Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Poem

I heard a beautiful poem this Thanksgiving Day that I wanted to share with everyone. It really made me appreciate some not-so-pleasantries of life after hearing it:

Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you're employed.
Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
Be thankful when people complain about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means you're alive.
Taken from Ann Landers' 11/22/01 column.

I wanted to wait a few days after the holiday to post about thankfulness. Otherwise, it would have been lost in the crowd. Taking time to be thankful doesn't have to end the moment Black Friday shopping begins. But I'll be honest, sometimes it can be really difficult finding the bright side of life. When you're tired and worn out, and there's so much needing to be done, it's hard to sit there and think, "But I'm so thankful because I had a bed to sleep in and covers to keep me warm all night." Instead you think, "What the is crap...I need a nap...grr..." But maybe after seeing this poem, you can look at life with a new perspective. Instead of complaining about how much your bills are, be thankful that there are good companies that offer motor vehicle liability insurance at competitive rates. Instead of complaining about the spills the kids are making, be thankful they can hold their glasses of milk all by themselves. Just be thankful for everything!

As your assignment, class, think of something that is annoying and turn it around in a positive way. Leave it in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baby Wearing

If I could go back two years and change one thing about my baby registry, I would take off a lot of the big, expensive, somewhat bulky baby items (the play set, the swing, the bumbo), and instead put a really great baby carrier on there - like the Ergo! True, the Ergo might seem costly at first glance, but its reviews are resoundingly and repeatedly positive! And it's just as much as the other baby items, anyway. I hadn't done much research when it came to babywearing, and I thought they were all the same - that only price was the determining factor. So I chose an economically priced item, an over the shoulder baby carrier.

It wasn't used much, however, as my lifestyle back then revolved around only one little child. But now that Little Olive requires attention whether or not Little Huck is asleep or awake, in my arms or laying down, babywearing has become a necessity for me. Unfortunately, I've been dealing with some pretty sharp back and neck pains whenever I try to wear Baby Huck. I'm learning the hard way that baby carriers are not made equal!

So I'm currently saving up for the Ergo carrier. One of my friends found hers at a garage sale and absolutely loves it. I think I can trust her opinion (and the hundreds of other moms who rave about it) and know I'm making a good purchase. I'm about halfway there! Wish me luck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Facebook Etiquette

Say you run into an old friend at Target. You used to play together when you were young, and now 12 years later, it's good to see each other again. She introduces you to her friend, and the three of you smalltalk for a bit. At the end you tell your friend, "Hey, we should keep in touch! Facebook me."

The next day, your old friend has sent you a friend request. Awesome! You accept happily.

Then...your friend's friend sends you one. You accept it...and can't help but notice you're now one of her 1,759 friends.

Which kind of person are you? Do you have facebook to stay in touch with friends and family? Or do you find it necessary to stalk every person you've ever met?

Back in the MySpace days, the number of friends we had was a huge deal. The number of profile views you had was almost bigger. I feel like facebook started a more mature way of social networking. But some people are still stuck on the popularity contest. I couldn't tell you how many friends I have right now. I've tried cutting back and limiting my list to only close friends and family. But when people see you've removed them, they get offended and think you hate them.

Because, after all, facebook is reality!

It has become an alternate reality, in a sense. Even so, there are social rules and etiquette that I believe should still be followed. In general: If you wouldn't do something in person, you probably shouldn't do it on the internet. But more specifically, here are some rules that facebook users should follow:

1. We all use facebook as the easy way to communicate. But find a balance. If you like a girl you work with but never had the nerve to go up and say hi, don't start a chat session with her and claim that you're shy. Lame-o.

2. Try to draw the line about private messages and public wall posts. Everyone does not need to see everything. 

3. Be aware of what you're saying on another person's wall. This is huge. So I'll dedicate the next few rules to this issue.

4. If you're commenting on someone's status, keep it relevant - unless they asked a question or are looking for advice.

5. If you're engaging in a comment thread, be respectful of the person whose wall it's on. Don't take it over unless you and the originator are in agreement. 

6. If a story pops up on your newsfeed of one person writing on another's wall, think before jumping in. Though it's viewable to all their friends, determine the nature of the post before budding in. (And this goes back to #2.) 

7. If you're tempted to continue a discussion with someone (most likely through comments that others can see), ask yourself whether you're writing to communicate with that person or broadcast to the world. There is a difference, and it's glaringly obvious. 

8. Don't put up pictures and caption them, "Ugh, I look gross but I liked my hair" because we all know you think you look hot in your little gym shorts, and you wouldn't have posted the picture in the first place if you thought it was that bad. 

9. Don't put up pictures of yourself with your nose Picnik'd out (although I'll admit, photo editing software is so much fun), your lips puckered, and a peace sign on the side. You are not a duck. 
10. If you don't like someone and don't want to be friends, don't be! There is no point seeing updates and pictures about someone you just don't get along with. It will only aggravate you and make you exude negativity. On the other hand, if you're not in a position to remove (there's one in every family..."two in mine") just make good use of the hide button, or put them on a restricted list. 
Be polite, be kind, but be real. 

    Breastfeeding Trouble and Solutions

    I feel like I haven't written any helpful, informative posts lately. My early blogging days were full of them! (Omg, I am such a helpful person.) My faithful readers return day after day, just to hear me blab away. (Oh look, I'm a poet too.) To them I say, thanks! Y'all are so sweet to leave comments and keep coming back despite my sometimes boring updates. Your inspiration and support means a lot! Okay, now that I've left the Grammy's stage...

    I need to get back on track today and focus on my original theme. I must clear away the non-essentials and simplify, kind of like how the junk removal company does it out in Texas. (You have to say that in an accent like Rick Perry, and then add on "ice cream.") So my topic for today is purely informative, for women, and postpartum related: breastfeeding troubles!

    Any nursing mother out there can probably relate to some discomfort while breastfeeding. Whether it be that initial latch shortly following birth, or aching cramps, aka afterbirth pains, brought on by feedings, breastfeeding can be painful! With Little Olive, breastfeeding was more or less uneventful. Tricky at first, but smooth sailing after that. However, I had a rough time breastfeeding Little Huck for a few days. It began with the usual sensitivity when he was first born. But over the next few days, nursing became excruciatingly painful. It felt like Little Huck was biting me with razor-sharp teeth. He wasn't doing anything wrong, but the pain was just getting worse. I would cry sometimes when he'd latch on. As it turned out, my nipple was cracked and bleeding; I didn't know what to do. Thank God for moms. Here are some tips my Mom passed along that healed me up within days.

    1) Don't wear a bra. Instead, wear a very loose shirt to allow as much air as possible onto your skin. I wore one of my husband's shirts around the house until we had a visitor. Then I'd change into more appropriate clothes - but only as long as was necessary.

    2) When I'd go out and needed a bra, I would make sure to change my nursing pads as often as possible to keep the skin dry. Nursing pads tend to trap moisture close to the skin, which keeps the nipples sensitive and tender.

    3) Soak several wash cloths and keep them in the freezer. When it's time for a feeding, press the cloth onto your skin for a few minutes beforehand to a) help numb the tenderness and b) make the nipple stick out a little better. This will help the baby latch on much easier, so that the nipple doesn't roll inbetween hard gums (seriously, one of the most painful things ever).

    4) After a feeding, cover the nipple with lanolin cream. Lanolin is waxy fat from lamb's wool, and it is known for its healing, protective, and moisturizing properties. I would also use this before a shower to keep the hot water and steam from aggravating the skin. It is safe for a baby to ingest (though mine certainly didn't like the taste - in this case, just gently wipe it away before a feeding), so you don't have to worry about it harming your little one.
    5) Drink before/during a feeding. And by drink, yes, I mean alcohol! It will help calm and relax you. And after nine months of fasting, it might make you a little tipsy, easing the pain. Regardless, you deserve a nice beer or glass of wine!

    6) If you have a pump, don't feel bad if you have to use it for a few minutes when your milk "comes in". Sometimes the breasts become engorged, and it's difficult for the baby to latch on. (Sounds like a nice problem, but it's really no fun.) Once some milk has been expressed, the breast will be a little softer. If you can express by hand, go right ahead.

    So these are some tips, but if you know of any others, please share them below! We can all help each other out. Have a nice evening, everyone!

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Thanks and Tidying

    Some of my facebook friends are doing a sweet activity this month, where every day they write what they're thankful for in their statuses. When I read them, it has really made me stop and think of all the blessings in my own life. Allow me to do a quick catch up.

    Today, I am thankful for the warm sun on my back as I type away.

    Today, I am thankful for the decent night of sleep, despite both babies being sick. (Six hours ain't shabby, even if it wasn't restful.)

    Today, I am thankful that we always seem to have everything we need.

    Today, I am thankful for the great weekend ahead.

    (Tomorrow is Little Olive's birthday party, combined with Little Huck's baptism party. We're going to celebrate with family, both immediate and some extended. It should be a great time! In preparation for the new gifts, my goal today is to tidy up the play area in our living room and make room for everything. I've cleared away some of the battery-operated toys, but absolutely kept all the wooden toys out. I recently opened up the old box of baby toys from Little Olive's younger days and added them to the collection for Baby Huck. Even though he's still too small to play with anything, they're all his now! I hope he'll enjoy them soon! It was nice to see everything still in one piece. I have to admit, some of Little Olive's older toys have suffered the craziness and sharp teeth of our puppy, especially those beautiful wooden letters. I don't understand it - we don't bite Kila's toys. She should know better. Gosh.)

    And finally, today I am so thankful for my sister's help every single day. Whether she's doing the dishes without being asked, or stepping in just when both kids start crying, or finishing the laundry for me, she's been such a huge help. It is so nice to talk every day when she comes home from work. I love hearing about the stories she's been handling all day, or about the latest development in her life. Sometimes it reminds me of the old days when we used to lay in our bunkbeds at night and talk about everything. (Once we quoted the entire movie Toy Story - all the way to Sid's house.)

    Life is good, and when it's not, it will get better.

    What are you thankful for today?

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Doing it all over again

    I remember the days when my niece would visit while I was pregnant the first time around. That spunky and curious toddler was showing me how dangerous my house had suddenly become! I was constantly rearranging things every time she came over. But it prepped me for the arrival of Little Olive. I thought I was all set. But babyproofing is an ongoing task. As the child grows and changes, so do the needs of the home. You realize the garbage cans can no longer stay uncovered, or the outlet can no longer be exposed. The stairs absolutely have to be blocked off, and the dog food cannot stay on the ground.

    When visiting my parents' home, Little Olive used to collect airsoft pellets in her mouth. (What is airsoft? You'd have to ask my little brother...the same one who always leaves the little yellow pellets lying around. -- I'm looking at you, Tony.) We use to have to dig them out of her little mouth constantly. But that was when she was young and crawling. Now, at two years old and very advanced, she'd much rather collect them in her hands. She does this with stones and marbles too. From dangerous to acceptable.

    Now with Little Huck in the picture, we're going to start all over again with the houseproofing. Our lives will be a constant revolving door. In and out, up and down, open close, over and over. I'm so glad we're going through everything again! How boring it would have been if we never got to experience another, new little life again!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Happy Birthday to our Little Olive

    At 11:37pm tonight, Little Olive will turn two years old. Her birthday so far has been really nice, despite the fact that she's fighting a little cold. Thanks to some nat mur 6x, it doesn't seem to have affected her all too much though. As a birthday present to us, she slept in (for her, that's 7am). As a reward from us, she woke up to a purple table with her three purple gifts ready to be opened.

    My husband hand carved her a gorgeous wooden heart necklace. It's so perfect. Little Olive has been putting it on, taking it off, throwing it, kissing it, losing it, finding it, all day long. I'd take a picture for the blog, but alas, it's in a lost stage right now. When she wakes up, she'll have to show me where she hid it. She must think I'm going to take's pretty nice, I'm not gonna lie.

    I made her a purple dress which she's been wearing as well. I'm still thinking of adding a collar of some sort, so you might be seeing updates over at my sewing blog eventually. :)

    Her third gift was a Melissa and Doug numbers puzzle I found in perfect condition at a consignment shop over the summer. (Don't worry, kid. Someday we'll take you to one of those nice Poconos Family Resorts for a fancy birthday.) But she didn't even know the difference; she was pretty darn excited about it.

    This afternoon, we made a pink cake for dessert tonight. She had fun mixing everything together. I actually have no idea what we'll be having for dinner. Maybe french toast - it is a favorite meal of hers. (And mine, but that has nothing to do with it. Haha.) My husband rearranged his schedule for the evening so we can all spend time together.

    Despite the flurries of snow daring to descend as we speak, it has been a very nice day. I am so thankful.

    *** Update! Here's a picture of the necklace!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    My child is making a liar out of me

    My little pulsatilla princess clung to me as I stood in line at a store this past summer. The cashier and I were chit-chatting about my huge belly, the non-gender of the baby inside, and the pregnancy in general. That's when she nodded toward Little Olive and asked, "How do you think she'll be with a new baby?"

    "Oh gosh," I replied, kissing L.O.'s head. "Probably not good at all."

    The same conversation replicated itself countless times over the course of my pregnancy. My firstborn, while extremely independent, is also a mush. She loves cuddling, being held, having my undivided attention (hence why I blog during naps), and being carried everywhere we go. Heaven forbid I try putting her in the cart at a store. The very thought of shopping with two children worried me. Life was going to be awesome. I was told by someone (who was trying to be very uplifting, obviously), "You don't know what you're in for." 

    I didn't, but the surprise was so sweet. Little Olive embraced her little brother's arrival like a true champ. Whenever she sees him, she exclaims, "Oooh! So tute. Tisses." And will then gently kiss his face. She always wants to hold him a lot and props up a pillow by her arm. She touches his head and gives him "big hugs". She's fascinated with his eyes, his feet, fingers, his belly button, and... other things. She gets so close to his face and imitates our inflections as she talks to him, "Hi han-some! Hi big boy!"

    Of course there are crabby times when she tells me to lay him down so I can hold her. Or that my husband and I should "switch" so that she can be with the desired parent. But overall, I am so impressed with her handling the new arrival.

    The one area where she could use improvement is with our dog. Every day she wrestles with Kila and ends up getting hurt - one way or another. Whether it's a nip caused by snatching one of the dog's toys, or a bump from running away, there comes a fierce yell from her little mouth, "NO, Kila! Go play!" In revenge, she runs to the kitchen and dumps the water bowl into our dog's food. Thanks. Then she'll mess up all the pet supplies in the closet as if Kila will learn her lesson from the Alpha Olive.

    Life is always busy, always an adventure. But for now, Little Olive loves her Little Huck. And for that I am so thankful!

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    We made it one month!

    Little Huck is one month!
    Well, we made it! Little Huck turned one month old yesterday. I know you could probably write the next couple sentences for me...about how fast time flies and how quickly those babies grow up. So I'll spare you the cliches myself.

    Actually, no I shan't. Sorry, I just have to...

    My baby is getting so big already! How did a whole month go by since he was born?? How has it been 30 days??

    :) I am completely serious, by the way. It's so bittersweet!

    It has been a good month. No complaints, though still a little different than what I expected. After Little Olive's birth, I felt great. This time it took a little longer. It was like my body was sticking it to me: You had a great labor? Watch postpartum hit you.

    And it did. I wouldn't go as far as to say I had PPD, but I definitely cried a lot more this time around. I felt more stressed and overwhelmed. When I was with Little Olive and Little Huck, I was fine. No problem bonding or being a mom. But just life was a little more mopey than usual. I also had "afterbirth pains" that I do NOT remember having with L.O. They feel like contractions - and they're bad. They lasted a few days.

    But thankfully, things seem to be under control right now. I had to get into a rhythm for that to happen.

    1. First off, I had to accept that my house was not going to be constantly clean. After a great summer of clearing out and cleaning up, I grew accustomed to a neat home, and I took pride in keeping up on all the housework. My countertops shined and glistened. Not so much anymore. My mom and sister really helped me realize that there are other things that need me more. So now, dishes sit for a little while longer. Laundry piles up a bit more. And Little Olive's toys are not neatly organized in their designated bins. Some things are just more important, and a clean house is not everything!

    2. When Little Olive was born, I held her for almost every single nap. My world revolved around her all day long. I spent my winter cuddling with her and watching all 8 seasons of Gilmore Girls from start to finish. However, I can't hold Little Huck during all his naps. I'd love to, and I do whenever I can. But I learned that his naptimes are really when I can give Little Olive the attention she needs. I secure Huck in our bedroom for a couple hours while he snoozes away, and I focus on her. A part of me is sad that I can't give him my attention 100% of the time, but if he's sleeping, he's happy.

    3. I said "yes!" to everyone who offered to make a dinner. Dinners are a wonderfully delicious comfort at the end of the day, especially when you don't have to make them. :) So thank you: Mom, Dad, Dan, Marie, Kiera, Donna, and Sheri.

    4. My Mom insisted that I take a break from cloth diapering for a good month. She bought me several packs of disposables which really made my life much easier. I'm a huge advocate of cloth - but without the poopy laundry hanging over my head, I was a better-functioning woman. Thanks, Mom!

    5. I started to exercise. Remember my review about Lindsay Brin's dvd's back in April? Well, I'm doing her boot camp dvd now! It's not "boot camp" like crazy, nutso, can't handle it. It's totally enjoyable. She fits in a full workout including warm-up, cardio, weights, core, and cool-down in only a half hour. It's awesome. It has definitely helped my mood too! So if you're feeling a little down after having a baby, definitely do some exercises. From the most unmotivated person in the world, trust me, it will help!

    Well, perfect timing. Little Huck is starting to grunt...that's how he wakes up. Gotta go!

    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    My trips to Target have changed

    My sister used to be a cashier at Target, and she couldn't believe how often people would come through her line with a $150+ total and say, "I don't know what happened; I just came in for paper towels."

    Beware this Christmas season...
    Let me tell you what happened: you walked into Target. And that store is amazing for making you think you're finding a great deal, or that you need everything you see. I know this from experience. While I've never gone in for only one thing and came out overdrafting my account, I have experienced the draw of thinking I'll use everything I find on clearance. End-caps, full of items with tempting red stickers, are dangerous. And I'm sorry, but salon-grade shampoo for 15% off isn't really worth it. You're still looking at a $16 bottle of hair cleaner. Or what about those Halloween party supplies marked down at 30% off. Even though the holiday's over, you could buy them for next year! (Then they'll sit in a closet for ages until you decide to put them in the 25 cent bin at your next garage sale. Because guess what? You never had and never will have a Halloween party no matter how many purple ghost plates you bought.)

    This past summer I told myself I was going to stop spending money on things we didn't need. This meant I had to stop going to stores (Target, I'm looking at you) altogether. I had to stop treating stores as a way of just "getting out of the house". I'm a huge clearance rack shopper, and I still believe it is the best way to get what you need, but I realized there wasn't much that we really needed after all. I usually check out the 50-75% off racks of clothes, hoping to find a great deal on maternity items. But more often than not, what's left over is usually plus size maternity - not my size. So I stopped going into the women's section.

    My next crutch was the baby section. Just as you can't help doting over a new baby, you can't help picking up or touching every cozy, fleece sleeper you see. Or a sweet little bathing suit with green polka dots. But do they have enough pajamas? Yes. Do they have their own bathing suits? Yes. Then as much as a bright red sign saying, "Only $12.99!" is calling your name, you have to walk away.

    I'm happy to say I now can go in and out of stores purchasing only what I need. There have been many occasions where I've proudly told my husband, "I went into Target today and left without buying anything!" I don't think he believed me at first, but our bank statement backed me up. I love saving money and finding great deals. It's nice that the two can still be separated.

    What's your weakness when it comes to shopping?

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011

    Second Pregnancy Survey

    I did one of these surveys on facebook after Little Olive was born. But nobody really writes "notes" anymore, so I'm moving mine to the blog! Here's a Q and A about Huck's pregnancy! Also, I dislike that the questions are all in caps [YELLING, ANYONE?] but I have neither time or patience to retype them. So, we'll deal with it together. :)


    WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME? Yes, for two years.

    WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? We were so pumped!


    HOW OLD WERE YOU? I was 23.

    HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? I counted down the days till I could take a test, and it was positive. :)

    WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST? Ian (of course!) then my sister.

    DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX? Yes, I did! But we decided to wait till the birth. (I'm a nice wife like that.)

    DUE DATE? October 3rd

    DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS? Yes, for the first trimester, but I never threw up! That was a nice change. I just felt nauseous.

    WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? Coffee, wine, beer. You know, all the things I couldn't really have.

    WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST? Going to summer parties and being the only one not drinking. "No, I'm fine. I'm happy with my sprite," I'd say with a smile. Inside...glares.

    DID YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WERE HAVING BEFORE AN ULTRASOUND? We had two ultrasounds...didn't look for either.


    DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING? No way. I couldn't decide what I wanted more...and I'm very happy with a little boy!


    DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER? Not for the second baby.

    WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW? I did know we weren't having any surprise showers. :P

    DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY? Just the usual aches and pains - nothing crazy.


    HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR? Labor was 8 hours for me.


    WHO WAS AT THE BIRTH? Ian, Jen our midwife, my mom, my sister, and Little Olive.

    WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION? Wait...does this question mean that "natural" means vaginal? Weird. Anyways, natural.

    DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? No, I just did hypnobirthing.



    WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER? Huckleberry Finn (code name, of course)

    HOW OLD IS YOUR FIRST BORN TODAY? Almost one month! (Oh my gosh...)

    WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU FIRST SAW YOUR BABY? The absolute happiest joy imaginable!

    WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME AROUND? Nothing. I had the most amazing birth experience ever.

    WILL THERE BE A NEXT TIME AROUND? Most definitely - just not sure when.

    WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PREGNANCY? The heat of summer, tiredness, and keeping up with Little Olive's busy little self. Also -- waiting! Huck was born at 41.5 that last month was a killer!                    

    WHAT WAS THE EASIEST THING ABOUT PREGNANCY? Not having as much water retention this time around - so I still got to wear my rings throughout the whole nine months!

    WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT CHILDBIRTH? The contractions near the end. Man, they're a killer.

    WHAT WAS THE EASIEST THING ABOUT CHILDBIRTH? Pushing! Also being at home, feeling safe, and being with people I knew and felt comfortable with.

    DO YOU LIKE BEING A PARENT? I love it. Having two kids is better than I expected! <3

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    Do parents really do that?

    Have you ever seen the Veggie Tales movie, "Madame Blueberry"? It's a sweet story about being grateful for what you already have and living with a happy heart. While watching it with Little Olive the other day, one part jumped out at me, even though I've seen the movie tons of times in the past. It's when Junior Asparagus and his dad are in Stuff Mart, and Junior sees this super fancy train set that he's wanted for a really long time. He excitedly begs his dad, so politely. But his dad explains it's a lot of money and offers to buy him a ball instead. Disappointed at first, but so understanding, Junior accepts the switch and thanks his dad with a cute song.

    My question is, do parents really buy their children something just because they're in a store? When we're in stores, I avoid going into the toy/candy sections. I know Little Olive would go crazy. But even in the shampoo aisles, when she asks for the purple bottles, I just say no. Yeah, she gets upset for a little while, but I'm not filling my bathroom cupboards with Aussie conditioner just because my toddler wants it.

    My sister used to work at Target and said parents would buy their children things to make them quiet, or to prevent a tantrum. Seriously?

    As a child, we got presents twice a year: on our birthdays and on Christmas. Occasionally we'd get a special treat while shopping with our mom, like a bag of candy to bring home and share, or a pack of 25 cent Wrigley's gum. And these things were so special and exciting. A pack of gum, just for me?? Wow, thanks, Mom!

    I grew up with eight siblings. We lived simply, but our Christmas's and birthdays were always so happy. You could tell my parents made sure those days were special. As we grew into our teen years, we became financially independent younger than most of our friends. But I really never thought twice about it. I learned early to save my money because that is how I would get what I wanted. I split my paychecks - half into savings, half into checking. I never had a lot of money - ever - but I learned to prioritize what I really needed. I paid for my own college expenses, a lot of my own wedding, and we pay for everything on our own now that we're married and living on our own. I think this is how it should be, and I never once wished my parents would have paid for things or bought me more.

    But in this day and age, "saving for your children's future" seems to be a selling point for many institutions. They explain the simplicity of taking $20-$50 out of each paycheck and putting it toward your children's college. That must be nice for some people, but my husband and I just can't swing that. Instead of saving for our children's college, we opened up mutual funds. We took our tax credit that you receive when a child is born, and we placed that money in the account. We figure, we were given that money because we had a kid, so we're turning it around and saving it for them. We won't be able to contribute to it bi-weekly, monthly, or even yearly. But now that chunk of money will build and be there for them should they chose college, travel, or simply a wedding to settle down with a nice guy/gal.

    I don't judge (or shall I say, I try not to judge) parents who buy presents or stuff for their children just because they're in Target. But I do question the mentality. Do we really want to impress materialism on our young kids this early? Do we really want to teach them that if they get over-stimulated and excited in a certain area of the store, have a meltdown and won't stop, that we'll give in and buy them a toy to shut them up? Classical conditioning, people. Pavolv's dog.

    Now, for the disclaimer: I have timed outings badly and accidentally skipped lunch so we could run out. The crabbiness factor played a huge part in me buying "Puffs" for Little Olive so we could finish our errands. I have done this once. So I can understand pulling something off the shelf to calm your child. But not on a regular basis, and not because you're unable to tell your child no.

    Maybe I'm too harsh. What do you think?

    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    Emergency Preparedness

    My husband listens to NPR during his workday, which means he's always coming home starting conversations about the cool things he has learned that day. Just recently he heard a program about how to handle an emergency situation. Then he found a book at the library about survival out in the wilderness. (Ironic, in my mind, considering he's been playing Fallout 3, and actually gets excited when he sees a bobby pin lying around the house.) 

    Then I came upon a website, Your Own Home Store, that focuses primary on emergency preparedness and self-reliance. I was blown away. I stayed on their site for a really long time, and I learned so much. Usually I skim new websites and look for what interests me. Not this one. The entire site impressed me, as well as shook my nerves a little. If you can, check out their shelf reliance coupon to get started.
    It made me realize that we - as in my own family - are not prepared for an emergency situation. Heck, we don't even have candles and matches set aside for when we lose power someday. It opened my eyes to the fact that we need to have some sort of plan. What will we do if we have to evacuate? If our cell phones stop working? If we lose power? If there's a fire, a flood, a storm? Do we have a decent amount of canned goods or ready-to-eat foods that don't require refrigeration? Do I have a packed bag - just in case? Nobody likes to think about these things, but emergencies can happen! Thanks to this website, formulating a plan for this kind of situation is high on my list.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2011

    Music and Development

    Little Olive absolutely loves her music. When she was younger, probably 10 or 11 months, we taught her the ASL sign for music so she could ask for it whenever she wanted. She now enjoys dancing, humming, singing along, playing the piano, and strumming her fingers on guitar strings. I wonder if she'll be one of those avid musicians who will attend an awesome summer music camp when she's older. Time will tell.

    We love listening to music in our home. Ian is always on the lookout for new songs. Right now, we're really into Gotye, Kimbra, and Blind Pilot. Mumford and Sons is still a favorite of mine, though, and I listen to them every time I'm driving in the car (just look up "Winter Winds" - oh gosh, so good). Unfortunately, mainstream pop music has really starting to wear on me. I used to love turning on the radio and listening to all the free music. But the past couple months, I just can't do it anymore! Am I getting old? Or just picky?

    Probably picky, because I'm more aware of what I listen to now that there are children in the car. I couldn't believe when I was driving this past summer, flipping through the stations, and Little Olive wanted me to go back to Ke$ha's song. I was like, "Uh, no way. Sorry!" Kesha, really? Let's get some real music coming out of these speakers. So classical music became a top, calming favorite. I love Mozart, Vivaldi, Debussy, and Pachelbel. Did you know that Mozart's music has actually been researched and shown to enhance brain development and performance? Here's just one of many sources on the topic.

    When Little Olive was younger, and very squirmy, I used to clip her finger and toenails by playing this youtube video:

    Nowadays, Huckleberry (that's the code name for my son!) enjoys it too. But he usually just falls asleep and doesn't notice the video itself. He's a little lovebug, that one. He's been sleeping soundly for a while now. I expect him to wake up any minute, so until tomorrow (or whenever I update next), have a wonderful day!


    Do you remember when online shopping was first becoming popular? Some people loved it - others wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. You had the diehard shoppers clicking away on their computers that first Black Friday, while everyone else was shoving each other at the local Wal Marts. The risk of being trampled was safer than trusting "that computer" with all their credit card information. That's what my Grandma calls it, "That computer." All the pictures aren't in albums anymore; they're on "the computers." People don't go to the mall anymore; they shop on "those computers." It's so sweet. I can only imagine what newfangled ways of life will be around when I'm 91 years old.

    Whenever I sell something on craigslist, it's almost guaranteed that I will be contacted by a scammer. They probe for my information and suggest that their "assistant" meets with me to deliver the check (because of course, they just need to have my $20 couch and offer me $60 for it so I will hold it for them - because lo and behold, they're out of town!). It used to make me nervous, but now I just tell them to never contact me again or I'll report them to the authorities. Then I call them a scammer. It's quite satisfying.

    I really would feel bad if they were truly honest, generous people who just want my couch.

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    My child is NOT very adanced. Are we all on the same page now?

    It recently came to my attention that people do not realize my blog title is a joke. It rubs them quite the wrong way. Unfortunately, these are people who only found my facebook page and/or never actually went to my blog to read some posts. Instead, they took the title seriously and assumed I'm here to actually talk about how advanced my child is. It caused a bit of a stir yesterday, and now I know that people do not understand how hilarious I am or how to relate to my amazing sense of dry humor.

    (Kidding, okay? I'm not a funny person.)

    For the record, back on January 19, I changed my blog around. See here. So if people had been following religiously like they were supposed to, they would be on board with the whole shebang. (Kidding.) But I know, we are mostly busy, working/stay-at-home moms, so I'll give them all a break.

    I think Little Olive and Little Son (I still need to give him a code name) are amazing children. I love them more than life itself. So if my talking about them comes off as arrogant, I truly apologize. Having been around children my whole life, you'd think I'd be used to them by now and just go with the flow. On the contrary. Having your own children is a completely different story. Everything my kids do amazes me. Not because they're special, advanced, or different - but because their lives are beautiful miracles and I can't believe that I'm watching my children develop and grow. I'm very shaken by death and people's stories of losing their children. Life is way too short, people. And babies grow up so fast. I want to treasure every moment with them, love them to pieces, and record as much as I can.

    The past couple months, my blog has taken a different turn. Earlier posts (see June 2011 and prior) were still mostly themed to my genre of natural living, attachment parenting, etc. But now I've started to monetize and I've been treating this as more of a journal. What can I say, when the household appliances break down, we need funds for our kitchenaid food processor parts. (Not kidding.) I still work on themed topics as much as possible, so stick around for them. My point is that things change, and the blog is following along to meet my family's needs.

    At first I was aggravated by all this, but I gave it a lot of thought. After considering whether or not I should apologize to everyone I have offended by my blog title, I decided it was unnecessary. I never meant anything negative or even serious by those five words. I did nothing wrong by naming my blog after a family inside joke. If people are going to judge a blog by its title and write it off without reading anything else, then those are probably just people who miss out on a lot of other wonderful things by being so quick to judge. (Oh yes, I just insinuated that my blog is a wonderful thing.)

    On the flipside of life, my babies are now awake from their naps and we're going to have a delicious lunch of chicken and biscuits.  The sun is beaming outside, and it's supposed to be semi-warm. A great day to go get our milk from the farm. See, life is beautiful after all. :)