Friday, February 29, 2008

Comcast is Pissing Me Off.

Still no response from Comcast. They suck. And I heard through the grapevine of a home based business in Princeton that has had so much trouble with their high speed internet since the switch to Comcast, and have been given such the run around about how they are "working on it" that they had to go out and secure internet service from another provider. I am already not pleased. I haven't heard a word from them since I submitted my online complaint, the one that I would hear back from in "24 hours." Yeah right. So they must be short staffed, but they certainly were still able to BILL ME for service that I don't have. The bill arrived Wednesday in the mail. Grand.

Ardyn is 6 months old on Monday. I am looking forward to the weekend. I get so much accomplished and feel so much more relaxed. We have plans to have visitors on Saturday, which will be nice, and plans on Sunday too. But not harsh stressing plans. Laid back relaxing plans. Ahhh. I always love when plans include pork chops. LOL.

I have a busy week coming up.... hair appointment, dr. appointment, computer user group meeting, and dinner out next weekend followed by Ardyn's 6 month Dr. appointment and shots the following week.

We are really holding out for spring. I know that alot of you are in other states and warmer climates, and I have to tell you that this has been one of the worst winters we have had in a while, as far as freezing, thawing, melting, snowing, blowing, and cold are considered. It's really just messy all around. It gets warm enough to melt, then it rains, then it sleets, then it snows on top of everything, and then it gets cold (single digits and below zero windchills) and seriously windy, and then it all starts all over again. We've been doing this for months now, and with the baby it especially sucks because not only am I carrying things around like a pack mule, but also bundling up the baby and carrying her around and trying to keep her warm and dry. There has really been enough winter weather for me this year, and I don't even really mind snow. But it's the messy mixtures and the wind that really suck. And I think everyone is tired of this circulating sickness that it seems everyone has, and the lack of sunshine is just plain depressing. I never in my life thought that I would wish for a SAD light, but this weather is ridiculous. I wonder how my cousin and friend do it in Alaska with all the darkness.

So, not a whole lot else happening. Planning on giving Ardyn a little sweet potatoes tonight to try, and green beans by Monday. She's cool with Carrots and Squash but she really despises the Peas, and yesterday she threw up peas at daycare while they were feeding her. They just really trigger her gag reflex. Might not be up her alley. She loves her oatmeal, and I love weekends because I have enough time in the mornings to give her oatmeal and fruit. Someday I will have time to give her oatmeal and fruit every morning!! Until then, it's breastmilk ala-carte twice before daycare. Have a nice weekend! And since I am stealing someone's wireless network connection in order to post this, you may or may not hear from me much this weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I can't keep my pants on....

Yes. I am a dirty tramp. No no. Just kidding. I am too skinny. Well, maybe not skinny. But my pants are all way to big. Now they are about two sizes too big. I am getting so sick and tired of yanking my pants up all day long. Especially when trying to carry all the baby gear, I don't have enough arms to hold everything and keep my pants up. I imagine that I will just be walking along and suddenly my pants will be around my ankles. And my shirts are too big. I look like I had bariatric surgery. You know how those people look when they lose a bunch of weight and then their clothes don't fit right anymore? That's how I feel. My mom said "You have no butt. Where is your butt?" This is, of course, a good thing. When sick, I lost another 10 pounds, making that a total of 46 pounds lost since Ardyn popped out. Isn't breastfeeding grand!?

I have come to the realization that I need to get some new clothes. Badly. I have them picked out. Eddie Bauer and LL Bean staples like colored v-neck shirts, khaki pants, and shorts and capris. My jean shorts from pre-pregnancy should all be 3 sizes too big this summer, and that just won't work. Next paycheck, I am ordering new clothes. And I need to clean out my closet. But I can't possibly order enough new clothes to replace everything I already wear, so I will have to be a little forgiving I believe, and keep several things.... too big or not. I have a tote of jeans and pants in the attic that I believe I need to bring down, because they should all start fitting me. Then I think that if I get pregnant again, I will be starting my pregnancy much smaller, so there's always the chance that my maternity clothes might even be too big. But I am sure to swell up enough to make that doable. :)

So, we have no internet at home. Insight sold all it's Illinois Customers to Comcast. And. Comcast. Apparently blows. As soon as the switch was made, we started to see problems with the internet and our VOIP. We bought new phones. Still problems. I bypassed the router and went directly through the cable modem. Still problems. There is a potential that it could be the cable modem, which we own because with Insight you purchase your own modem. Well, with Comcast they want to RENT you your modem, which costs an arm and a leg, and by the time you have rented it for a year, you could have bought your own, not to mention that after 5 years you could have bought five of them. So we don't know if we have a modem issue, because since we switched from Insight (unwillingly) they don't know how to troubleshoot the modem. And as of last week we have NO internet service, and they can't get a technician out until MARCH FOURTH. Yeah. I am not pleased. I called on Sunday and they told me I would hear back or have a technician out by Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday afternoon I called them and they couldn't figure out why no one had called me. March 4th is a long long long ways away when you have no internet or phone service. When I asked about getting a credit for the service we are not getting, they told me that I would have to ask for the credit after it is fixed. Yeah, because I have nothing better to do but call you over and over to get problems resolved. That's pure wonderful customer service. I called Comcast to try to get to a supervisor and their "high call volumes" meant that they wouldn't even connect you to a person. So I emailed them and expressed my displeasure. Not that it will get me anywhere. But come on. Two weeks? When Insight was called, even with "high call volumes" we got a technician within 24 hours, even on the weekend and in inclement weather. And I bet you money that if I called Comcast and wanted new service, they wouldn't tell me I had to wait two weeks. So how can you treat your customers like that?

Let's see. What else is new? Monday night was Grandpa Bob's birthday, so we all went over to Great Grandma's house for Spaghetti, which was awesome. We had a nice night and Ardyn was still going strong at 9pm. Yesterday we got our taxes done, and we get a fairly substantial refund, but all of it will go towards the hospital bill for Ardyn's birth, leaving me about $600 more to pay on the bill before it's completely gone. Of course we will get another $1500 this May for the tax "refund" break.... $1200 as a married couple and $300 for Ardyn. It's time to get a newer vehicle as mine nears the 200 thousand mile marker.... so probably a new van or a Durango. That's the plan.... although I would KILL for a vacation somewhere sunny.... A new vehicle is what we need.

Last night I watched the new episodes of John and Kate plus 8, which I Love. It was the one where they go to Utah on a ski trip and their 8 hour flight gets turned into a 12 hour flight when the runways in Salt lake City are closed due to snow, and they get send to Idaho and are stuck on the plane with all 8 kids. Poor Kate breaks down and I felt so bad for her that I wanted to cry too. I can't imagine what that was like! I wouldn't even be able to take MYSELF on a 8 hour flight, 4 hours is about when I get to my wits end myself, let alone with kids. NO way. That's hell. And then I saw their rental house in Park City Utah, and it made me laugh because we were actually IN Park City, and saw those houses, in August of 2006, when we went to Roy Utah to see Carrie. We flew into and out of Salt Lake City, and we went shopping in Park City at the outlet malls, and I bought some baby clothes at the Osh Kosh Outlet and new Shoes at the American Eagle Outlet. We strolled downtown in Park City and ate lunch and did some shopping. They had a Roots Park City store there, and I love Roots.... and I bought some flip flops and a hat there. So anyway, it's pretty hard to watch John and Kate pack up all those kids. SO much work. But I can understand her desire to take them places and allow them to experience. But holy cow. Stress.

So that's about all I know. Things might be kinda quiet from me until we get our internet fixed. Stay tuned....

P.S. Ardyn is now eating carrots, squash, and peas. Photos are on Flickr!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

All About Cloth Diapers.... Reviews and Tips

So I know that this may not appear to many of my regular blog readers, so please feel free to skip over this. But I recently wrote down information and reviews on cloth diapers, and I have had tons of people online and on flickr, and a few online mom communities, wanting information. I thought if I posted it here, it would be more readily available to people who are just starting out, or looking for real-life reviews on some cloth diapers and diaper products.

All my photos of cloth diapering and cloth diaper products are located here. I will try to link to photos directly within the post, but you may have to cut and paste links as I don't know that I will have enough time today to hyperlink each one, since I am just cutting and pasting this review.

I know that all moms have different preferences, different washing methods, etc., but these are mine and therefore.... here you go!
We started out with using pockets exclusively. I went to the house of a friend who CD's. I saw what she had. She uses primarily prefolds and pockets.

I thought One size diapers would be for me. They aren't. They are terribly bulky. BUT we use BG (Bum Genius) 3.0 OS (One Sizes) for nighttime, and they work like a charm, NEVER a leak for 12-13 hours. I now have Five Bum Genius 3.0 One Size's, and One Tiny Tush One Size, which I like Way less than the Bum Genius (icky inserts and one size snaps don't stay snapped.)

Pockets have the advantage because they can be stuffed or de-stuffed based on what works for your child in terms of absorbency. AIO's (All in ones) are nice but they take longer to dry because the insert is built into the diaper. And you can't add extra stuffin per-say, because there is no pocket. There are also AI2's (AIO's with a snap in soaker-piece that is absorbent.)

If you want to cloth diaper cheaply, you want prefolds. But warning- these are not for the DH's who are uncooperative- and probably not for daycare or most grandparents/babysitters. They are old school but they are cheap and work well. I use prefolds now and then, we have BananaPeelDiapers and Thirsties prefolds and I use Thirsties covers because I love the leg gussets.

Almost Everything I own is used and purchased on Diaperswappers, with the exception of some purchased inserts for those used diapers and one new diaper that I won for free.... and the prefolds and new Thirsties AIO's. All diapers can be resold and if you take care to get stains out, they can really make your money back or be used for second kids. I recommend buying used and trying different brands to get a good fit for your LO and spend money on new ones only when you KNOW what you want.

Reviews and Details, about the pocket brands I have/use(d)

Ewe Need It's- Okay. Soft. Cute. Trim. Huge gaping pocket holes that I don't like.... have yet to find an insert that fits right

KND's (Knickernappies Disposanots)- like them. Very trim. Narrow pocket space, requires specific stuffing, made for KND. I have and use the Just Hemp inserts and the Hemp/Microfiber Loopy-Do Inserts, which are a great insert that is sewn in a loop so they dry faster. However, don't like it when she poops, it always goes up the front and gets all over the side snapping tabs, and then causes a mess when changing. It's practically impossible to keep her flailing limbs/socks/onesie snaps out of the poo. Ugh. They also have been leaking on us lately. Just too bad because I have like 8 of them. I like that they have elastic at the waist in front and back to help contain. But have found that it isn't necessary to contain a leak.

Fuzi Bunz- great diaper. Seem to get really pilly inside. The newer ones might have resolved this issue, but they have been made in Mexico, and the US, and have a new version, and all of them fit differently so even though you might have mediums, the newer ones run big, so you have to be careful. I have about 7 real ones and 6 fakes. I like them. They aren't my favorite but they are great. I like that they can really take lots of different inserts. I use Hemparoos because they are AWESOME hemp inserts that are contoured and hold lots of wetness and fit in lotsa dipes. I also use prefolds in the FB's

Bum Genius One Size 3.0 (BG OS 3.0)- nice dipes. Way too bulky when snapped down to use under any clothing. ESPECIALLY JEANS! Difficult to get pajamas on over them sometimes. Nice nice inserts, great elastic, strong Aplix (velcro) These are the only velcro dipes I have that will stay velcro'd in the wash. Downside: Poo Stains on Microfiber are practically impossible to get out without bleach. Bleach tears down the absorbency of inserts and is bad for the environment, not to mention not your first choice against baby's skin. Dislike them for that. I think sunning would remove the poo stains, but not after drying in the dryer, so I hate them for this. There is no sun in Illinois in the winter!

Snapez- Probably my FAVORITE pocket. Trim. Low Rise. Snaps seem in the best location. Fit a wide variety of inserts, I use Hemparoos or prefolds, or microfiber/flannel inserts that I make myself. Love love love these dipes. Super trim and cute. I think I have 5. Prints leak/wick badly once they are shot, but the solids are awesome and I would love to have more.

Drybees- Great Aplix Diaper. Don't leak. Use these at daycare. Also DH's favorite. Downside- pilly aplix and they don't stay velcro'd in the wash and then stick to themselves and other dipes and worst of all to all my microfiber inserts. We have 9 of them. But they fit great. Don't try to roll the leg fleece back in, or they will leak. They are designed to roll out.

Happy Heiney's- Nice Dipes. Cute. Velcro doesn't stay closed in wash. Very trim. Microfiber inserts (staining hard to get out) Not sure how they would hold in a poo because they are so so trim, haven't had a poo in one yet (we have 3 of these dipes)

GAD's (Green Acre Designs) - we only have one and haven't used it much. Snaps. Nice trim Design. Similar to KND's.

Thirsties AIO Pockets- I just ordered 6 of these AND I LOVE THEM! The combine the convenience of an AIO with the added ability to stuff, and even better, they have the Thirsties leg gussets to hold in everything. I love them dearly, except for the long drying time, and the inside FOE on the leg gusset (Fold-over-elastic) will stain with poo, but it isn't noticeable unless you are REALLY Looking for it. It looks a little like a tea stain. I don't know that anyone besides me has noticed it on mine. These are great for DH, daycare, and out on the town.

I also think that Thirsties are the most awesome prefolds, but they aren't made anymore. I have bought all of mine used.

Other things that I learned - some of the best advice I was ever given about CDing-

Snaps over Aplix (velcro) - because it is cleaner, doesn't stick in the wash, doesn't pill and get hair/fuzz/strings in it. Not difficult to use once you get the hang of it, but daycare prefers velcro or they don't get them on tight enough and we have leaks.

Don't buy just one brand of diapers for your entire stash. Stick to 2-4 different types/brands because as babies grow, they will grow out of certain brands, or they won't fit correctly for a while. If you have all one brand, you will be screwed and have to go buy all new dipes to get through. If you have a varied stash, you will be better able to have something on hand that will work through an awkward growth stage. At first I didn't take this to heart, but now that it's happened to me, I love that I have lots of variety on hand.

Hemp is the most absorbent for inserts, but it takes time for it to absorb. Mirorfiber absorbs quicker. A combo of the two is awesome. Hemp alone can cause diaper rashes because there isn't much to keep the wetness away from baby's skin, even in a pocket. Flannel atop a microfiber insert is excellent because the flannel keeps baby dry and the microfiber absorbs alot of liquid quickly. This is why the inserts I make at home are from Microfiber automotive towels and 2 layers of soft flannel. See pics of what I make at home in my Flickr photos.

Don't dry your pockets, covers, etc. - They can be dried but will have a shorter life, particularly the elastic and the PUL. Once PUL is shot, dipes leak and wick. You can replace elastic but it can be time consuming. Even if the dipes are okay now, if you pack them away for a second baby, the elastic can rot and snap when removed from storage. Air Dry. I Air Dry everything except prefolds and inserts, so I don't like AIO's for how long they take to dry.

Don't use any fish oil based rash creams in cloth diapers. Don't use rash creams at all unless you have done your research or they stain the dipes permanently. Balmex works well for us. I lay a cloth wipe in the diaper first to protect it, just in case. I rarely need rash cream.... but it sometimes helps with redness. Also- to reduce redness and rashes, use a hairdryer to dry the diaper area thoroughly between diapers. I have a travel hairdryer that I keep plugged in and hanging on the changing table and it works great and entertains the baby to no end. Now when I dry my hair she cranes her neck to see what's going on with the hairdryer!

Choose a natural detergent that won't leave residue in your dipes. It's better for baby's bottom and also prevents the detergent buildup that causes odors and prevents absorbancy. The wrong detergent can ruin diapers. We use Charlie's Powdered Detergent and Oxy Boost Natural for stain removal, in each load. Oxyboost works better than Oxyclean baby (I know I have used both) and it's also less expensive and if you buy in bulk like I do you save money and reduce packaging waste. Right now I have a 5 gallon bucket of Charlie's Detergent and a BIG Pail of Oxyboost.

Cold Rinse all dipes on the highest water level setting, regardless of the number of dipes you are washing. I use the prewash cycle with no soap or oxyboost.

Then Do a HOT WASH and COLD RINSE with 1 full tablespoon of Charlie's and 2-4 scoops of Oxyboost (depending on the soil level of the load). Use the highest water level setting.

Do a Second Cold Rinse.

Inspect ALL DIAPERS for stains. Re-wash everything that has stains, this time you can skip the prewash, but still use the second rinse, hot/cold, and you can lower the water setting and decrease the amt of oxyboost.

If using detergents other than Charlies, use half the amount of recommended. Charlie's needs you to use 1 TBSP per load to be effective. This is directly from their Cloth Diapering Letter that they mailed to me.

Handling Dirty Dipes
A wet pail is a no-no. I know there are people who still use them, but they have determined that it is a breeding ground for bacteria growth.

We use a tall kitchen garbage can that has lift up handles so I can carry it right to the laundry room. My favorite pail liner is a Monkey Doodlez pail liner that has PUL sandwiched between two layers, so you never SEE the plastic, and it has an elastic top to fit a tall kitchen garbage. We also have a wetbag by WET HAPPENED for on the go and at daycare, it's just a smaller zippered version.

I place a cloth wipe with a couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil inside each one (pail/wetbag) to contain odors. I put the wipe under the rim of the pail lid to keep the nice smell at the top so it doesn't get buried in stinky dipes. No odor problems with that.

Diaper Pail (Garbage) with inside Handles:

Monkey Doodlez Pail Liner:


I don't rinse dipes. We are EBF and BF poo is runny and spraying doesn't make a difference. Instead of a toilet diaper sprayer, I got a new utility sink to use when the time comes... we will put the poo that is solid in the toilet near the laundry room and then spray down in my new sink.

Fancy Faucet with Sprayer:

As far as cloth wipes go, there are lots of WAHM's that make wipes that are adorable on diaperswappers, and you can buy them from several brands like Bummis and Thirsties, and others. Check some out at luvingmammadiapers. I personally use baby washcloths. You can get big packs for cheap at Wal-Mart and we have about 40. I make a wipe solution of Babywash, warm water, and a drop of Tea Tree Oil (it's antibacterial and stops mold growth, plus is a great essential oil fragrance- just a teeny drop will do) and then I soak the wipes, wring them out, and keep them in my wipes warmer just like sposie wipes. I also fill my peri bottle from the hospital with the solution and keep it by the changing table to use if I need to add more to the warmer. They work great and we even use them at daycare (cloth wipes.) Here are my cloth wipes....

I buy pretty much everything from Brandi at LuvingMammaDiapers. She has a LOT of choices for cloth diapering, she is extremely helpful in answering questions, and she is wonderful about communicating the status of your order and the tracking numbers. She also has wonderful sales and coupon codes that you can get if you sign up for her email newsletter. If you place an order, be sure to tell her that I sent you. Just type my name (Meagan Johnson) in the comments of your order and let her know that's where you heard of her. I really love her site, and her help has been enormous. I also write reviews over there for all the products I use/try, so that other customers can read up and make informed decisions.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fisher Price Bop n Beap Drumset

Ardyn got a new toy (**gasp!**)

The Fisher price Bop n Beat Drumset. And she LOVES it. She really interacts well with it and is entertained forever. It seems to be really sturdy because she really "jams out." It plays really cool scats and music and each instrument when you hit or tap them. Pretty cool. Here are a few action shots.I like it because it is small enough to sit on her lap, so she doesn't have to be held up or precariously leaning over all the time to reach it. It also takes up less SPACE in the house, but is as entertaining as something larger. Great buy. And I have to give Evan credit for picking it out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Birthdays, Bum Genius, and Breastmilk

last night we gave Ardyn Oatmeal mixed with breastmilk. She loved it. Evan fed her and I taped the whole ordeal. She got it right away, even more so than our attempt at rice cereal at 4 months, and she eagerly grabbed at the spoon and tried to feed herself. She also would lunge in for the next bite. Of course she was more gassy and fussy at night, I think part of the fussiness is teething and part is digesting. She was up from 2:30 till almost 4am, and then awake again at 5:30 and pretty much sleeping fitfully next to me between 5:30 and 7am when she finally woke for the day. Of course, that means that she was taking her first nap at 9:30 when we left for daycare this morning.

I took oatmeal to daycare today and we also started putting the sippy cup handles on her bottles, getting ready to hopefully transition to sippy cups this month. The poor daycare girls will think I am crazy.... but I did write them a page of information about what I was trying to achieve. We arrive right in the middle of morning nap at daycare, and usually they have their hands full with crying babies trying to fall asleep, so I knew we wouldn't be able to get in a clear conversation before I left.

Last Friday our newest diapers arrived. Thirsties came out with an AIO Pocket, and that means that the absorbancy is built right in but there is also a pocket for added stuffing if necessary. They also have the wonderful Thirsties Leg Gussets, which I love, and so when they arrived I was super excited. 6 of them ran me about $100, which was really a great deal considering. I got free shipping and a $10 discount on my order, so it was great. We tested them over the weekend and Evan and I both instantly fell in love with them. They are so trim under clothes and the velcro tabs are really nice and clean. I also like that the tabs will overlap and the leg gussets work beautifully, just like on our Thirsties covers. So now once my last bunch of secondhand drybees arrives, I will have 15 diapers suitable for the daycare rotation, which is two days worth and will allow me to really wash only every other day. Washing every night is no big deal, but it becomes a little bit of a hassle if you want to go somewhere on a weeknight, especially if like me, you like to be in bed by 9:30 or 10:30. I took pictures of the Thirsties, but I am a little behind in uploading pics. The hard drive of my laptop is 100% full, so I can't empty my camera cards, and I have two of them full now. So I need to work on unloading the laptop to my portable hard drive so that I can unload the camera cards and upload more pics.

I also heard that started carrying Bum Genius Cloth Diapers, which we use for nighttime. I have two Bum Genius 3.0's and we love them for overnight.... but that means that I have to wash every night or the next night we will be OUT Of overnight diapers. She can wear a prefold overnight but I am not a fan of how the prefolds don't keep all that overnight wetness away from her skin, like a Bum Genius does. Someone gave me a $10 off coupon code and I got free shipping there too, so I got the $18 diapers for about $14 each, which is cheaper than you can buy them used. I got three, and that will give us 5 nighttime diapers, which also helps if we ever have to change her halfway through the night. They are also an excellent investment because they are one size diapers, so they snap down and up in size and she will be able to wear them throughout her entire diaper career, before they are passed on to siblings.

This weekend is my mom's birthday, Evan's grandma's birthday, and Evan's dad's birthday. I have everyone's birthday cards ready, except I need to make one for my mom yet, and I keep telling Ardyn that we are going out to dinner this weekend with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Liz for my mom's birthday. I can't wait! I hope more than anything that she can be good and stay awake. I think she will be fine because she will be home with me all day and be able to take good long naps, which should allow her to be awake late enough for supper. In the past week we have determined that her 8pm bedtime needs to be 7:30 now, because she has a huge meltdown and is exhausted between 7:15 and 7:30. Last night I started feeding her at 7 and by 7:30 she was in bed. That is the third time in a row that she has been so tired. Poor Beeb. It's hard to get home from work and daycare, feed her, feed us, and get in any playtime if she is getting ready for bed at 7pm. Especially if it is bath night. But we will make it work.

So that's the scoop for now. Sorry no pictures in this post.... gotta work on that camera.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back on Track

Things are starting to get back to normal around here. Finally feeling well enough to eat a couple of meals a day, although I have found that at lunchtime I am not especially hungry, so I try to eat a big late breakfast, or brunch type meal instead. Being sick (once again) gave me a knock to the milk supply, so I am trying to pump every hour or so in order to increase it, and drinking my mother's milk tea. I think we'll try our hand at some baby oatmeal tonight. The rice at 4 months didn't go over well, and the pediatrician always says no solids or cereal before 6 months anyway, so we waited and now I think it's just about time. I think we will start a vegetable this weekend to see how she likes that, but maybe oatmeal at night this week so that she can get prepped for her veggies. Problem with oatmeal is that it still has to be mixed with breastmilk, so that means I will be dipping into my supply in the freezer a bit as I try to increase my supply of "fresh" milk.

When Ardyn got weighed last week, she was 14 pounds 11 ounces. Still "small" by formula feeding "growth" standards, but according to the Dr., right on for a sweet little breastfed baby... and perfectly proportioned. But we already knew that!

Next week we get our taxes done. Pretty sure that our tax refund will go right to our hospital bill from Ardyn's birth. We might still have some $$ left over, but we will just have to see! If we pay that off, we will be completely, and totally and completely debt free. YAY! Not a single payment to make on ANYTHING. Not a single credit card. Not a single loan. YAY!

I am dying for spring. Really. We bought some pool/sandbox toys for Ardyn. I know she will be too small to probably fully appreciate them, but at 9-12 months, she should understand what's up. She loves playing in the bathtub.... and we still are talking about taking her swimming. I was able to speak with the Aquatics Coordinator at the Metro Center today, and got Ardyn signed up for swim lessons starting in April. Two months of lessons, once a week, is $40. I think we can handle that!

I have this perfect plan in my head. When it's nice, take a walk with Ardyn each day in the stroller, get the mail, tour the town, perhaps walk a dog or two. Go to the park, play in the grass. Stop and smell the flowers. That sort of thing. I am also SUPER excited because one of my bestest friends ever in the whole wide world (That means it has to be Angela or Carrie!) is coming home. Carrie will arrive in Chicago in March, and Angela will bring her in from the airport. I can't wait for the three of us to be together again. We haven't been together since before I was pregnant with Ardyn, in the fall of 2006. Angela and I flew out to Utah to stay with Carrie when her daughter Cara was 3 months old. Then a couple of weeks later, Carrie, her husband Jay, and Cara flew here for our 10 year class reunion. I haven't been able to see them since! I can't wait. And she will be around for the spring, which is extra special cool. I am hoping to go get Ardyn's ears pierced this spring, and make a day trip of it.... and take Carrie, Cara, and Angela for moral support. I can not WAIT for spring. I can't wait for green grass and bright sunshine. Oh and Carrie started a new business venture, which is pretty neat, so check it out if you have a free moment.

I am also excited about Easter. This past weekend we were trying to decide what to do as a family and Evan said "Is the easter bunny at the mall yet?" LOL. He cracks me up. Always looking ahead for fun times. Ardyn's Easter basket is all ready to be filled, but she won't really know what's going on. That didn't stop everyone at Christmas though.... I am trying to figure out if it would be cheating to put all those pool toys we just bought her in her easter basket. LOL. And maybe add a stuffed doll that we saw in Pottery Barn that we decided she MUST own. (as if she doesn't own ENOUGH stuff already.) My mom is getting Ardyn a toddler swing for the front yard for Easter, and I can't wait for that either! Now I just need the damn picket fence in the front yard. LOL.

Ardyn and I have been doing lots of playing with cups and stacking towers and wooden puzzles. We are working on her put and take coordination, and she is really getting great with her hands. It's fun to see what she will do next. She really likes the Pampered Chef Kids Measuring Cups, and all the buckets we have. She loves the stackable parents buckets, and the nesting animal buckets that jingle and crinkle when they are touched and moved. She isn't a fan of the bucket on her head. At first she was just bewildered, but at that time it was almost bedtime, so bewilderment soon turns into crankiness. She loves the excersaucer and the jumparoo so much... I am so lucky that we have both of them. She loves to be standing and jumping around, and my arms can only entertain her for so long before being exhausted. I am amazed at how long she can go in the Jumparoo.... it's great for tiring her out before bedtime! The excersaucer is like a toy playground, as Evan discovered that the more toys you pile on it, the happier she is.

I can't believe that Ardyn will be 6 months old in just 13 days! It's exciting and sad to see her growing so fast! Evan's answer is "more babies!" To which, of course, I agree!

But if you have more babies, that means you have to make room for them. I have been casually working on Ardyn's big girl room in my mind, and I have bedding and a rug, and window shades, and the twin bed.... and I think that her toy shelf would move in there with her, and probably one of the dressers from the nursery. But let's not get TOO ahead of ourselves. After all, a new baby could take years to achieve! (Let's hope not!)

So my tooth has been hurting the past two days. It's a back molar, and it only hurts when I bite down. I just went to the dentist like a month ago and had no cavities (never had one, knock on wood) so I am worried that it is that damn wisdom tooth that is UNDER the rest of my teeth, trying to come through. Right before I found out I was pregnant, I had been told that I needed to have three wisdom teeth pulled. One was already completely in, and the other was almost 3/4 of the way in, and the other was under the rest of my teeth still. My dentist referred me to an oral surgeon, and I had to go to Peoria. I was so freaked out that Evan drove me to the appointment. Deep down I thought that "consultation" meant "Knock you out with a baseball bat when you walk through the door so you can't resist." Evan even had to go back with me. They said "We'll just pull them all" and then they proceeded to show me the video that warns of the dangers of surgery, the potential of cutting nerves, yada yada- and then showed me the big bill - Ca-Ching$$. For a person who is afraid of surgery and in general hates the idea of being put under, this wasn't pleasant. In fact, it was distinctly UNPLEASANT. Now, for someone who has a baby to take care of, breastfeeding to do, the thought of potential of death from having your teeth pulled doesn't help me feel any better. SO I did what any responsible adult would do. I ignored it. And luckily finding out I was pregnant made it perfectly acceptable for me to cancel my appointment with tooth pulling doom, and now breastfeeding means I can delay it even longer.... right? And it doesn't hurt. At all. My other teeth have been crowded a bit while the one wisdom tooth comes through almost all the way, but besides that, It's been quite pleasant in the depths of my mouth. Pleasant enough, in fact, that I was sure that I wouldn't NEED them pulled as "they" insisted I did. I think they just wanted more teeth for their voo-doo necklaces. Right now I am working on the "ignore it" philosophy for a bit longer, to see if that pain on the left side will go away. Surely there must be some magikal herbal remedy that will make that painful tooth fall out on it's own? Certainly hermits and homeless people must have a dental alternative? Something besides drilling, cracking, and pulling?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trying Times

Oh Man, is this becoming a weekly blog again? Sorry about that. Too much going on. Evan was still sick all the way up until Friday the 15th, and on Monday night/Tuesday, I started coming down with it too. Then Tuesday morning I woke up with every plan to take Ardyn to daycare, go to the doctor, and then go HOME to bed, and then Ardyn started coughing too, so we were all one sick family. Ardyn and I went to the doctor, and I got some antibiotics. Then I went again yesterday, so it's pretty much been sickness this week. Evan brought us pink roses for Valentine's Day, and we pretty much spent the week eating soup and crackers and drinking gallons of water. Evan did run out for us once and brought back 7-up and popsicles. It's been especially eventful.

I felt a little better and tried to go to work on Thursday, and made it through the day, but Friday felt worse again so I took Ardyn to daycare and then came home and rested myself.

I did manage to find a rug to match Ardyn's big girl room, I wasn't looking but I just saw it and it was like, well, fate, so it's been added to the pile of things.

Today when I got up I am feeling much more myself, and when I went to let the dogs outside for the morning, their little heater had been knocked face down by someone throwing a newspaper inside the front porch and hitting the heater. Luckily the heater has a shutoff and didn't start a fire from being face down, or from having a plastic covered newspaper 2 inches from it. Duh. So I was all upset about who the hell would open the door and do that, especially when we have made COUNTLESS calls to the news tribune to ask them to STOP littering our yard with free papers that we don't ever read. Then Evan says "well, that's my Sunday paper that I subscribed to." Wha?! Subscribed? When? I insist that he never told me that, he insists that he did. I know that if he did it was in a moment when I wasn't even paying attention or something, because that's just not something I forget. Silly. So now we have a Sunday paper. I thought I might read it, but there it sits. Not sure I am up for hearing more bad news. Maybe I could just read the comics and clip coupons or something. the Sunday paper seems so.... Adult or something.

There has been alot of depressing stuff in the news lately. It's hard to be a mom when people are dying everywhere, sometimes in senseless acts of violence, and sometimes in random accidents. Friday night there was a fatal car accident nearly in my backyard. Of course I live in town, so the thought that someone could roll their vehicle so near to my house is a little bit amazing, but being as how I am an anxious person who has always dramatized the worst, I have certainly thought of it. And after I heard about the accident I of course started to think about how terrible it was that it happened, and how terrible it was that someone died, but at the same time thought about how close the accident was to my daughter's crib and to my own bed, and what if that car had rolled just 500 feet closer to our house, or had hit our house, god forbid.

Then on a random trip to the mall yesterday, an older lady with "grandma" on her license plates, passed us and then a few miles later lost control of her car and ramped a snow bank in the median going 75 miles an hour. She was out of control and her car was spinning and we just watched in absolute horror, and waited for her car to come back into our lane or connect with someone in the oncoming lane of traffic. When she finally stopped, she was missing bumper plastic and her wipers were going, and it was downright scary. She was so lucky to be alive and to not have collided with someone else. Evan said over and over how he couldn't believe the car didn't roll. It was unbelievable.

And then just 10 minutes later outside the mall, some asshole in a Jag blew out of a store entrance and almost hit us on the side where Ardyn and I were riding. This all, of course, happened right after the DeKalb shooting at NIU this Valentine's Day, where 6 people died. NIU is just about an hour from us. I was at work when my mom called to tell me the school was on lockdown and that they were looking for a gunman. I got online and saw that there had been shots fired and of course all of my coworkers knew at least SOMEONE who was/is a student there, and in most cases we all knew someone who was a teacher or staff member there. Talk about making you feel sick.

So really, I am not sure I want to read the Sunday paper and see more about people dying and young girls being sexually assaulted and children being abducted. What is the world coming to, you know?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday and the Serger

What a WEEK! Today was day 10 of Evan being sick. I feel so bad for him, but at the same time I have to admit that I feel kinda bad for me, because doing everything myself is really getting old, and taxing. This afternoon he was feeling better for a while and I got to take a nap for almost 45 minutes while he watched Ardyn. Then he brought her in so I could feed her and we were all laying down and next thing we know, it's 6pm and we had slept for about two more hours. I really really needed that. Earlier in the day I had gotten piece of glass in my foot (It's still there) and had been walking on it from about 9am till about noon, when Ardyn finally took a nap and I had some time to try to dig it out. Which I wasn't able to do. I sat on the edge of the tub and soaked it in hot water and sea salts... hoping to work it out. It helped a bit, especially to get all the dried blood off my foot so I could see where the glass might be. I still can't see it, but I can feel it. Evan tried to get it out too, but we couldn't. So the glass lives on in my foot.

Saturday was an amazingly successful and exhausting day. I got my SERGER! YAY!!!! I ended up spending the morning calling around to check on what people kept in stock and how many different models each store carried. I called Neal's Sewing Center in Davenport, but their's ranged in price from $499-$1799, which were NOT in my price range. I don't need all that, I just need a serger. Amazingly, the best selection and prices were right her "locally" in Peru, so I called my mom and we took off. Of course while I am on the phone checking prices, Evan is laying in bed sick, holding the baby so I can make a few phone calls, and one second I look up from my phone conversation and see him playing with her, and another second I look up and see Evan missing and Ardyn lying on the bed looking all confused, and then I can hear Evan throwing up. Ugh. Horrible.

Saturday mom and I went shopping and I got the serger, I picked a $299 model Singer, which was higher than a $179 or $199 entry level model, and then when I was checking out they told me that if I came back tomorrow I could save $50 because it was going on sale tomorrow. Ugh! I talked to the ladies at Joann and they gave me the serger for $249.... which meant that I got the serger, 10 cones of thread, a thread organizer, and all kinds of other serger accessories- for the same cost as I would have got the serger itself. Good deal.

I also got really lucky and ran into bedding at target on big time sale, that will match Ardyn's "big girl room." I had been eyeballing some at JCPenney, but at like 60% off, the reversible comforter was $29.99- which wasn't bad, but I was shopping around for something similar. The room will be hot pink, bright orange, and red.... and I was disappointed because what I had found at Penney's was pretty much just pink and orange, no red. I already have red roman shades in that room (my current scrapbook room) and so I wanted to continue with that theme, especially because I have some canvas cubes and flowers that match already. So anyway, I found a reversible comforter at Target for $26.99 that was orange, pink, red, lime, turquoise, and yellow. It reverses to solid red. And some orange sheets for $13.99- which were hard to choose because there were SO many sheets there that matched. I think I will eventually go back and get another set, because all toddlers should have more than one sheet set! Otherwise you are just asking for it.

I grabbed a pink orange and white striped bath sheet on clearance, which I plan to cut in half and serge with some binding, to make two beeb sized beach towels that we can take to the Y and to Grandma's Pool this summer. It will match both her swim suit and her swim diaper set. Good deal. They had spring dresses (simple cotton t-shirt dresses with cute details and bloomers to match) for $6, and I got two of those for this summer, and mom bought one to give her for easter. I got her three little sweatshirts for next fall on clearance at Bergner's for $3, and a cute onesie on clearance that said "That's It, I'm emailing Grandma!"

It was a really nice shopping trip, Ardyn was FABULOUSLY behaved, which was a hige difference from last weekend's trip to Peru for groceries. Ugh. We went to Target, Jo-ann's, Jimmie John's, Victoria's Secret (for my sister's birthday gift) and to the bookstore... and she was great the whole day. I was trying to get myself a copy of the book "Medications and the Mother's Milk" and also "The Breastfeeding Mother's Herbal Companion", but the first book was out of stock and can't be ordered because it's apparently on short supply and looks like it's out of print. So today I got online and found a copy. It wasn't cheap, and I wish that I would have bought it back when I was buying my other pregnancy and breastfeeding books, when it was available everywhere, because I had NO IDEA how little the average healthcare professional knows about what medications are safe to take when breastfeeding. It's actually quite ridiculous. By the time my daughter was 4 months old, Dr's had already tried to prescribe me FOUR unsafe prescriptions, KNOWING that I was breastfeeding, without even considering if it was safe. For god's sakes they tried to get me to take MUSCLE RELAXANTS! Jeez. I should have bought that book long ago.

I tried to serge a bit today. I decided to use the pre-threading on the machine to do a small project, but by the time I sat down to sew, Ardyn was already waking up again. I got exactly three stitches in (literally three stitches) when the thread broke. Ugh. So I broke open the book and tried to read about adjusting the tension, presser foot height, and feed settings based on my fabric. Needless to say, I haven't sewn more yet, but Ardyn finally went to bed, so maybe I will sneak down and try to stitch something before bed. I am working on making her some valentine legwarmers that have little candy conversation hearts on them, but I might have to break down and just do them on the sewing machine or they will not be done in time for Valentine's Day.

Now we have enough diapers to wash every 2-3 days, which is AWESOME. I washed on Thursday night and then washed again this morning. Of course she was wearing the LAST diaper when the wet diapers were air drying, so I was cutting it a bit close. But when the rest of the aplix dipes arrive this week, I will certainly be able to go three to four days without washing. YEAH! So tonight I stuffed diapers, put them away, re-arranged the changing table, gave Ardyn a bath, made pizza, baked Walnut Brownies, and I think I will go start a load of her laundry and try my hand at the Serger again before bed.... but it is 10:15 so who knows how much I will actually accomplish before I give in and go to bed. Good thing I got a nap!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Snow Day!

Today was officially a snow day. The overnight snow wasn't too bad, but when I got up this morning it was snowing good and the forecast called for about 5 more inches and blowing and drifting, and for once this year I decided to be smart and just stay home. I have stuffed and folded diapers, put them away, did laundry, did some dishes, ate breakfast and lunch, portioned out cheese and lunchmeat for the freezer, cleaned 50% of my scrapbook table, and played with Ardyn, fed her, and put her down for her two naps. Its so nice to be home!

About 20 minutes ago I tried to put the dogs out to go potty and they (Hadley) purely resisted. He sat down and refused to step outside, attempting to dig his claws into the hardwood floor. I pushed his ass out and he stood on the stoop and scratched at the door. Silly dog. The wind has really picked up now and I just heard that they took the plows off the roads now. Sounds like they can't keep up anymore. Evan had a Dr's appointment and has been at Wal-Mart for almost an hour getting a prescription filled. He never should have gone to Wal-Mart (Kirby-Henning is SO much better and quicker) but he never gets prescriptions so he doesn't really know any better. That's just one of those tidbits of information that wife has stored in her head along with miles and miles of other research and marketing information.

Well, Ardyn is just waking up again, I can hear her squealing nad playing her her crib. Sounds like she's just gonna take a thousand mini-naps today. She figured out just today how to shake her head (as in "no-no") and she has been doing it all morning long.

Guess we will go take a mom-baby bath. Sounds like fun. Add a little Burts Bee's Apricot Oil to the tub and some toys, and we will be set to relax and play.

Monday, February 04, 2008


What's new with you folks? I really meant to blog over the weekend, but Evan has been sick since last Friday, and pretty out of it. He has had a sinus infection and horrible headaches and dizziness. So It's been a little bit crazy at home. Sunday and today were the worst for me. We really needed groceries about a month ago, but this weekend we were FINALLY all going to go together and get some. Then Evan got sick, and we put it off all weekend until on Sunday I just decided that I was going to take Ardyn and do it by myself. Of course she was also teething and when I left home it was her nap time. She slept a bit in the car on the way there but wasn't really thrilled with waking up when we got to Target. She seemed fine through about 50% of the store, but then started to get very vocal and fussy. So I ended up carrying her for a while and then we hightailed it out of there. I wanted to go to Aldi's right away but Ardyn screamed in the car and I planned on just forgetting the whole thing and just going home. But she was screaming so loud that I just parked in the Aldi's parking lot and got her out of her seat and fed her in the front seat of the SUV. Of course I had to move my seat all the way back to make room for her in between me and the steering wheel. Then I wanted to change her, but grocery stores don't have changing tables... and it was too cold to change her with a door open to the vehicle, so I changed her on the front seat which was NOT easy with the console in between.

Finally she calmed down and was okay, so we went into Aldi's. Of course we got through 1.5 aisles before she started squealing in protest again, and I ended up alternately carrying her and then once she was happier, putting her down again. She was fine in the checkout line but once I got to the part where I bagged my own groceries, she was frustrated because the groceries (and therefore me) were behind her back and she couldn't see me. I was talking to her but she was instantly bored, and then fussy again. Of course then I was holding her AND bagging groceries one handed when the cashier came over and offered to help and to her surprise I just begged her to hold the baby so I could get stuff in the bags the way I wanted it. Whew! Then in the car she started her screaming again (when teething she doesn't want to be put down. She becomes a real cuddle bug) and then finally fell asleep. She was so exhausted but wouldn't nap. It was almost 1:30 and she usually naps around 10 or 10:30 and she hadn't yet. She was SOOO Overtired. Then I realized that in my hurry to get her out of Target, I hadn't bought Evan's cold medicine, so I had to go to Wal-Mart on the way home and grab some. The very second we got into the store she started screaming again. It was horrible. I just grabbed his cold medicine and got the hell out of there.

By the time we got home she was screaming non-stop so I had to make Evan get out of bed and unload groceries for me while I fed her, changed her, and put her pajamas on. All of which she screamed through as if she had a broken bone or something. Man it was a bad bad scream. Once she was fed, changed, and had her pajamas on, she kinda let out a big sigh and looked at me like "So we are home now?" and then SMILED and was happy. An hour later she was eating again and I was lying down nursing her and I was SO exhausted. She had been up for a whole two hours during the night and I was exhausted because I had been up since 7am, drug her and myself all over, got groceries, and had a headache. Evan and I both fell asleep with Ardyn between us. Of course then the phone rang 5 times in that hour I was trying to nap... and I was so zonked out that I didn't even wake up until it was thundering and lightening and the dogs started barking. Then I was drooling on my pillow I was so exhausted. Ardyn was so tired she slept for another hour, even when I felt guilty and couldn't stay asleep.

Sunday night Evan went and got Lisa (Josh had her car!) and brought her over. We hung out, I did some laundry and we gave Ardyn a bath and put her to bed.... then sat around talking and crocheting until Josh came and got her. We completely avoided the superbowl, which was awesome. The only reason I really care about a superbowl is for all the good food and the commercials.

Today was THE day from hell. First the weather was crappy. I vowed that the next time the weather is crappy I am NOT hauling myself, Ardyn, and all of our belongings out in the weather. It's just not worth it. But, I did. I tried to wait a little bit longer so that all the snow would be cleared from the roads, and so that the sleet would switch to rain, as it was supposed to. But that also meant that I had to go out IN THE RAIN and march through all the snow to get to the vehicle and start it, and then shovel a path in the rain, and then haul all of our stuff (breastpump, purse, diaper bag, carseat) to the car, and then head off. When we got to daycare it was torrential downpouring (great) and I got Ardyn inside just before it really started to get crazy and was lightening and then pouring even harder. So I was running out to the car again and it started hailing. By the time I got to work, just like 3 minutes across town, there was about 2-3 inches of hail on the ground, about the size of peanut M&Ms. That sucked.

Of course the parking lot at work was a river, and the whole town was a serious mess with storm drains being frozen and standing water on all the streets and intersections. There was no dry spot to walk, and the water was over the top of my shoes. It was horrible. My socks and shoes were soaked, and the bottom couple of inches of my khakis too. When I got to work I just wanted to cry. WHY didn't I stay HOME! Of course then we had serious problems all day long and I was so busy that instead of my normal four pumping sessions, I only got in TWO of them, which also meant that I didn't even get two bottles of milk for the day, When Ardyn usually drinks 3-4. That sucked. That just made me want to walk right out the door. She is my number one priority. Some people might think this is a totally bizarre statement, but I would quit my job in two seconds and never look back if I though it interfered with being able to breastfeed my child. Seriously. It is that important to me. So by the time my day was over, I was ready to cry I was so pissed. And then I let myself think how I went through all of that, for the $8 a day that I am able to bring home. Its pretty bad when I make like $15 an hour and can only bring home $8 a day as profit. Anyone who says that healthcare and childcare are not issues in this country has never been a working mom who has to pay for both of those things.

We have also had the issue of diapers leaking at daycare. I can have Ardyn in the exact same diapers all evening, and all weekend long, and have never had a leak. But at daycare, it was getting terrible. Last week she was coming home from 6.5 hours at daycare with SEVEN wet diapers and two-three changes of clothes each day. That is a lot of laundry. I mostly use snap diapers because I prefer them to Aplix (velcro) for lots of reasons. They are less bulky, they have a nice size range, the leg and waist sizes adjust independently of each other, velcro gets pilly and can get fuzz and hair stuck in it, and it also sticks to everything in the wash. But for some reason, the snap diapers, the very same ones that I used at home, were leaking at daycare. I could change her every two hours at home and be just fine, but they were changing her every hour to 1.5 hours at daycare and she was still leaking. I swore that they weren't fastening the snaps correctly. They insist that they are as tight as they will go, and I really want to believe them because they are awesome people. But at the same time, we switched to only velcro diapers at daycare and she doesn't leak now. Well, this means that because I only have four velcro and she uses between 5-6 diapers a day, I needed to buy MORE diapers, even though I had PLENTY of them already. So now I am limping along with the four velcro diapers, and awaiting the 11 new velcro diapers that are arriving any day now. Basically 6 new diapers ran me $105 (with a 10% discount and free shipping) and 5 used diapers ran me about $50. That seems incredibly expensive, but if you figure using a $20 pack of diapers every week or so, that's $80 a month that is garbage and not reusable. With cloth you can use them month after month and child after child, and if you take good care of them and wash them properly, you can even sell them for about 50-80% their original retail value.

That said, I am planning on making my own diapers for Ardyn's next size, and also for newborn for our other children. The snap press and die set and my polyacetal industrial snaps arrived on Saturday. Today I got some misc PUL fabric for making Pocket diapers, and 3 yards of really cool outer fabric as well. And my poo pockets diaper patterns. Very exciting. This weekend we are going to the Quad Cities with my mom to shop for Sergers... and then I can get started. I made one of my diaper inserts with the sewing machine, and while it is possible, it's extra steps and they don't look as nice because they aren't as trim and straight. I am refraining from making any more until I have the serger.

This past week I was able to start using my new utility sink in the laundry room, and Evan and I hung the shelf down there that I wanted, and also my 5 Gallon bucket of Charlie's soap arrived. (yay!) Then I worked one whole night cleaning the sewing room (which hasn't been touched since around the time I got pregnant) and I got a dent in it. The problem with having it in the basement is that it just gets plain DIRTY down there, dusty and dirt falls from the ceiling and brick dust from the foundation. Ack. So I started down there. I organized two whole shelves and also cleaned a couple of big baskets of stuff that had kinda accumulated. Still have two tables to clean off and get organized. Ugh. Its a huge project but I want to be able to work down there instead of on the dining room table. As each day unfolds I become more and more restless about going off to work each day, making no money, and also getting nothing accomplished.

Well, now that it is almost 10pm, I have to get myself to bed, because I haven't been getting enough sleep and it makes me even MORE cranky.

speaking of cranky, the Aquatics Coordinator at the Bureau County Metro Center never called me back about infant water classes. Bah Humbug. Evan says that if that's the way they are, we need to just take her over to Peru. I would agree with that more if I wasn't working all day long and THEN driving her to Peru, but we will make it work.

Just need to finish this marathon of new John and Kate Plus 8 Episodes (I am an addict) and off to bed. Everyone have a great night.
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