T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ruminations - I Hope I Remember...

Tonight as I "rocked" my little daughter after a long but good day at the pediatric clinic, I held her tiny little hand in mine and listened to the sound of her sucking her thumb. She's still quite a wiggle worm so all these thoughts occurred to me within seconds. Amazing how the brain works. 

I hope I can remember...

I hope I can remember these tiny, soft hands and chubby Flintstone feet,
and breath so sweaty sweet.

I hope I can remember nursing my tiny babes and their favorite solid foods -
sweets for her, salty for him  - suit their moods.

I hope I can remember playing trains, tea parties, pretend forts, stacking blocks,
and Bebe Sister wearing snowmen socks.

I hope I can remember bed head hair and rosy cheeks after a nap, 
and snuggles on my lap.

I hope I can remember the pitter patter of little feet 
padding along the wood floors so sweet.

I hope I can remember little voices saying blue, ye-ah, duck, balls,
and non-stop questions filling the halls.

I hope I can remember crayons, coloring, play dough, painted hand prints, 
and various other artistic stints. 

I hope I can remember reading favorite stories before bedtime in the room, - 
especially the ever popular Good Night Moon.

I know I will always be grateful for this honor and call,
being their mother is best of all.

I know some day I'll be old and sitting in a rocking chair remembering these days. I just want to snap shot these memories so I can revisit them in my elderly days - knowing these really were the days.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snow...Snow...

It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow
I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow


I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow
Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow

Ah, yes, soon, we will be living Mr. Bing Crosby's words. Just not quite yet. 

Last weekend I had 40lbs of organic pears that needed to be canned. The usual helpers were not available so it was up to me. T Rex Dad took charge of toddler wrangling while I worked for 5 hours straight. 

My mother-in-law recently shared with me a few ideas that she used to keep young T Rex Dad occupied while she was working in the kitchen. We tried one of these out during canning time. 

We put a couple of cups of flour into my left over canning boxes. Then the kids brought over their cars and drove them in the "snow". 

It was sort of like having a mini sandbox of flour in the kitchen. It sounds kind of messy. Not too bad. Flour does clean up pretty easy. And we have a lot of it. Best of all, though, the kids were occupied for over 2 hours. When we were done, we dumped the left over flour into a plastic container and labeled it "play flour" and have since used it again and again. It's a big hit with the kids - especially easy clean up when used outside.

A big thank you to my mother-in-law for this idea. We owe you some pears!

P.S. 40lbs of pears yielded a full 3 loads of 1 qt jars - that's 21 jars. Thank goodness my good neighbor loaned me her super awesome peeler. I've added a couple of those to my wish list.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Costume Preview...

Knowing I would be too busy with school to make the kids their Halloween costumes, I opted to finish the the last week before I started back at school. It was a bit of a race to get them done but complete they are and I have to say I am very pleased with the end results.

Bebe Sister, at the request of her dad, is going to be a medieval princess. Not feeling like I could tackle this on my own without a pattern, I did hit the fabric store and find a pattern. It called for satin and tulle. If you are a sewer or have never sewn anything with either of these, then you can appreciate how tough this project was. Satin un-wravels like crazy and tulle just won't hold its shape long enough to do what you want it to do. There were a lot of sighs and deep breaths during this project but in the end, it was a success. 

I estimate this project took about 20 hours total to finish complete. Just cutting the pattern and the fabric took 3 hours. Lots of little pieces. Had I seen this cool Snow White dress tutorial, I probably would not have undertaken such a task and gone with a simple Snow White dress. In the end, I am glad I did this. It really stretched my sewing abilities allowing me to learn and grow as a seamstress. Plus, now I have the "to die for cute" costume. I suspect this will be used for dress-up for many months following Halloween.

T Rex's costume was quite a bit easier. He's a medieval wizard. It took only about 3 hours to complete and there are three separate pieces. Basically a pair of toddler pants, the hat, and the cape. He was particularly excited to try on the cape. I found him standing on his bathroom counter top modeling it. Initially he wanted to be Lightning McQueen but I really did not want to paint a box red and hang it onto him. When we suggested the wizard costume he eagerly agreed. He's still pretty excited about it. Poor dear, Halloween is still over a month away. But again, another costume the kids will have a great time pretending with long past it's initial use.

I just know the dress up bin in the play room is only going to continue to grow. It warms my heart the kids enjoy playing dress up and wearing costumes. I think it's good for the imagination. 

Do you have a costume bin for your kids? Or have enjoyed playing dress up either as a kid or adult? (T Rex Dad and I still cannot resist a good costume party or dinner.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

"My Soap Will Make Soap Suds...I Hope"

After some wonderful encouragement from a sweet lady, I made the plunge and finally made my first ever batch of homemade soap. Back in May I purchased all the necessary makings based on the recipe my friend sent. However, I was terrified of working with lye. Honestly, overall it seemed like such a challenging and unknown task. 

Then I found myself about to start back at school and I realized, the one project I really wanted to complete during my break I had not completed. I contacted my soap making mentor, watched a couple online tutorials, purchased a stick blender, and whipped up a batch of soap while the kids took their three hour naps. 

The lye, when mixed with cold water, caused quite the heat reaction. Because of this I made sure I wore my gloves and safety goggles. I chose coconut and olive as my oils and shea butter as my "nutrient oil". For my essential oil, I opted for lavender as it was the only one I had in sufficient quantity. I had to keep reheating the oils so they stayed warm while I waited the 30 minutes for the lye to cool to 100 degrees F to match the temperature of the oils. Once this happened, I used my stick blender for about 4-5 minutes. When it started to firm up, I added the shea butter and lavender oil, stirred one last time, and poured into my molds. 

As worried as I was that I would harm myself in the process, I suffered only minor injuries - a tiny oil burn from a droplet and a small abrasion from cleaning the stick blender. Nothing from the lye. I guess I need to be more vigilant during the non-lye steps, too. I also completed much of the process outside with the dogs locked in the side yard. I believe keeping safe was probably the toughest part of the process followed by matching temperatures simultaneously between the oils and lye/water mix.  

Twenty four hours later, I cut the soap loaves. The smell was delicious - I almost wanted to eat it. Alas, I do not have pica and therefore did not end up eating any of the soap. The kids were so excited to finally see the almost finished product. Both kids just kept sniffing it and saying, "Mmmm". 

Then the wait.  It takes 4-6 weeks for the soap to finish curing and then it can be used. However, I did get some instant gratification as there were some soap bits left over from cutting and cleaning. WOW! They left my hands feeling so soft and as T Rex said while I was cutting it, "My soap will make soap suds, I hope" (quoting from "My World", a favorite book the kids read). My dear little guy, "Mother's Soap" is looking pretty good thus far. In the mean time, my laundry room, where the soap has been curing, smells wonderful!

It's been four weeks since the soap was completed and I have gifted a couple of bars and used one for myself. I love it. I cannot believe I did not get into this sooner. I am already plotting my next batch. I even have a couple people asking to watch so they can also learn. 

To my dear sweet son  - my soap does indeed make soap suds. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Toddler Tales

As I mentioned previously, I have specific mornings dedicated just to the kids and spending time with them. One of the activities we do every week without fail is visit the library. I try to time our visits with designated reading times. A couple weeks ago we went to a puppet show. However, every Monday morning is Toddler Tales reading time. The librarian, Ms. Tammie, always has a theme for the stories and she is just amazing with the kids. 

This past week the theme was "frogs". The mascot for toddler story time is Freddie the Frog. T Rex LOVES him and after every week's story time he wants to see Freddie (he's a puppet) and talk with him. Plus, he always has some kind of tale for Ms. Tammie, his favorite librarian. Always before we leave he asks her if she can please order more Thomas the Tank books and then hugs her telling her, "See you next time. Thanks for the stories."

It's a wonderful reading time. Generally there is a pretty good turn out of kids in attendance. I do like how our local library is very kid friendly and has areas where the kids can play and read and can browse through the books on their own.

I believe story time has really made my kids love reading even more. Of course, they don't watch TV and only rarely see some videos like old style Thomas the Tank. Bebe Sister still rarely sees any kind of shows. Because of this, I believe it has really impacted their desire for reading. Plus, they see their father and mother reading all the time and we always read to them -  it's the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing at night. 

Me? I'm looking forward to some lighter reading days - something somewhere between "Good Night Moon" and Pediatric Primary Care (20th edition). I did just submit my presentation on pediatric urinary tract infections. If there is any interest I might post some of the highlights from that presentation here. 

For this weekend, though, we're painting my mom's house and canning pears. Sigh...I guess my entertainment reading will remain with "Big, Little", "Little Quack", and "James and the Red Balloon" as well as some Dr. Seuss mixed in. (I think T Rex thinks it's funny to hear me try to read some of those tales fast and get tongue tied.) I'll just have to keep living vicariously through Jenners and her Life with Books.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bye, Bye...

Mondays are hard for the kids. Their Dada has to go back to work after being home for the weekend. This is always tough for the kids. Bebe Sister LOVES her dad and walks around the house calling for him all day. She'll point to the stairs and ask if he is upstairs napping. 

T Rex just keeps asking questions, endless questions: Is Dad at work? Why does he work? Are their machines there? Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it just right? Does he miss me while he's there? Is it almost the weekend? Will he be home for the witching hour? The questions just keep coming until I ask him to think about more questions with his inside thinking voice.

Last Monday I captured a photo of the kids waving goodbye to their dad as he drove away to work. These photos make me feel so sad for them because I know how they are feeling knowing he will be away from us for the day. However, the photos also warm my heart because they remind me these little kids have such absolute, perfect, pure love for this man who so tenderly loves and cares for them.

Then, the daddy-detox begins... 

Quick update regarding school - I catch up just in time for the week to start again. This past weekend I spent the majority of my free time working on a pediatric urinary tract infection presentation. Thank you T Rex Dad for toddler wrangling the kids so I could endlessly work. I also spent 2 hours at the health center waiting to get a TB test (glad I took my textbook, such a waste of time otherwise).  Last week was a great couple days at the internal medicine clinic and later at the pediatric clinic. My heart broke as I told an elderly couple there was nothing more that could be done for this gentleman's condition and hospice should be considered. However, the week ended much better as I did a set of pediatric well checks - one on a 10 day old newborn and one on a seven year old boy (with his 2 year old brother helping). Ahh, the peds days I feel like I'm in my element. I guess I'm used to the chaos. I learn so much every week. My brain is on overload. I wish it absorbed things like my kids' brains do. I think I should send my kids to graduate school now while their brains are so plastic and mold-able.  Alas, this Monday is over and I need to get to bed for a couple of long clinic days.

Are Mondays tough in your house, too?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Clothing Preview...

I have expensive taste in kids clothes. Me, I will happily wear whatever I find at my favorite thrift store or hand-me-downs from my sister, but for my kids, I do enjoy dressing them up. Oh, they wear their fair share of used clothes, too. Goodness knows Bebe Sister wears a lot of boy-style clothes. However, I like to have some nice things for key occasions and events.

My friend introduced me to Hanna Andersson a couple years ago. (Bad, Caitlin, bad!) I love their stuff. However, as much as it wears beautifully and stays new looking forever, I cough every time I see the price tag. Costco will sometimes carry leggings or pajamas and I'll get new Hannas there but that's about all the new of that brand I will pay for. Last summer I found several play dresses for Bebe Sister and some sweatpants for T Rex on eBay. However, this year, it seems everyone has that idea. There are few deals to be had.

I still get the Hanna catalog, though. I saw this dress and thought it would be so lovely on Bebe Sister but at $46 plus shipping, no go. Even if I was not on a super tight budget I probably would not pay full price for this. The catalog does give me lots of ideas and with that dress in mind I set out to make one as close to it as I could with what I had in my sewing stash. Then others followed. Before I knew it, I had a clothing line designed and sewed by me.

So here I present to you Bebe Sister's fall clothing preview...

This first dress is the one I made using the Hanna dress as inspiration. I should have taken photos of the process as I made my own patterns for almost all of these, too. It would make a nice dress tutorial for you crafty people out there. Alas, I was sewing during nap times so time was precious and limited. This material is cotton. It was a remnant fabric piece. The almost one yard cost less than $3. 

Then I finished a pillow case dress that had been cut for months. It was supposed to be ready for summer but since fall is fast approaching I put it with a black body suit making it perfect for fall. I also made some short bloomers to go with it. 

Then my mother-in-law gave me some scraps left over from one of her mother's square dancing dresses. The material is probably from the late sixties or early seventies but it was still in excellent shape. Fabric these days is rarely so nice. These scraps were made into a skirt and matching purse. Bebe Sister loves purses/bags. I paired these with a basic white girls' shirt. What is cool to me is that I kept the original stitching for the hem of the skirt. Bebe Sister never met her great-grandma Besta but she was a pretty special lady and lived nearly 102 years.

When I work out I watch Little House on the Prairie videos. I just love the clothing from that period. I wanted to make something for our daughter with a pioneer flair. This is what I came up with. I had some wooden buttons that completed the look as when I tried the dress on her it was way too big. The pleats in front needed a little clean up and this worked perfectly. Bloomers were a must, too. Additionally, and not pictured here, I made some pajama pants for me with the left over bloomer fabric. It was actually quite fun to finally have a pair of my-style pants for me. They really are comfortable! Now I know why the kids like them so much. (I'm wearing them right now actually.)

In January I made an outfit with this really cute black cat print. You can see what it looked like here. I still had some fabric left over. I saved it intentionally because it was so cute. I turned it into a dress. I think this one is my favorite as it is also Bebe Sister's, too. When she tried it on I could not get her to take it off. I think the silver belt adds just the right touch. Currently, I am looking for some matching silver shoes on eBay - hoping to score some barely used ones. 

In a later posting, I will show you the kids' Halloween costumes. They are complete and I have to say I am pretty excited. Bebe Sister's costume is the one of the hardest things I've ever sewn - it took me 3 dedicated days to get it done. T Rex's took about three hours. Both turned out exactly how I wanted. Here's a sneak peek...I made this dress using the pattern from Bebe Sister's costume dress (with some changes, of course) using the left overs from the material from T Rex's costume.  

Remember that $46 dress as inspiration? I made all these things, plus a couple of pairs of shorts for T Rex (which will be posted on his blog) for less than the cost of that Hanna dress. Not too shabby.

Oh, and in case you were curious, I did all this the week before school. I have had zero time for crafting since this fall semester started almost 3 weeks ago. 

What do you think of Bebe Sister's fall clothing styles? One you like? How do you dress your kids or yourself on a budget?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last Day at Pool This Season...

From our last day at the pool this season...

This was from over a week ago (my fourth day of school). We were hoping to go once more before the neighborhood pool closed but the temperatures have been quickly dropping and since the pool is not heated, we did not go again. Yes, Bebe Sister chose her outfit. We think she likes the sunglasses not because they are girly or she's accessorizing but because she's wearing glasses like her brother.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend...

It was such a simple weekend but also just fabulous. Warning - LOTS of photos...

Remember those 60lbs of peaches? Well, they found their homes in many, many jars (about 30). My sister, mom, and good neighbor were kind enough to offer their morning helping me. T Rex Dad took the kids on an outing. What was so nice about their help was rather than the entire day being consumed by canning we were done by nap time which meant I had those three hours for studying.

Sunday was pretty quiet. Normal stuff. However, since I am lacking 2 days worth of works-outs with clinical days we decided a hike down the Oregon Trail might burn a few extra calories while still keeping our Sunday quiet and family oriented.

After our hike we walked down to the "house of 'structions" as T Rex refers to it. It's just a house that's under construction. The coolest part is there is a big pile of dirt in the back area. This was great fun for the kids. They immediately went for showers after this.

Monday was just the best. I spent the morning studying and preparing for another intense week of clinical rotations. After nap time we met T Rex Dad's sister and brother-in-law (aka Aunt T and Uncle Doc) at the lake. They offered to take us on the boat so the kids could have some water fun before summer time was officially over. It was a spectacular time. We didn't have to do a thing. We arrived and they picked us up at the dock along with their new English Springer puppy named Pippa.

Kids tend to keep things simple. We did not do much more than play on the small patch of beach, dig in the dirt with Pippa, and swim. Bebe Sister loved floating in her life vest. Later before dusk, the kids took turns driving the boat. We all smiled watching Pippa's ears blowing in the wind. Before she is one year old she will be completely blind. Such a sweet puppy. And SO soft. As the sun started to set in the West the temperature started to drop hence the swaddled Bebe Sister. Later on the way home T Rex insisted we take a photo of the monster truck that Aunt T found for him.

Thank you Aunt T and Uncle Doc for just a fabulous end to our Labor Day weekend. 

Thanks to our readers for sharing in the adventures. Now onto bed for a an early day at the clinic. Send me good luck and lots of positive thoughts...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Juggling Mama...

I borrowed the title for this from a long time blog follower - Juggling Mama. It's what I feel like right now.

Week two of school is complete. I am caught up on all my assignments but still have 5 chapters of reading for the week. As T Rex Dad says, "It's like this never ending thing...Jiminy Cricket!" (he makes me smile). My first week of clinical rotations was fine, in the end.

Tuesday at the internal medicine clinic was horrible. It had been over five months since I'd been in a clinic working and I was so rusty. Plus, my brain was just getting fired up and back into the swing of things. My preceptor kept asking questions and no answer seemed good enough. Plus, every patient was taking at least 20 medications and had at least 2-3 chronic illnesses. One patient was on 42 different medications and some were taken more than once per day. If I took that many drugs I'd feel horrible, too. I'm trying to do some extra reading and testing myself so I'll be ready for weirdly random questions on my next day there.

My time at the pediatric clinic was simply delightful. I smiled all day. Kids are just amazing. I know because I think mine are just delightful treasures. However, it was an incredible feeling taking care of other people's little treasures. Lots of rashes and I think the beginning of respiratory season is fast upon us - one diagnoses of bronchitis and one of croup.

T Rex said he was proud that his mama is " a healer and makes people feel better." This eased my sadness as I drove away on Tuesday and Wednesday. My mom said the kids were great and T Rex enjoyed doing his preschool lessons with Nana. He is so close to reading. He is doing great with rhyming words and can read and name them. He is still 2 years away from kindergarten. I worry he is going to be bored when he finally does go to school. We'll see...

As I drove home Tuesday night after my first day, I saw smoke over the neighborhood. As I drove closer and closer to the house, the smoke became thicker and thicker. I drove into the driveway and it was so smokey I could hardly see. I ran into the house and everyone was fine. The fire was actually along the trail below our house. Shortly thereafter the police and fire department arrived. We left and ate dinner out while they worked on the fire and discovered that some 12 year old kids were smoking and accidentally caught the dessert on fire. Let me tell you, though, for a few minutes my heart was beating pretty fast (or "tachycardic" as I should properly say) and I thought it was a sign I should not continue my studies, especially after my rough day.

In an attempt to ensure quality time with the kids I have designated Monday, Thursday, and Friday mornings as fun times with the kids. This week we went to the library on Monday and later on Friday for a puppet show ("Baby Bebe" was the show). Both outings were followed by trips to a local park where we also had lunch. Thursday I took them in the bike trailer to another park - I needed to work out but I also knew I needed the 3 hour nap time for studying. Hence, the bike ride was a good 45 minute work out (ever pull a bike trailer - it is tough work especially with mountain bike tires). Thursday was fun because we took the soccer ball and T Rex had a great time doing some soccer drills. Even Bebe Sister got in on the action, too. (Yes, they checked out that yellow dinosaur from the library.)

School seems so much more difficult. Likely because I am expected to know more and also I've moved from part-time to full-time. Add to that two very mobile, trouble seeking toddlers...it certainly is a juggling act - juggling school, kids/family, and trying to stay fit and healthy. Certainly a lot going on. 

So it seems I'll be T Rex Juggling Mom for the next 8 1/2 months while I finish up school. I still have lots of postings planned, however, there has just been little time for logging onto the computer for non-school stuff. Hang in there with me and thank you for all your support.

Tomorrow...60lbs of organic peaches to jar. Luckily my sis, mom, and good neighbor will be stopping in to help while T Rex Dad is the toddler wrangler.