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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kidding around at the FAIR!

Upholding a long standing work / play tradition, I volunteered myself once again to "work" my employers' information booth at the county fair. The best part about the shift I sign up for is that it allows me to leave work early, people-watch from our booth along with my girlfriend from work and then Eric and the kids meet me at the end of my shift for us to enjoy the evening together. Almost every year that I've been doing this, the weather has been perfect to accommodate late nights, riding the rides and filling up on enough greasy fair -food to last me another year. This week, however, we had been on a cycle of cold, rainy weather and this day didn't see above 60 degrees. Despite my warning of the inclimate weather and still-dripping rain, Eric wanted to make an effort to bring the kids out to the fair, with the promise that they would be warmly dressed. Oh.


We managed to rig an umbrella over the double stroller and with hats and hoodies, we mostly stayed dry. We took in all of the sights and smells from the animal barns and the informational booths and like every other fair goer, picked up some cheapy-freebies along the way. Helium filled balloons were very much appreciated by our passengers aboard our stroller limo.


Elaina was most impressed with the goats and every one of them became her friend. She couldn't bear to pet only one goat at a time because in an instant, another lonely goat caught her eye and she darted to give him it's share of attention. I can't hardly believe we made it out of that barn without a scene. I was just happy it was the little kid goats that struck her fancy rather than than the larger than life cows and pigs that you could smell before they were seen.
Lincoln was mostly content to steal away some drinks from his sister's sippy cup and hang out in his warm, dry seat.

Even when the goat became a little too interested in the taste of Lincoln's blanket, he took in stride as if he's around goats nibbling out from their pens everyday.
Despite the rain and cold, we had a really fun family night. I guess this is one of those instances of when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. In our case, just really, really watered down and cold lemonade.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

50 Finale, (Finally)

And the list continues...


31. We need a new trash can. The reason being, Lincoln is obsessed with the little flippy door on the trash can lid that conveniently makes his cars and blankets and toys disappear into the abyss. I tend to wonder how many cars we've thrown away before making this realization.


32. Since breaking up with my chiropractor, (remember me: stretching 10 mins/ day) (<---not happened once) I have resorted to buying glucosomine with chondrotin tablets to make this old, haggard body feel not so decrepit. Two days in, already noticing a difference.


33. Eric and I will be celebrating our 10th year anniversary this year and I want to plan an overnight getaway without the kids, but still don't know where to go or what to do with our grown up selves. It's fascinating to look for a place for us without having to worry about a nearby park, attraction or play area.


34. Elaina's hair has officially grown to her waist already at 3 years old. Wanna know how I know? I had to pull her hair out of her waistband the other day while I was dressing her. Simply gorgeous.


35. Lincoln loves taking baths. From the moment the bath water begins to run, he is already trying to lift his leg over the side of the tub to climb in. Whether or not he is clothed makes no difference to him, this kid wants to be in the tub. Now.


36. I suspect that Keegan is fully blind at this point. He has had macular degeneration for the past several years and in the past few months, he has gotten to the point where he can no longer judge distance nor direction without stumbling his way through.


37. Lincoln has learned to walk backwards. One day, he stumbled his feet in the backward motion and ran into the closed door and thought it was the funniest thing ever. What give with that kid?

38. I did my very last Tastefully Simple party on Sunday and actually ended it with much relief. I've already cleaned out and organized most of my supply closet and have a bundle of paperwork to recycle. This is a pretty good indication that my time is up and I'm ready to move forward.

39. What's a kid update without mention of Picky Pickerson? Elaina's appetite seems to be picking up only slightly. Basically, I'm talking about the difference between 6 bites of her hot dog versus only 4. Oh well.

40. Keegan is making it difficult for me to blog tonight as his fuzzy rump is producing the most severely toxic, gaseous fumes that could gag a skunk. I do it for you people. For you.

41. We're seriously discussing a very much needed kitchen remodel to potentially begin in the first part of next year. While I don't mean to sound ungrateful or unappreciative, living through remodeling again, only this time, with two kiddies in the house just scares the ever- loving bejesus out of me. The kids and I might need a place to stay, anyone have a spare room?

42. A teeny, tiny part of me is ready for summer to end. (Aack!) I love the fall weather and layered sweaters with long sleeves and great jeans and not having to worry about pasty white legs and shorts and bathing suits. As for winter, I can only handle and appreciate only about 30 days of snowy, cold days below zero and that's not a consecutive appreciation by any means.

43. I never thought that "50 Random Things" would take me almost a week to compile. I feel like I've addressed a lot of things that have been occupying our time and planting a seed for future blog topics. My mind feels clear of so many "remember to blog this" details.

44. I've gotten selected to host a Fisher- Price Houseparty on Sept. 6 with 10 babies (and moms)as our guests. The details are awesome and I can't wait to tell you more as the date approaches.

45. We still need to get Lincoln baptized. This topic weighs so heavily on my mind and there are so many circumstances involving church and religion that it's impossible to address them here, but will be definite material for a post of it's own.

46. Did anyone know that I could eat an entire tray of rice crispy treats all by myself. In one sitting. Have not completed, year- to- date, however, not ruled out.

47. My monkeys have come up with a fun, new toddler-sport. They climb the top of the slide ladder and dump themselves onto the sofa cushions, squealing with joy until the get up to do it again. I so much need my videos to upload.

48. I watched about 20 minutes of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. That's about 15 minutes more than I had watched up until that point. Why do I have to sleep?

49. I wish desperately for 9:30 bedtimes for me. It would only be possible if I saved absolutely every chore for the weekend and never had weeknight plans.

50. Keegan's butt smells so bad and I've finally reached my 50! I hope that you enjoyed the read and feel like you're a little caught up in the life and times of our little family.

Anyone want a smelly, blind dog?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

30/50 Things

Today I've decided to mix things up a little bit on the blogfront. I got inspired from a recent e-mail that I've pulled from my inbox several times in the past month and thought it would be fun to share in my blog.


The e-mail asks the recipient to make a list of 5o things you are doing right now, wearing right now, like and dislikes, etc, etc... you get the point. I began to think that with my recent neglect of my old friend, Blog, this might be a fun way to recount a lot of the little things that seem to be making our lives so full, busy and fun over the past few weeks. Besides that, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think, "Oh I need to write about that!" and the story line begins to create in my head, but never consummates into written words. With that said, this is my attempt in recounting and capturing a whole bunch of randomness all in one spot. Over the next two days, I'm going to compile a list of sorts to include my favorite moments with my kids, my husband and my days in general. My challenge is to come up with 5o, no more and no less and restrict my summary into 3 sentences or less. In case you haven't noticed, I sometimes have a tendency to ramble and and talk incessantly about tiny, little details which are mostly important only in my mind, but could otherwise fore go such detail and length. Just sayin'.


Are you ready? Grab a snack and a comfy chair because I'm rolling out the first 30, here we go!

1. Lincoln is waving. A lot. He waves his arm in the air with his goofy little grin, just before slapping his arm closely to his chest, letting you know the wave is over. Where did he come up with that?


2. The stubborn, "I-want-what-I-want, NOW!" attitude of a 3 year-old has been rearing it's ugly head at our house as of late. When she's not rested, Elaina gets a slight affliction of "Diva Syndrome." We've had more power struggles in not her getting her own way more than ever.


3. We bought a wagon. A super cool 2 seater, Radio Flyer with seat belts, back rests, a sun canopy and a rear cubby trunk. The kids love it and we're already getting lots of use out of it. It's been a great, timely purchase for our family.


4. My laundry baskets of clothes that need ironed have reached epic proportions and deserve a gold medal for the number of set-in wrinkles and creases they have incurred while being dumped in my largest laundry basket.


5. Picky Pickerson's eating habits nor her menu have not shown much improvement. The thing that really is driving me up a wall is that the child will dip her mozzarella/cheddar cheesestick into her raspberry yogurt, eat it and say "MMmm, good." [Excuse me while I barf, thankyouverymuch.]


6. Lincoln has been on some weird pattern where he wakes up screaming and crying with his eyes closed and seems virtually inconsolable for anywhere from 5 - 25 minutes. My first instinct was to blame it on his molars coming in. With more input and research, I'm (unfortunately) leaning toward the fact that he may be having night terrors.


7. Momma hasn't been getting much sleep. See #6.


8. You know your lifestyle and family dynamics have changed drastically when you go from running the dishwasher twice a week to every other day.


9. I actually got a lot done at home this past weekend. We had no plans so I purged kid closets, vacuumed and cleaned our bathroom. I feel like I really made some progress in tackling some of my bigger chores around the house.


10. I made $50 when I took my load of baby clothes to a resale shop. They sent me home with just about the same inventory; I barely noticed that they had looked through them. But $50 in my pocket, heh!


11. I've jumped aboard the facebook-addiction-bandwagon. Wow... I really feel like I'm part of something, neat, trendy and cool. I guess it's about time; for the neat, trendy and cool part that is. I'd love to see more of my blog friends in my new neighborhood, why don't you stop by?


12. Elaina has been helping me pick out my outfits for work each morning. It's not likely that I would be willing to wear my pink, plaid tank top paired with my ill-fitting [READ: too tight!] khaki capris, but hey, it's the thought that counts right?


13. I have recently become aware that applying rewetting gel drops in my eyes before bedtime is a necessity to be able to open my eyes the following morning. Thank you old age and allergies.


14. Eric and I have made the decision to partnership with an established business to begin to sell monuments from our home. The circumstances seemed right since we've already had to make 2 monument purchases ourselves, we live in very close proximity to a reputable funeral home and there are really no other competitors in our area. Eric's brother and SIL have previously partnered with the same company and have built a very strong business of their own.


15. Since Blogger has made uploading videos so incredibly easy, wouldn't it just be my luck that with my new camera, I can't seem to make the video-blog connection work for me. I've been squirreling away so many cutie videos that I've wanted to share, but I just can't seem to make them work. Any ideas?


16. Eric is leaving tomorrow for the NASCAR races in Bristol. He'll be gone from Thursday until Sunday and I'm already missing him. My days are much less enjoyable when our family isn't complete.


17. I don't know how I'm doing it but I am actually managing to get the kids ready and out the door by 8:00 each morning. I've been fortunate that Eric is able to offer a little bit of help occasionally, but for the most part, it's all me.


18. We bought the kids a second-hand Barbie Jeep. A co-worker was clearing out toys that her kids had outgrown and offered the Jeep to me at a price I could hardly turn down. So far, Elaina and Lincoln are only mildly impressed with it which makes me glad I took advantage of this deal versus a brand new one at over $200.

19. The game of peek-a-boo has become more interesting when Lincoln decides to play. With both hands, he covers his face but only above his eyes and mostly hides his eyebrows and forehead. I still see you!


20. Lincoln is beginning to use a fork to feed himself. It's quite possible that he could have done it sooner however, sometimes things don't occur to me quite as quickly with Child #2 as they did with Child #1. That's my fault.


21. Elaina LOVES her brother to pieces. In fact, sometimes she likes to squeeze and love him so hard that he could quite possible break into little pieces all over my living room floor.
22. Elaina has also adapted some pretty unique names to call her baby brother. He has been called everything from "PayPay" to "Peter" on any given day. Most days he is is Baby or Baby Brudder.


23. Have I mentioned that Elaina has imaginary friends and that imaginary events happen in her life all of the time? She showed me a "trophy" she got at basketball camp with "Kenny." Kenny (sometimes Penny) has been her friend for a while now and she somehow found a basketball camp for 3 year-olds.


24. Lincoln is developing character. Yes, my dear boy is 15 months old and is finally breaking out of his shell. He is beginning to learn ways that he can express himself with a sense of humor and attention to detail.


25. Lincoln is completely fascinated with wheels, cars and noise. Oh , what a boy. Whenever there are wheels to be investigated, Lincoln will plop himself flat on his stomach to take a closer to look to see where the rubber meets the road.


26. Lincoln has also claimed his addiction to his right thumb (never his left) and his blanket. Not just any blanket, he mostly prefers one with a silky side and a fleecy side and the bigger, the better.


27. Our school district has built a new school and hosted it's dedication on Sunday. I wanted to make it a family trip but when Lincoln was napping when it was time to go, Eric took Elaina by himself. She was shuttled on a real school bus all of 1/4 mile to the school and she got to look around classrooms and enjoyed cookies with M&M's in them.

28. Elaina can't wait to start preschool next year. She talks about school and worries about missing the school bus all of the time. She was even packing her book bag with her books and hairbrush and a doll to go to school.
My child who forgot how to smile naturally.

29. A little girl at the sitter's house is a huge fan of my boy. Keirra's face lights up when she sees Lincoln and rushes over to him with his blanket (that we keep at the sitter's) in her hand and tries to lead him by the hand to go play. Can you say "CUTE?"


30. Have I mentioned how much I would love to blog every single night? Oh, yeah, the day that I wind up having more than 2 hours to spare for everything not kid related, I will commit to doing that. I often wonder when that will be.


Stay tuned for tomorrow when I challenge myself to complete my list of 50 without boring you out of your seats! Only 20 more still to come!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sisters

Upon Ava's passing, her NICU nurses and palliative care team had gifted us with a 3D moulded casting of her tiny little feet and her open hand. I consider this to be my very most valuable item in my entire household that I treasure beyond compare. The box that holds my baby's tiny imprints is pink with happy bow-tied, dancing teddy bears and sits on my closet shelf. Elaina knows about this box, where to find it and what it represents.


There will never be a time that I will try to confine or limit either of our kids in talking or thinking or asking about Ella or Ava. Whenever Elaina raises the subject of her angels in heaven or wants to look at their pictures, I am on the edge of my seat wondering how she is processing the information she has to deal with. With the circumstances of how we became a family and what it took to get us to where we are now, Eric and I want to be fully honest and upfront when it comes to talking to our kids. Of course, keeping in mind that there is a fine line of what a 3 year old is capable of understanding in terms of life and death. But we want them to know and understand how God made so many miracles happen in our life and that all of it was according to His plan in His own perfect timing. And just look what we have to show for it all.


This morning, Elaina asked to see Ava's hands. I lifted the big, pink box from the shelf and lifted the thick sheets of tissue paper which have protected her perfect, dainty hand and feet and knelt beside Elaina. She admired them with such love and respect and touching them softly said, "I'm so proud of Ava." I asked what she meant that she was "proud" of her. In the most grown up 3 year old voice, her reply was "because she is so perfect and she gave you this. And Mommy, she's in a heart." Oh.Dear.God.Elaina. Talk about wanting to cry your eyes out. Ava's imprints are cast in the center of a heart shaped mould with fluted edges. Elaina noticed the heart shape for the first time this morning and gave me such insight to what miracles are all about. We talked a little bit about our angels Ava and Ella and I told her that they played together in heaven before they asked God to send her to our house to be our daughter.


Elaina's comments touched my heart like no other. While I'm not sure how she has pieced all of this together in her mind, I know that our babies are with us in everything we do and that we have been blessed to have our angels Elaina and Lincoln to have and to hold and bring the most special joy and love into our hearts and lives. Every single day, no matter how many fussy fits or dramatic attitudes, I am refreshed and renewed just to have the privilege of being a mother. Their mother. A mother when it seemed like the universe and everything it stands for , was against me. And just look at us now. Look what God blessed us with. Whatever depths of understanding Elaina has about how and where her sisters are and how they have touched our lives, I think that she is already on the right track of embracing something so extraordinary and beautiful that it just elates me and gives me a sense that God continues to walk amongst us. Just another reminder that you can never take a single day for granted, you never know what might touch your heart and open your eyes at any given moment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canal Days

Canal Days is the name that our little town festival goes by and commemorates each August. I consider this weekend a "hump" of sorts as it marks summertime being half over and another hurdle to monopolize our time. Since Eric is on the volunteer fire department and the firemen host a food stand in the town park, much of Eric's free time (READ: "all of his time") is spent lending a hand selling food, serving food or selling raffle tickets. I, on the other hand, volunteer to work a few random shifts in booths or elsewhere that I am needed. Thank God that my mom and dad have begun to make it a tradition to come visit us for the weekend to help take care of the kids and make our lives easier. I don't know how we could ever get through it without them.

This weekend was especially interesting given that my parents had already arrived at our house when I came home from work on Friday, only to find Elaina cuddled up, watching a movie with my dad and roasting with a 103 degree fever. And do you want to just imagine the temperament of a tired 3 year old with a 103 fever? Answer: not so good.

Despite Elaina's fever and Eric's limited guest appearances in our house, we actually had a great weekend. And since it will be impossible (and likely boring for you) for me to recap the whole weekend, I present: photo-telling. (I just made up that phrase and decided that I like it to narrate a whole story without a lot of words.)

So here we go on a photo-telling tour....

This picture of Lincoln was during the Grand Parade which marches right in front of our house. Seriously, the kid was in total awe of the whole thing. He loved it all. I imagine that his sweet, little blue eyes were awfully tired in the end since he barely shut them to blink throughout the whole parade.
And, HEY... who is that on top of that van? No other than Ronald M. himself! Cool!

And as much as I talk about "Nancy the Babysitter," would you like to see what she actually looks like? Nancy is sitting with Elaina in front and her real life granddaughter, Gracie (also Elaina's friend) aside of them both. This was the first time that my mom had met Nancy and it was a delight she and her husband both came down to enjoy the parade with all of us.
Elaina is pretty lucky to have so many Grandpa's (and Pop-Pop's) who love her so much. This Grandpa didn't seem to mind hanging out with his favorite granddaughter.After getting ice cream in the middle of the day for no good reason except that it was there, we went to see Eric host the canoe race. Elaina wasn't terribly impressed with any part of the canoes and just really wanted to throw rocks in the water.
Pretty much unrelated to anything "canal days," just one cute boy who loves his cars.
I got two shifts working the monster truck inflatable bounce house. And honestly, it was so much fun! Not because I bounced, but because the kids enjoyed it so much and that's all Elaina wanted to do is jump. Good sign that she was medicated and feeling better. Best of all was Sunday night when she got to jump with her best friend, Ali and no other big kids.
And what evening is really complete until you have 15 pounds of candy to sort through? This is Elaina's haul from the parade on Sunday. That's alot of candy, folks.
Finally, Elaina was hell bent on using my camera to take my picture for a change. I have to say that this picture actually turned out pretty good. No editing, just a lucky shot. Lincoln even mustered up a half smile.
So... weekend in a nutshell: GREAT! The weather was awesome, our company was unbeatable and when Elaina peaked at feeling good, we were all happy. Things that we could have done without this weekend: Elaina's fever and attitude, Lincoln crying his head off in the middle of the night and passing this summer hurdle reminding us that summer is already half over.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Teaser

This past week has had us bouncing from here to there and everywhere in between all in preparation for our town festival this weekend. Being with the volunteer fire department, Eric had spent almost every evening last week helping to set up the booths and the food stands. Me on the other hand, I made my best attempt at being a short order cook and parent. Dinners were rushed to get him out the door before I was left to wrangle the kids for the evening.

At this point, the weekend festivities are finished, my parents have come and gone to lend a hand and I am left exhausted but with lots of great pictures and stories to share. For now my must-do list begins with getting some sleep and preparing for the upcoming week with hopes of returning to more regular postings soon.

Here's hoping everyone had an enjoyable weekend and stop back to see what Elaina plucked off the street!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Work, schmirk

Since the beginning of July, Eric's division at work has mandated a set schedule of when their employees' days begin and end. Previously, for the past almost 9 years, his schedule has offered great flexiblity in that when he fulfills his 40 hour week, he's done. Most times he could knock that out in as little as 4 days, meaning bonus time at home and with the kids.


I've not been overly impressed with how his new work scheduled has panned for the overall function of our household morning routine. His day is now scheduled to begin at 7 a.m., and since our home is considered his home office, he must be out the door at that time. This is coming from a family who hadn't been accustom to waking up until just a little bit before 7:00, let alone, be up, clean, dressed and out the door. Because Eric is a hunter by nature, early mornings don't seem to bother him in the least. His wife on the other hand is NOT a morning person. But, this hasn't held me back from waking up an hour early to have myself completely ready for the day and still making time to accommodate the "unexpected's" the morning will surely bring. Once I'm ready, the kids gradually wake up and we go about our business to get ourselves out the door.

Do you want to know what I'm really having a problem with? I find myself more and more not wanting to go to work at all. At all. When I arrive at work, it sometimes feels more like trying to navigate a field of land mines abounding with attitude, superiority, depression and overall pissiness. That's some days. Other days, everyone is happy-go-lucky and just wants to be there to socialize. And really, I'm okay with both. I'm not in charge of anyone, I don't pay them from my payroll. I like a well-balanced, happy medium. Sometimes we have it, sometimes we hit rock bottom.
The biggest part of my general feelings toward work have centered around Lincoln and Elaina. Every single day, Elaina comes into our bedroom first thing in the morning and is a complete love doll. She is slow and sweet and gentle and loving and her mind is just exploding with the most awesome thoughts and ideas that she presents. And I love to watch her talk. Yes, I could watch her mouth move about her face for hours. There is nothing like seeing the sweet child you love so dearly talk so much like a grown-up but with words coming from the most tender baby face. And her voice. Don't even get me started on her voice. She cracks me up in the tone of voice she uses for even the silliest of things. And when she gets really serious, her voice gets really deep and low. Oh, how I can't wait for morning to come just for her to entertain me once again.
And really, would you think my morning would be even close to complete without my sweet Lincoln? When he wakes up, the first sign he gives me is pressing the music button on his crib aquarium. He'll lay in there just as quiet as a bug and suck his little thumb and play. When I slowly open the door with Elaina at my side, he POPS up and coos and smiles and sways back and forth against his railing so excited to see us. He is full of cuddly, warm hugs and just wants to be held and loved. Every morning I tell him I could spend the whole day just squeezing him. And I could. Lincoln wakes up happy and ready to explore the greatness that another day brings with it. The worst part for me comes when I change his clothes and see his little baby body that seems to have literally grown overnight into that of a toddler. Gone are the days of the little pudge-pudge legs and thick middle section. He's growing long and lean by the day. Even his face is losing the round-ish baby fat and growing more distinguished and handsome. Oh the pain of it all!Probably not unlike any other SAHM or WOTHM (working out of the home mom) I could give you a hundred reasons in favor of me continuing my career and another hundred reasons to quit tomorrow. At this point, I don't suspect that there will be any drastic career moves on my part and most likely I won't be able to wave my magic wand and change the grouchies into good at work. So, here I am. In the middle. Trying to savor my time with my kids and not let my work get me down. All the while, this non-morning person is trying to freeze and bottle all of the sweetness from my kids that holds me together each and every day.

Does anyone else have any magic that gets you motivated to do what you really don't feel like doing?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Yelly and Purple

The title might suggest the new nicknames of each of my beloved. As I eluded to previously, there was a hint that a certain somebody whose name begins with and "L" and ends in "incoln" may have had a little bout of the yellies while we were at our parents' houses last weekend. (Seriously, it's a WEEK later and I'm finally getting around to this?)


The first of Lincoln's fussy fits began around 4 a.m. on Friday night with a familiar succession held the following night at 2 a.m. at my parents' house. We knew he had been working on cutting in both of his top row molars at the same time and I had packed nearly the whole medicine cabinet in preparation. We were almost out of Tylenol so I packed children's ibuprofen, which I considered to be the next best thing. Since he began fussing each night around bedtime and gnawing on his hands, we gave him some ibuprofen right at bedtime to insure a good night's rest for him, pain free. My comfort level of dispensing the children's dose of ibuprofen has only been recent since the ER doctor made the recommendation for the same upon Lincoln's last visit there for his high fever (months ago). In retrospect, I have a sneaky suspicion that it was this medicine that made my kid more hyped up that a bag of popcorn on a jet engine. He was absolutely! not! tired! And let me not fail to mention, completely screamy. Eric and I took shifts trying everything in the middle of the night to appease him to no avail. The kid finally surrendered to sleep between 8-10:00 a.m each day. Dear Lord! Until I find some time to do some further investigating the effects of ibuprofen, I think it's going to the top shelf, only used during daytime hours.

So if Lincoln was the yelly one, any guesses as to whom the purple one may have been?
Allow me to present: Article A
I'm not sure if I should blame it on poor decision making based on sleep deprivation or if I just really thought that looking extra cute would surely help her to be able to pick more blackberries. In any event, I was the village idiot paying dearly for my lack of judgment sending my kid off to the woods in clothes that I expected a repeat wear from. The last time Eric took Elaina into the woods to pick wild blackberries, she came home covered in mosquito bites. This time we were playing defense with long clothing and mosquito repellent. Smart thinking, huh? Nonetheless, Eric and Elaina yielded a substantial load of berries into their bowl and both had a good time. Eric was really impressed with Elaina saying what a good job she did picking off berries from the underside of the bushes that even he couldn't see. She was on her hands and knees harvesting the juicy ripe ones that even the birds couldn't get to. That may explain why she came home with little burs in her pig tails, while birds don't even ruffle a feather.

In case you have a bout of stupid, such as myself and find yourself covered in blackberry stains (even after I told you; bad idea), Borax was the only cleaning solution that completely removed all of the stains. That and some elbow grease. And cussing. And patience. All seemed helpful to me.