Saturday, October 31, 2009

Florida Fun

My budding musician... composing music.

Ella is proud of her new sunglasses!

Well, we made it to FL! Anson, Ella and I drove down yesterday to my parents house in DeLand. Last night I took Anson to his first concert! We went to hear the Stetson Orchestra! Anson LOVED it! He stayed awake throught the first piece (Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suite) but fell asleep during the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 performed by David Bjella - awesome! Sitting in the audience instead of being on stage was weird but really neat to experience with my little boy! Plus I forgot how hard the seats are in Elizabeth Hall! :o) But Anson loved it and it was worth it. Today he played my parents piano and had to write his own music like the musicians had last night. :o)

Today's highlights were lunch at Bellini's and the Fall Festival at my parents church. Anson and Ella both loved playing the carnival games for candy and jumping in the bounce house. Anson got a strike in pumpkin bowling! He also had a whale painted on his face, which he loved. Ella loved the food, especially. She had an icee and some cotton candy (very little) and a couple bites of a hot dog. Gramma and Papa had to work at the food booths but Auntie Amy and Uncle Andy came to join the fun! I had two tired little children by 7:30 so we were home and in bed by 8:00.

Thanks to Dusty lending me his laptop for the trip, I am able to update this while we are away. More to come!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Sweet Little Rascal

The fall colors are here!
Look Mommy! A squirrel!

Ella and Anson enjoying a cup of hot chocolate

Ella has been in a "big girl bed" for about a month now and she loves it! It took about a week for her to get used to it... one night I heard a muffled cry at about two in the morning and she had actually fallen asleep with her head under the bed and woke up and freaked out! Now, when I go to bed I look in to make sure she is in bed and not under it! A couple times I have found her on the floor beside the bed or kneeling, with just her upper body on the bed. Funny! So going to sleep in the toddler bed is going well, however when she wakes up and decides to roam around her room, she usually gets into mischief. Just when I think I have removed every potential mess-maker from her reach she finds (or invents) something new! One day she used her rocking horse as a stool to reach the baby powder and diaper cream. Her room smelled like a clean baby's bottom! But then came last Sunday... I opened the door to find that she had taken off her poopy diaper and walked through it!!!! YUK!!!! I just stood there in silence, not knowing where to begin! She had literally walked all over her room on her nice cream colored carpet. So I threw her in the tub and when she was clean I started working on the room. Dusty and I were runnning around cleaning when we realized that she had disappeared again... this time, with her new-found stealth abilities, she had pulled a stool up to the kitchen counter, opened up a new box of hot chocolate and helped herself to a couple packets. She, the counter, and the floor were covered in chocolate dust! So back to the tub went Ella as her mother slowly went insane! This all happenned in a matter of minutes! She has a gift of making messes! And she does it with the cutest smile on her face. She has taken this two-year-old stage to a new level for our family. I don't think Anson ever did anything like this. So for now, all stools are out of reach and Ella is watched like a hawk. I really comtemplated placing a bell on her neck because she just sneaks around so quietly. She also does really sweet things like asking to kiss "Mommy's baby" every night before bed, wrapping up her baby dolls in a blanket and telling us to be quiet because they are sleeping, saying thank you all the time without having to be reminded, and giving hugs and kisses when you least expect it. So she's a sweet little rascal indeed and we can't imagine life without her!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another trip to Dillard House

The beginnings of some fall colors
What a smile!

Ella feeding the goat that escaped

The donkey has a nice style!

The little stow-away about to make his escape!

And the bull's big ol' tongue!

Two monkeys

We love going to the Dillard House in North GA, especially during the fall. The restaurant serves a huge family style Southern meal right to your table and the view of the mountains is amazing! The kids favorite part is going out back to the little farm/zoo where you can feed the animals. They have goats, chickens, a donkey, a llama, some sheep, some rare breed cattle, and horses. This trip to see the animals was hilarious! Firstly, Dusty discovered that when you feed the Texan longhorn, he sticks his huge tongue out to get the food! The donkey preferred to open his jaws wide and askew and show all his teeth. But the young goat was the most clever. He hopped from the rock he was perched on right onto the longhorn's back and got a free ride around the pen! The cow didn't seem to mind which made me think it was a common occurrence. And then just as the big cow got close enough to the fence, the little goat jumped right out and proceeded to stuff himself with the food that was dropped just over the fence and out of all the other animal's reach. It was the cutest thing! Of course Anson and Ella loved having the little goat to chase around. It was a fun way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lobster Dinner

Touching the lobster for the first time
He was big!

Notice how my handy apron hides my big belly!

Chef Anson

The finished product!

Enjoying the meal!

Ella warned him! Can you see the shiner under his left eye?
Actually it wasn't inflicted by Ella, but by the ottoman in the living room!

Today, Dusty brought home a 2 pound live Maine lobster from the Farmers Market! The kids went crazy! They loved touching it and watching it swim around in the sink while I prepared the pot of his doom. Actually, you can see by the picture that he was so big, he took up the entire sink (the smaller side). Once the water came to a rolling boil it was time to make him turn red. I placed him claws-first into the pot of water and sea salt and let the kiddos watch him turn that nice red-orange color. It was quite a memorable experience and neither of them seemed too sad that we "killed" the lobster. They were excited to taste him! A couple years ago Target had all this lobster feast stuff in their dollar section and I bought one of everything they had with the intentions of having a lobster party. Well it may have just been the four of us, but we made it a party! Anson had fun helping me set out everything on the table while we cooked dinner. When the lobster was done, Dusty had the honors of of getting all the meat out and eating most of it! Anson ate some and really liked it, too. Ella wasn't interested at all. And me, well, I had a nice spinach walnut salad with raspberry vinagarette dressing since I'm not supposed to have shellfish while pregnant! :o( Maybe next time!
By the way, if you've never cooked a lobster, it's easy!
Here are the directions I used:
Half fill a large kettle with water and add 1/4 cup of sea salt.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Grasp the lobster firmly by the middle of the back (see my awesome example above! :o) with claws held away.
Plunge them head first into the boiling water
Cover. Begin the timer when the water is again at a boil.
Cook 10 -15 minutes for 1 - 2 pound lobster.
Overcooking toughens meat.
Plunge cooked lobster directly into cold water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process.
(I fill my sink with cold water)
Take the lobster out of the water and let it drain for a few seconds and place on platter.
Twist off large claws and pull tail from body section. Discard entire body - no meat there.
Make a slit down underside of tail and serve with melted butter.
See? Easy!!
Dusty likes his served with garlic mashed potatoes but tonight we settled for yellow squash and spinach salad.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Parenting By The Book

I am reading the best book with my Mom to Mom group at church. It is by John Rosemond - a long time syndicated columnist on parenting and psychologist - and most recently a Christian, hence the title of the book. It is great to hear his frank words on how so much of the "psychology" of raising children that came out of the sixties free-thinking era is a bunch of "doo dah"!!
For instance, What is self esteem? Good for your child, right? REALLY?? God says that the proud will be humbled. What we should desire for our children is a humble heart, not a proud, "self-loving" spirit. Besides, the psychologist in John says that people with high self esteem often have terrible trouble dealing with any failure in life because they have been built up so much by well-meaning parents/teachers. How much better to teach them to rely on God for strength and not on "their own inner strength". Who would you rather have as a friend, someone with high self-esteem or someone with a humble spirit? Just some thoughts...
But here is a funny quote (of which there are many funny parts of the book, too, not just the heavy stuff :o)
"God in His infinite mercy has distinguished us from animals in many ways, but one of the most significant to our discussion: He has not allowed human offspring to grow to full size in one or two years. Imagine the consequence to the mother who denies her five-foot-ten-inch-tall, 165 pound two year old child a cookie before dinner. Not a pretty picture! God is good!" :o) :o)

Sometimes there are days that I feel like all I do is yell "No... Stop that..." etc. At the end of the day I feel like a "big meanie". I don't know how any mother could be as loving and patient as all the great moms you read about in the books. But I just heard an encouraging story about Ruth Graham (You know, Billy's wife...) and her daughter. Her daughter was feeling like I do a lot of the time and asked her mom "How were you able to be so patient and loving and kind while raising all of us? You never lost your temper!" to which Ruth replied "I just prayed every day that God would erase those memories from your minds and by His grace, He DID!"

So there is my new prayer! That God would erase all those impatient, "mean Mommy" memories from their little minds! :o)

Well, Dusty is teaching a seminar at church today so the kids and I are off to the mall! Let's hope we don't have any memory-erasing moments today! :o)