Friday, December 18, 2009

Texas Snow 2009

Part I of this post: It snowed here in Houston...

Della was amazed...


She really wanted to check it out for herself...


First she was a little freaked out. She closed her eyes hoping the stuff falling from the sky would disappear...


She opened her eyes but was still slightly concerned...


Then she wanted to crawl around, but Mom wouldn't let her (what a meanie)...

Archer was at school, so we didn't get to play in the snow with him. He did get to "run around at school chasing snowflakes with a black paper."

Texas snow drift...


Part II of this post: Good thing we don't live off the land, we would starve!

Dear Texas,

This tomato famine has gone on long enough! What do you have against us Calders eating tomatos from our garden? The 4 plants we had in the summer were eaten alive. The 6 we planted in the Fall were killed by the freeze. Please, please can we eat just one tomato next season!?!

Love, the Calder Family

Before...


After...




Before...


During...

After...









Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Don't Pray To Santa Buddy...



A few weeks ago Archer was questioning the reality of Santa and magic. He asked Chad how Santa could possibly visit every house in the "whole wide world" in just one night. Chad answered that Santa was magic. Archer argued that we had told him that magic wasn't real, like the time we saw a magician make an elephant disappear on TV. Chad explained that magic tricks were just an illusion. When Archer asked again how Santa traveled so fast, it was clear that Archer felt that he was back at square one. Then he did something that surprised us, he closed his eyes, folded his arms and, bowed his head. Here is the conversation that ensued...

Chad: What are you doing buddy?
Archer: (Not lifting his head) I am praying to Santa.
Chad: Why?
Archer: I am asking how he goes around the world so fast.
Chad: We don't pray to Santa buddy.
Archer: Why not?
Chad: Because we only pray to Heavenly Father.
Archer: Well why can't I pray to Santa too?
Chad: Because, we only pray to God. Santa isn't God.
Archer: But he is magic like God.
Chad: God isn't magic, He knows everything, that's different.
Archer: But Santa knows everything that Heavenly Father knows. He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows if you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good.
Chad: I see your point, but Santa still isn't the same as God. If you want to talk to Santa, you can write him a letter.
Archer: Well why would you do that? I told you, he already knows all the stuff that you have been doing.
Chad: Look buddy, Santa is just a regular guy who happens to know some magic. He needs help knowing who has been naughty and who has been nice, so sometimes he calls Mommy and me after you go to bed, and we let him know what kind of day you had.
Archer: Are you serious?
Chad: Yes, I am serious. Ask Mom.
Me: (I give Chad the "Don't you drag me into this!" look, this was already kind of disturbing me) Ummm, Dad is usually the one that talks to him.
Archer: Well, I want to talk to him then.
Chad: OK, one of these nights, when Santa calls, I will let you answer it.
Archer: How about tonight?
Chad: I don't think tonight, maybe another night. But regardless, we don't pray to Santa buddy. OK?
Archer: OK Daddy.

I could tell that Archer thought we were full of it and that tonight when he went upstairs, he would pray to Santa and let him know exactly what he wanted.

Santa Who?

We got to hang out with Santa tonight. Of course Archer was game although he has been questioning the logistics of Santa's ability to visit everyone in the world in one night. I am sure this is his last year.

Della has never cared about Santa and she probably still doesn't. But she liked his cool beard!

Della playing coy with Santa...

Checking out his hat...


Holding onto Santa's beard...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Fancy Shelves

Chad made some beautiful built-in bookshelves downstairs. He built them at his office and then brought them home where he had them up in a few hours. He also put in some new lighting which really shows off his work.

That's right, I don't feel any shame bragging about my husband's skillz...

Oh Christmastree

We went to get a Christmas tree for Family Home Evening this week...


At first Della was very unsure with all of this tree business...



But then she made friends with it and everything was OK after that...

Archer was a spaz the entire night...

They were both pretty excited when we brought it into the house...

Archer ended up going to bed early...

When Della realized that we were decorating the tree, she volunteered a few of her toys...


Then her hair got stuck, and Della decided it was best if she and the tree were no longer friends...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Archer the Pilgrim Preacher: HALLELUJAH! Take 2...


Edit: For some reason the editing program I used cropped Archer out of most of the movie. So here is take 2, this time Archer is included, well, except for at the end when I didn't notice that he was no longer in the shot...

Here is Archer's Thanksgiving Play. He is the Pilgrim Minister, hence the white collar. Please forgive the shaky camera work, I had it propped against my foot because I was also taking still pictures with another camera. If you can't see his head, be patient, I figure it out and fix the camera angle.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Indian Pow Wow....Wow.


The Indian Pow Wow Championships came to town and were very surprised with how many people that were surprised that we wanted to go. Being from politically correct California, we were also taken aback that "Indian" was used in the official event title instead of "Native American." Apparently the use of "Indian" is all over Texas because Archer comes home singing Thanksgiving songs using that word. Anyway, the competition was held at the local "Traders Village" which at first glance one might think, "Oh, this looks like the Orange County Swap Meet." I made this mistake myself, but after only a few minutes I realized that this was nothing like the Swap Meet. It was sort of like a giant garage sale held on a back street in Tijuana. Suddenly we felt very disgusted by everything around us. We even threw away the soda we brought with us because it we didn't want to put anything in our mouths in a place like that. The worst part was, Archer was getting an education that we would rather him not have gotten from the items and the faces of everyone around us. Case in point, Caitlin and I noticed a woman crouching down in the bushes. We simultaneously made two observations. One, she was vomiting. Two, Archer was attempting to ask her, "why are you throwing up?"

We finally found the area labeled "Indian Trading Goods." Happy to be free of the Tijuana back street, we set out to look at coyote pelts, rain sticks, and crying Indians painted on velvet. Archer got a leather hip sack and a "bear-claw" necklace (we are pretty sure it is plastic). Caitlin was looking at the bracelets but as we quickly learned, Indian jewelry is no joke price-wise. Archer too was interested in the jewelry until an old Indian lady told him that it was to ward off evil spirits.

I wanted some authentic Indian food as was advertised by the website (yes, we checked the website trying to get amped up for the Pow Wow) I even went as far as not to eating before leaving home hoping to get some Tatonka and corn bread, but all they had was "Indian Tacos". As far as I could tell, it looked like a funnel cake with salad on top. Carnie food with an Indian twist maybe? PBandJ when I got home is what happened.

We made our way over to where they were having the competition. It was being held in what one would classify as a "stadium". There were a group of men in the center banging on drums while another larger group was dancing around them. They were doing the cliche two hops on the left, two on the right, repeat, Indian dance. I put Archer on my shoulders so he could see and said, "Hey, tell me when you're all done with this". 30 Seconds later he was done.
We then took a look at some teepees that they had up behind the stadium. One was made with Bamboo and Caitlin made a joke saying "that must be South Dakota bamboo".

We saw some people dressing up in full costume getting ready to compete so we went over to get some pictures. This was by far the most authentic part of our day and it was fun to see the "Tiny Tots" compete. We got out of there just as Della was preparing a melt down. Indian Pow Wow Competition, we'll see you next year.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Swine Flu Is For (Little) Sissies

So we've had a sick little girl at our house this week. Della tested positive for H1N1 on Thursday evening and I can't begin to explain how rapidly her condition worsened. Thankfully we saw a great Dr. affiliated with Texas Children's Hospital who put Della on antivirals and recommended that we start breathing treatments ASAP.

The problem with Della is that she has very low muscle tone throughout her entire body, this is the main reason why she isn't able walk. Since we have no diagnosis for her delays, her low tone continues to be a mystery. Her body's weakness extends to much more than gross motor movements and this includes her inability to "productively" cough making respiratory illnesses very dangerous to Della. Things like RSV, croup, and this particular strain of the flu all cause fluid to accumulate in the throat, sinuses, and sometimes in the lungs (pneumonia). Della can't cough all of that nastiness out and it is extremely scary to hear her wheeze, gurgle, and gag all day and especially at night. Sometimes she would be so desperate to clear her airways she would stick her hand in her mouth trying to physically remove the fluid. It was so sad.

Breathing treatments every 3 to 4 hours seems to help break up some of the fluid and has eased her breathing a little bit. We knew the *warning signs of when we should take her to the hospital and the Dr. was very clear in saying that if her condition worsened at all, we were to take her to the emergency room. We REALLY didn't want to do that. Thankfully, her little body came through and I think the worst is over. As long as the remaining fluid doesn't turn into a bacterial infection, she should be back to normal in a few days.

Thank you for all of the prayers, well-wishes, phone calls, and e-mails. We didn't feel so alone in our worries for Della and I knew that the Lord was looking out for us.

Meanwhile, Chad and I woke up last night with fevers and sore throats. Good times for all! Poor Archer is hating life indoors and since there is no school tomorrow, he has another day to look forward to!

*With H1N1 going around, you should know these warning signs too. Although it should be a mild illness for most, you never know who will suffer from the acute symptoms of this virus. It is proving very dangerous and children who have previously been healthy with no preexisting conditions to make them a higher risk have died from this strain of the flu. When in doubt, go to the ER or call 911. Trust me, you don't want to look back and wish that you had done something different!

Signs of Respiratory Distress As Listed By WebMD

Respiratory distress refers to difficulty breathing and taking in enough oxygen. Causes may include choking, asthma, an infection, or pneumonia. The signs of respiratory distress are coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound as a child exhales), labored breathing (especially flaring of the nose and use of chest and neck muscles to aid breathing), grunting, or turning blue.

When to Call 911:

  • The rate of breathing is greater than 50 to 60 breaths per minute
  • The child is turning blue around the mouth.
  • The condition is worsening instead of improving.
  • Severe retraction.

If these signs are present, don't try to put your child in a car -- call an ambulance. The paramedics can deliver oxygen and get your child safely to the hospital.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bitty Farm

OK-it's not really a farm, but since we are lame suburban hipsters, we like the way it makes us feel. Here is what we have planted since April; bush beans, pole beans, 9 tomato plants, 2 zucchinis, 2 yellow crook-neck squash plants, 2 cantaloupe plants, one watermelon plant, 40 corn plants, a lot of carrots, a peach tree, an orange tree, and some herbs. In the past 6 months we have eaten one peach, 3 tomatoes, a half ripe cantaloupe, and about 80 zucchinis. That's it. EVERYTHING ELSE EITHER DIDN'T GROW, AND EVEN IF IT DID MANAGE TO SPROUT A FEW LEAVES A MILLION DIFFERENT KIND OF BUGS ATE THEM. Mostly it was these guys...

Although our corn is full of worms, so I can't blame the above insect for all the damage. We don't want to spray poison, so Chad got a dust buster, it worked great.

Here is the garden on September 1st. Notice the random stalk of corn that grew 2 feet higher than the others...

Here it is today...
I can't believe how many bugs live here, seriously, I have never seen anything like it. Our strategy is to attract "beneficials" like birds spiders and wasps that will eat "bad-non-beneficials" like aphids, stink bugs, and worms. So wish us luck with that.



We like to pretend that our garden looks just like this one...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Serious Hair Issues

This is how Della's hair looks every morning when she gets out of bed. It also looks like this when she wakes up from her nap...


This cockateil look is furthered by Della's repetitive almost Autistic-like head shaking when she is laying down or in her car seat. Della's hair is naturally curly. The top layer is soft, fine, and silky. Cute right? Yes, actually it is very cute...until you get to the bottom layer. Brillo pad, seriously, that's the only way to describe it. It is so course that it feels brittle and dry. Brushing out the mass of snarls is becoming a chore that my daughter and I both dread. I have tried leave-in conditioners, rinse-out conditioners, detangler sprays, and even a fancy hair "masque." Nothing helps. I was hoping that as her hair grew, the weight of the curls would help make them straighter and less likely to become tangled. Not so. Apparently the equation went like this: more hair= more tangles x 10.

So here are my options...

1. Continue brushing the rats nest that sits atop Della's head twice a day while she screams and cries real tears (this is rare for her). Oh, by the way, she has some sort of neurological/ developmental impairments and her sensory system might be hyper sensitive, making routine activities, like brushing hair, more painful or over stimulating for her. But she couldn't tell you if she was overly sensitive or not because she doesn't talk or communicate thus making it impossible for you to know what she is feeling. Also- since her receptive language skills are that of a 6 month-old, there is no way to explain why you are putting her through all this .

2. Cut it off. It seems simple enough, but the more that this option seems like the right one, the more I don't want to do it. I think I have some weird emotional attachment to her hair. Almost like it is the one thing that I can control in her life. I can't make the connections in her brain enabling her to talk, I can't give her the strength she needs in her muscles to walk, I can't explain to her why she get poked and prodded all the time, I can't watch her enjoy playing princess, I can't even ask her what her favorite color is. But her hair, that is one thing I can do something with. Just like other mothers do for their daughters. See, I told you it was weird.

So unless ya'll (Texas talk) know of some miracle de-rats-nesting product, I think I will have to go with option number two. At this point, no idea is too outrageous. I would slather her head in Crisco if I thought it would work. Feel free to contact me with your ideas. In the meantime, here are some pictures of Delly-Bean with Cinnamon Toast Crunch all over her face...