Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Videos

We have taken several new videos in the last week or two. Three of them have already made it to google. Lots of others are on the camcorder, including a really cute one of her laughing when we play peek-a-boo. Those will hopefully make it to google in the next week or two.

Check out Ardyn's Google Videos Here.

She's been teething, so we have been pretty busy and I have been doing lots of soothing and rocking and patting. This could go on for two years, but I will attempt to post something substantial this week.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Plastic Bags Blow. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags)

Christmas was good. We did a bit of running. We did a lot of packing and unpacking. The house is a disaster. But it was fun. Ardyn got one outfit, one new pair of pajamas, three new books, three stuffed bears, a stuffed dog, a September Snowman Ornament, a new Graco Comfort Sport Convertible Car Seat (nice one with cup holders) for when she hits 1 year, and a dog rattle... and a few other things.

I got some good stuff, About $200 in cash (gone) and the Jessica Seinfeld Cookbook, a book called "Play Unplugged", some kitchen towels, some other small stuff... a Targus Chill Pad for my laptop (mine quit working and needed to be replaced) and Evan and I together received a Shiatsu Heated Chair Massager which is completely awesome and I may be addicted to.

I also got a $30 gift certificate to Austin Parker Naturals and a Cookie Lee Butterfly Pin. Ardyn got a $20 Gift Card to Wal-Mart which I will probably use for diapers and wipes, and she got a $20 Gift Cart to Target from Josh and Lisa, which I used to buy 4 new pair of cotton pants and 6 pair of socks for her. Good daycare essentials. And Lisa also finished a crocheted blanket for Ardyn, which I am totally in love with, because back with I was pregnant, Lisa asked if I would like one and what colors, and I told her if it was a girl I wanted pink but not baby pink- hot pink and orange. And she SERIOUSLY did is justice. Ardyn used it Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I love love love it. Anya and Brad and Ava got Ardyn a Gund Boo-Boo Bear that has a little ice cube in his belly for boo-boo treatment. It's so cute!

I plan on using my Christmas Money to buy a shelf for Ardyn's room, that we can store toys on. I saw some modular stackable units at the Company Kids Store... I want them in white. A set of open dual bins for the bottom, and two stackable units with adjustable shelves above that. Which will run me about $300 and all of my Christmas money. But having her toys stacked on the floor is already driving me nuts and she is not even 4 months old yet! Plus with all my research, I decided these would be the best buy because they are modular and versatile and would grow with her. She could either take them to a big girl room or they could stay in the nursery for our next child. I like that the shelves adjust either vertically or horizontally. I expect that the quality must be pretty good for the price. Anyone ever order from Company Kids before?

I am pretty sure we are "officially" teething, based on the low grade fever and the rosy cheeks that she has had two nights this week, and the constant gnawing of hands and toys, and the out of control drooling and nighttime fussiness. AND the congestion that only seems to be there overnight.

I have been thinking about New Year's Resolutions. I have never been a big fan. I get so sick of the "lose weight, quit smoking, etc." Bullshit resolutions that everyone makes and never follows (although I lost 25 pounds in 2006, gained 12 while pregnant in 2007, and lost 40 after having the baby... so weight loss CAN work)

This year, my resolution is a real one. I am determined to make one positive lifestyle change that will affect the environment. Not one for the entire year. Oh no. One for every month of 2008. Yep. Lofty goal? Nope. Perfectly do-able. My first resolution? January= reusable grocery bags. As a matter of fact, I am ordering them today. And not just reusable bags. Reusable PRODUCE Bags too. Yeah. We don't mess around. I bought two of "these kits" from A totally cool website with a ticker across the top to determine how many plastic bags are being wasted. It freaks me out to just LOOK at the ticker.

Of course while I am there I start to want a Kleen Kanteen bottle with Insulator Sleeve but honestly one person can only own so many cups, mugs, and water bottles before it gets obsessive. Of course the reusable water bottle that I have is plastic, doesn't have a cool insulator sleeve, and doesn't fit in any cup holder, so in general it pisses me off royally. It's an eddie bauer with the ice cores but I almost never use it now because it doesn't really stay cold. Ice core or not. Doesn't work. The Kleen Kanteen would totally hang on the stroller or diaper bag handles and I could totally drink out of it. It would hold hot or cold liquid. It would be greatness. But It would be obsessive. It's not like I am going mountain climbing and would need a carabiner or anything.

Top Facts - Consumption

  • Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
  • According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
  • According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year—900 per person.
  • According to Australia’s Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year—326 per person. An estimated .7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.

    Top Facts - Environmental Impact

  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
  • As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
  • Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
  • According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
  • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.

    Top Facts - Solutions

  • In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.
  • July 2003, goes live, advancing the mainstream adoption of reusable shopping bags.
  • Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2007

    September 2007 Moms

    So if you happen to belong to my September 2007 Mom's Group, and Happen to be roaming around visiting me here, I would love to invite you to join me in a new Flickr group to share photos of our babies with each other. It's a private group.

    I can't post about it on FF/PF or they will ban me.... so if you want to provide me with your email address and spread the word to anyone you know.... then that would be great!

    Monday, December 24, 2007

    Merry Christmas!

    My mind is going like a trillion miles an hour today. I keep thinking of things to blog about, but they keep being replaced by new thoughts.

    I am so happy that it is Christmas Eve! Christmas with a baby is so much more exciting! I don't know how to explain it, because she can't quite grasp the concept or open her own gifts or anything, but it's just the thought of being so blessed and of having people you love surrounding you. This morning I changed the song "O Christmas Tree" to "Oh Christmas Eve" and made up various verses to sing to Ardyn as we got dressed for school.

    We have two Christmases tonight and one tomorrow. I have some small books and toys packed for Ardyn and her pajamas and slippers... and of course we are taking my boobs. Ha. Since we have a lack of income (I have yet to get a paycheck since my return to work, yet we are still forking over $170 a week in daycare money) we are giving the grandparents disks full of professional pictures of Ardyn, so that they can make whatever size they wish. Since the disk itself cost about $120 from Sears, I figure it's a pretty decent gift. Hopefully they see it the same way. I forgot to make one for my sister, so I need to do that before tomorrow. I am making a list of things that I can't forget to take, like the camcorder, the digital camera, extra diapers and wipes, high chair, baby monitor, soup ladle, the crock pot lasagna, etc.

    Even though we have no gifts for each other, Evan and I are pretty excited about Christmas. My favorite time of Christmas is Christmas Day at my parents. It wouldn't be Christmas without it. It's even Evan's favorite part of Christmas. Appetizers and Great food, gifts, usually Christmas Music and a new movie to watch... It's just the best part of Christmas. And I love my family to death, so that's an added bonus!

    Ardyn's new thing is to do tummy time while "sitting up" on the boppy. She is technically more like kneeling, but she loves to watch the Sprout channel in the mornings while I get ready for work. Adding a few photos from Saturday. There are tons more new ones over on Flickr. I took a video too, you can see it here on Google Video.

    Well, since I am pretty blank today as far as blogging goes, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Friday, December 21, 2007

    When Hate Turns To Love...

    You know, as a kid, there were very few things that I hated. I didn't mind snakes or spiders, or salamanders or frogs. I didn't mind broccoli, I didn't mind getting muddy. I wasn't afraid of mice. But I hated three things. Celery, Green Beans, and Tea. I still hate celery. Now I like Green Beans. But that hatred for Tea... it's a strange thing. My mom was the queen of iced tea and sun tea. There was always a big glass jar out on the brick patio in the sun. Whenever we were outside playing, she had a big glass of iced tea filled with ice cubes. I remember being little and going over to get a drink from her glass, and smelling that it was tea, and putting that glass right back down. Sometimes it would just be ice cubes and I would want one to munch on, but nothing ruins a glass full of icy cool cubes like the taste of residual tea. Yuk! It got to the point where I had spit out enough ice cubes to learn to ask first "Was this tea?" and then when the answer was yes, I 'd change my mind entirely about wanting an ice cube.

    When in high school and college, I tried hot tea, specifically and first I tried hot tea at Chinese restraunts. Yuk. No thanks. I branched out. I tried flavored hot teas. Yuk. I added SPOONFULS of sugar. Yuk. Tea was just not for me!

    Then one day about two years ago, I ate Moroccan food made by Monika at the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield. She had hot tea... Moroccan mint tea. It was to die for. I started out on a search for a mint tea that I could make at home, and bought some Tazo. The only other tea that we had at our house was Lipton Ice Tea, and I used that to put in Vodka Slushes, where I couldn't taste it. After the Tazo mint tea, I thought I might be able to find some that I would like. My midwife recommended Chamomile Tea before bed when I was pregnant, to help me sleep. It was then that I decided that perhaps CHEAP tea was not the way to go, especially if you were picky about your tea. I had bought the Tazo Mint at Austin Parker Naturals in Princeton, so I went back to look for the Chamomille, and liked the Republic of Tea Brand because it came in a reusable tin, and the teabags were round, and without a string and tag, designed to sit in the bottom or your cup, under a spoon. I bought a tin of Chamomille and Lemon for $9.95 and was instantly pleased. I drank at least one cup a night. I loved tea! What had happened! Then when I was hoping to go into labor, my friend Trish and all the pregnancy message boards recommended Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, and Trish brought some over. So I drank that, even double strength like she suggested. No labor, but the tea did taste good! After the baby was born, I started drinking Yodi Brand Mother's Milk Tea, to help increase and maintain a healthy milk supply... and I bought it in Bulk from amazon. Something like 6 boxes of tea, 96 tea bags total. And I am on my third box of Mother's Milk Tea.

    Now I love to look at the Republic of Tea catalog and wish I had unlimited funds so I could try all kinds of tea. I wish someone would get me a gift certificate. I wish someone would buy me a cute little tea for one set like this one, and this one, or even this one. My mom makes fun of me because I have always wanted one of these, but never had a reason because I hate tea. She used to laugh at what I was going to use it for if I don't drink tea. Then I start to covet "special" teacups and mugs. I want one with a saucer. I want to feel special and I want tea time to be a special occasion. I saw this hand thrown mug and saucer and it about KILLS me not to buy it up and stand at the post office waiting for it to arrive. I drink tea at work, and when I remember, I drink tea at home.

    Isn't it strange when something you hate can become something you love? I guess it's easier for me to release a grudge I have against tea, even when I can't release a grudge I have against a person. Lucky tea.

    Thursday, December 20, 2007

    Whirlwind Woman

    This morning I was like a freakin' whirlwind. Evan had been up until 4:30am, working on reports for work, and I woke up AT 4am when the Beeb decided that it was daytime playtime. I heard her in her room, in the dark, giggling and squealing, laughing, kicking her feet... just having an all over wonderful time. I got her up, fed her, changed her diaper, fed her some more, and she went to sleep with me in the glider in the nursery. I knew that I needed to go back to sleep, but I was feeling pretty awake then, I had about 4.5 hours of sleep already, and her little body was all curled up on me and she was so sweet and so cuddly... I just didn't want to put her down. I really wanted to just take her into bed with me, but I knew that I needed to put her back in the crib and foster her independence. Then Evan and I peeked at the mail, which he had just gotten, he had assembled the breast pump pieces from the sterilizer, and we went to bed. At about 4:45am the Beeb decided that she wanted to still be awake, and putting her pacifier in and patting her butt wouldn't do the trick, so Evan brought her into bed with us, and she lay all curled up between us, facing me and holding my hand. If I hold her hand, she will go to sleep so soundly, and stroke my knuckles with her fingers. So we both fell asleep holding hands, and this morning at 7:30 when the alarm went off, she barely even stirred. Instead of waking her with me as usual, I decided to let her and Evan sleep and I got myself ready. Around 8:30 she woke up on her own, and I fed her, changed her, dressed her, and then went out to start the vehicle and pack everything up.

    I finished cocoa cones last night and had about 15 left to deliver, so I packed those all up in the candy cane basket that I wove back in December of 2001 (see photo above!) I got the breast pump, cooler of bottles, my purse, the diaper bag, the cocoa cones, and my grocery and to-do lists all in the vehicle and then Evan helped me load Ardyn up and we were on our merry way. After dropping her at school, I decided to grab groceries before work... we needed toilet paper and toothpaste, bread and milk... and I had to get 5 more Christmas Cards because people who thought we were unworthy of cards as young adults seem to think that now that we have a child, we are worthy. So that increases my Christmas Card list from 52 to 57. That is even without sending cards to all those people who I sent them to in previous years and who ignored me, until about 5 years into it, I decided to stop sending, and now that we have the Beeb, they have suddenly started sending one. Uh. No. Sorry. Not happening. YOU are officially OFF the list!

    Of course when I got my entire cart FULL of groceries, and got to the checkout, the debit card wouldn't work. We deposited the paycheck yesterday but apparently it hasn't fully posted yet, to the debit card. So of course here I stand in line, with three people behind me, a cart loaded with groceries, and no way to pay for them. Ugh. So they suspended the transaction and I will have to go back later tonight and get them. Oh Yay! At least we will have toilet paper and bread.

    After work tonight the plan is to go to the video store and rent some movies, make a nice hot supper, and then all three of us cuddle up in bed and watch movies as a family. I am so super excited about that, it was Evan's brilliant idea, and I know it sounds insanely boring to some people, especially those without babies, but cuddling with her and making her laugh, squeal, and giggle, is our favorite pastime. Last night she was really talking up a storm with me, squealing and giggling and being so cute and funny. She is practically perfect in every way.

    We are both really looking forward to Christmas with her. This Saturday the 22nd is the "anniversary" of our Big Fat Positive Pregnancy Test. It was 12 days past ovulation and I can remember it like it was yesterday. It's a moment that we waited 17 months to have, and It will never leave my mind, the way I felt that day. To imagine that we now have the most perfect and wonderful daughter... it brings tears to your eyes... any mom knows that feeling. Most dads too!

    Last night I worked on daycare paperwork, although I know it's quite OCD, I am saving every single paper that they send home with her. Each day I get a report of what she ate and when, when her diapers were changed, etc. etc. And I can't possibly part with one of them. I am sure that will go away someday, but for now I have them organized by date in a accordion file. They even say who picked her up that night (dad or mom) and when I took in new diapers or wipes for the stash. It's crazy. I do also keep a photocopy of each statement and check that I write for daycare, so that I have proof for tax purposes. I need to get myself a sheet feeding scanner so that I can nix all this paper and go electronic with all my receipts. Mwaaahahaha! I also marked all my received Christmas Cards in my book last night. I keep a detailed list of who I sent/received cards from each year. It's in the same book that I store all my birthday/anniversary information, and It's like the bible. Okay, maybe it's more factual than the bible (Oh... Harsh!)

    Parents magazine somehow goofed my subscription a bit, I started to receive two issues at a time about three months ago. I had shopped somewhere online where I received a free subscription with a big purchase, and I was already a subscriber, so I thought it would just extend my subscription... but instead I started getting duplicate issues. Being the owner of a mommy brain, I would read the first one, then the second issue (the exact same) would come, and I would sit down to read it and be like "Wow this seems so familiar..." and then I finally figured it out! So I called and they straightened it out, which means that I am all paid up until May of 2012! Whoa! That seems so far from now, but in reality... it's almost 2008 Folks! Holy crap! Do you remember partying like it was 1999? Where is the time going? Sometimes when I think about it I get all upset. This IS the best time of my life so far, and even though I am not quite 30 yet, I often think about being old and dying and leaving my daughter and my husband and my family, and it freaks me out bad. So I really have to steer clear of that mental image and live in the here and now.

    On My iPod-
    Now Playing: Song For a Winter's Night
    Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Johnson Look-alike Meter

    MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

    Bad Music. Bad Breast Implants. Merry Christmas.

    Something that Every scrapbooker desires? The Making Memories Embellishment Center. Ahhh.

    On another note, this morning I heard a song on the radio. I don't think I have hated a song so much, so soon, ever. "Alcohaulin Ass" by Hell Yeah. Honestly. Will their next album have a song called "Pot and Pussy?" How inventive. It's like a song that a really bad local band would write. Like they play bars and do covers, and all their "own material" really sucks and when they play it, and you hear the lyrics, you are like "uh, Yeah. Sure to get somewhere singing that song." And I still can not figure out who thought that the song was a good one. I am a fan of Lil Kim and like Ludacris and 50 Cent, and generally "vulgar" things don't bother me. I'm down with the ho's. But this? Lame AND vulgar? Come on. What a joke. And I know from Evan who makes the band up, and I think he might even listen to them, but I have to tell you, totally lame. But if all you can think of to name your band is "Hell Yeah," then I guess that the whole situation is pretty self-explanatory. the only way that I can figure the song could be remotely "okay" would be if it were making fun of someone, which I think in a way it actually is.... whether it intends to or not. But as a new mom, I really don't think that my daughter needs to hear about some guy using alcohol to get his piece of ass. Of course it happens. But jeez. Really?

    Another thing that bothered me in the media today? Ugh. Lane Jensen is from Canada and from what I gather, he is a tattoo artist on a show that mirrors our very own "LA Ink" and "Miami Ink." If he isn't a tattoo artist on the show, then I might have it mixed up and he is a tattoo artist who went on another tattoo artist's TV show.... They are discussing everywhere how Lane has a tattoo of a woman on his leg, and he got SILICONE BREAST IMPLANTS in his leg, to make it look like the tattoo actually has breasts. On his leg. Yeah. Another thing that I can't wait for my daughter to see. I'm cool with tattoos. Honestly. I am even semi-cool with breast implants for some people. But Christ on a Cracker, do we HAVE to combine the two? Does your tattoo chick need implants to make her feel better about herself? Doubtful. Is she recovering from a mastectomy and needs to regain her self-esteem? Probably not. Jeez.

    The Beeb was running a low grade fever last night, not for very long. It was going down on its own it seemed, but we gave her a bubble bath and I nursed her and she went to bed with a normal temp.

    My boss bought me "welcome back" flowers today, they are sparkly and glittery. And that makes my day.

    That's about all I know. For now. There's bound to be more at another time.

    Letter to Avent, Makers of the Avent Isis Duo and Uno Breast Pumps

    Avent Products I use: I use EVERYTHING by Avent. Isis IQ Uno, Isis IQ Duo, Avent Tempo Nursers, Avent bottles, Avent breastmilk storage system (for freezing), Avent Microsteam Sterilizer, Avent Pacifiers, Avent breast pads.

    Features I like: I love the pump bag for the Duo. I like the ability to change the suction rate to encourage letdown and make the pumping more like nursing my baby.

    Features I Dislike: I dislike how I have to lean forward to prevent milk from flowing backwards between the massage cushion and the pump horn. If you lean forward, you get backaches, and if you don't, you leak/lose milk.

    I HATE the fact that I can't purchase an extra set of horns/massage cushions. I think this is the most disappointing thing of all. Every other pump manufacturer offers this ability, and even different sized horns. I would love to have an extra set, right now I have to pump at 10:30pm before bed, and have to stay up an extra 20-30 minutes to wash the pump parts and sterilize them so that I can take them to work the next day. An extra set of pump parts would save me lots of time and get more sleep for me. This is very important as a working mom.

    I dislike that the Isis DUO seems to have higher suction on the side with the control handle, and this issue is discussed by many users of the pump in online forums, and everyone who calls the Avent 800 number is told that this is "not true" but when they attempt to troubleshoot they can't fix the issue. It is very easy to see that when many moms see the same issue, it isn't a fluke.

    I dislike that you can't see the power light when the pump is inside the pump bag. That is a bizarre design. I dislike that the pump horns are top-heavy and therefore empty bottles tip over if you try to set them upright. I dislike that the pump can't be used handsfree because the massage cushions prevent full on suction, and even with a handsfree bra, the suction isn't right or the angle of the pump horns causes the leakage back between the massage cushions as mentioned above.

    Suggestions for Improvement: I am not a huge fan of calling your support line. The people who answer your calls appear to have no breastfeeding or pumping experience, and that frustrates me to no end. They had never heard of boiling the silicone pump parts to shrink them back to "normal" and increase suction. This is something that is widespread information on the internet regarding the Avent pumps, and listed on Kellymom, but your staff knows nothing about it. These types of things frustrate me. It also frustrates me that when I call they can give me no information about when and if replacement parts might be available. From the three calls that I have made, I frequently felt that they were reading the troubleshooting from a script, and not stating anything from memory and experience, which leads me to believe that I have as much or more knowledge about the products than they do.... this is not a good feeling and prevents me from being confident in your support.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    Need a Stocking Stuffer?

    Great Post Here

    Can it BE Tuesday already?

    Jeez! Time flies! Saturday night was my work Christmas Party, and all the photos are here. We had a nice time, but of course it was snowing and the roads were crappy and even though we had 4WD I practically drove Evan nuts with my white knuckles on the way there. I think I said "be careful" 627 times and I tried to stop but I just couldn't help but think that we are the Beeb's only parents and she needs us to be safe and to come home to her.

    Sunday we had Christmas at Evan's Aunt Patti's and the pictures are here. It was a nice time. We really just chilled by the fireplace and ate lots. I ate a ton. Some of Evan's family members are vegetarians (which I am totally cool with) but we had a veggie soup and I swear that I was mentally telling myself I was full but my body was dying for meat so I just kept eating and eating. There were meatballs, but you can only eat so many meatballs without OD'ing... so I was being careful.

    I finally got Ardyn (at 3 months 2 weeks old) to fit into a pair of 0-3 month jeans. Of course they are still big at the waist, so I quickly crocheted a tiny belt to match her outfit (see photo, lol) and she also wore a pair of size 1 shoes.... they are still a tiny bit big, but her newborn pair are getting too tight. She looks like such a big girl!

    Yesterday was a great day at work, I got tons accomplished. I also got lotsa milk when I pumped which made me feel good and confident that my supply has fully rebounded from the stress of starting back to work and leaving Ardyn, and my stomach bug last week that nearly killed us (Evan got it on Friday night too) and from the learning curve of pumping all day long instead of nursing.

    The beeb's new gig is to wake up at night. Since she never did it, when she was waking up crying, I would go in and check on her, then feed her and put her back to sleep. That worked. She was consistently waking at 6am so I just figured she was hungry and adjusting her waking time. Then she started doing it at 4:30 and I was like UGH. And she wouldn't go back to sleep in her crib, but would if she was snuggled with us. So then last night it moved to 3am and I was like "no way. You are totally not hungry" and I pumped while she cried it out for about 10 minutes and went right back to sleep. Then at 6am she was up again... so I got up, fed her, and took a 30 minute cat nap with her and Evan before we had to get up and get ready for the day.

    The weather has been nice yesterday and today, probably in the 30-33 degree range, but tomorrow night anther winter front comes through bringing snow, sleet, and whatever else our way. I got to drive my car today, but looks like it will be back to 4WD on Thursday.

    Everyone enjoy your week. Last night I was able to read the entire Redbook magazine after Ardyn went to bed, because I had all my bottles and pump parts washed and sterilized, as well as the entire house clean. Nice. I could have done laundry.... but.... nah! Stay Warm!

    Friday, December 14, 2007

    The Good, The Bad, and the Stomach Flu

    It’s been a few days… And I have plenty to catch you up on!

    This past weekend was quiet, fairly un-eventful. I wasn’t feeling the best, but chalked it up to my stomach being in knots about going back to work. Sunday we laid pretty low. They had told us at daycare that there was stomach flu going around there and that two kids in Ardyn’s class got sent home Friday.

    Monday we all got ourelves up early and stayed well on schedule. I wore a dress with tights and boots. When I was making myself some toast for breakfast, I took the toaster off the shelf and the crumb tray slid out and the crumbs went down my dress and into the cleavage. Ugh. Then when I was walking out the back door, I tested and it didn’t seem icy, and then about 4 steps later I slipped and landed on my ass, along with the diaper bag, breast pump and bag, breastmilk in cooler, and my purse. Fab. So I went inside, got the beeb, and we headed out for our first day at work/daycare. It all went well. My first day back to work was wonderful, pumping went well. No one disturbed me and I was able to get plenty of milk to sustain the beeb. After I picked her up and headed home, I was unpacking things and Evan was making supper. We started to eat, and suddenly, I started to not feel so good. It just got worse and worse, and I couldn’t finish supper.

    I ended up having massive and horrific back and stomach cramps and diahhrea. It was terrible. It was so bad that throughout nursing Ardyn and trying to put her to sleep, I had to keep calling for Evan to come take her so I could run to the bathroom. Pretty soon everything coming out was just water and I was soooo miserable and sick. My whole body was shaking for hours and I was cold yet sweating and soooo nauseous. Evan ended up having to take the beeb and put her to bed. I switched from a cool washcloth to a cool towel. Several times the emergency room crossed my mind as the best option. I was almost as uncomfortable and out of control as I had felt during labor and childbirth, and that was scary. About 2am I was finally able to sleep fitfully and make bathroom stops about every hour instead of every 5-15 minutes. I was completely enveloped and propped in pillows to relieve the pressure on my hips from lying in bed and shaking so violently, and to keep anything from touching my stomach. By 6am I felt better. Not good, but better. Then I tried to call daycare at 6:45 to let them know we wouldn’t be there and that I was sick, and there was no answer and no answering machine. I called work and then lay down again. Ardyn had been up around 4 and again around 5:30, when I was finally coherent enough to nurse her again, and I knew she would let me sleep till 8 or 9 with all that milk in here. Anya called and we found out that daycare was closed because of the ice storm. So we really hunkered down and were lazy. Ardyn ate when she woke up and then took a nap, and I got up and took a bath. I hung out in pajamas all day yesterday and played with Ardyn. She nursed exceptionally well and was so thrilled to be all cozied up to me all day… All I could stomach was baby food Applesauce and baby food Pears. Evan suggested toast or crackers but I told him they would be too “sharp.” Which made him laugh. I did eat a piece of dry toast towards the end of the day, and made a little rice pudding. For supper I had a small cup of baby food pears and some more tylenol and went to bed.

    Luckily Wednesday morning I woke up feeling about 100% recovered, and bounced back really well. We got ready to go, and had a nice morning. We even got to daycare so early, that I ended up at work 30 minutes early. Wow! I am so not an “on time” person so this was an amazing accomplishment. This week I started Physical Therapy. Hauling Ardyn around has really done a number on my back, and I have a thoracic back strain that we are working on repairing through therapy and exercise. The stretches and ab moves that they have me doing feel really good. My first day of therapy was Monday, and since I was sick that night, I really felt rough on Tuesday. My whole body ached and it was pretty intense.

    We also had a sewage/drain issue since last weekend where there was a plug in the drain that exits the house, somewhere out by the street. So I got totally backed up (no pun intended) on laundry. Ugh. Thursday the guy came and cleared the drain out, and I started laundry. Ardyn had TWO full loads (a full hamper!) of just her own clothes/blankets. But we take two new blankets to daycare each day (germphobic) and so that’s a lot of blankets by the end of the week. Pluys pajamas, blankets, burp rags, clothes, etc….

    After a week of “back to work” I am 100% confident that I made the best decision. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love being able to have adult interaction, exercise more than my mommy brain, and have just a few hours a day to myself. I appreciate it so much! And really, considering that I am only away from Ardyn for about 6 hours a day, and considering that she usually takes 3-5 hours worth of naps at home each day, I am really only “not seeing” her for 1-3 hours total. That’s not so hard to handle!

    Physical Therapy is going well and I am working to strengthen my back and abs, and haven’t had any back pain since I started the excercises, if you can believe that! Whoa!

    This weekend is my work Christmas Party and I have a new dress to wear. A LARGE group of co-workers are going this year and I am happy about that. We also have a family Christmas celebration to attend this weekend. So hopefully my stomach can be 100% recouperated so that I can have some yummy food.

    Sorry, it’s been almost a full week since I posted, but with being sick, and back to work, things got hectic. I started writing this post on Tuesday but didn’t get it finished till Friday night!

    Saturday, December 08, 2007

    Suddenly Saturday

    What a Week! Sorry I didn't really post, but between the first two days of daycare, seeing santa, photos at Sears, a Doctor appointment, a chiropractor appointment, a Dentist appointment, moving all my things back into my office and arranging it, and putting up the Christmas Tree at work... and pumping or feeding her every two hours...I really haven't had much time. I also got 50 Christmas Cards sent, which included writing and printing 50 Holiday Letters and hand signing them (evan helped) and then folding the letters, adhering address and return labels to the envelopes, stuffing all the envelopes, and stamping them all.

    Most of my "online time" this week (which was small as it is) was spent reading articles at Kellymom about the variations of milk amounts that you get while pumping. I guess after all I read, nothing ever explained that while you might get 6 ounces in the morning, or 4 ounces at night, it is perfectly normal to get 2 ounces or even 3 ounces during the day. The first day I pumped I was in a panic because I only got 2 ounces for two of my pumping sessions, but I later figured out that those sessions happened during what would regularly be her naps. Aha! Isn't the body amazing? I can make 4 ounces every 2 hours, but my body knows when she takes a nap and only makes 2 ounces during those times so that I don't get engorged. It also makes just 6 ounces for the 11 hours that she's asleep... which is also a wonderful thing. When she wakes up she gets a nice big feeding, but I am not engorged or sore... as long as she doesn't sleep past 7 or 7:30, her usual wake up time.

    Ardyn is all about smiling and giggling at me this morning, since she hasn't seen me as much in the past three days. They can't seem to stop telling me how she is "such a good baby" and "the best baby they have had" and how she is just so happy and strong. That makes me happy, although I am thinking they probably tell all moms that. LOL. Although when we took her the first day, all the teachers were being so "careful" and always supporting her head, and while Evan was holding her, they kept acting like they wanted to support her head for him, which annoyed him a bit. She holds herself up so well, I think they were shocked at the way we hold her. I think it's just because she is still so small, that they assume she is weak. Nothing could be further from the truth! We got the Prince Lionheart Bebe Pod this week and she loves loves loves to sit up in that thing. We knew she could do it, and she really enjoys sitting and standing like a big girl, which is why the jumparoo is such a huge thing for her. I took her with to my Dr's appointment on Thursday and weighed her in at almost 12 pounds now.

    I start physical therapy on Monday, with an evaluation for my back. Diagnosis so far is "back strain" and I personally feel that it's an accumulation of pregnancy, delivery, and hauling around a bebe all day long. Going to daycare is much like being a pack mule. Diaper Bag, Car Seat with the Bebe inside, my little cooler of breastmilk bottles, my own purse and breastpump for work... no wonder my back hurts! That's like 50 pounds of gear. Almost. Maybe. Okay not quite.

    I was seeing the chiropractor, but after three weeks of visits twice a week, and a $140 bill, it's not getting better. I have insurance to cover the physical therapy, so I will try going that route. At work, we call physical therapy "Rehab" which is short for Medical Rehabilitation. When I got home from my Dr Appointment, Evan asked how it went, and I said "great, I start Rehab on Monday" and he looked at me with the strangest look. Later on I realized that I shouldn't go around telling anyone I started Rehab!

    This morning Ardyn hung out in her Jumparoo while I was washing bottles and breast pumps pieces. Last week I taught Evan how to assemble the pumps, which is totally awesome and helpful to me. Now we can share the duties of washing & sterilizing, and he can help me prepare the pump, which is excellent.

    I am actually pretty excited about going back to work. I am feeling confident in daycare, and my office is a pretty awesome place to be now that I am all moved back in, and it's all re-arranged... so I think it will be a most excellent first week back. I really miss SOME of my co-workers, and they have repeatedly expressed that they miss me and that they will be excited to have me back, which makes me feel better about the whole transitioning back to a working life. Being gone so long makes me worry that things will have changed so much and that I will have forgotten things, but it all comes back to me as soon as we have a discussion about it. I was pleasantly surprised when a friend/co-worker I'll call CB left me a little note as a welcome back, and it was a photo of Matthew McConaughey, on a surfboard, all washboard abs and unshaven wonderfulness. It was a sweet surprise. We share that love.

    Of course, the downside to daycare? Germs. Sickness. After Ardyn's first full day on Friday, I picked her up and they warned me that there was stomach flu going around. Apparently two kids in her class got sent home that day after vomiting. Ugh. I am really hoping that the breastfeeding immunities are coursing through her little body right now. Of course the only person feeling stomach-flu-ish this weekend has been ME so far. Hopefully that too will pass and Ardyn will continue to feel okay. The last thing I want is a sick baby, especially when I have to go back to work on Monday!

    Well, that's all for now. Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    So fed up with Amazon and Target Accounts!

    Talk about a royal pain in my ass mixup. It appears that Target and Amazon did something technically on their websites, that royally screwed up my logins, baby registries, and purchase history. It all happened when I tried to login to my Target account last week to order a new car seat for Ardyn, from my mom, for Christmas.

    My Target account said that I didn't exist! What!? I have a baby registry, tons of purchase history, reviews, etc... and I couldn't get in. When I called Target customer service, I was told that from this point forward I would need to use my Amazon account to login to Target. AND that when I did, I would have all my order history and my baby registry available because the two accounts would merge. They reset my "password" and then I was able to get into my "newly merged" Target and Amazon account at and I SPECIFICALLY asked if this would change my amazon password and I was told NO.

    Then after I ordered the car seat, and it arrived at my mom's house, I went online to Amazon to do some product reviews, and couldn't get into my account on! What?! So I tried my newest password that Target reset, and wouldn't you know, logged into to what appeared to be an OLD version of my Amazon account, from back in 2005... the same email address as my current Target account AND as my current Amazon account, but without all my profile information, wish list, gift lists, shopping lists, recommendations, reviews, and TWO YEARS of order history. What. The Hell.

    So for shits and giggles I login to my account, and now can't access my own baby registry anymore. It's no longer tied to my account.

    So I call Amazon customer service, the rep is currently totally confused, and he suggests that I just "create a new account." Um. No. I will not be losing two years of order history, my wish list, my shopping lists for other people, my reviews, my profile, and my recommendations that I have spent two years painfully building. And the last thing I need is THREE Amazon accounts and a Target account. This is ridiculous. So overall total I have spent about an HOUR on the phone with Target and Amazon as they try to decipher this. What a mess! Why do they DO these things? I work in IT and I know things can get screwed up, but I am a GOOD customer and "creating another account" is not an option and should never have been suggested to me.

    Stay tuned...

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    There's Just Nobody Cuter!

    Today Ardyn turned 3 months old. She got her pictures taken with Santa and also at Sears. Here's a few... the rest are on Flickr for you members/friends.

    Saturday, December 01, 2007


    I have been tagged by Christina


    1- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
    2- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
    3- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
    4- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

    7 Random things about me:

    1. I have horrible and embarrassing post-partum acne and if you want to see me get angry, take away my proactiv. I spent THOUSANDS of dollars in the past year at a dermatologist who told me that proactiv would never work and sold me his own product line, only to get me all pissed and desperate and have me try proactiv, which works well and ALMOST has my acne cleared.

    2. I am now officially a freak for sterilization and germ management. I sterilize everything I can get my hands on and use hand sanitizer or wash my hands a lot. You will NEVER catch me putting my child's pacifier in my mouth to clean it off. No way. I even got a flu shot for her! 5 years of working in healthcare and I never had a flu shot until she was born.

    3. I am addicted to the internet. Ask my husband. I do everything online. Bank. Shop. Research. Communicate. Check the Weather. Watch the News. Check Mom Message boards.

    4. I have spent the last 5 years of my life trying to get out of debt. About 5 years ago I lost a job that (at the time) I loved. It was unexpected, unfair, and very upsetting. The economy was horrible and there were no jobs to be had. I did odd jobs, but couldn't make payments on any credit cards, medical bills, or my car. I got in way over my head WAY fast and I am still not quite out of the woods. It was recommended that I file for bankruptcy but I don't believe in that and therefore I have almost taken care of it all myself. In the end, my car was over-collataralized and a $262 payment increased to a $400 payment each month. When I paid my car off before the baby was born, that was one of the happiest milestones for me. I have been out of college since 1998 but I still have student loans- AND I only went to a Junior College AND I had scholarships. But the cost of student loan interest is lower than any other debt, so it's easier to make minimum payments on student loans than credit cards! My credit score will be horrible but at least it won't say "Bankruptcy!"

    5. I am a letter writer. If a company sells me a sub-par product, I would like them to know about it. If a sales person treats me with disrespect... someone will probably hear about it. Usually these days I simply blog about it, but also in these instances, I find that the company usually has a marketing rep who checks out the internet and finds my post if I label or tag it correctly. This works for things that piss me off, and things that make me happy. I recently was able to get information on two products where the company came to me instead of me having to contact the company. I also had a situation where I contacted the company and was never responded to, and when I blogged about that I got free stuff. I use the internet for researching lots of products and companies, and I like to provide reviews to other people online also.

    6. My husband un-knowingly turns me into an insomniac. He can stay up all night long. I can not. But I try to, because this is when I see him the most. But I hate that I am still awake. But now that Ardyn sleeps at night, I am trying to accomplish everything I can while I have hands free. This also causes insomnia. But I am exhausted and should be in bed... hence number 7

    7. I was too tired to pump last night before bed, so I woke up with beach balls for boobs that were so hard it was unbelievable. And they actually woke me up. early. I am not sure if it was the soreness and pain or the milk leaking all over the sheets that woke me up, but I had DDDDD's instead of DD's. So if you've ever had a boob alarm clock... post me a comment.

    I plan on not tagging anyone... because I am way behind on checking out other people's blogs and I don't even know WHERE to begin with the tagging. But I followed most of the rules... so be proud!!

    About to get really BUSY!

    Well, not much has happened since our last meeting. Evan turned 28. We went out for supper on his birthday and took Ardyn. Ardyn and I made him cupcakes with blue sprinkles- his favorite color.

    Right now we are mostly pretty broke, since I don't start back to work for another week or so. And even when I do get back to work, I will have to work three full weeks before I see a paycheck. Yay. My first paycheck will have a TON of money taken out, as far as insurance goes for myself and the baby. Plus it will be smaller because I will be working fewer hours (my choice) and because I have a huge hospital bill that I need to make payment arrangements for, and that will also come out of my check. Tonight I spent about an hour budgeting and arranging when we would pay what and how. That intensified my headache so I chased that chore with some Tylenol, since breastfeeders can't take Alleve, which is my drug of choice.

    This upcoming week is super busy, so I take pleasure in holing up at home during the ice storm we are having this weekend. Many times we have thought that we were about to lose power and have to relocate, but so far we are sitting pretty with the heat cranked and afghans and slippers and hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows.

    This week Ardyn turns 3 months old, gets her photos taken and pictures with Santa, and has a follow up for the infant massage class we took when she was just days old. I have an appointment to get my hair colored before going back to work, and an appointment to hopefully get a referral for physical therapy for my back, which has been increasingly getting worse since delivery, and now is so bad that some mornings I can't hardly get out of bed. I am getting lots of those seriously intense nerve pinches all over my neck and shoulders, and even after about 3-4 weeks at the chiropractor, It's not getting better. My mid and lower back are super sore and I generally sleep in the heating pad.

    We also get to test out daycare this week and I get my teeth cleaned too. I know they will remind me that I need to get my wisdom teeth pulled, but they aren't bothering me, I don't have the money, I don't want to do it, and therefore I will use breastfeeding as an excuse to tell them to leave me alone. I also have a wireless router to install and secure for a friend.

    I need to clean the fridge out from Thanksgiving, finish up the last few Thank You cards that I did yesterday and today, Try on Ardyn's photo outfits, and put ornaments on the Christmas Tree. The dogs need baths. And food. And tonight I still have to pump before bed... so take care and I will hopefully squeeze in a post or two this next week... amidst all the hectic!

    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    Moldy Mini Fridges and Static Cling- Dryer Max Dryer Balls

    I am perturbed today. You see, I bought a mini-fridge about a year or two ago. Not a cheap Wal-Mart, Square mini fridge for $30. But a nice, rectangular, black, sleek Kenmore mini fridge from Sears. I keep it in my office at work. I keep it clean. So when I left for maternity leave, I was naturally concerned about it's well-being and decided (especially upon my husband's suggestion) that all my personal office things needed to come home with me, including my refrigerator.

    So it was promptly cleaned out and brought home. We put it in my sewing room, empty. We left it unplugged. I assumed that when I went back to work I would just wipe it out and then take it back and plug it in. It was clean. It was empty. And now, it's MOLDY! Argh! I had no idea that a clean empty fridge would get moldy! I am so pissed! Now I have to scrub out a moldy fridge! Good GOD! just what I want to do. So that makes me frustrated. I shoulda left it plugged in, but I wanted it to save electricity and there is no use plugging in an empty fridge... right? WRONG.

    Another thing. A review of the "As Seen on TV" Dryer balls. Remember back when I bought them? Well, I am only so impressed with them. They seem to work really well in Ardyn's little clothes, because they help keep them seperate and allow them to dry nicely. But besides that, I have been using them for a month now, in every load, and as it has gotten dry in the house and winter is here... we have a massive static issue. If you plan on buying these as a replacement for fabric softener to eliminate static cling... don't even bother. In fact, they may make it worse! Now I kinda get a "charge" out of separating 50,000 towels from each other while emptying the dryer. I feel kinda smart, like Ben Franklin, and I get a little hungry, because the snap crackle pop reminds me of rice crispies, and then I think of Rice Krispie Treats. But my husband is not so much thrilled with the snap crackle popping of his clothing. When taking a load out a couple of days ago, I recall the phrase "those $*@#& ^%$ Dryer Balls Don't do shit!" and then an entire conversation ensued. He was angry because "You (meaning Meagan) should have used a dryer sheet" and he proceeded to rant about the dryer balls and how I didn't use a dryer sheet and I said to him "But Honey, YOU put that load in the dryer. If you wanted dryer sheets, they were right on the counter in the laundry room. YOU are the one that didn't use one." First he came back with "No I didn't put this load in the dryer" and eventually it was "Well maybe I did but YOU are the one who bought those dryer balls" as if the mere presence of them in this house has ruined his life. Ha ha. Cracked me up.

    So for Ardyn's little baby clothes, when I can't USE a dryer sheet, they work well to keep the small pieces separated and drying nicely. But for everything else.... they don't do much static stopping. They MIGHT fluff things a bit, but when you have to scour the load of laundry to see where the blue balls went to, and eventually find one of them in the arm of a long sleeved t-shirt.... the benefits seem a little less profound. Guess I could've read here to find out the same thing before I bought them....

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Meagan's 29th Birthday

    I had a nice Birthday out on Saturday night. Evan and I went to the Kaiserhoff German Restaurant with Josh and Lisa, and then to the two bars in town, and heard Driftwood play.
    At the Kaiserhoff, I had Ham Shank. And a glass of wine. And split a Double Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake with Lisa. My parents watched Ardyn.
    Saturday afternoon, we had Thanksgiving at Evan's grandmas. Ardyn got passed around. And around. Here are a few photos of Ardyn and I before going to Thanksgiving... these were taken on my birthday. Click to make them larger. There are more on Flickr for friends/members.

    Germ Guardian Nursery Sanitizer Review

    Retail Price: $48-$59
    Lowest Price: with 97 cent shipping or with free shipping

    I bought this item before returning to work because I thought it would simplify my sterilizing routine for my breast pump parts. I also liked that It was dry sanitizing, so I was excited to sanitize items like teethers, small stuffed animals, etc. I wish that I had seen all the reviews on amazon before purchasing. I assumed by the photo that this was a much bigger item, and that I would be able to fit lots inside.

    I was sadly mistaken. When the germ guardian arrived I was shocked at how small it was. Unlike other reviewers stated, I was able to fit all of my double pump pieces inside, both horns, both diaphragms, and all the sterile caps, etc. However, that was about all I could fit. If the unit is completely empty, I can fit four, 4 ounce avent bottles in it, but none with the pump horns. The avent 4 ounce bottles must be in the 4 corners, otherwise the lid hits them and won't close. Anything larger than a 4 ounce bottle will only fit on it's side. Because of the strange plastic divider pieces that are in the container, only ONE 8 oz bottle will fit inside, on it's side. Strange! So when I thought that I would be able to come home and sterilize Four bottles and all my pump parts in one load, I was sadly mistaken. I can fit almost 50% more items in my Avent Micro Steam Sterilizer.

    If I didn't have to pay for return shipping on this item, it would be going back. The small size of the chamber is just ridiculous. They could have at least made it deeper, if not wider dimensionally... that way it would take up very little counter space and still handle a nice sized load.

    Another thing I wasn't expecting, the bottom of the container is "open" with spoke-like dividers radiating out from the center. Instead of being a nice grid design like say, a colander, it allows smaller pump parts and even pacifier handles and small MAM Pacis to fall through. That is crazy to me. I am always afraid this will cause something to melt or drop through.

    That said, the sanitizer is easy to use. It does it's job. It's nice to walk away and come back to clean, dry, sterile pieces.

    Another thing I was shocked about? You can't use this to sanitize teethers! The directions state that no toys with liquid inside can be placed in the sanitizer in case they get too hot and burst. I was shocked and disappointed at this. You also can't put in any toys with light or music/sound features. So no light up keys or musical rattles. I thought that as a dry sanitizer, it would be able to do these things for me. That even ruled out the stuffed animal that I wanted to sanitize, because his hands are plastic and filled with a teething gel.

    Another downside is that wet items cant be placed inside. So while I thought I would save drying time, I still have to wash and hand dry all the parts before they can go inside. I thought they would probably dry while in the sanitizer, since it uses heat much like a dishwasher. However, the directions tell you that it is NOT A DRYER and that Wet Items are not to be placed inside. If wet items are inside, they won't get hot enough to be sanitized.

    I was extremely frustrated with the lack of information about the product that was available before I purchased.

    This could use some serious improvements. The idea is great but the design is not.

    Last Christmas

    Last Christmas, originally uploaded by Dazed81.

    December 22nd, 2006
    We got the best Christmas Present EVER!
    A Big Fat Positive after 17 months of trying to conceive.
    This year, Christmas will be spent with our 3.5 month old daughter. It Truly Is a Wonderful Life.

    Friday, November 23, 2007


    I lived. Through Thanksgiving. It really was very nice. Although my in-laws arrived about 2.5 hours early and I was still in a nursing bra and pajama pants with a bottle of pledge and a rag in my hand and my hair in a ponytail/headband combo and the baby was sleeping in her crib in her pajamas, and Evan hadn't showered yet and none of our food was cooked or started to cook.

    I had just made my schedule for when I had to get everything in the oven in order for everything to be done by 6pm. And I was going to head for the shower after I dusted off the coffee table... and I was so pleased because the baby was sleeping, and I had an hour to get ready before I even had to start baking, and then they arrived and I felt like all hell broke loose. It was okay. Really it was, but it ruffled my feathers and took me from a perfect state of calm and happiness into a state of frustrating edginess. The outfit that I had picked out to wear, a new brown cable knit sweater and khaki pants- wasn't even DRY yet. I mean, seriously, I had at least two hours before I had to be presentable. I was in shock.

    So I skipped a shower. The baby heard them come in and she woke right up. I had to feed her, and changed a wet diaper, followed immediately by a poopy diaper. Then I wet my hair down and dried it, and wore whatever I could find in the closet because I didn't feel like walking through my house and in front of the in-laws in my underwear with a towel on my head to the laundry room to pick out my clothes, and because my outfit wasn't dry yet. Ugh. So although the table sparkled and the food was all done appropriately and the company was fabulous, I was feeling quite edgy and tried my best to be relaxed and enjoy. Evan helped with that. It was a nice night.

    Michelle's Sweet Potato Casserole was a huge hit, especially with me. I was so pleased! It tasted FABULOUS and I have enough leftover to enjoy for a while. It almost tasted like a Pecan Pie, but better. My mom was like "this could be a dessert!" Ardyn was very well behaved and went to sleep well that night. She also sat at the table with us, in her high chair. I have TONS of pictures to upload to flickr and I might or might not get to them today.

    I should be cleaning today. But, no thanks. I cleaned and cooked for days before thanksgiving and tomorrow is my birthday and Evan and Ardyn are both sleeping, so I have been online, chatting with my cousin in Alaska, and checking email, writing reviews at Amazon, and researching car seats and video baby monitors.

    I might go to the mall tonight to pick up my ring that's arrived at Zales, and get the raincheck filled (hopefully) for the Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncy Seat ($20 off at Target.) Tomorrow we have another Thanksgiving and my husband and I get to go somewhere TOGETHER for the very first time since... well... since I guess we went to Joe's wedding together when I was just about 7 months pregnant. I can't wait. Now... what to wear!

    Hope your gravy was thickened and your mashed potatoes not lumpy!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Shoe Addiction, Oreck Air Purifiers, etc.

    Well, I have a headache. I took Ibuprofin, so I think it's on it's way out. I am a little frustrated today because I wanted to order another Oreck Air Purifier. We have one in our room that I bought about two years ago. The damn things are INSANELY expensive, but they work great and you never have to replace the filter because it works forever and has a lifetime warranty. So It's $349 ON SALE for the holidays and if you buy one, you get one half price. I wanted to buy one for the baby's room and get rid of the old loud one from Kenmore that we have to buy filters for, because it's old, loud, large, dirty, and the filters are expensive and can only be ordered via this great big telephone process because the damn thing is like 5 years old and they never know what I am talking about and the part number is no good anymore.

    Anyway, I called to order another Oreck, and they now have a new policy. When I bought the previous one, you pay like $30 a month for a year until it's paid off, and I gave them my debit card. Now they have this new "rule" (supposedly because the governement passed a truth in lending law) and they can't use DEBIT cards but only CREDIT cards... which is a royal pain in my ass. I don't run around with an extra $349 to spend on air purifiers... so to make a long story short, I don't have a new one coming now. Frustrating.

    So while the Oreck works great, and they have a great payment plan, and I don't have to buy replacement filters, I can't get one and I blame the government.

    So, enough of that. Now that I have my groceries bought, I need to make Sweet Potato Casserole on Thursday and Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars on Wednesday. I also need to clean off the dining room table because there is a flower faerie factory there, from last night when I got started making flower fairies like this cottony candy pink one and this mandarin orange one... and this really cute one with a teeny tiny updo.

    Last night I organized Ardyn's shoes according to size. My shoe addiction is getting crazy when it comes to her. But keep in mind that all of these shoes (which don't include any of her slippers) are in four different sizes, so she will be able to wear them for like the first year of her life, and they are all pretty much steals on ebay or on clearance at stores. And 5 pair of them were gifts. Many of them I bought before I was even pregnant, some of them while pregnant, and some more recently. Like the newest acquisitions... the Gymboree pink double strap mary janes, Gymboree furry leopard printmary janes, Gymboree Brown Puppy Boots, etc. The brown puppy boots are my stinkin favorite, as soon as she hits 3-6 months she should fit them, and I have all the outfits that match them, and the socks that match too although you won't see them under those lil boots! But the tag shows the retail price of $44.5o and I got them NWT On ebay for $3.25- that's cheaper than almost all the shoes at Wal-Mart!

    So anyway, now you know what I've been up to. How about you?

    And I need to find a home for the new crock pot while I try to evict the old one on freecycle.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    My Little Ham in the Crock-Pot of my Dreams!

    Well, a nice weekend is almost over. I can't believe that it's already almost Thanksgiving! And my Birthday! And that I will be going back to work in 3 weeks. That seems SO imminent now.

    Saturday was a pretty nice day, I went to my card class, toting two dishes to pass, and made my cards. It was nice, and the only strange thing was my almost choking on a chicken bone that was in some chicken tortellini soup someone had made. It made me all depressed and worried because of course I took it to the fullest I could and thought of how horrible it would be to die in someone's basement while choking on a chicken bone and leaving behind your husband and 2 month old daughter. Morbid. SO I didn't want to finish my soup but I did. To be nice and all.

    Ardyn was fussy while I was gone but so glad to see me return. She just wasn't feeling well still, and I could tell because she just wanted to be held (more than usual) and didn't even want to pick up her head and look around while on my shoulder, instead, she just lay her cheek on my shoulder and relaxed, for hours and hours all afternoon and evening. She would eat, and lay on my shoulder. No fever or anything, but her tummy was upset and she was burping and farting and spitting up and having explosively poopy diapers. Poor thing.

    Saturday night we all went to Josh and Lisa's as they had tons of food and wild game. Danny fried up dove, deer, and duck, and they grilled duck and deer also. They also deep fried a turkey. There were baked potatoes, beans, green bean casserole, and little weenies. And Linda made some crazy good macadamia nut cookies that I couldn't stay out of. Lisa's parents dad and his wife were also there, just back from Safari in Africa. They had lots of good stories about playing golf on the equator, and the tents they stayed in that had marble bathrooms and ceramic tile floors. Crazy!Today was spent cleaning. Picking up that is, and running the dishwasher and doing laundry. Putting laundry away. Also doing things like packing away Ardyn's first pair of tiny jeans and her little newborn hoodies. I also folded up and packed the co-sleeper, and it was all kinda melancholy. You moms know how it is. So excited to be seeing her grown and change. So sad to realize that she's not so small anymore and that she is outgrowing things already. It really makes returning to work even harder. I was excited about it, but as it gets closer I feel myself getting a little more worried. Not about Ardyn, I know she will be fine, but about me. It's been more than 3 months since I have been at work, and more than 4 months since I was full time. So even though I am not going back at full time, I feel lots of pressure to remember how to do things. I also worry about keeping up with everything, work, home, family, and even having enough quality time with Ardyn... but still being able to relax and enjoy life and hopefully even get in a few hobbies here and there. I feel like it's thinking of the impossible, and the fact that I am even attempting it is kinda scary.

    I am crazy good at multitasking, but when Ardyn is my top priority, over myself, over my work, over the condition of my house, it makes it harder, because multitasking doesn't mean much when you want to make sure you are spending time with your child. Several weeks ago, when she was just starting to smile, she did most of her smiling in the morning. Giggling and smiling and making faces when she woke up each day, I found it really important to devote an hour to her each morning, and I don't mean while feeding, changing, or dressing her. I mean when all of those tasks were put aside, just spending time with her, making her laugh and enjoying every minute of it. Just she and I sitting in the glider in her bedroom. And I had a bit of panic about how in the world it would be possible for me to get up, get myself ready, get her ready, have my breastpump ready and her diaper bag ready (which I do plan on the night before) and feed her, eat breakfast myself, and get to daycare and then work... AND spend an hour with her just enjoying her. Well, I was really upset by the thought of losing that time. But as she grew more, and started smiling all day long and giggling and playing all the time instead of just in the morning, I started to relax an realize that I could still have that hour with her, and it could be before bed. Not a huge deal. But little changes like that will be the hardest on me.

    So, off I go to finish up around here and grab a bite to eat. I have tiny jeans to pack away and beds to make and laundry to finish... and 10 packages to ready for the mail tomorrow (ebay sales) as well as some Tivo to maybe catch up on. Tomorrow we are going grocery shopping for our ingredients for Thanksgiving.
    I will leave you with photos of Ardyn in my NEW fabulous crock pot! Evan's parents bought this for me as my birthday/Christmas present. I love love love it and it will certainly make going back to work more fun. It's programmable and has an auto-warm feature, as well as a meat probe thermometer and a hinged lid so that you can just lift and serve without looking for the safest place to sit the lid. That's always been my pet peeve, and I would feel horrible if I ever broke someone else's crock-pot lid. I have broken a lid and crock of my own, and I know that I cried.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Nice Long Day Coming to a Close.

    Well, today was nice. The olive oil on the hair thing seems to have worked well. I washed it once last night and will do so again today. Ardyn was up at 7:30, as her little internal clock usually crows about then. Today I learned the tummy to tummy hold in the ring sling, and conquered nursing in a hip hold/tummy to tummy hold. Cool. Nothing like hands free nursing!

    Then I made 7-layer salad. Tomorrow I am going to a scrapbook day where we do a potluck for lunch. We are actually making Christmas Cards. Yeah! I love 7-layer salad, except mine is actually 6 layers, unless you count the mayo. I hate celery so I leave it out. You MUST use canned sweet peas and mayonaisse or the salad tastes ickier, as I know from eating OTHER people's salads (sorry, truth hurts) and so I had a fun time making the salad while Ardyn watched from her bouncy seat in the kitchen. Then I realized that unless I cleaned out the fridge, there was nowhere to PUT the salad. Ugh. So I started to clean the fridge. And it was full. And things were bad. Lotsa leftovers. And it had dog hair in it. I hate that. It sucks into the fridge when you open and close the door. People with dogs know this. And they don't usually talk to it with people unless those people have dogs. It's a fact of life with dogs. So I scrubbed with a brush, and used the Our House Sanitizing spray. Then I took out all the drawers and all the tempered glass shelves and scrubbed those too. When I put everything back, it was practically empty in there. I even took a picture it was so sparkling.

    We spent about 3 hours trying to get Ardyn to take a nap, which she is waking up from now. She fell asleep three times and slept for a total of 10 minutes each time. So she just had her third 10 minute nap of the day. Jeez. I really wanted to shower and such. And pack my scrapbook stuff.

    I also made Hot Howlin Crab Dip for tomorrow. That was also fun.

    I need to get ingredients for Michelle's Sweet Potato Casserole and my Top Secret Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert... as well as turkey and wheat rolls... for Thanksgiving next week. The family got our thanksgiving invites, and mom mentioned that I put the wrong date on the invite. DAMN IT! Well that's what happens when you get interrupted 10 thousand times while trying to make it.

    Tonight Lisa and Ardyn and I went to Peru. It was Lisa's birthday today! We went to Jimmie John's for supper. On the way to Peru, Ardyn had a poopy diaper, and we could smell it in the car. She had been fussy all evening and hadn't pooped yet, so I was prepared. I had a spare change of clothes. Of course I ended up changing her diaper on the FLOOR in Jimmie John's (We have a pad/mat to change her on) and she had pooped all over, leaked out of her diaper, up her back and clear to her neck. Through her shirt... and we used 10 wipes and ran out. What a mess! Poor little thing was all naked on the bathroom floor with me, in nothing but her shoes and pink tennis shoes. I ended up nursing her in Jimmie John's too.

    We went to Target and bought more wipes and it was a good thing we did because she pooped again. We also got a raincheck for the Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer, $59.99 down from $79.99- and a purple pair of socks. Lisa got a raincheck for a Christmas Gift for her little sister. At the mall we each got a new purse, they were the same pattern, but different sizes, mine small so that it will tuck inside the diaper bag. I also bought a $100 Sapphire Ring (Ardyn's birthstone) at Zales, that was on sale for three days for $29.99! Sweet! I got the flier in the mail and instantly Evan and I agreed to get it, and someday I will pass it on to Ardyn as a gift and an "heirloom" that her mom bought when she was small, and wore to remind her of Ardyn. I think she will enjoy it since it is her birthstone and was "mom's" ring. It is getting sized.

    We went back to Josh and Lisa's for a while and watched TV. When we got home, I kept hearing noises in the bathroom that were freaking me out. When I went in the bathroom to investigate I was super freaked when I saw a mouse staring out at me from the bathtub. When I was younger I was NEVER freaked out by mice, and I really am not now either. I would never stand on the furniture or any of that crap, but seeing a mouse still spooks you, especially when it moves and scares the crap out of you. I called Evan and he came home and extricated the little guy out of the tub and turned him loose outside, where I am sure he will be coming right back into the house. My dad used to step on their heads and crush them!

    I even took pictures of him in the bathtub for proof in case he escaped before Evan got home. I will share them tomorrow!

    Designer Babyhawk and Boyd'sTumor

    Okay, I know that I SAID I was going to bed. But then I thought of a couple more things I forgot to mention. The first is that I ordered my custom made Babyhawk Mei Tai Baby Carrier. Yep. And it was EXPENSIVE. I made it reversible, with two pockets and a toy ring. I am attaching a photo of the fabric swatches. It has espresso colored straps and reverses to the two fabric patterns you see here. I can't WAIT to get it, but since they have to custom make it, it will take a little longer. Is it wrong that I will now have 5 baby carriers? I have to say that they all serve their purposes. I love my ring sling and my two hotslings, but they just hurt your back after an extended period of time. And the bigger she gets, the worse it gets.

    I also like my front/back carrier that i have, but it was more of an inexpensive "test" and it isn't as comfortable as it could be. Since I now know that I use the carriers and that I will wear the baby plenty in the first few years of her life, and hopefully many more kids are to follow her, I see it as an investment and I am excited.

    I wore Ardyn in the patterned hotsling when we took Boyd to the Vet in Rockford on Wednesday. It was funny because the girls behind the desk were like "What a neat sling! Do you have a BABY in there?" and later, Evan was like "What did they THINK was in there?" SHe stayed in the sling the whole time. It was nice and made things so much easier. I also take the sling shopping, so if she gets fussy in the stroller I can then walk holding her "hands-free" and continue shopping. I can also feed her a bottle while shopping if I have her in the sling... or nurse, but I don't nurse while Moving in the sling yet... I just haven't done it enough. But I did watch some good videos online last night with tips and tricks on sling wearing and nursing while in the sling.

    So, the last thing I wanted to mention is that BOTH vets who have seen Boyd have said that he has the worst tumor they have ever seen growing "there" and it's been estimated at about $200-300 to remove. Right now they have him on some medicine to help with Colitis, and we are planning on scheduling his surgery perhaps after the holidays. I need to get back to work so that we can have the money to do the surgery.

    It could be cancerous, but we don't intend to find out. Just remove the tumor with laser surgery to make him comfortable. The biopsy is another $100.

    That's all. To bed. Olive oil and all. Promise!

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Crazy Happens Everyday...

    I know this. Because at 11:56pm I am sitting on the couch with a big stuffed dog, with a breastpump in one hand, and a towel on my head. And under that dryer-warmed towel, is a slow cooker liner. Yes. As in Crock-Pot. And under that plastic crock-pot condom? Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. On my hair. And my scalp.

    I don't know if it's dry weather or postpartum hormones but my HAIR and my SCALP are so dry! I haven't had my hair colored since sometimes July or August. But it is dry! My scalp itches. My scalp NEVER itches. It hasn't itched anytime in my life. Really. But it's been itching for WEEKS and I am really sick of it. My hairdresser gave me some deep conditioning treatment stuff. I leave it on for 10-20 minutes. It helps my hair for that day... but then it's dry again. But it never stops my itchy scalp. EVERYWHERE online recommends Olive Oil. You get people who do it on a regular basis. And then you get the 1% that say "Don't do it! It won't wash out! Your hair will smell! It will be weighted down and greasy!" And I can believe that is possible, but my opinion is that you just wash it out (shampoo, rinse, repeat) until the olive oil is out. And I have to say that I can't trust someone whose response says something like "don't do it! itll nevr wash out and yur hair will b greazy 4 weeks!" I want to say "Are you like 12? Did you TEXT MESSAGE your answer on a cell phone? Are we going to be BFF's if I do what you say?" Christ. I hate it. Too lazy to type? Then your answers don't sound very intellectual to me.

    So here I sit with olive oil on my locks. My hair already felt better when I was pulling it through my hair. I was trying to get it massaged into my scalp, but my hair was so dry and soaking it up, that I think I would have had to put half a bottle on my head to soak my scalp. Some people recommend putting it on and leaving it overnight, with the towel laid out over your pillowcase. I am considering that but I am not sure what will happen when Evan unexpectedly climbs into bed with me and finds me wearing a crock pot liner over greasy hair and smelling like Olive Oil.

    For some reason I am having a problem getting letdown with the pump today. my usual 4-6 ounces per session has been reduced to a meager 1-3. My back hurts and my neck hurts and I am tired. Probably too tired to wash the olive oil out of my hair. I guess this means it's off to bed scary after all. Pull it into a ponytail, maybe ditch the crock-pot plastic and just put the towel onto my pillow. But then the last thing I want is un-removable grease stains on my comforter or something crazy like that. Goodnight.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Project #3954

    Another project? But what about all those unfinished projects? The dollhouse (okay, more un-started than un-finished)? The baskets that you haven't finished? The skirts for the tables and the curtains in your sewing room? Ardyn's scrapbook? Your Pregnancy Scrapbook? Your Altered Journal? The 7-year purple afghan? Ardyn's baby afghan? Your unfinished Bead Kits? The embroidered Drumset Onesie that Ardyn will already be too big for by the time you finish it? The Embroidered Cornucopia towel you got 3/4 finished last Thanksgiving (started after the turkey towel) and haven't touched since? The weavette loom and project book you have never used? The 15 Altoid Tins you have saved so that you can create more of these? I know, I know... but life is nothing without projects! How does one LIVE without a creative or crafty project!? Or two. Or 34.

    Well, I guess I just need to make myself a list of projects. Schedule time to do them. Fill up my calendar, then find a babysitter who is willing for each project time slot. Ahh... in a perfect world.

    Well, about the new project. Waldorf Dollmaking. What you say? Well, either you know about them, or you don't. It all started with natural family living magazines like Mothering. They are full of crunchy, granola-y, earth-loving, tree-hugging ideas. I believe that once in the past we talked about my shock in discovering that there are such things as washable maxi pads and sea sponge tampons. The funny thing is that as I go back and read that post I have to laugh, because I am now the proud owner of three baby slings and I breastfeed exclusively and I have to admit that I have done research on cloth diapers and that I use washable breast pads. They are getting to me. But I still shave my armpits. LOL. Anyway, back to Waldorf. In the back of Mothering, next to the ads for fuzzibuns and sea sponge tampons, you will find TONS of advertisements for natural toys. Natural wood toys and all organic cotton and wool toys. I was of course intrigued.

    One day in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a catalog form Rosie Hippo. I was enthralled. I pored over that thing. I highlighted toys that I wanted Ardyn to play with someday. And I instantly adored the Waldorf dolls. Gnomes and Faeries and Knights and Dwarves. Little Girls and Boy Dolls. Babies. Teething Dolls. Pocket Dolls. You see, when I was a girl, Dolls were my thing. I loved dolls. Cabbage Patch, Baby Alive, Barbie, pretty much any doll. Porcelain, Cloth, Plastic. Dolls were my thing. I had doll clothes, doll bottles, doll strollers, doll beds, doll shoes.... I was all about dolls. And as I got older, I became all about faeries. All about Brian Froud. All about faerie dolls and faerie art. I drew faeries. I drew Gnomes. I drew trolls. I read about faeries. My husband, being huge into art, fantasy, and role-playing (not the bedroom kind) encouraged me. He bought my Froud books as gifts. So, I have always loved dolls and faeries and all sorts of tiny creatures. I loved my little ponies, but my favorites were BABY ponies. When we were recently in Wal-Mart, my husband pointed out the new LITTLE little ponies and I gasped in excitement! I said "I would have been ALL OVER those as a kid." He laughed. He knows about my adoration of all things small. (hence the dollhouse.)

    Another thing that is cool about natural toys, is the whole concept of it. I don't mean because they are all organic or all natural wood. That is a plus, but I mean the Waldorf concept. You can read more here, but the idea is that children learn and become individuals when the toys allow them to use their imagination in play. They develop into freethinking, artistic, and moral individuals. The dolls generally have expressionless faces. They are likely poseable. Mainly made of cotton or wool. I know that the natural toys are inspiring to a creative mind like mine.

    Even though I am no longer a child, as soon as I see those dolls, my mind starts to roll forward, my imagination takes off. Oh all the things I could DO with those dolls! The things that the gnomes and the faeries would eat! The things they would make! The things they would sit on and the houses they might live in and the places they might go. The other people and creatures they would meet! How the world would look to them! These are things that are instantly set forth in my mind, and I can only imagine what is set forth in the mid of a child.

    I could hand my daughter a Sponge Bob Square Pants Doll, where everything is already laid out. He lives in a pineapple under the sea. He flips Burgers. He has a pet snail named Gary. While this is all very entertaining and imaginative, it has already been decided for them. There is no need to conjure up an imaginative place and imaginative activities. They have all been conjured up by someone else. And I am NOT against cartoons, but I want to give my child the opportunity to use her imagination to conjure up her own world, in addition to seeing mainstream cartoons and characters.

    When I was small, my aunt was phenomenal at sewing. She made accessories and doll clothes. She made hair ties and TONS of clothing. She made cloth gift bags that looked like giant santa sacks and put all our gifts in them. She made blankets and all sorts of other creative goodies. And she taught me to sew. And I took Home-Ec. And I learned to follow a pattern. And I learned to stitch by hand, and to use a sewing machine. And when she finished her sewing career with some creative burnout, she let me have her Singer Sewing Machine. And years later when a friend of hers was giving away a newer model Singer, she called me and I went and picked it up. I love to sew. I love to create. I love to make stuffed softies. The more of these natural toys that i see, and the more that I see the PRICES of a Waldorf Doll ($40-$110 each) I understand that this is something that i can DO. This is something that I can do as a creative and fun outlet for me, a sense of accomplishment, and this is also something that I can do for my daughter. I can provide her with a unique and adorable world to play in. I can do that. How awesome is that?

    So to get started, I have done online research on Waldorf Dolls. I have compiled an electronic portfolio of images and patterns of dolls and softies (things like felted food and animals.) I have researched the best starter kits to make my first things, and the best books and DVD's to teach myself how to make my own. I started off by buying a Waldorf Doll-Making Book, and a Waldorf DVD that is HIGHLY reviewed. And a fairy pagoda pattern and supplies in a kit, and a fairy petal dollmaking kit with book and materials. I hope to start small and grow into making Waldorf Dolls for my children. I was so excited when I found a breastfeeding Waldorf Doll online. You can buy her with her baby for $70. Or I could make her! They make a tiny sling that the mommy doll wears, and the baby goes in the sling. They also use snaps to demonstrate the breastfeeding relationship between mom and babe. The mom has the half of the snap that looks like a nipple, and they sew two of them to her chest like nipples. The baby has the other end of the snap sewn as her mouth, and she can "latch on" to the momma doll when you lift up her shirt. I know that sounds SO crunchy but I am okay with that.

    I don't want my daughter to be taught about breastfeeding as I was. I was lead to believe that women who breastfed were strange and that feeding your baby that way was creepy or unnatural. I don't think it was an intentional thing, because my mom wasn't taught any differently. But I don't think I knew that there was any other way to feed a baby until I was babysitting as a teenager for a mom who breastfed. I don't want my daughter to lean about breastfeeding as an adult. I want her to view it as a natural part of life, and of HER life. I want her to know that mom wore her in a sling and breastfed her. I'm okay with that.

    So, now you know about waldorf, if you didn't already.
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