Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leaps and Bounds!

Jordan, up north, sitting in the rocker that was my mom's when she was a baby.

As 2009 draws to a close, so does Jordan's eleventh month. On Jan. 7, he will officially be 11 months old and then, on Feb. 7, 2010, watch out world! My baby will be one!

How did that happen so quickly?

It seems like no time at all has passed since that day in the hospital when he was born. What happened to the baby days? We are oh so close to toddlerhood. As a matter of fact, he has taken his first tentative steps in the past few days. The first time was up north at my mom and dad's, but I didn't see it. Hubby said he was basically in the process of falling when he took a step. Then, today, he was standing there in the kitchen and I had something he wanted--a piece of popcorn. He took one step with his right foot before slowly lowering to his knees so he could crawl to me. It's coming, friends, and soon. My baby is about to walk.

He's also started doing a lot of other things in the past week.

He "talks" a lot now. No real words yet, though a few weeks ago he was saying "uh-oh." He babbles constantly though. It's really cute. He actually says "goo-goo."

He also learned to wave and clap his hands in the past week. And today, I think, he signed "more" three times when I was feeding him. I did it first, though, signing and asking "Do you want more?" and he'd mimic the motion with his hands. I haven't practiced signing with him a lot, so it's good if something has soaked in!

Another really great thing he's done in the past week is that if I ask him for a kiss, he'll lay one on me. Oh, they make me melt! LOVE those baby kisses!

One thing's for sure, the next few months will be full of fun action with my growing, curious little boy.

I don't know if we're going to do anything big for his first birthday. We had a swim party for Logan's first, but I had a LOT of friends who had babies within a month of me having Logan, so he had lots of baby friends. Poor Jordan doesn't have any friends his age. When he's older, though, I think it would be fun to have a sledding party at the park, with cocoa and donuts instead of cake and ice cream.

So, as 2009 ends, I'm looking back fondly on those fleeting infant months and looking forward to 2010 when my littlest baby turns 1 and my oldest baby turns FIVE!!!! (Five? really? How on EARTH did THAT happen?!?!?!?)

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. Hope tomorrow dawns bright for you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Body After Baby... again!

Well, friends, I didn't do a great job the first time 'round in Samantha's Body After Baby Challenge at Mama Notes, but I really want to do it this time.

I have clear-cut goals and I know what I need to do. It's just up to me to do it.

I haven't been "good" through the holidays, and by that I don't mean just enjoying treats. If it was just that, it would be fine. Treats are a good thing, meant to be enjoyed.

It's just that I have been kind of out of control with the treats. Eating stuff just 'cause it's here. Even stuff I don't really like.

I know I have gained back the few pounds I lost in the first BAB challenge. I haven't ventured on to the scale in a while, but I'm willing to bet on it based on how my jeans are fitting (Uncomfortable and not pretty!)

So, we're starting up the challenge again. This time there is no end date or prizes or anything like that. It's an ongoing challenge for us mommies out there to support each other and keep each other accountable.

Here's what I have.

*Be as close as possible to pre-pregnancy weight by the beginning of March. I have an estimated 15 pounds to go to get there. (Was 13 to go, but I'm sure I have added another couple pounds in there.)

And we all know how tough that last 15 can be! It really holds on!

March is when Hubby is in a wedding and we'll be traveling down South to attend it. I'd love for once in my life to get a hot little dress and LOOK SMOKIN' in it! I don't want to shop for a dress to cover my flaws. I want to shop for a dress to accent the good stuff!

*I want to regain the strength and general feeling of fitness I had before I got pregnant with Jordan. I was happy and healthy. I felt good about how I looked, and what's best, I didn't have to do much to maintain it. I exercised because I wanted to and I ate healthy because it made me feel good. When I wanted a treat, I had one. I was in a very good place.

As part of this goal, I'd like to regain my ability to do five unassisted pull-ups (Yeah, the real GUY kind), which I could do before I got pregnant!

Another part of this goal is running. After I had Logan, I started to run in an attempt to lose the baby weight, and in the summer of 2006, when Hubby and I ran 5 races, running felt GOOD. I think my cardiovascular health was the best it had ever been. It was wonderful to be able to run ten miles without stopping and actually feel like I could go farther. I want that back, and am working toward that. We are planning to run our first half marathon in October to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. 13.1 miles is a long way. I have never run that far in my life. I am up to three or four miles right now, and need to work on both my endurance AND my speed.

Also, I just want to look better. I want my self esteem as far as my looks back up where it was before I had Jordan.

This is my goal photo. It's when I was about 5 weeks pregnant. I had just found out Jordan was on his way two days before this. I wasn't SKINNY. I will probably never be SKINNY. But, I like the way I looked at this point. I weighed 146.5 (At 5 feet 4 inches tall, this might seem like a lot, but I am pretty muscular. Going strictly in terms of BMI, that's still considered overweight. To that I say "WHATEVER!")

And now, I need a plan!

Exercise isn't my problem. Never has been, and probably never will be. I work out most days. My husband and I make it a priority to make sure we both get in workout time, which I appreciate. It stinks to take away from our family time, but we both know that keeping ourselves healthy is good for the family as a whole. Plus, the little bit of "me" time going to the gym gives me is absolutely essential for my mental well-being!

No, the problem is the food, friends. I love food. I love full-fat cheese and real butter and chocolate and I am completely addicted to my half-caff coffee with cocoa mix and skim (AKA cafe mocha) every morning. I have cultivated quite a sweet tooth lately too.

I know what I need to do. I need to lay off the sugar. Cold turkey. I need to give it a couple weeks when I just want to go nuts on the sweet poison. I know it will get easier and I will be amazed at how much better I will feel. I know for a fact the afternoon exhaustion will actually GO AWAY once that sugar addiction is out of my system. I've done it before. And what's more, I know that cutting out sugar and processed foods will make the weight come off slowly and it will STAY OFF. That's how I did it before, and it wasn't easy but MAN it WORKED!

In addition, I need, and I mean NEED to track my food to keep myself accountable. I am not sure if I'm going to do it via or Weight Watchers points. Both are good ways that work for me.

So that's that. Body After Baby, here I come.

Wii have a bit of a problem!

Well, here Wii are a few days after Christmas. The house is in shambles with gifts and boxes and Christmas decorations everywhere.

Wii already took our trip to the U.P. to visit my parents and finally, Christmas is officially over. Now it's a matter of getting rid of all the evidence.

Hubby just left to go get groceries because Wii are totally out of food, unless you count TONS of stocking goodies and that mammoth box of chocolates my father-in-law gave us. Wii are trying to figure out the best way of disposing of that--a way that doesn't involve our mouths.

As for Mii, I don't even know where to start. There is just that much. Wii have all our laundry from the trip, dirty dishes Wii didn't manage to take care of before Wii left, and all the rest.

What's a girl and her hubby and kids to do?

Well, if you're anything like Wii are, you seem to think that if you go to the family room and play the Wii non-stop, the mess will crawl away on its own!

Yes, my friends, if you haven't caught on yet, this family has turned into a bunch of Wii addicts.

The worst offender is Logan. The kid is OBSESSED with the Monster Jam game. Hubby is his accomplice. I can't blame them, though. I haven't had a whole lot of chances to play myself, but the few times I have, it's a lot of fun! I love the bowling game on Wii sports resort. I really stink at driving monster trucks, though. I've never been much of a video game player but this thing is really different from any other game I've seen before.

Plus, I created a really cute Mii!

Logan and Hubby have played all sorts of things: Monster Jam, golf, bowling, baseball, sword fighting, airplane games, etc. This thing is so neat!

Hubby's Mii is funny. He always looks kind of mad, but other than that, it looks a lot like Hubby. Logan's cracks me up. His name is Ziffer and he has shades and a beard. Totally cool. Ziffer is a riot. And he's pretty darn good at sports for a four-year-old with a beard!

Anyway, I have a feeling the house is going to stay kind of messy for a while.

And I really need to come up with a valid "daily screen time" system and enforce it once the holiday is over (Logan and Hubby go back to school and work on Monday). Otherwise my kid is going to be a total video game junkie and forget how to read, write and play on his own!

But if you're looking for us anytime in the next few days, I'm pretty sure Wii will be in the family room.

The Christmas aftermath!

This is a newspaper column I wrote on Christmas Day a couple years ago. I think it sums things up pretty well.

The whole house was filled with thingamajoozles.
There were plinkits and plunkets and pumpernifoozles.
A flimflangle over here, a scrimshuffle over there.
Camkuffs and nipnupps were everywhere!
Klankels and krimbles were wound ‘round my toes.
Logan had grinkles shoved way up his nose.
I tripped on a trapskat as I walked through the room,
and shook the whole house when I fell down—Kaboom!
I grabbed a big bag and started shoving it in,
grumbling “Christmas is over. Let the clean-up begin!”

Yes, things have changed a bit since I enjoyed Christmas morning as a child.
While flimflangles and trapskats sound like just the ticket for a very merry holiday in Dr. Seuss’s Whoville, in reality they are the very makings of a Yuletide nightmare.

What are they?

Any parent could tell you.

They are the coated wires and plastic gadgets and extra-strength tape and weird-shaped cardboard and styrofoam inserts that make opening any new toy darn near impossible.
On Christmas morning, armed with scissors, knives, wire cutters, blow torches and a chainsaw, Hubby and I led Logan through the tradition known as the Opening of the Gifts. He would eagerly tear the paper off the gift, screeching his trademark phrase, a joyful “Oh wow! Look at that!” and then he would hand it to me. “Mom, open this please?”

And so the battle had begun.

The first step is to figure out how to get inside the box. I don’t know what kind of cement they use to seal the cardboard flaps these days, but I do know I no longer have long, pretty fingernails. They have been ripped and chipped away in my attempts to pry the cardboard apart. Not only are the flaps glued, they’re also taped with the strongest tape known to man.
Once the box is open—usually it ends up ripped to shreds—the next job is to remove the inner box, to which the toy and its 645 accompanying pieces are affixed. This proves to be just as difficult as opening the main box. The odd-shaped cardboard of the inner box tends to expand within the outer box, and removing it results in a myriad of cardboard cuts, which are deeper, bloodier and intensely more painful than their cousin, the paper cut.
The toy is joined to the inner box with an intricate maze of rubber-coated wires, which are very difficult to remove. “Someone somewhere gets paid to put these things on,” I growled to my husband, as we each wrestled with the wires. “Yeah, and each person has their own system, so you have to spend a few minutes figuring out how to undo it,” he added. If that wasn’t enough, once you unwind the wires and get the toy separated from the box, you have to figure out how to remove the wires from the toy. They wind them around the wheels of the cars and trucks, and they poke them through the innards of other toys.
Finally, the toy is freed from its confines. But wait. Something’s not quite right.
Then you see it, glaring innocently from the bottom corner of the box, written in the smallest type possible. The three little words that can strike fear into the heart of any parent:

Some. Assembly. Required.

And so, you re-arm yourself with screwdrivers and allen wrenches, and prepare for the second battle of the Gift War: Assembly.
Don’t get me started.
Once that is done, there is the matter of those other three words.

You know what I mean.

Batteries. Not. Included.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Old Year!

As the days tick by on the way to 2010, I'm digging in my nails trying to hold on to 2009.


It wasn't a particularly awesome year, save one very important part: My little Jordan made his appearance on Feb. 7, 2009!

In fact, there was a lot of crap to deal with this year.

When the year dawned, I was on bed rest. Had been since Oct. 29, 2008, and still had another month and a week to go. Bed rest was awful. It was the longest, hardest winter not just for me but because poor Logan was stuck in the living room with me all day, every day. I couldn't take him anywhere or do anything besides read, draw and play games, and BOY did we play games! Lots and lots of games. UNO, Yahtzee, dominoes, checkers, Go Fish, Candy Land, Memory, I Spy, Bingo, etc.
Looking back, it really sucked, but it was also the last little bit of one-on-one quality time I had with my firstborn. In that small way, I cherish the memory of my bed rest. (Well, that and the REST part! Boy, do I miss that! HA!)

Also, during the last couple months of my pregnancy, Hubby picked up some mystery virus. Well, that's what the doctors are calling it, basically because they couldn't figure out anything that was causing all the havoc in Hubby's body. Whatever it was attacked a number of his organs, and he DID NOT FEEL WELL AT ALL for months. He lost a lot of weight, was in a lot of pain, had no energy, couldn't breathe, had severe night sweats, etc. They said everything from liver failure to an enlarged heart to pulmonary hypertension. He had fluid drained from his lung. He had CAT scans and a heart catheterization. NOTHING SHOWED UP. It was so, so scary. And then... It just kind of went away.
Really really weird, but I am soooooo glad that is over. It was many, many months of not knowing what was going on and worrying.

During that time, Hubby lost a couple family members. An uncle on one side and an aunt on the other.

Also, our relatively newly-finished basement flooded. But the damage wasn't that bad. We just had to pay to get the water sucked out and the carpets cleaned (twice, because it re-flooded!) and insurance helped with that. We didn't lose much, it was just a big mess. It could have been much worse!

But anyway, besides all that, we went on some great camping trips with our two boys this summer. Logan started karate and soccer and loved both. Jordan has been growing and reaching milestones and developing his precious little personality.

There has been a lot of good in this year.

Every year I get sad on New Year's Eve. I hate thinking about the passing of time. It depresses me. I want everything to slow down. I love this life and I want it to last and last and last!

So for the next few days, the last left in 2009, I'm going to think about all the good stuff that happened this year. There's plenty of it. I am sure 2010 will have good and bad times, too, but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad.

After all, it's really just a matter of how you look at it, right?

So, Happy Old Year to you! I hope it was a good one!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas continues...

Did you have a Merry Christmas? Ours is like the Energizer bunny. It just keeps going and going and going...

We're headed to Nana's today (my mother-in-law) for another celebration and will be going up north to see my folks soon, too.

Yesterday morning was pretty fun. Logan tried to get up at 6 and I told him it was still the middle of the night, so he went back to bed until 7:30. As far as Hubby and I, he got an hour or so of sleep and I on't think I slept at all dealing with sick Jordan.

Hmmm... Did I blog about that at all? Twas the night before Christmas Eve...

Yes, at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday (Christmas Eve Eve) I realized Jordan had a fever of about 101.5. I called the pediatrician but he had just left until Monday, so I called the urgent care clinic to see if they were open Christmas Eve. They were to open at 8 a.m. I just had this feeling it was going to get bad overnight, and it did. Feverish, screaming baby that would only relax if I was holding him upright, so I sat up the entire night in the chair with him. A very very long difficult night. He was hot, his breathing was harsh because of the congestion, and he just felt like crap. I felt so bad for him.

So Christmas Eve I was totally exhausted. I mean, I just CAN'T DO all-nighters anymore! Plus, whatever crud had taken down my family last week was attacking me, probably because I had no sleep and my resistance was down.

I got up and took him to the urgent care. Ear and upper respiratory infection. Went to Meijer and battled the crowd for about 40 minutes waiting for the amoxicillin prescription. Fun.

We went to my father-in-law's for Christmas Eve dinner and came home to do our thing. Logan went to bed (he was SO excited! It was precious!) and we finally just had to put Jordan in his crib and let him cry for a while so we could do the Santa thing. It was pitiful because crying made his throat more sore and made him more congested.

Anyway, got all that done and ended up holding the baby most of the night again.

Christmas morning came and we all got up. Jordan was extremely cranky and didn't care all that much about opening gifts. He does like his cube-bead maze thingy though. Logan had a blast tearing through his. He LOVES the Wii and Santa brought us a nice flat-screen TV to play it on! Neat!

So, that's about it. We spent the day playing with stuff and feeling tired and crappy. My cold came on full-blown. We had a beer with the neighbors in the evening, had dinner and went to bed. Slept a few hours last night. Jordan agreed to sleep in his crib, but he did wake up several times and require nursing to get back to sleep.

Here are a few Christmas morning photos

Jordan opening cool bead maze cube thingy

It's a Wii!!!!!!

Yes, indeedy, that IS a Snuggie!

Jordan got some sippy cups and figured out how to tip it up! Yay!

Jordan and "My Pal Scout"

Reindeer roadkill
(This was this huge NASTY peep-style thingy that tasted really bad. We threw it away. It did NOT taste like Peeps!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

A silent night in my small town

Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feeling grateful at Christmastime

I have been a HUGE fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books since first grade, when I read the series (Yes, I was an advanced reader). Even now, at age 33, I still read and re-read the books every year. I love them. They are children's books, but I still enjoy reading them a lot, even though I could probably recite them from memory.

One of my favorite things to do is read the Christmas section in each book. They always make me feel so grateful for what I have. The Ingalls family knew what Christmas was really all about, and they might not have had much but they always made Christmas special with what they had on hand.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite Little House Christmas excerpts, just because. I wanted to read them anyway. I might as well share!


From Little House in the Big Woods

"In the morning they all woke up almost at the same moment. They looked at their stockings, and something was in them. Santa Claus had been there...
In each stocking there was a pair of bright red mittens, and there was a long, flat stick of red-and-white striped peppermint candy, all beautifully notched along each side.
They were all so happy they could hardly speak at first. They just looked with shining eyes at those lovely Christmas presents. But Laura was happiest of all. Laura had a rag doll... The other girls were not jealous because Laura had mittens and candy AND a doll, because Laura was the littlest girl..."


Hmmm... I wonder how many kids today would be so thrilled to just get a pair of mittens and a candy cane and a rag doll for Christmas!


From Little House on the Prairie

"...when Ma opened the door to let in the fresh, cold air, they heard the creek roaring. They had not thought about the creek. Now they knew they would have no Christmas, because Santa Claus could not cross that roaring creek...
Laura and Mary tried not to mind too much... Ma said it was too bad that Santa Clause couldn't come this year, but they were such good girls that he hadn't forgotten them; he would surely come next year...
Ma suddenly stood up. "I'm going to hang your stockings, girls," she said. "Maybe something will happen."
Laura's heart jumped. But then she thought again of the creek and she knew that nothing could happen...
"She sat down again by the fire and Laura almost went to sleep. She woke up a little when she heard Pa say, "You've only made it worse, Caroline." And she thought she heard Ma say: "No, Charles. There's the white sugar." But perhaps she was dreaming...
The door latch rattled and someone said, "Ingalls! Ingalls!"
...She heard Pa piling wood on the fire, and she heard Mr. Edwards say he had carried his clothes on his head when he swam the creek. His teeth rattled and his voice shivered. He would be all right, he said, as soon as he got warm...
"Your little ones had to have a Christmas," Mr. Edwards replied.

(Mr. Edwards told Ma and Pa and the girls that he had met up with Santa Claus in the town of Independence, and that Santa had asked him to give the presents to the girls. Ma then put the gifts in the girls' stockings.)

"Something was shining bright in the top of Laura's stocking... And the shining thing was a glittering new tin cup. Mary had one exactly like it... Now they each had a cup to drink out of... Then they plunged their hands into the stockings again, and they pulled out two long sticks of candy...
Those stockings weren't empty yet. Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them and each found a little heart-shaped cake...
Laura and Mary never would have looked in their stockings again. The cups and the cakes and the candy were almost too much. They were too happy to speak. But Ma asked if they were sure the stockings were empty... And in the toe of each stocking was a shining bright new penny!
They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy AND a penny.
There had never been such a Christmas."


Feeling grateful yet?


In On the Banks of Plum Creek, Pa and Ma ask Laura and Mary if they would wish really hard for Christmas horses. They do, and are surprised to find six pieces of Christmas candy in their stockings in the morning, and two horses in place of the oxen in their stable.

(Can you imagine kids today wishing for, say, a family car instead of just presents for themselves?)

But the whole idea of putting all their Christmas wishes toward one thing for the whole family left Laura and Mary kind of confused about the concept of Santa Claus. I have always loved the way Ma explained it to them. It goes along with what I believe about Santa--that he's the embodiment of the giving spirit of the season:

"The older you are, the more you know about Santa Claus," (Ma) said. "You are so big now, you know he can't be just one man, don't you? You know he is everywhere on Christmas Eve... He comes down all the chimneys at the same time..."

"I guess he is like angels," Mary said, slowly. And Laura could see that, just as well as Mary could.

Then Ma told them something else about Santa Claus. He was everywhere, and besides that, he was all the time. Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus.

Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning, you saw what that had done.

"If everybody wanted everybody else to be happy, all the time, then would it be Christmas all the time? Laura asked, and Ma said "Yes, Laura."


If you REALLY want to feel grateful for what you have, then The Long Winter is a great book to read. It tells of the winter of 1880-1881, which had blizzards from October to April with very little rest in between. The town on the prairie in which the Ingalls family lives runs out of food and the train can't get through to bring more. The family lives on little more than coarse, dry sourdough bread for many months, and although it is a very cold and dreary time, they still find many little things to be thankful for. They manage to make Christmas a special day with hardly anything, and the book ends with a joyful Christmas celebration in May, when the train finally gets through with provisions. I like this book so much, I have it on CD so the boys and I can listen to it in the car. I think it has a lot of good messages about being grateful for the simple things you have. Really, there's too much to quote here!


I could keep going on but I think you get the idea. I love the Christmas chapters in all the Little House books. I actually think they made a compilation book of them, and I'd love to get it someday.

Anyway, I just wanted to share one of my favorite things with you!

Here's a few more... My favorite ornaments!

This is a music box. It winds up in the back and plays "Joy to the World." It was my Grandma Anna's, and I LOVED it as a little girl. I would take it and kiss the three little guys. At some point, she gave it to me, which really meant a lot to me. Now Logan loves to wind it up and hear the song.

When I was little, our basement flooded and most of the old ornaments were destroyed, like my first ornament and the things I made in preschool. I do have this one bulb, though. I always thought it was the prettiest one we had. It's plastic, which is probably why it has lasted so long. I always wanted to hang this one when I was little, and I loved to look at it. I still do.

And finally, when Hubby and I were on our honeymoon in Maine, we got to Bar Harbor a little too early to check into the hotel, so we went downtown and walked around a bit. As we passed a shop, we saw this ornament hanging in the front window and stopped in our tracks. It said "Our Bar Harbor Honeymoon" and it was just too perfect to pass up, so we went in and got one and had it personalized.

Sadly, the ornament fell out of my bag about a week and a half later, as we were checking into a hotel in Portland the night before we went home. It broke into a bunch of little pieces. I saved every piece and painstakingly glued it together once we got home. It's not perfect, but we couldn't bear to give up our souvenir. Generally, we don't buy souvenirs on vacations, but this one was special. I always hang it way up at the top of the tree so it doesn't get knocked down. Our tree isn't complete without it!

I hope you have a happy Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Wordless" Wed.: Snow Buddies

Took Logan and Jordan out in the snow the other day. We didn't get that much, but it was enough to pull a sled. It was Jordan's first real snow experience. He likes riding in the inflatable baby sled, which helps him sit up, but he didn't much like being just in the snow because the poor kid can't MOVE in his snow suit! He can't even put his arms down or roll over. He enjoyed Logan pulling him around, and Logan loves belly-flopping in the snow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trying to stay positive!

Good morning!

Well, it's already one of "those" days. I'm going to try not to whine too much! Also, the post is probably going to be full of disjointed thoughts. I'm just not "with it" enough to feel inspired to write much right now!

I'm starting to get in that overtired mood where I'm crabby and snappy at everyone. I NEED to sleep. The night before last, Logan and Hubby coughed all night, while Jordan slept pretty soundly for a change (actually, he did all weekend). So yesterday I took Logan to the doctor and got him some hardcore cough medicine which worked like a charm, and after three nights of good sleep, Jordan decided to go back to the old up every 1-2 hours routine.

I am SHOT.

I was soooooo tired and cranky last night I couldn't wait to get to bed. But then the waking started. Last wake-up was about 3:40. I've been up since then.


I decided that if I was up anyway, and the gym didn't open til 5:30, I would go to Meijer and return this Wii game I bought for Logan for Christmas because I have thought about it and don't think he will like it that much (It's Diego, and he's kind of passing out of that phase) and try to find the Lite Brite I want. (I bought a flat screen Lite Brite which looks great EXCEPT it doesn't plug in. It runs off D batteries only, and the thing is going to cost us a fortune in batteries. No thank you! I want the one that plugs in!)

So I went to Meijer, totally bleary-eyed and annihilated feeling. Oh, sorry, Ma'am. The customer service desk doesn't open until 7.


Then I meandered over to the toy department, which was a mountain of boxes and an army of red-shirted employees. They were restocking all the toys. I found the Lite Brite spot. Cool! On sale for $10!!! Oh, they're out.

One good thing about going to Meijer in the morning, though, I was greeted by at least seven VERY FRIENDLY employees who actually seemed to be happy to be there doing their job! People kept asking if they could help me. Maybe it's just that I look like I'm on crack because I'm so tired. I don't know.

But anyway, I had four employees checking the mountain of boxes looking for Lite Brites for me. Of course, that's the ONE TOY they didn't get in today.

I have also been looking for that darned Crayola crayon maker. We have so many broken crayons and Logan really wants one of those to make new swirly crayons. I can't find them ANYWHERE!

I could probably melt them down myself in the microwave. I just am not sure what to pour them into to make them new crayons.

So, I wandered to the cookie aisle and bought some cookies for Santa. Logan wanted to leave the Voortman gingerboys. I told him Santa really wanted chocolate chip, but he wouldn't listen. Actually, Santa really wants a pineapple mimosa, but I didn't want to tell that to a 4-year-old! I did purchase some pineapple juice and a bottle of bubbly though! :)

Finally, I left Meijer and headed to the gym for a quick weights workout. Negative pull-ups KILLED ME! My hands and lats are screaming.

I actually have a New Year's Resolution. I want to re-do my horrible address book, which is so crossed-off and scribbled out I have a hard time finding a valid address for people. I want to add people's birthdays to it too. I used to be SO ON TOP of people's birthdays! I had a stash of Hallmark cards and actually used them. Now I forget people's birthdays all the time. I hope they don't hold it against me or think it's because I don't love them. I just SUCK at remembering them.

I can remember useless old phone numbers (like my neighbor's number was 667-0176 when I was a kid. It was changed when I was in elementary school. Same for my grandparents' number, which used to be 494-2311. It's not anymore, but I still remember the old one. And one time in college Hubby--then boyfriend--and I were shopping and he ran into a guy he knew who gave him his phone number. We didn't have anything to write on, so Hubby looked at me and said "remember this number." I still do. It was 370-3843.)

I wish I could delete dumb stuff like those old phone numbers from my mind and free up some memory for useful info, like people's birthdays!

Anyway, that's about it. Today I really would like to take some stuff to Goodwill and get the laundry and dishes done and put away (again...) I would love to go into Christmas with a clean house!

OOH! Almost forgot a VERY good thing for today. My friend (the neighbor girl) is coming home for Christmas from Colorado, and she is supposed to arrive in Detroit late this morning, so I should get to see her later this afternoon. Yay! I miss her so much! :)

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wow! Christmas week already!

Hi kids!

Hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend!

Friday was Logan's Christmas program. Hubby surprised us by showing up. This was incredibly sweet of him. I mean, he got up at 5 or whatever and drove an hour to work, then left work, drove an hour back here to go to Logan's program at 10:30 (which only lasted 10 minutes or so!) and then drove back to work for the rest of the day. He was glad he didn't miss it, though.

I really need to figure out how to use YouTube (anyone have any idea how a tech dummy like me can get video from my video camera onto YouTube?) because Logan was The Star of the Show! He wasn't just singing, he was bound and determined to be the loudest, so he was SCREAMING the songs, in this goofy voice. He was yelling so hard, his face was turning red! I was laughing so hard I was crying the whole time. Everyone was laughing at him. The kid was hilarious!

The "Wise Man" (who I think was the pastor but it was kind of hard to tell for sure) brought him a Smithsonian dinosaur dig set. (We bought the gifts for our own kids and took them in a couple weeks ago). It said ages 8 and up, but I thought he would be able to handle it and he did. It was actually pretty neat. It was this block of hard sand, and he used miniature archaeological tools to chip and brush away the sand to reveal little bones that snap together to make a replica T-Rex skeleton. He patiently chipped away at that block for about an hour and a half, with me giving it a whack every now and then to help, until he got all the bones out, and then Hubby snapped the dinosaur together, and Logan's been playing with it all weekend. He named it "Bony" and he makes beds for it on the couch with blankets and tucks it in and stuff. It's actually quite sweet. That was $10 well spent, in my opinion.

Here's a little progression of the dino dig:

Just starting to chip away at the sand block

Some bones starting to show (Logan was so excited!)

About halfway there (this photo is creepy, I think)

Our friend "Bony"

Saturday we drove to Lansing for my family Christmas on my dad's side. It's a large family gathering, so we usually go to my Aunt Sue's or Aunt Katie's because they actually have big enough houses to accommodate everyone. (My dad has four brothers and two sisters, most of them have more than one kid, and the kids are starting to have kids! Lots of people!) I had a good time, but left feeling like I didn't get enough time to really visit with everyone. That's what happens when you only see a lot of your family once a year (which is pretty darn sad, really!) Plus, I completely missed last Christmas because I was on bed rest.

The drive home was really nasty. the roads had become a sheet of ice. There were people off the road everywhere and thankfully Hubby was driving. I don't like to drive at night as it is, and add rain or snow or ice into the mix and I'm a basket case. At times we were only going 30 on the expressway!

Yesterday we didn't go to church because Logan has this nasty cold that has him coughing uncontrollably. I will actually probably try to get him into the doctor today. Hubby was coughing all night last night, too, to the point that I gave up and slept on the couch (when I wasn't up trying to help Logan! I gave him cough medicine, Honey Don't Cough, regular honey, ice water, he had the vaporizer in his room, and still he was coughing so very hard. The poor little man!) Jordan, on the other hand, actually slept quite well this weekend! He had 7-hour stretches both Friday night and Saturday night, and then probably about a five-hour stretch last night. That's really good since I'm used to the every 1-2 hours business!

So, I am pretty sure I know what I'm getting for Christmas from Hubby and Logan... I'll bet I'm going to be getting SICK! The two of them have been coughing on me like crazy!

Poor Jordan. He REALLY likes to eat oranges, but is paying the price with a very raw behind. I guess I'm going to have to limit the oranges. He's been eating one a day. The kid LOVES bananas, oranges, peaches and pears.

Took the boys out in the snow for a few minutes yesterday. Jordan seemed to like it. He was "talking" in the sled. Logan thought it was fun to pull him around. Jordan didn't really like being out of the sled in the snow though. Probably because the poor kid can't move AT ALL when he's bundled in his snow suit! I took a few pics. I'll probably save them for Wednesday.

Oh, and Logan tested out some new monkey skills this weekend.

So I guess that's about it for me. Hope you all have a good start to your Christmas week!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Boy joy

Morning everyone!

Today is my little Logan's Christmas program at school, then the "Wise Man" will come and bring gifts and then there will be a cookie party. I made lemon bars. They came out a bit sticky, so I hope an overnight rest in the fridge helped set them a little bit more.

I can't believe Christmas is only a week away! We seem to have a lot of stuff going on this year, but we are soooo lucky that we don't have any family obligations on Christmas Day. We can just be together, the four of us.

I went for a run this morning and actually saw another chick out running in the cold and dark. I think she was running the same route as me (and the same pace as me!) but in the opposite direction, because we passed each other near the railroad tracks on one road and then halfway through my run, we passed each other again near the railroad tracks on another road. The route is a big rectangle, and the railroad tracks cut through the middle of it. Should have stopped and exchanged info. Maybe she'd make a good running partner! Then again, I've never been much for working out with a friend. I like to go solo, though I do like to run with Hubby when we're on vacation and stuff.

We just hung out around here for the most part yesterday. The boys were... boys! I wrapped some gifts and they played with "hoo-hoos" which is what I called the cardboard tubes inside a roll of wrapping paper when I was little. Now Logan calls them hoo-hoos. (The name came because I used to run around the house pretending they were a horn or something. I was shouting "hoo hoo" into it).

Boys, however, tend to turn them into swords. They SO learned that from Hubby.

Here are the boys with their hoo-hoos.

Jordan learned a fun new trick yesterday!

When I am in the bathroom putting on makeup or brushing my teeth or whatever, I usually bring him in there and give him a couple bath toys or something to play with. He has more fun opening the drawers and cupboards on the vanity, though, and he LOVES playing peek-a-boo (We call it "Where's Jordan?) in the shower curtain.


Well, yesterday, he crawled in between the toilet and the vanity and pulled himself up by using the flusher. The toilet flushed and Jordan looked at me in amazement. Like, "Did I do that, Mom?"

So, he had to test it out, and lo and behold, he flushed it again!

And again!

And again! It was so fun!

So, yeah, I smell trouble with this one. Logan never knew how to flush until I taught him after he was potty trained, and it served me well. Other than one Thomas train incident, I've never had to deal with a foreign object in the toilet.

I bet Jordan's going to make up for that!

We got a toilet lock with Logan, but the stinker had it figured out within minutes. Maybe we better try again, though.

So that's about it for me, I guess. I need to get showered before the boys get up, since I should probably be at least somewhat presentable for the Christmas program!

Everyone have a great day! And hug and kiss your kids often. Tell them you love them. You're lucky to have them, even if they drive you batty sometimes!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book review: Going Out Green by Bob Butz

Funerals make me mad. Really mad.

Every single time I have to go to one, I get angry about it.

I hate the entire ritual. I hate everything about the experience. I despise getting dressed in uncomfortable clothing and going to some sprawling, lavishly decorated funeral home that stinks of overpowering flowers, Aunt Millie's nasty perfume and other things you imagine you can smell and really don't want to think about.

I hate the way people feel like they have to have a body "preserved," dressed up and made up so loved ones can look at it. I hate it when I walk in and someone asks me "Do you want to see her/him?"

Uh, no. Actually I don't.

Because without exception, with every single person I have ever seen in a casket, I have trouble remembering them alive. Every time I think of that person, I first and foremost see him or her in the casket. That one viewing ruins many great memories I have of them. I know some people see it as "closure" or whatever. Not me. I don't want to see my loved ones' dead bodies. All it is to me is upsetting. What made that person who he or she was to me is gone. All that's left is a shell, and I don't need to see that.

Not only that, I am appalled by the cost of funerals. Even buying flowers to send makes me ill because they charge INSANE amounts of money for a handful of flowers in a vase, because they know people will buy them for fear of appearing cheap.

So, like most people, I try not to think about my own mortality. it's there and it will happen one day and you know what? I'm not going to have to deal with it. But, I have maintained for a long time that I don't want people to have to deal with the whole funeral thing when it comes to me. I think it's gross and wrong and I DON'T WANT IT.

So, I was up north on vacation and went into a great little book shop and saw a book called "Going Out Green: One Man's Adventure Planning His Own Burial" by Bob Butz. I was intrigued. I wanted to see what Butz had to say about this semi-taboo subject.

I contacted Butz, who also lives in Michigan, and I asked if he would be willing to send me a copy of his book so I could read it and review it here, since I like to investigate ways to "green up" my life. He agreed and sent me the book. (I didn't pay for it, by the way)

I had a little trouble reading it because it forced me to think about icky things, I'll tell you that, but it also got me thinking. Butz has a humorous way of looking at things like embalming and grave digging (he even dug one on his own property, just to see what it was like!) that will keep you reading, just to see what he has to say next.

But the things he discovered about having a green burial just made me madder. Basically, it's really hard to ensure that your body will be handled just the way you want it once you die. Here in Michigan, there are laws that a certified funeral director must be at least somewhat involved.

Not only that, Butz found that something as simple-sounding as finding a cheap pine box (like in the old Western movies) to be buried in is not as simple (or cheap) as one might imagine. In fact, he is planning to make his own.

In the book, Butz also points out that having a "green" burial is definitely not easy or convenient. "Green" cemeteries or "burial preserves" are few and far between, and many funeral directors interpret the law to mean that embalming is required, even if a body is not to be transported any farther than from hospital to funeral home to cemetery within one town.

Going Out Green was a quick, easy read on a topic that everyone will have to think about one day, and it will get you thinking, whether you want to or not.

But basically, this book just made me angrier and more determined to avoid all this funeral business when my time comes. I'd love to know that I'm going to "go out green." Maybe when the end rolls around for me it won't be as difficult as it is now. Who knows?

If you'd like to check out Going Out Green or any of Butz' other books, check out his Web site.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Baby's first Christmas

Logan: Christmas 2005

Jordan: Christmas 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Kilroy was here

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cloth diapering, 1 1/2 months in

Well, it's been about a month and a half since I started cloth diapering Jordan.

Looking back at my post about Day One, I can see that things have indeed become easier as I got used to cloth diapers.

Back then, I was a little overwhelmed with the different kinds of diapers I was trying out. I have some preferences now that I've tried out a bunch of different brands and styles, which I documented here, here and here. Actually, as I've grown more comfortable with the diapers and used them more, my preferences have also grown. I have found that I really like my FuzziBunz diaper and I find myself "saving" it for night, naps and outings (AKA heavier wetting times) because it does a great job of holding in the leaks.

I still have some leakage issues with cloth diapers when I don't change frequently enough. I blame that partially on the fact that I desperately need to get a few more diapers. I try to "stretch" out the wear-time because I don't have that many, and that leads to leaks.

I have developed a washing routine that works pretty well. I use a dry 5-gallon bucket lined with a PUL pail liner for my dirty diapers and wipes. I keep it right in our half-bath with the laundry hampers, since that's where I go to dunk the messy diapers in the toilet. I keep a dollar-store silicone spatula right in the holder with my toilet brush next to the toilet in case I need to scrape anything, but generally just letting the diaper or liner soak in the toilet for a couple minutes will loosen up any mess and it will fall right off.

Every other day (or sooner if I run out of diapers) I will do a cold rinse with a little Purex Free and Clear detergent--just a little!--and then a hot wash with a little more detergent. I will run an extra cold rinse if there are still bubbles during the first rinse cycle. I have never had a problem with the diapers still being dirty after a cold rinse-hot wash-cold rinse.

I have, however, begun having problems with stinky diapers. They smell just fine coming out of the wash, but it seems like as soon as Jordan wets in them, they smell ATROCIOUS! It's not just a urine smell, either. At first I thought maybe there was something wrong with the BABY, but I soon discovered that it's actually the diapers. Now I'm experimenting with my washing, because I hear that can be caused by detergent residue. I have "stripped" the diapers by doing a hot wash with blue Dawn dish detergent (it required a LOT of rinses to get those bubbles out!) and now I'm preparing to try out samples of Rockin' Green laundry detergent.

I thought maybe Hubby would have a problem with cloth diapering, but he's gone at it like a champ. Of course, as the stay-at-home mom, I deal with a LOT more diapers than he does, but he's changed a few, even gross ones, without any complaints or mishaps. Really, it IS simple. As long as you have a cover and something to soak up the waste, you're good to go. I think in the beginning we all make it more difficult than it really is.

I have learned that if Jordan is going to sleep in cloth, he HAS to be dressed in either fleece pajamas or a fleece or wool soaker because he will wake up soaked head-to-toe otherwise. I have yet to find cloth diapers that can withstand his nighttime wetting.

I purchased a zippered wet bag and have used cloth on the go. I haven't tried them on vacation yet, and that will be dependent on access to laundry facilities. I would love to try one of the disposable liner-style cloth diapers, where you use a reusable cover and just toss the liners when they're wet/dirty. that will probably be next on my list, but I just can't shell out the cash right now!

So, this far into cloth diapering, I'd definitely call it a success. In fact, I've found myself "preaching" cloth on more than one occasion, and I have given information to three expecting women who are looking into cloth diapering.

Hopefully, I'm doing my part to keeping as many of those nasty disposables out of the landfills as possible!

I made a kid cry!

I totally forgot to mention yesterday, I made someone else's kid cry at preschool. I felt like a real jerk.

We were in the coatroom/waiting area before the door opened to let the kids in, and it was me, Logan, Jordan and three other adults and four other kids. Well, one of the kids was sitting on the bench with his finger so far up his nose it was probably touching his brain, and he was twisting it back and forth, so I said "Hey Caden, finding anything good in there?" and then I laughed.

No biggie, right?

Well, the kid turned bright red and just started HOWLING, real tears and all. I guess he's really sensitive. I said "Oh, Caden, I'm sorry. I wasn't making fun of you." and he screamed "YES YOU WERE!"


Well, I apologized to him and to his uncle several times because I felt like a turd. I mean, I made the kid cry! Geez!

So, Caden will probably hate me forever.

In other news, Jordan was saying "Uh-oh!" last night. It is SO SWEET to hear his little voice! I love it! Then, after dinner I had to strip his dirty clothes off and we were headed to the bath, but made a pit stop in the living room where Hubby and Logan were hanging out. The TV was tuned to the Christmas music station, and I don't remember what song was on. Jingle bells or something. So I was making Jordan dance toward his dad and back, toward his dad and back, and he was squealing and laughing so hard. It was the most joyful thing ever, a super happy dancing naked baby! LOVE HIM!

Looking back, I'm lucky he didn't pee everywhere!

Anyway, I am on a mission to get the Christmas cards out today. It's so late! I better get on it.

Everyone have a great day!

Is Grandpa Santa?

"Mom, is that Grandpa or is that Santa?"

I guess a lot of us, when we become parents, kind of start thinking about how we're going to answer The Big Santa Question. That is, if you even do the whole Santa thing.

Well, we do, and to make matters a bit more complicated, my dad moonlights as Santa up in the Upper Peninsula, where he and mom live.

Logan only saw Grandpa as Santa his first Christmas, so he was too young to really remember, but I took the photos you see up above and they are part of a photo DVD I had made of Logan's first year.

We were watching that DVD the other day, and Logan furrowed his brow and took a closer look and asked if it was Grandpa or Santa.

"It's Grandpa," I replied, matter-of-factly.

"Is Grandpa Santa?" Logan asked.

"No. He just helps Santa out because Santa's REALLLLLLLLLLY busy this time of year getting ready for Christmas."

"Oh. OK," he said, and went about his business.

Cool. That was easy.

And Grandpa earned some major bonus points in Logan's book, because he personally knows and is employed by Santa.

I don't remember exactly when it was that I asked my mom The Question. I remember she was putting on her makeup and I was sitting on the toilet (lid down, sillies!) watching her like I often did. I asked if there was a Santa. She looked at me and asked if I really wanted her to tell me. That right there gave me the answer. I think I asked about the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny, too. I don't remember being devastated or anything, just maybe a touch sad. Good ole Mom and Dad, though, still gave me presents from Santa after that.

I don't know when Logan will ask if Santa exists, or what exactly I will tell him. I guess I better start thinking about it.

For now, though, it's good enough to know that Grandpa works for Santa.

Santa's a good threat, too. I keep threatening to sell Logan to Santa, who needs a new elf to shovel reindeer poop. Logan insists Santa can do the job, but I told him Santa's too busy maintaining the Naughty List.


Here's a photo of Dad last year doing the gig at Seul Choix Lighthouse. Yes, that's his own beard. He started growing it in June! He doesn't have to use any whitener anymore either!

I love being Santa's kid!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I want you to leave comments!

UPDATE: I actually figured it out myself! Comments should be working now.


So... I want you guys to be able to leave me comments, but it seems since I changed my template, something's not working right. I'm trying to figure that out.

Please, if you want to comment, send me an e-mail at
I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Wasted weekend (with lots of pics)

Hey everyone! Happy Monday morning!

So, do you ever start a weekend with grandiose plans to get so much done and then Monday morning rolls around and you're like, uh, hey! what happened to the weekend?!

That's me!

Here it is Monday morning. The SAME laundry still sits waiting to be folded and put away. The Christmas cards are sitting there unsent. I haven't taken the junk pile to Goodwill. Hmmm.... what the heck did I do for the past two days?!

Well, on Saturday the boys and I played with the camera. That counts, right? Seriously, we were taking tons of photos of all sorts of nonsense. Just random glimpses into our day.

Like Logan realizing he could carry Jordan around.

Playing with Jordan's new toy from Auntie Mary

taking photos of my boys' feet

and Jordan's oh-so-soft, pretty lips (I LOVE his little lippies!)

Jordan throwing a fit

and other nonsense

Then, on Sunday, we went to the 11 a.m. church service rather than the 9:30 because the Sunday School kids did a Christmas singing program.

Before we went, I took the CUTEST photo of Logan in front of the tree. He looks like he's about 6!!! He LOVES his new tie!

I couldn't get any good photos in church. We were too far back, the lighting is weird and I didn't want to be super tacky and take any flash photos. The best I could do was this photo of the big multimedia screen, which is up against the gorgeous stained glass window at the front of the church. You can kinda see Logan in the front row.

After that we went to lunch with my father-in-law, got groceries and Hubby and I took turns going to the gym. Then it was dinner time and bath time and the day was gone!

I am still struggling with getting Jordan to sleep during the night. He is up SO MUCH and just wants to be held. He's so spoiled! I have trouble letting him cry long enough to fall asleep because it takes a really long time and he REALLY SCREAMS!

I also realized that I have a HUGE sugar addiction and need to just tough it out for a week or two until it's out of my system. I am rifling in the cupboard for something sweet way too often. Especially chocolate. I know the only way to really get rid of it is to go cold-turkey and I also know it's really really hard to do. I'm going to try, though.

I also printed out a water chart from so hopefully having a visual reminder will help me get more in.

It's Logan's last week of school before holiday break. He has his Christmas party on Friday and I'm making (from scratch) lemon bars! Yum! (Wait, those don't have sugar, right?!) I really can't believe Christmas Eve is only ten days away! I still want to find something fun to put in Hubby's stocking but he's being less-than-helpful with ideas. All I have to put in there is boring stuff. Boooo!

Oh well. Maybe inspiration will strike.

Well, I called it a "wasted weekend" but really, is quality time with your kids ever WASTED time? I think not! The laundry can wait! I have feet to photograph, darn it!

Hope you have a great week!