon roll and she threw herself to the ground screaming and flailing at Perkins and then sat on a bench refusing to apologize for 15 minutes.

And when she got escorted out of a store because she wouldn’t say thank you to the lady who picked up and put away the toy she got out, (I was in the process of making her pick it up herself) and she crossed her arms, stuck out her chin and pouted, and the store lady even said, “That’s a sassy one you’ve got there.”

Yes I do, thank you.

And when I said, “No, leave your bundies on.” And she looked me in the eye, and tossed them off anyway.

I feel like we’re at ground zero with discipline. I know it’s not true. I know she is just testing us all over the place to see if the boundaries are still the same. I also know we were so close to losing her, I wasn’t disciplining her like I normally do. It’s just a tough place to be, having your child be so ill.

Now though, she is fine. I know without a shadow of a doubt she is fine. I guess this week my main task will be to follow through every. single. time.

And while we’re on the topic of discipline, I notice that I have a harder time being consistent with Brielle than I did with Aviana at the same age. Brielle seems like so much more the baby than Aviana, now. Brielle is brilliant–

In point of fact:

My grandma, “Brielle, where is your other shoe?”
Brielle takes her into the bedroom and shows her the shoe rack.

A woman on the phone in a restaurant. “yeah…we won’t be home for at least an hour…. go ahead and ride the other horse…blah, blah blah…”
Brielle, who has been interacting with me, points out the horse on the wallpaper.

Me, pointing out the buttons on the printer and computer tower: “No, no. These are Mama’s. If you touch these, you will get a swat.”
Brielle, listening intently and making eye contact with me, “swats” her own hand.

So I know she notices, remembers and understands all sorts of concepts. But I find myself telling her “No, no.” over and over again, instead of just disciplining her the first time. And because I don’t discipline the first time, then I find myself getting irritated with her, because she keeps doing it.

I don’t really have a point. But I could sure use some advice and/or encouragement and/or milk chocolate right now.