Friday, December 16, 2011

Returning to the 21st century.

Paul and I have been going back and forth about whether we wanted to move into a different house. One came available, but it wasn't ideal... but then again, what is? The house is in a complex, so there would be people to befriend and pile cookies upon. We would have unlimited electricity and water. There are these beautiful green things called trees, and the kids would have a yard to play in. Unfortunately, this move would mean an even longer commute for Paul. We already spend way too much money a month on gas, and during the week he is home an average of two hours a day. We finally decided to just go ahead and do it, and that very night I was given a sign that we had made the right decision.

Since our house is solar powered, our water is gravity fed from a cistern in the roof. We run the pump to fill the water during the day while we have sunlight. To fill the electricity gaps, we use a generator. Well... I take a shower with the kids to try to conserve water and keep from using it all up during the night. I had the generator going since it had been cloudy all day. Just as I shampooed my hair, I noticed the water was slower than usual. I jumper out and turned on the pump and then frantically tried to rise the shampoo out. The hot water went completely out, and using cold winter water was out of the question. Luckily I had gotten most of the shampoo out.

I waited for the water to fill back up and proceeded to finish cooking dinner for Paul and myself. As I was cooking, I noticed the lights were getting weak and the generator sounded funny. Long story short, our generator crapper out, and we didn't have enough battery power to refill the water. Needless to say, we moved into the new house the next day... in a snow storm.

Now we have lights, water pressure and I can use a microwave to cook dinner if I am feeling lazy. We have been in the house just shy of two weeks, and I have already made fudge, cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and banana bread. My refrigerator and freezer are big enough to hold more than 5 things, and I feel like I am living the high life.

Living off the grid really helped me put things in perspective. I thought I needed a big house with big rooms and lots of stuff. It turned out I just really need water, electricity, neighbors and my family to be a happy lady! The dogs love the nice big yard and neighbors coming by to pet them. The kids like the extra space to explore. Paul is fine with the commute, because happy kids and a happy wife make for a happy Paul. He is such a trouper. Oh and we got to keep the chickens, too. That just makes me extra happy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Never a dull moment!

Since I last posted, so many things have happened!

Asher had his first Halloween. We took them to Flagstaff, and both kids had a blast. Asher was a lion...
And Emma was Jessie The Cowgirl. I cried a little at how grown up Emma seemed. Asher charmed candy at each stop, while Emma insisted on asking "please" instead of saying "trick-or-treat... which I was completely fine with!

I have a new brother in law. This time it's on my side. Sam and Larry got married! I am so happy for them. It's awesome to be able to call Larry my sister's husband. It's fun to be able to say she is married now. It will be fun to see her sign something with her new last name.

Asher loved his first Thanksgiving. He chowed down...
while Emma ate crackers and drew pictures in the pumpkin pie.

I love how completely opposite Asher and Emma are. He laughs so freely, and we really have to work to get laughs from Emma. Emma is so chatty and friendly to everyone, while Asher just prefers to watch quietly from the safety of my arms. Emma has always loved her Grammy and Auntie, and Asher lights up whenever he sees his Papa or Uncle Larry. Asher sleeps like a dream at night, and Emma always insisted on a cup of milk around 2AM. Emma flew through milestones. She was talking at 8 months, walking at 10 months and was always so independent. Asher is pretty sure having his sister speak for him and having grown-ups carry him from place to place is the way to go.

Paul is possibly leaving to go to DC for three months next week, and we just found out about this yesterday. I really hope this works out for Paul, because I know it's a Detail he was really hoping to get. However, I really hope it works out that the kids and I get to go as well. I originally said I wanted no part in DC this time of year, but that was before it became a real possibility. If we can find a place to rent that will keep us within his per diem budget that will allow us to have Gambel, everything else is taken care if. My fingers are soooo crossed!

Last but not least, the events to come!

Asher is turning 1!
Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Paul's birthday, Christmas and our anniversary are all just around the corner. This won't technically be Asher's first Christmas, but it will be the first one he is actually awake for! Emma is finally old enough to understand that Santa is a pretty cool guy, Christmas cookies are the best and presents are fantastic. We can't wait!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Asher speaks!

Asher decided to tell us what her really thinks of while he is babbling as said his first word. And the word was... Emma! They like to blow raspberries at each other. We were in the car, and Asher was blowing raspberries, and Emma wasn't paying any attention. Asher yelled out "Emma" and blew another raspberry. He did this several times. I've thought for a few days that Asher was saying Emma's name, and there was no denying he was for sure doing it this time. Emma and Asher have been very close from day one, and I am not surprised she was his first word. Emma thinks it's pretty cool that Asher says her name.

Since saying "Emma", Asher has also figured out who "mama" is. This isn't said as sweetly as "Emma" is. When Asher wants something (generally a bottle), he will follow me around the house yelling "mama! Mamamamamama! MAMA!". Asher also says "dada", but he hasn't started calling Paul "dada" yet. He just like to babble it. I am sure in the next week or so, Asher will make the connection.

Walking is progressing slowly but surely. Asher will stand on his own for short periods of time. He will take steps if we hold his hands, but he has no desire to take steps on his own yet. Soon enough. We are in no rush.

Emma is Emma. Smart and silly. Pretty and dirty. We are working on spelling words with her. She can spell her name and Asher's. She is very close to spelling "mommy" and "daddy". Emma can count to 50 and is learning to count how many of something there is. She can sing most of the words to her favorite songs on her own, and the poor kid still can't carry a tune in a bucket. I have never loved a singing voice more than Emma's.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The important stuff

I should be posting about Asher's 9 month appointment and Emma's 2.5 year appointment. I should be telling you all about Asher's new teeth or how off I was on his 8 month measurements I attempted to take at home. I should be telling you about how smart Emma is and how she is seemingly psychic. Instead, I am going to share a little story with you. Enjoy!

Emma: My tummy's talking.
Me: Really? What's it saying?
Emma: It's singing Twinkle Little Star. My butt sings, too. With a measuring cup.
Me: ...

We were in the shower during this conversation. Emma proceeds to sing Twinkle Little Star while rinsing her bottom with a measuring cup. It gets "stuck" on her butt cheek.

Emma: Oh! Oh! It's stuck in my butt!
Me: It's not stuck. Just move it.
Emma: It's sooooo stuck! ::moves measuring cup away from rear end:: Whew! I did it! It's off! That was sooooo close!
Me: ...

Apparently that was a life or death situation. I'm glad it all worked out in the end for her.

Now THAT is the stuff baby book should be make out of.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Asher at 8 months

I will attempt to refrain from going on and on about how quickly time is passing and just give the facts.

Height and Weight: About 26 inches and 18.5 pounds
Teeth: Bottom two front teeth are through and several top teeth seem to be on their way
Milestones reached: Asher...
  • sleeps through the night when his teeth are not hurting.
  • decided he was done nursing, so we had to switch to formula.
  • also decided he is a big boy and purees are for babies, so he is eating various finger foods and most of what we eat for meals.
  • can crawl on his hands and knees, pull up to stand and climb up his toys.
  • attempted to take a step today and failed big time. He only cried for a second (out of shock probably), so it's okay to laugh.
Favorite toy: Anything he is not supposed to have. Like the edges of the safety mats we have on the floor.
Security Object: His tiny blankey. While traveling, he snuggles with an elephant Grammy bought for him.
Ticklish spots: Collar bone and toes. He laughs so hard he makes complete strangers giggle.
Favorite pastimes:
  • When he is being held, Asher loves for the person holding him to jump.
  • Any game Emma is playing. He just watches her and smiles all day.
  • Dancing and listening to us sing is always a favorite.
  • Visiting the dogs or chickens is always good for a giggle.
  • Playing in the shower with Mommy and Emma is how he prefers to get clean now.
  • Swimming! Just like the rest of his family.
Asher is a very social baby and loves just about everyone he has ever met. He spent a day at daycare, and only cried a little. When I went to pick him up, he was sitting on the floor playing. Once he saw me, he laughed and laughed. Everyone who has met Asher just loves him. He is just such a happy and sweet little guy. It's easy to know when something is really bothering him, because then he will get fussy and upset. While having another baby has been hard at times, I wouldn't trade a single minute of it. We all love Asher so much!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I can do it myself!

I woke up yesterday to Emma crawling over my bed. I noticed she was naked, but that is nothing new for her. I got out of bed, went into the bathroom and noticed the house smelled nasty. We have some chicks in the house, so I chalked it up to that. I got Asher out of his crib and was just about to change him when Emma called to me. She was laying in my bed with her legs way up in the air. The day took a horrible turn when she said, "look, Mommy! Poop!" She had poo smeared all down her legs and all over her feet. The same little legs that were sliding all over my sheets. The same little feet that had been running around the house for God only knows how long. Poor Asher Babe had to go back into the crib with out his morning bottle. Luckily he had woken up later than usual for his middle of the night feeding, so I knew he wasn't starving... yet. Emma was promptly plopped into the shower.

By this time I noticed I had stepped in poo at some point. Needless to say, the whole house got mopped and my bed got stripped. Emma was scrubbed from head to toe. The odd thing is that I never found any evidence of WHERE Emma had pooed. Her pull up was in the trash... wet and soggy but not pooed in. I asked Emma over and over if she had gone poopy. Every time, she said, "Yeah, Mommy! I poopy rocks right here." All while pointing to the toilet. I guess she woke up and tried to go potty by herself. I was proud but definitely horrified at the same time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Learning the hard way

We are all doing it right now. Emma is learning that she absolutely CANNOT cover Asher with blankets or sit on him. Even if he laughs maniacally the entire time. She is also learning if she refuses to eat what is offered at meal times, she will be a very hungry little girl later. The biggest thing Emma is learning is NO MEANS NO. No does not mean be quiet and do it while Mommy's back is turned. It does not mean look in the opposite direction and do it anyway. No means "if you don't stop you will go to time out and STAY there even if you howl the entire time". Not everything is learned the hard way, though. Emma is catching on to sign language like she's know it all along. Maybe all the work we did with her when she was a baby (and refused to do anything other than more and please) helped set the foundation. Counting and identifying letters has been a piece of cake for Emma. The only letters she still has trouble with are S and V. She knows all the others. Counting to 20 is almost an accomplished task. I just have to help her with 11.

Asher is learning that rolling around with your mouth open will result in losing the pacifier. Rolling all around in general will also get Asher wedged in strange positions in his crib. All of this rolling is leading to VERY long nights for Mommy. Asher is learning that arms are required to hold your face out of the carpet while he is on his belly. Leaning forward to reach a toy may result in a faceplant. Flailing wildly while "stuck" on his belly will not magically flip Asher back onto his bottom. The one thing Asher is not learning is that crawling would solve just about all of these problems. A part of me thinks it is bound to happen some time soon. Another part of me if scared to death that he will just prefer to scream and flail until he's 20.

Paul is learning that continuous fire assignments may bring good money to pay off bills, but they also lead to a very stressed out, pissy wife. Paul is also learning that his little princess has become a banshee and her fits are no longer cute or easily controlled. I hope he is learning that cuddling and coddling an out of control 2 year old does not end well for anyone in the long run. At the very least, I know he's learning that cuddling and coddling an out of control 2 year old will result in a furious wife. I cannot say for sure what else Paul is learning the hard way, because I really only get to see him about once a week for about an hour... if that.

I am learning that being a stay at home mom out in the middle of nowhere without friends or family is very, VERY hard. I am learning that TV is not the devil. It is sometimes a means to an end when it's too hot to go outside or Asher is too restless to be content with being held while outside. I am learning that grass is not a waste of space or water. If we had grass, Asher would be able to play outside and then Emma would be, too. I am learning that free range chickens prefer committing suicide to living peacefully in a big yard. They are now penned up and not very happy. But at least they will be alive. I am learning that an 85 degree house makes for cranky kids and a grumpy mommy. I am learning that we are all making sacrifices to live the way we are in order to pay off bills. I knew that all along. I just didn't realize how hard some of these sacrifices would be.

Not everything here is all bad. The kids and I really do have more good times than bad. It's just been really hard not having Paul around. I miss my husband. I constantly wonder at what point family needs to become the priority over money. But money is what allows me to stay at home with the kids now. Extra money is what will pay off the bills and allow me to continue staying at home when we move. So there's a constant debate in my head. Do I beg Paul to please stop all this fire stuff? Do I suck it up another week? Month? Until October? November? If I beg him to stop and we move, will I have to start working again and regret my decision forever? Do I suck it up, become overly stressed and force my kids to live with a crazy person for two years. At least we have Bearizona to keep us out of trouble. Emma also reconnected with a friend in Williams, and we will start visiting her every Wednesday before going to Bearizona. That should make Emma a very happy girl and give her something to look forward to every week!