Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lambs Everywhere!

Alternate Title: Spring is Springing! or Summer Comes Early! or Are We Still in Wisconsin? :)

Here in Wisconsin March started like a lamb and today it is going out like a lamb as well. In between we've had a little bit of lion (like snow on the first day of spring), but really we've had a pretty decent beginning to spring. Today it was over 70 and tomorrow is going to be even nicer. I have daffodils that look like they may open in time for Easter. What a wonderful miracle! It is so rare to have daffodils by Easter in my yard and I am going to treasure seeing them this year. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy this wonderful week of weather.

Taking our evening walks is so nice now that the weather is warmer. We were pretty awful about them this winter, but now I am determined to make up for lost time. The exercise and fresh air are great for Little Guy and our dogs and goodness knows I need to get moving before the big event in June! I cannot believe that we are at 30 weeks already. Time is flying by as the end approaches and I am starting to feel the need to get some of the projects done that I have procrastinated. The scrapbook table and such that got moved upstairs needs to be organized so we have room to bring out some of the baby stuff. We need to get the co-sleeper into our bedroom. I need to wash the Kissaluv 0s and the little blankets. And on and on and on. Gratefully we have what we need for the baby and I have no stress about buying new things. Our kids will use each other's hand-me-downs (especially as babies) and we purposefully registered for a stroller and such that would co-ordinate for a boy or girl.

One the plus side I've already brought up the clothes that Little Guy will use this summer, sorted out his size and up totes/boxes, made my rummage sale list for this year and am starting to make a list of things to cook and freeze in April and May. Our freezer was packed for the arrival of Little Guy and I plan to do it again for this baby. It was a great helper/time saver during those early days. We've got a date for our Bradley refresher course, have a date set for our church's baptismal class for second time parents and I've been busy practicing my relaxation. Preparations are underway! When I get stressed about getting ready I try and focus on what has been accomplished...sometimes easier said than done!

I hope you are enjoying wonderful spring weather this week too. Get outside and enjoy it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Revolution

Have you seen the new show on ABC? It is about Jamie Oliver's quest to help a town change the way they eat at home, in their schools and in their restaurants. He wants it to spark a revolution in our country and he's already done a lot of work in his home country of England. Of course, it is a TV show and there is editing and they want to get good ratings, but overall I'm glad to see the discussion happening even on prime time TV.

It really feels like so many things in our society are out of control right now and one of the best things we can do is to take back control of what we eat, how it is grown and where it came from. When you think about it the food we eat is what fuels our bodies, helps us fight disease, heals us when we are sick or hurt and is the basis of how we live our lives. It is hard to believe that any mega-corporation is going to take that responsibility as seriously as we should. However, to make that happen we have to be awake, aware and willing to ask hard questions and make hard choices.

I'm not one to claim perfection or even claim to be in the same ballpark as perfection, seriously not even the same town as the ballpark. We love chocolate, we eat a lot of desserts, we like A&W root beer (OK, Mike loves it!), and our pantry is far from free of all white flour, white rice, or even the occasional processed item. In fact, we are still finished up the conventional meat in our freezer. See, soooo not perfect!

I am a mom who is committed to continuing her baby steps in trying to do better. I am making better nutritional choices overall. I did a lot of canning and am going to do my best to do that again this summer, even with a new baby. I am researching other meat options and we will only be buying meat I feel good about feeding my babies and my husband and myself. I am working on getting better and better, but we'll never be perfect. My husband will always prefer my homemade white bread to my homemade wheat bread. (Or maybe not if I get my own grain mill...they say fresh ground tastes more like white bread! Here's hoping.) We will go out to eat once in a great while and we will probably eat conventional meat there and at other people's homes. I'm not worried about perfection, but I am working to make many, many changes over time. One baby step at a time!

I really hope that more and more families start to demand better of those who grow our food, those who process it, those that prepare it. Hopefully more people will be doing all three themselves at least in part! I think that as we demand more information and hold ourselves and those that help us feed our families to a higher level that we'll see changes. We should be able to know about genetic modification of our food, irradiated items, conditions that animals are kept in, byproducts, hormones and antibiotics fed to them and just be able to make our own choices based on knowledge. It shouldn't be so hard to become educated, it should be on the labeling. The food lobbies shouldn't be more important than the families who eat the food that is produced.

I'm rambling and ranting, but I just feel like we are at a point where more people are waking up to the reality that just because the chicken looks like it did 50 years ago, doesn't mean that it is the same. The carrots raised organically and conventionally may look identical (other than the prices) but there are real chemical differences. We are all doing the best we can and I hope we keep making baby steps that will end up causing changes in a big, big way. To paraphrase Food, Inc. we all vote on this issue three times a day.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Anyone else struggling to balance their love of great deals and low budgets with better, more sound choices? Anyone else feel like change may be in the air?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Love is Plumbing Issue Fixes

or at least attempts at fixes.

Today Mike took some time to help me address a few plumbing issues that have popped up in our life recently. I know I just mentioned our teeny, tiny half bath a few days ago. Wouldn't you know it, the toilet started having a tiny bit of water around the base. Not good.

Turns out after some Googling that it is most likely due to a failure of the wax ring under the toilet. Thankfully I once installed a new toilet and am familiar with how the wax ring goes on and how to place the toilet once it is done. Unfortunately I am 29 weeks pregnant and am not able to (nor should I) pull up a toilet, carry it and then later replace it. Just not that flexible and pretty sure the midwife would suggest that I not try it on my own.

Mike is many wonderful things, but a fix-it-up-handy-man type he is not. Or at least not so much. However today he put his faith in me and the link I found and went to work replacing a wax ring. The handy man site we were on said it would take about 45 minutes and we were in pretty good shape about 45 minutes in. It ended up taking a little over an hour and that problem seems to be fixed. Unfortunately we seem to have loosened one of the bolts from the tank to the bowl and now we have a leak there. So more searching will begin and hopefully we can get it fixed. This pregnant momma doesn't want to have to go downstairs three times a night!

Then tonight we put on a shower decholorinater. We've had it for a while and had never put it on. I think Mike was hesitant, but after some muscle to get the shower head unscrewed he was able to do the rest pretty easily. Thankfully I knew we had some teflon tape and knew how to use it so the job was done in an easy 20 minutes or less! We got our shower attachment when we ordered our Royal Berkey and I am excited to see if there is a difference in our skin and hair after we use it for a while.

I am grateful for a husband who is willing to take on challenges that are outside his comfort zone. All his acts of service speak to his love for me in ways that I never knew I'd love!

Have a great Tuesday,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

100 and going....

strong? Ummm, not so much. Wanting to go strong...yes, please.

I just realized this is my 100th post and I can honestly say I am a bit surprised at my lack of posting for the last few months. I really look forward to spending more time documenting those great moments that happen in our family that I'm afraid I'll forget, the awesome deals that make my adreneline sing, and the kitchen adventures that are always happening around here. However, for the last few months I've been focused on growing a baby, raising a toddler, and being a wife. Beyond that I try and keep the house somewhat liveable, spend more time at my part-time job than I'd like and try and keep in touch with friends and family. These last three things have been pretty sad lately, too.

I know I'll get back into posting more regularly and hope that those that enjoy what I write will stick with me. I know I love reading about others I know in life and on-line...blogs are awesome and I want mine to be that way too! These days I am just doing the best I can and that has to be good enough for now. As the poems all say, the babies don't keep and pretty much everything else does.

The last couple of weeks we've been able to do a few fun things as a family that I should document here at some point. I am all about keeping things frugal as we raise our kids!

We attended the Insider's Weekend at the zoo. We were able to return a Christmas gift that wouldn't work for us and used the money to buy a zoo pass. We got in and parked for free. Most of the tours were beyond Little Guys grasp, but the two we did were very interesting. We saw the animal's winter/night quarters, heard about what they ate, how they are cared for, and got really, really close to a moose's nose and met a creature that was very curious about us. We need to look up what it was, but it looked somewhat like an anteater on steroids without the long tail. It was a bit cold and snowy, but that meant the crowd was minimal and Little Guy could get up close to see the animals that were out and about. (Savings $34.50)

We went to Neighborhood Night at Betty Brinn's Children's Museum. We just learned about this from a birth class buddy. The third Thursday of every month the museum is open from 5-8pm for free. Parking is in a city garage, but you get $2 off with a voucher from the museum making it only $4. We had no idea what to expect as Little Guy can be quite shy in unfamiliar settings lately. We met up with the other mom and her little guy and went into the 3 and under area. What a ball! After a few minutes playing at the sand table with us right behind him Little Guy was comfortable heading out all over the place. There were times we could hardly keep up with where he was! He loved the hose wheel in the potting shed, the mushroom drums by the tree, the two slides, the sand table and pretty much everything the area offered. We walked through the rest of the 'museum' on our way out and discovered some areas that he would really enjoy at this point. Technically they are for older kids, but he is into trains and train tables and also anything musical so those areas work for him even at a younger age. What a great resource this is for the community and I'm so grateful that we will be able to enjoy it often without spending much money. (Savings $20)

Tomorrow we are heading to an event at a local candy factory after church. They are doing tours, handing out there famous whipped creme eggs, and doing pictures and activities with Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny. Since we didn't do anything like this at Christmas we figured we'd give it a whirl. And free chocolate always interests us. They do not normally give tours unless in groups of 10 or more and children under 10 are not admitted. If not for this event, it wouldn't be a family friendly place for us at this point. However, tomorrow it will be! (Savings $10, actually more since we'd need to get a sitter too)

I love spending time as a family doing unusual (for us) things that do not cost a lot of money. The pressure is off and we can have a good time, but if things melt down we do not feel like we have to stay. Wonderful when you have a toddler!

Have a great weekend,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

I've noticed that Little Guy seems to be getting more interesting and more funny and I am afraid that I'll forget these moments, so today I'm going to record one of them!

With the time change and due to a late night gig with the band our family decided to go to 11 am mass today instead of our normal earlier one. Little Guy was antsy even before we left so we were pretty sure that mass would be loads of fun! We were right :)

We've gotten into the bad habit of snacks during church and he is taking full advantage of this. Today we sat down and he immediately started saying and signing for crackers. This wouldn't be so bad, but he was saying it louder and louder. We ended up feeding him crackers throughout mass in an effort to distract him. He did okay, but it was not his best day ever.

The funny part happened during the final blessing. The priest held up one hand and was saying many different parts of the blessing. Everyone was saying "Amen" and Little Guy was busy squirming and looking around. When he say the priest was holding up his hand he held his up and yelled "Dah!" Dah happens to be what he says when he gives high 5's to people. We have no idea where it picked it up, but he is very consistent with his use of the word. Of course, his choice of yelling it out came when only the priest was talking and no one understood it but his Daddy and me. We both had to fight back the giggles!

After mass we went to tell the priest what happened and (of course) Little Guy wouldn't do high 5 or anything. Figures. Either way the priest got a chuckle out of it and it made the end of mass pretty cute.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Catching Up

Do we ever really get 'caught up?' In my world that would be a big NO. So, now I'm focusing on catching up. Much more attainable. Or at least in the realm of possible!

We've moved our little guy's room downstairs. It is the first time that we have slept with him more than about 3 feet from us. We live in a Cape Cod style house which has an 'area' out side of our bedroom. Some people call this area a 'loft' or 'other room' when trying to sell there homes, but really it is an area. It has a sloped roof on one side, the staircase on the other and basically you just walk through it to get to the bedroom at the end. Oh, and it is not very long so I wouldn't classify it as a hall. When Mike bought the house there was a discussion about turning part of it into a closet, but with the slope and lack of handy man skills he decided against it for the time being. (Why a closet, you ask? Because the only closet in the bedroom was turned into a bathroom. The world's tiniest half bath. Seriously, no man can use the facility as they would have to duck to get in, duck to actually use it and just won't put up with the nonsense that a pregnant female will!)

When Mike decided to leave it as is for a while it became a pass through area. It held my stuff as we moved it over in preparation for our moving in together. It was where all the wedding presents got put until we could open them and find them homes. Basically, it was the only area that could just hold stuff in the little house. Fast forward to a few weeks after our wedding and we find out we are pregnant...where will we put the little one? One bedroom downstairs is Mike's office and the other is our guest room/my computer/scrapbook table/everything else we own room. And I don't think I want to be that far away from our new baby. And we'll use a co-sleeper for a while (about 4 months it turned out) but he will need a spot for a crib, a dresser, and I'd really love a glider for rocking and nursing. That area started looking promising!

Turns out a glider fits in the corner with a little table next to it. That is right up to the crib which happens to fit underneath the slope of the ceiling. A smallish dresser fits on the wall and there is even room for an older, small swing down on the other end of the dresser. Tight? Yes. Unconventional? Yes. Super cozy, lovely way to keep little guy close, make night time nursing easier and calm a new Mommy's fears about her baby boy being all the way downstairs all by himself? YES.

Now we are getting ready for Baby 2 in June. So we are rearranging our little house again. I've given up 'the stuff' room and Mike made room for my computer in his office. We moved the crib, the dresser and almost all the toys into Little Guy's room. We set up an awesome train table we were blessed with from Freecycle. We've moved the scrapbooking table upstairs under the slope for now and I'm charged with dramatically paring down and reorganizing. (UGG!) We are leaving the full sized guest bed in there (for now) and may move Little Guy into it when he decides the crib is something to jump out of, rather than sleep in.

The room isn't finished, but it is full of fun things and I see the potential for a really fun kid's room. He already loves being in there and hasn't had any issues with sleep or adjusting to being downstairs. I found myself reading (with a light on!) in bed before sleep last night. I think this is a step in our family's growth. I really thought it would be harder to make this change, but I'm finding myself really excited about the next 3 months. Mike and I will have our room back to ourselves for a bit as we prepare for this next little one. I'll be able to get things settled for a newborn again and the co-sleeper will be coming out of retirement. With Little Guy downstairs I'll be able to use his nap times (when I'm not napping after work) to get the scrapbooking stuff under control.

We are transitioning in so many ways and it is good. We are adapting our little house to our little family's needs. I just feel like life is good right now and I want to remember this feeling when life is more stressful. We've had a few things come up lately that are crazy, but in truth are just inconveniences, not catastrophes. Life is good. Life is good.