Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
"Yes, a lot. That's normal. It bleeds everyday."
This is, in fact, the kind of information we need to dispense, regarding our darling L. And her inseparable, nutrition providing, G-tube.
She loves green beans. Bowling pin kitty is packed in her bag. She'll want a sippy cup with bed. Oh, and her G-tube bleeds like a mother. Normal, right?
Quite honestly, we rarely mention the presence of the G-tube to innocent bystanders anymore, because it generally freaks people out...for absolutely no good reason. It doesn't hurt her. It doesn't even feed her anymore. And it is highly unnatural, as it causes her to resemble an inflatable pool toy/circus balloon (her G-tube looks just like the little doo-dad that you blow air in to on a swimming tube). Inflatable L...at night we just let the air out and fold her back into the box.
Tonight, however, L is at her first sleepover. With G, and her cousins Beau and Caroline. Fun stuff. Big girl stuff. But we probably should have warned Uncle Robert and Aunt Gina that her G-tube does in fact bleed on occasion.
Hey, at least they knew she had a G-tube. Like I said, we haven't brought that up in months.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So, here is what else happens when I put bows in my sweet little girl's hair and give shovels to my wild boys. Wet sand and grossgrain ribbon do not mix. Luckily, we caught it all on film.
Happy Spring Break!!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
And I instantly told my husband that it was my destiny to collect cool fabric and store it beautifully. For use on projects yet to be determined/discovered.
To which he replied, "Yes, it's absolutely healthy for a self-professed hoarder to buy and store something she may or may not ever use in her lifetime."
Hmmm. He may have a point.
To which he added, "You know, there are places that will store fabric for you, and when you are ready for it, you can just swing by and pick it up. They are called fabric stores."
Monday, March 23, 2009
A couple of weeks back, a friend of mine asked (via facebook) for suggestions on activities to keep kids entertained during long trips in the car. One of her friends mentioned a clipboard with coloring pages and crayons.
In my organized brain, I thought I had seen clipboards at the dollar store. So, as I was running around like a mad woman on Thursday morning, I was crushed to find there were, in fact, no clipboards for $1...and no time to deal with Wal-mart or Target, because it is impossible to simply "run in" to those stores. I passed this task along to my ever-capable husband, who managed to track them down on clearance at Office Max.
Game back on.
I did get some coloring books, but honestly, the biggest hits were coloring their name letters, and drawing the "story" of our drive. I had just enough time to xerox simple pages that said: "At 8:00 a.m., I saw...", "The weather during our drive was...", "For lunch, I ate..." and "In Hilton Head, I am going to...". Each child then drew an answer to finish these sentences, and I put a caption on (according to their narration). Also, I had found an idea on "Ramblings of a Crazy Woman" that utilized stickers for a fun counting activity, which was a hit, but was, unfortunately, not so numerically accurate for the littlest Denckhoffs. Oh well...fun, happy children were the goal, and we accomplished that. And maybe worked on their fine motor skills with the stickers.
My children are normally entertained by coloring for all of 2 minutes...but add a clipboard, and they own it! I had no idea it was that simple, but it did work...and I attached a plastic baggie of about 10 crayons to each clipboard, with a piece of string.
Happy road tripping!!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Listen. If you ever find yourself heading South on Interstate 16, through Georgia, you will come across exit 98. Not much there. No major town, no fast food.
Just one awesome Llama. And some of his friends.
We randomly came across this gas station more than 4 years ago...and in the many times we've traveled back here since, we've always failed to find it again. Until now. And since our last visit, the gas station has added a fun new feature. If you buy something from their convenience store, you can purchase a $1 bag of feed.
FYI: feeding llamas (and their friends) is the equivalent of hitting the kiddie jackpot. Especially if you're children's FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME is "Llama Llama Red Pajama".
If you are wondering why we are standing so far away from the fence (so that the poor goat is practically strangling himself to get our oat offerings), it would be because the emu was a little intimidating. He wasn't mean or aggressive or anything (in fact, he was quite kind)... he just sent his beak straight for the feed bag with a lot of momentum.
So we fed the animals by hand, including the llama, who, despite having awesomely bad teeth, was the gentlest feeder of all. And then we packed up and headed on our way, only to stop a little further down the road for a proper diet coke. And that's when we found this little treasure.
Real chicken...as opposed to the fake kind. Oh, and the real kind that come without bones in their wings.
This goes down as one of the greatest road trips of all time. I'm not sure it can top Fall Break '97 when it took us 9 hours to get to Gattlinburg, Tennessee (should have taken 5) or our 24 hour excursion to the Florida Keys in March 1998...but as far as farm animals and ridiculous signage goes, this one wins hands down.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Sweet, sweet, sweet Max...who received his first round of vaccinations less than 2 hours before we arrived, and managed to sleep off the entire evening, and wake up this morning fresh as a daisy.
Had this been anyone beside any of the college friends who have previously lived with my worst and most annoying traits, I would never have proposed a sleep-over that consisted of me, my hubby, my four children and her very new baby. But this is Ort (and her offspring!) and I would rather die than pass up a chance to meet him. Because if there was anyone I truly missed when I had my first baby, it was those friends who I knew I could be totally honest with about how incredibly hard and tiring becoming a mom truly is.
It is wonderful...BUT sometimes between the sleeplessness, the constant milking, the crying, the worrying and the general disappearance of the life you had before baby came along...well, sometimes, it doesn't quite feel wonderful until you get out of the trenches a little bit. I am totally confident in saying that you can LOVE a baby with all your heart, and still find the task of mothering completely overwhelming and difficult. Add to that the fact that there are few people out there who can give you the kind of encouragement that can keep you going, because most people who see you and your new bundle only ask you how much you are loving every minute of being a mom. And while you do LOVE your baby, it is hard to be a mom. Especially a first time mom. And when strangers ask you if you are just LOVING being a new mom, they aren't so much asking as making a blanket statement that can sometimes make you feel a little nervous that you are missing some natural instinct or gene that keeps you calm and singing when your newborn is freaking out. For hours.
So, the Denckhoffs hung with the Grant's for 17 hours before hitting the road again...and it was so worth it to break the trip up. Seeing my friend Kelly (Ort, as she's affectionately known) was soooo good for me! And for Mike, who found another kindred spirit in Ort's husband, Gordo. You need only check out the reading material stashed on Gordo's side of the bed to know that he is a guys-guy. Visions of welding and masonry and all things manly lull him to sleep every night. Right up Mike's alley.
So we were in and out like a crazy, messy tornado! But we met Max and we fell in love with him...and his mom (who I have loved for years) and his dad (who had me the second he sang an amazingly entertaining and vocally accurate rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" on some sort of mountain-vehicle, late-night in Vail, Colorado...story for another time).
Oh, and did I mention that on top of having a baby, Kelly also managed to find me some pictures of my beloved Marvins? Including a shot of the old kitchen. DePauw friends, you will appreciate that one, and maybe be a little freaked out to see the origins of the hamburgers we ate weekly.
Thanks Ort and Gordo....we had a blast!!
Friday, March 20, 2009
This version is actually a top for G...I'm picturing it with a shirt underneath and a pair of jean capris for the crisp spring season, when we're not quite ready for shorts (and she can't wear sleeveless tops to school). Now that I've made one, I need to make one for L to match. Plus, I've seen about a million different fabrics that I would love to try this in. Typically, pillowcase dresses are not lined, but I have added a contrasting fabric to the inside of this one--it gives it a little more body, and covers all the rough seams (bonus).
Which got me to thinking...anybody out there (who lives in the St. Louis area) want to make one of these for your little girl(s)? I'd like to have some gals over to chat, perhaps sip some wine and sew a dress or two. Really, you can kick one out in 40 minutes. Maybe more if you're drinking wine. No sewing experience required. I'll set my machine up and we'll cut and stitch together. The sewing is minimal anyway...most of the work involved is in the cutting and arranging the pieces, I promise.
If you're interested, leave me a comment and we'll be in touch. And if you are one of my normal creative guinea pigs, I will be tracking you down for participation, don't worry.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Big J and L were having a friend over after school today, so I spent a good part of the morning making chicken salad for the adults (kids were taken care of with the delicacy I like to call "Totinos Pizza"). Chicken salad, it seems, is a bit of an "involved" recipe. I won't call it high maintenance like risotto, but it has diva tendencies. Let's leave it at that.
Anyway, as I was cooking, chopping and mixing...Little J was getting bored. And here's how we came upon a new little activity I've titled "unconventional pantry cleaning":
So, here is the mess that was left when all was said and done--however, he did enjoy himself for 40 minutes, leaving me enough time to get the chicken salad done AND straighten the house. Even trade, I would say.
And at the end of the day, the chicken salad was yumm-o. Here it is, in case you are looking for a new recipe (compliments of the Food Network):
4 cups diced poached chicken (this makes quite a bit...be warned)
1 stalk celery, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1 and 1/2 finely chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp. parsley
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. kosher salt (I used one)
Freshly ground black pepper
Mix chicken, celery, scallions and herbs. Set aside.
Whisk mayo, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Add to chicken mixture and gently combine. Refrigerate.
As for poaching the chicken: I used a half and half combo of chicken broth and water, added a carrot (cut in half), half a small onion and 5-6 sprigs of parsley. Bring that mixture to a boil and add chicken. I cooked it for about 15 minutes, but since I had cut my chicken breasts into smaller pieces, I overcooked it a little. Not sure what to tell you here, but mixing it with the mayo mixture made up for it.
Here are my green ingredients, in keeping with my unintentional theme. Oh, I did add a granny smith apple, chopped into tiny pieces. The crunchy-tangy-ness is a good add. And WOW, I am really good at this color game.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
It did take me almost an hour of prep work to get us there, but the parade and picnic went off without a hitch. That is probably the heart of the issue. Being prepared. It's hard to carry off great plans with only 10 minutes notice. Mentally, it sets a horribly frantic tone for me...but physically, it just takes time to have everything I need to successfully entertain 4 kids. There was also so much that had to be sacrificed to make this work, but that's okay. It's okay. I chose this (repeated many times this afternoon when I felt like I was drowning in to-dos).
So worth it.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The finished product...I think they are darn cute!! We made several, had Mike wear one to work and delivered a few to some friends. If I didn't spread the love to you this round, never fear, I see many salt dough projects in our near future.
Later tonight I will get around to sharing some photos of our day. Our marvelous 70+ degree day. I can hardly even stand it because I know that we are not done with the cold spells and the idea of having to let this weather go is heartbreaking. Kind of like the 5th day of vacation...you're sad because you know it's coming to an end, but yet you are still on vacation, so there's not much to complain about. Can you tell I worry about things being over and done with LONG before they ever are???
But, I'll never forget St. Patrick's Day 2009...what a beauty.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Spike and Leopold. Instant BFFs, bonded by weird eye issues and strange names.
Yes, my love of all things felt continues, thanks to yet another trip to my beloved Hobby Lobby. And ever since Mike told me that my monkey/bear was not fit to adorn clothing for his 3-year-old son, I set out to make something a little more boyish. My plan was to make a car, but it just didn't have personality. No pizazz.
Now these guys, they've got character bursting from their eye(s).
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The largest boy (a.k.a. Mike) gathering his materials, or dead grass as I call it.
What's it going to be? The world's largest pile of dead grass? A cushion for children to tumble upon? The house of the not-so-smart piggie who built his home out of straw? Nope, nope...and nope.
The dead grass served two purposes. Fire starter and small climbing jungle.
And I just couldn't leave this picture of L out, because she is just too cool for school. Especially with her glasses upside down. Shhh, don't tell her.