Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Random summer bits

Michael promised Zoe that she could be his special helper building shelves for the basement this evening.  So when she woke up this morning, the first thing she did is start shoving plastic play tools into her underpants and run around, brown eyes shining, crowing how she had on her work underpants and she was ready to help dad NOW!

Speaking of underpants, we pretty much have resorted to wearing just underpants around the house.  It's hard for mom to enforce any sort of clothing rule because let's be honest, more clothing=more laundry and that's the last thing I'm incentivized to increase. I am super mean and insist that they wear both shoes and underpants if they are going to ride their bikes outside. I know, I know, "Tiger Mom."

Jed has his own bedroom now and it's nigh impossible to get him to put the comic books down and go to sleep.  Last night I caught him at 9:45 PM with the light on.  Then this morning I got the crankiest sad-faced pouty pants ever, ugh.

We went to a super fun and completely empty pool today.  There was a small toddler-sized frog water slide.  Zane went completely nuts over this thing.  He and Zoe ran and slid for an hour straight, they must have gone down that slide 3,000 times. Every single time Zane would shout at the top "Hi, Mom! Here comes ZANY!" and then when he got to the bottom he would come and excitedly inform me "Mommy, dis froggy slide is just right for ME!"  He is too cute for words, I can't stop kissing that busy little brown body.

Meanwhile, cranky tired Jed groused and complained at length through the whole trip, which lasted all of two hours. Even going down the big water slide by himself only lifted his scowl for a bit. Then when Dad got home, he raved and raved and raved at length about how it was the BEST DAY AT THE POOL EVER.  Mom had a hard time restraining her eye rolls, though she did send several same-table-dinner-texts to Dad informing him that all children would be having an early bedtime tonight.

I have 50 pounds of peaches sitting on my floor, a refrigerator full of squash, an overflowing and somewhat neglected garden, an barely-started basement refurbishment in a vast state of disarray, and I find all I want to do is go sit at the pool with my kids and hug their little brown baby perfection and then come home and take a nap.  This has been a deliciously luxurious summer!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Potty Training Zane

After many months of failed lazy side efforts, the time has finally come.  The time for POTTY TRAINING.  Zane was ready.  Jed and Zoe were ready to help.  The potty and the treats were ready.  But mom... mom had a fairly significant enthusiasm gap.  But I know time is getting short before baby 4 makes his big appearance, and so I bit the bullet and put on a very convincing act of excitement and we went for it.  Jed was so excited he helped me get all the new undies and treats out and organized before Zane even woke up Monday morning.  He also volunteered to make this potty sticker chart, which he pointed out several times was WAY cooler than the one I was going to make.  Of course he is absolutely right.  This is the coolest potty chart ever.

Zane met his new "cool car unnerpants" with great enthusiasm and proceeded to spend Day 1 wetting through them with wild, messy male abandon. I had to go down and dig through clothing boxes in the basement to find an extra dozen undies when it quickly became clear that ten pair was NOT going to be enough.  Here is my fb post from about halfway through Day 1:
 We got some cool treats and they are out and ready... Everyone is enthusiastic (or at least pretending, in moms case)... But even though w have sat on the potty a dozen times and drank half a gallon of liquids... no success yet! Just one very impressive flood of an accident. Come on Zaners!!!

Several hours later, the enthusiasm had waned even further, but gritty determination set in.  I have wood floors. I can do this: Well, I think Zane's ready. I personally cannot wait any longer - he pees out of his diapers at least once, often several times a day, since he holds it for so long. He constantly has his man bits hanging out and has accidents on the floor, so I get the pleasure of changing diapers AND cleaning up pee! Nope, it's time. He's ready, I'm fed up. It's gonna take some time but we will get it done. No success yet today but he is still super happy and cheerful about it. We have done the naked thing (last time we trained) so I know he can do it. This time we are focusing on keeping undies on and figuring out how to keep them dry

Finally about 3 PM we finally had a success!  And when I say "we" I mean "Zoe" because she is a way better potty trainer than her momma, I'm afraid.  By that night, I think the score was Potty:3 vs Floor/Couch: 12.  This was a long day.

But Day 2 dawned with new hope and we spent a lot of the morning outside with a darling dry pants kiddo with his "cool fast car flag unnerpans" showing off his moves on the big bike.
And surprisingly, those pants stayed dry all morning long!   We did have a little poop incident at the park, but that's to be expected when mom and boy are both distracted.  But the whole day felt much, much more hopeful. I found a 2-minute Elmo potty song clip on youtube that has been very helpful.  He watches it over and over with wonder, marveling in breathy tones "Dat Elma have tiny potty just like ME!"

To my joyful surprise, though, the most motivating thing for Zane has been pleasing his mommy.  On the second day, after a successful "pee-pee" experience, he came running over to me and threw his arms around my neck.  With glowing eyes he turned his face up to mine. "I make you happy, Mommy?"  Yes, Zane, you have made me SO happy!  "I make you happy!" He gave me a huge hug and said "I love you, Mommy!"  Yes that will melt any mother's heart.  He only started saying "I love you" spontaneously about a week ago, so every utterance is so precious!  All week long, he has been asking again and again "I make you happy, Mommy?!"  He is the sweetest little man ever. He wants to potty train because he knows it is important to me.  Love this affectionate, earnest, cheerful child.

 Day 3 was even better, so we ventured out to the little library downtown and even had a successful public restroom experience there (wheeee!  Much cheering!  The librarians must have had raised eyebrows for that one.)

By day 4 he was waking up with a dry diaper every day and only having very occasional (<1 a="" accidents.="" and="" been="" bonding="" day="" experience="" first="" from="" great="" guy.="" has="" it="" little="" long="" my="" nbsp="" p="" painless="" per="" really="" side="" spending="" the="" time="" virtually="" with="" zaners="">

Sunday, April 6, 2014


 Zoe is my natural athlete.  She is such a jumper that her brother has nicknamed her "Kangaroo" because she's been jumping since before she could walk. Sometimes she has to get up from the dinner table just to jump ten or twenty times before she can sit down again and finish her meal.  She has so much energy!
 Nothing makes Zoe happier than running.  As soon as she sets out she gets a giant giggly smile and can't stop laughing with joy.  She LOVES to run!  She can (and has) run for more than a mile without trouble.  Her gait is so beautiful, so smooth and lithe; she looks like a little gazelle. I hope she never stops.

Chicken Keeper

Jed has taken charge of the chicken chores this year.  This isn't an easy job for him, especially during the cold winter months, but he has been remarkably diligent for a little guy.  Sometimes he complains, but whenever we go outside he always loves talking to the chickens and spending the time outside.
 We haven't had an easy run of it this past winter, with almost half our chickens dying in various gruesome manners, but Jed's been a tough cookie and hasn't even winced helping clean up and deal with the aftermath.
  I feel tending the chickens teaches some of the greatest lessons a child could learn, and is the primary reasons why I want chickens. Daily work is required. It isn't fun, but it is rewarding collecting the eggs and seeing the flock grow. During hard times, he comes face to face with the realities of death and the natural cycle of life. Realizing his actions have real, lasting, permanent consequences for these helpless animals has opened his eyes.  I know if he can learn to understand these lessons now, he will be stronger facing challenges as a teen and an adult.

So much rain!

This past week we had the rainiest day in recorded Evansville history.  The previous total rain in 24 hours record was 2.89 inches.  We handily smashed that by geting 4.97 inches.  It poured and poured and poured and lightninged and thundered for 30 hours straight, for a total of 6 inches of rain.  Craziness! 

We did get a short break about 18 hours in, and the kids wasted no time in donning their boots and heading out to the newly-formed lake in the backyard.

I wish I had a photo of them in their "boat."  I thought it a little ridiculous when they planned to float out in the overturned turtle shell to our little sandbox, but they proved me wrong because it totally worked!  Zoe and Zane both sailed out in their little boat, spinning happily with the plastic baseball bat as an oar. These kids are awesome.

The second full night of explosive thunder and lightning wasn't kind to the kids' sleep.  Michael and I couldn't sleep either.  It was an incessant roar of waterfall off the roof, punctuated by blinding flashes and bombs going off in the front yard.  This is how we finally got Zoe to sleep.
Yes, that is ear protection for Michael's rifle, and it works perfectly to protect little girls from nature's artillery.


One of my favorite things about Zoe is how much she loves creepie-crawlies.  She's always running to me with a wiggly worm or chirping cricket or some tiny creature clasped in her moist little hand.  Last summer she had a cricket collection, which she captured all by herself (at age 3!)  I shamelessly encourage her gross bug habit, since I myself worked for an entomologist raising weevils and moths back in the day.  We are women who love bugs and creeping things. 

Worms are generally her favorite, though.  After our big rainstorm this past week (6 inches of rain in 30 hours) we had worms by the handful available, and Zoe Ann was in heaven.
 She gently stretched them out on the pavement to compare their lengths.

I am sorry to report that often the worms do not survive her tender attentions.  I chalk their deaths up as a sacrifice to science, since I'm quite sure we'll have an accomplished entomologist on our hands someday.

Baby brother wants in on the photo action. "HI DAD!"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kid Heights

As is obvious to those present, they are tall kids!  Especially my two elder ostriches.

Height: 51 1/2 (93rd percentile)
Shoulder/Hip: 14
Shirt: 8 (M)
Pants: 7
Shoes: 3

Height: 43 1/2 (92nd percentile)
Shouder/Hip: 13
Pants: 6
Shoes: 11
Dress: 6 (but it needs to be long, she is so tall!)

Height: 37 3/4 (84th percentile)
Shoulder/Hip: 11 1/2
Shirt: 3T
Shoes: 9
(He is growing fast!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My babes

Today Zoe read a poem out of this darling

Margaret Wise Brown collection we’ve borrowed from the library.  She read haltingly and with occasional prompting about all the little animals in the snow... so sweet and lovely.  She is a precious girl.  She is like a soft wiggly snuggly little kitten right now and I can’t get enough of it.  Jed says she is more like a kangaroo because she jumps all the time.

Jed compares himself to a goat, which is pretty much just about right.  “Like a sheep, but stronger.”  I might add “And also insanely stubborn.”  That boy has a mind of his own.  He is so sweet and easy and teachable in daily living, but when it comes to something where he has a differing opinion, wooeee do those heels dig in hard.  He is NOT GOING TO BUDGE once he’s made his mind up.

And Zane is Mommy’s Boy!  “Mommy Mommy Me!”  Much to his daddy’s consternation.  He is also my “Happy hoppy boy Me!”  Happy all the time!  “Car car.... GO!” Running and roaring and giggling at the world.  An absolute ball of boyish delight.  Snuggly.  Into everything.  Must be in the middle and in the way at all times.  Messy.  Goes potty once or twice a day.  Eats like a piggy and a picky little piggy at times, too.  Sleeps beautifully and almost always in his Big Boy Bed.  Kisses my owies and hands me items at the dinner table.  Eager to be a part of everything.  Shouts math quizzes at the whiteboard while scribbling madly: “FOUR!  ONE!  TREE FOUR!  E-L-O!”  The translation is simple “I AM A BIG BOY LIKE EVERYONE ELSE AND I CAN DO IT, TOO!”  When you sing “Winnie the...” he can’t stop himself from sweetly popping out “Pooh!” on those pink round lips, and follow it with a sheepish grin.  At the end he sings “..silly ol’ ba-yow!” and it slays me every time.  Unbearable cuteness!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

At the Playground

It's been a long, long winter for the Stanfills.  Last Saturday the weather dared to leave "frigid" and tread into the realm of "bearably mild".  So we grabbed our jackets and the whole family headed out for a spontaneous trip to the playground!  And what fun we had!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jed's 7th Birthday

Jed’s 7th birthday.  My little babe, grown into a sweet, happy, kind-natured boy.  Full of goodness.  Sincere and serious, silly and full of fun.  Stubborn, yet soft natured and always wanting to do what was right.  He is so precious.  His eyes are still full of love.  It makes me so happy.  I enjoy so much seeing my tiny child grow into the smallest semblance of a man.

We had a little party for some of his friends. Too many, more than Mom wanted, but he had a list a mile long so we settled on as many as we could fit around the table AND the card table. We had our traditional PanCAKE Birthday Breakfast, where everyone gets a candle to light as many times as they like, and pancake toppings out of every child's fantasies: syrup, whipping cream, strawberry sauce, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles to layer and devour to their heart's content. One funny boy announced this was the greatest birthday party EVER as he dug into his fifth mounded plate of goodness. Ah, boys are so easy to please!

Then sardines, which involved so much giggling I thought they were going to toss their pancakes before they were found all huddled behind the trash can in the kitchen.

And finally hot potato gift opening.

Simple and perfect. Jed was absolutely glowing and thanked me twenty times for "the party with everything I ever wanted, Mom!" Turns out 7 year old boys are pretty great.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

While big sister is asleep...

Wheeeee! Soft and fluffy!