One Week. . .

Polly's babies were a week old Sunday night. They're eyes are open now, and I'm picking up one or two of them for a couple of minutes a day. They squeek pitifully when I do, though, and Polly comes running frantically when she hears them.
I"d like to have names for them; I guess I'll wait till the new owners commit themselves. . .
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Short Fevers

Sunday afternoon, Ava woke up from her nap with a very low fever. By 4:00 or so, it had climbed to 101.5. It sat there until 5:30 the next morning, when it broke on it's own. She had no other symptoms at all; no runny nose, cough, etc. I thought she was just teething and didn't give it another thought.

Yesterday, Alec's school called me to tell me that he was in the office crying and saying that he didn't feel good, so I went and picked him up. By 1:00, both Benji and Alec were on the couch with fevers around 101.5!

When I went to put Ava in the bathtub that night, I noticed that she had bumps on the bottoms of her feet. She had been outside barefoot, so I thought maybe she had walked in something that irritated her and just ignored it.

Today after lunch, the boys were feeling pretty much better, also with no other symptoms just like Ava. We were at my mom's house and I took off Ava's shoes to show her the bumps on her feet and noticed that they were worse, and she also had a couple tiny bumps around her mouth. We drove home, and by the time we got home, she had bumps all around her mouth, on her hands, and her toes were all bumpy and swollen, AND she had a rash all over her calves!

I don't usually freak out about the occasional "mystery rash", but I suddenly remembered that she had had that fever on Sunday, and the boys had had a fever last night. I went ahead and took her to our MD.

She so kindly informed us that Ava has "Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease", which is only a mild virus that is quite common in young children and only manifests in a short-lived rash, mildly itchy, and a low fever. She said that sometimes there will be blisters of it IN the mouth, and then the child might have trouble eating, but Tylenol usually does the trick.

She also told me that as long as Alec's fever was gone I could go ahead and send him to school, but that it was likely that he and Benji both have it also and their rashes just haven't shown up yet.

I'm treating their viruses with just typical stuff I'd give for a cold: Echinacea, lots of Calcium Lactate, several other immune building supplements from Standard Process, Vit. C, and colloidal silver (by Silver Biotics). I'm interested to see how fast Ava's rash subsides, using all of these natural anti-viral, immune support treatments, as apposed to just doing nothing like the doctor recommended.

Anyone else have experience with this virus?


Wordless Wednesday

Sticky fingers and tired eyes. . .
the end of a backyard camping trip
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Weekend work

Sadly, I don't have any "almost after" pictures to post of the front room. It is almost all primed, though. I still need to prime the ceiling (probably two coats) and wipe down and prime the trim. The trim will get painted the same color as the kitchen trim (it's called "Pot of Cream") and the walls will be the same color as the living room (it's called "Lyndhurst Shady Grove").

Marvin made some progress on the electrical stuff. He put in two new outlets to accommodate for the computer and moving my sewing table, and he's re-wiring as much as he can reach from this area in the basement like he does on any project. Our hope is that eventually the whole house will be re-wired from that scary old fabric coated stuff.

Even though we were working, we did have a nice weekend. We managed to balance work with taking time out to play. Marvin camped in the backyard Saturday night with the boys, with a bonfire and s'mores, and Monday we went to a big annual flea market in the town next to ours, looking for a bookcase and comfy chair for the front room.


Up and down the walls

I"ve been spending Ava's naps all week scraping the walls. There is the original plaster (a dirty cream-ish color), then a layer of new drywall mud (white), then a layer of primer (a dirty cream-ish color), then some of the adhesive paper (white) that is from the back of the wallpaper.

After about an hour or so, all those layers of dirty cream and white really start to blur together, not to mention the fact that I really do feel like I'm climbing the walls; I have to go up the ladder and spray DIF on the top part of the wall, come down the ladder and spray DIF on the bottom of the wall, go right back up the ladder and scrape what the DIF has loosened, and then go back down and scrape, etc. AHHHHHHHHHGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's actually not really that bad, the wallpaper could have come off in coin-sized shreds, or we could have found 6 layers of wallpaper underneath, or some other equally horrifying sight! All in all, so far it's been one of our easiest projects.

I'm trying to get a coat of primer on today so we can hopefully start painting this weekend. I kind of forgot that Marvin has a tiny bit of electrical stuff to do, but I'm hoping that he'll be able to get the dusty bits out of the way so I can paint while he runs wires.

Maybe Tuesday I"ll have some "almost After" pictures to put up!


Wordless Wednesday

Could it be any colder outside right now? The average temp. for here is 75 degrees; it's only supposed to be 58 degrees today!
What's up with that???!!!
(I look as annoyed in this picture as I'm feeling right now 'cause I'm too cold to wear flip flops at the end of May!)
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40 and counting

I decided to make a list of Ava's words right now- wow! is she a talker! She has words for:










Ani (one of our dogs)








chocolate (this one's definately my fault!)




click (the buckles on her carseat)





paci (pacifier)


bowl (she must have a bowl to eat nearly everything in)




un-huh (accompanied by an exaggerated nod)



boys (her brothers)





Of course she doesn't pronounce everything perfectly, she calls hummus "hum-EEEE!", but enough that we get the general idea.

She's saying all this at nearly 18 mos. . .I hope she keeps talking this much to me when she's a teenager!

Polly is a mommy!

Last night, our suddenly-pregnant cat Polly gave birth to three adorable, mewing little kittens. Yes, I know we should have had her spayed; I was actually waiting on some extra money to go and have it done next month, but too late!

In reality, it's kind of cool seeing an animal do what the Lord created it to, and to watch the miracle of new life take place on our front porch.

Fortunately there are only three kittens and as of now, they are all spoken for. I'm hoping none of you change your minds in the next six weeks!! Ahem. . .

I'm sure the boys and Ava will have so much fun watching them grow and pounce around in the yard for a while. And don't worry, as soon as Polly stops nursing them, she's off to the vet!
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Stripping. . .

Over the weekend, we took the old playroom from this. . .

to this,
without the help of any chemical wallpaper removers! We were truly amazed- the paper and a layer of paint underneath just peeled off in big sheets (with minimal help from a paint scraper)

Tomorrow I"m going to use a little DIF to remove some last little stubborn bits and then begin clean up to get ready for primer. We like to use Zinsser's high hiding primer- it's low oder and thick, it does a fantastic job of covering nearly anything.

After that, my dad will come and do a little patching on the walls and then hopefully this coming weekend we'll be putting some color up!!!
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Before. . .

Here's the room that we're working on. It's in the front of our house, between the kitchen and living room. We've been using it as a playroom/my sewing room, but we're changing it into the office/library. My work table will stay in there, but the computer and office stuff from upstairs is coming down and the toys are going up to the former office.

I've been working on moving stuff out, and this weekend we'll have it cleared out, wallpaper off, and hopefully some primer on. Can't wait till I can post "after" pictures!
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Wordless Wednesday

After school. . .
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A Bit of Ettiquette

Today I was at a friend's house and noticed that as we were talking she was folding some laundry. I thought about it more later and realized that most of the time I was there, she was in constant motion, putting things away, etc.

Then I gave it some more thought and realized that most of the time when a friend drops by my house, I do the exact same thing.

I'm not sure what to make of this. Are we just so busy that we can't even take time out of our day to stand still and talk to a friend? Or is it that as moms, when we're at home we are basically at work and if someone drops by they are essentially interrupting our work day?

How do we balance the "need for speed" in dashing through our daily chores with the need for rest and gracious hospitality? Is it rude to work when a friend is visiting, or is it acceptable because it's a necessity?

Anyone have the answer?

Oh, and "friend whose house I was at earlier today", you know who you are. . .I"m absolutely not upset, I just saw you doing something that I always do and it made me take notice. Those of you who do come to my house, do you notice me not stopping?


I Scream, You Scream. . .

Tuesday night Ava got her first ice cream cone! We really held out this time- she's 17 mos! We did it at one year with the boys. She was quite delighted, wiggling back and forth the whole time she was eating it.

At the end of the cone she decided to try it out as lotion, dipping her finger in it and spreading it on her legs! She attracted quite a group of onlookers and I couldn't get her to look at the camera.
Benji was really excited- we brought some of his Rice Dream ice cream with us and put it into an empty cone for him. Even though wheat (the cone) is one of the things he's sensitive to, he can have it once in a great while without too many consequences.
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I'm finally jumping on the bandwagon and doing a Wordless Wednesday!

Typical Ava: messy and wet, smokin' a paci!
I love you, baby Grace. . .
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The Side Effects of Life

I was grumbling a bit as I vaccumed today. As I used the hose and crevice tool, I inwardly complained about how messy three children could leave a house. I was wondering what dried up piece of food I'd find next, when I felt a gentle nudging in my spirit. "Shelly!" the Holy Spirit rebuked me, "these are just the side effects of the rich life I've given you."

How selfish we sometimes are, whining about the side effects of life, instead of rejoicing in the cure for our "disease", Jesus Christ! Let's thank Him that we have a house to clean, and kids to clean up after. Thank Him that we can see the sun, instead of griping about how hot it is (or soon will be!) outside. Thank Him that we have a car to drive where we need to, instead of complaining about the high price of gas.

I know this sounds like one of those corny forwards that circulate in our email boxes, but please take this to heart. Our lives are a blink of an eye; let's not waste them complaining about the side effects!
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Monday Musings

We actually had a really nice weekend. Marvin and the boys went fishing for a little on Sunday (and how nice to have a whole day to ourselves, since we had gone to church on Sat.!) and I just kind of hung around the house with Ava. We also got a little yard work done, organized our yard tool shed, and ate many meals together!!!! That is a major event here, since Marvin's crazy work schedule keeps him away for most meals during the week.

This week will be full of before pictures of our playroom and office, as we begin to de-clutter and move the contents of the playroom out so we can paint. I went and got paint swatches on Sunday, and yes Brittany, you may be right. . .I think the room needs to be some sort of yellow.

I'm also going to be working a bit on finishing up the boys room and hopefully posting pics of their bed curtains that I finally finished, along with how-to instructions.


Weary. . .

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Last night was the first of our new Saturday night services at church. We went to see what it would be like. It felt strange, being there in the evening after dinner.
Our pastor shared about how if you're going to follow Jesus, change will always be normal and necessary. We had an extended time of worship at the end, and while I was praying, I realized that I had become weary in my journey of asking the Lord for complete healing for Benji.
I've been praying for healing for him for four years now, and while I'm definitely not giving up, I feel like I really need some encouragement.
So, all of you prayer warriors out there, please lift me up, that I might find rest and renewal in my Heavenly Father's arms, and new strength to continue doing what I must.


I Finally Broke Down and Hired a Cleaning Lady. . .

She arrived today in a hybrid convertible, with all her cleaning supplies ready. . .

She washed the front of my refrigerator. . .

Cleaned my floor. . .

Then announced that she had found her keys and it was time to leave. . .
Maybe I can get her to do the toilets next time!
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The week is continuing to run smoothly with the me being the "schedule nazi". Stopping all housework at three o'clock and starting dinner prep when Alec gets home from school has totally revolutionized our days!

For starters, I know that I have a limited amount of time to get done what I need to and it makes me stay focused and not spend time doing extra things (like blogging!). Also, Ava tends to freak out when I cook dinner, so I've been putting her in her high chair right away after school and giving her a snack. She'll stay happily munching away while I cook dinner and clean up!

I've been having Alec do homework while I fix dinner, so that he's in the kitchen with me if he needs help. After dinner's made or in the oven and the kitchen is cleaned and homework is done, we just kind of hang out, take a walk, etc. till about 5:30 or so, then we eat.

By 7:00, the boys are headed upstairs to pick up their room and put on jammies while I"m putting Ava to bed. Sadly, this has taken away some of the time Marvin gets to spend with Ava, (he usually doesn't get home till 7:00) but all in all, it's been very nice and smooth.

I've been able to close the kitchen and "clock out" around 8:30 each night, a far cry from my usual 9:30 or even 10:00!

For more great information on scheduling and housekeeping with young children, visit my link in the sidebar to the FlyLady website.

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