Sunday, May 31, 2009

kinda famous!

Hey Hey!

Go check out The Cloth Diaper Whisperer today (Sunday) - I wrote them a guest post awhile back, and it's up (along with some cutie pictures of my little lady).


Saturday, May 30, 2009

weekend shopping!

I think I might become a true garage sale convert... I haven't gotten to the point of scouring the papers yet (give me time, the Nut keeps me pretty busy these days)...

But check out what I just scored about 5 houses down (all for Hazel, mostly for the upcoming fall/winter or next spring)...

- a fleece jacket/pants outfit
- sweatshirt
- fleece vest
- overalls & onesie outfit
- overalls & long sleeve Tshirt outfit
- denim capris
- denim jumper
- long sleeve one-piece playsuit
- one-piece shortie playsuit
- tank top & pants outfit
- tutu
- cookie monster stuffed doll
- cutest Christmas dress/jacket outfit (red velvet)

All for $5.15.

Yep. Breaking the bank today, folks.

And earlier this week I dropped seven whole dollars at GoodWill - and got 3 shirts, 2 sweatsuit outfits, a pair of jeans and an outfit for the new baby.

It's true, I can't resist a sale or a great deal... but at this rate, it'll be pretty hard for me to do TOO much damage.

Love it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

my funny (almost) valentine girl

There are so many hilarious little things Hazel does every day... and so, like any good, proud mama, I feel compelled to share them with you all. Enjoy!

  • She shouts "MEN!" when we're done praying at meals or bedtime (or whenever she feels like we *should* be done praying)
  • She loves blueberry muffins, knows where I keep them on the counter and points to them and says, "mmyumyumyum."
  • The word "no" is not in her vocabulary yet... she does, however, give you a fabulous glare and grunt loudly if she's unhappy with something.
  • Yesterday she helped me DEVOUR my grapefruit - no sugar, nothing added... just straight up grapefruit. She didn't even make the sour, puckery face when she tried it the first time.
  • She *loves* balls of all kinds. "Ball! Ball! Ball!" is often heard around the house or when we take walks around the neighborhood. She went to a high school soccer game with Mark last night and was enthralled with the "Ball!" (though slightly frustrated that she couldn't have it...)
  • "Go" is another favorite word - she'll gather her shoes and your shoes when she wants to "go" and then head over to the front door and bang on it. She doesn't usually want to "go" in the car - "go" is reserved more for generally being outside or hopping in her stroller for a walk.
  • She nods at almost everything you ask, initially seeming quite agreeable... until the grunt and glare come out to let you know how she really feels.
  • She signs (her own versions of) please, more, all done, help and again. (She actually made up her own sign for again... the others I taught her).
  • She has four teeth in front on the top, three on the bottom, and one molar on the top left. A little lopsided, methinks.
  • She knows the sounds made by cows, dogs, kittens, rabbits (don't ask) and lions.
  • She knows where Mama's Baby is (and will pat/thump my belly vigorously when asked)... and she then points to her own belly and says "Beebee." It freaks Mark out, but I think it's cute.
  • She can locate her (and your) eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, hair, head, ears, chin, cheeks, toes, fingers, feet... and probably a few more I can't remember right now.
  • She likes to help pick out her clothes in the morning, which really translates to her pulling everything out of her drawers while I pick the clothes. But it's fun to have the help.
  • She likes dancing to Miley Cyrus's Hoedown Throwdown (really, she'll dance to anything with a good beat)... Mark and I crank up the stereo and embarrass ourselves all around the living room with her in our arms, dancing to songs the 8 year old girls across the street dance to. But you should see Hazel's face... :) (just so you know, Mark is the one who introduced that song to our household... it's on his iPod...)
There's more - but y'all might actually have something to do today OTHER than read about my fabulous kid. Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

my new favorites...

Anyone who has seen our garage in the past two years can testify that it was a veritable treasure trove and wasteland - all rolled into one.

It was packed with semi-random things anyway... and then we decided to finish the basement, which meant that EVERYTHING in our rather full basement was relocated to the garage... in not-so-neat stacks and piles.

That was Summer of 2007.

I am proud to announce that my husband worked CRAZY hard yesterday, and it is now a thing of beauty... there are still a few items that we need to give away/get rid of - but BOTH cars are able to park INSIDE the garage at the moment.

Folks, you have no idea how huge that is.

That is ONE of my new favorite things.

The other is a result of the organized garage - the 2 cardboard boxes full of textbooks from graduate school were located, and I spent an hour or so last night listing them all on, hoping to get a couple bucks out of the process.

In the past 18 or so hours, I've sold 5 of them (!!) for a total of somewhere around $70. Given that they were sitting around gathering dust, I'd call that a terrific little profit.

I've never sold books on Amazon before, but I'm quickly becoming a convert - especially when you don't particularly care about the $$ at all - you just want to get rid of a book that was taking up space, and ANY money you get is more than you had. certainly isn't a NEW favorite of mine... but selling things is!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

a first time for everything

Yesterday was our first 80+ degree day... we grilled brats, ate watermelon, took a walk, and generally enjoy the summeryness of it all.

This morning on my walk with Hazel, I got my first flip-flop blister of the summer... right in between my big toe and my not-bigger-but-longer toe. Darn you $2.50 shoes from Old Navy. (Just kidding - I love my cheapo flip flops... but they're probably not the best walking shoe...)

Also yesterday... I went in to get Hazel from her morning nap and was greeted by a very cute baby, sitting bare-bummed in her crib, holding her diaper up to me. (Yup, it was a velcro one - I love velcro diapers for the convenience and speed - but snap diapers last longer and are MUCH harder for a baby to remove... going to be trying to switch over to snaps eventually...) It was just a wet diaper, praise the Lord - but she's getting awfully sneaky and coordinated!

Another first... Hazel's first (and I'd love it to be the only, but that's probably not likely) tumble down the stairs. Our house is split level (praise the Lord AGAIN) so there's only ever 7 stairs at a time... but she stilled rolled down them all and landed with a clunk at the bottom. She was all of 12 inches ahead of me in the process, and I just couldn't grab her. (Pregnant mama tumbling down the stairs after/on top of toddler is probably not a good thing either). She's fine, a very small red bump on her forehead and some tears - but Mama's life is now at least a year shorter.

Yup, we're just racking up the firsts around here these days... and quite honestly, I'd be ok to slow down for a bit!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

quickie update

I'm officially a third-trimester gal now... almost 28 weeks down. BabyMon likes to kick and wiggle a lot, and I'm often entertained by simply watching the antics in my belly. (Last night, after drinking a LITER of water in an hour or so, I was not as entertained by BabyMon's ninja kicks to my bladder). I think I've gained about 19 pounds so far (WAY less than I had gained at this point with Hazel) and pretty much look like I've shoved a basketball under my shirt.

We had an appointment last week at U of M to check on the kidney situation... and we didn't actually get the news we were hoping for (which was that everything had healed itself up and was growing normally now... there was a chance of that happening, so I was a wee bit bummed).

Turns out, BabyMon's right kidney has a little more fluid backed up (which makes sense, as 7 weeks had passed since the last time we took a look) and that the kidney was starting to show signs of being damaged (this was the really bummer news - last time the kidney appeared fine, just backed up). Good news is that left kidney appears to be PERFECT, and my amniotic fluid level is PERFECT - which basically means that BabyMon has normal kidney FUNCTION - just not normal kidneys.

We won't know until BabyMon is born how extensive the damage to the right kidney is, and what it will take to fix it. We're praying hard for minimal damage, and a quick fix with antibiotics and a procedure to open up the blockage. If the kidney is too damaged to salvage function, it's likely that it will have to be removed... a process I just don't really want to contemplate at all in terms of my tiny bebe.

If I didn't know there was trouble with BabyMon's kidneys, I would think that I was growing a completely healthy, very active wee one in my belly... and most days, I just enjoy that feeling, and know that feeling so very normal is a very good sign. God is good, all the time, and His plan will work itself out.

In the meantime, I continue to lift up this little one's health and growth, and pray that we will be blessed with many, many years of knowing our precious second child.

Monday, May 18, 2009

my new lists

I am a list lover. Have been for a lo-o-o-n-g time. Let me tell you why:
  1. You can cross things off and get a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
  2. You can color code them (and I do love making things pretty).
  3. It helps me keep track of what I need to do.
  4. I'm a visual person and a word person - so writing things down and looking at them really helps me.
Anyway - since I became a Mama, lists have taken on new meaning -
  • more important than ever (because pregnancy brain/mama-to-a-baby-or-toddler brain/brain hampered by BOTH conditions... that brain is prone to forgetting and being otherwise very FULL).
  • more frustrating than ever - lists never quite seem to end these days, and I'm unable to cross things off in the timely, efficient manner I had grown accustomed to in my pre-Mama days
So I have developed a way to save myself from the overwhelmitude (not a word, but it conveys the meaning appropriately, I think) of the To-Do-List. In addition (because let's face it, I could never really get by without the all-powerful TDL) I now like to make a Have-Done-List. Not every day - that would be far too cumbersome, and would ADD things to my TDL, which is NOT the point. But when I'm feeling a little beat up, a little discouraged, a little behind my game - it helps me to sit down and make my HDL.

Here is today's HDL (as of 10:28am):
  • up at 5:40am
  • showered
  • had a good 1/2 hour devotional time before the Nut woke up
  • changed a diaper, got Hazel dressed for the day
  • made breakfast for us both
  • Ate breakfast/fed Hazel
  • grocery shopping
  • took a walk & played outside
  • had a morning snack
  • changed another diaper
  • talked to Kim on the phone
  • put HazelNut down for her morning nap
  • started a load of diaper laundry
  • emptied the dishwasher and hand-washed the dishes in the sink
  • got out stuff for lunch
  • answered a few emails, did some Facebook-ing, "window shopped" online a little
  • am now writing this blog
See how wonderfully productive that could make an exhausted Mama feel? Even if "changed diaper" is on your list 17 times a day (which may well be the case for me in a few months...) you still DID it.

My HDLs save my sanity a wee bit on the long days (days like today when Mark is out of town and I don't get a reprieve at 5:00 like I'm so used to...) I can look down at my list and KNOW that I did things today -things that may not matter much in the grand scheme of the universe - but things that matter VERY much to my daughter, to my household, and to my Jesus. To take seriously the role He has called me to - as a Mama and a maker of our family's home... every once in awhile I just need the reminder that my days are full of things... perhaps small things, but valuable nonetheless.

Monday, May 11, 2009

gotta have a motto

Today, the motto was Colossians 3:23.

And let me tell you something, ma'am... it WORKED. Always such a shocker when we start our days off focused on God and it pays off, huh?

I decided during my God-Time this morning that I was going to treat all of my tasks today as if they were being done directly for the Lord (and they are - it just doesn't SEEM that way to me all the time).

Laundry for the Lord.

Dishes for the Lord.

Dirty Diapers for the Lord.

As glamorous as it sounds - it really helped my attitude and my day - Hazel and I had fun together, I got TONS done around the house (baked muffins, cleaned out my closet, listed some things on EBay for the first time, folded laundry, did dishes, made dinner...) and was able to have a fun lunch out with friends AND make a trip to the grocery store. And the Nut even got 2 good naps in. Looking at the list, I'm not sure how it all got done in the space of one day...

But reminding myself that I am working for Jesus was the perfect heads-up for me today.

Oh - and to answer a couple of questions from my post a few days ago:

I am reading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. LOVE IT.
Slow-cooker granola is MY KIND of granola - I will post the recipe once I have tweaked it to my liking... it's still in the works.
No, please don't say "BabyMon" with a Jamaican accent... at least not to me. :) Like I said, unless it's said with an overdone French accent, it's just plain silly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a note from mama on mother's day

To my little Hazelnut:

I still don't remember that Mother's Day applies to me. It takes me by sweet surprise when I receive a card, or flowers, or a "Happy Mother's Day!" from a friend.

"Oh yes, I am a mother!!"

But really, it's only something that I "forget" in the way that I "forget" my hair is brown, or that I have really weirdly long arms, or that I am a woman. It's something that is so intrinsic that I don't separate it out from me.

On February 15, 2008 - my soul changed. My identity was irrevocably altered when I first beheld your little red face, first heard a beautiful cry fill the room, first felt your warm, wet little body on mine.

"Mama" is written on my heart, forever. Whatever the Lord has in store for me or for you or for any of the other children your Daddy and I hope & pray to be blessed with - "Mama" is ingrained in me eternally.

What a true and unquestionable blessing... to become a woman who is also a Mama.

And so, sweet one, I thank you on this Mother's Day - for the gift and privilege of being your Mama.

Friday, May 08, 2009

in which I attempt to find glimmers of my "former" self

The title really should read "So I started making a concentrated effort to get back into some of my hobbies in my free time..." It just sounds more dramatic to say it that way. So I did.

At any rate - here's a few of the things I did this week:

Made granola in my crockpot (it smells fabulous and tastes great too - way WAY cheaper than buying granola at the store!)

We all went to the park for a picnic dinner and playtime in the sand - fabulous fun!

Made Hazel a skirt from a sheet that used to belong to her Aunt.

Made Hazel a fleece diaper cover (worked out great, definitely going to make more of these - for Hazel and for BabyMon**)

Been reading a great book about God's design for motherhood - really loving it and feeling affirmed and convicted about my role and my decisions as a Mama.

It was a fun week - very good to get back to some things that I've been missing!!

**BabyMon is the official silly name for the littlest B - it's my family's way of making things sound French (like absolutMON means absolutely). It's a joke (that is funny to us) where we add "mon" to the ends of words when it doesn't make any sense. So when you read "BabyMon" on my blog, be sure to read it with a French accent in your mind. Otherwise it's just plain goofy.

Happy Mama's Day

Thanks for all the tips and ideas from my slightly frazzled, toddler-training-plea post the other day. We're taking baby steps, and I'm really trying to pray and think over what I'd like to try for my family. It's much trickier than I thought, and I'm honestly a wee bit intimidated by the whole discipline process. But by the grace of God - we'll slowly figure out what we're doing (and then everything will change AGAIN...) :)

ANYWAY - Our little family is traveling this weekend - going to have a Mother's Day/my mom's birthday weekend in Illinois.

I just wanted to wish all the Mamas and Mamas-to-Be out there a lovely Mother's Day. Serving God by serving our kids is just about the coolest job ever - and no one could do exactly what you can do for your family. It's precious. Enjoy your day and know you are LOVED!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

all we need is a really old map

What do you call the person who doesn't HUNT for treasure - but hides it from everyone else?

Hazel likes putting things into other things. Sometimes this involves putting things away - mostly not.

For example:

One of her cloth wipes (which she removed from the diaper bag and travel case) is inside her coffee pot, inside her sink in her play kitchen.

An orange ball in Mama's shoe.

And (in case my photographic skills don't allow you to determine this): My cell phone, my car keys and a clothespin, all inside a box of crackers. Seconds later, she also put the remote control in there - but alas, the box could not handle such treasure and tipped over.

I imagine there are many conversations in my future that start with, "Hazel, have you seen Mama's fill-in-the-blank?"

Monday, May 04, 2009

go from giggles to tears in 5.7 seconds (updated)

Okay - so here's another one of my occasional calls for help/input/information/encouragement:

I have a lovely, charming, curious and energetic almost-15-month-old daughter. She is very smart and aware, and although she only says a few actual words right now - she understands MANY MANY more than that.

A few weeks ago, she started pitching an enormous fit every time a diaper change came around. Back arched, screaming, kicking her legs... the initial few seconds is always rather loud (now that it's summer, I'm sure the neighbors can hear her....) and she calms down a bit - but often cries, fusses or strains against me/her dad throughout the process.

She's also fully mobile now - walking quickly and steadily where she needs/wants to go... and with that has come a whole new level of mama-attachment. I know this is age appropriate and not a bad thing... but the bad part comes when any movement I make away from her (to set her down, walk to the kitchen, etc...) is met with a bright red face, crocodile tears and more piercing screams.

Her schedule is early (bed at 7:00) and she usually eats dinner around 5:00 - and we often don't get to eat until she is almost or completely finished (because Mark's not home, or dinner's not ready, or we're just plain not hungry that early). She wants to get out of her high chair, but then won't leave us alone - crying, whining, arms up to be held, and she won't sit still on our laps while we eat either. I've started telling her calmly to find books, toys and other things, and that Mama and Daddy are eating dinner and aren't ready to play. It's not really helping yet, but it's something.

She also has a tendency to get aggressive when she gets mad - she'll scratch, pinch or flail (often hitting people and/or things).

Oh, and there's also a new, lovely whiny noise that she makes whenever frustrated or tired/crabby. (and whiny noises are high on Mama's list of pet peeves...)

So here's the pitch:

I'm not sure how to teach her what is acceptable and what is not, at this particular age. I know that I cannot avoid all fits/tantrums/whining... she's obviously learning and figuring out how she can express herself, and that's normal. However - I want her to know that whining is not an OK way to communicate with me or with her Daddy. I want to be able to eat dinner without being serenaded by her crying and whining. I want to change her diaper without getting a headache, and I want to teach her that she cannot hit or pinch or whack things/people when she is mad.

Soooo... do any of you experienced mamas out there have any good tips for training a very young, very smart, very stubborn, very emotional little one? (I'm not sure how I feel about physical consequences (a swat on the diaper, for example), and from my limited experience, ignoring her completely does not work either... but I'm open to considering any suggestions).

Most of the day - she's funny and full of life and is an absolute joy to hang out with. But these moments are enough to make my head spin a bit... and with another little one on its way (only three more months - ack!!) - I need to make some progress here. Or at least have a plan.


I'm enjoying the comments so far - I just wanted to be sure that it was clear we are not doing nothing at this point - we're doing the very calm "Hazel, stop screaming" and other directions, holding her hands still for a moment if she has tried/is trying to hit or pinch something/someone, and I often am calmly explaining that Mama is busy and will hold her soon. Redirection also works sometimes (she loves to go get a book to read).
Here's the thing - I don't want the behavior to just stop... I want her to learn why it has to stop, so she'll stop it herself. I haven't tried time-out with her yet (and I'll give it a whirl) - but my inclination is that it's not my favorite discipline tool - I'm not sure that isolation is a great consequence, and I fully believe that many kids out there are able to endure a time-out with no change in attitude and without having to really evaluate their behavior.
That being said, I haven't tried it yet, so I could be putting my foot into my mouth...
I'm having fun reading people's thoughts though - so keep 'em coming!

Friday, May 01, 2009

walkin in the rain

On our (almost) daily walk 'round the neighborhood, we came across a heckuva garage sale... and scored big...

I got (for Hazel):
three sunsuits
one dress
one jumper
overalls & matching top
jeans (with tags on)
leggings (with tags on)
cardigan sweater
a pair of cute, sturdy, purple sneakers
... all for $13.75

And I scored a crib, mattress, changing table, changing pad and dresser set for $150... the crib will go to my parents' house (we already have a 2nd crib coming) and we'll keep the dresser/changing table for Baby's room. The uber friendly folks in my neighborhood even drove all the stuff over to our house (all of 15 seconds away) and unloaded it into my garage for me, since Mark won't be home until late tonight. An afternoon of good deals and meeting new friendly mamas is a good afternoon in my book.

Especially during a day when my daughter had multiple personality disorder and went from absolute adorable angel to inconsolable tantrum-throwing toddler maniac (and back), oh say - 12 or 87 times.

Now it's 7:22 pm, my daughter is asleep, my hubby won't be home for hours, and I'm pooped. Time to relax on the couch