Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Know I've been MIA...

...sorry 'bout that.

Lots going on;

Ward Christmas party. Fun. Mostly. Emma was a sheep for the Primary songs. Very cute.

Emma has a UTI. Found out on Tue. right before I was going to finish my Christmas wrapping. Upside: she can now take a capsule.

On the 24th I found out the Baby Center Store is closing and scored a half-price Sunshine Kids Monterey booster for my friend's son (glad I acted fast, they sold out quickly.)

Christmas was fun. Stockings, lots of food, nap, more food... Good times. Pictures, maybe someday. ;) (They're on the camera, just don't know when I'll get them on the 'puter...)

Saturday, went to IKEA, then Carmax to put in an alert on our dream minivan (well mine), and Emma bumped her head, hard. Big goose egg, from the side of the car door she ran into. Had to stop at CVS for an instant cold pack (and another to go in the trunk) and got her calmed somewhat. Then the grocery store for brussels sprouts for the next night, then rented WALL-E (had promised Emma could watch it by that weekend even if it didn't come from Netflix, where we've been in the queue since before it came out. They still have a "very long wait" so we coughed up $6 (!) to rent it for 2 days from Blockbuster. Then returned it and promised she can watch it again when it comes in the mail.

Sunday, went to my aunt's for dinner for our family Christmas with them (my grandma and great aunt Reba were in town too) and Jeff's birthday. Dinner was yummy; prime rib, ham, biscuits, boiled peewee potatoes, broccoli, macaroni and cheese, salad, and the brussels sprouts which I totally made unhealthy. Kids had presents and some granddaughters visiting a neighbor came over and did some Irish step dancing for Ems and Bridey, who loved it. The night went downhill fast from there. Drama with my brother. Happy birthday Jeff. Won't be going anywhere where he is again for a while. *sigh*

Today, called my friend Rayann, whom I haven't spoken to lately with all the craziness in both our lives. Going to try to make it a habit to call once a week or so.

Not much else going on. Looking forward to Jeff having the day off for New Year's and the day after-- another 4 day weekend. But, no big plans. *sigh* I used to have such fun NYE but now even being up at midnight is not a big deal, I'm usually up at midnight tending to a cranky baby. Oh well.

Oh, did I mention my cousin Mark's wife Hope had their second baby a week or 2 ago? Silas James. Very cute, and a name to match. (I love the name Silas!) Healthy and happy, mama too. Big brother doing pretty well with it so far, apparently.

So, like I said, just frantic activity lately but doesn't seem to go anywhere, nothing gets done 'cause we're never home! But soon enough it will be tax season, not really looking forward to that. But I am looking forward to it being over so I guess you can't have one without the other, lol.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busy busy busy.

It's been a hectic week. Last Sunday Jeff and Emma went to church; I stayed home with Maggie and Bridget because we couldn't risk Bridget getting sick (she keeps catching stuff at church.) It worked, she stayed healthy enough that on Tuesday she finally had her broken tooth extracted (and a bunch of other work done.) She'll get her prosthetic put in on Jan. 9 (they took the mold Tue.)

Friday we were supposed to go to Jeff's work Christmas dinner, had my dad lined up to watch the older 2 and anything. We'd been told that we could bring Maggie-- but on Wed. they changed their minds and said no. Okay. Their loss-- I hear with all the people that weren't able to get sitters not there it was rather dull. WE on the other hand had fun; we went out to dinner at Outback instead. After dinner we browsed the Linens and Things going-out-of-business sale and picked up a heated matress pad for half off ($40 for a dual-control, king-size pad.) Oooh, that's gonna be nice with it so cold. Now, to get the apartment complex to fix Bridget's window, which the landscaping people broke last summer and they STILL haven't fixed...

We finally got all our stuff finished for the Hatrack gift exchange (we were running late this year.) Finally got it all together and boxed up and out on Saturday (only one day late...) Yesterday we took those to the P.O. and also got other stuff ready for Christmas (stocking stuffers at Big Lots, using up the $10 coupon we got the Sat. after Thanksgiving, thrift store for the rest. Emma and Bridget are each getting a nap pillow/blanket set; Maggie is getting some new bath towels since our old ones are rather trashed; each girl gets one new dress-- well, Emma and Bridget are getting jumpers with a blouse/shirt under it, and Maggie is getting a dress-- hers is Land's End, quite a find, Bridget's is pink, her favorite, and Emma's has Tinkerbell, she's on a Disney kick. They're all getting books from us and picked out some to give to each other.)

Today we all made it to church (though Maggie had to go home after Sacrament because she was exhausted and cranky but wouldn't nap with all the distractions.) When they got home somehow Emma's dress got ripped at the waist. It's a brand new dress. (It matches her sisters'.) I am Not Pleased. I will have to figure out how to fix it-- I think I'll have to gather it and then tuck it under and sew it under the seam. *sigh*

We were going to assemble the gingerbread house kit Jeff's mom sent but we all took a nap instead. We'll try to get the foundation together tomorrow so we can decorate when Jeff gets home.

I did get some presents wrapped up this weekend (most but not all.) Emma kept coming in and then saying, "I'll try not to look!" LOL! I had to chase her out by saying, "You don't want to spoil your surprise, do you?" She answered, "No, I will not spoil it!" And finally found something else to do.

We still have to get all the out-of-state presents boxed up and sent (I guess we'll visit the UPS store soon) and there's some more present-wrapping to do-- but first I have to find the other wrapping paper, none of what I have left is big enough! And some cookie baking, I am planning Forgotten Cookies sometime soon. I already made Gumdrop Cookies. Mmmm. I think I need to go eat another one now...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Winter Driving Safety

Carol, a Hatrack friend, wrote a great article on winter driving safety. I encourage you all to check it out.

She did it as part of a contest, and so would appreciate your comments, as that's how the contest is judged. But it's just darned good advice, and cleverly written. So whether you live where there is regular snow or, like me, have never driven in snow and hope not to, check it out, because the more you know, the more prepared you can be for any situation.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hey Mamas!

(Or soon to be mamas!) Enter to win an Ergo embroidered baby carrier! Very easy entry on this one. I like the black. :)

Monday, December 01, 2008

No, dear, I will NOT cook that for your dinner.

We went to the aquarium on Saturday and learned about all kinds of sea life and food chains and such. I guess some of it sunk in, because today the following conversation took place:

Me: "Bridey, what do you want to eat?"
Bridget: "Barcles."
Me: "What?"
Bridget: "Barcles."
Me: "Sparkles?"
Bridget: "No. Barcles."
Me: "Buckles?"
Bridget: "No! BARCLES!"
Jeff: "What does she want?"
Me: "I have no idea..."
Bridget (bouncing in frustration): "BARCLES! BARCLES!"
Me: "Barcles?"
Bridget: "Yes! Barcles!"
Me (after a long pause to think about it): "...Barnacles?"
Bridget: "Yes! Barcles!"
Me: "Barnacles. You want barnacles."
Bridget (waving her arms around): "Yes! I saarfiss, I eat barcles!" (Translation: "I [am a] starfish! I eat barnacles!")

Ay. You see, they had this "Exploration Center" with dress-up costumes, and she wore the starfish costume for quite a while Saturday and enjoyed it, while we talked about starfish...

We talked her into a quesadilla.

In other news, Maggie (suddenly, this evening) started babbling. She had not babbled at all (I wasn't worried about her verbal development at all; at 6 months she had 4 or 5 signs, so she was communicating, she responds to her name and imitates tone of voice.) Now she has started, though, she won't stop. "Uh ba ba ba ba ba ba!" I think she will soon be saying "na-na" (both other kids' first word), "Mama," "Abba," and possibly "Emma." (Who knows what she'll come up with for Bridget's name. "Buh-buh?")

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Big Lots Saturday Deals

Just got a couple of great bargains! We got a Graco Video Monitor (normally $199; got it for $50) and an Apex 65 car seat (normally $130-ish; got it for $65.) And got a $10 off coupon for being there early. :D The car seat is to replace the backup Bridget has grown out of; it will harness to 65 lbs. and has higher top slots. Nice. (Of course now that my kids all have backup seats that fit, I think Jeff thinks I should be getting rid of the backups that don't fit...)

The prices are all day though the coupon offer isn't. Of note the Apex, while a nice seat, is a bit wide (we have a Radian to go next to it so I think it will still work for 3 across in many situations but for most people, not so much) and needs a headrest or very tall seat back behind it since the top is not reinforced; it is outgrown when tips of the ears go over the top of the seat back or headrest, not just the seat. But on the other hand it does make a decent booster (it is a combination seat that harnesses and then is a booster.) Again, must have support behind it. But all around I am quite thrilled with it because for the price it's an excellent seat! I mean, when can you usually get a higher-weight harnessing seat for $65?

Now I have to go check out the date of manufacture and stuff. :D

Thursday, November 27, 2008

And right now I am thankful...

...to get out of my clothes and into my nightie and lay down!

We had a great dinner with my mom. The kids actually took to heart my talk in the car about being polite and did it! Even Bridget, who I thought was not listening because she didn't say "Okay" like Emma did, instead asking questions about things we were driving past. She must have been listening because she spent the entire dinner asking people how they were doing, did they like their dinner, and how was their day going? LOL!

We got to see my aunt and uncle, my sister Erin, she brought her friend and her friend's 11 year old son, and my grandma was also there. And of course my mom, since it was at her house. :) And the food was great of course! The girls ate very well, and Maggie had a jar of sweet potatoes and some finely-chopped turkey, as well as some Gerber apple wheel snacks. She was very tired and finally conked out, and I even got her to sleep for a while in the play pen.
I got some pics of the girls in their cute jumpers (they all wore jumpers with white long sleeved blouses this year, a very classic look and allowed them to "coordinate" without matching at all.) And Emma even got one of me! But I do not feel like pulling them off now-- so I will try to post them tomorrow or the next day. My aunt gave them markers (washable of course!) and note pads. They adored them. My sister gave us some Shel Silverstein cds the library was getting rid of. My aunt also gave us a pretty dress for Maggie; it's 24 mos. but I think it will fit in a month or 2 because she is so LONG!

For now I am grateful for a nice evening with my wonderful family, my kids and their wonderful behavior (they made me look good for once ;) ) and the blessings of the bounty of food we have, the shelter we enjoy, and the ability to buy clothes for my kids and even get them new ones for Thanksgiving. I just got a new picture of my sponsored child, with his cleft lip repaired, and it is kind of making me reflect on how much I take for granted in being able to provide for my children. And also, that I can now veg out instead of cleaning up since I didn't host Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a good one. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Portraits yesterday!

We (finally, now that Maggie is almost 7 months old) got some family portraits done yesterday. We got family portraits done, and I got some of the three girls together, and a few of just Emma and Bridey. (Maggie was not in the mood to cooperate with solo shots, but the photographer pulled some good ones of her from group shots!) It went better than it has before, but we got no really great grins from Bridey. But we got decent shots, so I was satisfied! I had planned to photograph them in their Christmas dresses, but some new dresses came that I got from that Gagas clearance... They were too cute to pass up for Christmas portraits, came with headbands (made doing hair easy) and also, it was easier for Jeff and I to coordinate with! We had a great coupon and got a portrait collage free. We did all our portrait buying for sending with Christmas gifts, etc. We ended up with a lot of portraits! But it was still a great deal because the coupon also gives 20% off. And, they sent me an identical offer that's good through April in the mail. So, we'll be taking them in at the end of December/beginning of January to get those portraits in the Christmas dresses. (Only we won't be in those pictures, and we'll just get 2 sheets of wallets of one pose-- which will be $30 but with the discount, $24, to make it no session fee (regular $15-ish), 2 sheets of wallet size pictures (that's 16 in total), and a portrait collage (regular price $30-ish) for $24. Not bad! Anyway, enough about the great discount and on to what you really want-- the pictures. :D Here you go!
















Now I can change my Blogger image! ;)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Household Tip of the Day

Do not put an unopened (still quality-sealed) plastic-lidded, plastic jar of mayonnaise in the refrigerator. It is shelf-stable until opened and does not require said refrigeration until after you break the seal, and putting it in the fridge before the seal is broken will only cause it to contract and seal even more tightly, making it impossible to open without super-human strength and necessitating running the lid under warm water to warm it up (not the happiest thing to have to do to a jar of mayo) before you can open it for your two year old who is screeching at the top of her lungs, "May-nays! Want may-nays bread kheese!" and getting underfoot as you try to open it to spread it on her bread and make her a cheese sandwich.

(Hear that, Jeff?)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well, looks like the deal's dead

Don't know if any of you managed to get it! It was sweet while it lasted though! (We're betting someone got fired over that. But they're legally required to honor that price so we'll see what happens!)

Britax Marathon for the price of a Cosco Scenera

If you need a new carseat this is the time!!!

In Granite, $42.99
In Cowmooflage, $59.99

Shipping is free. If you have AAA, go through their website. They have a 10% discount. Don't worry if you don't like the cover. Buy it anyway, covers are available for $70 new or considerably less on eBay or Craigslist. You're not going to get a better price even factoring in the price of a new cover!!! I got 3, one for my niece, two for me (everyone needs extra carseats, right?) I'm going to buy my niece a pink cover. Incredible, incredible deals.

Out of stock but still taking orders. Get them before they change the price!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Super Deal Alert!!!

Okay, you all know I'm huge on buying used, not consuming unnecessarily, thrift store shopping, etc.

You also know that that all goes out the window when I find a good deal on matching clothes for my girls. :D

(Okay, let's be honest, I'd buy used if I could and get matching. Sometimes I do, on eBay-- find a Gymboree line a few years old that I like and buy used in all their sizes, for example. But most of the time it's very hard to get what I want in all 3 girls' sizes unless it's new.)

So for those of you who may be interested in dress up clothes (for boys too, not just girls) at incredible prices, check this out: kids' clothing web-rental store Gaga's is going out of business and they have a ton of NEVER WORN dress-up clothes and accessories for boys and girls for sale. You get them to KEEP for less than what their rental price was in most cases, most of the stuff is now 90% off its original retail price. And shipping over $50 is free, no tax; I just got 6 dresses (2 sets of 3 matching/coordinating dresses) plus 3 headbands (to go with one of the sets of dresses) for less than $70 shipped. And these are FANCY dresses. Incredible deal! Go check it out! Be warned that stuff is selling out fast-- I was going to get one more headband, a different kind, for Maggie, and by the time I went to check out it was out of stock. But they still have a ton of beautiful dresses, babies to big girls (and most of them MODEST), as well as adorable suits, tuxes, shirts, etc. for boys! Great time to buy next year's Easter clothes if you're fairly certain of what will fit next Spring, or to buy Christmas clothes if you haven't yet!

(Okay, I know I used too many exclaimation points. But I am SO STOKED about these deals!)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Checkups

Emma had an audiology appointment this morning. All is well, her hearing is perfect. (Now, on to the speech eval...)

Maggie had a well-baby check, too, and shots. We saw a doc we haven't seen before at the clinic. Nice but said things in a weird way. Had to ask her what percentile Maggie was in because she was trying to tell me she's the "weight of a 7 month old" or some such nonsense. (She's six months, so quite obviously, she's the weight of a six month old. She happens to be in the 80th to 95th percentile for weight, that's all. Of course, since she's above the 97th for length, when you look at the weight-for-length chart, she's actually only in the 50th percentile for weight-for-length. She's not really that chubby, just BIG.)

While we were there, I weighed and measured Emma and Bridey too while Maggie was in getting her shots. Measurements are with shoes and clothes so not as accurate as could be but a good estimation.

Here's everyone's stats:

Emma: 41 inches tall, 36 lbs. (That makes her 75th to 90th percentile for height, a little under 50th for weight, according to the CDC. They have her BMI as being in the 25th to 50th percentile. Are they counting kids in third world countries? She's healthy but thin.)

Bridget: 37 inches tall, 34 lbs. (That puts her in the 97th percentile for height, around the 95th for weight, and the CDC claims she's obese based on her BMI. Um, no... She's not as skinny as Ems but not by any means obese. Talked to my mom; she says BMI is spectacularly inaccurate for a highly muscular child, which she definitely is. And both of them go up and down in weight depending on what time it is, when they last ate and how much, when they've had a bowel movement, etc. So I'm not really worried about that; in fact, to the contrary, I take it as a sign all that activity is building some good muscle. When she's charted on the 0-3 weight-for-length chart she's only in the 70th percentile or so, another good sign.)

Maggie: (get ready for this one!) just under 28 inches long, 18 lbs. 13 oz.! BIG girl! And about 14.5 inches of that is in her torso, she is ALL torso. She is already close to outgrowing the Scenera rear-facing by height, which Bridget did not do until, well, around the time she outgrew it by weight! She's almost to the fourth slots on her Radian. I seriously worry about being able to keep her rear-facing until she hits the weight limit! It may not happen!

Anyway, they're all growing well, all tall as they've ever been. I am starting to buy 12 month clothes for Maggie; Emma is a 5T (in tops and dresses at least) or sometimes 6 and Bridey is a 3T, 4T, or sometimes 5T depending on the brand. Wild! I'm taking advantage of them all being in "infant/toddler" sizes at once to dress them in matching clothes if only for a few months, though!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Been busy...

Went trick or treating for Halloween. (May have pics at some point, may not.)

Traded beds with my aunt (her king for our full) and all the attendant cleaning, moving of furniture, and hauling of mattresses to make that happen.

Bridget has a snotty nose and cough; think Maggie may be coming down with it.

Trying to keep the kiddos from going crazy with the candy (which is kept out of reach and rationed out); last night Emma said a prayer before her dinner (they were eating before us) that went, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, please bless that I will grow strong and healthy and not eat too much sugar..."

Grumpiness seems to abound anyway. Emma was making upset noises and I asked her what was the matter. She said, "I'm not going to tell you." I asked why not, and she replied, "Because it's JUST MY answer! I'm not going to answer you because it's my answer!" *sigh* Four year olds...

Keep getting annoying political calls. We voted 2 weeks ago (we're permanent absentee voters.) Can't wait for the stupid thing to be done with.

Maggie is crawling (not creeping, up off the ground; crawling, like a Marine.) She also rolls very precisely in the direction she wants to go. This is quite a leap from a few days ago. She seems to enjoy it. Likes to play with anything she can get her hand on, and shred paper like the cats do. Has destroyed 2 books so far ("We READ the books, we don't EAT the books" has become a common refrain.)

Went to the library two or 3 weeks in a row now. Getting to be a tradition now, after dance class on Thursdays. I think I like it. It seems good for me. Just found out that you can now pay your library fines online (for a long time you could view them and pay by phone, but they've added a credit card interface, apparently.) Coolness.

Finally decided what to make for Christmas gifts. Can't wait for Thanksgiving. Jeff is taking time off that week. Not sure if we'll get out of town or not. Hoping so, really want a change of pace.

Feeling very good some days, weepy and frustrated others. Some days I'm upset with myself and disappointed in how little self-control I seem to have, how I sometimes snap too readily at my kids. I think I need to remember that this is a partnership, not just between me and my husband, but between us and Heavenly Father. They're His kids, too, and I can ask Him for help in parenting them the way He wants it done. But it's hard to remember that when you have a migraine and they WON'T stop jumping on you and they're making messes in the room they've been told not to enter and breaking things and life just makes you want to cry and scream in frustration. Other days they are a joy, helpful and kind and loving with each other, and that makes me ashamed I don't treat them all the time the way I want them to treat each other.

I think the election is adding a lot of stress to our household, on top of the rest of it. I'll be REALLY glad when it's over. Did I say that already? Also dealing with multiple insurance companies and agencies trying to get Bridget's tooth covered. We're about ready to pay for it ourselves. Why do we have insurance if we have to pay for it out of pocket or wait eight months to get a potentially life-threatening condition treated? So annoying.

But then the weather is changing and that makes me happy. I try to find happiness in the small things around me that I enjoy. I try to do things that make me happy and help the kids do them too. Bridget likes to be read to and get to sit in a lap. Maggie likes just about any one-on-one playtime. Emma loves to help me cook. I try to let her as much as possible because that is a GOOD habit to develop. Personally, I would love to get away to a little cafe/bookstore, sip a cup of cocoa, eat a yummy sandwich, and read some good secondhand mystery. Very unlikely that will happen, though... Oh, well, at least I can go to the library and snatch a few words here and there from a good old Mary Higgins Clark (whom I have just discovered, after years of rather unintentional avoidance, that I really like.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Primary Program

Today was the Primary Program. Emma behaved so well! She sang, she spoke when told to (though when her teacher whispered her part to her she said, "No, you have to say it louder!" LOL, guess we stressed that a little too much...) She needed me to sit with her so I sat with the Sunbeams in the first row. They were SO reverent during the Sacrament! I was impressed. They all sat and folded their arms and bowed their heads, took the Sacrament reverently and did not chatter or play, and even the counselor who was conducting noticed and thanked them for their example and reverence.

Toward the end of the program they got a little restless (they were up and down but didn't go up for some of the songs-- including Emma's favorites); the little boys were drawing and one of the girls was on the floor, and when they went up Emma kept leaning forward trying to monopolize the microphone (thanks for teaching her that, Dad! LOL!) But they got through without major misbehavior and the rest of the Primary (almost all of them were there-- about 22 kids in all) were great too. It was very sweet (and of course we made the bishop cry, I love our bishop.)

Anyway, it was Emma's first time in the Primary Program and I was very proud; she's getting better about things like when she's "moved" by the counselor who never seems to remember that she doesn't like to be touched, and speaking or singing on cue (instead of when SHE wants to.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's so hard being apart from each other!

That's what Maggie and I think.

Tonight we left the girls at my aunt's while we went to visit my uncle in the hospital. (After being told he probably was going to die, he is now on his third day off the ventilator and may make it home by Halloween!) The hospital does not allow ANY children under 12 through the doors, period (it's a respitory hospital with patients very susceptible to disease; hand-washing is also enforced. Maggie is eating real food now and will take a little water from a cup so I fed her before we left and hoped for the best.) I had a bit of a panic attack as we drove away without her. I'm still feeling the effects of those first few nights away from her. :( This was my first time away from her (well, I've been in the other room, but not much further than that) for more than half an hour, and that was when she was with Jeff.

I cut his hair for him, and cleaned his nails too. We called on our way out (after a little less than an hour away total) and heard that Maggie had been crying and had just stopped. My aunt had fed the girls but we had not eaten so we drove through In-N-Out. We had considered going someplace a bit nicer but I could not be away from the baby any longer, especially knowing she had been crying. :(

I think the crying was mostly gas. But now she is all fussy again. She doesn't seem to want anything but to be with me (which is hard on my stomach because she also wants to kick me in the gut.) But her crying is better than not being able to hear it.

I REALLY need to tell my doctor next time about all this and that I do NOT want to go through it again. :/

(The fires are mostly contained today, thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thoughts and prayers appreciated:nearby fire, ward members evac'd

So we went to church yesterday and the chapel looked really empty. In Relief Society I heard why: half the ward had been evacuating their homes because of a wildfire in the Angeles Crest National Forest and nearby Lakeview Terrace.

The fire is only 20% contained and we're having Santa Anas. (Santa Anas are a particular kind of strong, dry wind; they're usually warm but right now they're accompanying colder weather.) The wind is bad enough it's keeping me up tonight and my toddler keeps waking and crying because the winds are howling and rattling so hard.

Apparently yesterday smoke and ash was being blown all the way to Malibu (which, strangely, meant we got no smoke only a few miles away because it was all being blown the other direction.) But anyway, the forest is really beautiful, my friends (and their animals-- the area is zoned for horses as well as chickens, goats, and house pets) have been evacuated, and the Wildlife WayStation animals are caged and ready to be evac'd if necessary. It's scary to me to hear the winds howl, knowing they're fueling and spreading the fire and putting people's homes and firefighters' lives at risk (the lives, of course, being more important than the homes, but the homes not being negligable.)

If you've got a moment, please send good thoughts/vibes/prayers for the brave men and women who are battling this fire, and those who have been displaced, as well as the animals and the forest if you are so inclined. It would mean a lot to me to know that other folks are thinking of our area and our firefighters.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Emma's first dinner guest

Today we went to the store after Emma's dance class and she wanted to buy all kinds of veggies. So I asked if she wanted to make vegetable soup. She said yes so I let her choose what went in it (cannelini, potatoes, barley, carrots, celery, green beans, etc.) I chopped and she stood on a stool and sauted and stirred (she also helped wash the veggies.) She wanted someone to come eat it with us! So Grandpa came over and had some veggetable-barley soup and biscuits (she helped put them in the pan to bake them) with some green plums we'd got and I sliced and Dove Ice Cream Mini-Bars for dessert. We all liked it and she was very proud! (Of course she and Bridey spent as much time running around-- we ate outside 'cause it was hot in here and gorgeous outside-- and telling knock-knock jokes as eating...)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

She really loves her Abba.

Maggie was laughing and playing with me, nice full tummy, happy baby. We heard Jeff get home; she stopped playing and looked around. We heard him in the other room. She started to pout. He talked to Emma. She started screaming. Not pain or hunger screaming, upset screaming.

He walked in. She stopped screaming and smiled, went to him and laughed.

I guess she's gotten used to him coming in to say hi to her and hold her as soon as he gets home, and she was upset that she was not getting her attention and games and kisses from Abba!

I think this makes him feel wanted. I think it's awfully sweet.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Christmas Shopping Rules

Since TX Mommy asked, I thought I'd post them here.

I love Christmas, but we try very hard to not bust our anti-consumerism stance or our budget at Christmas. As such I've developed some rules.

Our Christmas shopping rules are that:

-I buy things dirt cheap on clearance throughout the year for the Gift Closet. These include things suitable for baby gifts, adult gifts, and kids' gifts. They're usually things that would cost $10 to $30 that I get for $1 to $5 on clearance/sale/couponing. Also may include things that we recieve and wish to "re-gift" (we put a post-it note on saying who we got it from so we don't re-gift inappropriately.) Occasionally something smaller than $10 like a nice candle that I get on clearance with a coupon. These are also used for baby showers, birthday gifts, etc., and mean I always have something on hand for an "emergency gift" too. After-Christmas sales and the Sears, JCP, and Gymboree clearance-on-clearance are heavy contributors!

-"Santa" brings one new toy or game or etc. per kid. One. Period. If it's really large, it's a joint gift. Budget is about $20 to $30 per kid for this gift and if we can we get it cheaper; that means we need to know who wants what from "Santa" well in advance, and Santa stops listening after about early November most years. ;)

-"Santa" also fills the stockings. Stockings are re-used from year to year and each person has their own, of course. Stockings will contain a tangerine each (it's not Christmas without the tangerine! Like I used to, Ems and Bridey will go for the tangerine before anything else! When we were in Richardson they were Clementines because nothing else could be found but out here they HAVE to be Satsumas!); some candy (including at least one piece of See's chocolate; another tradition), mostly bought on sale with coupons; one or two beauty or hygeine item each (examples from past stockings include dollar store hair bow sets, fuzzy socks, toothbrushes, Disney "magic towel" bath mitts, etc.), and occasionally some stickers or a small $1 toy. This is rooted in what was in stockings when I was young and is very tradition-oriented. Stockings are always opened before presents! Babies of course have special stocking stuffers-- they get a small toy or a paci, maybe a hat or some cute socks or a hair bow, possibly a bib or onesie (thrift store or $1 bin at Target), and a baby food dessert (like Gerber's Dutch Apple Dessert, for instance), which we usually do not buy. Budget is about $5-$7 per stocking per kid, less for adults.

-Kids' gifts from us will consist of some clothes, some books, and a few small toys or some videos. These are all purchased at the thrift store, used, with the occasional exception of a heavily clearanced outfit. We very much do not want to buy new for the bulk of these gifts.

-Kids' gifts to each other may be chosen from the thrift store once they are old enough to shop (Emma started at around 3) or may be picked out from the Gift Closet (with guidance from me) before then. Babies do not "give" gifts to their sibs, this is only for kids old enough to want to give a gift to the others.

-If a situation arises in which kids are giving gifts to friends, they need to earn the money and spend their own money toward it, if it's their own idea. They may choose one from the Gift Closet if it is a socially mandated gift (going to a church party and have a Secret Santa partner, or something like that, would be an example.)

-With the exception of children, all relatives (grandparents, aunts, etc.-- meaning our parents, my sisters, etc.) and close friends get a home-made (or home-assembled, at least) gift of some sort, often consumable. These are mass-assembled as a family project.

-Nieces, nephews, and second cousins' gifts are bought on clearance or chosen from the Gift Closet; on my husband's side the cousins each give to one randomly selected cousin so instead of each kid recieving 2 gifts (since there are 3 sibs with families) they each only get one from the cousins; cuts down on "stuff." We send cards to each other but do not give gifts to each other.

-My darling husband and I don't give formal gifts to each other. Instead, we discuss something we really want, often something the whole family will use, and buy it together, on sale or, preferably, used. Likewise, we don't conspire to have the kids buy gifts for each spouse in secret (unless we happen on something perfect at the thrift store.) We have too much stuff already. (If they wanted to do it in secret and made it or spent their own money we'd let them, of course, but we don't instigate it.) Some years we may choose to save our money and later put it toward a vacation or a date instead.

-As much shopping and planning as possible should be done early! If I can be done with all things that are to be bought and have the materials for our project by November, I'm happy. Usually at least something is done last-minute but it does at least cut down on the haste and stress, and makes for better deals!


We do participate in the Hatrack gift exchange each year, but the limit on that is $10 and make-it-yourself is strongly encouraged, so we never break the bank. Following our Christmas shopping rules for family and close friends of the family means that we have more time and money to spend on something fun like that! We usually go out and do all our Hatrack shopping in one day, box everything up, and mail it. I like to get it done well before the deadline. :)


So in re-reading some of the rules I think some of the wording is not as clear as it could be... If you need clarification just ask! Of course the rules get "bent" here and there-- but we try to stick to them when possible! I really like keeping things as simple as possible. We have found that we all really appreciate the thought behind gifts more than anything, so do our families, and that the kids could not care less if their stuff is used when they get it. In cutting back on the Christmas budget and stress, we are able to appreciate Christmas itself more.

Yep, she's four.

Emma's current favorite joke (which of course, we hear ALL THE TIME):

"Why was Tigger in the bathroom?"
"Because he was looking for POOH!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dinner tonight...

...was a hit, and was easy and cheap, so I thought I'd share!

It is HOT today and we didn't feel like doing much. But boiling a pot of water isn't too hard and doesn't heat up the house too much.

Last time I was at Trader Joe's, I spied (and picked up) some dried three cheese tortellini. Jeff boiled those up and we tossed in a jar of garlic basil pasta sauce. We had that with Private Selection organic baby spring mix, croutons, and dressing of our choice.

The tortellini were tempting even before we added the sauce! They fill the house with a delectable cheesy smell. The tortellini are $1.79 for a bag; a bag makes about 5 servings. The jar of sauce, with coupon, was $0.90 or so. So, main dish for all of us for $2.80-ish. Emma, who grumped when we told her what was for dinner and said she did not WANT pasta, ate a large-ish serving and asked for more. Bridey asked for seconds and thirds.

We've been really into the Private Selection organic baby spring mix lately. PS is a Kroger brand (around here that means Ralph's.) If you buy the small container it's a bit more expensive, but if you buy the large container it works out to about the same price per ounce as the regular bagged salads-- and they're not organic, or usually as fresh! Once I open it I stick a paper towel in the top to absorb condensation and change it every few days, which helps keep it un-wilted. A large (recyclable) bin will last us for about a week, sometimes more, depending how many days we have salad. Even the kids adore the baby spring mix (which is a tad less bitter than mature) if they get to choose their dressing. And let's face it, around here, salad is more likely to be eaten if it comes in pre-prepped.

So all in all, we ate about $0.60 worth of salad and "fixin's." Grand total: $3.40 for all of us. Not bad at all for a "convenience foods" meal!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Did I mention Maggie REALLY likes sweet potatoes and turkey?

So much that she tried to feed herself.





This, of course, necessitated a bath. But she has outgrown the sink now. So, we got out the duckie tub that we used with Emma, since she doesn't sit up yet so is not quite big enough for the regular tub.
She seemed comfortable enough once she figured out what it was about.








She liked playing with the rubber duckie we gave her.



Until she saw her feet, that is.



She was not so sure about being shampooed and rinsed off.




But she was very cute once she was all clean!



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Maggie woke up hungry and I realized she hadn't had her "real food" today. So I suggested, since we haven't tried her on a new food for a while, we try a jar of "turkey and sweet potatoes." (She'd had sweet potatoes before but this was her first meat.) She loved it! She ate half a jar (minus what ended up on her face, chest, hands, Exersaucer-- where we feed her-- and in the folds between rolls of fat on her neck, lol!)

All my girls have been quite fond of turkey and sweet potatoes both, so I'm not really surprised... It makes me a little sad and proud at the same time to see her getting so big, though! I just can't wait to see her get as big as her sisters, and at the same time I wish that day would hold off forever and she could always be my baby. It's one of the paradoxes of motherhood (or I suppose I should say, parenthood); you simultaneously are excited for every milestone, and wish they could stay little forever. I think it is probably because we know that things only get more complicated; we want to protect them and keep them from harm forever, because we love them so much. But at the same time we know that it's right and good and necessary for them to grow and develop. *sigh*

I guess that's why I'm starting to hanker for another one...

It seems to run in the family...

Emma and I were watching some Irish Dance videos on YouTube. Emma has been asking to take Irish Dance since she was about 20 months old. (I think she'll probably get to next year, maybe the year after that. Depends when we get a second car!)

Bridey climbed up and watched, enthralled, then pointed her little finger at the screen and yelled, "I want do that!!!"

Maybe next year I should take them to the Irish Fair so they can watch some live. They would ADORE that!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

200 Things

Got this meme from TXMommy.

You can do it too!

Copy the list, bold the ones you have done, leave the ones you haven't un-bolded (did I just make that word up?)

Things I have done are bold.

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby's diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said "I love you" and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don't
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie

60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone - verbal not physical
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person

72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth

75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions

88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad

93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt

96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe.
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway (or equivalent to your country) play
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train

123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant

127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story

146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted

150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunch box
160. Gotten food poisoning

161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine

168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books

171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life

176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt

179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle

183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a camp fire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR

197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime

200. Responded to a NJP newsletter


If you copy this, leave me a link in the comments so I can read yours!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jaden got her new carseat!

She got her Regent yesterday. (I bought it during the recent Britax sale. It was her birthday present.)



She loves it!

The Regent harnesses to 80 lbs. with a top harness height of 20 inches. Jaden is 4 years old, 43 lbs.-ish with about a 16 inch torso. She has years to grow in it!

I'm ecstatic that she likes it. By Texas law (where she lives) she could have been in a seatbelt only when she turned 5 OR was 36 inches tall (which she was at 3!) even though it is not safe to put children in an adult seatbelt only until they pass the five-step test. And if there aren't enough seatbelts, by Texas law children can ride held in a lap! :0 That blows my mind, and makes me really sad, that the Texas legislature cares so little about the safety of children. Luckily, her mother and father know better, and want her to be as safe as possible! Hopefully Jaden will be a good example for the other children around her and tell them how safe she is riding in her big-girl seat! (Hey, I've already got my four year old saying, "That boy needs a carseat" and "that baby has a belly clip!" LOL!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

That child is STRANGE...

Jeff is chasing Bridey around trying to get her ready for bed. She's running around, talking to herself. She asks, "What you doing?" and answers, in a high, thin voice, "I freaking out!!!" She does this over and over again. She is so odd sometimes...

(Just a minute ago Emma mentioned Grandma Pam's house and Bridget heard. She said, "Grandma Pam, house? I LOVE Grandma Pam, house!" So cute.)

Britax Fall Sale is here!

This is a twice a year event; if you're looking for a higher weight harnessing seat or just want a really stylish one, this is a great opportunity to get a good bargain! See my sidebar full of information if you want to know why it's a good idea to keep your children rear-facing and harnessed longer than the minimums!

I won't try to list all the deals here; Baby Cheapskate is tracking the deals, check it out!

Jaden's Regent was bought today and should get there next week or so!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An emotional weekend

Friday was Jeff's day off. We got calls all day about Uncle Bob's status, and finally went to see him in the evening. We only went in for a few minutes. Since he's in the critical care unit overflow, the girls couldn't go in at all... (I had been asking my dad that and it would have been nice if he would have just read the sign and told me that. All he would say was he didn't know if it was a good idea, he never said it was a rule.) At that point they were not thinking he was going to pull through. Today he is given a 90% chance of survival.

Let me backtrack a little. Thursday we found out that he was going to the hospital. He has ALS, as I've mentioned before; he had pneumonia, a really bad case that had progressed to sepsis. And of course because of the ALS it's harder for him to fight things off, especially things that involve breathing.

It was really hard to see him in the hospital. While we were waiting to hear if he'd even be awake for us to go see him and such, we ended up going to the thrift store. I did find some awesome books. I listed them on eBay but if they don't sell I think I'm keeping them!!!

Then Saturday we got up early and I headed to choir practice. After I got done with that we went to my mom's house but on the way hit a yard sale. I got a Pack and Play for $3, and a whole bunch of clothes for the girls (mostly winter clothes for Bridey; Emma skipped from a 2T to a 4T and Bridey is firmly a 3T, we don't have a lot of clothes that fit her, but a few for Emma and Maggie, too) for 25 cents a piece. Then we went to my mom's; her former boss (retired) was there, and they took pictures of Maggie doing different things for a presentation they're making for parents on what to do and not to do to ensure a nice round head in your baby (preventing positional plagiocephaly, which has spiked really high since the "Back to Sleep" campaign started, with proper positioning techniques, tummy time, etc.) She made us spaghetti for lunch. We all enjoyed that.

We didn't make the evening session of Stake Conference Saturday night because it is "adults only" and there's no way we could keep the kids under control and not disturb people, and we didn't have a babysitter.

This morning we were at the Stake Center at 8:30 for choir practice again. When we finished the last song, Bridget was ready to go, poor thing! (It did not make sense for them to go home and come back because they'd only end up with 15 minutes at home or so before it was time to come back-- and they'd lose the sweet parking spot we scored, actually in the SC parking lot instead of in the school parking lot backing up to the SC, so 10 minutes less of walking, and even in the shade!)

Stake Conference was good. I heard a lot of things I needed to hear. In particular I loved the Primary President's talk. I really needed that one, though she directed it to the children it was for the parents just as much. And I was interested to hear the big focus on getting out of consumer debt; our stake has been challenged by our Stake President (who used to be my bishop and I love him and his family so much) to be consumer debt free by 2010 (this is not inculding houses and school loans but is including cars, credit cards, and everything else.) Luckily we are in a position where we have already been able to start paying this debt off. We may have another car payment by then, but are hoping to have it mostly paid off. (We will have to get another car if we have another child, because we're using all the seats in our Corolla right now!) And there was also emphasis on teaching our children and those around us good spending/saving habits. The Primary children are going to be provided with savings banks from the Stake Presidency that have 3 parts; one for tithing, one for saving for a mission or education, and one for spending.

The choir was so big we overflowed the rather poorly designed loft, and three or four of us had to be down on the pews and walk up. However we had less than we had thought so there were 3 empty rows that had been reserved for us; I volunteered to sit down there and got to have my family with me. A very nice lady held Maggie through much of the meeting so I could get up and down with the choir. Emma fell asleep on the pew; Jeff took Bridey and later Maggie too to the Nursery room (where they had toys out and also had a video feed from the chapel so the adults could hear the talks.)

I had an asthma attack near the end. It was pretty bad; it took 6 hits from my inhaler to even start breathing properly and 2 more before I was completely breathing. I was shaking so badly from the albuterol when we got up to sing the closing number that I forgot I was supposed to sing second soprano until halfway through the verse... Oops... I did manage to hit the high note at the end, though. (One of the first sopranos couldn't hit the note so she switched parts with me just for the last line.) We sang my favorite arrangement of "The Spirit of God." I really love this one because it's so powerful, especially if you think of it the way I do, as a metaphor. See, it starts out with a solo tenor voice. Then the tenor is joined by a baritone. Then they are joined by a small group of men, then all the men, then the women, and in our case we added the congregation on the last verse. I think of it like a metaphor for the growth of the church and it has always added a lot to my appreciation of the piece.

So anyway... It was a weekend of ups and downs. I don't really know how much longer Uncle Bob is going to last. As much as for his sake I hope he does not have to suffer too long in a body that doesn't work while he retains full consciousness of what is going on, I hope for our sake to have him a little longer. It's confusing and it hurts and... Well, I guess I will just have to try to appreciate whatever time we are given to be with him. There are some things I want to do with him. I want him to hear Emma do her reading lessons before he goes, that would make him so proud (he's one I really talked things out with before deciding to homeschool, before his diagnosis and before he went downhill so fast, physically speaking.) And I want him to see Emma dance. And I want him to see Maggie grow and Bridget mature. But I don't know how much of that will even be possible (well, in this world. I'm sure he'll care for them after he is gone. But you know what I mean.)

This dying stuff is hard. :(

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Laughing baby

Maggie's been "half-laughing," just a little "heh," for a couple of months. Tonight (while I was in the tub, of course) Emma got her first "real laugh" out of her. Emma's first laugh was when Jeff had a cold and was coughing. Bridey's was at being tickled. Maggie's was at her sister playing with her. Emma was clapping her hands in Maggie's face and saying, "Be happy! Be happy! Not sad! Be happy!" in a silly voice, trying to keep her from fussing. I'm not sure if it was the clapping (Jeff says she kind of flinched and laughed every time she was clapped at) or the silly voice, but something did it, and she laughed! I love their little laughs when they first start. Maggie's is a surprisingly low (for her), full-throated chortle. It's adorable. :D

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My helper

Somehow I haven't been in the mood to blog much... I did do some interesting things done this weekend, but didn't feel like writing them up. We went for Korean food Saturday with Jeff's Korean-American co-worker and his girlfriend (who he's been dating, like, longer than Jeff and I have known each other!) They ordered. As a result I'm not sure what all I ate but I know it was delicious!!!

Anyway, today Emma has been my helper. I had a bad migraine, it started out atypical with just a lot of vertigo and some light sensitivity, but progressed to headache and auras and even short blackouts quickly enough. Jeff came home at lunch and got the kids food and Bridey down in the crib for a nap before he left (which she eventually took) but in the meantime Emma brought me a diaper, water and lemonade mix to make them drinks, even washed out the cup Bridey wanted to use (with soap and everything!) Then she was very good all day. She got herself snacks when she needed them, poured her own drinks, brought me diapers and such when I needed them. She was very good. And she fed Maggie her cereal tonight (that has been her job lately since we found out that Maggie eats better for her than for either of us!) I'm just very proud to see how she can really help out when I really need her. With ALMOST no complaining...

Tonight we had pizza and salad for dinner. Jeff at first neglected to give the kids their salad (which is nothing but organic baby spring mix with dressing.) They both DEMANDED IT! You do not know how funny it is to hear a little two year old voice saying, "Gimme sah-lat! Sah-lat! Pweese!" and then chomping down on spinach and red leaf and green leaf lettuce and all other kinds of raw greens until you've experienced it... Then Emma had to have some too, of course! Oh, Bridey also stole her Easy-Up when Jeff wasn't looking and tried to put it on herself, too! And she has been BEGGING, "I want go dance class! Dance class please!" *sigh* They grow up so fast...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First day of dance class

Emma had her first day of dance class today. There were only 2 students in her class today (including her.) One more is signed up but wasn't there today. Her teacher is very sweet. She didn't listen as well as she could have during the first part of the class (ballet), except when they got to wave ribbons around, but she really seemed to enjoy the second part of the class (tap.) She is way more into tap than ballet, well, I already knew that... She really wants to do Irish dance still, we'll see if she gets better at following directions! Here are some pictures from today:


This is Emma ready to go, dressed and hair carefully pulled up and clipped out of her face. (Bridey ran in as I was taking the picture.) Note the little backpack; she used to carry her clothes and Pull-Ups to preschool (and papers and used clothes home) in that, now it holds her dance shoes (and during the week her dance clothes, which she is wearing in this pic. The t-shirt comes with the yearly registration fee, and the pants she picked out herself, at Target.)

Here she is waiting for the teacher. There's a little area outside her classroom (the little ones are in the smallest classroom.) They have water dispensers which were a BIG hit with both girls. Here you can see her ballet shoes (kind of.)

This picture (and the others that look like it) are poorer quality because they're shots of the tv monitor that parents can view the class on CCTV on. Here you can see Emma not quite cooperating with the stretching...

Here's Bridey, she wanted her picture taken while Emma was in class. She played with Maggie, ran around, and later I got her a coloring book and crayons (which they keep in the main waiting area) and she colored Cookie Monster blue, all on her own, with no prompting and very carefully.

Here Emma is starting to get into it a little more, and is at least attempting the arms over the head. The other little girl who was in her class is a few months older than her, but has been taking ballet at The Little Gym for a year so was more experienced with the ballet they did.

This was the only part of the ballet portion of the class Em really seemed to like a lot, you can see her getting into waving the ribbons:

...and not listening when told it's time to go put them away, and going running off to the side and keeping on dancing with them instead!

After a water break and changing shoes, they started tap, which Emma enjoyed more. Unfortunately Maggie was fussing at that point and I don't have as many pictures. But here is Emma watching intently what to do with her feet...

...and enthusiastically copying it!

Here is Emma and her classmate, it was a bit of a trick to get them both smiling at the same time, as the little girl's one year old brother had spilled water on Emma and so she was having a sensory fit, and the girl did not know me and was a bit hesitant to smile for a stranger's camera.

So that was the dance class, it went as well as I had expected and I think as Emma gets more used to the teacher and the setting, she will do better and will be more willing to try things and follow directions. I'm really glad we enrolled her. Now, Bridey kept trying to run in and dance, too... She even tried to put on a pair of tap shoes someone had left in the cubbies in the waiting area! They have one class a week for kiddoes her age, I suppose we will have to consider enrolling her. (But it's in the morning. When she's usually asleep. Not that she wouldn't leap out of her crib joyfully to go dance...) Anyway, we're considering it!

All of our homeschool stuff is getting into swing... Emma's writing stuff is on the way and our reading book has arrived (though I decided not to start it until we can do writing and reading together, that should be next week, after we tried one lesson.) This is our important social event of the week as well as P.E. So I guess you could say we have officially started homeschooling even though so far it's just dance class! Yippee!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Just thought I'd catch everyone up on what we've been up to this weekend...

Thursday night Emma got home from her last day at preschool (both happy and sad) and we signed her up for dance classes. She was excited!

Friday we just kind of hung around, then went to Target. We got some socks and pants for her dance class (turns out they don't have to have leos yet; just comfy shirts and pants or shorts, and appropriate shoes. That's a relief because I did NOT want to pay full price for a white leotard, which is the beginning ballet uniform at her school! But turns out she's not in beginning dance, technically, she's in the "tots" class instead. Well, that saves us some money!!!)

Friday night we went to dinner at Souplantation. I love Souplantation. And it's cheap; Bridey is free, Emma is less than $2, we always have coupons and save a dollar or so on our meals, and the kids' drinks are free because we purchased kids' cups for them a while back, which you can bring back and reuse without charge.

Saturday morning we went to Grandpa and Grandma Sheri's house; Grandma Sheri had picked up some not-used-looking tap shoes (they weren't worn in the bottom at all, so Emma will actually wear them) and we tried them on, and figured out that one pair will fit. Then on to the shoe store, and got some nice dress shoes for me and Jeff, ballet shoes for Emma, and new tennies for Bridey, who had outgrown hers (again!) Then on to Maggie's checkup. She is now 25 inches long (and half of that is in her torso! Literally, 12 1/2 inches...) and weighed 14 lbs. 7 ounces at her check (right after throwing up, hadn't eaten for a while, and with a bone-dry diaper!) That's the 75th %tile for height, 50th for weight. The doctor was very pleased. She slurped down her Tylenol, more evidence of her readiness for solids (she's been just CRAVING them for a while now... The doctor okayed her to eat them because she has good head control, is 4 months, has just about doubled her birth weight, and is SO wanting them!) She got 3 shots, the same ones she got last time (everything recommended except for the rotavirus vaccine, which we are not comfortable giving her at this time.) She was pretty good the whole time but did not like the shots. I took Ems and Bridey out while she got the shots, and while we waited I weighed them, too. They've gained some weight (after holding steady for 1/2 a year for Bridget and almost 2 years for Emma!) Emma weighed 37 1/2 lbs. fully clothed and shoed and Bridey weighed 35 lbs. They were running around too much to get them measured or I would have measured them too, I know Bridey especially has been shooting up!

Sunday morning we ALL made it to church for the first time in, well, a while. Sunday evening I thought I had a meeting but I had put it down for the wrong day... Ooops. Oh, well, it was the same time as stake choir practice so at least I made that. I'll miss part of it next week but that's okay. I'm not overly fond of the first piece we're doing or the hymn, but we're doing what I think is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE (even though the women don't sing until the end) arrangement of "The Spirit of God." Love it! Bridey and Emsie played at Grandma Pam's house during practice. Maggie was good and slept most of the time.

Today we went to Target again (we'd forgotten some things; Jeff also wanted a new vaccum. Got a nice one on sale for $75.) Went to the grocery store and picked up some yogurt and ice cream and other treats and such. Came home and I made falafel; my dad came by and picked some up, I like to share when I make falafel because Sheri, who does not usually like falafel, loves mine. After dinner I fed Maggie; after she nursed on both sides she ate some mashed bananas. It was her first "real" food. I think she liked it. Even accounting for what she lost down the bib, I think she got down about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of bananas, and that was AFTER nursing on both sides, remember! Hungry girl!

So that was our weekend, pretty much. (I did list some stuff on eBay, too, but that's boring. ;) ) Here are some pictures from this week:



Maggie trying mashed bananas-- "Hmmm, this is a new taste..."



...and deciding, "Hmmm, I think I like it!"

I detangled (ouch) and braided Em's hair earlier this week, she was so proud of her braids she wanted pictures. Here's the back:



From the front:



And the sides:



So that's what's up with us. :) All still kicking, just haven't had much energy to blog!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sooooo hoooot...

I can't sleep. Emma is fitful. Maggie is restless. Bridey took a looong time to conk out. Even Jeff didn't go to sleep as easily as he usually does.

It is just way too hot. We ended up turning off the air because the a/c was so hot it wasn't cooling the way it should, and opening the windows (which is just marginally better, heat-wise, but at least doesn't cost us any money on the electric bill.

I just cannot wait for cooler weather tonight. Usually I have no problem with heat; usually I could handle heat better than cold. But for some reason this hot weather seems different. Maybe it's the stillness and heaviness in the air. In any case, I can't sleep, the heat is contributing, and it's bugging the life out of me because I'm tired-- but not sleepy.

Uuuugh.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Firsts

Since our fridge is out, we ordered pizza and pasta and salad and garlic bread from the local Guido's. Since it was a really nice evening, the sun just setting and not too cool or too hot (and bath night) we ate out by the pool, in our suits, then hopped in the hot tub (a bit too cold for the big pool; I pre-heated the hot tub while we were eating and then turned it off so the kids wouldn't overheat.) It was about as warm as a warm bath, really nice.

For the first time, I took Maggie in with me (in the Solarveil sling, so no chance of dropping her.) She seemed to like it. We all had fun and when she started to fuss a bit and sweat we got out and went in to shower. It was Maggie's first shower, too. She stayed in the sling and didn't seem to mind at all as I rinsed her off and soaped her little arms and legs and rinsed again. Then she got handed off to Jeff (who was already out, having used the other shower to wash up and wash Bridey) while I washed Emma's hair and body (she likes to pretend it's rain) and then I got the shower to myself once she got out. (That's why we almost always swim only on bath nights; that way we just shower after we're done and baths are done for the night. Because they have sensitive skin and eczema, Ems and Bridey only get baths on Tues., Thurs., and Sat. Maggie generally only gets one if she smells or if she wants to come in the bath with me. Her hair gets washed a little more often but not much.)

Anyway, it was a first, and it was fun, and we all felt better after dinner, a soak, and a shower, I think.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When life gives you lemons, go to IKEA.

We got a lemon. A lemon of a fridge, that is. We bought it, new (floor model but unused, just out for demonstration) two years ago, and Wed. it broke for the THIRD time since we've had it. The freezer is working but the fridge is not (and our milk is bad.) Each time it's broken before, we have spent around $200 or $250 getting it fixed. This time we said, "Enough."

We don't have it in our budget to buy a really nice fridge just yet; we looked at the Recycler and Craigslist, but we really don't feel like renting a truck, driving a distance, hauling it up to our apartment...

So we shopped around a bit online and decided to get a fridge from IKEA. Their fridges are made by Whirlpool, so a decent brand. We thought before going we'd probably get their $350 model, but when we got there, they're having a promotion; spend $499 or more on a fridge and get a $100 gas card. So we ended up getting the $499 model because for what amounts to $50 more after the value of the gas card, we get a nicer model with better shelves, an ice maker, and better resale value if we decide to sell it and trade up next year (which we probably will. I do want a bigger fridge eventually; this is just a tiny bit smaller than our current fridge, which we got because it fit in the ridiculously small fridge space in our first apartment.) And because we paid for it with a debit card (thank heavens Jeff got his big EA bonus this month) we got a $17 discount toward our next purchase.

All in all I'm quite pleased with the value, this is basically the same fridge that sells for $150 to $300 more at other stores, and it will get here on Saturday, and someone else gets to haul it up the elevator and lug it into our apartment. Now to figure out what we're doing with our old fridge... Freecycle or something, I suppose. I'm just overall pleased with our decision to get a new one instead of pump money into one that I'm afraid would break again in six months.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Updates

Thanks so much for all your comments and support on my last post. It was more than I expected. :)

After I posted that I talked to my husband and we agreed on some things. First of all, it's hard for me to remember/find time or energy to eat during the day, and allowing my blood sugar to get low affects my mood, always has. It exacerbates the problems I'm having. He has started asking what I've had to eat or drink and encouraging me to at least drink some juice throughout the day.

Second, after praying for some help and comfort, Monday evening we were at Trader Joe's and though I wasn't planning on getting it, I walked past the soy milk, and stopped. I remembered that when I had really bad PMS when I was in my teens, soy milk and other soy products helped. (Soy contains compounds that mimic estrogen and in some women can affect hormone levels and the way we feel. I've always been very responsive.) I don't like most soy stuff but Trader Joe's chocolate soy milk is the only kind I'll drink. I felt an urge to try it. I drank two cups that day and by the morning was feeling somewhat better. Not completely better but life was more bearable. And it corrected another post-partum problem I've been having (which I won't go into right now because that WOULD be TMI. ;) ) I continued drinking it today. Tonight we dropped by and picked up more soy milk and I'm going to make a real effort to consume at least 2 servings of soy a day.

So things are looking up a little bit. Thanks for your love. Continued prayers would be wonderful. :)

In a very happy update, Emma has continued to both pee AND poop in the potty exclusively. We have had no more accidents and I'm ready to call her trained! Yay! Even if she has an accident here and there it's looking like that will be an anomaly, not the norm. I am so glad that after two and a half years of trying to get her to go, she is finally done!!! She now doesn't even use her potty seat except when we're out in public in places with filthy toilets, in which case she uses the folding one (because I make her.) She does everything herself and flushes (except the loud public ones, she has me flush those) and washes her hands by herself. She is very proud that she can "do it like a grownup." AND, Bridey is following her lead!!! Bridey has, in the past three or four days, pulled off her training pants, put on the potty seat, climbed up, and peed in the potty, then called, "I did it! I potty!" until we come and find that she did, indeed, pee in the potty and wipe (and praise) her. We are going through reward stickers like crazy and I could care less! (I got a book of 1,250 small reward stickers for $1; they didn't like the chart but they like to be given a sticker or two and wear them on their hands, and can be bribed into all sorts of good behavior with them.)

Oh, and Jaden has asked that we wait until the Britax sale and get her the Madison Regent because she'd rather wait a few weeks and get the pink one right away. Okay. :) Further update on that when I buy it.

We went to Once Upon a Child today to check out their summer clearance. The clearance was picked over but I did end up with a pair of leggings each for Ems and Bridey, a t-shirt for Maggie ("Got Milk?"), and a pretty church dress for Ems. Oh, and a new kind of sippy cup for Maggie. :) (She's been occasionally having a sippy of expressed milk when I want to take a bath or something. We're hoping to get her nice and used to it so by the time she's six months she can take some watered-down juice and be left for short periods with my aunt or mom while we go on a date. If I'm up to leaving her by then, that is. I do still have nightmares about her being taken from me and start to panic if she's out of my earshot/sight for too long. But hopefully that will be better by then.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

I guess I don't talk about this much.

But I know you will not mind. (No TMI, I promise!)

I think I may have some PPD.

I've had a great weekend. The music was fun, mostly (don't get me started on my altercation with the lady who works there-- okay, not altercation, that's too strong a word, but I was not happy with our interaction), despite the hotel experience (they told us they'd have a crib and then they didn't; we hadn't brought the port-a-crib after being told they'd have one; Bridey didn't sleep until almost 5 AM-- it was La Quinta Costa Mesa, if you want to know), we had fun at IKEA and a good time at the wedding (though Emma freaked out at the sparklers-- which are illegal, BTW, which I was rather surprised no one seemed to know about, and we were RIGHT across the street from a state park, during fire season), a new nursing dress I bought on eBay was waiting for me when we got home, it was all around a fun few days. But I've been snappish, sad, yelling, crying, when we were driving home I had this crazy urge in the tunnel to just open the door and roll out into traffic. It was kind of scary. Jeff took Maggie to burp her while I was asleep and I woke up in a panic because she was gone. I am extremely anxious when separated from her (though I'm getting better about letting others hold her and not holding her ALL the time.)

Please don't suggest drugs. I'm not going to take them. Please don't suggest counselling either. I don't trust therapists. Both these issues stem from my experience with medication and therapists as a teen, which I don't want to talk about, but I may share privately if you ever really have to know. Suffice it to say, it's not going to happen. It's like my thing with female doctors. Just not going to happen. (Not that I could afford it if I wanted it, with no insurance. But since I don't, it's moot.)

I was like this when I was pregnant with Emma. I got over it as the hormones changed. It never happened with Bridey, at least not that I remember; okay, maybe a few days when she was a few months old. That was it. But this started when I was separated from Maggie and has persisted since then. It doesn't help that my hormones aren't back to normal yet. I've got a good few months to go, judging by past experience.

If you are a praying person, I'd love your prayers. I feel detatched and isolated even as I'm more involved than I've ever been in a host of things. Life goes by so fast and I sometimes just feel like it's passing me by. I hate this. I hope it passes soon.

And I don't know why I'm even writing this. I just am. And it doesn't help. Prayer helps while I'm praying, and for a little while afterward, but not all day. And I feel so tired I don't even want to pray. Ditto everything else that usually makes me feel better. I'm stress eating, which just makes things worse. I should probably watch that. But I don't even care.

I want to escape. I just want to go watch the waves roll into nothing and then sleep and not listen to any whining and screaming and just sleep.

I guess I sound pretty depressed, huh? Sorry. Didn't mean to bring you all down...

I really do have fun. This weekend was fun, lots of it. Next Saturday we're having a poop party because Emma finally pooped in the toilet three times in a row with no accidents. (Who's coming? My mom. Who else? No one, because all she wants is my mom and a pinata, go figure. Well, that's fine, makes things easy...) Everything is fun. But the fun never lasts, and in between I'm just... bleh.

I want to sleep now. I'm tired. But I can't sleep and probably won't. Again. Oh, well. That's okay. It's not like I have anything to do tomorrow...