Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Halloween costumes will be done on time (I think). The skunk costume is mostly done; the hood with the ears is all that remains. We tried the body part on her last night and it's so cute! She's going to be fabulous. I also cut out Avery's indian chief costume and worked on some of the embellishment. My mom will sew it together today and I'll probably finish it up tonight. As I said before, I will definitely post pictures of the kiddos all dressed up. (For those of you who don't know, Avery is our nephew. He's almost 6.)
I very much hope the van will be ready to pick up today. It's been in the shop awaiting a part for three days now. We've got to get it fixed before our trip next week. They said the part would be in first thing this morning, and then they'll finish it up, but that's what they said Thursday...
Enough blogging. Time to get busy and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Here are my 5 for this week:
1. Credit Cards - while they can add to your overall debt and have certainly gotten me in trouble a time or two, they're definitely useful in emergencies. We've had to do almost $1500 in repairs on the van this week, and we didn't have that kind of money just sitting around waiting to be used. If we didn't have credit available, we would've had to figure out how to do without a vehicle for awhile.
2. Zip-loc bags - I use Zip-loc bags for everything, especially the quart sized freezer bags. They're great for corralling some of the smaller diaper bag stuff, and they always hold our toiletries for travel (what can I say - I'm a classy girl). Of course they work well for leftovers and for freezing bulk items from the store.
3. Netflix - I love Netflix! For various reasons, we haven't been to the movies in close to two years. Netflix lets us see stuff we want to see, without having to make a 40-minute round-trip to town to go to Blockbuster. Lately we've been catching up on Lost. We've both really enjoyed the show, but have only caught a few episodes here and there since it plays during church. But with Netflix, we've caught up on Season 1 and are almost finished with Season 2. Season 3 comes out in December, so we'll catch up on that, too, before the new season starts in February.
4. Matilda - the outside cat that came with the house. As I was typing about #3, Netflix, heard a horrible commotion on the front porch. I opened the door to see Matilda puffed up to three times her normal size (she's not a big cat) cornering a big dog I had never seen before. She swatted him a couple of times on the nose and he yelped and went on his way. Sometimes I think our neighborhood has more wandering dogs than people, and it's great that Matilda keeps them at bay. I want all wandering dogs to stay away from our property - you never know when an unknown dog is going to cause a problem with a child.
5. Zip-up footie pajamas - it's that time of year! Wendy has started wearing the blanket sleepers to bed. They're fantastic, since she won't keep socks on and definitely won't lay still under a blanket. As the weather gets cooler we'll add a onesie underneath, then socks, then a lightweight sleeper under the blanket sleeper. Hopefully by next winter we'll have new windows and better insulation, so it won't be as big a problem.
What blessings have you become aware of this week?
I strongly recommend you read today's post at Rocks in my Dryer. I definitely needed it today!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Today is Works-For-Me Wednesday, and I've been struggling to come up with a tip. I decided to post a list of products that I use on a daily basis that really help me out:
1. Barkeeper's Friend - Fantastic for getting the grungies out of a yucky old cast-iron tub. This stuff starts cutting through the rust even before you scrub. Make sure you wear gloves, though - it's not good for sensitive or dry skin!
2. White Cloud diapers - I've tried every other diapering product on the planet, I think, and I've been happiest with White Cloud. And they're cheaper, too!
3. Oxi-Clean - I've posted about this before. Goes in every load of laundry, good for cleaning carpet stains and upholstery, too.
4. Thai Kitchen Pad Thai mix - great quick meal, much better than your average Hamburger Helper! And gluten-free, for anyone who has to avoid gluten. It's in the Asian section of the supermarket.
5. Bissel Healthy Home vacuum - I bought this vacuum when we got our new carpet a few months ago. It's fantastic! I love it! And I really love the power hand tool brushie thingie.
Hopefully next week I'll have a good idea for a full post, but this is what you get today! If you have a great household product recommendation, let me know!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Ten years ago, I was in London, with Harding University in England. I lived with my favorite roommate (or only roommate!) Yavonda, in a flat on Gower Street with a lovely view of the BT tower. We were studying British literature and some other stuff, but mainly having fun going on day trips and to museums and shows and shopping. I was missing James fiercely; we were dating seriously but not yet engaged, and we had been separated all summer, visited for a few days, then were separated again for 15 LONG weeks. I think I grew more as a person that semester than at any other time in my life.
Twenty years ago, I was living with my family in Belleville, IL. I was in fourth grade at Roosevelt Elementary School, and my teacher was Norma Drayer. I was bored with school but still a good student. I had a few friends, both at school and at church, and my interests primarily involved reading, avoiding my brother, and dressing up the cat.
Thirty years ago, I was developing rapidly in my mother's womb! I won't be thirty until June, so not much to remember from this time!
I'll tag Carrie Beasley, Tiffany, Amie, and Donna - have fun!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Took the van to the shop today to get to the bottom of the problems we encountered on our trip. $1011 and one day later, we're halfway fixed. Yikes. Maybe I should get a horse instead...but how do you attach a baby safety seat to a horse? Meanwhile, I'm racking my brains trying to figure out a way to earn an income from home, without neglecting my duties as a housewife and stay-at-home mom. I mean, I could always renew my vet license and look for a job in practice again, but then there's day care hassle & expense, and stress and anxiety about work, and commuting, and YUCK! Maybe I'll stuff envelopes at home for some cash.
On a more serious note...
James' boss, Carrol Winslow, lost his battle with spinal cord cancer last Monday. He had done very, very well, considering he was given a life expectancy of 6 weeks in August of 2006. He had a pretty rapid decline recently, then railied and had several very good days before he was called home last week. He was a very jolly, goodhearted man, and the best example of a Christian businessman that I've ever known. He is survived by his wife, Norma, and their sons. Please pray especially for Norma as she adjusts - she needs God's peace, and to be secure in the knowledge that she'll see Carrol again. Not only will she see him again, but he will be made whole again through God's power, able to walk, able to talk, and able to hold her and kiss her like I'm sure she has missed. We will all miss Carrol, and look forward to seeing him again.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
This is a list of a few things I’ve learned in my short time as a Mommy:
1. Poop can end up anywhere. ANYWHERE.
2. Related to no.1 – some diapers are better than others, but no diaper is perfect.
3. Sometimes it’s better to just throw the sippy cup (or bottle) away. Don’t open one that’s been in the car for a week.
4. Babies grow back their fingertips (after Mommy practically cuts them off with the first couple of nail trims).
5. When baby is tired, every little thing is a catastrophe of global proportions.
6. Little girls learn how to wrap men around their fingers at a very early age. Especially older men like grandpas and great-grandpas and strangers at the grocery store.
7. Oxi-clean is the closest thing to a perfect stain remover, but nothing will completely remove those dried-in formula stains.
8. Pink footie pajamas hanging on the clothesline make me smile.
9. We could have skipped the 3-6 month size of clothes completely with hardly any problem.
10. Sometimes a baby just needs her Mommy.
11. Every baby must have a certain number of goose-egg bruises on the forehead when learning to walk.
12. You can use a lot of effort and discipline in your finances, and lose your head when it comes to cute baby clothes. (Which your baby will outgrow immediately.)
13. Baby socks make good cat toys.
14. There’s nothing like a good Daddy to make a Mommy’s life better!
15. No matter how frustrating and exasperating a toddler is, a couple of nights with a 104 fever that doesn’t respond to Tylenol will change your mindset completely.
16. Packing the bag to go to the store with a newborn feels like mounting an expedition. And you will still forget something important.
17. Pediatricians have on-call nurses for a reason – you aren’t the only panicky parent in the world.
18. Even if you think you’ve baby-proofed your house, once your toddler starts to toddle, all bets are off.
19. A toddler set in the yard to play will immediately head toward the street.
20. Nothing beats a snack of juice and Goldfish.
21. Two crib sheets are good, but three is better. (I have two, and once had one in the washer and one in the dryer and none to put on the bed!)
22. Buy a spare Blankie.
23. Take the spare Blankie on trips, just in case.
24. There’s no such thing as a truly leak-free sippy cup.
25. At the end of a rough day, when baby toddles over to you and rests her head on your knee, everything is suddenly OK.
26. Baby, who turns up her little nose at decent, healthy foods, will happily eat leaves, mulch, bugs, and cat hair.
27. It’s better to use the tiny plastic earring backs for babies. They’re much harder to get on & off.
28. Footie sleepers are wonderful. Light ones for summer & air conditioning, heavy ones for spring & fall, light ones plus a heavy one for winter. That works for us, anyway, in our old drafty house.
29. A bare foot is a happy foot – ask any baby.
30. A happy toddler in a bathtub can splash water all over a large bathroom.
31. That same happy toddler does NOT want her face washed.
That’s all I can think of for the moment. I’m sure I’ll end up adding some!
My five for this week:
1. Disposable diapers and baby wipes. That's pretty simple, but can you imagine what it was like trying to travel with baby before these lifesavers? Dealing with the mess and the smell at home would be bad enough, but trying to keep up with it all while on vacation would be awful.
2. Rotisserie chickens at the grocery store. Love them. Every time I get one I'm pleased with how good it tastes and how far it can stretch. We make at least three meals out of one little chicken, so it's pretty inexpensive, too.
3. Readily-available severe storm information. We had a doozy of a thunderstorm the other night, and I was getting pretty concerned about whether or not we should head to our "Harry Potter" closet (you know - under the stairs). I was able to turn on the TV in the middle of the night and have weather people reassuring me that yes, it was a bad storm, but we'd be OK.
4. Gas fireplaces. Our house is very poorly insulated...as in, not at all insulated with leaky windows. Last fall and winter the gas fireplace was a fantastic way to take the chill out of the air, especially in the early morning. We've only fired it up once so far this fall, but I have a feeling we'll be using it this morning.
5. Cats. Even though they annoy me on an almost-daily basis, I love my kitties. There's just not much better snuggle-buddy for a nap or a read. They're up for a cuddle anytime, and they think napping is a great idea. This was a problem in vet school when I would be up at the wee hours studying and they'd curl up next to me, purring warmly...and then I'd wake up, not having finished my studying! I don't have very many exams nowadays, though, so it's fine!
Friday, October 19, 2007
After shopping, we loaded up the car, said goodbye to the extended family, checked out of the motel, and headed for Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It's an 8-mile long one-way trail up in the mountains north (?) of Gatlinburg. As we started on the trail, we saw a whole bunch of poeple out of their cars, cameras in hand, heading toward a particular hill. We though maybe there was a bear in the trees or something. We drove on, and about half a mile later, James said, "I think maybe I saw a mother and baby bear back there. Maybe." I was skeptical, thinking it was probably a rock or shadows or stumps or something. As I was still thinking this, a young black bear came loping down the hill, crossed the road right in front of us, and went into the woods on the other side. By the time I got the camera ready, he was too obscured to make a picture worthwhile. That's the closest I've ever seen a bear in the wild! He was the only wildlife we saw on the nature trail; below is some of the gorgeous scenery.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In Cherokee, we had our pictures taken at one of those old west photo places - you know, you dress up and they take a fake sepia picture in front of a fake saloon or fireplace. It turned out kinda cute, but I don't have it scanned in, so you'll just have to imagine it! From Cherokee, we made our way through the mountains to Gatlinburg. Right on the line between NC and TN is Newfoundland Gap, a very pretty vehicle pull-off and photo opportunity.
When we ended up in Gatlinburg, there was lots of stuff to do and places to see - I'll blog about that tomorrow!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This week's tip comes after our weekend of travel, and it's very simple. We had to drive a lot over our little vacation, and that's not easy with a very active toddler. I'd get her all set with Binky, sippy cup, blankie and toys, and she'd proceed to toss things out of reach, one by one, and then fuss about it.
Enter the links. You know, the links. The baby links that are floating around at the bottom of every toy box and diaper bag in America. I collected about 20 links and made a chain, then attached stuff to it. One end hooked on the headrest of the front passenger seat, and the other end, the business end, was plenty long enough to sit in Wendy's lap. She was able to play with her toys or toss them aside, but I could still reach them to give them back to her when the time was right. I wish I had thought of this on our previous car trips!
That works for me - what works for you?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
1. Who is my man? James
2. How long have we been together? We've been married for nine years.
3. How long did we date? We dated for almost a year and were engaged for 8 months.
4. How old is he? 32
5. Who eats more? He certainly can, but in the course of a day I do.
6. Who said "I love you" first? I don't remember, and neither does he - I asked.
7. Who is taller? Definitely him
8. Who sings better? Me
9. Who is smarter? We're both pretty smart. :-)
10. Who has more of a temper? Mine's quicker, but his is stronger.
11. Who does the laundry? I do - when I do it.
12. Who takes out the trash? Me to the can, him to the curb.
13. Who has sharper computer skills? Definitely him.
14. Who sleeps on the right side? He does.
15. Who pays bills? He does.
16. Who mows the lawn? He does.
17. Who cooks? I do.
18. Who drives when we are together? Depends. In town, 50-50. On trips, all him.
19. Who pays when we are out together? He does.
20. Who is more stubborn? He is.
21. Who is first to admit it when they are wrong? I am.
22. Who asked out who? He did. Funny story...
23. Who kissed who first? He did...finally!
24. Who is more sensitive? I am.
25. Who has more friends? I do.
26. Who has more siblings? He does.
27. Who wears the pants? Definitely him. But I wear capris. :-)
Now I'm going to tag Sandi, Tiffany, and Tawn!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Here are my blessings for this week:
1. A handy husband. The new minivan has been giving us trouble as we travel, and James has been able to diagnose a broken serpentine belt on the roadside, and then replace it and the tensioner in the parking lot of the parts store we found. Engineers are handy to have around. :-)
2. Sippy cups with straws. Wendy is past the bottle stage and definitely not ready for a regular cup. She's got several styles of sippy cups, but the best by far are the ones with straws. She doesn't have to tip her head back to drink, so she can drink her milk while walking, a big plus for a girl who is always on the move!
3. Digital cameras. In our traveling thus far, we've taken lots of pictures. It's great to be able to see what your picture looks like right away, to know whether you need to change something and retake it. I'll try to post some of our vacation pictures after we get home.
4. Foofy pink baby dresses. This morning, my in-laws renewed their vows; it was their 35th anniversary. Wendy was their flower girl this morning, and wore a super-foofy pink dress. She looked so pretty!! I'll definitely post some pictures of the prettiest flower girl ever. :-)
5. Spandex. Seriously. Being in the car basically all day for two days makes me very thankful for comfy clothes. Spandex is in everything; jeans, slacks, even tops. It's fantastic. I know I loved it in maternity clothes, and I love it in my everyday clothes too, especially when travelling.
I hope you all have a great weekend!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Hello again, and happy Wednesday! My works-for-me Wednesday posts always make me a little self-conscious. I think anyone reading my post is probably thinking, "Duh. I learned that as a kid." But what I post is what I think is helpful, so be kind! :-)
My tip for the day actually comes from my mother, and it's something I have yet to do for myself. We lived in Athens, Greece when I was a kid, and we didn't have a clothes dryer (and yet we had marble floors...). Having to hang out ALL laundry for a family of four was quite a challenge, especially when having to hang it off the balcony, and one of the most annoying things was corralling the clothespins.
My mom, creative thing that she is, took one of my old dresses, probably about a 4T, and turned it into a clothespin hanger. It was a short-sleeved dress with buttons on the back. She hung the dress on a regular clothes hanger and tacked it in place. She sewed the sleeves shut and cut off part of the bottom and sewed it shut. Then, voila, it was filled with clothespins which could be easily accessed through the buttons on the back.
I think the great things about this clothespin hanger were that it was cute, it was very cheap, it could hang anywhere, and it could hold a lot of clothespins. I'm planning to make one for myself soon!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
We're planning to go out of town this weekend to join James' family as they celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows. The trip will take us to SC, NC, and to Gatlinburg, TN before we find our way back home. It should be a good time, though I imagine we'll all be quite tired by the end of it! Hopefully Wendy will not get sick while we're gone; it seems like lately it's about every couple of weeks that we're dealing with one virus or another - I guess that's toddlerhood for you.
My menu planning is quite abbreviated this week. We'll be going to Mom and Dad's twice, since they'll miss the Pumpkin while we're gone and need to store up the "sweetness." Then we'll be out of town and I'll be out of the kitchen! So here it is:
Monday: Dinner with Mom and Dad
Tuesday: Crockery Cooker Hearty Beef Stew, sesame semolina bread
(recipe from Better Homes & Gardens)
Wednesday: Chicken stir-fry, rice
Thursday: Dinner with Mom and Dad
Friday-Monday: out of town!
I've been putting off talking to the neighbor about the problem, because a.) she's very nice and b.) I'm shy. But I know in my heart that I'm just going to have to buck up and deal with it. What should I say? How should I approach it? Any suggestions?
Friday, October 5, 2007
Here's my 5 for this week:
1. Yard Sales. I think I may have included this in an earlier list, but I'm once again thankful. I noticed this morning that there was a big yard sale a few houses down from us, so after breakfast Wendy and I went to check it out. We spent a whole $1.75. Not bad for a Levi's denim jacket for girlie, a Cabbage Patch kid, and a stuffed vampire thing that Wendy loved.
2. Digital cameras. I've been taking lots of pictures lately, as you can see from my blog and facebook pages, and I just love the ease of using it. I had kinda gotten out of the habit of taking pictures before we got the digital camera a couple of years ago, but now I love it. I think the best thing is that you know what your picture looks like right away. You can hit "delete" and try again if it didn't turn out right.
3. Our new-to-us minivan. I still love it. With all the landscaping work I've been doing, and my mom has been doing, it's been filled to the brim a couple of times this week. That wouldn't have worked with the little Mercury...
4. Fall. Even though it's not really much cooler (it's supposed to be near 90 for the next few days) it looks and smells like fall. And we are getting a bit more rain now than we did this summer, so the grass is greener and the plants are happier. Now I'm looking forward to sweater-weather instead of sweating-weather!
5. High-speed internet. Since I got my laptop and James fixed up our wireless connection, I've been able to get in touch with a lot of friends I had lost contact with. I've felt pretty lonely since we moved here; moving right before having a baby and becoming a stay-at-home mom isn't great for making new friends, especially for a shy person. Family is fantastic, and I love being near them, but I miss friendships with people my own age. Anyway, I'm very thankful for the internet connection that lets me keep up with my many out-of-town friends.
I hope anyone reading this has a good weekend - we're planning to! :-)
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Today is a Backwards Works-For-Me Wednesday. That means that I get to ask for tips about something, and hope that someone will give me a great answer.
I love to hang laundry out to dry. I like saving the energy, the fresh smell of the clothes, and looking at them out on the line. But I don't like the crunchies - you know, when stuff dries all stiff. I've tried fabric softeners, with minimal success.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Before the "festivities" really began, Wendy got to spend some quality time with Grandpa. He doesn't get to see her as much now that he's finally working, so he definitely takes advantage of the time he has. They were sitting together in the rocker playing with the Glowworm and reading books and generally cuddling - it was sweet. As you can see from the picture, Wendy loves her Grandpa!
This is a picture of Wendy's cake. It was a cherry-chip cake with cherry icing. In retrospect, I should have made a chocolate cake so that it would've showed up better in the messy pictures, but Wendy liked this one just fine!
Her first taste of icing...she wasn't really sure if it was going to be good, but then the sugar hit her system. :-)
As you can see, she liked her cake! The pink icing blends in, but if you look closely you can see that she's got it all over her face, on her shirt, and all over her hands. She's stickier than she looks! (Seeing her like this, her Aunt Lisa said, "She looks like Boo from Monsters, Inc.!")
After her post-cake bath, she sat with Grandma for awhile, with her Blankie and her Binky. She had to take a nap before opening presents - eating your first cake is exhausting!
All in all, I think her little birthday party was a big success. I think if you need a bath and a nap in the middle of the party, it's probably a good party. :-)