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“Dad, Uncle Duane got sprayed by a skunk!” said Emma.

The scene: A girls’ team walk last week. Emma is on her scooter leading the way. I am pushing Stella in the stroller and Maya is walking/sniffing/squirrel hunting along next to us while leashed around my waist.

Emma: Mom, what’s a raccoon?
Me: It’s an animal about the size of a large cat. It’s mostly black with white circles around its eyes.
Emma: What’s a skunk?
Me: It is also a black and white animal. They can spray other animals or people if they think they are in danger. Uncle Duane was sprayed by a skunk once.
Emma: He was? Was it fun?
Me: I don’t think it’s fun. It’s really smelly. He had to take a bath in tomato juice to get un-stinky.
Emma: My brother* got sprayed by a skunk once. He had to take a bath in apple juice! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Me: I don’t think apple juice works the same way as tomato juice. You would get really sticky taking an apple juice bath.
Emma: When we go to Uncle Duane’s house for Christmas I am going to ask him about getting sprayed by a skunk.

We finish our walk/scoot and there is no more skunk talk.

Scene: Matthew arrives home from work and walks in to the kitchen. I am sitting in a chair feeding Stella. Emma runs up to Matthew, stops about a foot in front of him and is waving her arms as if she is going to make a very important announcement.

Emma: Dad,  Dad!
Matthew: Yes, Emma.
Emma: Dad, guess what?
Matthew: What?
Emma: Uncle Duane got sprayed by a skunk!!!

Matthew looks my direction.

Matthew: Seriously?

I clarify this happened a long time ago when Duane was living in Chicago. You know, a very populated urban setting where this kind of thing is totally common.

*Emma has an imaginary brother named Purper.

Quiche

I belong to a chicken co-op. This means one day a week I take care of 10 lovely hens and get to keep the eggs they lay that day. I’ve been wanting to branch out from the usual fried or scrambled eggs so I decided to make a quiche. I used up the last of the swiss chard from our garden and made this lovely Swiss chard and carmelized onion quiche. I also added about five strips of diced bacon to the recipe. Matthew’s rating was two thumbs up!

Last Swiss chard harvest.

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So we had baby…

Miss Stella Mae arrived on May 29. Despite being 10 days (that is not a typo!!) late she decided to make a rather hurried appearance once she was ready. Fortunately, she seems to be pretty laid back considering the way she rocketed into the world.

We spent the summer settling in as a family of four. (OK, five if you count the dog, but after all the things she chewed up yesterday I am currently not counting her.) We worked in our garden. Emma bounced, climbed and ran around and Stella observed/slept in her bouncy seat on the patio. Matthew and Emma would adventure to the farmer’s market, a Rockies game and most frequently Home Depot. There wasn’t a whole lot of sleeping. I take that back – Stella had some brilliant nights of sleep from weeks five to ten. It wasn’t until week 13 I realized she fell off the nighttime sleep wagon. In the past few weeks she’s slept quite well and it’s allowed me to see the world through rose colored glasses. It’s really lovely – I suggest trying on a pair.

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Stock Show!

Matthew and I love the National Western Stock Show. It’s always been an annual event – even before Emma. This year we decided she could handle a full rodeo. She clapped and cheered for the cowboys and girls and saw the One Armed Bandit perform. When we got home she hopped on her rocking horse and proceeded to fall off and lose her hat like the saddle bronc riders.

It’s a toss up as to who had more fun in the petting zoo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think she’s gonna be a Deer girl.

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Bumbo seat

We’ve been gathering up all of our baby stuff in preparation for our new baby girl. The Bumbo seat seems to be what makes Emma most curious. She initially assumed it was a baby potty. I promptly corrected that misconception. I did not want to find a little puddle of pee in the bottom of the pink chair. She’s carried the chair all over our house – sometimes she sits in it, sometimes her baby does. She’s used it as a step stool to reach things she shouldn’t. The real excitement came after realizing the Bumbo has a tray. One Saturday she plopped it in the middle of our kitchen and proceeded to demand I put blueberries on the tray for her to eat.

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Picture practice

We had a cold snap in Denver a few weeks ago so Emma and I tried to get outside as much as possible before the chill hit. We adventured around the neighborhood – me with my camera and Emma ready to explore. Occasionally I would look up from adjusting my white balance to make sure Emma was not running in the street or climbing a neighbor’s fence. I am convinced I’ll be a superb wildlife photographer I can master taking pictures of Emma. Most of the time she sprints around faster than a cheetah.

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Happy 6th birthday to Maya!

Matthew gave me a new camera for Christmas so you just might see some new posts. I’m tired of using my iPhone as my primary photo device. Mostly because the pictures don’t always look that great printed.

Maya turned six in the middle of December. I am pretty sure we sang happy birthday to her. I think I at least attempted to be slightly less aggravated with her when she stole food from Emma that day.

Here are a few pics of the old gal I took with my new camera.

 

gray maya Maya and frisfestive Maya

Peeing in the potty

When my mom was dying I told her the very hardest part about the whole crappy thing was that she wouldn’t know my kids. Ugh – thinking, saying or typing that fact will forever bring tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Anyway, her response through tears was, “sweetie, I’ll be there cheering you on through potty training, I’ll be there.” She knew what I had not quite accepted. She really is right here, all the time, a voice in my head, a little bird on my shoulder guiding me along the way.

If my mom was of this earth she would be here potty training Emma, that’s just who she was. We got our dog right before my mom came for a visit knowing she would get her house broken. She accomplished this in less than 10 days. She was the most maternal of mothers and I think she honestly loved these parental tasks that require immense care and attention. I don’t think I can quite say the same for myself. I spent one evening scouring the internets for every possible potty training piece of advice to make sure Emma was really ready. I discovered yes, Emma is ready and I need to stop looking for ways to put it off and buck-up.

I am basically following the Jan Goodner dog house-breaking method. This involves taking Emma to the bathroom constantly and a heck of a lot of cheering. Maya got a treat each time she went “whiz”.  Emma doesn’t seem to find the treats to be so important so I’ve bumped up an extra notch of woo hoo’s and you did it’s and I am so proud of you’s with a bunch of clapping and hi-fives.  I do love seeing the look on her face when she feels success. I also love the day I put the child adaptor on the toilet. Emma sat on it with an enormous grin across her face and kept reapeating, “happy, happy”!

We’re knee deep into this potty training thing. It’s turning out not to be nearly as daunting as I expected. We spend lots of time in the bathroom and possibly even more time talking about everyone we know who uses a potty. Does grandpa use a potty? Yes. Does grandma use a potty? Yes. Daddy? Yes. Mommy? Yes. Teacher? Yes. Neighbor Bob? You betcha.