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Friday, January 27, 2012

Week 4

Week 4

What am I cooking? I feel like I am in a cooking rut. I haven't really tried anything new at all this week.
What are we making? I'm working on the baby doll for Elise's birthday party tomorrow. Talk about cutting it close! I think I can do it though. All that's left is the machine sewing part, which will go fast as long as I have time to get to the machine today.

What am I knitting? All kinds of things for customers, those socks, a sweater, a gown, a hat. I should be back to stuff for the kids in a couple of weeks.

Something that has been a challenge this week? Communication. I don't know why, but it seems that things I say are taken the wrong way, or not completely understood. It's super frustrating for me, and I can only imagine frustrating for those I am trying to communicate with! I can't tell if I am just having serious issues even though I read and re-read what I am typing (in person I seem to be doing okay!), or if I am just extra lucky this week that everyone I talk to is struggling themselves.

What are my prayers/intentions for the week? For Elise! For unborn babies! For those considering abortion that they can find another option. And for those dealing with woman who have had/are considering abortion, that they can be loving while sharing their message.

What have I done for my marriage this week? We're getting boring, lots of movies, messing with Elise (she gets super jealous when we hug in front of her, so we have been doing that a lot just for fun)

What am I reading? Still reading Sing you Home. It's just not pulling me in the way the other Picoult books I've read have.

Weekend plans? Elise's first birthday party! I can't wait! I just need to hope I have enough time to get everything done. It's crunch time already!

What can my children do instead of TV? Play outside in the snow, build forts, color, clean their playroom (yes I made them do this yesterday), read books

Highlights of the week?  I sound like a broken record, but Elise's first birthday! I can't believe my baby is a year old already. It just doesn't seem possible.
What is Nathan doing? Building forts all over the house, working on his "school work", throwing dinner in his closet and telling us he is finished with it. NOT so happy about that one.

What is Noah doing? Getting better about letting me put his medicine in his eye, it's a one person job now thank goodness. Also stealing food and throwing it in the closet. I need to find a way to stop this from happening because it's driving me a little crazy.

What is Elise doing? Oh you know, just being cute. Tickling everything, alternating between wanting to be held all of the time, and wanting to follow the boys around everywhere. Climbing. She figured out this week she can get up on the couch if there are no cushions on it, so she is having a lot of fun with that!

The Birthday girl!

With her brothers
Building a snowman with daddy

Eating a snowball that daddy made for her

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Elise is 1!

I can't believe my sweet little baby is 1! She doesn't talk much on her own yet, so if I were to ask her these questions the answers would probably go something like this :

Elise what is your favorite color?

"eh"

Elise what is your favorite toy?

"tickle tickle"

Elise what is your favorite fruit?

"no no no"

So instead I am just going to fill out what I know about her at this point :)

1. What is your favorite color? I can't say she has a favorite yet, but I certainly enjoy putting her in purple and green
2. What is your favorite toy? Definitely her tea pot! There is no question that she enjoys playing with this the most!
3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas, just like her brothers at this age
4. What is your favorite tv show? She obviously doesn't watch much tv, but sometimes falls asleep to mom and dad watching movies
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Cream cheese sandwiches or roll ups
6. What is your favorite outfit? leggings a skirt and a t-shirt, or leggings and a tunic
7. What is your favorite game? peek a boo
8. What is your favorite snack? Goldfish crackers
9. What is your favorite animal? she doesn't care very much for animals yet. Even at the zoo she just sort of ignores them and would rather watch people
10. What is your favorite song? She loves music, especially dancing to Feliz Navidad over Christmas
11. What is your favorite book? All books
12. Who is your best friend? Mommy, but she also loves her brothers and daddy too
13. What is your favorite cereal? Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? crawl around trying to eat things off the ground
15. What is your favorite drink? Milkies, will not even attempt to drink anything else yet. Water is promptly spit out if we try and trick her into drinking it
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas is probably the only one she even remotely remembers
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Mommy ;) but when forced to sleep alone either her seahorse or her bunny
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Blueberry bagels and cream cheese
19. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Pierogies
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? I think she is pretty set on not growing up at this point!


Things Elise is doing right now:
Cruising like crazy, but refusing to walk unless she has a firm grip on something
Talking and singing (mama, dada, go, hi, yeah, tickle, uh-oh, okay, no, hey, up)
Waving and clapping, and making other people wave and clap to entertain her
Climbing on everything
Pulling things off shelves and out of closets and drawers
Playing in the playroom with her big brothers
Jumping on the bed at 12am while holding on to the headboard (not mine or her daddy's favorite thing)
Eating anything she can find, but spitting it out nicely as soon as I ask
Laughing whenever she sees someone else laugh
Watching what is going on around her, even if it's just the wind outside
Playing with books


And just for fun, pictures of all 3 of the kids on their 1st birthday's

Nathan
Noah
And Miss Elise herself!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week 3

Week 3

What am I cooking? Nothing new and exciting this week, but I have been enjoying doing lots of baking.
What are we making? I haven't had much time to be creative this week, I'm hoping that comes back next week as I'm getting ready for Elise's party!

What am I knitting? Working on a gown, and a nb sweater. And I really need to start that second sock!

Something that has been a challenge this week? This whole week has been a challenge. Nathan poked Noah in the eye, which landed him in the ER Wednesday. Since then we've had to put antibiotic ointment in his eye every 6 hours which is a challenge in itself! 
 
Something is going on with out septic system...just in time for the weekend! So we're hoping it's nothing too major and we can survive until Monday when someone can come out and look at it. Why is it things like this always happen when you are planning to spend the day catching up on dishes and laundry? The good news is no dishes or laundry for me, the bad news is we really need to do dishes and laundry!
What are my prayers/intentions for the week? For everyone getting ready for the March for Life in DC this Monday. I wish I could be there!

What have I done for my marriage this week? We sat down and planned out our workout schedule. So it's not something we are doing at the exact same time, but it's given us much needed personal time, and it's fun to talk about what we did and our goals when we are together.

What am I reading? I just started "Sing You Home" by Jodi Picoult

Weekend plans? Going out for dinner tonight with the family for Colin and Matt's birthday's. Yes I know we went out last weekend, but they are twins, so I think 2 weekends is only fair.

What can my children do instead of TV? Build forts, play with trains, color, listen to music
Highlights of the week?  Dinner tonight! I can't wait
 
What is Nathan doing? Nathan has learned all of the words to "the farmer in the dell" and serenades us several times a day. He also got very interested in making spiders out of paper this week.

What is Noah doing? Noah is having a rough week with his corneal abrasion. He can't wait until he doesn't need medicine anymore! In the mean time he is getting into my fridge and stealing and hiding food. Anthony and I are not too happy with this.

What is Elise doing? Is still being cute, sleeping better by the day. I hope we are turning a corner with that! She still refuses to walk, and is getting ready for her first birthday this Tuesday!
We finally set up our gate for the wood burning stove last weekend, so it's been toasty and warm in here!

The crazy complicated socks I'm working on that I am absolutely in love with

The boys got a color your own spaceship for Christmas, and had lots of fun setting it up, coloring it, playing in it and then ultimately destroying it


Here is the aftermath of trying to put dye in a 3 year old's eye to check out his scratch
 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mr. Noah

I have a bunch of random Noah moments from the last few days that don't really fit together into any sort of themed post. So here you go!

1. Nathan poked Noah in the eye on Tuesday and we spent Wednesday in the Children's ER for a corneal abrasion. He seems completely fine now...until we have to put his antibiotics in every 6 hours. It's a 2-3 person job for sure.

2. Today he had his check up for his eye and they needed to put dye in his eye again to see that it was healing. I'm not sure if any actually even made it's way in, but here is what he looked like afterwards.
3. While I was in the shower today he stole an entire block of mozzarella cheese from the fridge and was just enjoying biting off pieces in the living room when I found him.

4. Noah just looked outside and said this:

"Mommy, why is there milk outside?"

Yes, he was channeling his Uncle Matt and talking about the about the snow. We both laughed hysterically once he realized what he had said.

5. And with all of this nonsense, he decided to potty train himself this week! Thank goodness! To be fair, he hadn't really been having many accidents. But this meant that I had to remind him to use the bathroom throughout the day, sometimes dragging him kicking and screaming. But he woke up sometime last week, went on his own, and we haven't had a problem since then! One day he is going to find this and be angry that I wrote about it in my blog, but I don't care! I'm just so excited!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 2

What am I cooking? I actually taught Anthony how to bake bread this week! He really wanted some pizza balls for a snack, but I was still in the middle of eating dinner, so I talked him through making the dough, and he even kneaded it while I got the kids ready for bed! It was the first thing he ever baked in his life, and he said he felt like he had just learned some fun new survival skill.

What are we making? Lot's of "school work" this week. My kids love to do workbooks and practice skills. They got a ton of great books for Christmas, so have spent much of the last week doing mazes, practicing cutting, working on writing letters and numbers. 

What am I knitting? Finished the first sock! And I'm in love. But it took so much concentration I needed to put the second one on hold for a little bit. So now I am working on a sweater for Elise for her birthday, and a gown for a customer.

Something that has been a challenge this week?Noah has been waking up in the middle of the night every. single. night. Some days I catch him just staring at me in our room, others getting into the fridge looking for food. I'm not sure why he is getting up, but it's making all of us a little sleepy.

What are my prayers/intentions for the week? Still working on that Novena to St. Joseph

What have I done for my marriage this week?It's been sort of a crazy week with lots of things to get done in the evenings, so I've been working extra hard to try and have the house in some sort of order and dinner ready before Anthony gets home so we can maximize the little time we have to hang out in the evenings.

What am I reading?I can't even remember what it's called. Some free book on Amazon, maybe "3 Girls and a Baby" or something like that. It's not very good, but I haven't had much time to read this week, so the one chapter a night before bed is tolerable. 

Weekend plans? Celebrating the 21st birthday of my brothers Colin, and Matt!

What can my children do instead of TV? Once again, school work, art projects, reading books. And it seems to have snowed a lot overnight, so maybe if I get brave we will venture out in it at some point. Right now it feels like -2 though, so not any time soon!

Highlights of the week?  Hanging out and eating wings with my brother and sister last night. Elise sleeping *almost* through the night. The kids are getting less sick every day, I just hope this trend continues!
What is Nathan doing? Practicing his cutting skills, building things with legos, getting better and better at recognizing letters

What is Noah doing? Waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, starting to write letters on his own, being a little sad and crabby from the lack of sleep.

What is Elise doing? Playing with her tea pot, telling us "no no no" whenever she doesn't like something. Starting to sleep a little better (as long as daddy doesn't keep waking her up!) Wanting to spend lots of time following the boys around and getting into whatever they are doing.







Thursday, January 12, 2012

Everything you ever wanted to know (or not know) about cloth diapers

I've been asked quite a few times since we started using cloth diapers what kind we like, any tips we have, my thoughts on cloth diapering. And after typing it out over and over again, I just decided I might as well type it out somewhere that I can refer back to, or make changes, or link friends too when they have questions.

There are lots of reasons people use cloth diapers, money saving, good for the environment, good for your baby, less leaks, or just because they are cute!

We started off using the to save money. With the boys being 13 months apart, I knew we would have 2 in diapers for a while, and I couldn't imagine spending all of that money on diapers. Later I liked them every more when I discovered that I had far less leaks with cloth, and there are just so many choices of cute diapers.

Choosing what kind of diaper can be overwhelming, there are just so many different kinds and brands. While I haven't tried every brand of diaper, I have tried just about every type. There are things that I like and dislike about all of them, it's all about finding what works best for you and your situation.

All in one or AIO
This type of diaper is the closest thing you are going to get to a disposable diaper as far as ease. It's just what it says, an all in one diaper that doesn't need pins or a cover or inserts. You just put it on and you are ready to go.

Some people refer to these as daddy or day care diapers, because you don't really need any sort of explanation to use them.

Likes: They are easy, they fit well under regular clothes with very little added bulk

Dislikes: sometimes they can take longer to dry because of everything being connected, they can be expensive, but really in the end you are still saving money over using disposables.

Some popular brands that we have tried are Bum Genius Elementals
I tried these when we were first trying out cloth diapers, and while they were nice, I just didn't get a great fit on Nathan.

And my very favorite diaper right now, Grovia AIO
In the past I haven't liked diapers with snaps, because my kids have very skinny legs, and it's hard to get a good fit. But these fit wonderfully, and are very absorbent. They are a little different than other AIO's I've seen because the inside sort of unfold, so they dry a lot faster. Anthony will use these, but they are not his favorite since he prefers velcro and front closure instead of side.

Pocket Diapers
Pocket diapers are similar to AIO's in that they are very easy to put on, the difference is that they have a pocket where you stuff them with inserts to make them absorbent.


Likes: Easy to use, no cover needed, trim

Dislikes: You need to take the time to stuff them and unstuff them every time you use and wash

The 2 most popular pocket diapers are Fuzzibunz and Bum Genius 4.0


Fuzzibunz only came in sized diapers when we were looking into cloth diapers for Nathan, so I can't comment on their one sized diaper. But at the time I found it very hard to get a good fit around his skinny legs and ended up with leaks. Though I know MANY people who swear by these diapers, just another case of finding the diaper that is right for you.



We love and ended up purchasing an entire stash of Bum Genius 3.0 diapers (4.0 were not yet released back then). They come in velcro or snap, we've only tried the velcro since they didn't have snaps when we purchased. And they are one sized diapers so they fit from about 10-35 pounds. I was able to use them on Noah when he was only 8lbs.

What I liked best about these, with having 2 in diapers, was that I only needed 1 kind of diapers for both of the boys to wear. Even Elise still wears some of these. Plus with the pocket, you can adjust the absorbency. They come with a newborn insert that is far less bulky for a little baby, and then the regular insert to use as they need more.


Fitted diapers
Fitted diapers are made of varying types of fabric, and require some sort of diaper cover over them, since they are not waterproof alone.

Likes: They can be made of all natural materials, lots of cute prints, very absorbent, you can use wool! (alright so this probably isn't a selling point for someone just starting to use cloth, I thought it was weird at first too)

Dislikes: You need a separate cover

There are lots and lots of different kinds of fitted diapers, the only mass produced kind that I have tried are Kissaluv 0's when Elise was a nb, and though they have gotten lots of great reviews, I personally was not a fan of how bulky they were.

We use lots of handmade fitted diapers, our favorites are Sticky Peas and Muttaqin Baby, though like I said there are literally hundreds of different types of fitted diapers.

And then finally good old Fashioned prefolds
These are the kind of cloth diapers I always swore I would never use. They seemed difficult and messy and nothing I wanted to deal with. But now that I have them, I actually sort of love how simple they are.

Likes: They are cheap, really really cheap, they wash well, if they get stains you can just bleach them, they double as burp rags, or cleaning rags once you are done using them for diapers, they are so durable, they are very adjustable for a perfect fit, they are super trim

Dislikes: The require a cover and something to keep them closed, there is a bit of a learning curve figuring out how to fold them and get a good fit, they often require a double to make them absorbent enough.

My very favorites are Green Mountain Diapers prefolds. They come in different sizes, so that you don't have to fold down a bulky diaper on a little baby.

Then within each of these different types, there are different options that you might love or hate.

Closures: Diapers can have snaps, velcro, or no closure which require the use of pins or a snappi

Size: Diapers can by sized, meaning you need to keep purchasing the next size up as your baby grows
Or they can be one sized, meant to fit from about 10 pounds until potty training.

Materials: For some people having all natural materials is important to them, for others (like with my Noah) babies are sensitive to feeling wet, so a diaper with a stay dry inner is a must so the baby isn't waking up to be changed 10 times a night from that wet feeling. Elise and Nathan never seemed to mind though.

There are so many kinds of diapers, and if you ask 10 people who cloth diaper, you will probably get 10 different answers. But these are at least some basics about the different types and what to think about when looking for what will work best for you.

Some places where I have bought diapers and I recommend are
http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php
https://www.gro-via.com/
http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/index.html
http://jilliansdrawers.com/ They even have a trial program that we used to try a bunch of different kinds (for only $10!) when trying to decide what was going to work best for us.

There are tons of other places though, googling cloth diaper retailers should come up with lots of options.

Many of these sites also offer "seconds" sales for a huge discount. Usually the only problem with the diapers is the stitching is slightly uneven, or they have a small mark on them. Personally, I have never been able to find flaws on the seconds I have bought. Seconds diapers are usually not covered by any sort of warranty though.

Washing
There are a million different ways to wash cloth diapers, sometimes it takes a while to figure out what sort out what works best with your washer and kind of water. I've been very very lucky in that my diaper washing routine is easy.

We have a top loader, which is GREAT for washing diapers. It does a lot more agitating than a top loader, so we haven't had to worry about diaper build up, or them getting clean enough.

There are special diaper detergents you can buy, for for us, plain old powder Tide works perfect and we can use it on our clothes too, so no separate detergents.

All diapers get thrown in a diaper pail until it's time to wash, once babies start solids, the poopy diapers are sprayed with our diaper sprayer before going in the pail, but if they are exclusively breastfed, then there is no need for spraying!

I was every other day, though I used to wash every day when I had 2 in diapers, just so things didn't get out of control.

I used half the amount of Tide recommended, a hot wash, and 2 cold rinses and then dried in the dryer. And that's it!

If I get stains, or I should say when I care about the fact that I have stains, I lay diapers out in the sun to dry (even in the winter) and the sun bleaches them out.

Once or twice I have had to strip my diapers when they started to get some build up, or were smelling a little weird, I just squirted a *little* bit of dawn into the washer with them and then rinsed until there were no more bubbles. But in almost 4 years this has only happened a couple of times.

I have some different opinions on newborn cloth diapers, if you are interested, check out this post I wrote last year when Elise was still tiny. Some people decided to start cloth diapering after the nb stage so as not to have to buy 2 sets of diapers, but that is my absolute favorite time to use cloth!

You can often sell gently used cloth diapers places like Diaperswappers or Spot's corner on Hyena Cart

And I think that's it! I'd be happy to answer any questions someone might have, or take pictures of any of the diapering stuff we have. It might seem overwhelming at first, but it really is as simple as an extra couple of loads a laundry (and several less bags of garbage!) per week.

Unwritten Rules

Toddlers, preschoolers and I am sure older children (though I haven't experienced this first hand myself yet) seem to have their own set of rules. It doesn't matter how many times you tell them not to do something, how many time outs they are put in, there are just certain things they seemed to be programed to do.

1. I've already talked about the need to go absolutely insane when mom is on the phone. They can't help it.

2. Make as much noise as humanly possible *just* as the baby is going to sleep, causing her to wake up suddenly realizing that she was almost trapped into napping with even more determination not to sleep.

3. Really really need your help with something as soon as you get in the shower/go to the bathroom/start doing the dishes/changing a diaper. It doesn't matter what it is, the second you are busy doing something else that is sort of hard to stop in the middle of, they need full attention.

4. After being put to bed remember that they need a drink, and to go to the bathroom, and that you told them you would play Candyland 6 hours ago and then never got around to it because we watched a movie instead, and need a book, and the nightlight on, and the hall light off, no wait on, and for you to go find their stuffed animal that they haven't slept with in 3 weeks but suddenly remembered that they used to, and they liked that. No matter how much you try and take care of all of these things BEFORE getting into bed, 10 more will pop up once the door closes and you have sat down to relax.

5. Cereal must be spilled. It is really a shame to waste all of that milk on just a bowl, the table and the floor need some too.

6. I am convinced clean playrooms (or really any room) are like child torture. Rooms cannot stay clean for more than an hour before someone just has to go nuts and dump something out just for the hell of it.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Sick and Tired

No this is not some sort of rant, unless the subject of the rant is sick and tired of being sick and tired.

The kids have been fighting colds here since right before Christmas. Every time I think were on the mend and ready to join society, something else pops up. I think we are hibernating the rest of the winter to avoid all germs. Sure it will be lonely, but at least we won't be sick! Right?

Some how I've managed to get through this (so far) without even a sniffle. Which is good, because taking care of sick kids while I am sick? Just not fun.

Anthony had some sniffles and a sore throat before Christmas, but has been fine since then. Elise sneezed in his mouth and then laughed about it yesterday, so I guess we will know in a few days how that turns out.

But really, there is not much to blog about when our days are spent in our pajamas watching movies and coloring. Maybe next week we'll get out and do something fun!


I guess this is how we're taking naps now? And yes, I am still wearing pajamas. But to be fair, I didn't really sleep last night, so I reserve the right to wear them until I get some rest.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Week 1

 Something new I want to do this year, is just keep a simple record of what's going on with us each week. You know, the boring stuff that doesn't quite merit it's own post, but will be interesting to look back on none the less! So here is week one

What am I cooking? This week (actually the very end of last) I made some amazing asiago cheese bread, it was quite the process, but I need to remember to make it more often when I have time!

What are we making? The boys have been working on sticker mosaics, and do-a-dot art, I've been chipping away at Elise's birthday present and will post pictures when it's finished.

What am I knitting? The most intense pair of socks I have ever knit! Like, have to sit in front of the pattern and read every. single. row. socks. And with fingering weight yarn, that means I am on row 80 and not finished with the leg yet. But they are gorgeous and definitely not boring in the slightest.

Something that made me think? oh man I am drawing a blank on this one. I reserve the right to come back and fill it in later today. I'm sure I had some intelligent though this week, but it's lost now!

Something that has been a challenge this week? I'm trying to get Elise to sleep in her own bed, we're taking baby steps, 20 minutes at a time. She's not very excited about it, but I think it's time.

What are my prayers/intentions for the week? I'm praying the Novena to St. Joseph for our family and a great start to the new year!

What have I done for my marriage this week? We've been spending a lot of time watching movies together this week and getting back into the routine of Anthony being back at work. It's weird not having him around all day after nearly 2 weeks at home.

What am I reading? I got a kindle fire for Christmas, so I am actually reading lots! Right now I am working on the 3rd book in the Hunger Games series "Mockingjay".

Weekend plans? Hopefully set up our new gate around our woodburner to we can finally start using it and save some money on our electric bill.

What can my children do instead of TV? Art projects and workbooks. I know, the workbooks don't sound like fun, but they love sitting at the table to do their "school work".

Highlights of the week?  Our van is fixed for free because it was still under warranty! It's warming up a little outside so I don't feel so cold all of the time.
What is Nathan doing? Building some great tracks with his geotrax sets, working on mazes in his workbook. He is amazing at them!

What is Noah doing? Sleeping better than he has been in weeks, finally going to bed at a normal time without fighting it.

What is Elise doing? Cruising everywhere but refusing to walk! She also saying tons of words now: go, no, mama, dada, no, yeah, okay, uh-oh, hey, tickle (while tickling with her fingers!) and also waving, clapping and showing us she is "so big!" by putting her arms up in the air.

Sleeping briefly in her playpen

Just out of the tub

Where she would rather sleep
Next week I need to remember to take more pictures of the boys!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Fashion Show

I never get sick of hearing the boys stories...well  maybe sometimes, but when they talk 15 hours of the day sometimes you just need a break! Anyway, this a real conversation that Nathan and I just had.

Nathan: Mom, next Halloween I am going to be in a fashion show.

Me: Oh, you mean a costume contest?

Nathan: No.

Me: Well tell me about it.

Nathan: It's going to be a show, just wait and then you can watch me and see what a do. A fashion show.

So Nathan is going to be in a fashion show next Halloween. He sure is excited about dressing up.

About a week before Christmas he asked me how many minutes until Halloween, you would have thought that there were not other exciting holidays coming up in like...6 days.