Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Review of Wobbles Water Teether

Great Toy

By dazed81 from Illinois on 9/22/2009

4out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Crinkly, Bright colors, Teething Surface, Soft, Large enough to grasp

we purchased this because it was bright, crinkly, and had lots of surfaces to grasp and chew. the teething ring portion is filled with water but I find that because of the teething ring's location below the top "rattle knob", my son doesn't get the teething ring into his mouth. It's in an awkward position. I don't know that cooling it is worth the hassle since that part doesn't make it into his mouth. He does like it, and we keep it in the car for him to play with and chew on while we travel. The round loop makes it easy to hold and it is soft. I like the many ribbons. This toy is made by Manhattan Toy, and you may be familiar with the excellent quality and durability of their items, and the fun designs. We love their toys. I would recommend this item but I am just not sure it's functional as a chilled teething ring so much as a cool toy.


Monday, September 21, 2009

My Review of Sip-A-Bowl 6-Pack

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Enjoy every drop (without spills). No slurping, tipping, or spilling! These ingenious 22 oz. bowls have a built-in straw, so kids can neatly drink up every last bit of cereal milk, soup, and even ice cream. Sturdy, dishwasher safe, and fun! Assorted colors. See our matching divided dishes (#11420).

My two year old (and I) love these!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 9/21/2009

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Doesn't Stain, Attractive Design, Dishwasher Safe, High Quality

Best Uses: Daily Use, Soup, Ice Cream, cereal

Describe Yourself: Practical, Mom of Two, Stylish, Bargain Hunter

My daughter is now two. Several months ago, I made the mistake of letting her see me drink from my cereal bowl. And, she started to try to copy me. And it was a disaster! SO Messy! I saw these and bought some, and she did WONDERFULLY with them. We now use them for anything liquid, and we have no messes! Great for cereal, Ice cream, soup, etc. I wash them in the dishwasher every single time and they are always clean and don't have any issues whatsoever. We have had these for months and been very happy!


My Review of First Meals

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Written by a Cordon Bleu chef and mom, our best-selling kids' cookbook is even better than ever. Newly expanded, it features more than 200 easy, healthy recipes for children, including 75 yummy new ones. Find tasty first purees, quick lunchbox combos, and fast, fabulous dinners for kids 6 month...

Was a HUGE help! I love it!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 9/21/2009

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Durable, Easy To Use

Best Uses: Meals, Snacks, Infants, Healthy, Money Saving, Toddlers

Describe Yourself: Parent of Two or More Children

I LOVED This book. from directions on making, storing, and using basic purees, to making 2 and 3 step foods and snacks all the way up to toddlers and young children. This was the ONLY book that I owned or needed when I made food for my daughter, and now I am starting to use it again with my son. I LOVED this book. it was an excellent reference and I loved the recipes. I had people commenting all the time that my daughter would eat ANYTHING and that her food smelled wonderful, and better than any babyfood they had ever seen. I loved making delicious and fresh meals for her, and we really saved money. It is amazing how much puree you can get from a $1 bunch of carrots and other veggies as well! Great for allowing you to control your own ingredients and your own textures and thicknesses. I love this book! Many colorful and inspiring photos!


My Review of Travel Potty

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Our portable potty is so compact, a child can carry it! This potty-in-a-briefcase is very easy to set up and fold down. Perfect for takin' care of business on the road. No cleaning required: just secure a one-gallon zipper bag to the seat for fast, neat disposal. With carry handle, support hand...


By dazed81 from Illinois on 9/21/2009

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Lightweight, Easy Setup, Comfortable, Convenient, Easy Use, Portable, Durable

Best Uses: Camping, Daily Use, Kids, Toddlers, Travel, Keeping in the Van

Describe Yourself: Parent of Two or More Children

This is THE BEST potty training item I have bought. It is PERFECT! I love that it can use gallon ziploc bags (available EVERYWHERE) and that it allows you to zip up a mess and dispose of it easily, or if there is nowhere to dispose, you can keep it with you in your vehicle until you get somewhere to dispose. We initially bought this for camping. We kept it in the tent so that she could go overnight and go easily without walking to the nearest restroom... because we knew that she wouldn't make it. It was WONDERFUL.
We discovered that it is great for in the van, and we never go anywhere without it. It allows us to stop if she needs to go, and to go whenever we get somewhere (immediately if necessary!) It also is great to use in the great outdoors. Because we live in a very rural area, we can use it in the grass without a bag and it's quite convenient.

It's simple to setup. When we recently went to a hayride, I just set it up each time she needed to go, alongside the corn field. It was excellent! Without this, we would most certainly have more accidents. I attribute it to our luck with early potty training. my daughter just turned two only a couple of weeks ago, and has already been potty trained for over a week! Yay!

I would recommend this to EVERYONE!


My Review of Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Finally: a truly comfortable (and flattering) nursing bra! This seamless, butter-soft Bravado nursing bra molds to your body for a perfect fit, and the stretchy fabric grows and contracts to support your changing shape. The cups unclip with one hand and may be fully lowered when nursing, as recomme...


By dazed81 from Illinois on 9/21/2009

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Nice Pattern, Good Size And Fit, Soft, Easy To Wash

Cons: Stains Easily

Best Uses: Newborn, Toddlers, Preemies, Nursing Moms, Infants

Describe Yourself: Breastfed two children, Parent of Two or More Children

I have five of these bras. I purchased them at a local bra specialty shop and was professionally measured as a 40G. because this bra is microfiber and adds LOTS of stretch, it was recommended and was the most comfortable bra I have ever tried, and I have tried A LOT of nursing bras, alot of different styles, brands, etc.
I was advised that it is not a good idea to wear the same bra two days in a row, because it is hard on the elastic and doesn't allow it time to regain it's shape. I purchased two and went back to buy three more because I loved it so much.

The ONLY downside that I see is that after a long day, the bottom band (which is Really nice and soft, but still wide) can be curled up a bit from all the weight.

These wash nicely. I use the handwash cycle on my washer and some unscented specialty lingerie soap. I hang them dry.

I love that these look so smooth and seamless and are very nice under all types of clothing. The only thing I can't wear them under is a lower cut blouse, or something with a really wide neck, because the straps and front of the bra may show.

I actually can release these straps with one hand, and re-hook them with one hand.

The bra has built in "pockets" and removable "padding" that can be used to help conceal nursing pads. I used these initially, but once my milk supply is regulated I don't need nursing pads anymore, and it was nice that I could just remove the bra's padding. Very nice quality.

Very pleased. I have had the same five bras for 6 months now with not a single issue.


She's Pregnant!!!!

Finally catching up on my TIVO and seeing that Michelle Dugger is PREGGO AGAIN! Whoo!

Tonight I am pleased because I have the cleanest van ever. The van was overwhelming me. everything had a place before Marek was born, and suddenly the whole thing had gone horribly wrong. I personally believe that it has lots to do with other people not putting things BACK and also with Ardyn dragging more things INTO the van. I hate that. I just don't have enough arms to carry both kids, a diaper bag, and whatever else (purse, purchases, other things) out of the van each time. It takes me an average of 5-8 trips for me to unload the van when I get home, and this is WITHOUT any groceries. Ack. So. I emptied the whole thing. Completely. And then I took out the carseats. And EVERYTHING out of the lower stow and go bins. Even the change compartment, the drawer under the passenger seat, and the glove compartment. Whew! I started this project at 4pm with both kids and Ended it at 10pm. Well, it's not completely done because there is still stuff that needs to come into the house, and stuff that came in the house that needs a home.

But. I was trying to think of ways too make things more organized, and also a way to make it easier for someone ELSE (Evan) to find things. Whenever he says "I'll go get it for you" I just want to groan because I know that no matter HOW well I tell him where it is, by the time he gets out there he will have forgotten what I said, and he will never find it. So. My first idea was that I needed to get some of those collapsible canvas type organizers that they sell in Target and Wal-Mart automotive. You know, the ones that they always show with two brown paper grocery bags standing up in them? Well, I don't really need to spend money on that, and I didn't really feel like putting kids car seats back in, loading up kids, and going to the store when I was already completely unloaded from the van. So then I remembered that "somewhere" in this house I should have my old Pampered Chef Collapsible Crate and two other collapsible crates that I owned around that time. I recalled that I hadn't seen those crates in a LONG time. Before Ardyn was born? Where had I seen them? I hadn't seen them, which meant they must be in the attic. And they were. Filled with CRAP. And I mean crap. If I had a dumpster out the attic dormer windows I would have just thrown it OUT of the window. LOL.

So anyway, one of the collapsible crates fits perfectly into the one reat stow and go compartment that I always have "open." I generally keep the single rear seat up in case we need to give someone a ride, and keep the Double rear seat folded (stowed) so that I can transport groceries, stroller, etc. I also made better utilization of the front two compartments, as I finally figured out that there are locking mechanisms on each stow compartment lid that were preventing me from accessing them without moving the front seats. That had me annoyed, and I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to be happy with the front storage space if I couldn't even access it quickly. Well, now we know. I also used Gallon ziplocs to keep categorized items in, and place THOSE in the crate. So instead of a big disaster of crap and supplies in the crate, it's several organized bags. I used labeled ziplocs for some things, and then the tidy mesh drawstring bags for larger things like my Babyhawk carrier, shopping cart cover, etc. Then I designated one drawstring bag for each kid, and attached them alongside their car seats. Marek's has some of his toys and things, and Ardyn's has her fleece jacket and earflap hat that I found on eBay for her for this fall (Lavender LLBean, with animal ears on the hat. It's SOOOO Cute!) I think I will add Marek's falll jacket to his drawstring bag too, that way we will have it for these cool evenings that we have been running into. While I was in the attic, I also found an old purple mesh carrier from Old Navy, that i used to have in my car like TWO Cars ago, and I can't remember who, but someone (Carrie? Angela? Carrie?) gave it to me years ago. It works great behind my headrest as a toy caddy for Ardyn's stuff. the only downside is that it reminded me of the Portable DVD player that we bought LONG ago, that won't mount anywhere in the van. it's the neatest little DVD player, but when we bought it, we didn't realize that it wouldn't mount ANYWHERE and wouldn't stay in any travel bag. How annoying. So it really has barely been used at all. And that is disappointing. Let's see, in my ziplocs I have such categories as "meals out" which contains adhesive coloring placemats, crayons, wipes, two bib clips (I love these things, except that not many places that we eat have cloth napkins!) and some plastic IKEA Silverware (thanks Sarah A!) that we can use on our MANY random picnics and things. I also have one that contains garbage bags and different types of wipes, and another that has all spare pants, underwear, and socks for Ardyn (newly potty trained!) Another contains a roll of toilet paper and kandoo wipes. My very favorite "in the van" item is the briefcase potty. We initially bought it for camping but we use it EVERY TIME we leave the house. It uses regular gallon ziplocs so that you can just zip it up and toss it, or keep it in the van safely until you get home to toss. I love how it folds, and the little handles for Ardyn to steady herself. I also love that if we are in the grass and she just needs to pee, I don't have to use a bag at all, and I can just park it and let her go au naturale! I also keep a juice box juice pal, a popsicle holder, and the cushie potty seat.

I think this would be cool to have, but hey, I think I can make it myself!

Marek's halloween costume came today. I hope it isn't tooooo big! Ardyn also got most of her playdresses. I need to get them all together and take a picture. They are soooooo cute!

Oh well. Time for me to go to bed. Or at least get off the computer!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Concrete, Mulch, Playdresses, and Hayrides

Okay, here is the continuation of the previous post, which I promised, and (so far, distractions pending) am actually going to DO. I will start with the past week and see what I can get typed out here. The major project happening here was... CONCRETE! We have been waiting ALL SUMMER for our new patio to be poured. It's too bad that it wasn't done earlier so that we could ENJOY it all summer, but at least it's done, and we still have fall.... right? So anyway, after putting the fence up, we spend SO much time in the front yard that it was evident that a patio area would be awesome. Particularly because our chairs and fire pit and tables were just one more thing that had to be moved when Evan mows. And if you have seen our yard, you know that we have lots of kids' play stuff out there! So. We had an area near the driveway where the grass wasn't growing well, and then adjacent to it was a place where there was an empty flowerbed, and also where all the old bushes had been on that side of the house (which we pulled out this spring before the fence got put up.) So we decided that it was the perfect location for a patio. Behind the patio is a square between the foundation (east of the porch) and the fence, which we decided to keep dirt, because it was up against the foundation and we didn't see ourselves using that as patio area.... especially because you can't see the yard back there, and we needed to be able to see the kids from where we sat. We decided that we would move her sandbox/picnic table combo back to that corner, so that the kids could play near us, and it would be sheltered from afternoon sun, and also because the picnic table would allow them to eat near us on the patio. So. It all started with Digging. Evan spent several DAYS digging out the hard and compacted dirt where the patio would go. By hand. It was fun to watch. then he tilled some of the "extra" dirt in to that back area, and sloped it so that there was a chance for the water to run away from the house (which was NOT what was happening once we pulled the bushes out.) Then, we waited. The patio was supposed to be poured before Ardyn's Birthday party. I was promised that. It didn't happen and so we had a big hole there. Oh well. Nothing's perfect. So then this past week the forms went in, and the rebar and wire and pea gravel. Then this Wednesday, the truck arrived and concrete was poured. There are pics in my facebook September album that showcase the process. We put the kids' handprints and the year in the concrete, right next to the front steps, which I just ADORE. The concrete is beautiful, and we were so excited to have it! On Friday, Evan lay plastic down over the dirt that we had graded (behind the patio.) We were doing this both to block weeds, and keep the mulch in place, and also so that the dirt would hopefully stay in place and graded as we wanted it too, instead of washing forward over the patio and sideways all into the driveway. Although with a torrential downpour, we may still have an issue. Only time will tell. So Friday night when Ardyn and I went to the MOPS hayride, Evan took Marek and got mulch. We had looked at cocoa bean mulch early in the season and picked it as a soft yet attractive groundcover for that area. We needed something soft because the sandbox was going to be back there. So Evan went and got the mulch (which made his entire vehicle smell like it was filled with cocoa) and brought it home. I also asked him to search for some tiki torches on clearance, because I had two brackets that I bought earlier in the season that we needed torches for, and also we needed more fuel, which would also be clearanced out by this time of the season.

So on Saturday, Evan spread mulch in that entire area. We had previously (Friday) emptied three 5 gallon buckets of sand out of the sandbox so we could move it, and carried it over to it's new location and refilled it. So the mulch was spread, and it was BEAUTIFUL. Of course since Ardyn was outside, she was sitting in it and rolling in it and was a MESS from head to toe. she had cocoa beans in her underwear, in her hair, it was insane. And then she tried to EAT them, and I believe that she discovered that although it SMELLED delicious, it was NOT Delicious. So her mouth was ringed with dirty coca mulch. Eeeewww. I was inside so I told Evan to read the label and make sure it wasn't like deathly poisonous (guess we should have checked that BEFORE spreading it, right?) and he started to laugh and said "check this out... Don't use over landscape plastic (oops) Don't use in a child's play area (double oops). But we decided that we would be that one exception where this would all work out and be perfect and that the label did not apply to our situation. We may regret it, but it looks pretty and works for now. Evan wet it all down and hosed off the sandbox and picnic table. SUpposedly when the mulch is wet, it will activate some special superhero-like property and the cocoa beans will mat together to form a groundcover that doesn't wash away. Well, we will see about that.

So that was mostly our yesterday, and the concrete and mulch saga.

Besides the concrete, last week was the day that Hadley found his new home. for those of you who don't know, Hadley is a coonhound that we adopted from the local shelter when i volunteered there. Ever since having the kids, we just can't provide the right kind of home to TWO Dogs. They weren't getting attention. They were no longer allowed in the house (too much hair for me to keep up with) and they were not getting walked (I can't walk two dogs and two kids at the same time. Just can't do it.) and so the search for a new home began. Evan asked everyone he could think of. Then i put information on Facebook, Craigslist, and TWO ads in local papers.... and we had a TON of calls then. The first call we had was amazingly from a mom friend of mine, who I have known for a while, and who also breastfeeds and cloth diapers. I was so relieved to hear from her. They live on a farm with many animals and have two girls and two boys. The two girls are young teenagers and love animals, so Hadley was sure to get lots of attention. They were going to come over on Wednesday and meet Hadley, which, coincidentally ended up being the same day as concrete and made it a bit difficult. But they loved him and took him home for a test, and then he decided to stay! Yay! I still need to dig up his paperwork and get it to them.

Also this past week was very busy with activities! Ardyn went to school a day early this week, and Marek and I ran to peru and returned two baby gates that we were unhappy with. MIL bought them, so the money went back to her. Marek and I were going to meet with a friend in Princeton and teach her how to fold cloth diapers (prefolds) and when we arrived at her house, no one was home, which we knew meant that she had gone into labor and had her baby! yay! So we went on to Nicole Isaacson's new studio, which is ADORABLE and we were so surprised to see a giant picture of Ardyn in the front window, from her 1 year photo shoot. If you go to Nicole's website, you can watch the top banner as it changes through photos that she has taken, and there are TWO pictures of Ardyn there, one of her in her tutu, and another right next to it of her in fairy wings and a lavender cloth diaper! Sweet! So, anyway, I had borrowed a lens from her while mine was being repaired under warranty, and so I returned it and made an appointment for us to have our FIRST Family photos taken, this October. I am SO excited about that. After we returned the baby gates, Marek and I spent HOURS finding something for me to WEAR when we get our pictures taken, and now I am finding coordinating outfits for the kids. And then, Evan. LOL. For the kids, I am going with (i think) used Gymboree outfits, in fall colors. I think Marek is going to get something from the Treehouse Line (which has orange foxes on it) and Ardyn something from the Autumn Highlands Line (also with fall colors and some foxes.) or the Fall Leaves Line (which we already have a dress for) We will see how that goes and if (when I actually GET THEM) they match and coordinate. We are going to take pics in the fall leaves, so my shirt is burnt orange with a dark brown sweater that goes over it, and jeans. I picked very solid colors for myself, and hope to do the same for Evan, and the kids have a bit of fun and pattern to their outfits... and hopefully we won't clash!

So, also in the past week we have been very busy with MOPS Activities. Because Ardyn went to school a day early, she was able to attend a MOPS Playdate at the home of our co-coordinator. We had a great time, except that Ardyn is getting WORSE about sharing. ugh. Sarah has a pond and the kids loved when she caught them a frog.

That night we had a MOPS family activity, a hayride and marshmallow roast. It was BEAUTIFUL outside, and the kids enjoyed the hayride. I think the parents enjoyed smores most of all ;) because as is usually the case with kids that young, they don't appreciate the beauty ooey-gooey mushy melty chocolate-y goodness. I learned a trick from Elizabeth, which I will forever cherish. She uses my very favorite Reeses Peanut Butter cups instead of Hershey Bars, and I did the same and was forever altered by the experience. Yum!

As I type this, Ardyn is in like round 15 of a Dora-thon. She isn't really even watching, she ate breakfast and also has been playing quite a bit, but as soon as I turn it off I know that she will start getting into things, and I want to finish this, so for now , Dora reigns.

One week from tomorrow we will be hosting the MOPS playdate at our house, and while this is exciting, I am also nervous about how Ardyn will react with so many kids coming into her territory and touching her things. She always does well if there is like, just one little girl playing, but if there are girls and boys and everyone is touching what is normally just hers, I can see a meltdown in the future. We need to do this often enough that she hopefully gets over that! It's tough being the only grandchild (besides Marek) because she's always top dog. She will probably be the school bully all by herself. At the hayride, she would run across the grass and jump right on top of a group of four boys playing football. No worries. She's too big for her britches.

I am excited because for Christmas I wanted to get her Hooked on Phonics, and the Spanish Hooked on Phonics as well. I saw them on clearance at Waldenbooks, and told Grandma Deb, who swooped in and bought them up for her. I can't wait! Hopefully when teaching her, Marek can pick up on some things early too. Right now I am so busy just trying to keep my head above water that I miss doing educational and crafty things with her. I am thinking that we will be making cookies or play doh this week perhaps. I need some crafty relief myself. I am thinking fall leaves sugar cookies. Now that Ardyn's dairy allergy is a bit more tolerant, she can actually eat a few if she chooses, with a minimal reaction.

I am seeing rashes in both her AND Marek now, and so we are abstaining from Cereal for Marek for a week to see if the rash goes away and then when we re-introduce cereal, if it comes back. I hope he doesn't have a wheat allergy. Ick! I think I just may start him on some veggies and see how that goes. he differes from Ardyn in that he is dying to hold the spoon and feed himself (more pics of that also on Facebook.) I am so behind uploading pics to Flickr it's unbelievable. I am just overwhelmed with the amount of information it takes to categorize them and put them into albums and label them all. But I NEED to do that before it gets too far away from me!

So, let's talk about Ardyn's 2nd Birthday. It was very nice. Unfortunately, I felt really nauseous that afternoon. I had the house all ready and the cake all made with bunch of help from my mom (whew! Thank god for her) and my sister (who provided comic relief and sifted 4 pounds of confectioners sugar for my buttercream frostings) and Lisa (who helped in every way possible, washing bowls and spoons and icing tips and things and running between the kitchen and dining room with whatever I needed while frosting the cake.) Having people who came together to help me was amazing. It's something that I really wish happened more often. It made me feel loved and supported! I love the fellowship feeling that you get from an activity like that. I love spending time with my family and friends and sometimes (all to often) that goes by the wayside for other activities. This is the reason that I find religious groups like the Amish so fascinating. It's the network of support that they have built that I believe our culture is completely lacking. And it's the same thing with the Duggar Family. That is something that I really wish to have. maybe without the 18 kids and with electricity :)

So, the cake turned out well, and I also made a double layer chocolate fudge cake that was round, and mom decorated it with a giant number 2. We had Ice Cream, and I made 10 pounds of BBQ. everyone brought salads and casseroles and things to share and we just sat around and had a nice time. Ardyn loved opening her presents, but she would get distracted by the new fabulous thing she just opened and then it was hard to get her to open another one. The Viewmaster was a HUGE hit, and she also really enjoyed her Doll Care Center, which has a bathtub and high chair and doll bed, with a mobile and cabinets beneath for storage (yay!)

She also got some great mermaid Dolls, which she LOVES in the bathtub with her. Now when she plays in the tub, I use that time to pick up the bathroom and put away towels and things. She got a Little People Airplane that she ADORES (she's all about airplanes) and Aunt Liz brought her a bunch of awesome Usborne books. Her favorite is the Flip Flap Airplane Book, and Mom's Favorite is the Spanish picture book. She got lots of neat clothes and undershirts, which we needed. She got a stuffed Shaun the Sheep and a Shaun the Sheep Purse from us, and also the newest Shaun the Sheep DVD, Little Sheep of Horrors. After her birthday, I actually cleaned and rearranged her bedroom. I went through toys and got everything reorganized, and packed up some things to go to the resale shop too. The week after her birthday, I FINALLY Scored a little tykes basketball hoop at a garage sale. It was $5 and it was the BIG one that goes all the way up, and it retails for $45! Sweet! I also found a little miniature Radio Flyer Tricycle for her dolls, new in the box, for $6, and some beanie Baby Dolls for 25 cents each. After posting pics of the Beanie Dolls, my friend Randa (who I went to school with, and now lives in Washington) emailed me to say that she had an entire TOTE of beanie Dolls that she needed to donate that her daughter no longer played with. And so she sent them to us! That was an exciting day when Fed Ex pulled up with a big box for Ardyn. She squealed louder than I have ever heard her squeal when she opened the box and saw what was inside!

Another thing going on here lately.... the acquisition of a fall/winter wardrobe. We had several items that we had received as hand-me-downs or from garage sales, but once I started to see how much of her closet was actually short sleeved and shorts, I was a little panicky. But my mom had gotten her a bunch of pants and matching long sleeved shirts, which was awesome, and my aunt got her a sweatsuit. Then I started on ebay. Oy. Ardyn is BIG into wearing dresses. She asks to wear a dress everyday. So I started to look for Hanna Andersson Playdress/Daydress and legging combos. They are awesome, but because they are highly sought after and also expensive to buy, they resell for extremely high amounts. Usually between $20-$40 for one dress and leggings. I have spent weeks and have gotten MANY playdresses and legging combos, as well as playdress and tight combos for this fall/winter. The other thing we needed was SHOES, because she has nothing in the stash beyond a size 6, and she is outgrowing several of what she has. Now she has Mary Janes in every color (a bit excessive, but when I get on a roll, I can't stop, and they were all bought used) and tennis shoes for play and for good. She has Mary janes in Navy, brown, Black, Orange, Hot Pink, Red, and glitter-y purple. She has two pair of brown boots to wear with tights and dresses, and also a pair of new tennis shoes from Target, and a pair of used dora tennis shoes in a 8 and used NB shoes in a size 7. I found a LL Bean Fleece Jacket with a matching hat in lavender on eBay, so she has a jacket for fall as well. I also really like the LLBean or Gymboree Playdressses.... and so we have many of those for play as well as those that are more dressy. I figure she's going to destroy clothes no matter what she wears, so she might as well look good doing it. Buying used is the way to go! I also have been slowly adding to her 3T stash, and to the size 4T tote as well. If I buy something from a seller on eBay and they have cool stuff in larger sizes that's going for cheap, then I will buy that too to combine shipping. One mom that I bought a dress from also had a bunch of tights in size 5/6 and Two whole lots of embroidered name brand jeans. I bought the tights and also 5 pair of embroidered jeans in size 4 for less than $10. Then I just included them in my other shipping and saved, and stash them in the size 4 tote in the attic. I've also found some fleece sets from old Navy and The Children's Place, for really cheap at garage sales or on ebay, mostly in size 3, and so I have grabbed those up and put them away. I love fleece pants. They are soft and comfy and warm, and they wear and wash REALLLY well. They also work excellently as diaper covers, but, as you may or may not know, Ardyn is "Potty trained!!!"

Yep. Today is day seven in Big Girl Underwear. until yesterday, she had only had two accidents for the first 5 days! She wears a pullup during nap and overnight, but during the day she is wearing underwear. i worried that as soon as we went somewhere it would go out the window, but she went to daycare for a full day and stayed dry, and stayed dry during our playdate and at the MOPS hayride. For quite a while, I thought that really I was the one potty trained and not her, and so I feel guilty telling anyone that she is potty trained. I mentioned this to our MOPS mentor at the hayride, because being potty trained mostly consists of her holding it until I tell her that we need to take a potty break, and as long as I continue to serve as that reminder that it's time to stop playing and go potty, it works. If I forget, there is the potential for accidents. We use a timer at home and I set it at 30 minute intervals, or occasionally 45 minutes. Debbie (the MOPS mentor) made me feel so much better by saying that potty training IS about reminding them, and that I will be reminding them until they are about 3 or 4 in order to have no accidents. This made me feel like more of a success than a failure. Ardyn is an easily distracted child, and gets very involved in whatever imaginary world she is in at the moment, and then, she comes running to me telling me that she has to go potty, and it's usually too late. So. for now, I am tentatively calling it potty trained. And at least I don't have diapers to rinse from a toddler OR pull ups to buy, with the exception of nights and naps.

I wonder if this is yet the longest blog posting I have ever written? LOL. I just put Marek down for his nap and am avoiding any work. Maybe Ardyn and I will make something or do something fun instead. I probably will think of something I forgot, but the internet will always be here, so for now, goodbye and thanks if you are still reading these ramblings!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

They might be trying to take me down....

It's interesting how blogging is much like therapy. When I start to feel overwhelmed, or even when I am extremely happy, I always want to blog. Lately I have been trying to get here for what seems like WEEKS. I think of so many crazy things that I need to blog and I just can't GET here. I feel that I should be folding the pile of laundry on the loveseat, and the pile of diapers beneath that, but at the same time I know all the things I accomplished today should allow me to at least do this before I hit the pillow. But, I digress.

One thing that I have noticed lately is a wide wide range of emotions on my part. Maybe it's hormones. maybe it's the nature of having two small kids that can fill your heart with such joy and overwhelming love one second, and make you want to pull your hair out literally the very next second. It truly is a roller coaster ride. I think that lately I have been very sensitive to the huge ranges of highs and lows that are happening around here. The first thing that I will comment on is the Mirena. Boys, just go away now. This here is girl talk and it's about to get personal. Yep. And I am going to post it on the internet. And I don't give a shit who reads it. I just have to spit it all out.

The mirena is a wonderful thing. But I think it's still jacking with me. When you first have it "installed" you get the crazy 6 weeks (or longer, 6 months) of spotting. I had pretty consistent spotting for probably 4 months. And I mean just about every day. And then, I had a real period. Now, let's just say, for the record, that post-birth control, pre-mirena, my periods were light, happy occasions that lasted EXACTLY three days. And the Mirena touts that it may make your periods less heavy and even SHORTER and I think to myself "this is gonna be amazing!" and then.... No. Not me. I have Twelve day periods. Like three days of spotting, and then 5 days of bleeding, and then 4 more days of spotting. Seriously? No wonder I might get a little cranky. Then this month, I started to feel some cramps. I was like "Hmmm, must be my period coming" and I check the calendar and sure enough it's time again, and since Marek is consistently sleeping like 12 hours, It's a normal thing for me when I am breastfeeding to have a regular period once that has been going on for a while. So, sure enough the spotting starts, and I think "well, here we go again" and I have this insanely hormonal day where I am just getting all teary eyed one moment and then the next I want to choke the life out of someone, and then.... just that one day of spotting. And now, it's been a week, and no more spotting or sign of a period in any way, except that I am feeling so cranky and overwhelmed yet incredibly emotional and happy and I just don't GET it. I think that perhaps the Mirena is trying to kill me slowly. Or maybe that's just my overly hormonal self being slightly paranoid.

But another good example of a roller coaster would be this past week. Let's just start with today and work backwards, because I can remember today, and I am not sure about before that. (seriously, I am getting bad about that! How am I going to keep track of their childhood's if I can't even remember what happened YESTERDAY?!) Today was officially day "6" of Ardyn being in big girl underwear. She had two accidents. One when she was with daddy outside. Another, right before lunch. Oh and then there was the accident tonight, but wait a minute for that story. The kids slept late today. LATE Being 8am. Yes, they are trying to kill me. My morning wake-up has been coming between 7-7:30 each day. Blame Ardyn, because Marek would literally wake up and eat and go back to bed until 10am or 11, which was extremely evident when Ardyn was gone for two Saturday's in a row to spend the night at the outlaws' house. Because we DID sleep till 11am. Marek and I were in BLISS without the terror of the house waking us at the crack of dawn.

So, They slept "late" - although I went to sleep at 1:30am and was awakened at 4:30 (you know, that time in your sleep cycle when you might as well be drugged because you are sleeping so hard that you are drooling and you wonder "How long HAS that baby been crying" and you still can't make any part of your body move because you can't physically wake up? Yep, that's when he was waking me up.) by Marek, who was for some reason NOT putting himself back to sleep, and so I crept in to get him, feed him, and then he cuddled up with me and slept till Ardyn barged in. So, started out with the morning potty routine where we change her from Pull up to panties, and go potty, and decided that she could use a bath. While she was bathing I picked up in the bathroom, and vacuumed the bathroom, and then after bathtime I got both kids dressed. Then I vacuumed her bedroom and then the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Then Evan made us breakfast (which by now was more like brunch) and Marek was exhausted (because he would have still been sleeping if he was in charge) and so he took a nice long nap in his room while I did laundry and stripped out bed and washed everything. Then I sent Ardyn outside to play in the yard while Evan spread mulch. (more on the yard story in a bit) So I intended to mop the floors while she was outside, but I kept getting called OUTSIDE to look at this, or give my opinion on that, or "look what Ardyn's is doing" and that's how I got a good insight into why Ardyn was COVERED with dirt, was ROLLING in the freshly spread mulch, had EATEN the mulch, and also why I went out and stripped her down naked on the new patio while Daddy hosed her with the garden hose and I used a washcloth to wipe her down and then wrapped her in a towel before letting her back into my freshly mopped house with fresh bed linens. Oy. Why did I give her a bath this morning? Jeez.

So anyway, I got the floors mopped. And then I was SO EXHAUSTED. It started to hit me about 12:30, and I couldn't figure out who was goinng to pass out first, Ardyn or Me. Problem being, Marek had JUST taken like a two hour nap from 10am till noon, so no WAY was he going to sleep. But I had a feeling that if I could JUST make it till about 2:30, he would be ready. Of course Ardyn was rubbing her eyes and all that, so I was hoping I could keep her awake for 2.5 hours, because if she napped and Marek didn't, that meant no nap for ME! Ahhhhh!

So I did laundry, and put the sheets back on our bed, and had packaged up a couple of my eBay sales and paid for online postage and put them in the mailbox, and then FINALLY, I could see Marek getting tired. It was 1:45 and We all three climbed into my bed. Ardyn was reading the "Birds of Illinois Field Guide" and pointing out different birds to me. Finally I told her "we have to put the book down" and she fought. I took it away and didn't even get turned around and she was passed out. But Marek, on the other hand, has this whole new "I'm so tired but I won't just sleep" thing that he does, which is IDENTICAL to the way Ardyn has been from day 1. I have to put him on his side in my arms, with the pacifier and the blankie, and shush and sway and pace and hold his arms away from his face.... and so while Ardyn slept in my bed through ALL of his screaming, and I just wanted to collapse, this is what I did. Finally he fell asleep and I lay him between Ardyn and I, and we slept for TWO HOURS. Thank God. But then I woke up with a headache. Ugh.

So Evan came home from Menard's (he took back the mulch we hadn't used) and we all got ready to go to supper at Kelly's Place. We were going to have family style.

I fed Marek right before we walked out the door, and when we got there, all was well. Ardyn had been having a few issues with listening today (okay, alot of issues) and had several time outs and about 5 bazillion instances of "counting to three" before a potential time out, and so we were a little wary of how supper would be. Well, it was not good. Evan got his salad bar and Ardyn's salad bar. Then I went to get mine and when I got back, I find that Ardyn had tried to shove a whole baby carrot in her mouth and swallow it whole, and proceeded to choke, gag, and puke all down the front of her dress, her tights, and her boots (suede. Yep) and then all over and BETWEEN the two tables that were pushed together in front of her. Well, needless to say she lost her appetite. And I had to go outside to get baby wipes and clean her all up. Then Evan took her outside because she wouldn't SIT in her chair, and it was a combination time-out/attitude adjustment and distraction while we waited for our food. Then Marek proceeded to scream until I had to hold him AND walk with him, because he was hitting that tired point again but wouldn't just let GO and sleep. That was about the time that Evan came in and told me that Ardyn had just peed all over him and herself. Yeah. So out he goes with her and changes her entire outfit, which has now been puked on and peed in. And his shirt is soaked. And so he comes back in with her, and she is all dramatic about everything from the position of her plate to the buckle in the high chair. Poor Marek won't calm down and my food is in front of me but I can't EAT it. So I ended up knowing that he was just exhausted and his teeth are really bugging him, so he wanted to eat and I knew it would resolve all his issues, so while Evan and Ardyn ate, I ended up breastfeeding him into oblivion. Then Evan took him and Marek was passed out cold on daddy's shoulder while I ate and Ardyn screamed about wanting to get DOWN and how she was DONE. Ugh. After loading us all up, we headed home and I put the kids to bed. Talk about a crazy ass day.

It amazes me that there are now so many moments when I feel like things are really falling into place and getting easier, and as soon as I almost say that out loud to someone, it all goes to shit in about 20 minutes and I think "WHAT was I THINKING?!" and then it starts that same cycle all over again. At least now that there is a "break" in the band, I have Evan here and he is being much more helpful and we are able to tackle things as a team. I think THAT is what makes it easier. And also the fact that Marek is on a very predictable schedule (his own doing I believe) and that I am supremely in-tuned to what he needs at every moment, and perhaps even before he actually starts to show me what he needs. It's amazing really.

Right now I have about a bazillion projects in my mind, that i desperately need a break in order to accomplish. I want to clean out the linen closet. and it hasn't been done since right before Ardyn was born and I NEED to do it. So I need someone to hold my kids and take them away for like 3 hours so I can do that. I need to clean out both freezers and pitch expired and old stuff. Another 2 hours. I need to pack up all Marek's 3-6 month clothes, and pull out all the new size and wash and put them all away. Another 2-3 hours. I need to put away his old pacifiers and bring out the new ones. I need to wipe down baseboards and the ledges on my paneled doors. I need to wash windows. I need to clean and dust under my bed. I need to rotate our mattress and put the bedskirt back on. I need to clean the back porch. These are things that just can NOT be done without someone watching my kids for a while.

Another strange roller-coaster thing lately, is that I am even more spacey when it comes to projects. It seems like maybe I get bored easily? But I can't really say I feel bored. One week I am a sewing madwoman, and then.... nope. Don't care. And then i am needlefelting and loving it and then. Nope. Don't care. And then I am crocheting and it's insanity and then.... You guessed it. Nope. Don't care. Last week was organizing. This week its been cleaning. Ugh. What makes me that way?

Well, I have a ton more to say, but I am fastly fading and I know it's almost midnight and my wakeup call will be coming sooner than later, so I hope to get back here tomorrow and finish this up. Hope this finds everyone well and that I make it through the stress of potty training and cleaning and all that jazz.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Big Girl!

Busy week~! Preparing for Sunday's big birthday party for Ardyn. Today was her birthday and It's so hard to believe she is two, but at the same time, she is learning and changing and growing so fast, it isn't so hard to believe. I think I would be more upset about it if I didn't have Marek, but having a baby right here helps me to not have that anxiety that I will never have another "baby" and that my baby is growing so fast.

Today we went to town and picked up Ardyn's cupcakes from School, from Sweetie's Candy and Confection shop. I really wanted (badly) to make her rainbow cupcakes, but school's now have that policy where everything has to be purchased and sealed. I understand and I don't blame them, but at the same time, I long for a time where you could trust people and where you got to make cool treats like Rice Krispy Treats and Caramel Corn balls for Halloween, and take cupcakes to school on your birthday. Nothing was more awesome than the cool treats that my mom made for me to take to school. So after much searching, I found a bakery that would actually BAKE the cupcakes, instead of just decorating pre-baked ones.... and that would do Rainbow cupcakes, although they had never seen then before. And they were delicious smelling. I dropped them at daycare today so they will be there when we arrive in the morning for her Party. She will spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's tomorrow night, so that I can work Friday and Saturday on her cake, and the decorations, and just doing some picking up and mopping the floors and cleaning the bathroom before the party.

Tonight I packed her school bag and her bag for Grandma's, and the outlaws came over for a quick visit and to pick up her stuff for tomorrow. Evan spent the day digging out the rest of the dirt in the front yard for the patio. We were really aiming to have the concrete poured before the party, but Redi-Mix is putting up foundations for new grain bins at FS, so they are too busy to bring it till next week. But at least it's all dug out and the dirt has been hauled away. The forms will get put in next week, and the pea gravel put down to prep for the concrete. I can not wait, as we have been waiting since early spring to get that done. It will be so nice to have a permanent place to put the little fire pit and my rocking chair, and the Adirondacks... where we don't have to move them to mow around. It will be nice!

After supper tonight and putting the kids to bed, I started washing diapers, and have two loads almost finished now. I have discovered that with so many diapers, it's better to split them into two loads so that the water can really get into them, because if the washer is loaded, they don't come clean enough. So I have been in the habit of splitting them into two loads. Ardyn is doing better with Potty training, and as long as she is stark ass naked, she doesn't have accidents. So during the day, I let her run around with a dress and no underwear/pull-up/diapers, or with a tank top and completely bottomless, because she doesn't have accidents. With a pull-up or training pants on, she just goes whenever she feels like it. Pull-ups are the worst. I hate their expense, they are hard for her to get up and down (more so than training pants) and she knows they are like a diaper and doesn't even worry about it. Two days ago she was running around naked and came flying into the living room from the front porch "I hhhaaaaaave to go POTTY!" and ran right for the bathroom. It was so funny. She had been distracted and then had two little trickle/drops on the floor and panicked and ran right for the potty. LOL. She cracks me up. I feel like we need to be home and naked long enough that she really gets the hang of this, and then we try around home with training pants some more. We have to get this somehow! I have seen improvement in her knowing ahead of time. But she is also stubborn enough to sometimes think that she can sit on the potty and tell me she doesn't have to go, and if I press her to sit a while and give her an incentive, she will just pee and pee and pee and it's like "how could you even THINK that you didn't have to go?!" Stinker.

Well, for the party, we have 19 "yes" attendees and 11 "maybe." This is pretty good because a good portion of Evan's family will not be able to attend. Tomorrow I have to make 10 pounds of BBQ. And Bake the cake. And pickup the house. The goal is to decorate the cake on Saturday, and vacuum and mop floors. Because I will just have Marek, it's entirely possible, especially with my mom coming over to help. We will have all the food inside, and eat outside. The weather is calling for 77 degrees the day of the party, so I am excited. Sunday morning we will blow up all the balloons and decorate outside. I also need to clean the fridge out, not because it really needs it so badly, but because we will need to fit food in the fridge until it's time to eat, as we are doing gifts in the afternoon and then supper and then dessert. Mom is going to work on molding some rice dream Ice Cream into a sandcastle form, and we are going to (hopefully) cover it with crumbled graham crackers to look like sand. Tonight I made my own ocean version of Chex Mix, with pretzel goldfish for the pretzels, and added colored cheese goldfish too. It is BY FAR the most awesome chex mix I have made. I love Chex Mix!

Today we saw the BIGGEST Onions I have ever seen at the grocery store. Ardyn was super excited. We needed an onion for the BBQ, so I bought it. She held it in her lap all the way to the checkout. I took a picture of her holding it (It's on Facebook in my mobile uploads folder) and it weighed TWO POUNDS! Wow! There is also a picture of her heloing dig out the patio today, and some of Marek outside... and a picture of the cupcakes before I took them to the school today. Well, that's all I've got. I have lots on my list so I need to go to sleep so that I am ready for tomorrow. Both kids were up at 6:30 today and I had a killer headache all day. I was able to take a short nap with Marek this morning after we all had our baths, which made my headache go away for a while... but it came back. I need to go to the chiro and get adjusted.

I have had such back and neck issues since having each kid. I think it's just all the lifting and such. There just has to be a better way to deal with it then repeatedly going to the chiro. I did physical therapy after Ardyn, and that really helped. But it's expensive. Not that the Chiro isn't... but I think another of my issues is that I stopped taking Fish Oil when I switched to OTC prenatals after having Marek, and I see that my arthritis in my back (resulting from the double-whiplash rear ending that I got in 2001) is really bothering me too.... and I know that the fish oil really helps with that. So I need to get to Nordic Naturals and order some OMEGA-D so that I am better off.

Well, to bed with me. Everyone have a great Labor Day weekend! I was just telling Evan a bit ago that this time two years ago we were just calling our families and announcing Ardyn's birth (she was born at 11:36pm) and she was getting her bath and I was getting cleaned up and moved to our room, 15.5 hours after my water was broken at 8am on Labor Day. How time flies when you're having kids. I will try to update after the party, and show you some pics!
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