Sunday, June 29, 2008


I named my blog “7acresofheaven” because it is so peaceful and removed from urban Iowa. Not that urban Iowa is anything like, say, urban CA. But I like being close to nature. Today, I have watched my little girl crawl around the house and explore everything. Again.
I also got to watch a trio of bucks in velvet skitter across my back yard just past the garden. Last weekend I watched mama doe with her dotted fawn drinking down by the gazebo (from the incredibly swollen flooded pond). The fawn was pretty typical for what we have come to expect. Jumpy, brainless, all leg, and absolutely adorable.
Yesterday I watched a pair of parent wrens carrying food into my clothespin bag that is hung on the back deck. It seems they made their nest inside the clothespin bag this spring. The benefit of them doing such a thing is that I get to listen to the wrens sing just outside my back door pretty much every morning I eat my cereal. And all day on weekends. (as I type this, the mama wren is outside my door twittering away)
All spring I have been watching three families of ducks that have been paddling around my pond with their baby ducklings. People should know that baby ducklings are INCREDIBLY cute. Especially when they are paddling along behind their parents across the pond. Strangely enough the ducks are three different types. There is a family of common ghetto mallards. Then there is a family of the most beautiful wood ducks. Then the strange family; a family of blue winged teal are raising a clutch on my pond. This is the first year for the mallards or the teal. I like it. It is really nice having the ducks stay for the spring and part of the summer.
Mowing the grass yesterday down along the ponds edge I spotted at least a dozen hundred bullfrogs trying to hide or jumping into the water to avoid me. And last night I went to sleep to the chorus of bullfrog Gregorian chant music. Which doesn’t do much for me but I guess it is the only thing bullfrogs know.
Anyway, this is all much more enjoyable than finding someone chucked a golfball at my house hard enough to leave a ¼” deep impression. Or coming home and finding 400 tulips cut down and left to lay in the beds. Or even going to sleep to the chorus of straight pipes leaving the biker bar.
This may not be heaven, but it sure is peaceful and relaxing.


I got scolded yesterday from my Mother.
She had discovered that I allowed Maddie to play with one of Kat’s dolls. I hadn’t noticed Kat playing with it prior to Maddie discovering that it had bells and they rang when she shook it and tossed it. Maddie really got quite a bit of enjoyment out of that little doll. She would grab it by an arm or Let and shake it, then while shaking it she would open her mouth and that little curly blond haired doll would go flying across the room. Whereupon Maddie would take a step or two, then pounce on it. Only to repeat the process. Sometimes she would shake it and drop it at my feet. “Play, Dad, play! You throw the little noisemaker and I will catch it and shake it to death! Try it! It is great fun, you will see!”
And I would. I would give it a toss across the room and Maddie would play her version of fetch.
Over a few weeks time, the hat that this little BoPeep doll had one had torn from its stitches and hung on by a thread. And the wig was starting to separate as well. If you looked closely, you would notice a pair of holes in one leg.
To her credit, Wife said to me, “that is Kat’s doll, Maddie shouldn’t be allowed to play with it. Don’t encourage her.”
I scoffed in response. Kat doesn’t play with it, someone should get some enjoyment out of it. I did notice this week, however, that Kat had started playing with that little abused doll. Kat would crawl over to it and shake it, listening to the bells jingle. Then she would toss it a couple of feet and crawl over to pick it up and shake it again. She had watched Maddie play with her little doll and was playing with it the same way. Maddie was teaching Kat!
I have to ask myself, do I want Kat picking up habits and mannerisms from our ferocious little dog? When it comes to self defense, probably. When it comes to social skills, definitely NOT.
Anyway, Mom discovered the abused little doll in the corner and rescued her by taking her home to repair her. Before she left, she scolded me and explained, “I bought that little doll for my granddaughter! That is the first little doll that she ever had and it will be taken care of! You will not let your dog ravage and tear apart your daughter’s first doll!”
Well. She set me straight.
But as you look at my little puppy, could you deny her a doll to ‘play’ with?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grew UP?!?

I am always excited when I get a comment to a post. It confirms that for whatever reason, someone happened on to this site.
Loren posted that my trip to the middle of TREES was a half hour from where she grew up. I put it to you, readers, go to her site at and read her last 4 or 5 posts. I may admit that perhaps her parents raised her in Treeville, WI, I don't think I can agree that she grew UP!!!!
I will say that reading her site encourages me as a parent. So far, her adorable daughters haven't done anything that has made me want to move to Mexico or Canada. So keep up the good work, Loren.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

picture post

Here I sit in a hotel room in Steven's Point, WI. I still don't have 'net access back home, so I came up here to see if I could find it.
Really, Wife and I are here for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair. We came her last time in 2003. Or '04. We aren't sure. Regardless, it is every bit as interesting this time as it was last time. Last time we were here, Wife discovered my new hobby. It took her a while to sell me on it, but I must admit, I am glad she did. We saw the guys from Azure Biodiesel out of Sully, Iowa show how easy it is to make biodiesel in the comfort of your own kitchen. Sure, they overlooked a few details and glossed over one or two other issues, but by and large making our own fuel is very rewarding.
This year, we are zeroing in on Solar Hot Water and GeoThermal. It wouldn't surprise me if we end up with our own collector sometime in the next couple of years.
More importantly, my Godsend of a Mother is watching our precious little action adventure while we are away this weekend. This is complicated by the fact that Thursday, Kat decided she was done with the FAKE TEETHING and decided to push out two top teeth. Not that we have seen them, she waited until G'ma took her home to get a fever, sickly, and cut two top teeth. So G'ma has been having a wonderful time.
Since I have been lax about posting, here are some Kat pictures.

This last picture is her most recent. She is displaying the attitude that lets me know that the next 17 years are going to be a real treat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I live one county over from Linn County, Iowa. My internet server is/was under water and not working.
So I am making a stealth post from work to say that when I have service at home, I will post pictures of my Kat again.
Oh, and if you haven't heard, Cedar Rapids, Ia had severe flooding last week.
Swear to GOD. Google it, search youtube for it.
Serious Flooding.
Stay Dry, Stay Safe.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Fake Teething

Someone asked me what fake teething is. I referenced it in my blog a while ago and it must not be a common phrase.

Little Kat is doing what I call fake teething. It is where her gums swell up, she drools a lot, runs a low temp and is miserable. She wants to chew on a teething ring or an ice cube. She gives every indication that she is going to FINALLY pop out her two top teeth.

A week ago Friday, Wife and I took Kat to dinner with us. Just as they delivered our food, Kat erupted with everything she had eaten that day. Possibly everything she had eaten in the last 48 hours. It was a mess.

We took her home and spent the weekend with fussy, unhappy Kat. And with the amount of drool, chewing, crankiness going on, we thought, “hey she is going to pop more than just the top teeth, maybe another bottom pair as well. Or maybe all four top teeth. I seem to Recall Connor did that!”

Here we are, a week later and the Kat has two bottom teeth. That is it. No more. The same two bottom teeth she has had since she was born.

Fake teething. Acting like you are going to cut a tooth but are really just scheming ways to annoy your parents.

I developed this term because every other week for the last two and a half months we have gone through this little charade. And while I don’t WANT her to be miserable and uncomfortable, I wish she didn’t drag this out so.

Oh, well. We can do this next weekend as well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just what I need. Like a hole in the head

I got called to the principals office at work this morning. So to speak. My phone buzzed in my pocket, I saw it was my boss so I answered it. "Come to the Director's office."
So I went.
Changes, there are a happenin'. I am not entirely sure if they are for the better, but I am such an idiot I never say no.
I spend the day trying to clean up loose ends. I have to tie off the project I am working on before starting the new one. I am more concerned about the new one than the old one. But I don't want to leave messes behind me so I try to do housekeeping.
At the end of the day while talking to Boss, I hear that I had better do a good job tying off the project I am leaving. I am being TESTED apparently. What does that mean? A test. Me being the person I am, I worry. I mentally make a check list of things I am NOT going to do over the next two days while I make sure I am prepared for the TEST. One of the last things I am reminded of before I leave is that I need to determine WHAT I want to do in my career.
Priorities first. I must go pick up Kat from daycare. So I skedaddle out the door with the TEST on my mind. I drive past the turnoff for daycare. Turn back around and pick her up. She is happy to see me but preoccupied with not feeling well. "I am pretty sure she is going to push those teeth through, soon. Maybe even all four of them." is what Daycare Lady tells me.
On the way through town I see the farmers market is open. Not many vendors but I stop to see what is there. Score! Way too much fresh spinach for $1.00. Then as I am leaving I see a slender bundle of flowers. $1.00/bunch. As I pay the lady, she hands me another bundle. "I don't want to take them home. Make your wife even happier," she tells me. Spinach and flowers for two bucks! Earning all kinds of points with Wife.
At home I am thinking about work. I need to get this done. It needs to be done right. What is the director really looking for. Why is this a TEST. What are the consequences for failing. A million questions on my mind.
To my surprise, Wife comes home much earlier than expected. After hearing me bitch, er, explain what is on my mind, she sends me back to work. Action is better than worrying is what she lives by.
I go in, work for a while, brainstorm and try and guess what I need to put together. Then come home. REALLY tired. When I get home, I have a couple of things in the garage that must be taken care of. And I need fuel for the truck. So I take care of that, too. Then I come inside, trying to be quiet because it is well after 10pm and EVERYONE is asleep. As I walk around to the kitchen island to get myself a tequila nightcap I notice the floor is damp and the cupboards under the sink are open and everything from under the sink is IN the sink.
And this is what I see.

Just what I need. Like a hole in the head.

Goes by so fast

Mamatulip posted the other day. A wonderful post. Typical of her since she is usually funny and insightful. One of the sentances in her post was "Enjoy it. It goes by so fast you wouldn't believe it." Or something like that.
As I see Kat every day, I don't always realize that she is growing so fast. Then there are times I see her stand up in her crib when she wakes up and grins at me and I realize, "WOW, she is growing."
She still has her blue eyes that I was afraid would turn brown after a week. She still wraps me around her finger with the great big smile, so big that you can see it behind the binky in her mouth. Her whole face lights up with her smile. She is starting to test things; she still investigates everything; she still explores every boundry of her world. I think she resents that we don't let her eat from Maddie's dish. It is the first thing she heads for when she makes it into the dining room. (of course the dog eats in the dining room, we never sit down and eat in there)
We just got over a weekend of her not really feeling well. I think she is fake teething again. I hope she means it this time. It would be nice to see her with more teeth. She is teetering on the edge of walking. She stands and tests her balance. She will take her hands off whatever she pulled herself up with, wobble, then sit down. I know she will figure it out. People tell me that Wife and I will never know peace again when Kat is walking around. (I am not so sure I have known peace since we found out Wife was expecting)
She is growing up fast. And the 'first' experiences we are having run by so quickly. I enjoy watching her when she is experiencing and exploring. The world is a wonder to her and she is determined to experience all of it.
I don't have a picture to post today which is unfortunate because Mom took a bunch of wonderful pictures. For some reason, I cannot paste them here.
BTW, a shout out to MOM for coming to watch Kat this last Sunday. Wife and I were busy pretty much from sunup to sundown working on something. MOM watched Kat and kept her out of trouble for the entire day. And since Kat didn't feel well, she was pretty high maintenence this weekend. So thank you, Mom. For giving up your day to help us and allow us to get stuff done.