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Monday, February 28, 2011

Small moments - A Garden!

We recently found out that we will be able to move into our new house on April 1st! Only 31 days away, but who's counting :-)

When we told the boys, I expected a little bit of hesitation. Nathan is very attached to "his" things. His blue car, his house, his baby, his toys, even his Noah. I was braced for a little bit of a fight on this one, but was trying to keep my voice optimistic.

But when I said "Do you guys want to move to a new big house?"

The first words out of Nathan's mouth were "We can have a garden!"

Now Anthony and I have dreamed of having a garden for the last 4 years. If you know us we are more than a little obsessed with salsa, and can easily finish off a jar in one evening if we don't ration it out. And fresh or homemade salsa? It just doesn't stand a chance of seeing day 2 in our home. When we were dating Anthony actually told me his heart would stop beating without salsa.

We love fresh vegetables, and often contemplated even having a garden at one of our parents houses 20 minutes away just so we could enjoy more fresh vegetables.

So the news that Nathan wants a garden too was great! We started asking the boys what they wanted in their garden. And here's where things got interesting.

Apparently our new garden will be growing:
Tomatoes, obviously, not only are we salsa obsessed, but our children could easily live on tomatoes
Berries! Well, perhaps some strawberries
Corn, I'm still with you Natey
Then Noah throws out, "Corn muffins!". Um, alright, well with the corn we'll see what we can do.
And "Enchiladas!" Now they've lost me and continue to name their favorite foods not grown in the ground for the next 10 minutes.

So we have some negotiating to do, but we're all excited to plant a garden this spring, even if it won't have corn muffins and enchiladas in it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A clean house? With kids?

Is it even possible?

I woke up this morning ready to start the day. (not really, I was pretty tired and had been up on and off since 3am with a restless baby, but "ready to start the day" just sounds so much more optimistic)

The house was in pretty good order from the night before, dishes were done and put away, the living room was mostly picked up aside from a few things left out the night before. But all in all not bad.

Fast forward 2 hours. What on earth happened? I can't even say that my kids go around looking for messes, they're just normal kids. Today has actually been a very pleasant day filled with mega blocks and trains. I can think of so many messier options they could have chosen, but it looks like a tornado went through my living room! And based on the amount of time they spent playing quietly (OK, SO not quietly at all, but sometimes I pretend I have quiet children who also play quietly) in their bedroom this morning I am sure it looks much the same. As of the time of this post I am afraid to go up and look.

Now it's almost lunch time, to be followed by naps (which with a 4 week old *I* still need too!) and then it will be time to start dinner while the monsters sweet little boys play again.

So how do mom's do it? Do they follow their kids around all day picking up after them or encouraging them to pick up every little thing they move out of place? Do they forbid their children from making messes in areas other than a bedroom or playroom? Maybe they skip the nap (I dread this day) and rush around scrubbing the house while the babies sleep. Or my personal theory, houses do not remain clean, children play and make messes, and parents enjoy watching them and deal with the mess later.

Another post coming soon about how I actually try and deal with the mess.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Small moments - Noah

This weeks small moments are all about Noah.

I've realized in the last few weeks that Noah is falling into the role of "middle child" in quite a stereotypical way.

Nathan jumped into the role of big brother before he even was old enough to know what that meant. At 13 months old he was bouncing Noah in the bouncer so I could finish dinner without a screaming baby, or bringing me wipes, diapers or burp cloths when I needed them. And he has continued this "helper" role ever since.

Elise is the baby, she obviously gets a lot of attention, and being the only girl probably even more than normal. It doesn't help that in comparison to Noah as a nb she is the *perfect* baby in every way. (Noah cried and spit on constantly from birth until...well he doesn't spit up anymore.)

But I think because he is so strong willed, Noah often gets overlooked a little bit compared to his siblings. But he really is the most determined out of all of my kids to get what he wants.

Sometimes that means whining and crying until someone gives in or sends him to his room...but he never gives up!

Today that meant that even though I was busy with the baby and Anthony wasn't readily available Noah got himself dressed. He found himself a pair of jeans (even in his size!), and it took him about 10 tries (half of which resulted in either putting his legs in the same hole, or putting on his pants backwards) he got those jeans on all by himself and then yelled out his catch phrase "I did it!"

Which reminds me, Noah is VERY proud of himself, and has absolutely no issues with self esteem. He gets so excited whenever he does something by himself, even if it's something we expect him to do anyway. Without prompting from anyone else he congratulations himself "I did it!" or "Good job Noah!" quite often.

It's not unusual when someone tells him "I love Noah" for him to repeat it right back. "I love Noah" It's good to know he loves himself ;-)

He loves to be loved, and show love to others. I can't count how many hugs or kisses I get a day, or times when he just needs to sit with me and snuggle for a bit. He is great at identifying his own emotions, and those of others, telling me when he's upset "Mom, I'm sad"

Then there is the silly side of Noah. He's just a little bit loopy, and does not care what other people think of him. His automatic response to any question no matter how simple is "I not know!" closely followed by "no".

He has absolutely no patience, which as a parent can be just a little more than frustrating, but also kind of cute as he tries really hard to wait even just a few seconds for things and then fails. Waiting for breakfast in the morning is nearly unbearable. Even if it's for something as simple as cream cheese on a bagel, but he tries really hard to hold it all together when I tell him he needs to wait and he nervously tells me "alright, alright" as he's still very near tears waiting for food to enter his mouth.
"Why won't my water come out faster?"

And that's my Noah! He's strong willed, determined, snuggly and sometimes just plain hilarious and we love him.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who needs batteries?

When you have a big brother!

After 2 years in storage we broke out the swing last night, but forgot to pick up new batteries. Luckily Nathan has taken it upon himself to be the baby swinger. She's napping in it right now, and any time she gets just a little bit fussy (read: stirs ever so slightly) Nathan races over and gently rocks her back to sleep.

Should I even waste the money on batteries? lol

I'm happy she seems to like it just as much as Nathan did as a baby. It's making it even easier to get things done since I can put a drowsy baby down instead of waiting for her to pass out completely. The swing just rocks her right to sleep.

Monday, February 14, 2011

We need to decorate!

I know I already posted once today, but this was to good not to write about.

Nathan must have been paying more attention to the Good Morning America one of these mornings than I was, he is insisting that we need to decorate the house for Valentine's day "just like for Christmas!" because he saw it on the tv aka "that mom show, you know mom, the news".

"You need to go and get paint, and paint stuff and put it all over the walls, we need to decorate."

Alright, well that sounds like fun. But then he starts getting a little creative

"We need to paint fun things, like...this giraffe! and um, Darth Vadar!"  Each of these ideas pops into his head as he sees his toys sitting around.

"Oh and we need Thing 1 and Thing 2 too!"

"Mom, we need to do it while Noah is still sleeping, we need to do it.
You stay down here with my baby, don't go upstairs because Noah is upstairs. Don't come see me (as he runs up the stairs)"

I am patiently waiting to see what he comes back down with...

I hear from upstairs "Mom, Noah took a nice nap!" and Noah sadly crying "I not want to"

I guess Noah's nap is over then.

Now some odd thumping around. "mom, what blanket was that?"
"which blanket Natey?"
"Just come show me mom" Nathan's way of saying I want to show you

Now some giggling, and more thumping. Even Noah (who is now downstairs with me) is getting curious

And it's.........a red winter tablecloth! Nathan insists we put it on the table. One problem, we don't have a table, just a breakfast bar.

But this is no problem for Nathan, he has quickly suggested his train table. "I need to put it on so it's all covered, for Valentine's day"

Go for it.

Looks like we're going to be decorating this afternoon, I better see if I can find some red construction paper!

A few pictures from our decorating fun!

Small moments-Will you be my Valentine?

Taking pictures of 3 kids 3 and under is harder than I thought it would be! This is the best we could do today, Happy Valentine's day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Diaper Reviews

We started using cloth diapers shortly before Noah was born, when Nathan was about 9 months old and never turned back! We started in the beginning to save money, knowing with babies 13 months apart we would have 2 in diapers for quite a while. And now, even if I had the option I wouldn't go back to disposable diapers.

1. You never have to worry about running out of diapers, as long as I throw in a load of laundry every couple of days I am set

2. No where near as many leaks. When I talk about leaks below, I'm talking about wetness because the diapers is too saturated. With Nathan in disposables I had to change his diaper within seconds of the nb poop explosion or it would be up his back and all over his clothes. I can't tell you how many of his nb clothes are stained because of this. This is never a problem with cloth.

3. No diaper rash. I haven't had to use rash cream more than once or twice since we switched to cloth diapers.

4.They are just so cute! Not only are the diapers adorable, but the whole reason I learned to knit was to make cute little diaper covers. So much more fun than a disposable diaper.

5. I can not only save money by washing the diapers instead of buying more, but I can even use the same diapers for multiple children, and with one size diapers even on multiple children of different ages and sizes which is HUGE for me having 3 kids in 3.5 years.

So here is my review of what we've been using on Elise, some of these are left over from Noah, some I was able to get used or in trades for knitting. All together I didn't spend more than $50 on these diapers that will last us until she is probably 12lbs, just for reference, $50 would buy us disposable diapers for about 3 weeks.

Elise is 2 weeks old in these pictures, and I am guessing just about at her birth weight of 6lbs 7oz

Kissaluv 0
Great fit, a little on the bulky side NO absorbency. This would not have been an issue at all with my boys, but it seems as though Elise is a very heavy wetter. These last less than an hour, and with as much as she sleeps, they are just not very practical for us.

Sticky Peas nb NRSS
These are hands down my very favorite. The only diaper I can put her in overnight and not have to worry about a huge leak. With a nb doubler inside they are even better! I can go 4-5 hours without changing her at night time without problems. Because she has super skinny legs, the adjustability  is a must to stop any sort of leaks. I would have loved to have an entire stash of just these!

Muttaqin baby nb
My second favorite, even though they snap, they are so stretchy they have a great fit. Not as absorbent as the SP's, but not too bad either. These are great for during the day.

Blueberry AIO pocket
I really want to like these, the fit looks great, but she leaks at the legs if she sleeps longer than 3 hours, which is pretty regular around here.  There is a pocket that I could add more too, but then they gap around the legs.

Bum Genius xs AIO
Pretty much the same as the Blueberry's, looks like a great fit (we loved BG's on the boys!), but when she sleeps too long they leak.

GroVia shell
I tried this on a whim today to see what it would do, and it worked great! Definitely still bulky, and I used it as a cover, not with the insert (I think the diaper would eat her if it were that big!), but I can tell these are going to be some of our favorites as she gets bigger!

Preemie prefold
Perfect for the first week when she was too tiny to fit into any other diapers. Not much absorbency obviously, but in the first week we didn't need it. Perfect first diapers.

Green Mountain Diapers orange edge prefolds
These are my new favorites of the week. I put one on her yesterday and was surprised how well they fit and how absorbent they are without being bulky.   (not my best folding job in the picture!)

Homemade diapers
These are Anthony's favorites because they fit great and they have velcro! His favorite diaper closure. They work great as daytime diapers, but like just about everything else leak when she takes one of her super long naps. for 2-3 hours max though they are perfect. Another plus with these is they cost me about $2 a diaper to make. Noah's diaper stash was mostly these and prefolds.

Thirsties xs covers
Swallowed her the first 2 weeks, but are starting to fit a little bit better now. Love the fit, love the no leaking. These with a SP overnight are the best combo I have found for long stretches of sleep.

Bummis Super Brite xs covers
So glad I had these for the first 2 weeks. These are seriously tiny covers, and I don't think they would be worth if for a baby born over 7lbs as they would be outgrown so quickly. But for my little peanut who came home at 6lbs 1oz, they were the only cover (aside from wool) that fit.
I'll get a picture of these later (all in the wash right now) 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Remembering the small moments

I had a conversation with another mom today about wanting to remember the little things my kids are doing right now. It reminded me of a very specific moment when Nathan was a baby, probably about 6 months old, right when we were trying to get him to at least sleep part time in his crib.

I was sleep deprived, crabby, and wishing he would just sleep so I could get some sleep. I shared these feelings with a dear friend of mine who lovingly said "but just think about how special this time is. One day you are going to miss the times you got to snuggle your baby quietly in the middle of the night" So that night I cherished it, I was still sleepy, still a little crabby, but I thought about how special it was in the dark, in the quiet that I could be the one to comfort my baby. That I got to snuggle and soothe him. That we had this special time together that wouldn't last forever. I still think back to that moment a lot, especially now looking at my big 3 year old who sleeps in a twin bed through the night, who uses the bathroom (most of the time) and is learning all about letters and numbers. And my friend was right, I do miss that moment when I got to hold him alone in the quiet of the night. I won't have that moment again with him.

So in the spirit of remembering small moments, here is what is going on with us right now.

Nathan is becoming a very independent little guy, and very grown up. He's the youngest in his PSR class, but yesterday when I picked him up his teachers asked him how I got him to be so well behaved and joked I should teach a class. I was so proud. I know he can be stubborn at home, but it felt so good to hear he was being kind and respectful the 1 hour a week he is away from me.

He loves to sing, especially the teapot song, which sounds something like this:
"I'm a little teapot shoat and stout,
here is my handle here is my spout
I'm a little teapot shoat and stout
tip me over, pour me out!"

He can also mostly sing the ABC's on his own now too.

Lately he has been telling me that I am the best mom, but dad is not always the best dad because he is too silly.

He LOVES trains, all sorts of trains, anything that has to do even a little bit with trains.

And most of all he loves his brother. They wrestle and fight when they are together, but cry and cry for each  other when they are apart. It's funny to see how two little boys show love for each other.

Then there is Noah. What can I say about this little guy. He is so tough, as is evident by the scratches and bruises all over his face. We will never get a good picture of him that doesn't look like he was just in a fight.

He is still snuggly, he craves and needs lots of physical attention. He's been in my lap for a hug 4 times already this morning and it's not even 10am. He loves his daddy right now, and will do whatever he can to be just like him. Reading books, watching football, playing video games.

He really thinks he is just as big as Nathan, and that there should be no difference between them. He has a really hard time when Nathan gets to do something that he can't.

And Elise. She's growing too fast already! I put on her coming home sweater yesterday and it's already getting too small. She is still what most would describe as the perfect baby. She sleeps, a lot. Loves to snuggle and be held, but doesn't *need* to. I know she doesn't smile yet, but I can just tell she adores Anthony as much as he does her. She is perfectly content when with him, and can't stop staring at him when he holds her.

She is a great nurser, it just came naturally to her. She makes the cutest sounds when she is asleep and we are getting too loud, like she is trying to drown us out. Nathan did the same thing as a baby.

And that's where we are right now! Don't hold me to it, but I think I might try and update every Monday with the new things of the week, even smaller moments and memories that I want to remember.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Homemade Granola

I have been on a granola kick lately, as in breakfast every morning, and usually another bowl as a snack later on in the day. But granola, especially good granola, is kind of pricey. So I decided to try making my own.

I don't like a lot of nuts, and different nuts and seeds pretty soon add up to some expensive homemade granola. So here is my own recipe I came up with to keep it under budget, and still have the elements of granola that I love! It's easy to take out or add in whatever you like with similar results.

  • 3 cups of rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
  • 1 cup of slivered almonds, I just happened to find these at the grocery store about 60% cheaper than plain slivered almonds
  • Crasins, I like the pomegranate flavored kind
  • 1/4c of brown sugar
  • 1/4c of oil
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 1/4t salt
  • 2t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250
Mix the oats, almonds and brown sugar in a large bowl
mix all other ingredients (except crasins) in a smaller bowl
pour over the oat mixture and ix well
Spread mixture in two pans (all recipes I read said a cookie sheet, but I liked my cake pans for easier stirring)
Place in oven and stir every 15 minutes until no longer sticky (it will seem just a *little* sticky while it's still hot) For me, this took about 2 hours, I'm sure thinner layers would take less time
Remove from oven, stir in crasins and store in an air tight container until ready to eat (some of mine didn't even make it to the container before entering my stomach)

I will never buy granola again! This was so easy, and so much better tasting than the stuff at the store. I can't wait to try some new combinations!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finding a new normal

Elise is 11 days old today and I woke up this morning feeling like me! Not the sleepy sleep deprived me, who puts on The Cat in the Hat for the boys so I can get 30 more minutes of sleep, but not quite the me who wakes up feeling completely rested and ready to take on anything. I'm a little bit tired, but who wouldn't be getting up 2-3 times a night with a baby, but I also have a little more energy than yesterday, and physically feel better than I have for months. After all I don't have a huge belly to get in my way anymore. It's a new sort of normal but I think I like it!

Laundry is started, dishes are done, bread is rising, and I even had time to color some pictures with the boys this morning. They are now playing together with their trains, and I get some quiet time to snuggle with the baby and knit.

I guess it also helps that the sun is shining today, a little bit of sun can make all of the difference in the world :-)