Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Advent


I have been struggling with Christmas since last month. Every year the commercialism gets me down and this year I have been down right depressed about it. My husband thinks I need antidepressants. I'm serious. I used to act like a 4 year old about Christmas, getting all giddy and begging to put up the lights and decorations.
But this year it just hasn't happened. (all right, I did smile when we pulled out the box with lights in it to test them)
I was talking with a friend about this today and she admitted she was feeling the same way.

We're tired of Christmas excluding Christ! I'm tired of Santa and promotional sales.

So I'm taking back Christmas. I'll have posts throughout the next month on some of the things my family is doing. Some of them involve just doing more things together. Some will be directly about the Savior's birth.
The first one I decided to do was make a unique advent calendar.
I went to my church's website for archives of the children's magazine The Friend. I typed in Christmas and printed off some of my favorite talks. I also printed off some scriptures. I am now folding these into origami cranes to put on the tree. Every morning starting Dec 1, the kids will take turns picking a bird and we'll read one of these along with family scriptures and prayer.
Regardless of what faith you belong to, I think anyone can use this idea. You can do nice thoughts or stories or your favorite scriptures about the Savior.
I want Christmas to mean something to us again. We're going to be doing a lot more homemade and a lot less store bought in hopes this will help our family be closer and remember the true meaning.
What are your favorite holiday traditions that bring your family closer to God?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help, I've Fallen & I Can't Get Up

That was me yesterday. Isn't it weird how you can lift heavy boxes & hoe your garden and feel only slightly sore, but you go to pick up a 15lb munchkin and completely throw your back out?
So there I was, basically stuck on the floor until hubby came home and helped me to the shower to help relax my muscles. I was a ridiculous sight, you guys. It took minutes for me to crawl (walking was impossible) 5 feet.
I have learned a lot from this experience. One, I learned that doing laundry at the beginning of the week is one of the smartest things you can do. Before I had it all spread out throughout the week and this week I decided to change my system and do it Monday & Tuesday. This system works much better for me.
Two: I do a lot. It doesn't feel like it most days, but the mere act of putting dishes in the dishwasher and of making a simple sandwich are pretty darn important. One day off (now going on two days) can set you back for a week!
Three- ice & motrin. NOT HEAT.
Four: I seriously need to start taking care of my body. I've been pretty, no, really lazy about that lately. I only did my exercises for about a month after the munchkin was born. I walk most mornings, but I let my 2 year old set the pace.
I can't remember the last time I did yoga.
And please, let's not discuss my on again off again healthy diet. Halloween candy is truly evil.
How can I expect to teach my children those things I'm not even willing to practice? Do I really believe that my body is a temple and should be treated as such or is that just nice to preach and not practice? I need to get off the sugar (she types while sipping Sprite) and maybe even the dairy (I'm considering it). I would love to go to an 80% plant based diet. See, there's the 80/20 thing again. Maybe I can relate that to everything in life!
Anyway, that's what's on my mind today. I wonder when I'll actually follow through with this stuff.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Make Your Own Sling

This baby (I love that smile!!) has informed me in no uncertain terms that she is awake and
will be for some time. So I'm blogging to pass the time! I figured it was high time I post about the sling I made last spring. 8 months ago. I may have a procrastination problem....

I've tried a few different kinds of baby carriers. I never liked the baby bjorn style. It just never felt right. I bought a new native for my first baby before my first was born and really liked it. I also made my own Moby wrap when my second baby came. It's basically 5 yards of fabric cut in half lengthwise. My favorite carrier is the moby, but it's too much of a pain to wrapfor quick
trips. I like it for zoo outings and such. So for quick trips and helping first-graders I prefer a pouch style. But my new native didn't give me enough freedom to nurse, I wanted something that fit me better.
See, there I am with the New Native. It works, there's just not as much fabric as I'd like for nursing. I've never been able to position the baby well. So I looked for patterns online to sew my own pouch. Here's my favorite sites for a pouch style sling:



I like the first because it's reversible. They are EASY. The most time consuming part was the ironing. And here's how to make a flat felled seam tutorial for very strong seams to hold your LO

Here's my finished product. I've got her peeking out a bit in the first one, but as you can see in the one on the right, there's totally enough fabric for discreet nursing. I've been able to nurse her while walking to school! (a jacket helps to hide your undershirt. Yes, you need an undershirt/tank so no one sees your mama belly flab)


I of course made this out of old sheets because, well, I make everything out of old sheets. But you can use just about any fabric you have lying around. I plan to make one for big sister for Christmas so she'll stop tying fabric around her neck to carry her dolls. ACK! Have I mentioned she's two??

Do you use a baby carrier? Have you made your own or thought about it?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day


Thank you to my brother, my brother-in-law and all the other men and women who have sacrificed to serve our country. I never agreed with the war my brother fought in, but it didn't change how proud of him I was. Seeing these pictures reminds me of that scary time (he was stationed in Falluja) and I'm so eternally grateful he made it home. My heart goes out to the families of those who weren't as lucky. May God bless them.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Does Baby Sleep?

If you're lucky enough to have a room devoted solely for your baby, move on. This is not the post you are looking for.
One of my friends is pregnant with #5 (yay!!!!) and trying to figure out the bedroom situation. I wanted to post about options and see what my creative readers have come up with for their homes.
In the beginning my babies sleep with me. Hubby takes the couch so he gets enough sleep for work and I feel less sleep deprived from "nursing all night" by having her close. Now, I know some people who keep that up long term (hopefully hubby moves back in sooner), and I know some people can't ever be in the same room as a baby. Do what works for you. We also know that having baby in our room past a certain point gets, um, invasive. So here's our solution:
During the day, the baby sleeps in my room in her pack n play (um, I don't think a crib would fit anywhere in my house). At night, we move the pack n play into the living room. It takes all of 3 minutes, baby sleeps longer and learns to put herself back to sleep, mom & dad get their room back, baby gets naps, and everyone is more well rested. yes, some nights I get tired of moving the bed, but it's worth it. It is so worth it. Once she can sleep without needing to eat then we'll move her into the girls room (which I think means we'll need to consolidate & sell a dresser. hmmmm)
Whenever I think about families feeling cramped, I think about pioneers and the homes as big as my living room that would fit 10 people. I'm not advocating that or anything, but they made it work. Kids shared beds and only had a handful of toys (if they were lucky). I think if we got over the showcase home mentality, our homes would be more functional (I'm telling myself that. I suffer severely from showcase home mentality!) If my neighbor can fit 10 people in 1200 sqft then I figure anyone can make their home work :)
So what about you? Have you had to get creative with sleeping arrangements? Please share for anyone else needing solutions.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Introspection

I know I didn't post yesterday. I never should have mentioned NaBloPoMo but I thought it'd be fun. Really, I just want to be able to blog when I feel like it. Oh well :)
It rained all day today. It knocked the leaves from the trees and much of sidewalk was like a golden carpet. It was absolutely lovely. Rain is my favorite weather for so many reasons. I sat and watched it and thought about how important each little drop was to create this wonderful storm.
I'm doing some hard thinking. Big thinking. Sometimes I feel like that's all I do. Like I'm some emo teenager trying to "find herself" or something. No thanks, already been there.
I'm trying to figure out what I want my family to be. I'm trying to decide what kind of mother and wife I am. Where am I willing to sacrifice and what am I willing to compromise on.
They're big questions and I find myself on different pages with my husband which makes things more complex. I suppose it would all be easy if one day I said, "honey, I'd like to change the way we spend our holidays." and he said, "I've been thinking the same thing." Easy!
It's happened before, but more often one of us feels differently. because life isn't usually easy. And it's hard to mesh that. I never did like group projects ;).
So I may become quiet or I may post twice a day. I'm not sure. I just know I have a lot on my mind and I'm desperately feeling a pull to read Little House in the Big Woods this week.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where I Want to Be

Last night I was able to attend a lecture about Shakespeare at our local University. I haven't been to lecture in years. I went to a couple after I graduated, but that was basically it. I was really excited and it proved to be filled with some new and fascinating info. I miss school. It was sponsored by the Utah Academy of Arts, Sciences, & Letters and before the lecture they had a bunch of awards and such to give out. I watched all these scholars and students accept their plaques and talk a little about their research and I was jealous. I wanted to do research! I wanted validation! I thought about the professors I let down by not going to grad school. Then they gave this old retired man a lifetime fellowship. He hobbled up there with his cane and thanked them and gave a nice acceptance speech and sat down.
I thought about the road not taken. I could have been one of them. I would be trying to fill my office and my resume with awards and publications and spend time learning more and rubbing shoulders.
And then one day I would retire. I would clean out my office and I would go home and some people would miss me, but they'd get on with their lives. I would come home to my husband (um, I hope!) and the occasional visit for my kids and grandchildren. And would probably spend a lot of time wishing I could see them more.
And that is why I stay home. Because I can. My family is the most important thing to me and I don't want to miss it. My little toddler is learning her letters and sounds and I get to hear it every time she masters a new one. I get to be available to help in my sons classroom and watch him at school. I'm sure I wouldn't have my little baby. I'm much to sick while pregnant be in that state while teaching students.
I know some people have to give that up because of their life circumstances or they get a lot of satisfaction from their jobs. And I'm honestly not judging that. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they're given. I'm talking about the focus of life. After my son was born, I knew I wanted to be home, but last night what a revelation at how cluttered my life would have been and just how empty my life would have been if I chosen career over family. I need to do better at remembering my priorities more often.
I still want to do research and I still want to go to grad school. But I've become more accepting that there really is a time & season for everything. When the time is right, God will provide. Meanwhile, I can still learn and maybe take a class here and there. I can even do research, it just probably wont get published ;). I can live with that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Because It Felt Appropriate Today

"Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine — the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than 400 years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot."
-V in V For Vendetta

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pizza crust

It goes to figure that as soon as I decide to do NaBloPoMo that I then get a crazy day with a needy baby and no time on the computer. BUT I did make calzones tonight because my friend shared this easy and tasty recipe with me (thanks Em!) None of my kids like pizza, but they actually ate this! It's picky eater approved and now I want to share it with you.

The Dough:

  • 1 pkg active yeast (I figure that is a little less than 1 T or 2 2/3 tsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in remaining ingredients; beat well with spoon or fork. Let rest 5 minutes. Mix dough and place in cookie sheet. It takes some stretching, but keep trying.

I added toppings based on everyone's likes and baked it at 425 for 15 minutes and they were good! I promise they looked yummy too. I think I want to try bread sticks with it soon. Did I mention it was easy? And fast? And possibly versatile? I'm wondering about using wheat flour next time. hmmmm

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween

It's NaBloPoMo! A post every day and then, World Domination!!!
My turn! My turn!
How many posts have you seen about not celebrating Halloween this year? Maybe it's just the types of blogs I read, but I have seen A LOT.
Like 7. (that's a lot for me)
Now, if you had brought up not celebrating Halloween because of it's Pagan origins/promoting selfishness/promoting immodesty/ fill-in-the-blank any previous year I would have said, "thanks for the opinion grandma!" and gone merrily on my way hanging up my ghosts & tombstones & spiders. Halloween has always been my very favorite holiday! I love spooky things and I love dressing up.
But I'm 30 now. An adult. (serious face) And I've spent a year praying and reading and learning about what I want to make room for in my life. And there isn't a lot of room left for things that aren't truly important. There are plenty of posts out there about the satanic aspects of Halloween and I'll leave those for you to google and decide about yourself. I definitely think it's worth discussing.

What I want to address is holiday decorations & costumes. I have 2 large totes for Halloween and 2 more for Christmas. In one tote I store 4 ghouls/ghosts I hang from my tree and 1 more who peeks from behind a large tombstone. I have a big spider web & accompanying spider as well. Then there are the lights (half of which I didn't even hang up this year) and some other small decorations for inside.
I used to dream of having a "haunted house" at Halloween. One that looks like the cover on a magazine spread with fun jars and spider webs and such. But what I never realized is 1) nobody actually lives there, 2) if someone does, it only looks like that if the Jones's are coming over, & 3) they don't have children. So what's the point in trying to emulate it?
I find myself preferring the idea of decorating with things from my yard. Gourds I've grown, sticks the wind blew down, corn stalks, harvest stuff...things I can throw into the c
ompost instead of a plastic bucket for 11 months. I can't say how Jesus would feel about my decor, but I do know that if He came over, I would feel uncomfortable with some of it. And yes, I do think that is something worth considering.
So sorry to my neighbors who love my ghouls. If you'd like them, just let me know! (then I'll know who's reading my blog too :P)
The second tote is full of costumes and trick or treating pumpkins. The latter is easy. Those are plastic pumpkins we bought from Walmart a couple of years ago for trick-or-treating. They are a horrible use of space and they are going. Just like our easter baskets, I'd much prefer something fabric that can be folded up. Or I can just cancel trick-or-treating all together, mwhahaha!
(seriously, I'm about ready to. The older, ungrateful ones are ruining it for us) Now the question of how likely we actually are to reuse costumes in storage. This year my son was a mosquito. In all likelihood, that costume will never ever be used again. Luckily it was homemade and didn't take a lot. We also borrowed the lady bug vest. I can't recommend that route enough.
Speaking of which, what is with all the brand name costumes these days? I was ready to start withholding candy from all the Iron Man's and telling them to be more creative! /rant
I'm going through my box and keeping accessories, but that will probably be it. No one will be a bumblebee again and no one will be that pumpkin. And I need to just accept that and donate or sell those costumes. The kids have plenty of dress ups and can use those for future costumes if needed.

I just find myself preferring a homegrown/homemade Halloween to a made in China one. Do you love your decorations? Are they just up to impress others (or even yourself) or because you couldn't pass up a sale? Let's give ourselves permission to let that stuff go.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 80/20 Rule

I already know I'm going to butcher this so please forgive me in advance.
In a management book my husband read, some guy figured out that in most businesses, 80% of their income came from 20% of the clientelle. So logically, the focus should be on meeting the needs of that 20% and not as much on the other 80%.
Hubby's adapted that to small space living (and I wish he were the one blogging about this, but I have yet to pursuade him on that. It's enough he's on the de-stuffing band wagon.)
He figures that 80% of the time, we only use 20% of the things we own and that those things should have the greatest prominence and space devoted to them. The rest should be stored away properly or gotten rid of. Now, this can create some fuzzy math because then the 20% ends up being 50% or more. But if I bring up stuff like that he glares at me. So I wont bring it up.
Now, finding the time to really implement this is the tricky part. But I like the idea. Especially in the kitchen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Pink Dress

First of all, I love everyone who commented or called me. I also love my neighbor for picking up my son on the way to school. I was cold :) I really am doing okay, it's just been stressful lately and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. I don't want to sound whiny, I just want to make sure the internet knows I and my life aren't perfect. My husband might be, though. ;)
This morning I was blessed to talk to wonderful friends and neighbors and spend some time with one of my best friends and then talk to one of my others on the phone. She said something about laundry and I jumped up to put mine into the dryer (before I forgot again).
When I opened the dryer door, I found and hollow crayon wrapper and this:

It's my favorite dress and it is ruined. Anyone have Martha Stewart on speed dial? I bet she knows how to fix it.
Maybe no one will notice...

What bugging me the most if how wrinkled it is. I put it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out and then left it in there. This was just all FAIL from the start.
I have to admit, I cried a little. BUT I only cried a little!
Because it's just a dress. And she has other cute ones. And I'm trying to keep my perspective. The only other things in the dryer were my 2 year old's and either aren't noticeable or are underclothes. At least it wasn't one of Mr. Small House's work shirts!

This is leading to the second part of this post. I need nicknames for my kids. I avoided it at first because everybody does it and I try to fool myself into believing I'm an original sometimes. But now I get it. Writing my son, the 6 year old, the 2 year old, the baby, or my oldest/youngest daughter gets REALLY tiring. But how does one go about choosing names? I feel like I'm picking out Spice Girls names: whiny spice, gurgly spice, brainy spice, messy spice, "If I have to tell you one more time" spice, and my favorite: gassy spice.....
The possibilities are immense and overwhelming.