Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mama's 31

Yesterday was my birthday.  My original plan was to play hooky from school and go to play in the snow with the Edwards.  But Monday afternoon Eddie had a fever and was SUPER DUPER cranky...until we dosed him with acetaminophen   And then he was an angel again.  We spent two full days playing/working outside in the glorious 80 degree weather on the weekend and I suspect he just over did it and his body was protesting.

So, following daycare rules, I had to keep him home until he was fever free for 24 hours.  Edward still came up to hang out with us anyway, since it was clear that Eddie wasn't that sick.  And I'm glad he did because otherwise it would have just been any ol' sick day at home with Eddie.  As it turned out, Eddie was symptom free all day Tuesday.
Eddie's preferred position for snacking when Uncle is here.
We didn't actually do much of anything but it was just so nice to have him around.  After breakfast we took Eddie out for a bike ride while we did a run/walk program on my Run Double app.  (My quest to run has been foiled by a bad knee but that'll be in another post some day.)  Half way through the run, Eddie ditched the bike for a ride in the double BOB stroller and we just put his bike up on the shades.

Edward ran back to the house while I walked Eddie to the Dollar Store to get some balloons.  He'd found a very sharp pencil in the house that morning and I warned him about being very careful with it.  For some reason he equated it with popping balloons and asked if we could get some just so he could pop them.  Sure, why not?

While walking to the store I called Justin and arranged for him to babysit sleeping Eddie that night so Edward and I could go out for sushi (buffet is free on your birthday!).  Edward met us at the dim sum restaurant for lunch.
Running home with Uncle after lunch.
By the time we were back at the house, the neighbors were home from school so Eddie headed out to play with them.  He took all the balloons in a big box and they had fun playing with them (not popping them, ironically).

At 3 pm I asked their mom if they could join us for some birthday cake.  I'd taken Eddie to run errands with me on Monday before my class and he was a good helper at Costco that we got ice cream cones at Baskin Robbins using my free scoop birthday club coupon.  While there, I also bought myself a small mint chip ice cream cake using my $3 off coupon.  (For the record: why do I always end up making/buying my own dang birthday cake?  Ahem, Mr. Bower....)
Mama's 31. It's true.
Anyway, so Edward and the kids and I gathered around a dirty old Rubbermaid tub on the driveway and ate some cake.  The kids didn't want to sing happy birthday to me so I just let them pick out which part of the cake they wanted and we divied it up.  As usual, Eddie only ate the frosting and then asked me to put the rest of it back in the freezer for later.  I don't mind him not finishing desserts so I just wrapped it up and put it next to his other abandoned portion of ice cream from a few weeks ago.
Callen (6), Mary Jane (5), Eddie (3), and me.
While the kids were playing outside with the box and balloons, they would "surprise" or "trick" us by getting into the box and knocking on the door.  It was so fun to play along and watch their reactions.
"Ooooh, look Edward, someone delivered a birthday present for me!  I wonder what it could BE?!" While I'm saying this, there are snorts of laughter escaping the box and it's jiggling around like crazy.  It was so funny.
Before I could open it, Eddie burst out because the anticipation was killing him.  Hahahaha.  "It's not a present, Mama! It's just MEEEEEEEE!"
I teased him by pretending someone had gifted me a sweet, quiet little baby boy.  I rocked him and announced that if I ever had such a sweet baby boy I would rock him and then put him to bed immediately.  Eddie was very, very insistent that he is NOT a baby--he iss a BIG BOY and big boys don't go to bed when it's light outside.  Hahahahaha.
That evening I got Eddie's dinner ready a little earlier than usual but still only managed to get him into bed by about 8 pm.  Sigh.  Edward and I watched something random on Netflix until Justin arrived.  We thoroughly enjoyed our sushi dinner--I was stuffed full of miso soup, lots of nigiri, a few rolls, seaweed salad, and jalapeno-laden fried calamari.

Edward took off right when we got back to the house and I went to bed and watched the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Dave surprised me with a vase of beautiful flowers when he arrived home last weekend and then gifted me a really sweet (and giant) card and a lovely mother of pearl watch before he left on Monday.  It's so pretty and even has some bling on it!  Plus a date window, which is super helpful because I have trouble remembering what the date is.    I got a bit of birthday money from my MIL and I think I might save it to buy myself a microscope from the campus bargain barn...since I can't get any younger (as much as I want to), I might as well just get nerdier.  Plus, I have to make up for the fact that I dropped the ball and didn't think of a nerdy mathematical thing to write on my cake as I've done nearly every year since I was 24.

24 = 4! (factorial)
25 = 5^2
26 = nothing apparently.....I actually had to look at my blog archives to see what happened for my birthday this year and it was a big, fat nothing.
27 = 3^3
28 = 7 x 4
29 = ummm, no idea. I know I made a cake because Dyani was visiting and she got upset that I was baking my own cake.  Eddie'd had his testicle surgery the day before and everything was a little out of sorts.
30 = nothing...again, looking at the blog archives I see that I made myself a GF tiramisu cake when we had friends visiting in Gualala

So actually I guess I've only done a nerdy cake decoration 4 out of 8 times.  I guess I do need a microscope if I intend to embrace my inner nerd and make up for the cakes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

When He's a Mama

This morning during breakfast, Eddie and I were talking about how many babies there are at his daycare.  "Baby Charlotte and baby Imogen--that's all we have!  No baby boys!"  I reminded him that there will be third baby girl soon and her name will be Kiera.  "Oh yes, baby Kiera, from Cassie's belly!" he beamed.

Then his bright face turned rather dim and concerned.  He said when he grows up that he wants to be a mama.  He's said this before and I've always tried to explain boys usually grow up to be daddies rather than mamas.  His face turned into a scowl and he became insistent that he wanted to be mama "because daddies can't have babies in their tummies, right?"  Oh, sweet boy--that's right.

I'm not sure why he wants to be a mama instead of a daddy.  Perhaps because I'm always with him and Dave isn't--maybe that gives him the impression that while daddies love their kids, they aren't necessarily around all the time?  Or maybe because I do more of the hands-on care giving (feeding him, cooking for him, bathing and putting him to bed)?  It could also just be the whole Oedipal complex of little boys admiring their mothers at this age.  Or maybe he really does want to grow a baby in his belly.  Who knows?  Whatever it is, I love it.  And I know he'll be a wonderful parent when his time comes (let's just hope he's fully educated and financially/emotionally ready when his time comes!).

Today was especially sweet because he said he had chosen a name for the baby that will be in his tummy when he is a mama: Leila.  This is especially sweet because it's the name of one of his best friends, Cassie's daughter, who he's known since he was 4.5 months old.  He loves Leila, clearly.  I told him I thought that was a perfect choice because he loves his friend Leila.  It's hard to describe what he did with his face, but it was sort of a contemplative, satisfied smile and then he sighed.


It doesn't get much cuter or heart melting than that, folks.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Noodle's Giant Blue Egg

Every winter, our chickens completely stop laying eggs for at least a month.  Then as the days get longer they slowly give us more and more eggs.  For the last month or so, we've been getting eggs but if I wasn't home in the mornings to collect them, the chickens often ate them.  Ewww, cannibalism.

Before last fall, I would close them up in their pen every night, lest a raccoon get them.  And often in the mornings I wouldn't have time to run outside and let them out so they could roam the garden yard or into the front of the house if I left the gate open.  But I got lazy in the fall and realized that they went back into their pen each night and no predatory animals ever seemed to bother them.  So I just stopped closing them up at night.  

By not closing them up at night, I realized that they were laying eggs on my potting bench, rather than in the cozy nesting boxes Dave built.  The silly birds also like to kick out all the fluffy bedding I line the nesting boxes with, and historically they'd only use them until all the bedding was gone.  (HELLO, chickies!  How about NOT removing all the bedding you like so much?)

So I filled up their nesting boxes with nice, dry wood shavings and set some egg-looking rocks in there to make them realize that that's where Mama Hen wants them to lay their eggs...not on the potting bench.  

Since then, they've been laying 1-4 eggs a day in the nesting box, with only a cannibalized egg every so often.  Once, I saw a non-calcified blue egg so that oozed all over the place.  But otherwise, we got a lot of normal eggs.

This past weekend, I found a HUGE blue egg in the nesting box, laid by Noodle.  I was so excited that I showed it off to Dave and all the kids outside.  Dave and I were the only ones super impressed because the kids didn't really understand how big it was by comparison.
Two normal eggs flanking the Big Blue Egg, plus a kitchen ruler so you can see the measurement comparison.
This picture doesn't really get across just how massive this egg was.  Weird how different pictures make things appear different.
Holy ovary...this picture certainly shows how big it is!
Once Noodle gave us another blue egg the following evening, I weighed both of them to compare.  The big one was ~ 1/4 pound (4 oz) and the regular one was ~ 1/8 pound (2 oz).  Even her normal eggs are the 'jumbo' size from the grocery store.
The blue eggs on the left are Noodle's giant and regular sized eggs.  The other brown eggs are from our other (non bantam) hens.  Baby Chicken (the bantam, about a 1/4 size of a regular hen) lays the cutest little eggs but she's always been irregular with her laying so we don't get them too often.
Yesterday morning we cracked open the Big Blue Egg and found, not surprisingly, two yolks.  We've had double yolks from our chickens before, but always as two smaller yolks in a regular sized egg.  It isn't uncommon.  In fact, you can buy whole cartons of double yolk eggs from the Vega Farm table at the farmers market.

Eddie was pretty confused that the egg contained double yolks.  He looked at me to gauge my reaction (excited!) and this is the look he shot back at me.  Translated into words it means: "I dunno...Mama, are you tricking me?"
The surprising thing to me was that these were two full sized yolks in a double sized egg.  That's like normally birthing 8 pound children and then one pregnancy you have to push out a 16 pound baby.  LORDY, can you imagine?!

Edward came to visit me in South Africa back in 2002 at the end of my study abroad program.  We rented a car and went on a road trip on part of the famed 'garden route.' We spent one night in Oudtshoorn and were served an entire ostrich egg for breakfast.  It was INSANELY huge--like a whole platter of scrambled egg--and so rich that we struggled to eat most of it.  I tried explaining this giant egg story to Eddie and he didn't understand.  Clearly he doesn't yet know that lots of animals lay eggs and that we usually only eat chicken eggs.  (Maybe a trip to the Asian market for some quail eggs is in order...I could make a whole "mini meal" with small versions of things...eggs, mini toasts, baby bananas?  FUN!  And that reminds me, Steph: we still need to have our Big Dinner Party where everything is giant sized like that pretzel we ate in Austria!)

Anyway, those twin yolks were yummy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Boy and His Chickens

Tonight reminded me how mature Eddie's become: he used to call the chickens "yick yens" which is pretty much the most adorable thing ever.  And lately he's begun mimicking the little sing-song I say to them when I'm out gathering eggs or whatever: "Here, chickie chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiickies!  Well, hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii sweet Lady Birds!  Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii chickie chickiiiiiiiiiiiiiiies!"  It's embarrassing when I say it, but when he does it it's the most adorable thing ever.

This evening before dinner, Eddie ran off to the neighbor's house to dig in his giant compost pile.  He wanted to find worms to feed to our chickens, who were running free in the cul-de-sac.  

I asked if I could take his picture and he instantly turned his back to me and informed that he was too "busy sawing the compost" to pose for a picture.  Of course, when I suggested that we take a picture to show Uncle Edward, he spun around and put on his typical "Anime" smile.  
When he's in a good mood, I can direct his facial expressions--this time to keep his eyes open a bit.  Ahhhhhh, isn't he handsome?!
I was called over to gather the worms and shuttle them back to our house.  One of the worms was as thick as my pinky finger and about 4 inches long.  All it takes it a little tongue clicking and sweet words to the chickies and they come running over to see what I, their Mama Bird, has for them.  They all have their own personalities and right now only two of them are interested in eating worms.  If the worm is held by one end and dangle it, the chickens run up, stop about an arm's length away, and then investigate the invertebrate gift by turning and cocking their heads for a few seconds...and then they snap their head toward the free end of the treat, pull it and let it fall to the ground, and then gulp it down.  The gulp always reminds me of how young children slurp entire lengths of cooked spaghetti into their mouths.  
I had this area along the driveway fenced during most of the winter since I seeded it with perennial flowers.  But now that the rye grass is in full force, the chickens have a salad bar.  
Masala and Pepper each got a few wormies before we retreated inside the house for an easy dinner of take-out pizza.  And truth be told, I'm not sure I even remembered to brush off much of the residual compost from Eddie's clothes before he went inside (but he did wash his grubby little hands!).  

I love that Eddie looooooooooves dirt, compost, worms, spiders, etc.  And not because it is 'boy' stuff, but because his life will be a lot easier for him if he knows how to appreciate life's nasties and that some situations require (or are improved by) getting dirty.  And because I love that stuff.   

Want to see something weird?  Click here to see a picture of earthworms mating.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cousin Sleepover and Illness

This past weekend, Zennie and Johnny came over to spend the night.  Their parents really wanted some time alone and we really wanted to see their kiddos so it worked out well.  Well, sorta well.
This looks cute but didn't last long.  Apparently, Zennie doesn't stay put on a big kid bed.  Luckily there was a comfy trundle bed below her instead of the hard floor!
They came over at dinnertime on Friday and I was feeling pretty accomplished at 11 pm when Dave got home to a quiet, clean house.  We went to bed, anticipating an early-rising baby Johnny.  Ha.  He was the boy with sleeping issues.  Eddie woke up at midnight, crying about something.  I went into comfort him since I didn't want him to wake Zennie up. And then he woke up again about 15 minutes later, this time with Zennie half on his bed and half in the gap between the bed and the trundle.  Eddie did NOT like that Zennie was nestled there in the corner of his bed--but she didn't appear to be bothered by it and   He went back to bed.  Then about 40 minutes later he was back at it; this time Dave was on call.  After a few more of these incidents I barked at Dave to put Eddie into our bed.  Of course, Eddie takes up most of the bed (along with the dogs) so Dave retreated to the couch.  Then at 5 am Eddie woke me up complaining that our room was too dark (at 5 am...ya THINK?!) and that he wanted his special "Uncle Blanket" from his room.  I told him it was supposed to be dark because we were supposed to be sleeping still and that I wasn't going to bother Zennie by going into his room.  Eventually Eddie fell back asleep...and then Zennie started crying for Eddie at 7 am.  Dave snuggled her and they both fell back asleep for another 45 minutes until Johnny was up.

It was a very nice morning for a walk.
Dave and I were so tired that we felt hung over.  The kids didn't want any breakfast and Eddie kept complaining that his tummy hurt.  He hadn't eaten much for dinner so I coaxed him into eating some cereal, figuring he had intense hunger pangs.  Otherwise he was fine.  The kids all played well together and we went to get donuts and play at the park.  In the afternoon, I had to skip a friend's baby shower because I was too exhausted.
All ready to go to the shopping center for some donuts!
Zennie, Eddie, Mary Jane, and Callen got to work digging more holes in the front yard.  Zennie knows all about gardening so she fit right in.
Johnny Valor is definitely a Bower: this is a classic example of the 'Bower jaw,' something all Bower males do when they zone out.
Uncle Dave and Johnny.
I made chocolate dipped shortbread cookies after the cousins left: jam thumb print with crushed nuts on top and green cookies dipping in minty chocolate and topped with Andes mints.
The kids wanted to watch Dave troubleshoot some leaking copper unions he'd just soldered into place. They kept saying that it smelled "like stinky burned fart" from the solder.  Haha.
Poor Eddie then got painful stomach cramps on Sunday and had diarrhea.  He told us his belly was "saying that it doesn't want to play." Maybe his very weird sleeping on Friday/Saturday was due to cramping, too?  Or maybe it was because Zennie thrashes around in her sleep and it was bothering him?  Who knows.

Monday he seemed fine (attitude, sleeping, appetite) so he and Dave had a usual day of playing with the neighbors and doing stuff around the house.  Then he had diarrhea some more and he sorta lost his appetite.  So I had to stay home with him on Tuesday and again on Wednesday (he has to be 100% symptom free for 24 hours to return to daycare--and since 2 other daycare kids had barfed over the weekend Cassie wanted us to be very sure he was well before bringing him back).  Staying home and playing with him on Tuesday was fine because I had resolved to avoid working that day.  We did some Pinterest activities, watched a movie, played a lot, did some painting, went to a UCD baseball game and he drank 'sick juice' (watered down Gatorade) and ate bananas and bread.  He had diarrhea again on Tuesday morning...poor kid.  So we hung out at home again on Wednesday and I waited and waited for him to have a 'normal' poop so I could feel sure that he was well enough to go to school.

I really, really wanted to get some plots made in R but was having trouble--not only with getting some Eddie-free time but also trying to get the plotting function to work properly.  Thank goodness for Edward being on Gmail chat constantly and being a programmer so he could help me troubleshoot.  It took about 4 frustrating hours, but I finally got them done.  After that we biked to the store to get a few things.  Eddie had been a pretty good boy that morning and his appetite was definitely back so I let him pick out a cupcake--he chose the T Rex with a volcano of frosting on top.  After his (very short) nap he got to have the cupcake...and he only ate the frosting and candy dinosaur.  I know I shouldn't let a sick kid have so much sugar but I was going bonkers trying to keep him entertained.  It's soooooooooooooo hard for him to hang out with adults all day.  He craves playtime with his contemporaries and gets super whiny and cranky when he can't.  Luckily, he was well past the 24 hour threshold by the time Mary Jane and Callen got home from school so I took everyone (dogs, too) to the park until it was too dark to see outside.  While we were eating dinner Eddie had to potty and he FINALLY had a normal poop.  Yay!

Anyway, enough about poop.  Here are some of the fun things we did while stuck at home:
We rode our bikes to the store in the rain and hail.  I think Eddie needs a bigger bike!  I did raise the seat about an inch when we got home.
In class, our students were complaining that Davis lacks a sports culture--a lot of them are athletes and it bothers them how few people (students, faculty, community members) attend their games.  So I decided to take Eddie to see a home game on Tuesday afternoon.  He was still technically sick but I figured the stands would be pretty empty so we wouldn't risk interacting with anyone.  And boy was it ever empty.  We never did see my student play (he was doing stats or something) but it was fun anyway.  Although admittedly, Eddie was more interested in eating popcorn, climbing on the handrails, and rolling/retrieving a baseball he found in the bushes than actually watching the game.  And that's good because I don't know much about the game to explain to him anyway.

I found this 'sticky spider web' masking tape game on Pinterest and tried it out.  Eddie liked playing but the next day he found it more fun to rip the entire web down from the door way.
We played trains yesterday morning.  Well, I was instructed to build the tracks and then he never really played with the actual trains.  But this is my genius solution to having train or LEGO pieces everywhere: I spread a huge tablecloth or sheet on the floor first so all we have to do during clean up is gather up the cloth and pour the pieces back into the box. Ta da!
I went to check on him last night and found him sleeping with...a tripod.  What a little weirdo. He calls it a "smile, cheese!" since that's what people tend to say when using a tripod.
This morning during breakfast, Eddie was whining about not being able to watch an episode of Busytown Mysteries before eating.  I ignored the incessant demand as much as I could and announced that I was going to make a list of all the plants we needed to buy to take to Gualala for our summer garden.  I let him choose the color of pen or crayon for each plant and he even let me write in the journal he got from his goody bag at Renee's party.  Thank goodness distraction does still work at times.