Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's A Boy!

We found out today what the baby is... but I wouldn't recommend our method for acquiring an ultrasound. I woke up this morning feeling fine, but by quarter to nine, I was having such bad abdominal pain we were heading for the hospital. It didn't feel like I was having contractions, but the pain was so intense I did worry I was in labor.

I ended up being in the hospital until 5:00 this evening. I had every test imaginable, including an ultrasound for Baby Boy White! Everything tested out fine-- no kidney stones, bladder infection, pre-term labor, etc. So I was left with excruciating pain for the afternoon AND the feeling that I was a hypochondriac! The end result was that I am now home, feeling MUCH better. The pain started lifting about five, and it's pretty mild now. The doctor says the only thing he can think of is some sort of gastro-intestinal bug.

So, after a day of writhing in pain and bawling like a baby, while not eating anything all day, I am now home, glad that my little boy intends to stay inside for a while longer! I'm glad we had a nice lazy afternoon yesterday, since I certainly did not get my lovely Sunday afternoon this week! Thanks to Ginger, we didn't have to worry about our kids today-- she took the three of them to meeting this morning, and watched them all afternoon for us!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our Busy Social Calendar

Another Friday night, and Clover is writing on her blog! What a social butterfly... Actually, I can't complain about my social life-- we've had a week chock full of people!

But first, the anti-social stuff...

Here's the main reason I haven't been as faithful about updating my blog. We moved my computer up to the living room, which is wonderful. No more shivering in the always-freezing corner of the family room while Evan hangs out in his recliner in the living room. Now, I get to sit next to him and ask him, "Whatcha doin?" every five minutes. He's ecstatic about the change.

It's quite a switch, from my gargantuan desk to this cute little one. I now have a bureau in the family room to store office supplies, computer program disks, etc. There's just enough room on the desk for the computer monitor and the keyboard.

Anyway, we had to get a wireless card for my computer, since there's no cable connection in that part of the living room. The wireless card fought with the printer for the longest time, which necessitated re-installing all the HP software, which messed up how I download and edit pictures. Now, though, all my little programs are back and working so I can bore the world at large with my bazillion pictures and blathering.

Here's another new thing-- the bandanna quilt on Elliott's bed. Marilyn made it from some bandannas she's had for years, and used it to practice quilting on the quilt machine a couple of years ago. She brought it out for the kids to use, and it ended up matching Elliott's bed perfectly! Until this time, Elliott had been emasculated by the kitten blanket Aunt Lisa-in-Alaska had made for Cheyenne years ago. A great quilt for Cheyenne, not quite as manly for Elliott. Now he has a testosterone-producing quilt! (Note the empty middle shelf on the the bookcase-- Rilla considers it a personal failure for the board books to remain on that shelf for more than five minutes at a time.)

Saturday morning, Evan got the Play-Dough out for the kids. They had a wonderful time. Isn't it great to think I bought that whole Rubbermaid of Play-Dough toys at a garage sale for a couple of bucks?

Cheyenne was, surprisingly, silly!

Rilla wants to see the other side of the camera.

Elliott, holding up his green Play-Dough for inspection.

Cheyenne uses her purple Play-Dough for a horn or something.

Happy playing! A rare and lovely thing...


Saturday afternoon was slightly above freezing, so we pushed the kids outdoors. Rilla needed help walking in the crusty snow, so Big Sister lent a hand.

Mighty Shovel Man.

It's awesome how much more Elliott enjoys the snow, now that he's bigger.

Marilla, with a resigned expression. "Have you had enough fun snapping my picture, Mom? Because I'm freezing, and frankly, I don't see the point of being outside at the moment."

I love winter kids!

Sunday, we had a potluck for our meeting. Of course, I forgot to take any pictures of that. But we had a great time, and it made me want to have more frequent potlucks. As a bonus, it made me clean my house on Saturday so Sunday evening I had a nice clean house to enjoy after everyone left!

Then, since I like promoting my daughter playing hooky, and it's fun to drive by myself on winter roads with little kids, the kids and I headed North!

Dad, admiring Justin's new maple sugar evaporating pan. (I think it's an evaporating pan? I may have the terminology wrong, but I know it has to do with sugaring. Evan will be insanely jealous.)

Five kids, playing in the Cottens' new bathtub. Five kids, and 100 plastic balls. A lovely recipe for fun.

Except that most of the water drained, and there wasn't enough hot water to run more...

And then Rilla peed in the tub and REALLY broke up the party. Check out the totally elegant tiled bath and the cool showers, though.

Bethaney, pretending to fold a towel so she's not in the picture. Cool mirror, and I'm going to steal their soap dispenser one of these days.

Olivia snapped this picture, so I'm not sure if Orianna is intending to be a wolf or a bear. Probably a wolf, since The Three Little Pigs is one of the top stories right now. Wolf or bear, either way I'm skeered.

Cheyenne, reading to Orianna. Cheyenne being able to read stories has made her popularity zoom.

Marilla, rocking the late 80s hairdo. I used to go to school with girls who spent hours on this look. Marilla achieves it in two seconds by ripping the elastics out of her hair.

Lots of teasing going on to get that front roll!

AND glamorous sunglasses.

Even models need their milk.

Gilbert, snuggling on Dad's chest. He's usually quite happy there. He's the most adorable little thumb-sucker I've ever seen. (Gilbert, that is, not Dad.)

High entertainment in the Vaughan household. Cheyenne is, once again, reading books to her cousin. Tori is engrossed on the computer. I like Tori's clothing choices-- that's what happens when you pull on a random skirt in the dark.

Then, Wednesday afternoon, we got home just in time for Auntie's visit. The kids seem to like her!

Rilla was doing puzzles, until I got the camera out.

Then, "see pissures???" starts. And it's impossible to take her picture because she keeps maneuvering to get on the other side of the camera.

She was spinning this car around in circles until I wanted to take a picture of it. The car was a present to Elliott from Grandma Jill, but it's one of Rilla's favorite things to do. She sits on the floor and scootches around in circles, running the car around herself.

Squatting. Perhaps that skirt is getting too short, since it's invisible in this picture? I love the green sweater-- Grandpa Dana picked it out for her.

Then, of course, we're back to trying to see pictures.

I've been a wee bit obsessed with making layered Jello salad lately. I'd never heard of it, until someone who grew up eating my mother-in-law's Jello salad at potlucks wrote me to see if I had the recipe. Once I got the recipe from Marilyn, I decided to try it. I've had a few disasters (notice how most of the red Jello is melted on this one because I dipped it in hot water for too long) but thankfully, they all taste fine and Cheyenne likes Jello! This was my attempt at Vaughans', using Bet's snowflake mold.

Then one I made last night. Bet bought a couple of molds at the thrift store so we can be cool retro 50s housewives, and this is the one I got. I think the top layer looks a little sick-- bilious purple. I think I will do the clear Jello layer for the top from now on!

And, if I get ambitious, I will put the recipe for this up on my long-neglected cooking blog tomorrow! That way, everyone else can waste a lot of time making a fairly useless recipe! :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January, Thus Far

Okay, it's been a REALLY long time since I've updated this blog. That doesn't mean that brothers have to call and yell at me about it. Tyler's a meanie.

We've had a great January so far. Evan has been mostly unemployed, which means we get to see him a lot! Yeah, it's nice to have money, but having Daddy around is pretty nice, too!

Auntie was with us for a few days at the end of the year. Here is our exciting New Year's Day. Watching Auntie play word games on the computer, reading books...

And playing cars. Elliott loves these components of the Hot Wheels City. Smiths bought him a few last year for his birthday, and Evan bought him some more on our way back from New York City. They are good for hours of play.

Evan, taking a few minutes break from woodworking. He's got the garage set up as a shop, and he's in the middle of making a bunk bed for the kids.

Fat-tummied book lover.

Coy little girl. She wanted to wear this summer dress since it was a holiday, so we compromised and made her wear a turtleneck under it. Totally dorky, but it made her happy.

Then, the fun really started last week, when the Cotten kiddos and Bet brought Aunt Lindsey down to the airport so she could fly back to Alaska. Of course, I don't have any pictures of Lindsey-- my camera had over 1000 pictures on it, so I kept refusing to take pictures until I had downloaded them all and erased the card. I didn't get a lot of pictures of mid-January.

Our big outing was the zoo!

Watching the ducks.

They didn't seem to mind the cold.

There were even happy flamingos-- I thought they were more of a tropical bird, but they seemed fine standing in the semi-frozen water.

I LOVE this picture of the cousins, Marilla and Orianna. And, since the Cottens were here, Marilla is clutching a bag of pretzels.

Andean condor. It was HUGE, not that you could tell from this picture.

Not an official visitor, but I like this picture of a squirrel. He was in the red panda's cage.

This is the red panda.

Thornton's white-lipped deer, or some such name-- can't be bothered to look it up right now! :-)

A rooster-- I don't know if it was a special one. His head was a nice spot of color, though.

One of the few things Elliott got excited about at the zoo! For most of the outside portion of the zoo, Elliott spent the time in the double stroller, begging for more blankets. Little sissy. :-) Just because his mother decided 35° was warm enough that they didn't need mittens or hats...

Bet taking pictures. If you brought a camera, and a coupon printed off the zoo's website, you could get in free, as a way to promote their photo contest. For all six kids and three adults, we paid $3! It's the cheap thing to do in the winter.

The wolf.


I've worked in some preschools where this should have been displayed.

Okay, so I'm probably going overboard with posting pictures of animals, but Bet's camera battery died early in the day, so I want her girls to be able to see pictures of all the animals. Of course, I wasn't with it enough to burn a CD of the pictures for them before they left.

Bird with pretty plumage, whose name escapes me. Unfortunately for winning fame and glory in the zoo's photo contest, between the fences and windows you had to shoot through, and the slightly dingy snow, it wasn't a good picture day for the animals.

Fat bird.

Tiger. (With my helpful, astute scientific labels here, I bet you can tell I was a biology major for several semesters, right?)

The tiger statue.

Lifting the kids on. We provided our own saddle, in the form of an old Indian blanket.

Sweet smiling kids... and my daughter Cheyenne.

In her defense, the kids were quite frozen by this point.

Orianna and Lily still managed to smile, but not Cheyenne.

Not until she got to be the one in the spotlight, and sit on the tiger all by herself. Oh, boy, is it fun raising a temperamental drama queen.

Mountain sheepy- things.

I like the snow balanced on the tip of his horn.

Guanacos, cousins to llamas. (See, I actually bestirred myself to google what their names were, rather than writing "llama cousin-thingies.")

I'd say reindeer, but I didn't read the sign.

A white wolf. (Evan says that's all it is, but it seems like every animal in the zoo was something other than what I first thought it was. "Hey, look, kids, it's llamas!" "Actually, they're guanacos. Duh, Aunt Clover." Thankfully, Orianna was too polite to say that.)

Penguins. I really don't understand why animals who flourish in the Antartic AND play outside the whole Syracuse summer, had to be inside that day. I was thinking they would be cavorting adorably in the winter. Instead, they were standing in lots of poop in their enclosure.

Probably too many swan pictures, but they were pretty. Even standing in their own waste.

Two of them, with their heads tucked.

Pretty mallard.

And the humble wife, tagging along a few steps behind. Reminded me a lot of Evan and I.

Another swan picture.

Feeding the donkeys.

The elephant! They weren't out when we first walked by their yard, which was very disappointing to Orianna and Lily, who were pretty firm in their ideas on what animals SHOULD be in the zoo. Thankfully, just as we were heading inside for lunch, there the elephant was!

Continuing our super-cheap streak, we brought our own picnic lunch. Here Elliott is blissing over his chocolate pudding. I've never seen a kid who likes pudding quite as much as Elliott. I made pudding a few times over the days the Cottens were here, and he was would eat all his. Then finish Marilla's. Then move on to Orianna's, and top it off with Lily's.

They were passing out candy at the entrance. Cheyenne looked just like the blue-tongued skink whose picture was hanging in the dining area.

Little Gilbert, happy to be out of his stroller!

Edible child!

A Nemo fish! I think parents should petition the scientific community to officially change their scientific name to reflect the fact that kids will ALWAYS call it a Nemo fish!

And a Dorrie fish. We have a battery-operated Dorrie fish that swims around our bathtub.

Checking out one of the fish tanks.

Gilbert's back in the stroller, but at least he can be uncovered because we're inside now!


And, despite me saying, "Look, kids, alligators!" these were NOT alligators. Evan, the smart one, can't remember what they were called either. So just be aware it's NOT an alligator or crocodile.

Here the kids are, (being quiet like the sign asked them) in the bird area.

A parrot? They were flying around in here, not conveniently perched next to a little sign telling you who they were.

These animals were wandering, too.

The single most disgusting animal in the zoo, hands down. Naked mole rats.

Sloths, living up to their name.

This snake looks like it is grinning evilly.



There's little pictures in the holes of the rock here. The kids liked peering in.

Hmm, not sure what these were.

The kids watching the red-bummed monkey-like animals. They were quite captivated by the colors of their bottoms. (I just stopped being lazy and looked them up. They were mandrills.)

Pretty bird.

These were the best animals there-- they were swinging all over the place, flipping upside down on vines and coming right up to the window. They're called siamangs. I know this, despite the zoo wanting to keep them a secret and not posting them on their website, because my husband is smart and uses Google.

Squirrel monkey.

A meerkat, chilling out.

A fossa. For reasons I've never known, Justin is often called Cotten-Fossa by my weird brothers. So we finally met another Fossa.

Bethaney's sign.

Leaving the zoo!

Rilla and Gilbert kept each other happy. She loved sitting beside him and reading, and it kept him from feeling poor and lonesome.

At the beginning of this week, Evan took a trip to Poughkeepsie, Albany and Glen's Falls, putting together an estimate for a future job. One of the great things about this was that he passed a Krispy Kreme store! (Another great thing was that he stopped at Candy Kraft and bought me a box of dark orange cremes and fudge meltaways for my birthday!)

Elliott liked the doughnuts, although he was concerned enough about the flaking glaze to request a bib for the first time in a long time.

Rilla also liked doughnuts.

My african violet has finally bounced back a bit from it's brutal separation last May.

"Maybe if I act really cute and innocent, they won't notice that I'm carrying around my blankie instead of leaving it in the crib where it's supposed to stay."


Elliott, playing with his laptop and saying, "Take a picture of me!"

Tuesday was my 32nd birthday! I am fast approaching ancient.

Lots of help blowing out candles.

Sleepy little chocolate face.

I do this child's hair every day, and she pulls the elastic out about 20 times a day. Along about evening, I give up, and her hair looks like this. Good thing she's so stinking cute, because this is a HARD hairdo to get away with.

My girls, in their matching outfits from Grandma Marilyn.

Elliott, alas, is not dressed in brown, but is spiffy in his new clothes!

Rilla is goofy.

She is getting so big.

They move too fast for me to get away with not using a flash!

"Yay! I'm getting my picture taken!"

Elliott, cooking up a storm.

There, that's the bazillion pictures I've posted. In non-picture news, Elliott is sorta potty-trained-- as long as you remind him every couple of hours, he keeps his underwear dry! It's a major step in the right direction, so I'm happy. Rilla now insists that she get to sit on the potty at every diaper change, although she never does anything. She just sits on the potty, smirking at her big-girlness.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant now and feeling great. This baby is very active, and every kick is highly welcome! I like knowing it's alive and kicking!

Cheyenne is really reading now-- not just words here and there, but she's able to sit down with a book and read the whole thing through. I got the book "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut" out of the library and she read the whole thing herself. Well, okay, I helped her with the words, "Indianapolis" and "Hallelujah" but otherwise, it was all her!

Maybe I'll get ambitious soon and post the pictures I have from our Christmas vacation-- a wonderful week up at the farm!