Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Makin' stuff again.

A couple of things I've been working on this week.

Mia's super duper Christmas Candy outfit! Sucker was a lot more work than I expected. She loves it, though, which is all I care about. Any opportunity to bring out her Cindy-Lou Who-ness, I'm on it.

This necklace is for the kids' favorite babysitter, "Miss Sara." She leads worship on Sunday mornings at our church, and she sings like an angel. We are also making her a very sloppy card to go with it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mind vomit.

SO MUCH on my mind lately, I can barely settle down to blog about a fraction of it. I'm just going to throw it all out there. Hang onto your hiney.

On the home front, Mia's finally showing some strides with her potty training. We were doing so well for a while, and then we started regressing when preschool started. The kids' school has a policy that you can't bring your child in underpants until they are close to accident-free, and that meant we were having to switch back and forth between undies at home and Pull-Ups at school. She's no slow-wit; she's well aware that Pull-Ups are really just expensive diapers. When you're wearing your own toilet, why bother using the potty at all? So last week her teacher and I chatted and she gave me the green light to just bring her in undies. After a rocky start, she's doing really well these days. Still reluctant to deposit #2...is this a girl thing?

Connor continues to have good days and bad days in Pre-K. Things got really bad a couple weeks ago when his teacher pulled me aside after class to chat about his progress. He's having fewer emotional outbursts (he and this kid Dylan continue to tango, but they really provoke each other. I'm not going to chastise my son for retaliating if the boy throws a rock at his head. I'm just not.), but she's having difficulty getting Connor to "engage" in class. He only participates in activities that interest him, and then he checks out and starts entertaining himself at random. She cited "rug time" as an example: the rest of the class sat and listened and he felt compelled to run circles around the activity table. I suspect a great deal of this behavior is boredom. Still, he has got to learn that participation is not elective. He is a compulsive "doodler" (Golly Moses, this was ME as a kid) and often decides he'd rather "illustrate" the back of his paper instead of practice writing lowercase "M" on the reverse. Getting his attention is a challenge--he has "selective hearing..." She said she caught him urinating on the playground once a couple weeks ago, and when she caught him, he could not understand what the big deal was. "I went behind the playhouse so nobody could see me!" he reasoned. She was even recommending professional evaluation, perhaps by a pediatrician. Not because he peed on the playground, but because he can't seem to focus with the rest of the class. She suggested blood sugar issues and this has been noted in the past, because he does have dramatic mood swings and has to pee a LOT. I may consider that. I'm starting to think maybe we just have a massively bored kid on our hands who also has a maturity issue in that he hasn't learned self-control yet. In the weeks following our conference, Connor's shown more of an effort to complete his handwriting practice pages, and he's had more good report days than bad. As for the public urination, he's four. And he's a boy. And little boys love peeing outside. Why else would they be such big fans of camping?

Still praying and considering what to do about Kindergarten next year for Connor. Number one on my list right now is Chattanooga Christian. I'm in love with their curriculum, their education policy, even their website. The real question...where the heck are we going to find the tuition?? Open House is Thursday. We're going to do some investigation. I want to feel PEACE about a decision soon!

Christmas looming. Mia is so excited about seeing Santa, she can't sit down. I'm trying to convince her to enjoy Thanksgiving first. Wants to put in her request for "Strawberry Shortcake doll." She's also been memorizing the American Girl catalogue. Oh my. She wants to trick out her "Bitty Baby" that she inherited from my cousin. Points to every item and declares she "needs dat." Boy, are we in trouble. Connor has already gotten half his Christmas present from us (I'm getting to that), but from Santa he wants a microscope. This kid is so into science and geography, it's ridiculous. Today he drew (free-handed) a disturbingly accurate map of the continental US and placed the state of Tennessee on it, then marked where the capital city is located. As far as the microscope goes, he loves cellular biology. Loves it. Especially blood cells and their functions. I told him if he wanted to see blood cells under the microscope, he'd have to draw blood...which isn't fun, and makes him faint (really. He did. Right after his flu shot. It was awesome...). We'll see what happens. More than likely, Mom or Dad will become guinea pigs. Anything in the name of education, right?

Beignet. It's no longer just a delicious New Orleans breakfast. It's our new puppy. Connor's Christmas present. She's adorable. However, I am now potty training two individuals in our house. We're going thru a lot of paper towels. And I am attempting to control three willful spirits and keep them from completely destroying the house. I think I'll just build a bunker in the basement and let them have it.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'm afraid I've fallen out of the blogging habit. Much like falling out of the exercise habit, which I've also done. This week I got back at it with a vengeance, and now my body feels exactly as though vengeance has been wreaked upon it. It literally hurts to take a deep breath. I suppose I deserve this.

The forecast is threatening rain for Saturday's tricks and treats. I dare say the kids won't miss a beat whether we go door to door or not. In similar fashion, I would welcome an excuse NOT to go for another walk this weekend...

Check out that wig.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mimi's ordeal

I remember growing up with asthma, and I remember it was unpleasant--scary at times. But I never experienced it from the perspective that my mom must have...until now.

God bless my sweet little princess. What a trooper. She went from THIS (see above) to THIS:

All within the space of just a few hours. Can you imagine? Here's the email I sent out to our church:

Mia's been at Children's Hospital Chattanooga since Monday afternoon, in respiratory distress. On our last day at the beach, she developed a bit of a runny nose which progressed into a cough, and over the course of a few hours had seized her lungs. By the time I pulled into our driveway Monday afternoon, she was grayish, barely responsive, and struggling a great deal to draw breath, so I rushed her to her pediatrician, who after examining her, determined that she needed to be hospitalized immediately. They had to call us an ambulance to transport her to Children's. The hospital has been administering steroids, IV fluids, albuterol treatments, and oxygen, and she's been slowly improving. Our hope is that we get to take her home tomorrow, if her oxygen saturation levels remain high overnight. We will be meeting with her doctors to discuss a long-term maintenance plan for her asthma so that she doesn't end up back in the hospital any time soon. Pray for our little girl!

We were blessed to be at Children's Hospital. Every doctor and nurse treated her with such TLC (as she began to feel better, she was nicknamed "the chatterbox" by a few of the staff!), and we could not have asked for more. Cinderella came to visit her, as well as a therapy dog or two! We're so relieved to have her home, and although we're grateful for the loving care she received while in the hospital, it's my hope that we never have to see those folks again. I said that in April. I still mean it.

My gratitude goes out to all of you who prayed for my sweet girl. She's doing great today, and we are managing at home with new meds. Hopefully, the maintenance drugs will keep us out of the hospital from now on.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

His first work of fiction

Today, Connor came bouncing home from preschool as usual, just bursting with new information.
"Guess what, Mom? A person who writes words is an author and a person who draws pictures is an illustrator!" I told him that was right on, and then asked him if he'd like to try his hand at authorship and illustration. Here is his first creation, destined to become a bestseller:


by J. Connor Medlin, age 4

Once there was a cat named Eden.

She lived in a house that was right so close to a fire station.

She put on all her stuff and she liked to get in the fire truck. One day, the fire alarm went off. Eden hurried to the fire truck. The truck hurried to a house that was on fire.

The fire fighters went inside and started fighting the fire. Eden ran up the stairs and found a little girl named Sarah hiding under her bunk bed.

Sarah followed Eden out of the house. And they were happy because Sarah was saved.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

At the peak of ripe-ness

I can't stand it any longer. I have to photograph those little chocolate sprinkles on my boy before they're gone with the summer breeze. Somebody gimme a spoon.

The young artist at work:

This face? That's all Mommy:

Now...this one? Unmistakeably Daddy:

Oh, World. Are you in trouble.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm A Big Kid Now

Gosh, but we love our Little Mermaid underpants.

And our goofy big brother, who occasionally shares things like snacks and toys. And occasionally doesn't.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Connor's Initiation and Mommy's Return To the Stage

I haven't been the most faithful blogger of late. It seems I'd rather fall into bed, exhausted.

I had to post this evening, though. Tonight, Connor came to see his mommy perform in a play. This was the first time he's seen me acting. Oh, sure, he's seen me do this and that for VBS at church, and he's more than aware of my capacity for silly antics. But I had to wonder how he'd respond to a fully-fleshed theatrical performance, complete with lights and sound. To add spice to our scenario, I was to play a rather nasty villain this evening: the White Witch of Narnia. I have to commit murder onstage. Now, Connor adores the Narnia story. But. He has a bit of a love/hate relationship with villains these days. He hides in his bedroom until the beginning scene in Finding Nemo (where the barracuda eats Nemo's mom) is over with. He outright refuses to watch Snow White. Even the scene in Ratatouille where the little old lady chases Remy with a shotgun unnerves him. I wondered if he'd forget himself entirely and burst out upon my entrance--"HI MOMMY! DON'T DO THE WITCH PART." Steve was poised to take hold of him, just in case.

I could hear him in the house, talking to Steve before curtain, and I was worried he'd talk out loud during the play. He was silent thru the whole thing, though. I approached him after the house lights came up, and asked him what his favorite part was. "Oh, the WITCH, Mommy!" he said. I was surprised--and relieved I hadn't scared the pants off him. "Wow," I said. "Really?" "Yes! It was AWESOME!" he said. Used those words. Then he got a tour of the set and backstage, got so excited about it he had to call his Neeni and tell her everything, and finally he decided he just had to act out his own play right there on the stage. So he did. For about fifteen minutes! He hooked Mommy into playing opposite him as he pantomimed the wardrobe, the mountain-climbing scene, and Edmund and Lucy wandering thru Narnia. It was hilarious. My co-star, our stage manager, the lighting designer and Steve were a very patient audience...he was reluctant to end his performance. Only the promise of going to visit his grandmother lured him away. We took a great big bow together. He's out of town with his daddy until Sunday evening but I think I'm going to buy him tickets to see both shows next weekend...

And on a side note, I am absolutely giddy with being a part of this sweet little show. I can't decide if it's the delightful allure of playing an evil character like the Witch, or the joy of acting like an eight-year-old and subsequently leading audience members to the marvelous conclusion that I couldn't be any older than 22. Two shows so far, and that's been the question on the table: What's your actual age? When I tell them "thirty-one," their jaws hit the floor. God bless 'em.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Great Outdoors

Last weekend we went to DeSoto State Park to attend the Knox family reunion. Mom was a Knox before she married, and boy, are those genes strong. Every one of us is a nutjob. ;-) But we are darn adorable. Poppie's jovial presence was palpably absent, but I like to think he was observing us all. I could almost picture him there, chatting and cutting up and telling all those well-worn stories everyone's heard at least a dozen times. We used to laugh every time.

Steve and I decided to add extra spice to our experience by attempting our first tent-camp Saturday night. I had a tiny bit of anxiety about how it would play out, but things really went fairly smoothly. The kids adored their breezy accomodations, and Connor was overjoyed over having full license to pee in the grass whenever he felt the urge. We ate wild blackberries, we hiked trails (bunnies!), we visited the Nature Center and observed all the stuffed creatures. The scenery was breathtaking. Maintenance of two wandering wee ones made things a little less relaxing than the ideal, but we would attempt another excursion in a minute.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Most folks would describe me as fairly hardheaded. I have had this adjective attached to my name since my tender years, and I never realized what grief it caused the majority of my family until my son came along. The male version of ME. Poor, poor Connor.

Somewhere along the time he turned two, Connor began developing anxiety around water. He's just fine in the bathtub (unless you attempt to shampoo his hair), but get him within twenty feet of a larger body of water, and his little hiney cheeks clench. Drag him into the water and he becomes an octopus, wrapping himself multiple times around the nearest adult and howling until they take him out. It's ridiculous, really. Previous attempts to acclimate him to the pool have ended in mutual frustration, lots of tears, and no fun. Picture me at age four, and you've got an idea of the source from whence this behavior was inherited. I can't explain it. I was just plumb terrified of drowning, and I didn't trust a soul to keep me afloat. Consequently, Connor will not be convinced that we have his safety in mind. I don't think I've projected any latent fears onto him, though. I did eventually learn to swim, and I try my best to show Connor that it's fun. He won't be moved.

Well, two can play the stubborn game. I arose this morning, and whether it was by sheer determination or gluttony for misery, made the decision to carry both my children to the YMCA pool by myself. We stopped at Kmart to purchase a float suit for the wee one and a Spider Man kickboard for the big boy. I really hoped that would serve as incentive.

We arrived at the pool, everyone hopped into their suits, and I yanked Mia's float suit out of the box and cringed. It required a manual pump to inflate. What the??? Well, after a thorough inquiry at the front desk (surely they've got one, right? Don't they have to blow up basketballs and junk? This is the Y, for cripes sake), there was no pump to be found. I gritted my teeth and dug a fingernail into the valve to release the pin, wrapped my mouth around it tightly, and blew until I turned purple. Success. Enough to keep her afloat, anyway.

We marched back thru the dressing rooms, I flung open the door to the pool room, and Connor froze. The next 45 minutes was all about me coaxing and dragging a flailing four-year-old into the water while I balanced an ecstatic toddler on my hip. Oh yeah. Mia loves the water. A picture of contrast, she's a regular little goldfish. Splash, splash, jump to Mama, dunk under and swim to the surface...this child will be dog-paddling by summer's end, mark my words. Now back to Captain Hydrophobe. The fact that he was wearing water wings and clinging to a kickboard made no difference to him. He was convinced he was drowning. I tried everything to get him to relax. No go. Finally, he announced he had to pee. I told him I'd take him, but by golly, we were not leaving until he started enjoying himself. He gave me one of his famous "growly faces." We trooped out of the pool, took care of business, and made our way back. As an afterthought, I suggested Connor snag a couple "funnoodles" from the bin for himself and his sister. He did. Tucked one under his armpits and cautiously waded into the pool. This time it only took him about thirty seconds--he sailed out past the steps and paddled around in a circle, astonished that he was upright. "Mommy! Am I swimming?" He asked, his eyes wide.

"Yup, Baby! Is it fun?"

"Yes! Look! Watch me! I can do it!!"

It was the first time he's let go voluntarily. Ever. We spent another hour in that pool, until our toes were white and pruny and our stomachs were growling. Connor kept motorboating around in the shallow end, triumphant and radiant. He didn't want to stop. I hated to end it. Then Mia caught sight of a large man with b-cup breasts and about six teeth (the heated pool attracts the elderly like flies to a bug-zapper), and started pointing and asking questions. Clearly, our time was up. What fun, though!

And on the way home, Connor asked when we would go back. Sweet progress. We are going to take it slow, but I am hopeful. I am not giving up on this child. We're cut from the same cloth.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A look back a year...and 58 more.

I guess coming up on milestones in our household automatically makes me yearn to archive. I'll do it every which way I can: scrapbooking, journaling (hello Blogger.com!), photography, digital scrapbooking...It's truly a love (one of these days I'll take another stab at logging our family tree online. Last time I had a few hundred names/dates compiled, and my computer crashed. It was too sickening to think about for a while). Well, I'm way behind on Mia's stuff, since I've been concentrating on C's latest accomplishments. Now it's Sister's turn. Here's footage from her first birthday celebration, which was almost a year ago. Wow. Those chubby cheeks and hands. Baby, baby.

And just for fun, here's a picture of my mom in October of 1951 when she turned one. Oops, I just broadcast her real age:

There aren't any pictures of me at my first birthday, because nobody loved me enough to photograph the occasion.

Ok, I'm kidding. Mom's got my baby book in Alabama.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Connor's Fourth Birthday--crafty fun!


I already posted this on Facebook, but just in case you missed it, here's the video of Connor's fourth birthday celebration. It was super fun, and I hope it'll remain in his memory a long time. I know I remember my fourth birthday party with surprising clarity, so it's my hope that his will be something he looks back on just as fondly.


A couple folks have requested details on the creative aspects of the party. Here's all the fun stuff we did. Please accept my full permission to copycat anything you see that you like! All craft items were purchased at Hobby Lobby:

It all started with the invitation. Just cardstock and parchment, some "ivy" stickers, and I used some leftover feathers from the hat and arrow projects you'll see below.

Archer's caps for the boys, made of craft foam and adorned with a red feather each:

Super easy to make! Simply cut your foam in the above flat shape, bend, wrap, and staple. Chin strap optional.

Boys also received "Merry Men Tunics." I took a stack of green tee shirts, cut out the necks and tattered the sleeves. The boys put them on right over their clothes:

Little girls came already dressed in their favorite "princess" costume from home. I have discovered that nearly every female child over the age of 19 months and under the age of twelve owns one, no questions asked. When they arrived, I fitted them with "Maid Marian crowns," made with more craft foam and a dash of gauzy tulle stapled to the top. The girls decorated them with flower stickers:

Very very sweet.

Now that everyone was looking festive, it was time to carry out the theme with decorations.

Rustic road signs:
Prince John's "Treasury":

Sherwood Forest indoors (it started out rainy that day):

And target practice everywhere! You can get a package of 10 rifle targets from Wal Mart's Sporting Goods department. The beauty of bows and arrows is that most young kids aren't going to be able to fire them off, much less aim them correctly. It's harder than it looks. Nobody gets hurt!

We finished off with a viewing of the Disney animated version of the movie, ie. the inspiration for this whole blessed affair. The boys were especially rapt:

Each young guest departed with a small gift from Robin Hood himself, a "treasure bag," filled with plastic coins (I did some research on the chocolate ones and found that most are of questionable quality/origin. We decided cupcakes were sweets enough for everyone.), plastic "jewels," and a rubber bouncy ball. These came enclosed in a faux leather pouch, which was just a little craft felt and some twine to cinch it, and tied on were two "genuine" Robin Hood arrows. Remember when I started making those? They're wooden dowels wrapped with florist tape and adorned with feathers. I stuck craft foam "arrowheads" on the ends to up the safety factor and those bad boys were good to go:

Now, there are countless ways to jazz an affair like this up to the hilt. Connor and his friends are still developing standard attention spans, so we didn't bother with games, but you can always add in events like "jousting" with funnoodles, "target practice" with beanbags, or an obstacle course in which contestants "rob from the rich to feed the poor" by carrying water balloons from one location to another. We didn't know anyone who was willing to dress up as Robin Hood and display his marksman skill, but if you know someone who can, it's a classy touch.

And that's it, in a nutshell. Our proudest moments came when reports started rolling in of little boys who slept in their costumes that night. Next year, though...I'm thinking Chuck E Cheese. I need a vacation.