Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Review of Cord Wind-Ups

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Dangling window blind cords can present a real hazard to your toddler. Tying them up can be a daily nuisance when you want to adjust your blind. Our cord wind-ups are the ideal solution. The plastic box clips around the coiled blind cord and keeps the extra cord out of the way, yet doesn't int...

I hated them. We took them all down.

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

1out of 5

Gift: No

Cons: Difficult To Maintain, Difficult To Install

Best Uses: Toddlers, Accident Prevention

Describe Yourself: Pregnant with number 2, Mom to a Toddler

We had these on ten windows in our home, on mini blinds and roman shades. I hated them. I did not feel that they functioned properly, and they DID get in the way of the shade operation for us. We ended up removing them all and putting up blind cord wraps that we purchased at a local window treatment store. They were inexpensive and we can wrap the cords up and unwrap quickly as needed.

I don't recommend purchasing these.


My Review of Lamaze Spin & Explore Garden Gym

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

How ingenious! This deluxe tummy time mat is topped by a rotating platform that lets baby explore from every angle. As baby turns herself on the padded support, she builds upper body and leg strength. The plush mat is loaded with textures, activities, crinkles, rattles, and more; makes a great play...

She hated it. But it is cute!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

3out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Entertaining, Portable, Great Features, Durable

Cons: Easily Outgrown

Best Uses: Infants

Describe Yourself: Pregnant with number 2, Mom to a Toddler

We bought this before our daughter was born. I could say that she hated tummy time. But even when she started to LIKE Tummy time, she HATED this. She enjoyed the mat itself, but being put on the ladybug sent her into a fit of rage. She loved the crinkly leaves, and the mirror (which removes with velcro) She did better lying on her side, or eventually on her stomach right on the mat I thought the "lazy susan" design of the ladybug would be fun, but she was less than thrilled, and before long she was so long that when on the ladybug (for the short amount of time she would tolerate) she would hang over the edges of the mat. If I had to do it over, I would buy another mat. The construction is great, it's really cute, but I feel like it's not what a baby wants in tummy time. Might be more fun for us adults? Hee hee. I think she would have done better with a mat that allowed her to lift her head, perhaps with a support pillow. This just mad her cry because her head hung down unless she held it up. Not fun.


My Review of Germ Guardian Nursery Sanitizer

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

The easy, foolproof way to sanitize toys, pacifiers, and bottles! In just 30 minutes, our automatic sanitizer kills the germs that cause RSV, colds, flu, ear ache, diarrhea, and more. In fact, it's proven to kill 99.9% of germs! Works with dry heat, not harsh chemicals, so it won't shrink...

WAYYYYYY too small.

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

2out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Effective

Cons: Won't Fit Pump Horns, Doesn't fit larger bottle, Not for Electronic Toys, Can't sanitize Teethers, TOO SMALL, Items must be dried first

Best Uses: Infants, Newborns, Preemies, Daily Use

Describe Yourself: Pregnant with number 2, Santizing freak, Mom to a Toddler

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 more reviews online before purchasing. I assumed by the photos 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 online reviewers have 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 Micro Steam Sterilizer. Every night after daycare I have to run the Germ Guardian THREE TIMES to get the bottles and pump parts from the day sanitized. That's an hour and a half of sanitizing cycles, not including time to wash dry and swap loads.

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. My favorite part is that silicone breast pump parts and nipples are never "spotted" or cloudy as they are with boiling or with steam sterilizers. Just nice and crystal clear. At least things look nice!

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 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.


My Review of Baby Spray Brush & Comb Set

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Uh-oh, did baby wake up with "crib head" again? To the rescue: our gentle bristle brush with built-in sprayer! Just mist hair with water, brush — and calm those crazy cowlicks. With soft bristles for delicate scalps and a soft-grip handle tots can hold themselves. Includes detangling...

Has worked well for 14 months!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Comfortable, Compactable, Easily Stowed, Travels Well

Best Uses: Bedhead, Hygiene, Sling-hair, Hathead

Describe Yourself: Pregnant with number 2, Mom of a toddler

Okay, I admit. This is one of those things that you really don't NEED but I find myself using and being pleased to have. It's the super quick solution to bed head and what my husband and I call "Mad Scientist Hair." Now granted, if your baby is... ummm... not blessed with hair, this might seem like a complete waste. But in our case, our daughter came out with more hair than some babies have at 1 year old. We love her hair but after a nap, or a while in the sling with mom, or after wearing a stocking cap or cute hat, she gets CRAZY mad scientist hair. And she hates it when I stick her head in the sink to flatten it down. In previous times, I was wetting her baby hairbrush and then brushing her hair down. Not the most convenient when out and about, if you have a vain baby that is. Ha.

Made by Summer Infant Products...This brush has a BUILT IN sprayer! You fill the handle with water or if you have serious tangles, no more tears spray... and then, spritz and brush. I read tons of reviews online, and many moms thought that it didn't spray enough out with each pump. I disagree wholeheartedly... I think it sprays the perfect amount, and I can smooth out her hair in seconds, anytime, anywhere. She doesn't mind it one bit. Quick, Painless, and Convenient enough to toss in the diaper bag. So if your baby brought you lots of pregnancy heartburn... and you turned out to have a head full of hair to deal with, this is a great buy.

Once her hair got thicker as a toddler, this brush just didn't seem to cut it anymore. The bristles are of the stiffer variety and didn't seem to penetrate to the hair beneath the surface layer. We have owned this for about fourteen months now and it still functions and sprays well. We will be using it for our next child. I still find myself using the accompanying comb on our toddler now and then.


UPDATE: We have used this brush for 2.5 years and on two children and it still works just fine!

My Review of Door Gripper

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Keep kids from slamming doors — and pinching little fingers! Our door gripper holds doors open securely, yet is softer and safer than traditional door stops. Works on all flooring surfaces.

This is THE BEST. Should've bought more!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

5out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Playful Design, Useful Application, Strong Construction, Easy Use, GREAT for swinging doors

Best Uses: Accident Prevention, Swinging Kitchen Door, Toddlers, Crawlers

Describe Yourself: Mom to a Toddler, Pregnant with number 2

We purchased this to use as a door stop/holder for our antique swinging door. It had an old doorstopper that flipped up and down, but it was a choking hazard with the rubber tip. Not to mention that she could flip it up and the door would come crashing in on her. We bought this and temporarily removed the antique stopper. This holds the door perfectly on the hardwood floors and it will hold the door open either direction. I wish I would have bought another because I could easily prop open other doors in the house that she tries to close on us, it would prevent finger pinching and door slamming. Highly recommend. Excellent price! I especially like that I can put it in place or remove it with my foot, so I don't have to bend over (great when pregnant!)


UPDATE: This door stopper finally broke after 2.5 years of daily use. We have replaced it with another of the exact doorstop and are VERY Happy with it!

My Review of Outlet Cover & Cord Shortener

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Great idea! This clever outlet cover lets you childproof wall outlets that are in use, while hiding up to 4 ft. of loose, tempting electrical cords (2 cords maximum). Simply remove the existing faceplate, screw in the safety plate, wind the cord, and snap on the tamper-resistant lid. 2 per pack.

We have Five of these Installed. GREAT!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

4out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Useful Application, Strong Construction

Best Uses: Toddlers, Bedrooms, Living Room, Infants, Accident Prevention, Crawlers

Describe Yourself: Pregnant with number 2, Mom of a toddler

We purchased just enough of these to install them in the nursery when our daughter started to get cord curious as a crawler. These prevent her from unplugging, which is a BIG issue now as a toddler. How annoying is it to put her down for a nap only to realize later that she unplugged the monitor? Or to change a diaper to realize she unplugged the wipes warmer? These are a lifesaver. We now use one in her "big girl room" to keep her from unplugging the fish filter so that she doesn't kill her goldfish and leave them gasping for air circulation.

They are SUPER simple to install. I have only two downfalls. AC Adapters don't fit well into them, which is the issue we had with our baby monitors. My husband used side cutters to trim the plastic to allow clearance for the adapter under the cover of the outlet protector. It works fine now.

My other downside is that these are not really to be designed to use on outlets that will be used frequently. This is more of a device that would be useful for things that are to remain plugged in. They are a BIT difficult to remove. I have to sit down on the floor and use both hands to remove the cover. The more cord you have wrapped, the harder it is to remove the cover. I do not suggest these for use in areas where you will be plugging and unplugging items, especially like vacuums, etc.

They don't really wrap up much cord at all, otherwise the cord will either be pinched and cause a fire hazard, or the cover won't fit on. So although they are advertised as a cord shortener, don't count on them shortening much cord!

these were worth every penny.


My Review of Universal Outlet Cover

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Our customers say these are the BEST outlet covers! Less hassle than plug-in caps (no broken fingernails) and better looking, too. Pull out a plug, and the safety plate slides automatically in place, covering the socket. New universal design fits both standard (one screw) and Decora (two screw) out...

We have installed over 100 of these!

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008

4out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Useful Application, Easy Use, Strong Construction

Best Uses: Infants, Toddlers, Crawlers, Living Room, Bedrooms, Accident Prevention

Describe Yourself: Mom to a Toddler, Pregnant with number 2

We have purchased so many of these outlet covers. We have over 30 of them in our house alone, and then also installed them at my husband's office (family owned business) and at my Mother-In-Law and Brother-In-Law's homes.They are nice looking, easy to install, and fit both decorative and standard outlets. My daughter is now 16 months old and while she can UNPLUG things from these outlets, they are instantly covered, and that is safer than using removable outlet plugs of the plastic sort that can also be a choking hazard, not to mention hard for adults to use. The ONLY downside I have found to these is that sometimes if the outlet box is installed too deeply within the wall/drywall, the outlet doesn't make proper contact and things will unplug or not stay secure enough to provide power. I have this issue on about two outlets in our home. I will also say that items that have a "foldable" or collapsing power adapter (like a Nintendo DS) won't stay plugged in because the adaptor prongs fold within the adapter with the pressure of the outlet cover. I can't find a better way to explain this. Other than these two problems, they are wonderful covers, sturdy, functional, and worth every penny. I wish they came in ivory as well!


My Review of Gummi Crib Rail

Originally submitted at One Step Ahead

Our chewy crib rail protects baby's gums — and the crib! Crib rails are a favorite teething surface, but it's not good for baby or his crib. Why not turn that crib rail into a giant, soft teether? Our non-toxic, medical-grade rail cover has a unique chewy texture that soothes sore g...

Has been working for seven months for us

By dazed81 from Illinois on 12/30/2008


4out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Strong Construction, Useful Application, Easy Use

Best Uses: Toddlers

Describe Yourself: Pregnant with number 2

I purchased this and installed it when my daughter was about 9 months old. I bought two, one for each rail. I installed BEFORE she started chewing, and right about the time she started to pull up. I followed all the directions, cleaning the rails with alcohol wipes and letting them dry. I also installed in the early morning after she woke up, and had her nap elsewhere that afternoon.... She wasn't near them for about 12 hours, which helped them to dry and adhere properly before being near little hands and gums. My daughter is now 16 months old and has 12 teeth and we haven't had a single issue. The rails are still stuck as good as they were the day of installation and they even stand the test of things hanging or tied to the rails (crib toys, soothers, etc) and also adult hands on the drop side several times a day. I highly recommend these but advise you to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS PRECISELY when installing.


More Cricut Love.

According to my watch, today is Tuesday. :) that would make tomorrow New Year's Eve!!! Yay! It really isn't any different than any other day I guess. We have no plans. Except that I want to pull some New year's Confetti and Hats and Horns from the attic and let Ardyn play with them all day and night. That's about it.

Today was pretty uneventful. Ardyn took a bath and had a wonderful time. I started using conditioner on her hair just before Christmas, and just got around to buying her some tear free apple conditioner by Suave, which I really like. It's helping to keep her curls in the back from getting tangled. And it's saving my carrot conditioner for me (yay mom.)

Ardyn played and played and played. We played in the kitchen (her kitchen) and she rode her horse, and discovered her oven "mittens." She fed her baby doll and pushed her in the stroller. She watched TV, ate lunch, and had pizza hut pizza for supper. (She gets a personal pan without cheese.)

We played with her Backyardigans Circus. We finished Marek's name by laminating it in sections and putting it above his crib (or soon to be his crib!)
Wall Art- Marek's room

We (Okay, I) started on baby announcements, I made 48 owls, 48 owl shadows, and 48 little branches for them to perch on. And that is just the beginning. Ardyn and I were hoping to go to my mom's tonight and pick out cardstock, but it got REALLY windy, and I can hear it inside, and now it's snowing, and it just seems like a good night to stay in! My mom threw her back out again on Sunday, and so we were planning on vacuuming the house for her while we were there, so I feel kinda bad, but tomorrow is another day! Another hour or two and Ardyn will be going to bed. I can't go into the sewing room because the water hasn't receded yet, so I have the laminator in the dining room with the Cricut and we have pretty much taken over the table.

Evan took the last Craft Locker down in Ardyn's big girl room, it was the last "office/scrapbook room" remnant that needed to come down. I have diapers to wash, diapers to fold, and laundry to do also, so I assume that after she goes to bed I might try to take a bath and work on some laundry. Nothing to strenuous! I have gathered the Christmas Cards and need to sit down and write in my book who I received from this year, and I have a few new addresses to record and add to next year's list. I have been trying to keep the list at 50 people, but each year it's a challenge. As new people get added, people sometimes have to go. It's a tough thing to make yourself do, but sometimes communication becomes one-sided, and that means it's time to move on to someone else who wants to reciprocate in "card-world." Ha.

I have had LOTS of chocolate cravings lately. LOTS. Today I ate 4 PB Cups and a package of Peanut M&M's and tonight I am pretty sure I will have to have Oreo Cookie Ice Cream.

Ardyn spent an hour tonight "snorkeling" around the living room with a juice box straw in her mouth. She can entertain herself with ANYTHING. I have to keep her out of the nursery at all times now because she loves to unload drawers. Shoes, clothes, diapers, socks.... everything. It frustrates the hell out of me, so I just shut the door, but it seems to get COOL in there, so I have to remember to open if before she goes to bed, and when we go in to change a diaper she says "Brrrr! Cold!" She has been in her timeout chair twice tonight, and that was amongst many warnings and redirections on my part. Now that she figured out how to get back in the corner between the couches, she is always going back there and unraveling my crochet or trying to get in the garbage. I am back to running the Roomba everyday as she has rediscovered the shredding of paper and there also seems to be an abundance of KIX and Cheerios around. She won't leave it alone, so I have to put the gate up and corral her in her bedroom to play while the Roomba vacuums the living room and dining room.

Well, now It's Ardyn's bedtime. Goodnight!

Outsmarting the Cricut....

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am viciously cricut-ing away. And that I have discovered that even though the cricut is a WONDERFUL machine, it still needs some outsmarting here and there.

I wanted to try the "Paper Saver" and the "Quantity" Features today. I am working on a project that requires 48 owls, with 48 shadows, to then be nicely perched on 48 branches. No big deal, right?

Cutting the owls wasn't terrible. I had enough Cricut experience to know to turn down the pressure, speed, and the actual knife when cutting with regular paper instead of cardstock. Getting the balance just right so that the owl is cut through without tearing the paper can be difficult, but I had no issues. It took me a while to punch out the intricately cut details of 48 owls and mount them on their coordinating blue shadows.
Hootie Owl Assembling

I was frustrated because when I wanted the owls to cut as many on a page as possible, I figured that I could fit about 24 owls to a page. I figured correctly, but whenever I would get to 16, the cricut would tell me my quantity was too large. I would have to cut 16, and the starting right where the cricut left off, I would add the remaining eight owls and it would cut them, easy as pie. But it couldn't handle more than 16 at once. I thought that odd.

So I thought I would try the Quantity feature. Next I would be cutting sticks, which I felt could be rearranged and crammed together nicely on a page and I should be able to get AT LEAST 24 branches per page. So I tried both the Quantity and the Paper Saver features Together (feeling bold) and on my ACTUAL paper that I would be using for the project (feeling reckless and stupid.) Well, to my shock, paper saver told me that I could only fir FOUR branches on a 12x12 piece of cardstock, even though my eyes were smarter than that.
Outsmarting the cricut
Stupid machine. So I cut another 8 from a different piece of brown cardstock, and then lined up the second cardstock over the first to see if more would fit and how and where, and cut a strip (about an inch) off the side of one of the cut sheets. Then I mounted it to the mat and ran it through again on papersaver, with the cricut only cutting the "8" that would fit. Then I rotated the paper and was able to get another two branches, for a grand total of 18 branches
Outsmarting the cricut(and I am sure I could get at least two more if I wanted to be completely anal) out of one piece of cardstock, when the cricut's "paper saver" feature tells me that only 8 will fit on a piece of 12x12.
Outsmarting the cricut
So now I have 36 of my 48 branches cut from two pieces of cardstock. I am frustrated because I know that if the cricut's brain could ROTATE the branches, there would be even MORE that would fit on the cardstock. It's like when you put pieces of pizza on your plate, one goes this way, one goes that way, one goes this way, and before you know it you have more pizza on your plate. (yum) I know that in the software you have the capabilities to rotate and plan out your cutting. I have the software but haven't installed and played with it yet.... so I was just a little disappointed in the paper saver feature. It really doesn't seem to save much paper!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I'm starting to feel that "after-Christmas-letdown" that makes you realize that all you have ahead is a good two months of crappy cold Illinois winter (you know, where one week consists of freezing, thawing, ice, rain, snow, and thunderstorms.) and lots of quality time in your messy house. Ugh.

Luckily I only have Ardyn's little tree to take down, and I won't even take it down, just take it to the attic as is. Normally it would be a major production to get all the decorations away. I am thanking myself for not putting my pregnant self through that again.

Every day since Christmas I have attempted to get the dining room table clean again and I haven't yet gotten it done. I am waiting on a response from Carter's (which would get the recalled baby clothes pile off the table) and also on a callback from Hunter (which would get Ardyn's humidifier out of the way also, since it stopped working and isn't even a year old.) If there wasn't water in the basement, It would also be much easier to put away the newest clearance ribbons in the wrapping area of the sewing room. As well as the Christmas Candles that are waiting to go down in their plastic drawers. And once I get the dining room table cleared off, I could setup my Cricut on the table and thoroughly play with it, and install the software on the computer and attach the Cricut to that also.

And if my husband cared about the state of the house, he would hang up the two loads of his laundry that have lived on the loveseat since the day before Christmas. Ugh.

Today I cleaned the nursery. I pulled out the crib, vacuumed behind it, changed the crib sheets, etc. I also organized and labeled a few drawers and things like that, and put away some 2T clothes in the under-bed container for this coming fall/winter. Then I put away all the Christmas books and got out a bunch of new books that she has never seen before. We have SO MANY books, and all of those that don't have board book pages have been kept out of her reach, but now she is good to them, so I have brought a bunch down and plan to have them in a rotation. I have to remove all the dust jackets first, but she enjoyed the new books. We spent some time reading Spots Big Learning Book, that has LOTS of pictures that help with numbers, shapes, colors, counting, and objects around home, school, etc. I love the pages with the objects. I have discovered lately that even objects she doesn't say, she still "knows" and instead of pointing things out TO her, I have started to ask her questions like "Where is the tea set" and "Show Mommy where the Clock is" and she points these things out in books very easily. I love doing it with books she has never read before, because it's like Where's Waldo... I can see her wheels turning and her eyes skimming across the pages looking for the objects, and the delight and excitement when she finds the clock. Yesterday she saw me put on my new watch and she got all excited and started pointing to it and then to the clock on the wall of her room, shouting "Clock! Clock!" One thing that she did learn today was that when you count objects, you can use your index finger to point at them as she counts. So even though she can't count past three, I am catching her pointing to things and counting "gibberish" - like this afternoon she was pointing and "counting" the snowflakes on my pajama pants. I heard her say "Two" and then a bunch of crazy made up numbers.

I went through her sock drawer AGAIN and took out too small socks, as we seem to have had a rash of them lately. It is so frustrating how every single brand fits differently, and because Ardyn has usually had crazy small feet, she is just starting to outgrow socks that most kids wore at 6-12 months. I didn't pack her infant socks away until she was about a year old. When she was 1, she was just moving into a size 2 shoe.... but then she had a rapid growth spurt, and she is moving into 4's or the occasional 5, depending on the brand.

My hangup now is that when I pack away, I can't just pack away by size. I have to seperate what might be considered girly, versus what is gender neutral. I am trying to save myself time in the future as far as getting clothes OUT for Marek, but it also means double the storage totes or whatever I use to pack things away in. I generally collect too small things in a tote under my bed and then when the tote is full, I go through them, sort by size, and then pack them into separate totes for the attic. I was so frustrated around 3-9 months, because all the clothes seemed to fit so differently, she would be wearing 3-6 months in one brand, and 6-9 in another. Ugh. So I had a hard time packing things up by size. I think I ended up making one big tote with two sizes inside. The cloth diaper butt exaggerates that even more, because pants need a little more room.

This evening we went to Evan's parents and had dinner, and Ardyn opened up the remaining presents they had for her. They were technically presents to leave at their house, which was fine by me because I really wasn't sure where we would put them anyway. We have reached toy capacity. When we got home, Ardyn took a bath and played and played and played. We played in her room for a while and now she is watching Little Einsteins before bed.

I'm going to eat some Christmas Clearance Candy and play some solitaire on DS, and then probably go to bed myself. I should do some laundry, but since the dishwasher is going, I can tell myself that there isn't enough water pressure and put that off until tomorrow :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What day is it? Oh yes, Saturday.

I have decided to blog since Ardyn is watching some TV before bed while picking the toe jam out from between her toes (which are clean, but it's the whole "sock fuzz" issue.)

Today Ardyn slept till 12:30pm! She was so exhausted from Christmases! This afternoon we went to Target finally. Evan and Ardyn and I. We also ate lunch at Jimmy John's and went to Hobby Lobby and the Mall- I turned in three of my Nintendo DS Games that I am not playing anymore and exchanged for one new game. Evan got me my own DS Lite for Christmas (It's pink) and so I will be trying out Touchmaster II on it tonight. I am a Touchmaster Addict and play the first version every single night before bed, to wind down, exercise my brain, and pretty much exhaust myself. It works wonderfully.

Some new Room Decor
At Hobby Lobby we got a few CHEAP paper lanterns and some sparkly flowers and a butterfly, and I made a paper lantern decoration for above Ardyn's bed in the big girl room. The walls and ceiling are just fresh white in there, so I felt it needed some color up high, and something to look at while lying in bed. They were DIRT CHEAP and it turned out really cute!
Some new Room Decor

Tonight we are pretty much at home doing nothing. I washed diapers last night and dried them while Ardyn was sleeping late, and while the thunderstorms came through and the basement slowly let the flood waters in. I will fold the diapers and put them away after she goes to bed tonight, but I don't look forward to wading through the basement. Luckily the laundry room is higher than the rest of the basement, and is right at the bottom of the steps off a landing, so hopefully it hasn't gotten too much water. Hopefully.

At Target we got two Christmas outfits (casual) for Ardyn for next year. REALLY Cheap. Insanely Cheap. Someone out there has to explain to me if there is a real difference in the size of 24 months and 2T clothes. It boggles my mind. I also got two Christmas Countdown placemats on clearance, where you turn the placemat and the numbers change to countdown until Santa arrives. Super cute.

Tomorrow we are supposed to go to Evan's parents. It's been rumored that there are more gifts for Ardyn there. Which I will also have to find a home for. I am totally grateful, but we are starting to reach max toy capacity! I am hoping that people will ask me what she needs for the next gift giving season, so we can get clothes and shoes in the next size instead of more toys :)

Today I participated in the Facebook Protest put on by MILC (Mother's International Lactation Campaign.) I am still wondering how many people actually participated. There were over 10 thousand already signed up as definate participants, and over 2500 maybe's... and there was actually a live nurse-in held at the facebook offices.

I don't have much exciting to say except that I look forward to sleep tonight!

So. Sleepy.

Could it BE any foggier? the answer is no. And the really strange thing is that this is the very first time I have ever witnessed "blowing fog." It's the most bizarre thing. Our recent long long cold snap has ended, and today it was in the 40's with snow melting everywhere and fog creeping in all afternoon. Then tonight after dark the wind picked up to gusty 20-30mph and the fog started blowing. So strange. We are supposed to have thunderstorms after midnight (which it is 12:15am now) and also get 1-2 inches of rain tomorrow (well, today) with a high of 55 degrees! Seriously? That's strange. And they are calling for all kinds of localized flash flooding, because all the storm drains and ditches are still either frozen or completely blocked by snow and ice, and the rivers and such are frozen, so when they start to break loose they see the potential for problems.

Ardyn and I were going to attempt a trip to target tonight, to check out the Christmas Clearance. I wanted to get some curly ribbon on clearance and just plain look around to entertain myself. I also wanted to get a few more clear itso containers to help organize her new toys and her kitchen. I took measurements of a few shelves and we were off. No one would go with us because of the fog. First we decided to grab some supper at McDonald's (they had a new My Little Pony toy this week that we don't have yet) and then take the interstate to the Target (which is about 35 minutes from us) and the interstate was so hard to see on, that I turned around at the next exit and took a highway back. It was bad. So we went to Wal-Mart instead, which you all know I have been banning. I have only been there twice since December 5th, and both times were to get Rice Milk for Ardyn. I got about $26 of stuff that was on clearance, including a fully baked gingerbread house kit that you assemble with the enclosed icing and all the candy is also inside (it was $5) and three rolls of assorted curly ribbon for $1 each, and some printed tissue paper for $1.50, and some Christmas Candy (covered pretzels) and a Martha Stewart Acrylix Stamp Set for $4 (that had both gingerbread men AND peppermint candies, which I had been looking for prior to Christmas) and then I got two Martha Stewart Puppet Kits (Santa and rudolph) for $1.50 each to make next year. We also got a set of Wilton mini-cookie cutters with 6 packs of sprinkles... for about $4.

I used a bit of christmas money that I received to buy myself a watch. I haven't owned a watch since the late 80's, and I recall distinctly that it was a bracelet watch with about 7 different snap on plastic rings that went around the face to match each outfit. Classy. I have been so confused lately when it comes to which day of the week it is. I know it sounds horrible, but when you are at home, it can get confusing! And the date... don't ever ask ME the date. I can't write a check to save my life because I don't even get the year right. It's preggo brain to the extreme. So this watch has both the DAY and the DATE right on the face. It's silver, and has a fitted bracelet type band that looks like a stretchy band. It is all silver with Austrian Crystals at each "number" location, and a mother of pearl face. It's really pretty, but practical and I can wear it with pretty much anything. That's a major deal for me. I adore the new bronze looking watches, but I can't make myself wear it with black. And I can't wear it with silver jewelry or I am annoyed. So I wanted something I can hopefully wear everyday, as long as I can remember to put it on. It was cheap. Plus it's water resistant, which is cool with little kids. Here's a pic:
New Watch

What she can accomplish in 2 hours:
When Ardyn went to bed

What I can accomplish in 30 minutes after she goes to bed:
After Ardyn went to bed

Animal overflow:
Animal Heaven

Tonight after we finally got home Ardyn started playing in her bedroom and I checked facebook. I put her to bed around 11pm, and then spent 30 minutes cleaning up her room. Then I started washing diapers and picked up the floor of the sewing room, and swept it. I hadn't done that in months, and with the threat of flooding and standing water everywhere, I wanted to make sure all toys, sewing machine cords and footfeeds, and whatever else was up off the floor just in case.

And now, It's almost 12:40. Last night I slept like a freaking rock. I was SO tired and SO happy to be in my bed. When Ardyn woke up just around 10 this morning, I was grateful that we all slept that long (we were so tired!) but also begging her to sleep longer. Then this afternoon I thought that I would take a nap when she did, but her nap lasted about 20 minutes and she woke up crying with a low-grade fever. I stripped her down and cuddled her in a blanket and sang to her and she eventually seemed happier. I think it was molar related. She has all 4 in right now but one isn't as far in as the rest, and she was gnawing on her finger pretty good this afternoon on that side.

So, I didn't get a nap, and I am still going.... but I think it's time to give into sleep. Ahhhh.... Sleep tight everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!!!

We had a really awesome Christmas. I am actually surprised how tired I am tonight, and I do have a headache that's hanging on despite two tylenol a couple of hours ago.
Evan and Meagan and Ardyn- Christmas Eve 2008

We started Christmas Eve at Evan's grandparents. The highlight of the evening was Uncle Mike wrapping up Tess's dog as his white elephant gift. Tess goes to college this fall and the dog can't go with. But since Tess was in the white elephant exchange, she got her own dog back.

Excitement and Surprise as Ellie Pops out!
Ellie pops out of the box: Mike's White Elephant Gift

Ardyn was so excited to see the dog pop out of the wrapped box. Of course, there were holes in the box and the dog wasn't in there for even 10 minutes.... but it was so funny and cute.

Grandma Mona with a fabulous gift!
Christmas Eve 2008

After the festivities and present opening and WAY too much food, we went on to my parents to get ready for bed. Ardyn got a bit of a second wind. And a third wind. Eventually we all went to bed, but I couldn't sleep and Ardyn then woke up scared, and so I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. I peed four times between the time I got to bed (2am) until 5:30am. Then I was awake for about an hour, and then I slept will from 6:30 until 9:30 when Ardyn woke up. We started today with a BIG delicious breakfast. Biscuits and Gravy, Cinnamon Rolls, Bacon, Eggs, Toast, Hash browns, Orange Juice, Milk, etc. Then we opened presents for almost two full HOURS. It was lots of fun. Ardyn did some hilarious things. There are about 360+ pictures on Flickr for you flickr friends.

Christmas Day 2008

Christmas Day 2008

I was happy when Ardyn opened her Cabbage Patch Newborn from Santa. She loved that the baby had a bottle, and instantly started feeding the baby. She was very nice to the baby, holding her, rocking her, giving kisses. And I got REALLY lucky that Great Grandma Mona bought Ardyn an adorable baby doll stroller that is EXTREMELY well built and also perfectly sized for pushing at a toddler's age. She didn't know that Santa was bringing Ardyn a doll, of course, and it worked out perfectly. Ardyn spent tons of time pushing the new baby doll around grandma Deb's house today.
Christmas Day 2008

She also got a stick horse that sings songs and makes adorable horse noises... and his MOUTH moves when he talks/sings! She loves it.
Christmas Day 2008
She got shape sorting cupcakes and rainbow color cones from Grandma that I had really wanted her to have. They are FABULOUS quality and they are great for learning colors and shapes. She got pots and pans for her Kitchen, and all kinds of baking stuff. She got a Little Einsteins Book and a Penguin Book. She got new tennis shoes, tights, Curious George Band-Aids, Sesame Street ponytail holders and glittery sparkly hair clips. She got a praying precious moments doll, an Abby Cadabby and a Grover Doll, a Pretty and soft Ivory Bear (stuffed), A big farm picture book, a Backyardigans Circus with figures, a Fisher Price food set, and a stuffed Rudolph that Grandpa Dave picked out for her.
Ardyn Checks her stocking

She also found a really cool ruler in her stocking, that has galloping horses on it. It's like a hologram and when you move the ruler the horses gallop, she thinks it's so cool (she loves horses and dogs!) She got NINE DVD's including Muppet Christmas, Pooh's Heffalump Halloween, several Little Einsteins, Mickey's Christmas Sing Along Songs, and a My little Pony LIVE Tea Party DVD. I was really HAPPY that I cleaned Ardyn's room on Christmas Eve and put everything away, and was able to just come home and put all her toys away. I have a home for everything, which is AWESOME. Although I do need to get a couple more of the clear bins for her shelves, so that some of her new toys can be separated.
Excitement on Christmas Day
After opening gifts, we had "snacks" which we all did NOT need because we were still full from brunch. After that we chatted in the living room, and Ardyn fell asleep. Evan decided to make a trip home with a load of goodies. Because the weather was sketchy, we decided to take his SUV with AWD instead of the van, so we had like HALF the cargo room. When he loaded up and left, my sister and I each lay down for a nice nap.

Peek-a-boo grandma Deb!
Christmas Day 2008

When we got up, supper was almost ready and our grandparents came down to visit. We were all STILL so full that we barely ate any of mom's delicious lasagna. Then later we squeezed down ice cream with caramel or hot fudge sauce. around 8:30 I looked at Evan and we mutually agreed that it was time for us to pack up and head home. When we got home Evan unloaded everything and I started putting things away.

Ardyn reading with Great Grandma Rodgers:
Ardyn reading with Great Grandma Rodgers

Tomorrow we are supposed to go to Evan's parents for a few more gifts they have for Ardyn. I am just hoping for a good night's sleep tonight (which I am sure we will have) and a late start tomorrow with a relaxing day. I managed to wear comfy lounge like pants for all of Christmas, and actually nixed the jeans that I had planned on wearing. I need all the room I can get for extra food these days!

The Christmas Ham:
Christmas ham- 2008

We had an excellent Christmas. It was really nice to see everyone, and to be relaxed and comfortable all day today. I can't believe that even with only going TWO places, I am still exhausted. I think it was just all the packing and unpacking and all the remembering. It's kinda like how travel can be exhausting. What I am also super thankful for is the fact that we don't have to work tomorrow. I adore staying at home. Wouldn't change a thing.

Ardyn drinking juice.... with Dad....
Christmas Day 2008

Mom took some cute pictures of Ardyn and I in our Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve, but her hand was over the flash so they didn't turn out well. I am going to post one here, I wish the flash hadn't been all screwed up, because they are cute!
Christmas Eve 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One minute till Christmas Eve!

Right now it is exactly one minute until Christmas Eve! Yeeee! I can't believe it!

Lots going on today, but then, not so much. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Today was Ardyn's first ever Dentist Visit. She absolutely LOVED the Dentist, and all of his assistants and office staff. She had some plaque buildup on her bottom teeth near the gumline.... we wanted to make sure it wasn't a problem and the Pediatrician recommended that we take her to a dentist. We brush twice a day, but it's still there. Dentist says it's completely normal, and we chatted about things like future dental visits, cleanings, and fluoride. Quite a great time actually. Ardyn love it there and was the center of attention. She thought it was great and didn't want to leave! Plus IT WAS FREE because my dentist is THAT awesome and didn't really have to DO anything except peek into her mouth. He asked that I bring her with me to each of my cleaning appointments (I go twice a year) and that they would count her teeth and make her feel comfortable at the dentist. They loved her and I was so happy that she was a good girl and that she was so comfortable there.

The weather was kinda icky, snowing on and off, but about 28 degrees, so actually warm considering it has been hovering around 0 with the -20 windchills. It was already blowing this morning, and we are supposed to be expecting 6-10 inches here in the next 24-48 hours. After we went to the dentist, we ran to evil Wal-Mart (which I have almost completely boycotted) and got a package of sposies (diapers) to have on hand (in case we get snowed in somewhere away from home) and also our stash of rice milk for another week. Ardyn and I ate McDonald's and then came home for her nap. This afternoon I did laundry and watched Wall-E, which I loved.

Tonight I spent most of the night packing up things. I started with our "emergency supplies box" that included all of Ardyn's snow clothes, boots, long johns, etc. It also has the sposie diapers and wipes, extra juice and rice milk, laundry detergent specifically for the diapers, Ardyn's peanut butter (actually sun butter), Dairy-free snacks like cinnamon mini-bagels and instant plain oatmeal, her doggie flashlight (in case of a power outage... it is her lifeline), Two blankets for the car, and our home and car cell phone chargers. This will go in Evan's Explorer and we will take it with in case we get stranded somewhere. It's all about planning.

I also have Ardyn's bag packed with the exception of her diapers (which I STILL Have to wash tomorrow) and her coat and stuffed animals as "dog" is in the washing machine with her coat and Stweart the Seahorse is in bed with her. I have her Christmas Eve outfit laid out, and my bag is also packed with the exception of one pair of pants that are in the dryer.

Evan is on his own. Ha.

I have camera and camcorders packed with fresh DVD's and three empty camera cards, as well as the chargers for both camera and camcorder. I had Evan sit down tonight and make sure that the disks we thought were empty, are actually empty, as we had problems with that recently. I do hate that the mini DVD's are only 30 minutes long. So we have two ready to go, and that gives us 1 hour of present opening and that's it. Not much when you have two christmas's to go and about a bazillion people unwrapping. But we will probably focus on just Ardyn.... that should make it in an hour. I hope.

Ardyn did some cool things today. She became attached to My Little Ponies (which are the current McDonald's Happy Meal "Girl toy" and spent hours brushing their hair tonight. She has two, and I remembered that I have two older ones that came from McDonald's in ziplocs in the sewing room. I tracked them down and she brushed and brushed all night. I stashed some in her bag to grandma's and one in her little black purse for Christmas Eve, with it's hairbrush.

I also got out a stuffed "Blue" from Blue's Clues. I have had it for years, got it and Magenta on clearance a long long time ago. She has really gotten into Blues Clues lately. When I handed her Blue, she inspected his paws, looked at me, pointed at the bottom of his paw that has a "pawprint" and said "A CLUE, A CLUE!" Holy crap. I was so shocked. I expect her to come out and say things that we have discussed, but she and I have never talked about the paw being a clue, or about the clues on the show. We sing the mail song and things like that.... but never have mentioned that. I am just so amazed at her little brain at work. She had never said the word "clue" before, not even once, so to hear her form that perfect little sentence, just like on the show, just blew my mind. I have pictures on Facebook of her at that "clue" moment, and might get them on Flickr after the holidays. Check them out here:
Meagan Johnson's Facebook profile

I am becoming a facebook addict. It's seriously happening. Wanna be my friend? LOL.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting Ready...

I am supposed to be cleaning the computer desk. I have about 1/3 cleaned (okay 1/4) and I started thinking about how I haven't blogged today. So here I am.

I broke down. I joined Facebook. I have to say I am incredibly impressed. I generally despise networking sites (MySpace: The devil's playground) but this seems to be (at first glances) a more adult and responsible place to hang out. I have found some family on there, and a few friends, especially lots of friends from my mom group. It's difficult to me, because I already do enough online stuff. I have limited most of my activity to my Mom group and my blog, and uploads to Flickr photos and Google Videos. I was really hesitant to add anything else, especially if it was going to be a bunch of underage-glitter-wearing-home-wreckers. But so far so good. I am really enjoying it.

I am working on doing laundry and washing diapers, and getting all of our clothes clean for Christmas gatherings. I have little outfit stacks all laid out for what Ardyn and I are going to wear to each gathering, so that somehow those matching socks or that white shirt doesn't get worn before it's supposed to.

I decided to clean the desk because I couldn't find my list (go figure) of things I wanted to pack up for our Christmas Excursions, which I had written on a notecard one night at my mom's house. That's why I like my notes on my computer in outlook, so I can sync them to my phone and have them in two places. I guess if I was smart I would have made that list in my phone instead of on a notecard. Next time. I found the notecard and then the desk cleaning sorta "stopped." I will continue. I have the little space heater running to heat up the sewing room so I can put the finishing touches on my snowflake pajama pants... I really wish I had matching rick rack that was WIDE for the bottom hem. I have some really small stuff.... I don't know if I feel like even putting that or ribbon on because it's so narrow.

Well, best get hemming, or Ardyn will be getting UP from her nap instead of just starting it.
More soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Current WIPs

At any given time I might have 5 or more different craft projects going on. Here are a couple I have going right now!

Baby Afghan:
WIP: Baby Afghan

I really started this when pregnant with Ardyn, before I knew if she was a girl or boy. I wanted it to match her room, be able to be used by future kids, and also fit a toddler bed later.... and it took WAY longer than I anticipated because the yarn and hook I chose were so small. It takes a full skein of the yarn to make about 2 inches of progress. I lost track a long time ago, but I estimate there are about 16 skeins of yarn.... and I still need more. I'd be happy to get 5 more inches on it before the baby comes, but I would be THRILLED to get 10 more. Too bad Ardyn never got to use it! that makes me feel guilty! It's about 55x32 inches right now.

Mom's Christmas Pajamas:
WIP: Maternity Christmas Pajamas

I started my Christmas Pajamas today. I have Ardyn and Evan's done, but of course have waited till the last minute to make mine. But that way I know they will fit with my expanding belly. I used a New Look Pattern for mine that is fitted at the waist, and has a low rise, and then I elimiated their waistband casing and drawstring and put in my own lower waistband with elastic. All I have left to do is hem them at this point. I *should* be able to wear them pregnant or not. They are really low rise, and they feel comfy standing, but I haven't tried sitting yet to see how much crack I show in the back. LOL. Ardyn's and mine are both snowflake pants and Evan has a dusty blue colored pair of PJ Pants that coordinate.

Laying out Maternity Christmas Pajamas

I have lots of tables in my sewing room, but not one of them is "clear" right now. They have enough room to cut out smaller things, but not something this large. Plus in the dining room I can do it sitting, and pull all the dining room chairs out and make a "bench" like thing that I can just scoot around on and always be sitting while I lay out the pattern, pin, and cut. Today I picked my pattern, got everything cut, laid out, pinned and put all the pants together. I might finish the hems tonight or perhaps tomorrow. Not a big deal :)

Snowed In Sunday.

After we got home last night, things really picked up with the blowing and snowing. More blowing than snowing. Evan's parents were trying to make it home from our Christmas party and made it as far as our house. They ended up having to turn around and head back to our place and stay overnight on the couches. My parents had gone out for supper and met my uncle for his birthday (which was yesterday) and when I texted them to stay in town with someone, mom said they would be fine, then proceeded to get their car stuck on the way home, and everyone that tried to come help them ended up getting stuck, and having to call someone else, so that I believe there were a total of 3 stuck vehicles and two more that came out to rescue, and they ended up leaving their car and staying at my sister's house- LOL. Of all the times my mom has told me to listen to her because she is my mom, I can't let her live this one down. The wind is still blowing but nothing like it was overnight. We were very fortunate that the power didn't go out, because that is what everyone (even the weather channel) was predicting. Luckily we had lots of toilet paper and drinking water. LOL.

Late this morning, I cuddled up on the couch and Ardyn watched a Sprout marathon while I dozen on and off. Then we snacked on "cookies" and crackers. Now Ardyn is laying down for a nap, although I hear more playing than napping, and I am washing more laundry, specifically the baby boy clothes that I stain treated last night. When she wakes up from her nap I think we will have a late meatball lunch, leftovers from yesterday's Christmas.

She has spent lots of time ringing the "doorbell" on my Gingerbread house, she loves it and has discovered how to crawl between the arms of the couches (which are at a right angle to each other with the arms touching) so that she can get back in the corner to the end table where it is sitting. Of course I also stash my crochet back there in it's bag, and the little garbage can. I guess it was only a matter of time until she decided it was worth figuring out how to get back there :)

Evan of course, had to be brave and go outside today, and take off driving. He was going to get some dog food.... and I am just glad that I am NOT going anywhere because the windchill has been ranging from -20 to -30 all day, and the actual temp has been between 1-4 degrees. I have a Doctor Appointment tomorrow, and it's supposed to be about 10 degrees. I will be taking my mom and Ardyn with, since we have a drive, and we will do a little mall-going to use up some coupons my mom has left. I can't believe that Christmas is already less than a week away! I totally haven't made my pajamas yet. I may end up just having pants at this point! LOL. I really need to get on that. Maybe tonight. If not tonight, I guess that leaves Tuesday!

Well, that's all the excitement I know about today, since I am laying low. There isn't even much on our TIVO, but I do have several movies on DVD that I need to watch, including the new Batman with Heath Ledger. Ahhh Heath. How I miss you.

Stay warm!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One Down, Two To Go.

You know when you were a kid, how you felt this disappointment the day after Christmas, and although you were still elated with all the fun and gifts and food and treats, it was really evident that you had a whole year to wait for this to come again? And then you got in the workforce and out of school and that disappointment was like QUADRUPLED when you usually had to go right back to work the day after Christmas?

Now that I am "not working" but have the whole preparation, shopping, cooking, packing up to go all these places with a young child.... i start to feel more like relief. The closer to the day after Christmas we get, the more relieved I get.

Evan and his Grandma Marie:
Christmas at Grandma Marie's- 2008

We had Christmas at Ardyn's Great Grandma Marie's today. We had a TON of food, most of which Marie made, and we exchanged a few small gifts. Ardyn got a baby doll (that's really kinda scary) and the OXO Candella Nightlights that we had wanted. They dock and recharge and you can carry them to the bathroom or use them if the power goes out... they each last 8 hours. She got a cute leopard by Baby Gund that she was instantly thrilled with, and a little See N Say. I got something that I really wanted, the Hallmark Gingerbread House that lights up and plays music when you ring the doorbell. I was super excited, as it is sold out around here. Ardyn loved it too, and pushed the button over and over to get the music to play. Evan got a Hallmark Ornament of the Little Einsteins' Rocketship. It plays music too.

Checking out my new Gingerbread House:
Christmas at Grandma Marie's- 2008

Tonight I am stain treating more baby clothes that came out of the attic with spit up stains that infuriate me. We are still SO full. I can't imagine eating again, and it's already almost 8pm. It's hard to know if I should be trying to feed Ardyn. I gave her a mini cinnamon swirl bagel, and she seemed happy, but hasn't asked to eat yet.... so I might just let her go and see, as she grazed all afternoon. At one point she was in the kitchen with family, eating watermelon. She was really seriously choking, and Evan got right to her and was smacking her back and I was teriffied and she threw up the watermelon. It practically had me in tears I was so freaked out. I have had that happen once at home, but I was with her the whole time, so I knew exactly what was in her mouth and how much, and what had happened, and was confident that she would get it out, and she did. But this time, to just walk up on it and have no idea what she was choking on or how much and to see her throwing up this pink mush, I was really freaked out. I knew that Evan had it under control but I just wanted to run in and grab her and take control. It was terribly scary. And it literally happened like 5 minutes after we had a conversation in which Evan told me her grapes didn't need to be cut up and I told him they did or she wouldn't be eating grapes. It was like my mom instinct was already on alert for choking.... and it made it worse because I felt like I should have prevented it. When I was finally able to get her into my arms, I felt tons better, and she and I went and lay down and watched Elmo's Christmas COuntdown and then she fell asleep.

Ardyn and I opening her presents:
Christmas at Grandma Marie's- 2008

I can't think of much else to say, i'm just glad to be home and on my own couch in my own comfy clothes. Ahhhh. Tomorrow we watch movies and do chores around home and relax. That's sounding better every minute!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas is Coming, my Belly's getting Fat....

Well not fat. But rounder. LOL.

Tonight I am doing just a FEW More things before I hit the hay. I just put Ardyn to bed, finished getting the groceries put away (thank GOD for toilet paper) and unloading and loading the dishwasher and running it. We have Christmas at Evan's grandma's tomorrow and I have not washed my good clothes, and my jeans are still wet, and I haven't made up my Howlin' Hot Crab Dip yet either. I don't WANT to get up early, but in order to get all that done, and the dip made and baked, and the diaper bag packed and all of us cleaned up and looking pretty, I don't think I can sleep in per usual. Drat.

Today the "weather was bad" although technically the weather was wonderful. It was about 28-32 degrees all day, and it never snowed or sleeted.... but last night an ice storm came through that put a thick layer of ice on everything. We couldn't get the back door open because the ice was so thick that it was higher than the door. Evan had to chip us out this evening. The garage doors were both frozen solid and he had to break those loose. By this afternoon, the main highways were clear, and the interstate was as well, but back roads are still really bad.

Ardyn and I went to the mall to see Santa tonight. I woke her up from her nap this evening and got her all dressed pretty. I dressed presentable also, in case she wouldn't stay near Santa and I had to be in the picture with her. She just loves people, and she loved Santa last year, and the Easter Bunny this year, and so I was having a hard time believing when everyone said she was going to CRY and scream. But then a few weeks ago she developed an unexplained aversion to a stuffed Santa at my mom's house. I think it's his voice, because he is the "Polar Express" Santa, and has a very deep voice. She also wanted the jingle bell that was sewn to his hand, and when he wouldn't give it up, I think she started to resent him.

Ardyn and Santa 2008

Finally she was okay with him the last time we visited, when she saw ME kiss him. I told her "there's a song about that" and she went on to give him a kiss herself. I started talking to her about going to "See Santa" yesterday, and she would get excited each time. Today she was really excited when we talked about it. When I got her dressed she was thrilled with her "cothes" and kept saying "pretty" and "pretty shoos" and loved her sparkly hair clip. She realy did well, and in the van on the way there we talked about Santa, and how she was going to see him, and he would be sitting in a chair, and she could sit on his lap, and talk to him, and that he says "Ho Ho Ho!" All the way to the mall it was "Ho Ho Ho!" and as soon as we got there and I took her out of her stroller and took her coat off, she could barely stand it she was so excited. She saw him and there was only one girl ahead of her in line (13 months old said her grandpa) and She could barely wait her turn. I let her stand up by Santa and held her hand, because she wanted to run to him. The girl in front of us was crying and wouldn't sit on his lap, and I worried that this would give her ideas, but as soon as I let her go, she walked right up to him, and stood in front of him smiling. She didn't hop right up on his lap, but It didn't seem odd. She doesn't just leap into the arms of strangers. I shook Santa's gloved hand and said "Hello Santa" and he said "Hello Mommy" and then Ardyn shook his hand and said Hello. I picked her up, and we chatted with Santa a bit, and I sat her on his lap. She was fine. Happy and picking at his beard and glasses. We took several pictures, and I wasn't able to really get her giggling, but they turned out great just the same. While I was paying for the pictures, and getting them printed, she was over there chatting up a storm with Santa. She was thrilled when he gave her the red and green Rice Krispy Treat. She never once even looked scared or like she might cry. I was so proud of her. I guess I DO know her better than anyone!

We did a tiny bit of window shopping, and I tried on a few clearance maternity shirts at Penney's. I have so many places to go, and only one Christmas-y shirt.... so I found two more for less than $30 (total for both!) and was so happy. I was also happy because I bought a size smaller than all my current maternity clothes, because everything is still so BIG on me. Talk about cool. I also grabbed a couple of Christmas Board books for Ardyn. I had wanted to get some last time I was at the book store, but it's hard to tell sometimes if a book will catch her eye or not. I was glad to have her with me, because the manger story that I *thought* she would read, she really did NOT care for. But we found another one that had more realistic pictures of the animals, and she was right on to that one. So she got three really cheap books, "the Story of the Nutcracker Ballet" by Deborah Hautzig, "The Night Before Christmas" By Clement C. Moore, and "Room for a Little One" by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft. I can't wait to read them to her! The best is that they will last for years to come and can be shared with all my kids. I adore books. There isn't much better you can give your kids as a gift.

I think I broke my toe tonight. Seriously. As soon as i did it I was pretty sure, but basically I was trying my best to contain what came out of my mouth (lest it be repeated) but holy shiznit that was not easy. This time it didn't bring tears to my eyes quite like last time, but last time I broke THREE Toes at once, so that is as good a reason as any to cry. The reason I think it was so bad this time is because I stubbed the exact same toe about a month ago, and the bruises just started to finally fade last week, and then I went and did it again. My feet do NOT like being pregnant. they don't really swell, but holy cow do bones break in my feet. I am hobbling around tonight, but I think that even if it is broken it will be fine, and I will be able to put a shoe on and all that. I could be exxagerating, but it sure seems broken.

Well, off to do fabulous things like brush my teeth and blow my nose. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Busy (and productive!) Day!

Another GREAT Day! We woke up to a friend plowing our driveway (how awesome is that?) and then Ardyn and I took a bath and got packed to go to Grandma Deb's for the day. We stopped at her work to visit her just after lunch, and then we saw Grandpa Dave plowing the driveway out with the tractor and blade. While at Grandma's (from like 1pm-9pm) we did all KINDS of great stuff.

I started out making some quick and simple packaging for my soap (to give out Saturday.) The Pink grapefruit soap and the peppermint soap are each wrapped differently. They turned out cute. I have some templates for pillowboxes and other cute wrapping ideas, but this time I just did a quick wrap with craft paper, and some ribbon and embellishments on top.

Peppermint Soaps:
Peppermint Soap- Wrapped

Grapefruit Blush Soaps:
Grapefruit Blush Soap- Wrapped

Then mom had four gifts for her friends that she wanted snowflake tags on, so I set to work on those. They were tons of fun. I thought that instead of just snowflakes they needed some sparkly trees and tiny pairs of ice skates... this is what I came up with, and the gifts were so cute!

Gift Exchange Gifts:
Gift Tags by Meagan

Close up of Tags:
Gift Tags by Meagan

After that, Ardyn went down for her nap and mom and I put a carseat in her car. We had a hell of a time because even though it's a 2001, there is no latch, except it very crazily does have overhead latch tethers. So we were supposed to use the lap and shoulder belts, according to the manual, but the shoulder belts won't LOCK so the seat isn't secure. I don't know what is up with that. She is going to take it to a car seat tech to get it in there properly. Evan insists that you probably "just can't put a carseat in her car" and I don't believe that for one second.

Then mom started doing some cooking. She made two coffeecakes while I made Aloha Dip and Mexican Pinwheels for her to take to her work party on Thursday. Then we watched the White House Christmas, which was neat.... and Ardyn investigated all the presents at Grandma's house and counted the stockings over and over. She can count to three, and then she waits while you count and then she says "six" because that's how many stockings there are. LOL. We took some pics of her by the stockings and into the presents, and they are on Flickr.

Fabulous Gift mom was wrapping:
Fabulous Gift at Mom's

Now we are safe and snug at home. Tomorrow afternoon they are predicting LOTS of freezing rain and it should go through the night Thursday and into Friday morning. Then some call for it to change to snow until noon, and others say freezing rain till noon. They are expecting most of the schools to be cancelled, and my mom's vision is that the power will be out, which is not good for anyone, buy really sucks when you have small kids and you want them to stay warm. We can travel to my parents because they have a woodburning stove for heat, but the problem is if the roads are too bad for travel.... Ick. So we will see. Weather pending we are hoping to take Ardyn to see Santa on Friday... it just depends on which weather person is the right predictor. I always trust the NOAA and ignore most local weather people, as they always seem to be off and I have found NOAA to be either dead on or at least EXACTLY up to the minute with their predictions, changing them quicker than most local meteorologists.

Tonight I hope to catch up on Tivo, as I have a CSI Miami, John and Kate Plus 8, and probably a Dirty Sexy Money now to watch. Dirty Sexy Money got cancelled and there is only a handful of episodes left, so I plan on enjoying every last one!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cranberry Snowfall Chocolate Bark

Today was an awesome day. It really was. We were all able to sleep in (which was great) and Evan was home until late afternoon as he is still recovering from the cold that we have all had. Ardyn and I still have the snotty nose, stuffed up, drainage thing going, and it's been 10 days for me and 7 days for her. But that is at least tolerable. Tonight we did some saline and suction on her and she now thinks that the nasal bulb from the hospital is FANTASTIC and hilarious. She giggles hysterically when we use it on her. Nice change from two people holding her down like it was last cold season. LOL.

Ardyn and Evan stayed in because it was COLD and snowing, and I ran to town to complete my long list of errands. I had diapers to mail as part of the swap I did with another mamma on Diaperswappers. I had banking to do, mail to grab at the Post Office, Library books to return, a prescription to pick up, and the prints that our family Ordered from Ardyn's 1 year photo shoot were in at the photographers, so I met with her, handed her all their checks, and picked up the pics to be distributed to the family. I had all that accomplished at was home again by 1:30.... despite the crappy weather and the neverending icing up of my windshield wipers. I am used to my car, which had all-weather, ice-free wipers that I had bought, and now the van has crappy ones, and I hate them. But Evan insists that EVERYONE had issues with their wipers today, even him with his expensive all weather ones. Ugh. I only HALF believe him. And with all-weather wipers on sale- Buy 1 get one free right now at O'Reilley Auto Parts, I am yearning to have all weather ones to test out for myself.

This afternoon I cleaned the kitchen YET AGAIN from our dishes from supper last night and all the dishes from making Gingerbread Men. I had to do the unload and reload of the dishwasher (which happens at least once a day) and cleaned off some stoneware, and hand washed some baking stuff that won't fit in the dishwasher, and then Ardyn and I took a late afternoon nap, which I thought I didn't need, but apparently I REALLY did. We woke up and Evan got back from helping plow out his grandparents and he shoveled our back walk.... we got about 5 inches of snow today... and they are calling for more to come... so it really (hopefully) will be a white Christmas here for real, and not just that dusting that we always seem to get. We will see!

Making "Cranberry Snowfall Chocolate Bark"

Evan made supper and we had "breakfast" which is one of our favorite suppers. Eggs, Bacon, Toast, Hash Browns, Banana, Orange Juice. I made a "mamma mimosa" with 7-up and OJ (man I miss Mimosas. It's been a LONG time.) and Evan taunted me with his runny over-easy eggs while Ardyn and I shared the safer scrambled versions. It was really delicious and after cleaning up the mess from yet ANOTHER meal, Ardyn and I gathered in the kitchen and made "Cranberry Snowfall Almond Bark" - which is white chocolate, Orange Flavored Cranberries, Orange Zest, and Walnuts. YUM. It was DELICIOUS and it's super easy to make. Ardyn had fun.

Making "Cranberry Snowfall Chocolate Bark"

She has a new fetish with loud things like power tools. Every time she hears a power tool she gets excited and makes an "ooooooooooooooh" face. When the food processor started going, her "power tool" face came out, like "this is a power tool for girls!" She didn't make that face with the Kitchen Aid Mixer when we made gingerbread cookies, I guess it wasn't quite loud enough... or maybe it just didn't sound destructive enough.

Making "Cranberry Snowfall Chocolate Bark"

We watched most of "Horton Hears a Who" today. Evan watched the whole thing earlier but I needed a nap and so did Ardyn. I hope to watch the rest of it here in a bit while cozied up in bed. It's REALLY Cute and definitely one of those "we would love to own that!" movies.

WIP: Postpartum Mamma Pads

I cut out more postpartum pad pieces and Ardyn watched a holiday episode of Blues Clues. She is really into Christmas and Winter things now, she can recognize "Snow" and "Tree" which is always "Pretty Tree!" and she likes to see things about snowmen and sledding. Hoping this week to get her to see Santa but they are calling for more snow AND Freezing rain, so we will see if it's this week or next. Or at this rate NEXT YEAR!

Last night I wrapped 6 bars of soap, and will give them away to those who will appreciate them at the family gathering this Saturday. We have a giant tupperware of gingerbread men to decorate tomorrow, and weather pending might visit my mom and get a few crafty Christmas things done in the scrapbook room. At the end of the week we have a visitation for a family member of Evan's who was very ill and passed away just recently, it was of course both incredibly sad and a blessing that she isn't suffering anymore. It breaks my heart to think of her grandchildren, who are young and were very close to her.

Well, that about sums it up. Tonight I took Ardyn with me for the "clean-up" time in her big girl room just before putting her to bed. Usually it's quite impossible to clean when she is there, because as soon as she sees you putting something away, that is the EXACT something that she wants back out RIGHT NOW. Well, tonight we incorporated the cleanup song, and she sat on my lap while I cleaned, and watched. If she tried to get into it I would just redirect her and start the song again, and let her watch and not destroy. I also was able to ask her to go get some puzzle pieces across the room and she got the "screwdriver" and brought it back to me so I could put it back in the puzzle. That was a big step! She was consciously picking up and participating! She seemed to get the concept of what was going on and I actually feel like we made some progress towards *someday* having her help and take responsibility to clean up with us, and eventually on her own. I think I will continue with the clean up song, and trying to do this together, or at least have her watch and get the concept of putting toys away each night. It can't hurt!

Everyone have a nice night, stay warm, and be safe driving if you have weather like us! I'm off to see what happens to the Who's and Horton.
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