Tuesday, December 04, 2012

"God has a brother!?!" why didn't anyone tell me that?!

At Ardyn's school, part of her curriculum is learning an assigned
Bible verse each week. She absolutely amazes me at her capacity for understanding and remembering each verse. She usually has them down by Wednesday. We use wipe-off markers to write them on the bathroom mirror, so we can practice before bed and in the morning before school. We also practice them in the van on the way to school in the morning.

Ardyn just brought home a new verse and she brought it to me when I was giving baths to the boys, so that I could write it on the mirror.

"And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. - 1 John 4:21"

Ardyn's eyes went wide and she gave a great gasp... "you mean God has a brother!?!? Who is he!?!"

I laughed. Out loud. Of course that's how it reads, right? It didn't take but a minute to explain that the verse is referring to God being a father, and all of God's children being her brothers (an sisters.) and of course she grasped it right away, but that was the best innocent verse interpretation I've had from her recently :)

Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Is Coming!

I should probably be doing dishes or at least unloading the dishwasher. But I am washing diapers, so that's a start :)

I'm excited about the upcoming holiday. Fall is my favorite and I am occasionally a Turkey Day baby, so I love the holiday. We have hosted Thanksgiving here since we moved in 2001 but this year we are not hosting, which is nice. I am hoping everyone stays healthy here with the rampant stomach flu that is flying through our area schools and homes. Tomorrow is our last school day before break, and the kids are excited and thinking about all kinds of things they can do when they don't have to go to school. It should be fun, but I bet I'm ready to strangle them before too long! Hopefully we don't get TOO far off schedule.

We have a parent/child project (Gingerbread house) that we have to make for Marek's preschool homework. I am sure we will work on the Christmas Tree, which means putting away Thanksgiving Decorations and rearranging the living room. If everyone stays healthy, I am hoping we can get somewhere fun like Monkey Joe's or the YMCA Splash Zone. We shall see. We may just bum around home too :)

Copyright Meagan Johnson 2012. Do Not Use.
This past weekend was fun with Family Reading night at Ardyn's School followed by her Holiday Dance Recital. She did great per usual, big smiles on stage. I love seeing how much she loves to dance. That's why we keep on taking her. She has so much fun! She got beautiful flowers from one grandma and a really cool Christmas Ornament of Clara and the Nutcracker from another grandma. She has asked me every day since the recital when she gets to hang it on the tree.

Ewyn is really doing well with working towards two good naps a day. He has a hard time staying asleep but it's getting better with each nap. This afternoon and yesterday I napped with him, which resulted in two hour naps for both of us (score!) He woke once last night that was a little off his schedule and I successfully got him back to sleep without nursing him, since I was exhausted and knew he couldn't realy be hungry so soon. That was nice. Especially because I expected he would wake again around 4:30 am and he woke up at 6:30 instead! yay!

Well, I guess I can't altogether avoid dishes because I need to wash breastpump parts to I can do my late night pumping session for milk to freeze. I scheduled myself for another scope (upper only this time) in January since Dr wants to check on the Barret's Esophogus and make sure it hasn't gotten worse (especially since pregnancy.) The Nurse Practitioner told me that I would need to pump and dump milk for 12 hours after sedation but my research had already told me that this was not true but that this was exactly what they would tell me. I need to gather up the courage to find out exactly what medication they are planning on using to sedate so that I can check with infantrisk or Kellymom and find some supporting evidence so they don't shout at me when I come to and ask for the baby to nurse. Oy. Sometimes fighting for what you know is "right" can be exhausting. Most practitioners give you blanket statements like "stop nursing to take this medication" or "you need to pump and dump" in order to cover their asses in the case of a lawsuit, or because they aren't knowledgeable about medications and mom's milk. Luckily I have a reference book that I take with me to Doctor appointments when it comes to medications and the two times I have been told that I need to stop breastfeeding to take a medication I have showed them the information in the book and they have been surprised. It's frustrating but if you're serious about breastfeeding you have to be your own advocate! Now I am just hoping that grandparents can keep the big kids overnight and get them to school on the morning of my scope. That way Evan and I can take the baby to the hospital with us so I can nurse him right before and right after.

There's crazy stuff on MeTV tonight, like the Bob Newhart Show. LOL. Oh well, off to wash a few pump parts and dry diapers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And Then There Were Three...

Copyright Meagan Johnson 2012
Hello! It's been so long! I haven't had the time or the keyboard to blog! We have not had internet at home for a long time, MONTHS in fact. I have unlimited internet on my phone, but without a keyboard who wants to compose an entire blog post? :) We are currently testing out Illinois Valley Cellular's Wireless 3G Internet, and making a decision as to whether or not we want to go with them or back to the evil hateful Comcast. I despise comcast. I don't want their service. But it's really difficult to find something fast enough in Wyanet, because the cell service isn't necessarily as good as it should be in this area.

It's 11 am and we just finished picking up Marek from Preschool. By we I mean my newest sidekick, Baby Johnson #3, Ewyn Padrick Johnson :) He arrived October 9th and has been with me ever since. He's a good little baby, but certainly has his fussy moments and wants to be held. Since we plan on him being our last baby, I am trying to comply with holding him as often as I can. He was born at home, and while I would traditionally share my entire birth story, I don't feel like it today, so I guess we will suffice it to say that I am happy he was born at home and that I had a wonderful midwife. And that afterwards I passed out in the bathroom and Evan had to lift me back to bed. I began to lose a LOT of blood and had to have a pitocin shot in each hip... And I am still anemic (7 hemoglobin) five weeks later.

Bernice and Evan weighing Ewyn at Birth...  
Marek is watching Batman, which is his favorite... but he has been without Batman for an entire week. He got into trouble last week and was told no batman for 4-5 days... and then our TV blew up and we had to get a new one... so he had to wait another two days. So today when I picked him up from school he went right into asking for Batman. Since the baby is finally napping (after an entire morning of fussy cluster feeding and crying) I decided to do a little testing out of the internet connection. I am finding that general browsing is quick enough for me, but uploading photos is really slacking and it's not as quick as I want and need it to be.  I will keep testing.

Ewyn got newborn photos done by Nicole Isaacson Photography and of course they are beautiful and perfect. I am so fortunate to have such a great photographer and friend to capture moments like this!

Copyright Nicole Isaacson Photography
It's been both a struggle and a success to keep the house in order these days. With Ardyn in Kindergarten all day and Marek in preschool for a few hours a day, I have mostly been able to keep up on laundry and dishes. But sometimes (especially lately) It's more difficult to do that when we have so many places to run around to. It seems like we barely get home and settled and we have to run again. And that's not really a small feat when breastfeeding and diapering a newborn at each stop and then back into the seat we go. Ewyn has proved to be an excellent traveler and ALMOST never cries on the go unless he is hungry. He sleeps well in his carseat and seems to like to be going. Sometimes it's easier to just keep going and run errands during the day because otherwise just when you start to get involved in something, or comfortable at home, it's time to go again. Sometimes Marek gets really frustrated when I tell him we have to go get his sister, because he would rather stay in one place. It would be a crazy blessing to live in the country and have bus service for both kids. I never thought of bus service as the big bonus that it is. I can't imagine just opening the door and sending the kids out to the bus each morning and having them delivered back to me when school's out. That would revolutionize our lives. :)

Copyright Nicole Isaacson Photography
Right now I just try to keep running the dishwasher and doing laundry. The hardest part is getting all that laundry put away, and mostly that is because we are absolutely overcrowded in our house. Three kids in one bedroom and five people with two closets. It isn't pretty. But I am doing my best and finding solutions that make the best of our situation.

The big kids really love their little brother. They are also really learning to be self sufficient and get themselves dressed each morning once mom sets out their clothes. Before Ewyn was born they were slightly more cooperative with getting themselves dressed, but they are getting back to the point they were before temporarily regressing. Marek puts his own shoes on and even socks most of the time. Ardyn picks her snack from the snack bin and packs it in her backpack with her water bottle and her BEE Binder. She does a good job of taking care of what is asked of her. We are also working very hard on putting our coats and shoes and backpacks on our designated hooks and in our pockets each day when we get home, so that it's easier to get going in the morning. For the most part the baby has gotten on our schedule as far as bedtimes and waking times go. He usually wakes to eat for the last time around 5:30 or 6am and then by 6:30 or 6:45 I have him fed and changed and am ready to help the big kids. He is also different than the other kids were in the way of bedtime, he is ready for bed around 7:30-8:30 and wants to be swaddled and fed and then he will put himself to sleep. He actually gets to sleep much easier when he is able to put himself to sleep. Otherwise he will cry for much longer when he knows someone is listening, and will try to constantly nurse to soothe himself.... but keeps waking up and nursing over and over again. He can smell his mom a mile away :)

Copyright Meagan Johnson 2012
I am also really happy to be back in cloth diapers again. Because of the anemia and being completely under the weather after the birth, I didn't start them right away. I wasn't even supposed to go up and down the stairs for the first couple of weeks and was really lightheaded, so I didn't think diaper laundry in the basement was something that needed to be added to my to do list. It's making me happy to see little fluff around again and  I love the ease of EBF newborn diaper laundry. SO much simpler than toddler diapers! It's hard to tell in the turquoise newborn pics above, but under that "Daddy's Rockstar" onesie, Ewyn is wearing a fender guitar diaper with a cool turquoise minky inner :) It's those things that make me smile.

I've been learning to schedule me time way way way ahead of time. With Evan working several nights a week it's hard for me to participate in things like my BUNCO group, my mom's group, or The Junior Women's Club. And then I wanted to start going back to the breastfeeding mom's group and there are often church activities that happen on weeknights too. And with the holidays approaching there are holiday gatherings too. I am fortunate that many of my activities can accommodate kids. It's hard for me because I not only have to be able to afford the $5 an hour babysitter but I also have to be able to have meals ready for them to make and the house in some sort of order so they can find the things they need. That can be stressful, especially amongst a week that already consists of school, violin lessons once a week, and dance class once a week. Then there are weeks like this one with violin, dance class, dance dress rehearsal, family reading night at school, and dance recital. Something every single night and lots of running around. I am fortunate to have grandparent nearby but I don't want to be asking them to babysit all the time and sometimes they say no :) And add in things that I have to do during the day with no kids or with only one kid, and I need grandma for those occasions too. Doctor appointments, WIC Appointments, etc for myself or baby or Marek. I don't do anything without looking at the calendar. EVERYTHING goes on the calendar. If it's not there it doesn't happen.

Well, that's all I've got. Random and pointless perhaps, but my brain is emptied. Soon it will be time for another round of breastfeeding and diaper changing. And then I attack laundry and dishes again. AGAIN.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I wish

I would kill to get my hands on the new google tablet to test...

Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bureau Valley School Board overturns their decision and goes back on their word.

We heard last night that a teacher at Bureau Valley had been petitioning against the School Board’s May decision to allow our daughter to attend Kindergarten. Last night at the School Board Meeting she was present and at the second reading of the policy (which we were not aware was happening) the School Board voted 4 to 1 to overturn their decision made last month and therefore NOT pass the policy. Because it was done at the public portion of the meeting, a friend called us last night with the news.

In May we were contacted by two Bureau Valley Administration members and told that the school board had approved the policy change and that our daughter would register for Kindergarten this fall. This was based on a petition letter that I provided directly to the school board, including a copy of the State Law (which I had discussed with state employees for clarification) and also a copy of her recent pre-school assessment.

In May, I received a voice-mail from Mr. Butte, Bureau Valley District Superintendent, that says the following, and I quote,– “Good Morning Mrs. Johnson, This is Mr. Butte at Bureau Valley 340. I was getting back to you with regard to the letter you sent to us regarding the admission of your child into kindergarten that falls after the September the 1st deadline.  I wanted to let you know that the Board is going to change the policy and the change in the policy will allow you to enroll your daughter in school this fall.”  The (now retired) Principal of the Wyanet Building had called a few days earlier and told me that the decision was to be finalized at the May School Board Meeting.

The Board Voted in May and passed the policy change. We told our daughter that she was going to Kindergarten and the following week I called Happy Hands and told them to release her held preschool spot to another student who may be waiting. We had paid the deposit to save her spot several months ago. Our Daughter had her school physical, her shots, her dental checkup and cleaning, and the required vision exam for Kindergarten. This week she picked out a new backpack.

The School Board and the Central Office Administration did not contact us last night or this morning to notify us of the policy being overturned. I called the Central Office and also Keith Bolin, the President of the School Board this morning and left messages requesting a call back. After lunch I received a call from Mr. Butte confirming what we had heard… At the Second Reading of the Policy, the School Board Voted to overturn their previous decision to accept the policy, and our daughter is no longer able to attend Kindergarten at Bureau Valley this fall.

I calmly explained that we were very frustrated by this decision, and told Mr. Butte that we were told this was a “done deal” and that we had told our daughter she is going to Kindergarten at Bureau Valley. I told him that a 4 year old doesn’t understand that the “school board changed their mind” and that we had now relinquished our spot and our registration fee at the private preschool because we were told that she was going to be attending Kindergarten.  When I told Mr. Butte that I had hoped the school board would do the honorable and moral thing and allow her to attend this fall based on their prior word, I also told him that it was not going to be easy to explain to a 4-year old that now she couldn’t attend. His response was “I can only imagine.”

I have not yet received a return phone call from Keith Bolin or any other school board member.  When this policy was on the Board’s Agenda for a second reading, I believe that we should have been notified by Board Members or Administration Staff, and given the opportunity to hear the debate and also be allowed to answer and ask questions and present our point-of-view. Because we were told the decision was final, and were never told about a required “second reading”, we had no way of knowing what was to come.
When submitting the original letter to each school board member, I had decided to be at peace with whatever their decision would be, knowing that as a parent I had done the best that I could on our daughter’s behalf and that I had advocated for her to the best of my ability. I spent months researching the state laws and the policies of other schools, as well as having our daughter assessed and providing that information directly to the school board members. In April, School Administration explained that the Board Policy Committee first needed to review the information and write a policy that could be presented to the board, for the board to vote on. Mr. Butte indicated to me that there was some initial discussion by the policy committee regarding the policy and how it would impact the district. I was not told that there was any original opposition from Board Members to the policy and I assumed that is why it passed in May.

I am very upset by the actions of the school board, specifically having made their decision, having the administration pass that information on to us as a final decision, and then a month later change that decision and not stand by their word to us. I consider this a direct reflection of the character of the school board members and their morals. What kind of message are they passing to our community and our students if our school board will not honor its word? Is this the example we would like to set for our students? Even a four year old understands honesty and truth.

If the school board’s initial decision had been to not approve the policy change, I would have understood and although I would have been disappointed (of course, what parent wouldn’t?) I would have known that I did all I could. But to finalize something only to change your mind a month later, and to tell us the news… and then not stick by your initial decision… is weak.

I would like to Commend Former School Board member Jim Lilley. We have been told that his disappointment at the board’s actions, and the continued inconsistencies and issues with the School Board and administration, led him to walk out of the school board meeting last night and resign from the school board. Although Mr. Lilley is from Wyanet, I do not know him personally. I have only spoken to him once (over a year ago) regarding another school issue that I had questions about. But without personally knowing my family, or my child, he stood up for what he believed was right and was the only present board member to vote in favor of upholding the decision that had already been made. It was fortunate that we had a board member with such conviction. I have heard that Jim has stood up against administration and other board members in the past, for things that he did not believe were being handled properly. If you see Jim, please thank him for not being swayed by the majority.

As for us, it’s back to our original idea of private Kindergarten. It’s looking like we will be having a new baby and the kids and I will be driving to Princeton once to three times a day this next school year, so that both children can attend one private school- our three year old in their preschool program and our daughter in Kindergarten. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about the stress this has caused, and who have provided knowledge, experience, and support as I was gathering my information to present to the school board in April. It is appreciated more than you know. Today I am resting in the belief that all things happen for a reason.  I am remembering that this is just Kindergarten, that their decision was out of my hands, and that we have beautiful, happy, and healthy children. That’s what is important.

I am attaching a copy of my original letter mailed to each individual school board member, as well as the copy of the Illinois State Law which allows a school board to make exceptions to the September 1st cutoff date based on Child assessment and readiness. If we were a year round school district, the rules for students after September 1st are even more lenient. A very wise woman with years of experience in Early Childhood Education, and teaching at the Preschool and Grade School level told me at the beginning of this journey that school administration would do what is right for the well-being of the child. I wanted to believe that but knew that other factors would go into their decision. Especially the added “work” that an early admission program or petition for early admittance might cause them (which has been the only negative I can think of when assessing a ready child, and something that has been mentioned to me by those in the education field.)

I firmly believe that if at this point, if your concern as a school official or administrator is solely in the additional “Work” that early admission might cause you, or a statement that was made that this policy change is a “Principal’s worst nightmare”- then you are working in education for the wrong reasons. 

Friday, April 5, 2012
         Dear Bureau Valley School Board Member:
I am writing regarding my daughter, (name). She will turn five this September 3rd, two days after the State’s set cutoff date for Kindergarten. (child's name) has attended private preschool at Happy Hands in Princeton for two years.
(child's) teacher, XXXXXX, is also the preschool coordinator at Happy Hands and has been a teacher there for 20 years. Prior to Happy Hands, XXXXX taught in the Wyanet District. She has assured me that (child) is ready for Kindergarten both academically and socially, and the high marks at her recent Parent/Teacher conference increased our concerns that (child) would not be allowed in Kindergarten this year.
I discovered information on the State of Illinois Website for Early Childhood Education. (www.IllinoisEarlyLearning.org) I called their hotline (877-275-3227) and was forwarded to Nancy in the Parent Support. Nancy further explained the Illinois State Law to me, clarifying that any school district in Illinois can waive the cutoff date of September 1st. Many larger districts offer “early admittance” programs with paperwork and screening processes. Because (child) qualifies for this exception, Nancy advised me to contact my local Board of Education and request that you accept (child) as a Kindergarten student in the 2012-2013 school year.
Nancy also clarified that if (child) is not accepted to Bureau Valley this year, she could attend an accredited private Kindergarten and Bureau Valley would then accept her as a first grader the following year.
 In March, (child) was assessed by the Princeton School District during their annual pre-k and kindergarten screenings. I was very pleased with the results, and in most areas she was testing at the 5/6 year old level.  The Princeton School District will not release the results of the test directly to me (So that I may include them with this letter), therefore I am having them send the results to the Secretary of the Bureau Valley Board of Education, so that you may view them at your convenience. If you require an additional screening done by Bureau Valley Staff, we would be happy to schedule one.
(Child) is now rhyming, sounding out words and pre-reading, and even doing simple addition. I worry that holding her back will not do her justice as she is excited and prepared for Kindergarten.  All of her classmates and peers are attending Kindergarten this fall and she wants to join them. She has always been a quick learner and very motivated, and I do not want her to become bored in a third year of preschool. I attended Manlius Grade school as a 4 year old kindergartner and graduated at 17 from the first class of Bureau Valley. I was a National Honor Society Member and High Honor Roll Student. I was active in clubs and sports and was the first president of the Bureau Valley FFA. I am very thankful of the opportunities given to me, and believe the same scenario would work well for (child).
Please consider this letter my formal request that the school board include my daughter, (child), in Bureau Valley’s Kindergarten class  in the Fall of 2012.
I am sending a copy of this letter to each Board Member. (child)'s assessment from the Princeton School District will be sent to the Board Secretary. In the interest of time, I believe you would prefer to address this privately but if it would be necessary for my husband and I to attend a board meeting to address the board, we will contact the central office and secure a place on the next agenda.  You may contact me telephone, email, or mail, using the contact information below.
Thank You for your Time.

Meagan Johnson
(contact information omitted for privacy)
cc: Bureau Valley School Board Members, Secretary to the Bureau Valley School Board

Attached: State of Illinois Code
    (105 ILCS 5/10-20.12) (from Ch. 122, par. 10-20.12)
    Sec. 10-20.12. School year - School age. To establish and keep in operation in each year during a school term of at least the minimum length required by Section 10-19, a sufficient number of free schools for the accommodation of all persons in the district who are 5 years of age or older but under 21 years of age, and to secure for all such persons the right and opportunity to an equal education in such schools; provided that (i) children who will attain the age of 5 years on or before September 1 of the year of the 1990-1991 school term and each school term thereafter may attend school upon the commencement of such term and (ii) based upon an assessment of the child's readiness, children who have attended a non-public preschool and continued their education at that school through kindergarten, were taught in kindergarten by an appropriately certified teacher, and will attain the age of 6 years on or before December 31 of the year of the 2009-2010 school term and each school term thereafter may attend first grade upon commencement of such term. Based upon an assessment of a child's readiness to attend school, a school district may permit a child to attend school prior to the dates contained in this Section. In any school district operating on a full year school basis children who will attain age 5 within 30 days after the commencement of a term may attend school upon the commencement of such term and, based upon an assessment of the child's readiness, children who have attended a non-public preschool and continued their education at that school through kindergarten, were taught in kindergarten by an appropriately certified teacher, and will attain age 6 within 4 months after the commencement of a term may attend first grade upon the commencement of such term. The school district may, by resolution of its board, allow for a full year school plan.
(Source: P.A. 96-864, eff. 1-21-10.)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

ISO someone to make me tiki torch metal brackets!!

So, I need something. Tiki torch brackets. And not jut ANY tiki torch brackets. The only ones that I have found that work on our fence are made by Enchanted Garden, which is the metal works/garden decor company that manufactures for Menards. We bought them about two-three years ago. My tiki torches look like this and are my favorite type.

They don't rot, they look nice, and they mount to the fence (or designed to be mounted to deck rails) so they stay away from the kids and dog. I have six of them, which is just right for our little yard. Problem is, I was only able to get three brackets. Since then I have tried the tiki brand brackets twice, and they don't adjust enough to attach to our fence rails.

Last year I checked every Menards store around and it appeared that that brand was no longer making tiki torch brackets (of course) and googling and ebaying didn't turn up anything. So now I have three tiki torches without brackets... And I am seriously disappointed an annoyed. Part of me thinks
That there is a man out there who can make me three of these. I would pay for them.

It's a metal squared "c" shape bracket with a screw to adjust to the thickness and clamp onto the deck or fence rail. Then there is a section of metal pipe that is attached to the side and the tiki pole slips down into it. Simple if you know how to create something.... Like that!

Volunteers? Other ideas of where to find these that will work? *sigh*

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

First day of New Chore Chart completed....

Well, we made it through today. For some reason it was rough on me. Ardyn was in a mood from the time she woke up and her mouth. never. shut. If she wasn't chattering, she was demanding, arguing, complaining, and debating. *sigh* My patience was worn thin if not completely gone by bedtime, and I can still hear the two of them back there.

We started off the morning with the new chore chart. It went really well, and I could see Marek beaming with each task he completed. He was especially excited to be the only one in charge of feeding Krypto and filling his water bottle. Ardyn of course found something to complain about in each chore. Some of the chores rotate so that they each do it every other day. Like one day someone is in charge of setting the table and the other child is in charge of picking up all the shoes and putting them away. And of course no matter what her chore was, Ardyn wanted Marek's chore and wanted to debate me about it and complain. I told her that doing her chores without complaining was part of getting a punch on her chore card, and that if she continued to complain she would certainly not be considered for a "best beehavior" Card which gives you an extra punch.... and she may lost her end of day punch even if she did do all her chores. It partially worked. But nothing like I had hoped. Marek didn't complain about a single thing. He was on his best behavior all day and the only time I really had to scold him was when I caught him chewing on a shingle that he found out by the pond. He even took a short nap, that was of course disrupted by Ardyn who woke him and me up because she was "bored."

We also invited a bunch of friends swimming today and ran to Walnut to sign up for swim lessons for the kids in July. There was really only one session that we could make because the others didn't have slots for two toddlers, and the only other one that did was the one that overlapped dance camp in Princeton. So we are signed up and the kids and I are both excited. After that we went swimming at Grandpa and Grandma's house and ate our packed lunches on the deck. Once again Ardyn had to fight with me about the rules. She wanted to get in the pool when no one was in, she wanted to sit on the side when she knows she isn't supposed to unless there is an adult in the pool. She was pulling on Marek in the big pool and fighting with him in the baby pool. Marek on the other hand, wore arm floaties for the first time and learned how to balance and keep his head afloat. He also did some really impressive back floating that had him excited. He did really well. Ardyn is pretty self sufficient if she has a swim ring or floaties but she still needs to follow the rules. She thinks she is invincible and I am constantly reminding her of the time that she disregarded directions and let go of the side of the pool and Daddy's friend Lee saved her from certain sinkage.

After swimming I was exhausted. Dragging them around is tiring enough when you aren't pregnant, and add in constant mental stress with Mr Argumentative and I was ready for a nap. Marek was tired too and he and I fell asleep almost immediately. Too bad it was short lived. Tonight I could tell that Ardyn was tired and would have been much better behaved if she HAD taken a nap, but her naps are few and far between these days, which is to be expected.

Tonight I vacuumed and mopped the porch. Dog stinks it up pretty fast. And while I was gone over the weekend he peed on his bed and I have washed it three times and am hoping that the smell will finally be GONE. Yuck! He also needs a bath but so do I, and I am not sure who will win.

At bedtime when I told Ardyn that she was getting one punch for finishing her chores and Marek was getting TWO, one for finishing his chores and one for excellent behavior, she was pretty PO'd. I explained that her behavior was not good today and that she continued to argue and complain about everything, and that tomorrow would be a chance for her to improve her behavior and see if she might make an attitude adjustment for an extra punch.

I hope that I also will be feeling less cranky tomorrow... because another day of that attitude will likely test my limits.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Shock the Pond, Catfish for supper, New Chore Chart, Broody Chickens, and the Garden :)

Today was an awesome day. It was fun to be home after a weekend away scrapbooking. I got SO Much done in the three days we scrapped. We went to Scrap Inn in Rockford. I had a great time. The food was delicious and not heavy. The bed was comfy, and the hostess was wonderful. Luckily they were only half booked so I was able to use a 8 foot table space instead of just 4 feet. I got 57 pages done, which was a huge dent in Marek's first year. I was hoping to finish what I had planned but I got just over halfway through. I can't wait until we go again. It is so great to spend a whole weekend with a group of friends like that, and no kids. It was very quiet, except for our gossip and giggling. I have an album on Facebook for you friends that want to see my completed pages and some iphone camera shots of the inn. I didn't take my DSLR Because I wanted to leave it home with the kids in case something exciting happened ;)

Today the pond at Thorn Valley was scheduled to be shocked. Around 11am we ran out to wait for the Herman Brothers Pond Management crew to arrive with their boat. I took the kids and the dog out because I knew that they would find it interesting. I was a little worried that the pond guys would find the kids in the way, but I couldn't be further from the truth. They were great with the kids, answered questions, let them touch the fish, and it was a great experience for all of us. Nate's blog is a cool place to check out, they have some awesome fish pics, and also some pics of a giant waterslide they built. Love. :)

Shocking the Pond at Thorn Valley with the Herman Brothers Pond Management Team
 Grandma and Grandpa were there of course, and Uncle Kyle, and Jill and Dave came, and Lukas too. They shocked and netted several bass and a HUGE Catfish that they decided to leave out of the pond. They speculated that someone had stocked 30-40 pound cats in the pond without thinking that they didn't have enough to eat, and the Catfish were eating all the Bluegill and Bass, especially the small ones. The Catfish that Grandpa Bob Netted was almost 13 pounds 32" long. They speculated that it had lost about 15 pounds because there wasn't enough for it to eat at the pond, and this was based on the size of his head compared to his body. I thought that was fantastically interesting. Learning about the pond was so interesting, especially if you are into stuff like that, like our family is. They were also checking out the duckweed and hoping to determine if it is affecting the pond and fish or okay where it is. The bass that were netted all had scars along their sides from being inside a catfish's mouth and escaping. That was proof that the catfish were too big and too predatory :) Fascinating. So the catfish that we netted did NOT get thrown back, and the kids and I took him to Grandpa Dave's because catfish is his favorite and we knew he would fillet him. The amount of fillet on that catfish was awesome, we had enough for our family for supper, and for great grandpa and great grandma, and for my mom and dad, and some for dad to freeze. It's in the oven right now, with a bit of Al's Fish Breading and Cornmeal... and we are having salads and rice and vegetables and noodles to eat too :) It's going to be a GOOD meal!

New Chore Chart

Tomorrow we start our new Chore Chart. We had the P.E.G.S. Family Tools Chart that I Bought at the Hearts at Home Conference two years ago, but it just doesn't have the room to go into the amount of depth that I want it to, especially for little kids to see pictures of all the things they need. Even I have problems removing the circles from the little pegs, especially when the circles get pushed back against the board too far. The kids can't read and they really need tasks broken down into steps. I pinned a cool chart on pinterest that has free printables, and I created my own printables for chores that we do around here (gather eggs, water the bunny, etc.) and for chores that my kids need reminders for (Hang up your bookbag, comb your hair, brush your teeth, etc.) I printed, cut, laminated, and re-cut all the pictures for the chart last week, and the pocket chart that hangs arrived today... so I set it up and tomorrow we start! If the kids get all their chores done each day, at the end of the day they get a punch on their chore cards, and they can also get an extra punch for best behavior at the end of the day. Kids who get their chore cards fully punched by the 12th get to go on the Zoo Trip with our new mom's group :) They can not wait!  I pinned lots of chore and chore chart ideas on my Chore Board on Pinterest, Check it out if you need some inspiration. I want my kids to get into the groove of their basic chores so that we can rotate and add in more as they grow, and before school starts this fall. I would like them to have a routine of expectations down so that by the time school starts and the new baby brother gets here, I at least don't have to hound them to brush teeth and pick up dirty clothes. They already do these tasks themselves, but I would like the chore chart to remind them instead of their mom. :) The homeschooling blog that my chore chart came from is full of awesome ideas for kids and moms. You should really start to follow her!

Our "Home Command Center" with our calendar, our clipboards (one for each kid) and our new chore chart

I can't remember if I have blogged recently about the chickens, but just to touch base, I have two broodies right now that think their only job is to hog the nestboxes and sit on the other hens eggs. they didn't get the "we don't have a rooster" memo, and therefore they are serious about hatching out those eggs. So every day I have to shoo them out if the nest boxes a few times a day, and also I have quarantined them to the old bunny hutch in case the broody is contagious (I've heard it can be :) and as of now my egg count is down from 6  day to two per day. Not sure of that means that four aren't laying (doubtful) or that at least two chickens are bitchy enough to scoot those broodies out of the nest box and two of the hens just go lay in the ditch or somewhere. OR perhaps the broody is contagious and there are four that have stopped laying. Either way, I had four egg customers plus our own eggs and now I can't support that with 1/3 the amount of eggs coming in. Stupid hens. So to bust the broodies I really want to get the antique metal nest box and mount it (even if I just temporarily wire it) to the inside of the front yard fence so that the chickens who don't have a place to nest can go there instead of the nest boxes in the coop. I will beat the broodies. They may be determined but I am smart and stubborn. I will win.

The SFG (Square Foot Garden) tonight

The Garden is looking nice, there is one big pepper in there and some wicked tall radishes that have no actual radishes as roots yet. For the past three years I have had little to no luck with root crops. This year the carrots got eaten by the evil Hens who flew OVER the fence into the garden to eat the Carrots right out of the ground. The Romaine Lettuce is looking good, and there is some chard and some head lettuce as well as some mache that the hens didn't get in their escapade. The peas and beans look amazing... and of course I am waiting impatiently for my beloved tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I am gonna be SO unstoppable this weekend... Just you wait and see!

I hope that 400 feet of adhesive will last me all weekend :)

Seriously. That's what I have prepared and I am worried that it won't last me! I am so so super excited for this upcoming weekend. I am going on my second ever weekend scrapbook retreat with friends. My first (at the Paper Dollhouse) was over 3 years ago, when I was pregnant with Marek. Probably close to 3.5 years ago to be precise. It was my Birthday gift that year, and it was one of the best and most productive experiences I have ever had scrapbooking. I LOVE to scrapbook and I even more LOVE to spend an entire weekend. When I was pregnant with Marek, my goal was to get Ardyn's first baby scrapbook completed, which I did, and worked into her first year. Back then, I didn't have a "plan" and so I would spend SO much time sitting there plotting out layouts and arranging and re-arranging pages and photos. It might take me an hour to do a two page layout.
Packing up and Organizing supplies for the scrapbooking retreat this weekend.
 Those days are gone. I scrapbook with a very consistent method these days, and I learned when trying to complete Ardyn's first year that if I do not, I will never, ever, ever be caught up... or at least even feeling like I can more forward and progress. I don't think caught up will ever be in my vocabulary. And sure, I could digital scrapbook. I mean, I am a graphic designer but I LOVE to do this with my hands. I love the physical and the raised textures and the fibers and the embellishments. I love glitter and ribbon and chipboard. You just can't get that with digital scrap.

So, I believe I have talked before about my method. Layout books. That's the way to go. I pre-print my photos, sort them into pages and categories, then choose a layout based on the number and size of the photos that I have for each category, and assign two page layouts to each set of photos. Then I shop or assign (or a combination) paper and embellishments, or at least a color scheme via paper, to each two page spread. Each of these "plans" goes into a page planner folder (Cropper Hopper, the most to die for product that I have found speeds my scrapbooking by amazing amounts) and then when I am ready to scrap, I take my folder, my adhesive, and my paper cutter... sit down with my layout book and follow the cutting measurements for my pre-determined layout, and I am on a roll and have a whole page assembled in no time. Then I often go on to the next page and stash the remnants of paper and the two assembled pages back into the planning folder and they go from my "Ready to scrap layout" folder.... to my "Ready to embellish" folder. Then the next time I scrapbook I sit down with stamps, ink, fibers, glitters, and cricut... and embellish those pages and do my journaling. Sometimes if the mood strikes I will journal when I am assembling the pages... it depends on how the mood finds me and what supplies I have at hand. Now that I don't have my own scrapbook room anymore (boo. Hiss. Sadness seeping from my pores) I can't accomplish and pause, accomplish and pause. I don't accomplish anything unless I am away on a Saturday scrap, and then I have to schlep and drag everything with me. This gets old. Quickly.

I have a friend and scrapbooking mentor who believes that layout books make your pages too generic and not creative enough. But in my eyes I know that I have to ACCOMPLISH as well as create, and for me the creative and personalization happens when I embellish, title, and journal. And so far I have been insanely pleased with the progress I am making, and the finished project... especially when I go back and see all that I have done since switching to this method.

So. This last winter I finished up Marek's "Birth" book. He is, after all, three (but then he was two, so give me a break) When I started Ardyn, I assumed that I would get like her whole first month into an 8x8 book. Ha. Hahaha. Silly me. The 8x8 book is stuffed with as many refill pages as it can possibly hold, even with a strap hinge conversion... and it's the first THREE DAYS of her life, from birth thru her hospital stay and first night home. *cough* ridiculous! So in the same spirit I made Marek an 8x8 birth book. From that point forward I moved on to Ardyn's first year, which is (get this) supposed to fit into one 12x12 album. Have I not learned my lesson yet? *sigh* Her first year is three very very very overstuffed 12x12 books. And this does not include any of her daycare photos or Christmas celebrations. She now has separate "School" album (which is full and she hasn't even started Kindergarten yet!) which includes her daycare and preschool years.... and a separate album for Dance and Violin, which I think I am going to have to split into two 12x12 albums (Dance in one, violin in the other!) because it's overwhelmingly full and I am two recitals behind for dance. After Ardyn's first year, Marek was born, and all hell broke loose. At that point in time I discovered that it might just be better if I focused on something that I could actually complete. This is when, for Ardyn, I chose to work on school, dance, and violin. This seems like PLENTY. I also (want to) do Birthdays and Christmas for sure. But lots of the other stuff, except for like a vacation, I think I am going to have to just NOT scrapbook! I don't know how to get a handle on it all!

So this weekend, my goal is to take a bite out of Marek's first year. Well, I printed photos from his first three months, and planned something in excess of 90 pages. That's 45 two page layouts... plus some of them are 4-8 page layouts... so there are more than 90 pages total. For his first THREE MONTHS. But I figure that he of course deserves the same amount of attention in his first year, when they change so much and grow so quickly, and everything is so stinking cute.
Cropper Hopper Page Planner folders containing over 45 two-page layouts, ready to scrapbook. Over 90 pages right here, ready to go.

If I could just get his first year done, then this fall when he starts preschool and she starts Kindergarten, I can focus on school and activity albums for each kid. And I should be able to keep up with that fairly decently (as I have with Ardyn because I scrapbook one Saturday each month) and if that's the case than I can use "spare" time to catch up on special events and vacations (like our trip to Key Lime Cove and to the zoo.) and I am beginning to seriously learn that a few pages per month is more than enough to document their lives properly. Just in time for a new baby to come.... and me to have to figure out exactly how to get HIS first year done properly!

So in addition to getting everything ready (which overall took me about 3 Saturday scrapbooking sessions, (so... roughly 21 hours of sorting photos, picking layouts, placing them in folders, matching up papers, and documenting all the layout information on index cards....) I now have to decide what to pack for scrap supplies and what to pack for myself for a weekend. I wont take much. I won't wear makeup. I won't have to "do my hair" as a short do requires nothing. In fact I can shower, dry my hair, and be ready and dressed in a total of 15 minutes these days.

Theoretically, as far as scrapbooking goes, I should be able to go with JUST my page planner envelopes, two layout books, adhesive, my tools, a scrapbook and sheet protectors, and my cricut with my laptop for embellishments if I decide to go that far. That's packing really light. But then there's stickers, and rub-ons, and additional paper. I shouldn't NEED additional paper at all...but if I by some chance finish all these pages, what will I do with myself? You just do NOT go scrapbooking when you don't have enough to do! That's a sin!

I am thinking of putting my big heavy paper carrier in the van and not unloading it unless I end up needing it. That way if I finish with the first three months of Marek, I can go ahead and do Ardyn's last two dance recitals, or the nutcracker ballet pages that I want to do but will require me to do some serious nutcracker cutting on my Cricut and my MTC software.

I also need to re-stick several Cricut Mats and put my name on them to take with me. Two days till blast off.... SO I have to get going!

Maybe tomorrow we will re-stick cricut mats. Sounds like a fun activity to approach with two toddlers. And perhaps I can get a list written down of what I want to take for me so that I can pack quickly and efficiently. I need to buy breathe right strips so I don't snore too badly when sharing a room with my friends. I snore terribly when I am pregnant :)

I should also get some "just in case" photos printed. My shutterfly cart is full and at the ready, but I really don't want to order them now because I know they won't get here in time. I had them ready but just didn't have the funds to order them. Same with the twinkle twinkle papers I chose for Ardyn's most recent dance recital layouts. Oh well. Hopefully I have plenty planned and at the ready.

The downside is that there is NO INTERNET ACCESS at the retreat we are going to. Yep. I'm dead serious. Isn't that INSANE? I can't access anything online, so even if I do finish my pages I can't download fonts, or find things to convert to SVG files for future Cricut uses, or even screw around putting more photos in my cart for my next round of scrapbooking. *sigh*  What type of overnight locale charges you money and doesn't have internet available? I will try not to kill anyone. I wish I could tether my laptop to my iPhone without AT&T charging me a shit ton. I should have at least 3G there, if not 4G. Boo!

Well, that's all for now. :) Can't wait for this weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Would you File a Claim with Seno Formalwear for this Tux Rental? And other stuff :)

We've had an exciting past week or so :)

Last week was Ardyn's Dance Rehearsal and Recital were last week, and Marek was the ringbearer in my cousin's wedding on Saturday. We spent most of Sunday re-recuperating and then went to Grandma and Grandpa's for supper and the kids stayed overnight. This morning I had my 20 week ultrasound followed by a midwife appointment this afternoon. 

There are some great pics on Facebook of the kids for you friends to see :)

I've been enjoying the great outdoors and the garden and the landscaping. I try to water everything every night either before we come in for the night or after I get the kids to bed. I usually do some chores and fill animal food and water containers at the same time. Gather some eggs, etc. I am determined to get some great hummingbird shots this summer. It's practically impossible with the kids around, but when I get the chance I plan on sitting for a while and catching some when it's quiet. :) I have a couple okay shots, but nothing like I know I can get if I have some silence around me.

Because I wasn't home Wednesday-Saturday nights I realized on Sunday that I hadn't been home to do any watering and that I had seriously caused some damage to my hanging planter and the nine planter boxes on my fence. There are several plants in particular that look to be beyond saving, which makes me a mixture of disappointed and sad. I don't usually do that but It's looking like they won't make it.

I also have some work to do outside the fence, and hoping that since we have gotten through our last day of preschool and are almost to our last day of dance class, that will significantly decrease our travels and I should have time to get more done. We have yet to turn on the AC, although it has hit the 90's over the weekend and will again this week... I anticipate that by the end of this week I will have to give in because I don't want to be too hot to sleep well. That's where I draw the line :)

My greatest frustration of the weekend was brought to me by Seno Formalwear. We had done our initial fitting for Marek's Tuxedo a few months ago, and I paid a downpayment, and then last ween I went and paid the remaining balance. Last Thursday Marek and Evan went to pick up the tuxedo and have a final fitting. When we did his initial fitting, they told me that the smallest size shoe they carried was a toddler 9. that is about 2-3 sizes too big for Marek, but he was able to keep them on his feet fine so I wasn't about to go pay money for a pair of dress shoes when I was already paying $100 for a tuxedo rental. When Evan brought the tux home, he said that Marek's vest was WAY too big and that one staff member had told him that they would order a new one to have before the wedding, and another staff member said no they could not, that he was in the smallest size vest they had. So he was told we would have to safety pin the vest to have it fit properly. I didn't think much of this, until I had to dress him myself before the wedding.

To say that the vest was a little too big was the understatement of the year. The issues with this tuxedo went so far beyond the vest, it was unbelievable. Keeping a toddler happy and IN a tuxedo is difficult enough, let alone one that did not fit properly ANYWHERE. It required constant adjustment and was annoying me as much as it was him. Marek wears a solid 3T, top and bottom. You just can't tell me that there have never been children smaller than a 3T in weddings? Or even children who are a 3T? I know that his is skinny but he is also the 75th percentile for his height, yet his pants were too long as well as his shirt sleeves. The vest was so big not only at the waist, but at the neck, that it was very sloppy. The tie was cinched as tightly as it would go and was still too large for his neck, which would have been enough of a problem if the neck of the shirt had actually been able to be buttoned. Even with the elastic button, the neck would BARELY button. It took me more than 10 minutes *no exxageration* to get the neck buttoned and it was so tight I couldn't even get ONE finger in the neck and he was turning red and screaming within seconds.  It was so tight that I could not, in any circumstances, button it. Leaving it unbuttoned with a loose tie showed the open neck, the buttons and buttonholes, and also the tie buckle. The photographer spent some time trying to hide the tie buckle and I spent lots of time trying to tighten the tie and make it fit better.

His shirt sleeves were more than a cuff length longer than his jacket sleeves and hung to his fingertips or beyond. The cufflinks we were given didn't last ten minutes, and one of the black centers came off and was missing before either the ceremony or photos.

This is not what I consider to be a $100 tuxedo rental. Luckily the bride wasn't very concerned, but I was more than a little upset that I spent $100 and spent the whole day adjusting and attempting to make him look nice in an ill-fitting tuxedo. Why were there no alterations available to adjust the sleeve length or the vest and tie? Is this a situation in which I should file a claim with Seno Formalwear? Moms, what would you do? Click on the photo above to view it larger and read the photo captions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DIY Heating Pad Cover.

sometimes, when my children cooperate and don't turn me into the walking zombie mush brain mom by the end of the day, and they go to sleep at a decent time without too much "I need a drink" and "My bed isn't comfortable" and "It's too Hot!" - I get these amazing brain flashes. It's strange how few and far between they seem to be once you have a couple of little people sucking the energy and livelihood out of you.
Re-organized bathroom Linen Closet. This happens with each child. This is the third time I have found time to do this since about 5 years ago before Ardyn was born :)

Tonight I was thinking about the homebirth kit, which I am excited to start putting together. I cleaned the linen closet in the bathroom last night while Marek was taking a bath... and got a cleaned out laundry basket (monumental) in there to hold my kit. I am not buying anything for the kit until I have my 20 week ultrasound and see that all is well with the baby health wise and that a homebirth is still probable. But that's less than a week away, so I have started to gather some of the things that I already have on hand. I made myself an extra copy of my supply list and put it in a sheet protector in the basket, so I could keep checking things off as I go along. I put my postpartum mama cloth in the basket, and my thermometer, and went to grab the heating pad to add to the mix. I use it frequently when I have a neckache or headache, and so I had to grab it from beside my bed. It always makes me so embarassed when I see the cover on that thing. It's not that old or anything but the stupid fabric cover is all pilly and it makes me think it's dirty. Once time recently I had a friend with a pregnant wife who wanted to borrow it because they didn't have one. I gladly sent it right over with my husband but felt really badly because the cover just wasn't looking great and I thought "they probably think I am a disgusting slob." So when I was about to pack it into the homebirth kit, I sadly looked at the cover again, and suddenly "ding ding ding!" I realized that I could MAKE A NEW COVER. Hello? Why did it take me so long to figure THIS out? *sigh* what an idiot I am sometimes. I have a snap press. The stupid thing is no more than a square pillowcase style cover, open on one end with a snap. If you don't have a snap press you could easily make it with velcro or even a button and buttonhole, or a sewn on metal snap. Simple. Easy Peasy. Now for which FABRIC to use?! Well, flannel is pilly too, but it's my favorite for softness and wash-ability and I have a pretty hefty stash of cool and cute flannel prints for baby wipes and toddler lounge pants.

I suddenly started to panic that without this perfect original flesh colored fabric, I would burn my entire house down with the new cover. After all, the flannel is not flame retardant. It isn't 100% polyester. But the "crunchy" in my really liked that after all. So I picked one of my favorite skull/tie dye flannel prints, whipped up a pillowcase and added a snap, and voila, an adorable, soft, clean, funky cover for the heating pad. Problem is next time my husband is trying to find it for me, he won't be able to :) LOL.

The Funky New Heating Pad Cover. Forgive the photo quality, these are all iphone pics in this post :)

So, just a brain wave a day could make me smile. It's the little things, right Martha?

On another small note, Ardyn did a serious chop job on her hair over the weekend, and cut a ton of hair off. She gave herself some mullet-worthy sideburns, and today when we went to her regular haircut appointment (dance recital is this weekend) she got a "fix" job that is a cute pixie style cut. But longer. Not as short as mine. I have pics on Facebook of the "missing hair" and the "new do." This child.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Evil Chickens

Yesterday the garden was looking great. Tonight I went out to put two more tomato cages out (I was short two and had to pick some up at TSC) and suddenly, no beans. No Carrots. Squished Radishes. No Mache. No Salad Greens.

Those $(&*@# Chickens Flew over the fence to get into the garden to eat my Stuff! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. And I just threw out some netting that was a little tangled because I didn't need it. And now. Oy.

There are also two hens who think it's fun to lay their eggs somewhere else... and so the ladies have been shut up in the coop and run for the next day or two until I can "remind" them of who is boss, and where the eggs belong, AND until I can get some netting over the garden that will hopefully keep their fluffy fat bottoms out.

Tomorrow is a busy busy day for us, so I won't go on, but we did get Ardyn's dance costume and tickets tonight for recital, which is exciting. :) Can't wait!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


How is it possible that you can be falling asleep at 3pm, and 5pm, and 8pm, but at 11:16 you are wide awake? LOL. Story of my life.

Today I got an hour massage that was much needed, and also fell asleep several times during it. I love that a massage fixes all my aches and pains and back problems and in less time than repeated chiropractic appointments, and costing less. I love massages. I wish the world (and insurance companies) would better recognize the power of preventative massages on your mind and body :) But for now at least I recognize it!

BUNCO was a great time tonight. Jessica made delicious baked pasta and salad and italian bread with bruschetta. And the cheese and crackers and chocolate chip cookies were delicious too!

This morning I had a WIC appointment for just me, and so Marek and I went while Ardyn was in school. I was telling the girls at BUNCO that the WIC appointments are becoming questioning sessions regarding homebirth. Each time I have been I have gotten a different woman and they both ask the same or similar questions. Today it was things like "Have you had any bloodwork" and "have you had an ultrasound?" they act as though homebirth automatically means "No prenatal care." They asked questions like "have you been checked for gestational diabetes" and "Have you had your blood pressure checked?" I feel like saying that when we I have a midwife appointment we take off our shoes and sit in a circle and chant for 45 minutes. *sigh*

I also get questions or open ended statements like "So you've thought this through and decided where and how you will deliver at home" (Um, no, I just thought the kid would pop out wherever and that would be just fine. Maybe I'll put a tarp down.) or "How long was your last labor, are you prepared to labor without drugs?" (to which I answered 36.5 hours and was entertained by the woman's ample stuttering and stating that I obviously have had some time in labor... duh. I have two children!)

They ask so many questions!!! Today I was notified that I haven't gained any weight (in fact I have still just lost weight since being pregnant, which was the same with both of my other kids) and then I was asked "Is this because you aren't eating right?" *sigh* Um. No. This is because My metabolism goes sky high when pregnant. Certainly you have seen this with SOMEONE in your lifetime. "Do you get any exercise?" - (Does Carrying 14 loads of laundry up and down the stairs twice yesterday count for anything??) and other things like the long long list of things I can't DO and things I can't EAT. Things that my midwife say are perfectly fine for me to DO and EAT.

And then there's the whole breastfeeding gig. They aren't really used to people breastfeeding long term with WIC. So each time I have to explain and remind them that YES I breastfed both of my children, and YES I breastfed them to about 14 months when they weaned themselves, and YES they were exclusively breastfed, and YES I was breastfeeding Ardyn until I was Four months pregnant with Marek (Did you KNOW you can do that?! Oh the wives tales!!!) And how about YES I have seen a breastpump. And YES I will breastfeed this one (I hate when they say "Will you TRY to breastfeed this one?" and I want to answer NO, that I WILL Breastfeed this one, there's no TRYING about it.) I also like reminding them that when I was breastfeeding Ardyn at 1 year and was in their office as a pregnant mother, they had NEVER had to put someone in the computer as breastfed at 1 year of age and their computer wouldn't accept it and they had to call the state and fix it, and then print the coupons for her because there was no way for them to print her coupons without formula on them. It had never happened before. Yet they ask me these same questions, year after year.

I just get so tired of being asked so many questions, especially if they would actually document these conversations (instead of jotting down notes on a brown paper towel) and develop an actual relationship with the mothers, they might have some of these questions covered instead of asking them of me repeatedly for the last four years. I just hate the "system." I love that it's there for us, I love that it's such a great program, and I am not ungrateful... But I just wish that you felt a little more like they actually knew you and didn't repeat the same exact thing every couple of months.

And even poor Marek is dying to get out of there. I feel so badly for him. But it's better when I just take him with, when I have to take both kids with to certify (they have to be there and be weighed and measured) and I have to try to contain them in a boring office room for an hour while the lady drones on with the same questions they have asked since Ardyn was an infant... I can just see the glazed looks in their eyes. And their disappointment when they discover that naughty kids have torn the pages out of the books and that every single page in the coloring book has been scribbled on. Poor kiddos. :)

So, enough about that. I am just so happy when I am done with my WIC appointment. Marek practically SKIPS out of the building. And usually when I am there I end up seeing someone in the waiting room that I don't want to see, and that I don't want to speak too, someone whose children I don't want mine associating with. I try to be unjudgemental but it's hard sometimes, especially when you know someone, and their lifestyle choices, and they continue to go downhill and you see them in the waiting room and just wish you didn't have to say "Hello" and try not to answer their questions in case they mistake my polite conversation for an invitation to friend me on facebook or try to have a playdate. And I know lots of people on WIC that really are nice, and have great kids, and are good parents.... but it seems that I always get to run into So and So's sister with three kids from five fathers and a drug problem who hasn't had a bath this month. Ugh.

Can you tell I have some pregnant hormones lately? hahaha. I can't always be politically correct.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Operation "5 people, 2 closets"

I am working on going through kid clothes and condensing Ardyn and Marek's clothing into what was once just Ardyn's closet and Ardyn's dresser space, to make room in the dresser and armoire drawers for baby things. This is not easy. Because the weather here is a bit "unpredictable" I am much happier when I keep summer and winter clothes out simultaneously. the only thing that I pack away each season is my own clothes and the snow gear and winter boots/swimsuits and towels. Previously, Ardyn's closet was split into two bars, one containing "good clothes" and one containing "play clothes." Although I have 5 more months, Ardyn's newest thing has been to take clothes off hangers and off the bottom bar (there's a reason she can only reach the play clothes) and it had gotten so excessive that she was snapping hangers apart and throwing clothes on the floor. I hadn't seen the FLOOR of her closet for a while. One day I went in and the ENTIRE bottom bar was empty. Nothing. Not one piece of clothing. Just the bar looking at me and a floor full of wadded up clothes and empty hangers (many broken.) I wanted, of course, to strangle the child... but at that moment I decided, no more bottom bar for Ardyn.

The children and I have had a nice little "talking to" about the clothing situation. They are not to get their own clothes out without permission. Ardyn has one drawer of shorts and tank tops that she can choose to put on if she feels the need to dress herself repeatedly. They also each have access to pajamas, socks, underwear, and undershirts. But even that needed to be condensed because the four drawers that house all but Marek's shirts belong to baby. So I crammed most of Ardyn's clothes on the top bar (they won't all fit) and all of Marek's onto the bottom bar. Marek's armoire was previously play clothes on the bottom bar and dress/good clothes on the top bar. So this time I decided that all play clothes are on the left of the bar's divider and all good clothes are on the right. I still have to go through Ardyn's clothes and sort them according to good and play, and some things need to get packed up again because she has outgrown most 4's and some 4/5's.  I just got a bunch of "new" things that I bought for each kid, from friends hand-me-downs, which I ADORE the opportunity to acquire. If any of you local friends have clothes or shoes or swimsuits for your kids that you want to resell, I am your girl. Even if you have play clothes to give away. I will be happy to look through totes and bags and piles and take what we need. I also try to keep my eyes out for used CROCS and tennis shoes. I always have a pair of good tennis shoes and a pair of play for each kid, and so I am always looking for inexpensive tennis shoes that still have life left in them for some time on the farm or in the sandbox.

So after condensing the"hung up" clothes, I still had lots of drawers to go through. I am not DONE by any means, but making progress rapidly. The kids stayed at Grandma's last night and this morning I was awake at 5:30 again. (ick) and I decided to just get up at 6:30, got dressed, and went to Walmart. I measured my closet organizer. When we moved in like 13 years ago I bought two of them, one for each closet we have. Evan and I used to have our own closets before kids. The only downside is that the "cube" like shelves that are on the left do not fit any CUBE Organizers because they are an odd width.

(shit, the power just went out :) I can still blog.

So anyway, I have had a hard time finding a container that uses that space efficiently, because if they fit within the 11 inch width, they are WAY too short for the 13" height and then you have all this shelf space you are not using. Recently there have been many more containers on the market that fit different shelf sizes and I decided it was time that I find myself some and make use of the shelve space in a better way. I wanted to find something that would allow the kids quick and easy access to underwear and socks, without the hassle of drawers that they couldn't open. So off to Walmart I went at 6:30 and found myself some perfect fitting bins. They had 5 left and I needed 6, (of course) so I just bought all they had. This morning I made labels for the bins with pictures for the kids and words for the grandparents and babysitters :)

I always keep shoes that the kids don't fit into yet, on those shelves, and in the top of the closet is a lidded tote for each kid marked for too small shoes. So if shoes get too small they get tossed in their top closet tote, and then I pull down the next size from the shelves. This works really well unless someone decides to get a stool and try to get down a cool pair of shoes they see on the shelf. I am excited to have the bins to put those shoes in, which will not only help me contain them and hold more, but also avoid confusion for babysitters about which shoes actually fit. Each child has an overdoor shoe organizer for "good shoes" and a "croc basket" on the porch on our shoe shelf, where we put play in the yard shoes, crocs, and flip flops. It will get interesting when we put one more kid's shoes in the mix. :)

So anyway, it was exciting to get the bins labeled and in place. I haven't showed the kids yet, but I am happy. Next it's pajamas and Ardyn's clothes- which need to be narrowed down and some packed away.

To label my containers I use the same adhesive backed pockets that I use to label the toy shelves and containers. Smead Self Adhesive Vinyl Pockets No. VP64SA. I adore them and have already come close to using a 100 pack. They hold 4x6 photos or paper, etc.

Well, power is FINALLY back on. The sun has come out, and the eggs have been gathered. The day continues!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sit n Stand PLUS Stroller for Sale


I am selling my Sit n Stand PLUS Stroller. The color is called "Silverado" and is no longer available. This is not to be confused with a Sit n Stand or a Sit n Stand LX. This has TWO Jump seats and the rear seat and canopy remove to reveal a platform for standing and a flat platform seat with three point seatbelt for older children. Sit n Stand PLUS includes Two Rear Jump Seats (ONE BRAND NEW, See Photos), TWO Stroller Baskets (One Brand New), TWO Rear platform Seatbelts (one never used) Removeable Front Snack Tray with Cupholder. ALSO Comes with the metal bar that allows you to attach any infant seat to the stroller. I have the bar but haven't located it yet today. If I don't find it before you buy, the stroller price will decrease. But I know it's here somewhere :)This stroller was purchased brand new for $189 plus shipping and taxes, about 3 years ago. I used it for the summer months while my daughter was 17 months old and I had a newborn. Then I put it into storage. It comes from a smoke free home. I am located in Wyanet and come to Princeton Four times a week. If you are interested please let me know. The price (including all the extras!) is $120. It is in EXCELLENT Condition. Clean, barely used, with lots of extras.

Finished first batch of dryer balls...

I am on the couch with ornery dog and I just tucked both kids into bed. All said, alot was accomplished today. but there's still so much more to do tomorrow :) I should probably be putting away laundry, sorting the next loads, and unloading the dishwasher. But this seems like more fun.

We slept in today, which was nice. The kids played when they woke up so I let the dog out and fed him and then took a bubble bath. I had spent some time last night working on wool dryer balls. I wanted to start them with a sweater core so that I didn't use so much expensive wool roving. The only sweater I could find was a wool/acrylic blend, and while I deep down knew it wouldn't felt like I really wanted it to, I decided to try it anyway. It felted partially. So then I covered them with wool roving, and instead of just wrapping like I had seen many people do, I actually needle felted it on there. I also made one with a solid wool roving core. That one felted beautifully, and was therefore much smaller and very solid, but also twice as expensive. I have a friend who has volunteered a 100% wool sweater so tomorrow I hope to roll a few more and see them felt much better. Luckily the fact that I have lots of laundry leads me to do lots of felting while actually getting clothes clean too :)

Anyway, while the kids played I felted the dryer balls that I had made last night and finished this morning. I got the kitchen ready to make soap and Ginger came over for eggs and we made two more batches of laundry soap. One for her to take home and one for me. So now I have 20 gallons of detergent in the basement.... so I won't have to drag out the food processor for soap making for a while :)

This afternoon I put Marek down for a nap and got Ardyn set on the table to make some beaded bracelets. I ate my lunch and lay down and before long Ardyn came in to lay with me. It felt like she and I just barely fell asleep when we woke up to Marek crying, he had woke up and after going to the bathroom to go potty, got into some bathtub paints and got them all over his face, in his hair, and in his eyes. He was hysterical. It was burning of course and he wanted me to fix his eyes. I put him in the tub and wiped him down with a warm washcloth. What a fun way to wake up. An hour early and to a screamer. *sigh*

We made supper and Ardyn helped me make brownies (or maybe vice versa.) Then daddy came home from work early because he was not feeling well. I did my best to keep them quieter while he rested but I am afraid that's kinda ridiculous. At about 8:30 I decided it was bedtime. We have an early playdate tomorrow and I figure they need all the rest they can get before then. I do to, but I am not sure if I can sleep yet. Plus Evan is resting in there and it's always hard for me to sleep when he has gone to bed first. It's foreign to me, he NEVER goes to bed first.

Tonight I made a couple more dryer balls with outer roving. Then the dog got ahold of them. Then a few of them look a little rough and I will have to re-felt them. Earlier today my three needle felting tool broke two needles so I am VERY Carefully felting with one precarious needle (which takes three times as long) and hoping that it doesn't break before I can get replacement needles here from Amazon. So here are the sweater centers ready to hit the wash for their first round of felting.

And here is the first bath of finished ones... with the exception of the larger orange and brown in the background, which hasn't been felted yet.

The smallest one in the center with the earth coloring is the wool roving core, which is why it is so much smaller than the rest. It felted beautifully but that means it shrunk more :)

Yesterday I got the Sit n Stand Plus out and wiped it all down. it had been in storage for a while and was dusty here and there. I didn't armor all the wheels though :) I took my pics and posted them. I didn't get a bite yet. I am probably asking too much. Oh well. We shall see.

Also took pics of the Shake and Go track. If it doesn't get any bites in the next day or two I will put in on eBay. The same track is going for anywhere from $25-45 plus shipping on eBay :) Crazy. I had hoped not to ship it, but I do want it to be gone.

Well, I guess I should go switch laundry and get myself to bed. Tylenol PM might be necessary tonight! It's been an hour and the kids are still playing back there.

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