Thursday, May 29, 2008

Triple vision

Today we had to split up, divide and go forth. I had to take Lucia and Elliott to the eye doctor, so Mazie went to work with her Mama Bee.

Mazie had a good day with her Mama Bee and Donna. She was a good little employee. This means she napped well and let others hold her some. H said Mazie really enjoyed her day at the office. The photo above is of Mazie with her Nana and Nannie on the porch of H's office.

My trip to the big city (now costing $40 in gas to get there and back) was smooth. Lucia and Elliott handled their messy schedule well. Eating and sleeping were thrown off. I liked the ophthalmologist. He was very professional and formal but also kind to the babies and answered all my questions.

Several months ago H noticed Lucia and Elliott both had an eye that was pulling to the center. H is much more detail oriented than I am. I never really noticed anything going on with Elliott but in some photos Lucia definitely appears to have one eye pulling in. When we asked our pediatrician, she referred us to this doctor.

The doctor watched their eyes move around, guiding them with his little monkey on a stick. Then he dilated their eyes. After 30 minutes, he looked at their eyes through various lenses to determine what their vision is. Here is what we found out.

Lucia has prominent epicanthal folds. These folds are flaps of skin at the inner corner of the eye. These folds cause her to have pseudo-strabismus. Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes. So essentially she looks like her eyes are not alligned, or like she has a lazy eye, due to her epicanthal folds. There is no problem with her vision. She is in the normal range of far-sightedness for an infant. As her face continues to develop, specifically her nose, those folds most likely will pull back in. I bring Lucia back in four months to recheck all of this.

I fully expected him to say Elliott was fine. I even told the nurse I would have canceled his appointment were I not already bringing Lucia. It turns out H was seeing some misalignment in him due to a decent amount of an astigmatism. He said if it does not correct on its own he will need glasses by the time he is around four years old. We bring Elliott back in six months to have him rechecked. While I think our little Elliott would be so cute in glasses, I hate the thought of him having to wear them in this heat and of us trying to keep up with them.

And, as my mother so correctly forecasted, he wants to see Mazie too. I'll take her back when I bring Lucia.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chasing the Crawlers

Well, yesterday I survived a day I have been dreading for some time now. The thought of having three mobile infants has been giving me panic attacks for some time now. I have pictured myself running this way, running that way, then running back to the baby I just put here and is now back over there. Taking the electrical cord, golden graham, dirty flip flop out of their mouths. I picture me at the end of my day with dirt on the knees of my pants, my hair all askew, on the floor and leaned back against the couch, too tired to even make it to bed, while my three little angels sleep hard and contently after their busy day of moving all around.

For months now H and I have had people telling us "Oh, you just don't know what's coming" and "Wow, you all are in for it when they start moving." Even strangers will say things like this to us. While we try to enjoy every day and every stage with our babies, sometimes these comments do heighten our anxiety, because we know that in reality we don't know what's coming, what each stage will bring.

With Lucia skipping the belly crawling stage, the three becoming mobile came a little sooner than we anticipated. But, I have to say, I enjoyed the day yesterday. They haven't yet found that getting me to chase them is fun. They all moved around without intensity but with purpose. It is fun to watch them crawl and then decide where to stop and sit up. It is fun to watch them go up to one another and interact.

This is such a fun time of watching them discover new things about themselves, one another, and their environment. We are going to try to not let our own laziness at not wanting to have to chase babies overshadow our joy. Besides, doesn't chasing babies count as exercise? I know I need more of that.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Week in Review

We had a lot going on this week. Everybody was feeling well and everybody was on the move. Each baby has had a "first" over the past 24 hours. They seem to be growing and changing so fast right now. I feel like the changes we are going through right now are so great that I can see them occurring even though I am with them everyday.

Here is Elliott going up to talk to Mazie. He stopped her swing and pulled up to see what she was up to. He will pull up on the couch to come check us out or even pull up on us.

Here is Mazie getting a leg up from Elliott as she bounces in the bouncer. We are leaving them out to roam around a lot more, but each one of them does still love a little bouncing time everyday.

Mazie loves the animals. Here she is playing with St. Vincent's tail. She is fascinated by the cats. She will always to go to where they are. If you hear Mazie giggle, it is often because she has spotted a dog or cat. She doesn't laugh at the horses or goats, though I have seen Elliott and her amused by the chickens.

On the side of our house where the garden is, the yard become shaded in the late afternoon. One day this week I set our two pack-n-plays up and let the babies play in them while I did some yard work. They played well for a good 45 minutes. Here the girls are playing.
Elliott liked pressing his face against the mesh sides.

It has been a lot warmer this week. Summer is right around the corner. It was so hot this lizard was trying to catch a breeze from the fan in our air conditioner unit. The heat did not deter us from walking everyday. We are still loving our new stroller. Twice this week, I even made sure, as its name suggests, that it is indeed a "jogger." I love to run, but have not done so in well over a year. H asked if the babies enjoyed the jogging. I told her that I jog so slowly that I don't think they could tell a difference.

Here are two different photos of Mazie and Lucia.

In the photo above you can see the girls are playing with a bird house. Clearly Orange Square Shaker bird is Lucia's favorite. She became the first baby to crawl, belly up, for a definitive distance. Today she had to get her Orange Square Shaker bird and he was about five feet from her. She crawled the distance, picked him up, sat up, and played with him. Up until now, Lucia and Mazie have crawled, belly up, only one or two steps at a time. Lucia is very cute when she crawls. She is a "high stepper." She raises her hands much higher than she needs to and then slaps them down on the floor to take her step.

Here is Orange Square Shaker bird. His friends are Red Circle Squeaker bird and Blue Triange Rattle bird and Purple Rectangle Crinkle bird. They are a happy bunch living together in their birdhouse.

The babies are beginning to become too aware of the cameras. Elliott will frequently stop doing whatever I am trying to capture and come try to grab the camera. Another thing Elliott has done for the first time is sit up. He never really did this until last night. He would always just crawl, pull up, kneel. We had not ever seen him go from crawling or lying down to sitting. Last night in his crib he did it for the first time and then did it again several times today.

We are headed for trouble. Elliott, just now pulling up, is already climbing. He loves to stand on the base of the walker, but often gets himself in a position where he is stuck and needs help. We have already had a good number of falls.

Here is Lucia. I stuck her little bloomers on her head to make it look like she had on a bathing cap. Don't ask me why. But the picture turned out adorable.

Here is Mazie playing with a new toy I gave her this week. Last night for the first time, Mazie started clapping. She will clap if we clap, but mostly she babbles and claps. It is like she is singing and clapping. It is so cute.
Thanks for reading about our week. We hope you have a restful Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blogging is the new TV

I think blogging is the new TV, and reality TV and TiVo are the steps that got us here. Reality TV showed us that everyday people can be interesting too. TiVo has us accustomed to watching what we want when we want.

Blogs are like television in that they are episodic, installments into the life of another. Checking in on a blog to find no new post reminds me of having a national address from Ronald Regan replace the Cosby show on a Thursday night. When our good friends Randi and Todd were in a tough situation and about to give birth to their twin boys last year, I can remember checking their site to find no new post and cursing Todd's name, "Great day in the morning, why won't he post?" I needed an episode to know what was going on with them and that things were still alright.

There is a lot of junk on the television. You could turn it on every night and watch four hours of tv and completely waste every minute of those four hours. You can also waste a lot of time on the internet. I know. I have had to focus my internet time and make choices that inform, entertain, or uplift me. I have narrowed my time down and have my set of sites that I run through daily. Throughout the year, I watch an average of one hour of television a week. I probably spend a good hour on the internet each day. Not everything I look at is a blog, but I spend a lot of my pumping time checking in on a pretty nice list of people whose blogs I enjoy.

I choose quality: The Pioneer Woman is It when it comes to an individual putting out her own little blog. The site is gorgeous. She writes about photography and cooking and life on the family ranch. She posts frequently. She also is a good writer with a knack for making you feel like she is talking right to you. Plus she is fun; she has lots of contests, like "name that photo." She is also now doing a bachelor type contest with one of the single men on her ranch. She almost always delivers something worth reading. If you like reading about how people meet and marry, she has a series called Black Heels to Tractor Wheels that will keep you engrossed. Sit down with a cup of coffee, a glass of tea, or your breast pump and prepare to spend some time.

I choose based on the attitude of the writer: Amazing Trips is also a great site in that this mother of four is so candid about the trials of having three-year-old triplets and a nine month old. She doesn't coat anything in sugar. She also shares lots of tips to try and things that don't work. I love this vignette, "Colorblind and Beautiful," about kindness. She is teaching her children about diversity and kindness in such a simple, quiet way. This is a sweet story.

I choose based on interest: I love food. I love to eat food, shop for food, read about food, prepare food. The writer of Smitten Kitchen tries different recipes, many she has adapted. She uses pretty photographs that make you want to try each dish. I am jonesing to try this chocolate cake and this fresh summer salad. I tried a version of this chicken dish and it turned out great. When I read this site I want more kitchen time.

I choose based on relationships: A lot of the blogs I check are people we know. Like my pretty niece Avery Mae. Isn't she gorgeous? I love to see what new skills she is acquiring and what new scenes she is taking in. It is hard not to see her often and checking in on their blog makes her seem a little closer. Here is a photo of her sitting among the purple flowers that are covering Southern California right now.

The qualities I like in people are the qualities I also appreciate in a blog: humor, honesty, being forthright, having kindness and compassion for others, being engaging. I will stick with a blog when I find these qualities in its writer.

While I am under no delusions that our little blog is as interesting as the The Cosby Show or Project Runway or whatever televised reality you enjoy, we do appreciate you stopping by to check in on us. And, we hope you get a little nourishment or entertainment to take with you into your day.

Friday, May 23, 2008


It is the middle of the afternoon, and there is a wonderful rain coming down. This shower is muffling out all the sounds of our household, allowing the babies take a long nap under our tin roof. Outside all the dust is being washed away and the flowers and trees are soaking in this spring shower that is steady and cool.

Yesterday Mazie Bell woke up first from the morning nap, so she and I walked around the yard taking some pictures of what is growing around our house. Before I moved here the site for the house was completely cleared. It was just a dirt hill. So, anything and everything growing here we've had to plant. This has been quite a challenge for me.

Gardening is a skill I truly envy. Flowers, vegetables, shrubs. It doesn't matter. None of it is easy and all of it is beautiful. H's grandmother has the prettiest yard you will ever see--no competition. The most beautiful water oaks with lush beds of flowers beneath. Huge azaleas that she will tell you they planted in 1949. Camellias in white, pink, and fuschia. Grancy Graybeards. Elephant ears. I try to bring all my gardening questions to her because she is such a wealth of knowledge. I have much to learn from her.

The first planting we did at our house was three years ago. That was the first spring we lived here. Some things have done well, but we have lost a lot too. For example, Papa Glenn and I planted seven plum trees that February. Three are still alive and none has bore fruit. Of the three oak leaf Hydrangeas I planted, none survived. A tractor, a logging truck, and the drought took them out.

Here are some photos of where we are now and what we are working on. The photo at the top is a volunteer sunflower, a boon from H's bird feeders that I get to enjoy.

We have gorgeous gardenias around our house. They really are stunning. I can say this because I have absolutely no idea why they flourish here. It has nothing to do with me. They just really seem to like it here. The only thing I did was plant them. In three years I may have fertilized them thrice. (Probably only twice, but there are such few occasions where the word thrice can be used that I wanted to throw it in.)

The gardenias are blooming right now. The smell will lift you up it is so intense on our porch.

Spring of 2005 we planted gardenias on each side of the three sets of stairs at our house. We also planted azaleas among the gardenias around two sides of the house. The azaleas never did much. The gardenias, as I've said, flourished. So, this spring I took out all the azaleas and planted them out in the perimeter of the yard and planted eight more gardenias in their place. The photo below shows a gardenia planted three years ago on the right and a gardenia just planted on the left. (Right there, below the left corner of the left window. You don't see it?) When I planted it, the one on the right was the size of the the one of the left.

Here is the vegetable garden. We have herbs: rosemary, oregano, chives, thyme, basil. One plant each of eggplant, bell pepper, and jalapenos. Twelve squash plants (H didn't read the labels and thought she was getting more of a variety of vegetables). Eight tomato plants. I have never had any luck with tomatoes and around here tomatoes are The crop to bear fruitfully. I am hoping for more success this summer.

Here is the first little jalapeno. Cute, huh?

And, look at that first tomato. Gorgeous already.

Here are blossoms on the Granny Smith apple tree.
This will become a Granny Smith apple, God willing.
Here are blackberries. These four plants were just put in the ground a month ago, so they most likely won't produce much. But, we are hoping they live and will prosper greatly for us. We've found some wild berries that will hopefully hold us for a few seasons until these take off.

Here are the blueberries. They were transplanted down to our house from H's parents who were opening up their view of the pond. We are happy to house them. We might even share some berries with them.

We'll see what does well and what bites the hot summer dust. Hopefully we will get some good eating to come out of our yard and garden. Come for a visit and we will share with you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


We went swimming this afternoon for the first time--sort of. The weather has been warming up here lately. Things have begun to get sticky in the afternoon. So to cool things off, we went to Tiffany and Clay's for a dip in their pool and some kabobs off the grill. Their back yard is so pretty with lots of green and flowers. They have an arch that is covered in blooming jasmine right now and it will take your breath away it is so wonderfully fragrant.

Elliott really enjoyed the water. He got a little chilly, but he acted comfortable most of the time. I leaned him on to his back and held him as he floated around. As long as his ears didn't go below the water he liked it.

Lucia had a pretty good time. She did fine for a while. We think she got cold. She loved sitting in the big duck. She seemed to feel secure in it.

Mazie was not a fan. We tried touching her toes to the water and each time she'd start crying. We don't want her to hate or fear the water so we didn't push her. I think as the water temperature continues to rise she may have an easier time.

Thanks Tiff and Clayclay for letting the babies swim in your pool. We had a great time. The photo at the top is of Tiffany and Elliott.

H and Lucia

Lucia, Tiff, and Elliott

H and Elliott

Karen and Lucia

Mazie with wet toes

Monday, May 19, 2008

Little E's Big Tooth

I promise I won't post about every tooth that ever comes into the mouth of every child we have. But, for the time being I'll post about first teeth, first upper teeth, first incisors, first molars. Just kidding.

Elliott cut is first top tooth today. No photo of that, but I do have a photo of him playing Trojan warrior with Mama Bee.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Seventh

We have added another tooth to our collection. Lucia has cut her upper right tooth. We are hoping this means she will be feeling back to herself again. Elliott is right behind her, as we can see his just under the surface.
I did have a stressful thought: what if they all need braces?

We weighed the babies this week for fun. We just held them on our scale and subtracted our weight. We go to the pediatrician the first week of June for their nine month appointments. Here are their weights at eight months and a week:

Lucia: Fifteen and a half pounds
Elliott: Eighteen pounds exactly
Mazie: Just under 14 pounds

Eating grass

This afternoon, while H and Mazie napped, I took Lucia and Elliott outside for a little sunshine.

These are some pictures I took of Lucia eating the grass. This activity kept her busy for a good twenty minutes.

Trying to climb up me kept Elliott busy for about three of the twenty minutes.

Here is Mazie making up for the nap she had cut short earlier in the day.

Scenes from our week

We had a bit of a rough week, but we were able to enjoy a lot of things about this time together. The photo above is of the three listening to their Nana sing to them: "Two little ducks that I once knew. A fat one, skinny one, there were two...."

During an evening nap this week, Lucia and Mazie spent a while conversing with one another. After ten or fifteen minutes I noticed Lucia was quiet but Mazie was still talking. This is what I found when I went to check on them: Mazie, sitting up in her crib.
She is very proud of herself.

Yesterday, Lucia awoke early from her nap, so I employed her help with the laundry. She helped by playing in the basket so I could fold clothes. Lucia has also taken one or two crawling steps with the prodding of her Grancy.

Elliott still loves to feel textures. Here he is kneeling to scratch the vinyl of their walker. He also loves to scratch the words on the warning label. Clearly, I don't have the same perspective as the babies. I put the walker in between the couch and chair as a barrier to keep the babies in the family room. Not to be deterred, Elliott climbed right through the bottom and on into the kitchen.

Grancy, my mom, was here this week. She always enjoys seeing three of her four grandchildren. I could tell the babies have matured since she'd seen them in February, because they really seemed to enjoy their time with her as well.

This is a photo of Grancy and Nana with the babies: LEM.
Grancy with the babies. Lucia and Mazie are in her lap, Elliott on the floor.

We got some much needed rain this week which kept us indoors a couple days but today is beautiful and we plan to get back in the stroller again. We have lots of scraps to take to the chickens.

We hope you enjoy your Saturday.