Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Project Life (Aug. 23-29)

Project Life is a photography project challenging you to take a photo a day that captures something special about your life at this time, be it a special event or just an ordinary sweet moment. I heard about from Jessica Turner, and you can see more Project Life participants over at her blog, The Mom Creative.

Monday 8/23: Jessica Turner also does some scrapbook classes at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I participated in a live chat on that site with her Monday night, and then felt inspired to do some scrapping myself. I made this sweet page highlighting Kate and Daddy's special bond.
Tuesday 8/24: Kate has recently gotten very interested in the music box her Uncle Andrew and Aunt Alexis gave her before she was born. She wants us to wind it up several times each evening, and sometimes when we're playing in her room, she will point at it and say "uh oh!" as in "uh oh, it's not playing right now. Fix it, Mommy!"
Wednesday 8/25: We got our first order from Soap.com tonight, a partner site to my beloved Diapers.com. They have just about any toiletry or cleaning item you might want, with similar fast service and free shipping on orders over $49. They are offering 15% of diapers for the rest of the year if you place a Soap.com order of over $25, so I stocked up on shampoo, paper towels, etc. Like the whole Old Navy/Gap family of stores, you can place one order for items from both Diapers.com and Soap.com.
Thursday 8/26: Kate is going through a phase where she doesn't want to sit in her eat-seat at meals. Just a few minutes into the meal, she'll say she's "all done" and want to get out. Then, she'll sit on our laps and pick from our plates or her own. I started to wonder if making her feel like a big girl by removing the tray and letting her eat from the table would help. She thought it was pretty cool this first time, but the jury's still out as to whether it's a real solution!
Friday 8/27: Matt, Kate, and I spent the night at Matt's parents' house in Brentwood since I had to get up early on Saturday morning, and I wouldn't have to get up quite as early if I started the day in Brentwood rather than Clarksville. Matt and Kate enjoyed playing the piano together at Granna and Opa's house.
Saturday 8/28: The reason I was getting up early was to head out to Lebanon, Tenn., to take photos of my friend Maria compete in her first triathlon. Kate and I had a lot of fun watching Maria swim, bike, and run, and taking a bunch of pics (with my camera but on Maria's memory card). I took a few shots on my memory card, so here is a glimpse of the day--Maria getting ready to compete, and Kate enjoying watching all the swimmers get ready to start the event.
Sunday 8/29: Kate threw up her breakfast (a few times) so she and I stayed home from church. We got out an animal puzzle that we'd never tried before, and Kate did pretty well with it. I was wondering, since the puzzle didn't feature common animals like cats and dogs, but a kangaroo, an octopus, and a vulture, among other things. She took a couple really long naps to recooperate (from the stomach bug, not the puzzle!)

Monday, August 30, 2010


Note: I'm not sure why, but this post is consistently one of my most read, even more than a year after writing it, so I thought I should finally correct a factual error in it! Abby is NOT in the "Elmo's World" segment, but rather appears in segments throughout the show and in her own cartoon segment, "Abby's Flying Fairy School." 

After I wrote about toddlers and TV last week, Kate and Daddy have started watching Sesame Street on their Daddy Daughter Days. After just two episodes, Kate LOVES Abby!

For the uninitiated, Abby Cadabby (like Abracadabra--get it?) is a fairy-in-training on the "Elmo's World" segment of Sesame Street. I'd heard of her before, from seeing the branded character products when registering for baby gear. Apparently she premiered in 2006, according to Wikipedia's bio of her, and she was the first new female character in thirteen years.

Though Kate had never watched an episode of Sesame Street before last Tuesday, she knew Elmo from her diapers and her Elmo phone. "Memo!" she calls him. And she can say "Abby" quite correctly! Matt says she gets very excited when Elmo and Abby come on screen. I can't wait to watch it with her when I'm off work on Labor Day!

As I mentioned in last week's post, I've been hesitant to let Kate watch TV at an early age, and now I'm hesitant about the whole commercialism aspect of her loving these characters. Is she going to want Abby dolls and Elmo lunchboxes and whatnot now? (On a related note: I'm reading a book now called Parenting, Inc., which mentions that in its first Christmas season, Tickle Me Elmo had over $22 million in sales. Wow.) Overall, though, I think it's good she's enjoying such a classic and educational show as Sesame Street and having fun watching a spunky little girl in pigtails help out her fellow muppets. And let's face it--Abby and Elmo are simply adorable.

Most of all, though, I'm just hoping that the magic words "like Abby!" will mean the end of meltdowns when I put Kate's hair in pigtails!

Friday, August 27, 2010


Kate has been learning a lot of new words since turning 18 months, and uses them to order us around more effectively. One of her frequent requests is "Ashes? Ashes?" by which she means "Please read me the book that has 'Ring Around the Roses' in it."

That book would be the precious pop-up book, Bunny's Nursery Rhymes, an Easter gift from my Nana, who spent Easter with us during her all-too-short three months of widowhood. It has classic rhymes like "Jack and Jill," Little Boy Blue," etc., but Kate's favorite is that charming ditty about the Black Death, "Ring Around the Roses" (more accurately, "Ring a Ring of Roses.") Spinning around and falling down is a big hit with the toddler set, as you can imagine.

Enjoy the video!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Little Helper

Kate is getting to the age where she can follow directions and thrives on praise from Mommy and Daddy. That makes her an awesome little helper. Yes, there are many (many!) times where she does not do what we say, throws things, hits, makes messes, and has temper tantrums sure to gain her admittance to her pick of two-year-old classrooms in elite day cares around the country. (We like to joke that when she throws a fit, crying and going limp, she's practicing for the two-year-old room, where they don't let you in unless you can throw truly terrible tantrums.)
But she is also very helpful to us, and it's lots of fun to see her process and respond to a request. She is great with a variety of tasks:

1. throwing things away. She went through a phase where lots of toys and other things ended up in the garbage, and occasionally we still have a problem--the other morning, Matt asked me, "oh, you're throwing your water bottle out?" when of course, I had not--but she's doing better. We can hand her a piece of paper or other trash, say "take this to the garbage," and she will do it.

2. cleaning up toys. Like most kids (and many men) she just doesn't see messes. So what if there are toys and books and crayons and cheerios all over the floor? Still, if we start cleaning up, and urge her to do the same, she will pick some things up with us. She knows what container the crayons go in and which container the animals go in, etc. While we are still doing most of the work, of course, it is good for her to be doing it with us because (as I read somewhere) cleaning up after kids are in bed only reinforces the idea that a magical fairy will pick up after them. Singing "Clean up, clean up / everybody everywhere / clean up, clean up / everybody do your share" just makes it even more of a family affair. (Oh, and if I say, "Kate, take Daddy's shoes to him," she will remove the Birkenstocks from the middle of the living room floor for me Score! :0)

3. Putting away laundry. In the constant parental mind game of "what can I do while the kid is awake and what do I need to do while she's asleep?" sorting laundry falls into the "awake" category, even if it takes a little longer with the Little Helper. I sort, she unsorts. Naturally. But if I can get it sorted without too much interference, Kate is great at carrying piles of clothes for me. "Let's take these to your room, Kate!" I say, and she'll grab the pile of jammies while I carry the dresses, and we go in together to put them away. Now that we keep the bibs in a bag by the high chair (we finally wised up after running to her room before every meal) she knows that some things go there, and more than just bibs ended up in that bag, but at least she's putting things "away"!

4. Loading or emptying the dishwasher. Kate loves the dishwasher. If it is open, she is right there. When she gets the urge to climb into it, that's not so good, but oftentimes, she will help me by putting silverware into the basket or taking mugs and things out and handing them to me. She can't tell if things are dirty or clean, of course, so sometimes the taking out and putting in get mixed up, but she follows my lead enough to get it right most of the time.

5. Picking out shoes. This bit of "help" is more subjective, and sometimes Kate and I disagree about which of Mommy's shoes should go with a particular outfit, but I appreciate her fashion advice. Kids are always more in tune with trends :0) Seriously, Kate has been able to pick matching shoes out of a pile on the closet floor for several months now. She will pick out a pair and put them at my feet and urge me to put them on. Sometimes, I roll with it. Other times, not. One Sunday morning, I really didn't feel like wearing heels to church, even though my dress would have looked much better with them. Kate set my favorite peep-toe pumps at my feet, so I put them on. Just before we left, I said "Sorry Kate, I just can't do it," and put on some flats instead. She shook her head at me disapprovingly with a furrowed brow.

As with all Kate's other forms of help, I appreciate the effort!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday: Taking Your Kids to Work

Working Mom WednesdayI am an only child, and have countless childhood memories of fun times with my parents. One such fun memory is going to my dad’s office with him on Saturdays every now and then. We would stop at a bakery and get doughnuts and milk (coffee for him, I’m sure). We would drive downtown and park in the underground garage, take one elevator up to the marble lobby and then another up to his floor, or one near it that had a nice break room. We would enjoy our breakfast—I always got a Long John—the elongated, cream-filled, chocolate-glazed delight that is occasionally (disappointingly!) confused with a custard-filled ├ęclair. (Blech—if I can’t feel the sugar crunch between my teeth, it’s no good.)

Then we would go to my dad’s office, where he would set me up at a coffee table or secretary’s desk (back when you could call them secretaries), and I would draw and color with highlighters on printer paper (back when printer paper was connected in a big folded stack and you had to tear off the little perforated borders used to guide the paper on the printer’s tracks).
All these memories came flooding back yesterday when I read a question posted on Parents magazine’s facebook page: Do you ever take your child to work with you?
Comments before mine reflected the variety of working environments and situations out there:
“If you work with the public, you really can’t!” (retail clerks, customer service, teachers, etc.)
“I work from home so I do every day!”
“I can’t, but I wish my workplace had a day care so they could be close by.”
“I think every working mom should have the option to take their kids with them.”
“Don’t say that! My ex was a stripper and took the kids with her sometimes!” (seriously, that was a real comment)

Other than brief visits when Matt’s parents are about to pick Kate up at my office, I’ve only had Kate in the office while I was working once. She was just a few months old, still able to hang out in her carrier, and Matt had to drop her off with me for the last two hours of the day or so, while he went to a meeting. I felt really awkward about it, and tried to keep her quiet.

At this stage of life, she would be a real handful and more or less impossible to have around while working (cue frustrated comment from my spouse who has to juggle that situation two days a week at home). Still, I daydream about the day when Kate will be old enough to come in with me on a Saturday or while Daddy has a meeting, and entertain herself, coloring quietly at a nearby conference table, occasionally piping up with precocious questions like “What’s a fax machine?” and “Is white noise really white?”

Though we are happy with Kate’s day care, I do think it would be cool to have on-site child care. There is a nearby drop-in-day-care that we could use on days when Kate has to stay home from day care for mild illness, or when Matt has a sudden conflict on Daddy Daughter Day, but it is located in Nashville’s Federal Building, and after Oklahoma City, I am honestly too uneasy to ever take her there. Parents or Parenting (I read both and can’t keep straight what I read where) recently had an article about the child-care dilemma for parents when kids get sick. A study it cited actually says that in most cases, day cares send kids home unnecessarily, costing parents many hours in sick leave, vacation time, etc.
Do you ever take your kids to work with you? Is it for fun (like a “take your daughter to work day”) or out of necessity (like a two-working-parent scheduling conflict or sick day)?
Is your employer supportive of and flexible with such arrangements?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Project Life (Aug. 16-22)

Monday 7/16: Kate made a magic wand at school today. I'm curious if the boys made them too--probably blue and without the ribbons--sceptors, I guess. In any case, it's a nice addition to the toy box!
Tuesday 8/17: Kate likes bagels. I usually give her a piece before I put the cream cheese on it, but she'll beg or steal more of mine once she's done with that!
Wednesday 8/18: School picture day! Kate wore a new hot pink dress and pigtails. Her hair came home styled differently (as it often does) so we'll see how it actually looked in the picture!
Thursday 8/19: Matt took me out on a surprise date after work! He called me toward the end of the day, said "hey, I'm bringing Kate down to my parents and taking you out on a date!" We went to the Mad Platter in Germantown (Nashville). Matt had the duck (which I think is what is pictured in this screen capture from their website) and I had the pork. They are big on presentation, and my entree was quite the work of art!
Friday 8/20: Kate has worn her white Pedipeds OUT! She wore these almost every day this summer, and they have gotten misshapen, stinky, and have holes in the toes. It's hard to part with them, though, since most every little girl's summer outfit goes so well with white sandals!
Saturday 8/21: We went to a gathering for United Methodist students and alumni from Vanderbilt Divinity. We expected to see more folks we knew, but still had fun meeting the current students and catching up on school news. Kate easily became the center of attention, but got sleepy as bedtime neared.
Sunday 8/22: I introduced Kate to Play-Doh today. She tried to eat it at first, but once she learned you could smash it with great force, she loved it! (Funny, it felt different from how I remember Play-Doh--creamier, moussier--I think they've changed the formula a little!)

Can't believe August is almost over, but I can't wait for temps in the 80s or (gasp!) even the 70s. Kate will be 19 months next week! What's big in your life right now?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Toddlers and TV

I read plenty of things during pregnancy and early motherhood about not letting kids watch TV until age two, and I believed it. No parking the bumbo in front of a Baby Einstein DVD or whatnot while I showered or fixed dinner. I was fine with that, and I don't feel like we suffered for lack of that form of infant-entertainment.

I knew I wouldn't be a stickler about not having the tube on in Kate's presence at all, even though the studies say that even having it on as "background noise" or whatnot while you play has an impact on kids' creativity, learning, etc. And indeed, Kate has seen her share of college basketball games, CNN, Today Show, and NBC Nightly News (and way more than her share of Friends reruns!) And while she may have looked at the screen some, it never seemed to attract too much of her attention, or distract her from playing--except when it distracts Matt and I in the middle of reading a book (bad Mommy and Daddy!)

Saturday morning, we were all up before 7am, thanks to you-know-who, and around 7:10, I realized "ooh--Today Show's on!" (I love the Today Show, but only see it on weekends since I'm usually trying to get out the door at that time on weekdays.) I turned on the TV, and it was tuned to FOX (from Friends-hour the night before, of course!) Kate spotted the muppet-monsters of "Wimzie's House" and was immediately transfixed.  
She smiled and stared and bounced along to the antics of these adorable preschool monsters.
I thought about flipping over to the Today Show at the commercial break (which, wonderfully, was filled with PSAs telling kids how important it is to brush their teeth and such, rather than actual commercials--not even for toothpaste!) but she was enjoying it so much, I figured a half hour couldn't hurt. And the monsters teach important lessons, like sharing and being kind!
So, I guess we've entered the magical world of children's television now!

What's your favorite program for kids?
and what's your philosophy on kids and TV?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Crispy Life

Holly Furtick, wife of Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick, wrote about some funny sleep-talking her hubby did the other night, and when I was tempted to leave a comment about my own sleep-talking stories that was almost as long as a blog post itself, I figured I should just write about it on my own blog!

Matt and I have a lot of stories like that. We talk in our sleep fairly regularly, it seems. Our first memory of this was when we were still dating and I fell asleep on his couch while we were watching TV. It went something like this:
Jess: Crispy…crispy life.
Matt: Crispy life? Like Life cereal?
J: No! Crispy life. Like KFC… it’s permanent.

I recall this made perfect sense to me at the time. And as a Kentucky girl, I stand by my statement as to KFC’s life-giving, ever-lasting properties. Reminds me of a sign I saw on a building in Prague: “God made KFC. Everything is perfect.”

One of my favorite “conversations” with a half-asleep Matt went like this:
M: […unintelligible…]
J: What?
M: [… unintelligible…]
J: Sweetie, you’re talking in your sleep, and I can’t understand you.
M: I love you.
J: I love you too.
M: YOU LIE! (said with the same gusto and British accent as the Black Knight. Hilarious.)

Then there’s the time Matt tried to bait me into saying something silly:

J: […unintelligible…]
M: Hmm… tell me more about that.
J: […unintelligible…]
M: That’s really interesting. How did that happen?
J: I know I’m asleep and not making any sense, so stop that.

At around 3:15 this morning, I woke up to hear a sleeping Matt say very loudly and clearly:
“I’m glad everything’s okay. Thanks for letting me know.”

A pastor’s work is never done :0)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thistle Farms on PBS

Magdalene, the residential recovery ministry with which I went to Houston last month, was profiled in a segment on PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. It's a great segment, highlighting Rev. Becca Stevens and all the great work of Magdalene, including the Thistle Farms nonprofit body care company.

I love seeing some of my new friends on this video. This is such a special group of women. When I saw a couple of the ladies from the Houston trip last week at the Thistle Farms open house, we hugged tighter than most friends I've known for years. In fact, we hugged almost that tight the very first time we met. These women have known such deep despair, they know know an even deeper love.

Prepare to be inspired...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday: The Commute

Working Mom WednesdaySome work-for-pay moms work from home—your office is at your kitchen table or elsewhere in the house (which I thought would be cool until I actually tried working from home during my maternity leave—whew, that is hard!) But for those of us who work a few miles or more from home, we have the sometimes-frustrating, at-best-uneventful daily experience of The Commute.

Since our home is a parsonage provided by the church my husband pastors, we live in a town about 50 miles away from the city where we met, dated, had our first home together, have friends and family, and where I still work. So, The Commute is a big part of my day (about two hours, total) and I try to make the most of it.

Whether your drive takes five minutes or fifty minutes, you can use this “liminal space,” this threshold of time between home and work, to clear your mind for what’s ahead. Here’s my top-five list of ways to maximize your drive time.

1. Gear up for the day ahead. I try to think through the things on my to-do list, and make a mental note of the most urgent tasks for the day. If I think of things I need to do that are not already on my to-do list, I call my office and leave myself a voice mail, so I don’t have to worry about forgetting it before I get a chance to write it down.

2. Get informed. I have XM, and I love the POTUS political talk station. So, on my drive in, I often listen to the Morning Briefing, with spin-free news, interviews, and fun features like "POTUS punchline" (short clips from the previous night's political comedy--Stewart, Colbert, Leno, etc.), the Blogcast (run down of political blog chatter), and a "this day in history" segment.

3. Make phone calls. I admit it--I have not taken the Oprah Pledge. I would never, ever text while driving, but I do use my cell phone. I can catch up with my parents or a friend, make a call where I'll be on hold a while, etc. If an author or potential author wants to schedule a phone call, I'll intentionally make it for my drive time. It's like taking my office on the road.

4. Pray or process. Sometimes, I turn off the radio and just talk—to God and to myself. I remind myself of things I know to be true even when I don’t feel it. I sort through my emotions by speaking them aloud. Occasionally, I'll yell or be impertinent. God can take it.

5. Rock out. I do not have an iPod, nor do I care about getting one. That is because literally the only time I can listen to music is while I am driving. I can't read or write while music (with words, at least) is playing. And I can't really listen to music without singing along, so I'd look pretty silly singing out loud to the soundtrack in my ear-budded head. So, my default drive-time entertainment (if I don't need to do any of the above) is to rotate between my three favorite XM music stations--Mix 22, The Blend, and 90s on 9--and singing my heart out. It's a great way to clear my head after a long day.

What is your commute like?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Project Life (Aug. 9-15)

I was bad about taking pictures this week. Just read; you'll see. It was a pretty ordinary week, but for whatever reason, it just flew by!

Monday 8/9: The new issue of Circuit Rider arrived from the printer (themed around Rethink Church). It was the first issue for which I wrote the editorial intro, so that was kind of cool :0)
Tuesday 8/10: This was one of only two pics I took on Tuesday, just of Kate playing. I love that sweet little face.
Wednesday 8/11: I went to the open house for Thistle Farms' new facility. I never saw the old one, but apparently this is about a million times nicer! I didn't take a camera--this pic was taken by my friend Carolyn.
Thursday 8/12: I met my friend Maria for coffee. We get a kick out of our distinct "uniforms." She's always in her biking gear, including her cycling cleats, and I'm always dressed up for work, complete with pearls and pumps! Maria snagged this pic with her iPhone.
Friday 8/13: Friday the thirteenth! Maybe I thought it would be bad luck to take a photo? Nah, I just forgot. At the end of the week, my brain takes a siesta.

Saturday 8/14: We went to the Clarksville farmers' markets in the morning, and bought a bunch of fresh veggies, fruits, and even meat (frozen) for the week. I wish we'd discovered the downtown one when we moved here three years ago--it actually kind of felt like "us"!
Sunday 8/15: Kate got a balloon today at church. She enjoyed playing with it, but the only chance I got to take a picture of her with it was when she was strapped into her seat and kind of cranky--not the best!

Come back for Working Mom Wednesday tomorrow,
and check out more Project Life at The Mom Creative!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sidewalk Chalk

We got out Kate's new sidewalk chalk on Saturday, and while (like with crayons) Kate actually does very little of the coloring, she enjoys the general activity of playing with the drawing-implements while Mommy and Daddy have fun coloring.
Some of these photos have a soap-opera style fuzziness to them because the lens fogged over the moment I stepped out into the crazy heat and humidity!
Seriously--it looks like I applied some sort of photoshop "glow" to this pic!
We had fun, though, with this summertime childhood staple. I love how vibrant the colors are! Not the light, dusty chalk I recall! (They were Crayola sidewalk crayons, so they were kind of creamy and fancy--but washable!)
Good thing they were washable, because Kate had more fun just gathering up and trying to hold seven chalk colors at a time than actually coloring.
She got messy enough that even she said "uh oh!"
Don't worry, Mom, it came out in the wash with those new Oxy capsule things!
 What's your favorite summer fun activity?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hug Your Pastor's Wife

Despite the fact that I named my blog "The Parsonage Family," I rarely write about pastor's-wife issues. That's because most of the time, I feel pretty disgruntled about it. I don't hold back if someone asks me about it in person, but on the blog, I don't want to be too negative or upset anyone in our congregation.

Nonetheless, it strikes me that most people have no idea what their pastor and his or her family's life is like. 
They don't know that 75% of pastors report a "significant stress-related crisis" at least once in their ministry.
They don't know that 56% of pastor's wives say they have no close friends.
They don't know that 33% of pastors say being in ministry is "an outright hazard to their families."

I just saw these statistics on Eugene Cho's blog, in a post called "Death by Ministry." He got them from Monday Morning Insight. If you care about your pastor and his family, I highly recommend you read both articles.

And pray for your pastor and his wife. They need it.
They could probably also use a hug.
But understanding would be even better.

A Few from the Zoo

We went to the zoo last Saturday when Nala and Popi were in town. Here are a few highlights...
Since Nala was still recovering from her foot surgery, she rode around in a wheelchair, and when Kate got tired of riding in her stroller, she rode with her!
... or pushed the stroller herself!
 Kate and Daddy rode the carousel together. They rode the raffi, of course. Kate was still a little nervous, but she clung tightly to Daddy for comfort.
I crawled with Kate into the meerkat-hole, which she enjoyed once she abandoned the notion of trying to push the stroller through the little passageway.
 The gators were one of our favorite things, the way they just hang there in the water.
 There was also this cool leopard that we were able to get pretty close to. You could walk around to the left there, where there was just about 10-12 feet (and two fences) between you and the cat.
That was pretty cool, until the cat started getting excited and pacing back and forth, eyeing Kate like a tasty little morsel!
So, we got the heck out of there, and spent some time on the zoo's awesome playground. Matt went up in the big treehouse with her, and we lost sight of them until they emerged at the bottom--they had gone down that huge 30-foot tube slide!
I get claustrophobic in long tube slides, but we went down a smaller one together.
It's always a fun day at the zoo!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In which Kate puts her finger up her nose

We took this video of Kate while waiting for the doctor last week. In it, she says her name and *points to* various body parts. We'll have to do a video soon where she can show off her repertoire of animal noises. The tiger is especially cute.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buttons and More

Once I figured out all the HTML stuff to post my Working Mom Wednesday button, and make it "grab-able" in the sidebar, I figured it was time to make one for The Parsonage Family in general. It turned out pretty cute, I think, and I'd be honored if you want to grab it from the sidebar to share.

And, now that I am aboard the blog-button-bandwagon, I want to plug some of my favorite blogs too (the ones that have buttons to grab, at least!) So check out the sidebar for those.

Other happenings:
  • I went to the open house tonight for Thistle Farms' new facility (on Charlotte Ave. near White Bridge, if you're in Nashville) and saw a few of the friends I went on the Find Your Way Home prison tour trip a few weeks ago.
  • I bought some of the Thistle Farms Geranium Spray to keep the bugs away (did you know geranium oil is a natural bug-repellant?) I put some on when I got home, before taking Kate outside to play. Matt found the scent to be a bit strong (probably used more than I needed to) but the only bite I got this evening was through my shirt, not on my arms and legs, which I sprayed!
  • I bought an extra bottle for someone special . . . you! My 500-post blogoversary is coming up soon, and I'm planning a giveaway that will include Thistle Farms stuff, a book or two, maybe some scrapbook stuff or baby gear--who knows! If you like this blog, we must have some similar interests, so I hope you'll like it!
Lastly, the parenting-head-scratcher of the day: how is it that kids can run wild at home but be perfect angels when in other people's care? The case-in-point here is that Kate screams bloody murder when I put her hair in pigtails. I can never give her a straight part because I am literally wrestling her to the ground, holding her in a leglock or running after her on my knees to get the rubber bands in. So imagine my shock when she comes home from school today with not just a straight part--I'd seen that before when they redo her hair midday--but FRENCH BRAIDS! Holy cats. My brain simply cannot comprehend the image of Kate sitting still and quiet long enough for that to have happened. They're just little ones on the top of her head, but still! She wouldn't let me do that in a million years.


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