Friday, April 30, 2010

Goodbye, Highchair

It has happened. My little JR is no longer little. In fact, he vehemently protested sitting in his highchair at dinner yesterday. He wanted to sit in a regular chair, next to Little Dude.

Even though the highchair has always been between Bill and me, JR decided he was big enough to sit AT the table. Not just near it.

So, we moved him to the table.

I may have shed a few tears in the kitchen while I got everyone drinks.

I really REALLY want a baby-like now!-but something holds me back, as well. Everything is so perfect and great right now-and I am keeping pace with everyone, so I guess I am hesitant to throw some more chaos in here.

But, seeing the empty highchair pushed my baby fever into overdrive. Bill is actually ready for another baby whenever I am, and I know he wants a third, so really the timing is up to me.

And now, the highchair is sitting empty, in the corner.



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Swinging Hammers

We have lived in our house almost 6 years now, and I must say it is quite a different place from the one Bill bought 7 years ago. We've painted, we've landscaped, we've finished the downstairs. I even surprised Bill in a huge way by tearing apart and painting the kitchen one day a few years ago.

That was the kind of stuff that would happen when my preschool had spring break. I think Bill is glad I am too busy to get ambitious about house projects now.

Anyways, a big thing on our list was to fix up the backyard. We love being outside, but our backyard is a MudHole. Well, specifically a MudHole right outside the back door. Grass refuses to grow there and every time it rains the nice muddy slop deposits all the mud right on the patio. Pain In The Butt.


But this summer, we are actually HERE. We aren't in Tennessee, or Alabama, or anywhere else for Bill's work-we get to be HOME. So this summer, is the summer of the backyard. Here is what we are working on and hope to have finished in a few more weekends:

Three weeks ago, we decided to go for it:

We tore up concrete and put in some joists....
Then we stacked out the perimeter....my arms are still sore from digging post holes.
And soon, we will be drinking some wine on our DECK!

We are really hoping to finish installing all the joists this weekend and then NEXT weekend lay the top down. After that? Drink Margaritas. Or Beer, since I don't know how to make Margaritas and I think there is beer in the fridge.

We are finally getting a new screen door on the back, too. Oh yes, that is blue duck tape you see there; the result of an overly active 120 lb German Shepard jumping on it. The door may or may not have been broken for 5 years now....




Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Save Big Bucks For Shoes With Homemade Detergent


It seems I have been on a roll with saving some green-and being green. It hit me last night that I am slowly becoming one of those "hippie" people I knew back in college that would make their own deodorant with incense.

I promise I don' smell bad-and I don't make my own deodorant-but I do cloth diaper and tested out this homemade detergent on them. I found the homemade detergent didn't leave a strong scent like Tide will; however, it did get everything clean and leave a light Irish Spring scent, because Irish Spring was the soap I used in the recipe.

If you try it out let me know how it goes and what you think, or if you come up with any variations. The next batch I make I'm going to try adding in some oil essence to see if I can mimic the lavender smell I love from Tide.

So, without further ado, here I am making detergent:

First, shred up a bar of soap. I used the food grater. This part was pretty fun to do.
Then, melt the shredded soap in 4 cups of water-get the water about to boil, then dump the soap in. Stir until it is melted-this didn't take long and made the whole house smell yummy clean. After it is melted, add the soap/water mixture to 3 gallons of hot tap water and stir well. I used a 5 gallon mop bucket I had around the house and a cooking spatula.


Then take one cup of Borax and one cup f Washing Soda (NOT Backing Soda). And those boxes are huge. Remember 6 bucks for the soap and boxes of Borax and Washing Soda-and I only used a cup of each-just THINK of how much detergent I can make with this initial investment....
Add the Borax and Washing Soda to your bucket of warm water that you already added the melted soap to.
Stir well until you see it starting to get a little thicker. It only took a few minutes to stir, then I kinda messed with it throughout the day with a stir here and there to check on the thickness (though you don't have to, I just did). The slime you just made has to "bake" for 24 hours before it becomes a gelatinous goo great for washing poopy diapers and other dirty clothes.

You can used whatever soap you want, I used Irish Spring because I liked the smell. You could also use powder soap, just melt it the same in the water. Depending on the powder though, see what the ratio would be for a bar of soap, as that will determine how much you melt.

I used 1 cup of the mix to wash my diapers and that seemed to be perfect. To make sure you don't have too much soap, just check on your suds during the wash cycle-you don't want to see more than a few scattered bubbles in your washer. If you see a ton of bubbles, then you need to cut back on the amount of soap you put in per load.

Here is the link I got my recipe from: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/03/15/how-to-make-your-own-laundry-detergent-and-save-big-money/

I had a few friends mention just putting this mixture into old laundry bottles or getting a bucket with a lid from Home Depot or Lowes-I think they sell the 5 gallon ones for a few dollars.

Happy Laundry Detergent Making!! And perhaps, with the money use crafty mommy's (or daddy's) save, we can justify a shopping spree for ourselves! I'm pretty sure I need some new shoes or some kind of cute accessory, don't you think?


**Posted at Works For Me Wednesday, for more great tips, check out We Are THAT Family**

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Made Laundry Detergent

I am always a sucker for a deal and any chance I have to save money I jump on it. Especially if that saving involves shopping at Khols, but I digress.

Anyways, a few friends of mine mentioned how they were going to give a try to making laundry detergent.

At first, I laughed, and exclaimed "Why in the WORLD would you do that?"

But then, I actually compared the home made ingredients with the ones in Tide and realized they were the same active ingredients. Only minus the expensive cost. And the crazy chemicals I can't pronounce. And the lovely lavender smell.

So, I started to get excited, and went out to price the homemade ingredients. The initial purchase of Borax, Washing Soda (not baking soda, but by Arm and Hammer as well) and a bar of soap? Just under 6 dollars. And I got huge boxes of the Borax and Washing Soda AND I even splurged on some more expensive, lovely fresh smelling soap instead of the cheap soap I usually buy.

I then raced home to start my slime concoction, and it only took about 10 minutes-most of which was spent melting down the soap bar in a pot on the stove-and OH MY did my house smell yummy clean then!

After getting the homemade detergent mixed (and waiting 24 hours for it to thicken) I then tested it on the dirtiest laundry possible-the cloth diapers.

I am happy to report they came out nice and super clean. The soap smell isn't super strong; however, they do smell nice and fresh and look nice and clean, which is MUCH better than they were when I threw them in while holding my breath.

So success to my homemade laundry detergent! And for 6 dollars, I have enough to make around 10 more batches-and each batch is 3 gallons of detergent. Well, I lie, I will have to buy more soap; I only got 6 bars at the store, so add a few more dollars on there.

But my goodness! What a savings-compared to what we were spending-and flying through-each week for detergent, it is just crazy to realize I can make it so cheaply and it works!

I took pictures, so I will put more details up tomorrow and step by step with the recipe, for anyone interested in trying it out.




Monday, April 26, 2010

Recharged

I know many of you have wonderful husbands, but seriously, mine is the best.

After my awful day of:

*someone trying to eat the sponge I was cleaning the floor with
*someone running into me to "get away from a monster" WHILE I was on my hands and knees scrubbing a floor-causing me to knock over the brand new bottle of pine sol ALL OVER the floor.
*someone biting someone else and that other someone then pulling hair out of the other person
*pushing by all
*SCREAMING by all
*Endless fights over toys-THE SAME TOY no matter what it was-from all three.
*The seeming to never end growing pile of toys I kept "putting in time out" in my room
*Food thrown on the floor after I finally got all the pine sol up
*Drinks thrown against the wall to "see what would happen"
*Tears and snot on the corner in the living room where "time out" for people is
*Two diaper explosions that called for baths-one after the other. SIGH
*TANTRUMS like no other-from all three.

I swear they were sharing notes on what to do to drive me batty on Friday.

My sweet husband came home early, handed me my wallet and told me to disperse and not come back until I'd eaten dinner and had some fun shopping.

I love that man.

And time alone-eating a meal that was STILL hot!-and reading a book was exactly what I did. I did some window shopping, and when I came across moms with kids that were screaming, I smiled and walked away, relishing in the freedom of trying on clothes WITHOUT having to continually keep the kids from crawling into other people's dressing rooms.

Ahh, it was just delightful. And now, I am recharged, re-energized, and ready for the week.


Friday, April 23, 2010

I Lost A Spring

I've got a confession to make: I've lost some of my pep. My spring. My ENERGY.

I'm dead on my feet and want to sleep all.the.time.

But three little ones always find other things for me to do-get juice, change diapers, fix meals, clean up sticky something somewhere. You know, the usual.

Except I really just feel so incredibly run down and out of gas. Even now I had to make myself sit here and come up with a post to share (and even then, all I can do is share how tired I am). I don't know what is wrong with me-or that anything is wrong beyond just having two two year olds and one three year old all day through the week, a part time work from home job, and ever increasingly busy weekends.

Perhaps I have uncovered the problem (thank you, blog)-perhaps I just need some alone time.

And I guess I could say I am looking forward to Mother's Day, but in a way I'm not. Because you know what I would REALLY like to do? Disappear for a day and have no kids around. And not change any diapers. And maybe read a book.

But that seems like a kinda dumb way to spend Mother's Day-after all, shouldn't you be AROUND your kids on that day?

So, cue the guilt I'm feeling for feeling like I could use a break, but really, there has to be a way to convince three little kids they DON'T need to have CONSTANT physical contact with me EVERY SECOND. I can't even think of the last time I pooped alone, and that is just a bit annoying. (Though on a side note, I think watching me has JR and Emily ready to try pooping on the little potty, so that is a plus).

Alright, I'm off to drink more coffee and then clean up the coloring they just did on themselves instead of the paper I passed out. Niiiiicccceee...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time With The Second



It is so rare for me to get alone time with JR, especially now that I am watching Emily through the week.

Last week though, Emily got picked up early and Little Dude went to the neighbors to play Star Wars, and so it was just me and JR.

We, of course, had to celebrate with some ice cream and a few stories. Then we ran around outside and found some earth worms.

I feel so guilty all the time that I don't have more one on one time with JR, and can't do all the activities with him that I did with Little Dude-like mom and me swimming or mommy and me yoga-things that are geared for one parent and one child.

I'm going to do my best to take advantage of any moments I do get with just JR and make sure he gets to enjoy just having me all to himself for a bit, doing whatever he wants.




Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do You Have A Licence for That Light Saber?

Little Dude is slightly obsessed with Star Wars right now. Everything, including food, can transform into a light saber; we've had a few talks about how food can't be a light saber, no matter how powerful his imagination.

Food is for eating. I find myself saying that an awful lot, but I digress.

For the past month or so, Star Wars has been a daily activity here, so much so that just yesterday JR-who is not even 2 yet-was walking around with a toy broom making light saber sounds. "Vmmmmm, Bvmmmmm Shooosh Vmmmmm". Oh yes, the kid is just now starting to talk-when he feels like it, I might add-but he knows how a light saber works. And he can say BLUE when you ask him what color is light saber is. He already picked up on Blue being the color of choice for his brother.

So with all this playing, you would think we had seen the movies a million times, right?

Wrong.

We had not seen the movies even once with the kids. Everything Little Dude and JR know about Star Wars they learned from the neighborhood boys. In fact, the whole reason we decided to watch them was because Little Dude was starting to make up his own plot line to the story and I couldn't figure out what a Tarn Tarn was.

We have made it through the first two and I'm actually looking forward to watching the third (we are talking the original three here) because I think the boys will really dig the bears. I know they are called something else, but that word escapes me at the moment; you know what I mean.

So for the time being, my family is made up of Darth Vader, played by Bill, Princess Leia, played by me, Luke, played by Little Dude and either Yoda aka "O-da" or another Luke, played by JR.

Oh yes, we are quite the characters.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Words

JR has words coming faster and faster now. His list includes words with rather enchanting Antonio Bandaris sounding r's, like "trrrrruck" and "rrrrrink" for drink. He has "Mama", "Dada", his brother's name, his name, "Papa" for grandpa, and "Mapa" for grandma.

There is also: Ice, aqua, car, choo cho (for train), eat, cheese, food, cupcake, ummy (yummy), ooooda (yoda-encouraged by all the neighborhood boy's obsession with star wars), park, go, stop, mine, me, you, please, yellow, blue, milk, and, of course, NOOOOOO.

Words are coming quickly, and the sign language is starting to end, though when he REALLY wants something he will say PLEASE and sign it at the same time. That is so very cute that is it hard to say no.






Thursday, April 8, 2010

10 Breastfeeding Tips

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed-it seems to be one of the mains questions everyone asks new moms.

For me, it was always to breastfeed, for the following reasons-

1-It is free.Since we were going to be losing my income so I could be at home, it made since to go with the most economical choice.

2-No expiration dates or times, bottles to sanitize or lose the pieces to. Breastfeeding was always there and ready to go.

3-Formula is created to mimic breast milk. Not that formula is bad-I personally feel that whatever makes mom the happiest and keeps baby growing is the perfect choice, no matter what. However, given the option, it seemed to me that instead of paying a butt-load of money for a chemically processed item that is trying to BE breast milk, it made the most sense to simply breastfeed.


But you know what those pregnancy books don't tell you? Breastfeeding is hard. It doesn't "come naturally" and it takes practice for both you AND baby to get it right. And if you have it wrong? Well, it HURTS LIKE HELL.

So, if you happen to be facing the choice of breastfeeding or formula feeding (or maybe even both) here are some of my top tips on breastfeeding:

1-Take advantage of the lactation consultant at the hospital. Even get a nurse to help you. There is nothing wrong with you if it doesn't happen naturally and perfectly the first time-in fact, it probably won't. We don't grow up in a culture where we see women breastfeeding all the time, and often most people experience babies for the first time with their own-so DON'T feel guilty or stressed if it takes some practice to get it right.

2-Buy a NICE breast pump. Preferably one that does both sides at once. It sounds weird, but you will love the time you save. Also, get a lot of nursing shirts and bras-they will make the whole "out and about" nursing 100% better and more discreet for your comfort.

3-Don't be ashamed to nurse in public-buy a cute nursing cover and simply sit on a bench -I have even used dressing rooms before and been quite comfy. I've never once had anyone tell me to not breastfeed, yet at the same time, I doubt many people really knew unless they were also moms. I was that covered up with a simple cover or sling tail.

4-Wherever you do breastfeed, find something fun to do, watch on TV, or a book to read or music to enjoy-the point is, don't hole yourself up in a dark room -make it enjoyable for both you and baby. Nursing is a great time to sit and relax and chill out from the stress of the day-take advantage and make your "time out" as enjoyable as possible.

5-If you are having ANY pain that makes you want to cry, then most likely your latch is wrong. Not only is it hurting you like crazy, but baby also is not getting milk out well-and expending a lot of energy for very little food. Make sure baby gets ALL of your nipple in his/her mouth. The best way? Rub baby's lips with your nipple to stimulate him/her to open wide-then when the little mouth is open wide move your ENTIRE nipple into his/her mouth. His mouth should actually cover most of the areaola.

6-Got a sleepy baby who won't eat? Rub the baby's hands. For some reason that stimulates sucking. That works for bottle feeding, too and we would do it for some of the kids in the day care I worked at when they just couldn't stay away enough to eat.

7-Get LOTS of nipple cream. Lanolin is great and safe for baby to eat, so no worries about needing to rub it off. I used it before and after nursing. It will take awhile for your nipples to get used to being stretched and sucked by the baby-so you will have a little bit of pain, but nothing that should make you want to scream or cry-that is the sign of a bad latch or infection. Also, if you get cracked nipples, use lots of cream and soothing gel pads until they heal.

8-There are TONS of breast pads, soothing pads, and gel pads to help with the swelling and leaking that can occur from time to time. I would recommend always having some in your diaper bag, they are life savers. I also always wore more formed lined or padded nursing bras out and about so no one could tell if I had pads in them. Lots of the pads are really smooth and thin now, too. I got most of my great nursing gear from Motherhood Maternity, Target, and Mom 4 Life.

9-Try your hardest to not skip a feeding and get engorged with milk-this can lead to mastitis, an infection that hurts like crazy. I got one with my second son and it was not fun. So, if you ever get a high temp and your breasts are super tender, call your Dr. right away.

10-Don't OVER pump to get your milk flowing. If you are trying to stimulate milk, pump a little after each feeding, but as soon as milk starts to come, STOP. Let your baby's natural eating amount dictate the amount of milk made in the very beginning-at least until you get your feeding down comfortably. I thought I was being slick by pumping TONS of milk after each feeding in the beginning-so I could save it in a freezer-however; that just led to HUGE engorgement, pain, and a ridiculous amount of leaking-the engorgement also led to my mastitis mentioned above. Unless you are just not making any milk, or really have to pump, my advice would be to not pump at all in the first week or two after your milk comes in so, your body, you and baby can get everything under control.

If you have other questions, you can always talk to a La Leche League group, though keep in mind they are usually very anti-formula, so don't be intimidated if they come across strongly, they are experts in the nursing field and a great resource. Also go by your hosptial and make appointments to see the Lactation consultant whenever you need extra help or even talk to other moms you meet out and about for more tips or advice on specific problems or questions you have. If you are wondering about anything, feel free to ask me, if I have any advice I am happy to share!

Happy Breastfeeding!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just Breathe

I've never really thought of my life as one to be envied-after all, everyday is just so normal. Playdough, parks, tantrums (from the kids AND me) and poop that got where? There are endless loads of dishes and laundry that I SUCK at keeping up with-really, just ask my husband. I have sweeping, ironing-which I actually enjoy, go figure-and never-ending amounts of peanut butter sandwiches and boo boo kisses given out on a daily basis.

It has always seemed to me like my life is great-but not really anything I expected others to covet-or even say they were envious of-I mean, after all, I get pooped or peed on as a regular part of my day.

Walking with an old friend yesterday opened my eyes to just how lucky I am to be a mom-to have this opportunity to raise the amazing people God trusted to me and to be a partner and support beam to my wonderful husband.

Though my days are super long and go by in a blur-ending with me falling into bed at night, I need to remember just how precious, special, and lucky this charge of motherhood is. I need to take more time to soak up and enjoy the little things, instead of worrying or getting stressed.

And another thing I learned from my friend? I need to be run more-being out of breath after a walk is just, well, embarrassing. Especially if I have any hope of finishing the mother's day 5K I want to do.....




Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What To Do

I was recently invited to join a playgroup-a playgroup I had been hoping to join for almost a year now because the moms are all so amazing and awesome-but I felt lame asking to join, so I waited for an invite.

A few months ago-after always meeting these cool ladies at the parks and hanging out with them in groups of one or two at a time, they extended an invitation to me to get on their group mailing list for play dates. Yippiee!

But then, I went to one of the group play dates-where everyone showed up. And though there are only about 12 Moms in the group, and they are all awesome and fun, I noticed there is also a lot of drama and complaining. And most of the kids aren't the kindest of playmates.

Some of the kids are ridiculously whinny and rough. I figured maybe it was because we were the new kids. I was the new one to the group; even though my sons had been around most of everyone before, we hadn't actually met up with the whole group.

And I discovered that what I had wanted before, is actually not what I want at all. I'm debating if I should stop going to outings with them, or if I should not worry about the other kid's behavior-after all, once Little Dude starts preschool this fall I won't be able to control his friends.

Hmmm, what to do...