...and then they bought a house

Yep, you read that right. We put an offer in on a house this Friday and Saturday it was accepted!

But hmm, do you remember us talking about buying a house, finding a Realtor or looking at any houses? Nope? Well, it's not because you weren't paying attention.

Craig and I had talked about buying a house and had looked around our area and set a budget and a timeline that seemed to work well with what we thought the economy would do and our plans for the few year. But we weren't even going to start looking until 2011. Then a friend's neighbors were moving and so she (the friend) put up the house listing on her Facebook wall. It was priced really well and looked cute except for the kitchen which was super small and way outdated so after spending maybe 10 minutes looking at the pictures online, we went off to other things without a second thought.

Until about 5-6 days later after I had kept thinking about it. Finally, last Saturday I broke down and asked Craig if he thought maybe we should at least look at it. He jumped at the idea! We made an appointment to view it on Tuesday and in my heart I just "knew" that I wasn't going to like it as well as I thought and it was going to be waaayy to small and that would be that. But that wasn't that.

Long story short, one week later and unless something happens with the inspection tomorrow (cross your fingers!) or the financing, it should be ours by the end of the month. It seems fast to us but we prayed about it and really do feel like God just handed us this house. And like my mom said when I called to ask if this was wise, "Sometimes you just gotta jump when the Spirit says jump."


3 months

I can hardly believe that a quarter of your first year of life is gone already. But if the last few weeks have been any indication of what is to come, I am excited. You are getting to be so much more fun and show your personality.

If there are a lot of people around, you just sit quietly and take it all in. But when you are face to face with me or your daddy, you come alive. You love to "talk" and have tons of different facial expressions.

You are now 14 lbs (well, yesterday you were 13lbs, 15.8 oz but I thought it was safe to round up) and are 24 inches long. Getting bigger means you are able to play much more. You still love tummy time but more than that, you like to sit or even stand up and see the world (with a little help from us of course :-)

You have a pretty consistent bedtime routine now and go to sleep around 7:30 each night. But bath time is no longer part of that routine because a few weeks ago, you decided that you hate baths. I'm not sure why but overnight you went from loving them to crying whenever you even thought we were going to put you in the tub. I'm pretty sure nothing traumatic happened to you during a bath and we've tried different times of the day, making sure the room is nice and warm and nothing helps. You just like what you like and dislike what you dislike and are certainly not afraid to share your opinion. I think it is just an example of you reminding us that it is a girl's prerogative to change her mind. I'm not sure how that personality trait is going to show itself when you are three or thirteen but I'm not going to think about that yet.

Naps are a little trickier but you have been starting to take one longer nap most days. But with the longer naps, I can get you to sleep, cuddle with you for 30 minutes or so then have up to an hour to myself. Yah for you! This is especially good since last week you decided that you don't like to sleep in the swing anymore.

You still love the swing but this last week you decided it means play time not nap time now.

You have finally noticed your toes and stare and stare at them when they wiggle, but you can't grab them yet. I think you will have fun with them when you can.

You reach for things now. Sometimes you are concentrating hard on an object and I see your hand off to the side opening and closing but other times you can actually get it to the place you want it to be. And you like to be holding onto something fabric, either your clothes or my clothes or your taggy blanket. I have to be careful because sometimes you cover your face up with your taggy blanket and then get upset that you can't see. Hard objects are harder for you to keep a hold of for more than a minute but it won't be long.

You love to listen to raspberries and blow them back at us. Yours end up making a big mess but it is too cute to mind. You are a super-drooler. I'm not really sure how you can produce that much drool but you manage somehow.

You love to be read to. I started a while ago but at first you would just be sitting on my lap looking elsewhere or making noise. Now when I get out a book you actually sit quietly for several minutes and look at the pages with me.

You also love to go on walks. Instead of falling asleep within a few minutes, you spend our evening walks looking around (and chewing on the side of the wrap or sling). I love watching you learn about the world with me!


Clothespin holder: A tutorial

So we’ve been drying our diapers (and clothes sometimes too) in the sun. The sun is great at getting out stains and killing yeast plus it makes me feel happy to look outside and see all Lucy’s little diapers out there in the breeze. What doesn’t make me happy – seeing little clothespins all around my kitchen.100823 Lucy 035

So when Lucy went to sleep tonight, I thought I would take a few minutes and try to come up with a solution. And I had success, both in making a clothespin holder and in documenting it! I’m sure I’m not the first person to make one of these, it isn’t complicated especially if you have made a tote bag before, but I haven’t seen any tutorials so I thought I would pass the idea along.

Start by cutting out two 6”x18” pieces of fabric and two 6”x9” pieces.

100823 Lucy 020Take one of the long pieces, fold it right sides together (hamburger ways :-) and stitch up each side from the fold to the open end. You now have an inside out pocket. 100823 Lucy 026Repeat with the other fabric.

Now let’s make the straps. Take one of the 6”x9” pieces of fabric and fold one of the short sides in 1/4”, wrong sides together, and iron.100823 Lucy 021 Now fold the piece of fabric in half (hotdog style this time), iron, and unfold. The point of this is just to find the center easily without measuring. Then fold the bottom edge up to the middle crease line you just made and iron.

100823 Lucy 022

Now fold the top down to the middle crease and iron. It’s hard to tell the right and wrong sides of this fabric but at this point, all the wrong side of the fabric should be facing the inside.100823 Lucy 024 Now fold the top down again and iron. At this point,three of the edges should be nice folded edges with one of the short ones still open. Top stitch around the 3 folded edges of the strap. Then repeat for the second strap.100823 Lucy 025 Now you should have two little bags and two straps.

100823 Lucy 027

Take the outside bag (I want my outside to be the red pattern and the lining to be blue)and turn it right side out.100823 Lucy 028

Then place it into the lining bag that is still inside out. The right sides of the two bags will be facing each other.

100823 Lucy 029 All the way, making sure the side seams are lined up.

100823 Lucy 030

Now take the two straps and insert them, finished side first, into the bag, lining up the raw edges of the strap with the raw edges of the bag (I didn’t completely do this in the pictures or you wouldn’t have been able to see them). Place one strap next to each side seam but both straps on one side of the outside bag. You want the straps to go between the right sides of the two bags. The order should now be (from camera to ironing board): lining (facing down), straps, outer bag (facing up), outer bag (facing down), lining (facing down).100823 Lucy 031 Stitch around the top of the bag, leaving an opening about 2 inches wide for flipping. It is a little tricky to maneuver because the bag is small but if you take your time, you can do it. Do NOT sew the bag closed and do NOT sew all the way around without leaving the opening. Not that you would do such a thing :-)

Now flip the bag inside out (or inside in, actually) and you should have something like this.100823 Lucy 032Now tuck the lining into the bag and it will make more sense.100823 Lucy 033

Now topstitch around the top of the bag, using a seam allowance slightly less than 1/4” (I guess I didn’t mention that all seam allowances are 1/4” unless other wise noted) to ensure that you close up the opening you left for flipping.

Now we just need to add the velcro. Sew a matching sets of hook and loop material to the back of the each straps. 100823 Lucy 034

Then hang up and fill with clothespins. This tutorial was written using the sizes I used but if I were to do it again, I might make it a little big bigger. It holds one pack of clothespins, but barely. 100823 Lucy 036 I’ve found that I’m having a lot of trouble lately clearly communicating (has mommyhood given me verbal dyslexia?) so hopefully this makes sense but if any of the steps are confusing, feel free to ask for clarification.


Sunday Sorbet: 2 for the price of 1

I wanted to put up a video of Lucy but couldn't decide which one - so I decided to put up both!

This one is Lucy at about 10 weeks, just starting to really coo in a directed fashion. 

And this is Lucy a few days ago, she "talks" a lot more now but she also is more easily distracted by the camera :-)


The only one

You know how some days motherhood feels like a musical montage of love - talking to a cooing baby, nursing her to sleep, watching her figure out things like how her hands work. Well, yesterday was NOT one of those days. It was more like a Luvs commercial.

We are currently dealing with a growth spurt, an outbreak of thrush, and I do believe some teething.* By 10 pm I was exhausted and on the brink of a breakdown. I knew I had to get up early to take Lucy to the doctor for an 8 am appointment. And on top of that, my mom has just been admitted to the hospital for low platelets and white blood cell count so I feel bad for even having a bad day when I know hers was so much worse. I really wanted a piece of chocolate - but I couldn't have any since I'm avoiding sugar to stop the thrush!

But Tina passed on a bit of wisdom she heard, always keep in mind that "This is the only one of this day you'll ever get." Whether you take that to mean, cheer up, you never have to live through this day again or that you should cherish it despite the problems because your baby is getting older, the point is still the same.

And it's true. Today was a new day. We got up and going just fine, the screening took a while but the audiologist was great and Lucy slept all the way home and through my errands to the grocery store and post office. Then we treated ourselves to our first mommy/daughter date at Panera. I've given up pretty much all white sugar and flour and am even limiting myself to only one piece of fruit a day (just temporarily) so it was nice to go out someplace I knew I could enjoy without feeling guilty. And while she is still cranky, she slept a lot this afternoon so I got a nice rest too. And she is back to only nursing every hour or two instead of constantly which makes me feel much better, although the itching and pain of the thrush has mostly subsided. And my mom is still in the hospital, but I'm glad that she feels okay, only a bit tired, and that since her treatment is over, this is the worst her "counts" should be, they should only go up (well, I guess when you are at 0, the only place to go is up!) And while I may not get to see her this weekend like we planned, I will get to see her soon. So my life is not perfect right now, but tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it. I'm just hoping tomorrow is more like today than yesterday!

*Why yes, it is too early for teething but she is very cranky, having weird poop, strong smelling urine and drooling more than normal (doesn't teething have the oddest symptoms?). And when I try to check her mouth for thrush, instead of sucking my finger like she normally would, she starts gnawing on it. I kept trying to convince myself that she couldn't possible be teething at 11 weeks but both Craig and I have felt a sharp bump on her lower gum so its getting harder to deny. 


To Bubbies house we go

This post will probably be a bit unorganized but I'm trying to compose and type it while holding Lucy. She must be hitting her 3-month growth spurt because she has wanted to do nothing but nurse or sleep for the past 24 hrs. Luckily the timing isn't bad as I had things all last week and Saturday morning but our schedule is open for the next few days. It really isn't fun trying to be productive during these times but as long as I don't mind couch sitting, they can be a nice time for us both to rest.

We spent last week at my parents. Craig was supposed to be gone on a business trip so we planned for all three of us to be there for the weekend then Craig would drive home on Sunday for his trip while Lucy and I would stick around and take the train home to meet him when he got back. Alas, his trip was canceled so he spent the week here by himself :-( but the rest of the plan worked out.

Lucy and I took Bubbie

(formerly know as my mom :-) to her last radiation treatment, then spent the rest of the week resting, visiting with some extended family and old family friends, watching a newly-found favorite family show (Royal Pains) and doing just a little bit of shopping :-). Lucy now has the most adorable swim outfit which I can not wait for her to use next month on another little trip we have coming up.

Thursday we took the train home. It took about 5 hours and was a pretty nice way to travel with a baby. My parents got me a business class ticket and no one ended up next to us so Lucy and I were able to spread out and relax. She sat on my lap and could nurse, play or sleep without any trouble and several people commented as we got off that she was a good baby. I think they probably had suppressed their looks of horror when we got on so I'm glad for all of us that she was in a good mood. The only downside was that it arrived in town at 10pm and since she slept well on the train by the time we had gotten off, greeted Craig and gotten into the car, she must have thought it was morning already. It took a little while to convince her otherwise.
This weekend was supposed to be a time to catch up on cleaning, grocery shopping and doing some organizing I've been itching to do so I could spend my free time this week blogging, scrapbooking and crocheting but I have a inkling that won't be happening. Oh, well. If you don't hear from me in a few days, send a search party to pry me off the couch, I might have decided I like it there too much :-)


The 7 Standards

It's World Breastfeeding week and all over the web you will find awesome articles about breastfeeding. I love this topic and could talk about it for hours but since I'm still pretty new at it, I'm going to try and take the "listen before you speak" approach and let some of the more experienced mommas pass on their wisdom instead of rambling on myself.

But I do want to share a couple resources I've found helpful. For those newer to my blog, it may seem like I am comfortable with being odd, and I am to an extent. But I'm also a rule follower. I hated skipping classes in college, I don't like to jaywalk, and it even took Craig a while to convince me it was okay to change a recipe (and thank goodness he released me from that stronghold!).

The problem is, with kids, I don't like "the rules." According to the rules, I'm "supposed" to have a baby in the hospital, I'm "supposed" to give her a bunch of shots, I'm "supposed" to put her in a crib, and when she gets to be about 5 years old, I'm "supposed" to send her off to spend her days with a bunch of other 5 year olds. So Craig and I have decided not to follow whoever's rules those are and do things our own way and I'm glad, but I also miss my rules.

But when I decided to do cue/ecological/demand* feeding I thought I would be giving up the rules. Schedulers have rules. Cue Feeders just feed the baby when it is hungry. Most cue feeders probably like that but as a first time mom, I felt insecure without rules. So I found it quite reassuring to read the "7 Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding." They reminded me that I was doing the right thing because I was "following the rules" and I thought I'd pass them along.

1. Do exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life; don't use other liquids and solids.
2. Pacify your baby at your breasts.
3. Don't use bottles and pacifiers. I actually tried to not follow this completely by giving her a pacifier. I didn't really want to except I knew we would be driving to my parents' house a lot and it would make the car trip easier. Turns out, she won't take one - at all. She gets very mad if I even suggest such a thing.
4. Sleep with your baby for night feedings.
5. Sleep with your baby for a daily-nap feeding.
6. Nurse frequently day and night, and avoid schedules.
7. Avoid any practice that restricts nursing or separates you from your baby.

*Technically, cue feeding and ecological feeding are different, cue feeding is just feeding whenever the baby cues you while ecological feeding is feeding whenever the baby cues you in order to hold off the return of fertility but in practice, they are pretty much the same. And don't even get me started on why I hate the term "demand feeding" - or maybe you should, I've got a pretty good rant ready to spout out whenever the need arises and it might be entertaining.


Car Crash - Not So Bad

That's why my car looked like late last June.  After a stop at Babies R' Us on the way home one night, I thought to myself, "Take the interstate home or this 45 mph highway?"  It was only a few miles, so I decided to take the latter, scenic route.  Wrong choice.  Some dude turned left in front of me in an intersection, despite his obligation to yield, and I hit him.

Car accidents are generally a bad thing.  But in this case, it worked out OK.  Here's why:
  • MacKenzie and Lucy were not with me.
  • There were no injuries.
  • It was time to replace my car (which was totaled) anyway - I had been unsure about when do so.
  • I got a good settlement for it from the insurance company.
  • I remain optimistic the other guy will be saddled with liability.
Here's his vehicle, by the way:

This accident forced me to conduct a search for a new vehicle on a compressed schedule.  I didn't have rental car coverage on my insurance, so I had to foot the bill for that.  Thus, every day without a vehicle was costing me money (note: I now have rental coverage.  For only an additional $3-4/month, I now think it's worth it).  Our criteria for a replacement vehicle, in order, were as follows: Get something within our price range, in order to buy the vehicle outright (no loan).  Get something reliable (fewer problems, fewer repairs).  Get something with good gas mileage.

We are a one-vehicle family.  We realize that will probably have to change at some point, but we'd like to delay it as long as possible due to the additional expenses another car would bring with it.  So we had to decide between a) buying a nicer, larger vehicle now and a cheaper second car later, or b) buy a cheaper car now and a nicer, larger vehicle later.  The question was, how long will it take our family to outgrow a sedan?  We initially tried to split the difference by finding a Subaru Outback, PT Cruiser, or similar hatchback-type vehicle.  On the former, we couldn't find any that had less that 120,000 miles on them that were within our price range.  On the latter, we found several at a good price, but decided the quality of these vehicles wasn't quite what we were looking for (we relied a lot on Consumer Reports' used car ratings).  On the SUV front, Honda CR-Vs were similarly only available with very high mileage.  I would have been willing to bite the bullet on a minivan, but CR says only the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey are good, and late models of these vehicles are still high priced.  Plus, I hate those Sienna commercials.

Some other models we considered: Mazda 3 (no AC or ABS in mid-2000's base models), Scion xA (too small), Mercury Grand Marquis (kinda ugly).  In the end, we found this:

It's a Kia Sportage.  It seats five, has side and curtain airbags, and supposedly gets 25 mpg highway (I'm monitoring actual performance in this category).  It has fairly high miles on it, but the dealership did a lot of work on it after acquiring it as a trade-in (brakes, tires, drive belt).  I rather like the color, too.  CR said these vehicles were no good in their initial production prior to 2003.  The model was revived, however, in 2005 and has gotten good marks since that time.  So far, it's working out pretty well.

If you had asked me two months ago if I wanted to get into a car accident, I would have said no.  But looking back, it worked out fairly well for me.  This cloud had a thick silver lining.


Could be worse*...

Well, last week I did pretty well at getting out of the house. We've been struggling with a couple little issues (well, they seem little now that they are resolving, they didn't seem little at the time) so it was great to spend the afternoon at a friend's house. She has a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old so she did her best to remind me that "this too shall pass" and that Lucy was doing fine. It is always easier to believe that when it's a mom just a little in front of you telling you. That was the first time Lucy and I had driven anywhere by ourselves and she did pretty well. She didn't sleep on either trip so I spent the whole time worried that she would start crying but she didn't. If she starts crying in the car, she has a habit of working herself up so fast that before we can pull over she starts gagging and spitting up more milk than I would think could even fit in her stomach so I don't feel like I'm being overly dramatic about worrying although I'm not sure Craig would agree with me.

But since that was a success, I decided to venture into "the city" to go to a nursing mom's group at Kangaroo Kids. She started fussing but I put on her favorite CD (Tom Chapin) and started singing along to Gertie's Bird Seed Diner and she stopped and quickly fell asleep.

I had a great time there and was encouraged to hear all the other moms say that their babies all only took cat naps until about 3-4 months so not to worry about that. And we talked about everything from nursing issues and what to do about vaccines to pacifiers and why, based on the size of their onesies, Gerber thinks 9-month-old babies are still only 12lbs.

I was expecting to only stay about an hour but over two hours later most of us were still there chatting away. That is about when we all started to smell something. The lactation consultant running the group starting looking around and went to check out the back room before she called out "Fire, Fire, everyone out of the building!" I don't think I've ever moved so fast in my life. There were about 20 moms with about 20 babies (funny how it works out that way) plus a couple toddlers and we all managed to get out pretty quickly. No one was ever in real danger, but boy were our hearts beating fast. They got it out pretty quickly and in a few more minutes the fire trucks starting arriving. Apparently it wasn't a very busy day for the local fire departments because I do believe that three different towns sent men. I had been in the middle of feeding Lucy and I knew if I finished she would fall asleep so you can add "standing in the middle of a parking lot surrounded by firetrucks" to the list of places I have now fed Lucy. After a few minutes, things calmed down and we all started heading home. I was pretty lucky, my car was one of the few not blocked in by the trucks so we didn't have to wait like most of the other moms. I'd like to think that I shouldn't worry about taking any more trips because nothing worse could happen, but that seems to be tempting fate so I won't.

But was that the worst thing that happened that day at the group? Not really. The worst thing was that I saw "Sophie" and am now smitten. But do I want to spend $18 on a teether, even if it is "the World's Most Famous Teething Toy?" Last Christmas, when parents were running around trying to find an electronic hamster, I swore I would never do that. But this is even worse because it's not like Lucy even knows what that she is missing out on. But I want her to have one. Is it because I think she would like it (with its chewable nubby feet made out of natural rubber, easy to grasp neck and stimulating contrasting spots) or it is just a status thing? I don't know, but Babies R'Us is out of stock so I can think about it. I am willing to admit that I'm on the email list for when it is restocked but I have a gift card and if I didn't have the gift card I wouldn't be buying it. At least that is my story and I'm sticking to it!
*Do any of you remember that book?