raising a mommy

raising a mommy

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

small changes

Today's blessing:
Wool socks. Because, as my husband says, I have dead people feet.

You may notice some small changes taking place around here. Husband pointed out that I share a lot of personal information. I mean, a lot. Anyone reading this blog wouldn't have to dig too far to learn the full names of our children, what they like and dislike, and generally where we live. Also, there are tons of pictures. I realize that nearly everyone who reads this probably already has all of that information anyways, but it only takes one crazy person to stumble upon my little family and do bad things. That said, I'll be spending the next few days taking down many of the bigger identifiers, meaning names and specific locations. Pictures will remain.

Big sister P and Baby M are trying to raise a mommy who is not paranoid, just careful!

thankful day twelve

Today's blessing:
Herbal tea.

So there's a tea store in the mall in my town, and boy is it dangerous. They always have tons of samples, and you can't expect me not to try free samples of tea, can you? It's just so wonderful...
Some people might call me a health nut, but I'm really not. For a snack before bed tonight I had a piece of homemade chocolate chip raspberry bread. (Jealous? You should be...remember, I do have the best husband ever.) I'm all about desserts and splurging when appropriate. I'm not a fan of the unnecessay sugar and salt that comes in pretty much everything. Like juice. I understand that you can get juice that is 100% juice with no sugar added, but there is still a ton of sugar in it! I never really realized that until I began shopping for P and started reading labels. Is it really necessary to add salt to frozen veggies? And why can't canned mandarin oranges be canned in water or their own juice rather than syrup?

Now, tea...there is potentially my new superfood. If you get the caffeine free kind (which I realize isn't actually tea, but that's another can of worms) then what's wrong with brewing some for a kid? I tried a delicious blueberry tea that any kid would be lucky to have in their sippy cup!

Then I got to thinking...if I won't feed something to my baby, why am I allowing myself to eat it? 

One thing I'm learning...this baby is raising a mommy who is much more aware of what she allows her family to put into their bodies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

day one: setting boundaries

Today's blessing:
Listening to my husband sing to our baby girl during bath time.

I'm guessing, for most people, setting boundaries with the computer would mean getting away from the screen and into real life. Not so much here. I love to write and have thoroughly enjoyed what little time I've gotten to spend in this little corner of the internet. I am going to be more intentional about making sure I set aside time to spend here. It's good for my spirit, and maybe I can connect with someone who needs it, too. Who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself and have some little nugget of wisdom to share!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

an update on our family of four

It's been quiet around here as we get used to being a family of four. The Baby is now six weeks old, so I thought it was time for an update!

P still loves being a big sister, which is such a relief. The novelty of having a little one around hasn't worn off yet, and she's still eager to help whenever she can.

I recently decided, out of respect for the teenager that she will be someday, not to share about bathroom habits online.

Some of P's favorite things to do recently include playing with the neighbor girls and going to the park. If we can get both at the same time, even better! She's a bit timid at the park - she likes the little kid swing where she sits inside it and can't fall out, but she doesn't like to swing too high. She also doesn't usually like to go down the slide. Every now and then she'll hold our hands and slide down. Baby steps!

Until now, P has been a self-inflicted vegetarian. She wants nothing to do with anything meat related. Then today, we were playing with the neighbor girls, when I told her it was time for lunch. She didn't want to leave, so I said that she could stay and eat chicken or go home and eat noodles. So we stayed and ate chicken. Peer pressure and the desire to continue playing with someone else's toys are very strong motivators!

As for Bsby M, here's how he's doing so far at six weeks:
Mastered Skills (most babies can do)
Lifts head: Yes indeed. We haven't been great about getting him tummy time, but he's still getting strong. When we hold him up on our shoulders he can hold his head up for a good 30 seconds before he needs a little break.

Responds to sound: If being soothed whenever he hears "Your Song" by Elton John counts as responding to sound, then yes. And he sometimes seems to react to our voices a little bit, too.

Stares at faces: Yes he does, and who could resist staring back into those beautiful steel blue eyes? He's a charmer already!

Can see black and white patterns: Um...probably, but how can you tell?

Emerging Skills (half of babies can do)
Follows objects: Maybe a little bit. He would rather stare and Mommy or Daddy.

Oohs and ahs: Not yet, but he sure is working on using his voice!

Advanced Skills (a few babies can do)
Smiles: Only when he's gassy, though I swear she smiled at P the other day for real. Big sister can have the first smile - I'm okay with that!

Laughs: Not yet, but with as dorky as his father is, it's only a matter of time.

Holds head at 45-degree angle: Not yet, but again, he needs more tummy time!

This boy is a chunker! He is currently wearing a 6 month sleeper (he's only 6 weeks!) and it's big, but not comically large! I guess the fact that he nurses almost constantly is paying off!

M likes to take baths. And by likes, I mean he may be crying and fussy, and when I get him in the tub, he stops crying. He just kind of looks around and kicks his feet and resists my attempts to clean his chins. (There are at least two of them. He's working on a third.) He doesn't even mind getting water dumped over his head. It's pretty remarkable to me.

I think we're past the stage where M wakes up every hour or two to eat, so that's helpful! The other night, I think he even let me sleep for a little over four hours! Amazing!

Other than constant tiredness, Husband and I are doing well. He's back at school and giving tours for the admissions office while eagerly awaiting the start of basketball season, while I'm at home playing with babies and trying to crochet every now and then. I started running about a week and a half ago, which has dramatically improved my mood!

P discovered a love of black olives. That's mommy's girl!

So little! This was M on his due date. We are so grateful for an "extra week!"

Snuggling with Daddy!

Three generations

My aunt included these as a gift for P when they sent a baby gift for M. She absolutely loves building with her Legos, and she gets so creative!

Shortly after this, we stopped swaddling him.

So here's a great story for you. We took a walk one day up to Daddy's school. We were walking around one of the main buildings, when P heard music - a brass ensemble practicing for chapel that day. She asked if we could go in the church and see the instruments, so we did. Then she didn't want to leave. So we stayed for chapel. She found this teddy bear in one of the "quiet" bags at the back of church, and spent the second half of the service baptizing it. She would stick her hand in the font, make a cross on its forehead, and say "Jesus loves you very much." I am not making any of this up.

Matching diapers! Excuse the blurriness - it's hard enough to get a decent picture of one moving target, much less two!

How sweet is this? P loves little brother. We think she'll grow on him as soon as he's old enough to defend himself from her well-intentioned attacks.

Nothing like a little snuggle time in the morning!

Click here, scroll down to the last picture, and read the caption. I'll wait.
Did I call this, or what? I'm not even kidding.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

thankful: day three

Coffee coffee coffee. We had a rough night last night, and so, today, I am thankful for coffee. Nothing more needs to be said on the subject.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

thankful: day two

So I may have missed a few days, but that's okay. To be honest, I'm really not in the mood right now to reflect on things I'm thankful for. I'm pretty crabby. We've been fighting a potty training battle with Big Sister P for the last few days, the Baby has been extremely demanding this morning, my allergies are acting up, I can never seem to have a counter free of dirty dishes, and I just want to run. Seriously, I think if I could just lace up my running shoes and have 20 minutes on the trails, I would be in an exponentially better mood.

But this is where I am in my life right now. I am grateful for the amazing family and friends who have surrounded me. I am grateful for the fact that the Baby only woke me up twice last night. (Sort of. That's twice between midnight at 7 am, but I'll take it.)

But you know what I'm most grateful for right at this moment? The fact that I have been able to nurse my children. Not all women have the desire or ability to do this, but I have been blessed with both. It has not always been easy. There were times with Big Sister that I woke up every two hours at night to pump just so I would have enough to send with her to day care the next day. When the Baby was brand new and nursing every hour...well, you can imagine how that felt!

However, I have been blessed with abundance. In fact, I am excited to be well on my way to making my first donation to Mother's Milk Cooperative to help babies who wouldn't otherwise be able to reap the benefits of a mother's milk. Not only have I nourished my own sweet Baby, but I've got a store of about 50 ounces taking over my freezer - only 450 to go before I can send in my first donation!

Well, friends, I now have coffee in my system, my Zyrtec is kicking in, the Baby is napping relatively peacefully, and Big Sister is babbling in her bedroom. Hubby should be home in about 20 minutes, and then, as soon as the Baby is fed, I'm free to head outside for a nice relaxing walk. With maybe a few intervals of jogging thrown in, just for sanity's sake!

Friday, October 3, 2014

thankful: day one

I did this awhile ago, but thought I'd have another round. It's never a bad idea to spend a few minutes a day reflecting on something for which you are grateful, right? And November seems like such a cliche month for it! I was going to do this whole "31 days" link up deal this month. I even have some of the posts started. Then I realized that it was just too much commitment for me right now, and I should think smaller. So here goes.

Today, I am thankful for my healthy legs. They get me up and down the four flights of stairs to get to my apartment multiple times a day. My thighs may touch, and they may be pale and not as toned as they once were, but they can do laps around the living room carrying an upset infant at 3am if that's what I need them to do. Aside from a few stress fracture incidents in college, my legs have never let me down. (And let's face it, those were really my fault anyways!)

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

our little girl: 31 months

As of last month, my baby girl is officially two and a half! In my defense, I did have this post started well before August 9th. Then life happened and we realized that the move we had known about for over a year was actually happening in a few weeks, so we had to pack. It's funny how things can still sneak up on you when you've been planning them for so long...

Anyhow - two months in one update! Here we go!

P has learned her last name! We talked about it a little bit one night while we were reading to her (one of those awesome personalized books where the animals spell out the kid's name), but she was pretty adamant that her name was "P" and nothing else. Then, all of a sudden, a few nights later, she was dancing around at church during VBS telling us her first and last name. We didn't think it stuck, but I guess, once again, we underestimated her! before long she also learned that Mommy and Daddy have the same last name, and Nugget will too.

P is starting to grasp the very beginnings of the concept of spelling. She knows what letters certain words start with, and if we ask her about other words that start with the same sound, she can usually get them. (For example, she knows the "baby" starts with "b." If we ask her what "ball" or "bubble" start with, she can sometimes get it right - with a little prompting!)

P has felt her little brother move before, but she never really acknowledged that it was him. In the last two months, however, if finally clicked. Towards the end, whenever we would be snuggling and she'd feel him, she'd sit up and get this little smirk on her face.

One of the greatest quotes she learned this month: "Stinky ear cheese is no good!" (We may have let her go a bit too long without a bath. She didn't actually have any ear cheese, but her feet were getting awfully ripe!)

We enjoyed a week long visit to my parent's home in July, and I think P had a pretty good time. I know my family had a good time with her! Grandpa loves to golf, so now when she goes to visit them, she has her own set of golf clubs. Within ten minutes, Uncle A had taught her to correctly identify each of her three clubs. That's right, my two and a half year old knows what a driver, iron, and putter are. I'm not sure I knew that before this lesson.

She was a real trooper all throughout the move - she got a little unnerved towards the end when everything was boxed up, but all she did was cry a few times and be extra snuggly. She actually seemed to grasp the concept of "We have to put all of our things in boxes so we can take them to the new apartment. Then we'll get them out again." So that helped. It's so nice to be able to explain things to her and be rational. I know we're pretty lucky to be able to do that with a two and a half year old. I've had more trouble reasoning with some adults than I do with her!

She got settled into our new place very well, and even enjoys having some neighbor girls to play with. I definitely think the socialization will be very good for her!

On September 4th, P became a big sister! She still likes her little brother, almost a whole week later, so we're pretty thrilled about that. It's definitely been an adjustment for everyone, but she is taking it remarkably well. She'll act up a little bit from time to time, but as long as we're intentional about spending time alone with her and talking to her calmly, she's pretty good. It's hard to stay patient when you're dealing with newborn sleep deprivation, but it's ten times harder to yell at your oldest (because we have an oldest and a youngest, now) and make her want to listen to you even less!

Here are a couple picture highlights from the last two months. Okay, a bunch of picture highlights. I just couldn't choose, and pictures upload way faster in the cities than they did at our old house!

Playing with friend S at church.

P saw Grandma using a hair dryer. Pretty creative!

Playing with friend E!

P loves to help me crochet. I will gladly sacrifice a hat to let her practice!

One last picture in front of our "old house."

P got Auntie J a baby for her birthday. She even offered to baby-sit. What a sweetie.

Thanks to my wonderful friend, Rebecca, for the next few photos. Find out more about her and book your own photo shoot by checking out her website here!





P loves having a park less than a block from our new apartment! We haven't been taking full advantage of it, but now that Nugget's out and I'm a little more mobile, I think we'll definitely have to utilize it more during the last few weeks of decent weather!

My dress from when I was a kid. Hello, late 1980s!

When I told P we had to walk up to Daddy's school, she insisted on wearing her backpack, in which she packed a teddy bear and a bottle. Just in case of an emergency.

Showing off her new shirt at the hospital!

Watching over baby brother.

She still likes him...

And LOVES to play on the floor with him. I have a feeling that if I left them alone together for more than a minute, I would come back to find Mark buried under a pile of toys that she wanted to share.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

top ten tuesday: blessing a new parent

Today's blessing:
Listening to my two and a half year old babble in bed while she's supposed to be napping. We've been though some hilarious mash-ups of Daniel Tiger, VeggieTales, and the story of what's going to happen when Mommy and Daddy go to the hospital when Nugget is born. Usually they're in song form.

It's no secret that people love babies. The newer, the better. They're so tiny and cute (some actually cute, some cute just because they're so tiny) and they don't stay that way for very long, so when someone has a baby, most people want to get in there as soon as possible and meet the new little one. It can't be helped, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. However, there are some things that need to be taken into account. I hope to address some of them here with a positive spin - giving suggestions, rather than telling you what you've been doing wrong. I hope this list is helpful, and if you have anything to add, I hope you'll leave it in the comments! So, without further ado, here is this Tuesday's Top Ten List:

Top Ten Ways to Bless New Parents

  1. Feed them. When you're not sleeping for more than two or three hours at a time, the last thing you want to do is have to worry about dinner. When you come to visit a newly expanded family, bring something nutritious for them to eat. Prepared meals are wonderful, though maybe check ahead first. If they've had four other people bring them food that needs to be eaten within 48 hours, there's a lot of waste that could be happening! Prepared meals that you can all enjoy together are wonderful, especially if they come with a post-meal dishwashing service. Freezer meals are great, too. Be sure the meal is carefully labeled so the family doesn't have to guess at what it is and how to prepare it! Snacks are good, too. I've gotten rave reviews about my Grandma's Homemade Granola. I packaged it in those tiny little 1/2 cup containers so mom could have one next to her to snack on while nursing, and I was told that it was great. I was also just told about this site called MealBaby. I guess you can sign up for free, then you create a calendar and list of your favorite foods or restaurants in your area. People can sign up to bring you food on certain days, and the gifter doesn't have to worry about making something the family might not like. I don't know much about it, but it sounds intriguing. What do you think? Brilliant or presumptuous? Personally, I would rather be sure that I'm bringing something the family will enjoy at a time that is useful for them!
    A freezer full of meals and veggies...dream come true!
  2. Clean for them. Offer to sweep the floor or wash a load of dishes before asking to hold the baby. And mean it. If they say no, ask again. Chances are, they would love some help, but feel silly accepting.
  3. Let them shower. I remember some weeks after my first was born, I averaged two showers a week. Not great. Yes, you can put a newborn in a crib or swing while you shower, and even if they wake up, you know they'll be fine, but it's nice to know that they're in the company of another caring adult in case they start crying. And if you have a toddler, too...well, they can do plenty of damage if they go unsupervised for even 10 minutes!
  4. Let them sleep. I have read about the elusive simulnap. (This is when multiple children nap at the same time. It may be a myth.) Be kind and offer to take both children off mom and dad's hands for an hour so they can get some sleep, too.
  5. Feed them. Sometimes restaurant gift cards are the best things you can give a newly expanded family. Family friendly places are great - Perkins, Baker's Square, or Applebee's kind of places for "nicer" sit down meals, or Subway, Jimmy John's, Chipotle, Panera, Noodles, etc for your faster "oh crap it's 5:30 and I forgot that we need supper" kind of meals. This way, they can enjoy a meal (maybe even leftovers) and not have to clean up after it. Win win!
  6. Don't overstay your welcome. Short visits are usually best at first, unless you're busy cleaning or occupying a child or two so mom and dad can nap. Here's a hint: if you know mom is nursing baby and she says something along the lines of, "Well, I think it's {insert baby's name}'s lunch time!" that probably means you should go. Unless she specifically prefaces it with "Feel free to stick around, but..." Then use your best judgement.
  7. Don't surprise them. Do not show up at their house unannounced. Call or send a text ahead of time to find out when would be best, and be willing to be flexible. If you make plans to go visit at 9:00 the next morning (with an offer to bring muffins or cinnamon rolls, please!), then don't be offended if you get a text at 8:00 saying "{Insert baby's name here} just fell asleep for the first time since 1:00am. Can we reschedule?"
  8. Don't feel obligated, but if you want to give a gift, be thoughtful about it. Baby gifts are fun. I know. The little tiny outfits with bows or trucks or dinosaurs are so cute! And the stuffed animals? Darling! However, in some cases, they may not be the best way to bless a family. It may lose some of the fun element of surprise, and definitely may not be as "cute," but if they family does not have a gift registry, you can't go wrong by asking what they would like. We have boxes of toys from our first that she didn't ever play with, and are still finding outfits that were given to us that still have tags on them. We are currently living in a pretty small apartment, we have plenty of people to lend us clothes, and, as I stated before, we have enough toys to occupy a day care full of babies. However, our changing table is in desperate need of a new pad and we're hoping to use newborn cloth diapers this time around. I know it's more fun to buy a giant stuffed teddy bear or a little flowered dress with ruffly bloomers, but honestly, some new parents would rather have one cloth diaper than either of those. Seriously. Money or gift cards are always appreciated, too. Though, again, don't feel obligated. (Well, maybe just a little obligated. A new baby is a pretty big deal!)
  9. Go for a walk with them. Now, this may not be for everyone. Some moms may give you a death glare or laugh hysterically at you if you suggest going for a walk. I would appreciate it. However, I am one of those weird people who get extremely crabby if I go too long without physical activity. And sometimes it might be nice to have someone else to push the stroller!
  10. Feed them. Are you noticing a trend here? Before you stop over for your pre-planned visit, call and ask if you can pick up anything from the grocery store. As a new parent, it's so easy to not realize that you have less than one sippy cup full of milk left in the whole house, and, in my house, that will not fly!
So there you have it. Moms and Dads, what other suggestions do you have?

Monday, September 1, 2014

end of "summer" wrap up in bullet points

Today's blessing:
Coffee with hazelnut flavored syrup. Had I remembered how delicious the stuff is, I would have dug it out long ago!

Oh my goodness...where has time gone? Please tell me I'm not the only one that feels this way! I can't believe it has been over three weeks since my last post. I can't believe we are done with internship year. I can't believe my baby is two and a half and will be a big sister any day now (sooner rather than later would be fine with me!). I can't believe how much life has changed in the past month, and how much it will continue to change in the next month.

Here are some "highlights": (not necessarily meaning the best parts of the month, but some of the biggest or most important.)

  • P officially hit the 2 1/2 year mark in August. She is remarkable in just about every way imaginable. Her only fault is that she still shows no interest in potty training, in spite of the fact that she is physically ready. She can go through the night or through naptime with a dry diaper, and she often tells us when she's going, but she does not want to sit on her potty chair. A little frustrating, but certainly not the worst thing she could do! (Or not do.)
  • My mom came for a few days before we moved and basically packed up our house. It was beyond frustrating for me to not be able to do as much as I wanted, but I tried to be good and rest! Moving at 8+ months pregnant is not fun!
  • I'm not much for baseball, but last month, we had the opportunity to go to a Twin's game with Husband's ministry team and sit in the Champion's Club. Friends, if you've ever wondered why the amazing expensive seats behind home plate never fill up until a couple innings in, let me tell you: The occupants of the seats are all busy stuffing their faces at the buffet. Seriously. I am not kidding when I tell you that I ate for three hours straight and was not hungry again until supper the next day. And I'm pregnant, so that's seriously messing up my every three hour eating schedule! Then, once we did make it out to the seats, they certainly didn't suck. The worst part about them was that the batter who was warming up blocked part of my view of the game. I think we lost, but I'm not sure. And honestly, I didn't really care.
  • Then we moved. I could do several entries about how amazing everyone was - helping up load the truck at the "old house", helping up unload the truck at the new apartment, hauling all of our belongings up to the fourth floor (technically the third, but sort of the sixth...it's a weird set up!), and taking such good care of us (particularly Preggers) during our first weeks here. I hope you're not offended when I just say that you were all AMAZING and without you, we would probably still have half of our belongings in the back of a moving truck God knows where. And when I say fourth floor, I mean no elevator.
  • Now we are more or less settled in. Of course there are still things that could be straightened and moved around and organized better, but I'm pretty sure that will be the constant state for the rest of our lives, so I'm not going to worry too much about it. We've been enjoying our time the last few weeks getting ready for Nugget (who is not due for another 10 days, but really could come any time now and it would be fine), exploring the neighborhood, and getting together with friends and family. It's hard to make plans too far in advance, because we're hoping that this week or next will be interrupted with a newborn, but we're trying!
One of our parishioners brought over the most amazing sweet corn from their garden, and P couldn't get enough of it!

"Excuse me, Mr. Mauer, but I can't see the game."

One last family picture in front of our "old house."

We moved back just in time to celebrate Auntie J's birthday. P got her a baby, because, well, who wouldn't want a baby for their birthday? She even offers to babysit when we go over there.

P wanted to help me crochet. Proud mama.

There's a great little playground less than a block from our apartment. P really seems to like it!

Swinging with Daddy!

And showing off her Gopher pride on the day Uncle A moved back to school a mere eight blocks from where we live. It sure will be nice to have two of my brothers so nearby!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

fmf: fill

Here are the rules:
1. Write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back to Kate Motaung's blog with the rest of the Five Minute Friday-ers.
3. Comment on the person who linked up before you.

Please join us!

Today's prompt: fill

GO

We’re moving. Again. This is #2 in two years, with one more a year from now.

I have something to confess: I’m a little bit OCD. (Not necessarily when it comes to the cleanliness of my house, sadly, but) I like things to be in order and efficient. I am that way when I load my dishwasher, when I put away laundry, and, apparently, when I pack boxes. Empty space drives me nuts.

And so, I try to fill in all the little gaps and holes. All of them. Anyone who has ever moved can probably understand what a challenge this poses. Simply filling them in with packing paper is not enough – that’s wasted space.

But really, there’s no way, short of purchasing massive quantities of washcloths and hand towels to use as stuffing, to fill all the holes. And who needs that many washcloths and hand towels, so would that really be more efficient in the long run?

And so today, as I face the beginning of a five day packing marathon (and I’m a runner, so I don’t use that term lightly), I tell myself that sometimes gaps are okay. In boxes, and in life. Gaps allow us room to shift, to settle, and (not so much with books and movies, but in life) to grow.

STOP


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

wonderful wednesday

This is one of those weeks that I am counting my blessings, and I am amazed at how numerous they are. I'd love to take a couple minutes to share just a few of them with you.

Last weekend, we made a quick trip to get the keys to our new apartment. I'll admit, I was less than thrilled when we first walked through the door. The trip up 3+ flights of stairs (it's a funky split level type set up, so we enter the building on first floor of building A and live on the third floor of building B, building B being about a half a story higher than building A) was not a fun start. As you can imagine, the place is pretty small. A two bedroom apartment in the city for under $1000 a month? You're not going to get much! But, after looking around, Husband helped me realize that there is a surprising amount of storage space. The kitchen is depressing, but there's a whole row of upper and lower cabinets along one wall of the "dining room," so I should only have to put about half of my kitchen products in storage! Husband was generous enough to give up his designated office for Nugget's nursery. This means that both kids will get their own rooms, which is very nice! Also a bonus, because I don't think we'd be able to fit the cradle, much less a crib in our bedroom with our bed! We have a massively huge closet in our bedroom, though, which will provide a ton of storage and house our dressers. And those 3+ flights of stairs? Bye bye baby weight!

Also, the neighborhood is very cool and the few people I've met so far seem wonderful. There's a family a few floors down with two and four year old girls, so P has some built in playmates already! Another bonus? Uncle A will be living approximately eight blocks away, and we're directly on his bus route from school. With Big Uncle E (big simply meaning older than "Little Uncle E") nearby and reasonable busing distance, I may actually get to see family members on a regular basis!

On Sunday, we had another great opportunity. Long story short, we got to cook dinner for all of the ELCA bishops in one of our preferred regions and their spouses. Not only was it great to be able to help out, but it was a great opportunity for Husband to meet some important people, one of whom could be his boss next year! Also, in spite of the fact that one of my bars of fancy white baking chocolate didn't make it into my grocery bag and I was forced to substitute substandard white chocolate chips in the white chocolate cream cheese filling for my chocolate cake, it turned out okay.

Monday was one of those crabby days. It was the first day of VBS, for which I had volunteered months ago, not really realizing for some reason that I was going to be almost eight months pregnant and two weeks out from a move. Not ideal timing! However, it actually wasn't that bad. I like the way it's set up, so I only have to lead a couple songs at the opening and one at closing, rather than having an entire 20 minute sectional with each age group, as I have done in the past. Plus, I'd rather spend the evening at VBS with Husband and P than at home with just P. It's crunch time, so I don't get to see him nearly enough as it is!

Tuesday morning, I fried my last egg for breakfast and (with a crabby face) added eggs to my grocery list. I hate paying for eggs at the grocery store because I've been so blessed past year! We have two sources for free, farm fresh eggs, so I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually had to buy eggs. The farm fresh ones are so much better than the store bought ones, anyways. No more than two hours later, a parishioner pulled into our driveway with a dozen eggs and a bag of sweet corn! Amazing, right? We had the corn with lunch today, and let me tell you, the stuff straight from the garden doesn't even compare with the grocery store stuff. Even prissy little P who hates getting her fingers dirty enjoyed an entire ear!

Now I'm off to do some baking, a little bit of packing/cleaning, and getting ready for tomorrow morning. After months of last minute cancellations and conflicting schedules, I am finally getting together with a friend for a granola/tortilla making date! (Nerds? Maybe. Well-fed nerds? Yes!) Tomorrow is also the last day of VBS, concluding with a pool party, on Friday we have nothing on the schedule (wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles!), and on Saturday my mom is coming to start a four day packing marathon.

Yes, life is good.

What's the best thing that's happened to you this week?

Friday, July 18, 2014

fmf: bloom{ability}

Here are the rules:
1. Write for five minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back to Lisa Jo Baker's blog with the rest of the Five Minute Friday-ers.
3. Comment on the person who linked up before you.

Please join us!

Today's prompt: bloom

GO

Those of you who knew me growing up know that to say I was a bookworm would be a bit of an understatement. One of my favorite authors when I was in middle school was Sharon Creech. I was introduced to her by my English and Lit teachers during our "literature circles" time, and I was hooked after the first book. I read everything I could find by her as quickly as I could. (Which, at that point in my life, was pretty quickly. I had the 16 digit number on my library card memorized in sixth grade.)

One of the first books of hers that I read was called "Bloomability." It's the story of a young girl who is given the opportunity to study for a year at an international school, staying with relatives. You learn about her adventures being away from her family, meeting people from all cultures, and learning how to break down language barriers.

One of her friends frequently forgot or mixed up some common English words, so he made up his own. One such word was "possibility." Rather than using the word, he came up with an arguably more appropriate word, "bloomability."

Planting some bloomabilities

I won't get into any analysis about why this is a great word mash up or what other words would have been more appropriate. I will simply let it sit with you.


What are the bloomabilities that God is showing you in your life today? New friends? New challenges to conquer? New seed to sow, literally or figuratively?

Another thing I love about Sharon Creech is how is has different stories about all different characters, but, if you pay attention, she ties them all together. My friends, I do not believe that six degrees of separation can possibly be correct anymore. Our lives are all so intertwined in a complicated and beautiful web that, even if I don't know you, I probably know you. (Not creepy - beautiful!)

We moved into our new home at the end of summer last year having no idea what any of the multitude of plants surrounding our house would become. There were plenty of weeds, sure, but there were also some beautiful surprises, including rhubarb, mulberries, blackberries, raspberries, and a wide array of beautiful blooms.

Expand your web today. Say hi to your barista or grocery store cashier or mail carrier or an old friend with whom you've lost touch over the years. Ask their favorite color or the best thing that's happened to them this week or what they're most looking forward to this weekend. Words are powerful, and you may never know the lasting impact of yours.

STOP

More than five minutes, but when you get on a roll, why fight it?

This round is closed, but if you're looking for the bloomability of expanding your network of supportive, Godly women, consider joining up with the next round of #fmfparysnailmail. These ladies make my day several times a day.

Five Minute Friday

Monday, July 14, 2014

diaper stripping 101

A few months ago, we started having issues with the kiddo leaking out of her diapers. Not fun. We hadn’t had any major problems with it before, so when she suddenly started leaking at least a couple times a week, we figured something was going on. We hadn’t started changing her less often, and she hadn’t dramatically increased her fluid intake, so our best guess was that it had something to do with her diapers. I decided it was about time to strip her diapers.

I read several articles online and consulted a number of friends who also used cloth, and here is the method I decided to try:

Step 1: Order more Charlie’s Soap. This is the detergent we originally used to wash her diapers, and it worked great. There’s nothing unnatural, artificial, or even remotely offensive about it, so I bit the bullet. It was terrifying to spend $120 on a tub of laundry soap, but I know I won’t have to buy it again for a long time. The big tub says you’ll get 1250 loads, but I know I will get more, since I don’t use the full amount for a load of diapers.

Step 2: Start with clean diapers. I washed them using the homemade detergent I had on hand, since my Charlie’s Soap hadn’t come yet. I usually send my diapers through a soak cycle, then heavy wash with hot water and detergent, then rinse again in cold. This time, I stopped after the wash. At this point, I also pulled out all of the covers, since they didn’t need to be stripped, just leaving the inserts.

Step 3: Grab your Dawn blue dish soap. I don’t know if it actually has to be Dawn and has to be blue, but that’s what I read, and that’s what I had on hand anyway, so it worked out well. Mine was the advanced power scrubbing stuff. Squirt some Dawn into your washer, onto the diapers. I did two really quick circles.

Step 4: Rinse.

Step 5: Rinse.

Step 6: Rinse.

Step 7: Rinse.

Step 8: Rinse.

Step 9: Rinse.

I think I rinsed about six or seven times. I rinsed them until I saw no more bubbles at all at any point in the cycle, then I rinsed them two more times. I think the advanced power might make more bubbles than the regular dish soap, so if you have the regular stuff, you might not need to rinse as many times!

Step 10: Since it was April (and still most definitely winter in Minnesota) I sent the inserts through the dryer. Now that it’s warmer, I dry them on the line.

Since doing this, I haven’t had any more issues. I’ve been using Charlie’s Soap on all of our laundry, and it’s been great. She still leaks out occasionally, but only when I let her go too long. She’s usually so good about telling me when she needs her diaper changed that I forget about it sometimes! (Yet she shows no interest in potty training. Little stinker.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

our little girl: 29 months

I'm a few days late, but better late than never, right?

I can't believe another month is gone already. And next month, my baby will be two and a half. And the month after that, she may not be the baby anymore. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

One of the highlights of the past month included a visit to see her great grandparents. If it's possible, I think P enjoyed their company almost as much as they enjoyed having her! We got to see some other aunts and cousins, too, and we even managed not to drive off the road in the downpour on the way home. Success!

P has turned into a bit of a picky eater. We have trouble breaking her out of the pb&j/grilled cheese/macaroni rut. Luckily, her favorite "sides" (which she sometimes turns into meals) include broccoli, peas, and just about any kind of fruit. This evening, there was a tootsie roll and an apple in front of her. She asked me to slice the apple and get her some peanut butter. How can a mom say no to that?

She loves telling people how old she is. Lately she's even expanded to: "I'm two, and on my next birthday, I'll be three!" Then you ask her when her birthday is, and she usually remembers. Awesome!

She is so excited to be a big sister. She calls her baby brother "Nugget," which is what Mom and Dad call him right now, too.

Enjoying the sunshine with Great-Grandma

She was so intrigued by the owl...it didn't do much to keep birds away, but P sure liked it!

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a toddler and a baby to pose for a picture? P and cousin E

Apparently it's difficult to get a good one of the toddler and a kid, too! Hanging out with another cousin E

I went to run some errands, leaving P with Great-Grandpa. This is what I found when I got back.

Throwing toys all over the floor must be exhausting!

P loves working out with mommy

And stealing mommy's feather duster. I hope her fascination with cleaning supplies continues as she gets older...

I think McDonald's should pay me to use this picture as an ad. Does it get any cuter?

Fun with Grandpa and Uncle A!

We went strawberry picking. She was a bit tentative at first, but once she figured out that she could eat the strawberries, she settled right in.

 Big smiles and a red stained face!