Dean Family Blog

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Stinky Skunks and Garage-dwelling Beavers
One of Josiah's favorite books right now is about a cow that is rescued by a skunk and it has a great line in it...I think it might become my motto: 'I may be stinky, but that's how God made me, so I want to be good and stinky.' Ok, I don't really aspire to be stinky, but I have plenty of other 'imperfections' that motherhood seems to bring out on a regular basis...things that I'm not so crazy about, but that's how God made me so I should be learning how to use them to take care of my family and serve God. There you go...spiritual insight from a picture book.

On a random note, I went to put some stuff in the car before we ran errands today and there was a beaver in the garage. Geesh! We've found dogs, cats, birds and deer out there, but I never expected to find a beaver. I dropped my stuff and ran for a camera, but he was gone by the time I got back. The only problem is, I don't know if he ran out of the garage or is hiding in there somewhere. Now I'm a little nervous that there's a beaver lurking under the mower or behind a box. I really don't want to have to call our doctor and explain that we all need shots because we were attacked by a beaver. But wouldn't it make a great blog post?


Perfect Day
Beautiful sunny weather (sans humidity!), a date with my hubby, ice cream, garage sales (where I actually found 3T boys clothes!), time alone, a nap, getting to run, happy kids and a mowed just doesn't get much better than that. Connie watched the kids this morning so P & I could have our first date since Grace was born. It was wonderful. We had planned to just walk around Mt. Vernon and talk, but it also happened to be the day for city wide garage sales so we got to shop a bit too. It's funny to see all the stuff (Philip said 'junk' was a bit too harsh) other people have been keeping around. How many Christmas decorations and glass vases does a person really need? We filled in some gaps in the kids wardrobes for the coming year and I found a couple skirts. We even found a toy grocery basket for Josiah. He loves pushing baby strollers at his friends houses, but it seemed a little weird to buy one for him, so I thought this was a good compromise. When he saw it this afternoon he put his trains and school bus in it and told me he was going to the hardware store to buy bug bags (we've been fighting Japanese beetles lately). However, when he 'returned,' he informed me he wasn't' really pushing a's a stroller. Oh well.

I got to run today! I signed up for the Cedar Rapids 5K on Memorial Day so I figured I better actually get out and see if my elliptical workouts were getting me back into shape enough to actually do this. I did a comfortable 2.7 miles...not too shabby. It felt so good to move that fast. No diaper bags or car seats or slings hanging off of me. I love my kids and I love being with them, but it's great to do something totally unrelated to them too. It was a good day.


Never Let 'Em See You Cry
Toddlers are drawn to parental weakness like lions are to prey...when they sense it in you they stalk you and attack at your worst moment with no mercy. Translation: Philip has been out of town.

I'm noticing a pattern in Josiah's behavior when Philip is out of town. He's great for the first day or two and, as I wear down, he gets naughtier and naughtier. By the end of this trip he had painted the table with milk, drawn on my bible (thankfully it was a white crayon) and attempted to grab the poo out of a dirty diaper I was changing...all before 8:30am. Why do toddlers do this? It makes me want to cry and call Mama and apologize for everything we put her through growing up. I'm sorry!

Philip is back and has mercifully taken Josiah to a neighbor's house to swim so I can be alone during Grace's nap. I have a great hubby!


Growing Like Weeds
Josiah is outgrowing his diapers and his shoes suddenly don't fit. Grace is finally big enough to start using the cloth diapers (I was REALLY enjoying the disposables...but, alas, they are stinking expensive), so both of my kiddos now look like they have chunky hineys (they really don't...they're kinda scrawny). Apparently whatever we're feeding them is working because they are both changing quite a bit right now. It's amazing how quickly Gracie is changing and we've been getting a lot of questions about whether or not she looks like Josiah did. Except for all the funky hair, I don't really think so. We tried to pose her like one of his old pictures to compare...I think they look pretty different.

Josiah's constant talking can be wearing, but it's also funny. He came up to Philip this past weekend and, out of the blue, handed him a plastic golf club (which he calls a hammer) and said, "Here's hammer...make tractor." His expectant look was so funny. He fully expected Philip to make a John Deere tractor with his plastic club.

He's still scared of thunder, so when it rained a little before we planned to go for a walk he got worried. During dinner he kept asking if there would be more rain and we told him we'd have to check the radar. Apparently that wasn't good enough because he told me to go find Noah and ask him if there would be more rain. He still loves the Noah story and, in his mind, Noah would know more about rain than anyone else so he's the guy we should ask. I told him I'd work on that.

Gracie has been averaging 5-6 hours of straight sleep at night. I'm still looking forward to 8 hours, but this is pretty good for now and I'm starting to feel less sleep deprived. We also tested her on a bottle this weekend and she did dates will be coming back soon!


Flab-busting Spandex Clad Locusts
Wow, we just drove through Lisbon, which is on the RAGBRAI route this year. For those of you unfamiliar with the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa it’s a major biking event every summer in which everyone from professional athletes (Lance Armstrong did it last year) to people who would never in a million years be described as athletes participate. Our little town is completely overrun with more spandex than anyone should ever have to see (there should be a law against some of those people wearing spandex!), sauerkraut brats, beer stands, steak sandwich booths (all of this being consumed before 11am), hippie RVs and converted school buses, street bands, more porta potties than there are Lisbonites, police, ambulances and TV station correspondents. It’s quite a site! Josiah absolutely loved it and is sure that they were all there just for him to enjoy. Philip wasn’t as excited when he realized his route to work had been taken over by about 10,000 bikes. This is quite a bit of excitement for our little town.

As we get used to our Grace-altered routine we’ve been trying to find time for our work outs again. It’s a challenge between nap times, nursings, snack times, play time, food prep and work, but we’re trying to avoid the squishy parent syndrome. The early morning workouts are back, but they just aren’t working as quickly as either of us want, so Philip found the 100 Push Up Challenge for us to try. After a 6 week period we’ll supposedly be able to do 100 consecutive push ups. Sounds pretty impossible at this point, but I’m game. I can only do 10 so far (and Philip tells me my technique stinks by the last few), so I have plenty of room for improvement. We’ve talked several friends here and around the country into trying with us. We start Monday…any other takers?


Toby and the Mullethead
Josiah has decided that thunder is incredibly scary recently. His eyes get huge, he starts shaking and screaming and collapses on the floor if I can't get to him immediately. So when a thunder storm rolled in right when I was supposed to be feeding Gracie and cooking dinner I turned Toby Mac on really loud and he didn't even realize what was going on outside. I'm so glad we don't have neighbors close by.

Our beautiful Gracie is in a bit of an ugly duckling phase right now. The baby acne is clearing up, but her skin is still flaking in a few places, she drools tons, has cradle cap (which you can't really see because of all her hair, but it makes her look like she has dandruff) and not only has baby bed head...she also has a mullet. When she sleeps with her head turned just right she makes the top of her hair stick straight up, which when combined with the mullet (and the light tips on the hair around her face) makes her look like some 80s rock star. Oh, and did I mention that her roots are coming in lighter so it looks like she's balding anywhere her hair parts? I suppose it's a good thing she's starting to smile occasionally. Despite all the obstacles she still manages to be beautiful...that takes talent!

On a side note, we are now living in a corn cocoon. The farmer who owns the field in front of us planted corn there this year and it's tall enough that we can no longer see our neighbors. There's a corn field along one side of the house too. Philip keeps threatening to rent Signs and I'm pretty sure I'd have to move until after harvest if he does it.

PS Grace slept 7 hours straight last night!


Return Policy?
One slightly used, very energetic toddler. He's smart, cute and I'll send along a roll of duct tape to handle the insessent talking. Make an offer!
Ok, so no one can read the blog right now because our internet won't stay connected, but I want to write anyway. Philip's trip went well and we're very glad he's back. The kids did great and I kept my sanity. We stayed very busy, especially in the evenings so Josiah wouldn't notice P's absence too much. However, we seem to be suffering from 'finals week syndrome' since he's returned. You know, the one where you can do super human feats on no sleep...until the adrenaline stops and then you get super cranky and exhausted. I'm pooped and Josiah seems to be oozing all the whininess he didn't show earlier in the week. The only way I could handle it by the end of yesterday was to put him in the stroller with the sun shade over him (so I couldn't see him and could pretend he wasn't there) and give him animal crackers so he wouldn't talk. I'm not sure that's a great approach, but it kept me from doing something I'd feel guilty about later.

I've been having to wake Grace up for most of her night time feedings so we decided to let her sleep last night and see how far she'd get. She decided to wake up on schedule. I suppose that is what I've been teaching her to do, but it's not what I was hoping for. I had visions of 8 hours of solid sleep...maybe in another 18 years.

Speaking of schedules...time for her breakfast. Sometimes I feel like a big diaper changing udder.


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