Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Patches and Eggs

Claire's Daisy Scout Troop had a patch ceremony last week, and the girls all received the patches they had been working to earn for the last few months.

This first patch was for all of them going to the circus. It's not an official Girl Scout patch, but still fun. She'll add it to the back of her pinafore.

Then, she got her patch for selling cookies this year. I'm not sure what she's doing with her face here. My child is weird. What can I say?

Her "First Cookie Sale" pin.

And her 2 Daisy petals for completing her work on 2 of the attributes of the Girl Scout Law. The blue and yellow represent "Honest and Fair" and "Kind and Considerate."

This is a video of the girls singing a Daisy Song, "Make New Friends." I only caught the last verse, but then we all sing it with them again. Please excuse my singing voice!

Little brother was a special guest at the ceremony.

And afterwards, the kids ran outside and scattered all over the hill for an . . .

Egg Hunt!

"Son, where are your eggs?"
"I'm all done with that, mommy. I dumped them out."

Claire scored.

Happy family enjoying the day and celebrating Claire's hard work!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Old BenDonald Had a Farm

We went on a field trip with our toddler/preschool group from church earlier this week to a nearby working farm.

It was arguably the highlight of Ben's short 3-year life to date. Actually, there's not really anything to argue. He had a ball and has been repeatedly asking to go back all week.

The farm has been in the same family for over 100 years, and the current farmers still live in the original farm house.

They met us in authentic dress, allowed us to tromp through their home, fed us honey from their hives, and brought out a bevy of animals to be accosted by the children. They get two thumbs up, for sure.

At first, Ben was far more intrigued by the rope/post "fence" they had rigged to keep the masses at bay. And, please notice the rain boots. Several times that morning I heard, "but mommy, I need to jump in that mud puddle because I have my boots on."

I'm trying to decide if now is the right time to discuss the difference between "need" and "want." Although for him, I'm guessing they are pretty much synonymous.

Ever let a bee walk on your hand?

This isn't my hand in the picture. I know you are totally freaking out that the kids are this close, but this bee was sans stinger, so all was safe.

Ben petting the baby bunny.

I was a bit horrified at the thought of the kids petting a rooster. I mean, just look at those feet! Nasty . . . and clawey (I know it's not a word, but it should be). I was surprised though. Most of the kids walked right up to pet him.

Not my son. He waited for the Hen to be brought out. He's no dumby.

The pony!

The goats eating the corn the kids got to put in the troughs.

And, just because I couldn't resist taking a picture of it, I had to include this one.

One kid desperately trying to latch on and get some of his momma's milk. What you can't really see in this picture is his twin doing the same thing on the other side of her.

As a former nursing mother, I understood the look on her face:

Patience and love with a little resignation added in. :-)

On the hayride!

This boy was having some fun. This whole ride I kept hearing him say, "this is so much fun. I'm having so much fun."

"That's right, mister. That sign applies to you too."

We were just a few feet away from these big guys (girls? I don't really know). I think this one is giving me the eye.

This one too. Back off, lady. This here's my turf.

It really was a great day. A perfect outing for my little guy and a good memory for the both of us.

And to top it off. We came home with these:

And Ben insisted that I fix him one for lunch.

After I washed off the chicken poop, that is.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Princess of the Scratchy Throat

A local Girl Scout troop organized a Princess Ball and held it at an elementary school in the area. Claire was so excited about this event and was really looking forward to a night of being pampered and dancing with all the girls from her Daisy Troop.

Unfortunately, she woke up that morning not feeling well and had a sore throat. However, when I simply suggested that perhaps she should skip the ball that night and rest, she suddenly felt just fine.

It was a Princess Ball miracle!

No fever, so off we went.

First, she had to get glamorized . . .

Then, a pic with her favorite princess . . .

pose with her brand new hand-made (mostly by a sore-fingered mom) tiara . . .

smirk at a mom who wouldn't stop taking pictures . . .

smile with simple happiness . . .

ride in the carriage to meet the Prince . . .

line up with her Daisy pals and a freakishly large-headed Prince Charming . . .

flirt with said Prince . . .

and dance . . .

dance . . .

dance the night away.

Only to wake up the next morning with a fever and Strep Throat.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Nester Giveaway Day

I found The Nester's website a few weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. She's all about making your home beautiful without breaking the bank. She has really great ideas on DIY projects for your home, and I'm already inspired to make some new curtains for our living room.

Today, she is sponsoring a Giveaway Day. Each hour a new vendor will be introduced, and all you have to do is leave a comment to be entered.

You can even comment on earlier posts from the day.

This is going all day . . . actually, I think it is going on for 27 hours straight.

Go win some loot!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bad Dreams

We are in the midst of the bad dream phase around here lately. I remember this phase very, very vividly with Claire. It started just after Benjamin was born and continued for about a year. There were times that we were up with her during the night more often than we were for her newborn brother.

And I guess bad dreams affect each child differently, but her reaction was usually to start screaming hysterically at the top of her lungs as if she was being hacked to death with a pick-ax, causing us to bolt out of bed like the house was on fire in order to calm her. I remember many a night lying down with her in her bed with my heart pounding, panting like I had just run miles.

More often than not, a snuggle and a prayer were all it would take to calm her down enough to go back to sleep, but there was always the chance that the bad dream would return and cause a repeat of the above stated, bolting, pounding and panting to happen several times a night.

She finally grew out of it, but now it seems Benjamin has picked up where she left off. Yet, his reaction is a bit milder. Instead of the hysterical screaming, Ben's reaction usually involves crying and calling out, "mommy, mommy, mommy or daddy, daddy, daddy." It's always a crap shoot as to who he will call for each night. He's usually back asleep in about 5 seconds but will wake right back up if you dare to leave his room without praying first.

Though each of my children respond to their bad dreams in different ways, one thing is the same for both of them: they can rarely, if ever, tell us what they were dreaming about. Half the time they can't even remember they had a bad dream when asked the next morning. Why is this I wonder? Is it God's way of protecting them by allowing their little brains to forget? Are they asleep enough that they aren't able to verbalize it? Or are their dreams so amorphous that the "bad" part of it is just recognized as "bad," and that's enough?

I wonder.

One thing I do know is that when I have a bad dream now, I remember it. If the dream is bad enough to wake me from my hard-earned slumber, then it is bad enough to wake me ALL the way up and to be running through my brain.

This doesn't happen to me very often anymore, but the dreams that I would categorize as truly bad ones are ones I can still tell you about today.

When I was little, for whatever poorly-judged reason, I was allowed to watch, if not all, then most of the movie, The Invasion of the Body-Snatchers. I don't think I would have been much more than about 5 at the time, but I will tell you that I had bad dreams about that movie for a LONG time... years maybe. Not every night, but those slimy, pulsing pods of terror made for some very bad dreams, let me tell you.

And why is it that the bad dreams that we do have tend to repeat themselves over and over? I've had many students in the past write their research papers on dream theory and dream analyzing. How would pulsing pods of slime translate for Freud I wonder. Whatever the reason, surely my fears must have been playing themselves out in my subconscious somehow.

Certainly this is evident by another common bad dream of mine which involved me as a very young toddler being snatched out of the shopping cart by a stranger while my mother's back was turned. That's really all I remember about that dream. But I had it over and over for many years, and while the "stranger" may have morphed and changed over the years, the dream never continued beyond that moment when I was snatched (by the by, I just noticed that two of my dreams involved "snatching." Interesting. Odd, but interesting. Wonder what old Freud would say about that?) I always woke up right after that moment. I think because whatever was to happen after the snatching moment was just too scary for my little self to handle.

My most common dream during middle and high school, and it even continued for several years after that, was that my teeth were falling out.

No, no going to school naked for me. Instead, I would arrive at various locations only to discover that my teeth were loose and were on the verge of falling out of my head. To make matters worse, this dream almost invariably included the frustrating moment when I realized it was a dream, made myself wake up (or so I thought) only to discover that. OH. MY. LORD. MY TEETH ARE STILL FALLING OUT! This cycle would continue over and over, and my anxiety level would ratchet up, higher and higher.

A nightmare I tell you. A nightmare.

Again, Freud. Have your field day.

Since becoming a mother, my bad dreams have again changed. And, as most mothers out there would agree, my greatest fears center around something awful happening to my children, and so that's the horror that occupies any bad dreams that I have today.

The worst dream I have ever experienced as an adult happened when I was pregnant with Benjamin. Something about those hormones during pregnancy, but that dream was so vivid and so terrifying. I could describe it still very specifically, but the long and short of the dream was that I was out on a big floating raft-like thing in the middle of a lake with many people. I can't recall all the people there, but many friends and family for sure. It was dark, it was loud, and it was crowded.

And, I lost Claire.

She was 2 at the time.

I lost her, and then I heard a splash.

And then there was much searching, much panicking, and much freaking the heck out. For a long time. Long enough for me to realize that she wasn't coming back.

I woke up from that dream with my heart pounding, sweating profusely, shaking like a leaf, and crying uncontrollably. Crying so hard that Shawn woke up, and while I babbled the whole dream to him, he just kept saying, "it wasn't real. It wasn't real. It wasn't real." It took me a long time to believe him.

But, boy, did it feel real. So real that I got up and went into Claire's room in the middle of the night just to make sure that she somehow hadn't drowned in the middle of her bed.

The dream I had two nights ago was almost as bad.

This time the setting was a beauty pageant.

And I was a contestant. (Shut up.)

Yes, I understand that that in itself is a bit nightmarish and unbelievable, but that's actually not the worst of it.

For some strange reason the pageant took place outside in a large public park next to a huge swimming pool full of kids. And as I and the other contestants were walking to the stage in our Yoga Wear (this is what we decided to wear in lieu of swimsuits. Don't ask. Dreams don't always make sense, right?), I looked over at the pool and saw Benjamin in the shallow end holding hands with other kids.

While I watched, he took a deep breath and put his head under water.

I continued walking and watching him, waiting for him to come back up.

He never did.

I broke out of line, raced to the pool and dove in, only to realize that my clothes wouldn't allow me to swim well (darn those heavy yoga clothes).

I could see him at the bottom of the deep end now and couldn't get the attention of the lifeguards who couldn't hear me and who were distracted by the beauty pageant contestants.

I was treading water, yelling, choking, and watching Ben who was not moving at the bottom of the deep end.

I woke up, gasping for breath and shaking.

This time I was able to keep from crying, but just barely.

Now, why both of these nightmares center around my children drowning, I really have no idea. I'm sure there is some symbolic significance of water there. But the completely powerless and helpless feeling I had in both those dreams was so intense that it makes my breath catch if I think about it even now.

It's enough to make me wish it were just my teeth falling out. Nightmare though that may be.

I'd rather be toothless than be kidless. For sure.