The end of a year

We are currently in North Dakota visiting family. The plan is/was for us to return on the 1st but it is blizzardy out and that isn't expected to change tomorrow so we will have to see what happens. I'm hoping I DON'T have an "exciting" story to report.

Both of our Christmases were great (expect pictures when we get back and have access to our camera cord) and we were able to spend lots of time relaxing and visiting family but Lucy and I haven't been home more than 12 hours since the 13th of December and I am ready to be in my own bed. Luckily Lucy think any space between Craig and I is her own bed so that makes things easier.

Like probably everyone else in the world, I've been thinking about the last year lately. It certainly was not what I expected. Some of the big events of the year, like buying a house and my mom getting sick, were not at all expected. Even the things I knew to expect, like Lucy's arrival, were still such big changes that I could not comprehend how they would really affect my life. This year really has been a roller coaster and I won't lie - I'm tired. But through it all, I can see God's hand guiding my life and leading me through. There are certainly things I could change if I had a magic wand, but I know He knows what he is doing, so I'll just keep going and see what the next year brings.

I don't have a big list of resolutions but there are things I would like this next year to hold. Seeing my family's reactions to my mom's illness has really reinforced what I want our family's priorities to be and I do think Craig and I are on the right track, we just need to stay there so my main resolution for the year is: to be intentional.

I want to be intention in how we live and not let time just pass me by. More than any other year, I think I am scared of what this year brings. I'm excited too, but also scared. I keep having to stop and hand those fears to God to deal with because I don't want to waste my time worrying about the future. Instead, I want to use my time this year to:

-grow closer to the Lord
-grow closer to Craig
-grow closer as a family
-work with Craig to train Lucy up "in the way she should go"
-turn our house into a home

I could get more specific about how to do all those, sharing ideas about daily devotionals and scheduling more date nights, a list of home improvement projects I want to accomplish and diet changes I want to make sure we are consistent about. I'm a planner so part of me really want to create an elaborate list of all the things I'm going to accomplish but I'm stopping myself. I do think there is a time for that but right now, where I am, where our family is, we don't need that.

We need to be flexible, but as long as I fix my eyes on the Lord and remember those 5 goals in our plans, even if they are a shorter term than my type-A personality would like, I think we will end up were we need to be at the end of the next year.


7 Months!

Dear Lucy,

What a fun month we have had. We've seen so much family and gone so many places - and we aren't quite done yet!

First time exploring snow!

You had a good first Christmas and got fun toys and books but still like playing with spoons the best. You love spoons! You especially love to wave them. But then, you like to wave everything. And if you aren't holding anything, you just wave your arm. We joke you must be practicing to be a tennis player or a conductor.

Sweatin' to the oldies. But I guess when you're only 7 months old, everything seems like an oldie!

Your arms are getting strong. You love to pull things off shelves and lift your body up on low ledges. You're still not quite ready to crawl but I'm enjoying your lack of mobility so no hurry! But one way you are getting ready is by kicking a lot. You kick your legs while we are holding you or while your playing on your tummy. It's especially fun to watch you kick along to music although it's considerable less so at night when you kick me while I'm sleeping. For some reason you always end up sleeping sideways so when daddy and I are finally ready to go to bed, you have hogged it all and we have to move you around to make room for ourselves.

You've started really enjoying peek-a-boo. I can give you a blanket or diaper and you pull it up and down over your face and start laughing. Or we play a variation where someone pops up from behind a chair or from around a corner. You love it!

With a bit of help you can drink from all sorts of glasses. Shot glasses are the easiest, mostly because there is less to spill!

I love how this month you have gotten the idea that you are a big kid now. You want do to what everyone else is doing, whether that is drinking from a glass or using a laptop. If you see someone else having fun with something, you want in on the action

This wasn't staged. I went into the other room and when I came back I caught you surfing the net all by yourself!

Your laugh has gotten very amusing lately. The last few weeks you have started smiling with your nose all wrinkled and when you laugh you might snort a time or two.

Believe it or not, that is a happy face!

But if you are only slightly laughing though, you do this hmm-hmm thing with your mouth closed. It's hard to describe but completely adorable - just like you. My monthly updates will never do justice to just how amazing my little girl is!


Monday's hero

I've actually been at my parent's a whole week, having arrived last Monday night. Or technically, very early Tuesday morning. It wasn't supposed to be that way but here is how Monday's schedule went down:

3:30pm - Leave for train station, Lucy naps.

4:15pm - Arrive at station, Lucy wakes up.

4:29pm - Board train. Estimated arrival time = 9:30pm

6:30pm - Change baby into pajamas and attempt to adapt bedtime routine to train.

7:00pm - Lucy is asleep.

7:45pm - Lucy woke up on train with bright fluorescent lights every 2 feet along the ceiling so she thinks it must be middle of the afternoon and after her nice "nap", she is now refreshed and ready to play again.

8:05pm - Train stops at station but doesn't start again.

8:10pm - Official Conductor Announcement: Train in front of ours is stopped. Wait for more news.

8:12pm - Call my brother to tell him not to leave to pick me up until I have more details. Lucy plays happily on my lap.

8:15pm - Official Conductor Announcement: Train in front of ours is derailed. We will probably be here for several hours. Wait for more details.

8:18pm - Call my dad to tell him bad news. Call interrupted by incredible puking baby.

8:25pm - Baby is now clean and changed back into pre-bedtime routine clothes and playing happily again. Lacking a change of clothes, I still smell like baby puke. Official Conductor Announcement: Buses have been sent to pick us up and take us to the train stations. Buses scheduled to arrive in approximately 2 hours but they will let us know if they will be late.

8:26pm - Call my dad again to plead for rescue.

9:00pm - Baby still awake. Have attempted to shield her from light by laying her under tray tables covered with jacket and receiving blankets. Decided not the throttle conductor when he walks by and comments on the "fun time I must be having building a fort."

9:30pm - Fort building efforts fail. Baby still awake.

10:00pm - Baby still awake.

10:30pm - Baby still awake. No buses yet but have been told they should be arriving "soon".

10:35pm - Dad arrives!

10:37pm - Lucy goes to sleep almost instantaneously once put in comfy car seat in quiet dark car.

12:25am - Arrive at parent's home. Lucy still sleeping away. Thank my dad hero for spending his evening driving 200 miles on his rescue mission. It was a rough night but it could have been so much worse.


Sanding Saga

Our most ambitious pre-move-in project in our new house has been to remove the carpets and refinish the underlying hardwood floors. I'd like to discuss how it has gone for us, from can-do optimism, to despair, to surrender (we hired some help). I was remiss in not taking pictures throughout the process (I kept forgetting the camera), so all I can give you is this post-carpet, pre-sanding photo. Later, after I discuss staining, I'll show an after photo.

You can see wear down the center of the photo, in the high traffic area. You can also see some yellowing of the wood.

I rented an orbital floor sander from the local rental place. All sanders I saw in how-to articles had 3 sanding discs on the bottom, but this had one big rectangular pad (the sander looked something like this). The rental place also gave me a bunch of sandpaper (of grits 20, 36, 60, 80, and 100), and said I would not have to pay for what I didn't use. Note: these sanders are quite heavy.

Before sanding, I shut the bedroom doors and put newspaper under them. I also taped over the outlets and hung a sheet of plastic between the dining room and kitchen. These measures were intended to keep dust out of these places. I also donned safety glasses, a dust mask, and ear plugs. Previously, I went over the floor a few times to make sure I removed all carpet staples and nails. We did not remove our baseboards prior to sanding.

I started sanding with 36-grit paper (smaller numbers mean coarser paper), sanding primarily with the grain of the wood, although the rotation of the sander means it goes across the grain half the time.. The first pass revealed a large number of 6" by 1" slight depressions in the floor, perpendicular to the grain of the wood. I thought these might be relics from a previous drum sanding job gone bad (note: besides the orbital that I rented, drum sanders are the other type available. These sand more effectively and efficiently, but in the hands of an amateur, these can cause damage to the floor due to excessive sanding). I also found some wide scratches that I had not noticed previously.  Apparently, floor finish can really hide some flaws in hardwood.

I had a heck of a time with these depressions. The sander had little effect on them. I tried using the 5" palm orbital sander I had on hand, but it also had little effect, as did sanding by hand. I also found that the area a couple inches out from the wall, all the way around the house, was similarly impervious to my efforts. I knew I needed to get the finish off of these spots, or they would stick out when I tried to stain the floor.

After doing two passes with the 36 paper (one at a 45 degree angle across the grain), two 60 passes, a 20 pass (I was desperate), another 36, and two 80 passes, I thought the floor was acceptable. The finer sandpapers are intended to remove the scratches put in the floor by the coarse paper, and give the floors a smooth, even finish (I should note here that I vacuumed the floor after each pass with a shop-vac to remove dust). I should also note that I generally used two sheets of sandpaper per pass, with each pass covering about 450 square feet. There appeared to be some color left in the wood, but I thought I had removed enough material that I could stain over what was left.

But then I rented the edger, and found out I was wrong. The edger is a foot-tall unit that uses one 7-8" sanding disc that is attached to the unit by a bolt. When operating it, only one side of the disc actually touches the floor. The edger, which spins at a high rate of speed, instantaneously reduced my edges to white bare wood, in stark contrast to the rest of the floor, and the numerous passes I made over it. I was tempted to use the edger to do the whole floor, but that would have taken days and killed my back.

So I decided to try a 3-disc edger, thinking that maybe the sander I had rented was the problem. Lowe's carries such a sander, so I rented theirs. Note: while the sander I first rented did a very poor job of picking up dust, despite having a vacuum attachment that is supposed to do just that, the Varathane from Lowe's does great in this regard. This sander worked well for about two minutes, then seemed to do nothing. It was as if the sandpaper only worked when brand new (it turns out this was the floor's fault, not the machine's). With this sander, I managed to feather the edges of the floor, so the contrast between the white edges and the light brown rest of the floor was not so stark. But it still didn't look right.

At the beginning of this process, we got a quote from a company to see what it would cost to have someone else do this job. The quote was quite high. But after renting the Varathane, we decided to get another quote, to see what it would cost just to drum sand it. I thought about renting a drum sander myself, but didn't really want to mess with one of those.

The quote we got wasn't too bad, and we wanted to get this done, so we bit the bullet and hired a local company to do it, and the floors ended up nice and white in short order. My ego was assuaged by the fact that the owner of the company confirmed that there was drum sander damage on the floor. He also said there was something weird with the finish on our floor, so he had to use more sandpaper than normal to get the job done. This made me feel good, because all the how-to's I read made sanding seem easy and straightforward, but that wasn't my experience.

That wraps up the sanding part of the job. Here are some links I found helpful.

Next, I will discuss staining, a much more successful endeavor.


In which I pick on people...not really

I think I've mentioned a time or two (hundred) that we are a bit "denominationally challenged" around here. Craig grew up Methodist, I grew up military chapel/Episcopalian but was confirmed Lutheran. As a couple we've attended Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist and non-denominational churches and we just had our little girl baptized as an Episcopalian - see what I mean?

I think this gives me a unique perspective and ability to good-naturedly poke fun and I hope this is taken that way, especially since we are currently attending a Baptist church so it's not like we are anti-Baptists in any way, but there are some thing about the more "evangelical" type churches that I just don't get.

They don't really do the liturgical year. They don't do creeds and repetitive prayer. I know there are reasons for that, some of which I agree with and others I don't. Fair enough.

Yet sometimes it seems if they want don't want their cake but they still want to eat it. Okay, now that I've messed up that saying, I'll try to explain.

At least in the three evangelical churches we've attended over the last few years, there seems to be a lot of repetition. We sing the same songs and the prayers sound surprisingly similar after a while. I personally have no problem with it, I like singing songs I know (and that those around me know :-) but it seems funny when in a conversation with someone from one of said churches begins to talk about the evils of vain, repetitive prayer. Why is someone else's repetitive prayer necessarily vain when your isn't? Every day I pray and thank God for the same things: Craig, Lucy, my parents, my siblings...you get the picture. That isn't the only thing I thank Him for and thanking Him isn't the only thing my prayers are made of but that is consistently a part of my prayers. But just because I say it every day doesn't mean it isn't going to be true tomorrow as well!

Lately I've been seeing another similar occurance popping up - the "Jesse tree" (I use quotes because it's called a Jesse Tree, but isn't actually a Jesse Tree). Most of the people I know who are doing a Jesse tree for the Christmas season belong to churches that don't follow the liturgical year. It strikes me as odd that they have rejected the liturgical year and the traditions that accompany it but then replace it with something else that seems to serve the same purpose.

Now, I have nothing against the Jesse Tree. I think it's great that parents want to involve their children in an daily time when they focus on God and His story but if you are going to do a devotional and activity as a way to purposely prepare your heart for the coming birth of Jesus, why not use the same symbols and physical represention that has been used for so many years? I wonder if it is because these parents didn't grow up doing an Advent wreath themselves and are unsure of what to do. Or perhaps they think Jesse Trees are good for kids while Advent wreaths are boring? I'm honestly not sure.

I love the Advent season. The waiting and preparing. The candles and devotionals. Having grown up with it, I didn't realize how much I missed it until December rolled around and no Advent appeared in our Baptist church. We did many different devotional books along with our wreath throughout the years, sometimes they were put together by our church, a couple years we read a historical fiction book based on the scriptures, sometimes we followed a different book of devotionals. It changed as we got older, then back again when my little brother was born :-) We took turns reading and lighting and blowing out the candles (the candles was the coveted job) and my mom spent quite a bit of time telling us to stop messing around with the wax. I think every single one of her nice Christmas tablecloths probably has at least one red or purple wax stain on it. I have such fond memories of Advent devotionals with my family and I'm excited about building new memories with Lucy as we continue on with the tradition. We may be the only family in our church doing so, and the only one without a Jesse tree, but that's okay with me.


Getting Along

A recent column in The Economist discusses some new research by social scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell. Putnam researches social capital, which describes the effects of connections (or lack thereof) between and within social networks, via surveys. This column discusses the authors' examination of religion and their conclusion that it is a unifying force in America.

This may sound surprising, given the religious discord we often see in the news. But the authors state that people who know members of other religions are more tolerant of them. They call this the "Aunt Susan" principle, stating that, often due to inter-religious marriages, many people have a relative of another faith.

I would like to look at one specific point that the Economist column brings up. It says that 9 of 10 of those surveyed think that people from other faiths can go to heaven. This is seen as a mark of tolerance, and the 1 in 10 who don't see it this way are called "inflexible."

Speaking solely for Christianity (although I gather Islam is the same), our doctrine says there's one path to heaven. Don't follow it, you don't get there. But this sounds harsh and unfair to a lot of people. I suspect that most of the 90% of people cited in the study are not deeply involved in their faith, and thus assume that any "good" person can go to heaven. Or else they believe that, no matter what the Bible says, people from other religions still believe in a God of some sort, so they're OK. Maybe they go to a non-denominational megachurch that focuses solely on the feel-good parts of Christianity.

What this story suggests, then, is that our society is better off if everyone is only casually religious. The Economist author states that, for the "inflexible" 10%, Aunt Susan "is not welcome in their company." He seems to assume that, if you don't think someone is headed for heaven, you dislike them. Ergo, devout people create divisions in, and are bad for, society.

If you are only interested in this from the societal aspect, maybe these findings make sense. But from a religious standpoint, the lack of knowledge/acceptance of basic doctrine is troubling.

But I would dispute the assumption that the devout dislike those that aren't going to heaven. Sure, there are people like that, but there are many others that have devoted their lives (or at least a good portion of their time and/or resources) to reach out to these people to try to improve their lives, in hopes that they will eventually end up in heaven. That sounds like good social capital to me.


Review coming soon

In what could probably be considered a case of putting the cart before the horse, I've been spending a bit of time looking at design blogs lately. Several times I've clicked on links and ended up at one of csnstores.com's multiple sites perusing rugs or lamps. That shouldn't be surprising considering they sell everything from pots and pans to pressure washers, toys to tv tables. One could even say they sell everything but the kitchen sink - except no, they sell those too.

So imagine my delight when we received an offer for $45 voucher to review any product from their site that we want! Now the only problem is deciding what to get. Unfortunately, we aren't quite ready to buy a kitchen sink but I do have several ideas. I've been wanting a toaster oven; our toaster has been on the brink for a while and I want to get rid of the microwave all together - two birds, one stone is always good. But they have a couple of cute lighting fixtures that would replace the obviously original-to-the-house hall light we have and we need a living room rug but Craig and I are having a hard time agreeing on what we want so that would probably take too long :-) I just don't know!

What would you buy if it were you?


Won't you be my neighbor?

Last night we attended a health food lecture at our church where Paul Nison talked about God's word and what it says about our health. I'm not ready to go 100% raw but he did bring up some things that were new to me and I'm curious to research more.

At the end of his talk my friend and soon to be neighbor, Jessica, gave her testimony about how changing her diet impacted her life. Check it out!

PS - I'm so excited that Lucy will have at least one little friend who has to eat the "weird" food her mom makes for her.



Growing up with a dad in the army and an "army wife" for a mom, I remember them going to a number of functions. There were "hail and farewells", conferences and my favorite, balls. I'm so glad they called them balls and not dances or reception; balls sounded so exotic and fancy to my 7 year old ears.

I would sit on the bed watching my mom get ready. She would be wearing a pretty dress, putting on her make-up and jewelry. Then the very last step would be perfume. Spraying a bit of Poison in the air, she would gracefully step through telling me this was the secret to smelling nice without being overpowering to anyone within three feet of you. Then she would spray some for me to walk through too. I had all sorts of ideas of what the balls must be like, most of which were probably a little overblown, but either way it was so exciting to see them head off and I couldn't wait until I got married and got to go on dates too.

Not that I minded being left with a babysitter. Babysitter came with special treats like popcorn, frozen pizza, games and movies and the opportunity to pick on my brothers with a less perceptive overseer (oh wait, that was supposed to be a secret). It was great fun.

This past Saturday night, Craig and I had a date night. I’m not ready to leave Lucy so we had to be creative. After putting her down, Craig threw a pizza in the oven, picked up the toys, oatmeal canister, pots and pans, and diapers turned burp rags that had been strewn all over the living room floor. I threw a load of diapers in the wash, took a shower and laid down a blanket and some pillows on the now picked-up floor. We sat with our dinner and had some great conversations. Then we snuggled up and watched a movie (eclipse - Craig is a good sport). We had to pause the movie once so I could go feed a baby back to sleep but it worked.

Someday date nights will change. The frozen pizza and movies will stay at the house but I will not. Someday I will get dressed up and spray perfume and Craig will come in to help me put on my necklace and give both his girls a kiss before sending the littler one off to look for the babysitter. Someday will come soon enough. But for now, I wouldn't change a thing.


Lucy's Favorite Things: Music

I didn't think we would start listening to children's music this early, but in a moment of desperation during one "witching hour," I threw on the only kid's cd I had. And miracles of miracles, it worked. She stopped crying and just laid there in my lap. We rocked and listened for probably 20 minutes. Since then, we have been listening to my "Lucy music" station on Pandora quite frequently. I must admit, most kids music is really really bad. Just because someone is under 10 doesn't mean that the only songs they are capable of listening are those about monkeys or counting or boogers. But I have found a few that I don't find completely objectionable.

The winner: Tom Chapin

I grew up listening to Tom Chapin. I heart him. I've even seen him in "concert" at least two times. One time was a children's performance at the University of Illinois back when my dad was a grad student there. We went early and had a snack at one of the little university snack bar places and after sitting there a few minutes, guess who came in, grabbed a bagel and sat down - Tom Chapin! (okay, you could probably see that coming). I thought he was like a rock star so I was in awe the whole time and wanted to get his autograph but my mom made us leave him alone so he could eat in peace. Keep in mind I was only 7-8 years old or I would have known real "rock stars" don't have to eat bagels from the cafeteria.

But back to the point, his songs are fun and catchy without being stupid. And they feature a reoccurring cast so if you ask anyone in my family to describe "Bruno" they would know he isn't a dweeb but he owns a Saint Bernard and that Shirley and Sue made a fortune on lemonade but still like to play on swing sets. As a testimony to their catchiness, when Craig's brother and sister came to visit, I had it one as background noise one afternoon. Later that day, I "caught" Chad singing one of them.

One caveat though, since they are about a wide variety of topics, sometimes songs come up that we, as a family, don't really agree with. Nothing R-rated or anything like that, just a line here or about how we came from sludge or one there about mother earth. When Lucy is old enough that it's an issue, we'll probably handle it the same way my parent's did, by talking about it or asking questions "He just said that we came from apes. Some people believe that but what does the bible say about where humans came from?". And other times we'll just skip that song. Craig already asks me to skip "My town is a salad bowl" since it bugs him and we probably won't be listening to "Not on the test" any time soon either. It is normally limited to just one, maybe two songs per cd so I'm willing to put up with it. But I know that is a person decision and I didn't want anyone buying his cd and scratching their heads trying to figure out why the blonde REPUBLICAN couple recommended it.

Classical ?

This I'm stuck on. I want to find a good classical cd to have on during down time, especially for 20-30 minutes before we start our bedtime routine and maybe before naps but I'm having a hard time finding a good one.

The normal classical cds have to much variety. We will be listening to a nice, calm, quiet song and I feel like it is just the right time to move towards bath and pjs when BOOM - Ode to Joy comes blaring on. Or their are too many "downer" songs. I know that it might seem minor, but I really would like happier tunes only please.

So I tried checking out a kid's classical cd from the library but it was awful. The song choices were okay but the way they made it a "kids" cd was to play it on what sounded like a toy piano. Very plinky and not a lot of harmony. Yuck.

I bought a baby lullaby 3 cd pack from Target (you know, the end cap that you can listen to with all the $10 cds on it) and the cd is just what I wanted but cheap quality so it is already skipping and having issues. I'm not really comfortable having Lucy's bedtime routine depend on a cd that I have to insert 4-5 times into my cd player before it will be recognized. Some people like living on the edge, but not me!

So anyone have a good classical baby cd? Or other kids songs they like?


Finally, some answers

It was never my intention to leave you waiting for answers for so long but we have been having some sleep issues around here and I'm afraid my brain isn't working so well. In fact, this week I had confused my calendar and had not one, not two, but three activities mistakenly scheduled for this week when they should have been next week. It's a really good thing I ran into a friend that happened to be going to those as well or I would have been driving here and there for nothing.

Anyway, on to the questions and answers:

Q) My biggest concern about the homebirth is that I'll be worried about the house (cleanliness, organization, decoration) instead of focusing on labor! In the hospital, I wasn't in charge of anything and I didn't have to wonder if there was going to be enough room. How did you turn off that part of your brain? Does it turn itself off?

A) In my experience, yes it does turn itself off.

When it came to organization, I worried too. Craig could never remember which drawer held onesies and which one held receiving blankets and what would happen if he mixed them up (hint: he'll open one and see the wrong items, then open the other and it will be okay :-) and he is always asking me where things are in the kitchen, what if he can't find something?

Previous to Lucy's birth I would have said I was a very neat person (well, I still am I just have a non self-napping baby so I'm having to let it go). And I did my fair share of nesting before labor but I had actually left a number of things to do to get ready for early labor, thinking as a first time mom I would be putsying around for a couple hours. That didn't happen so Craig had to scramble to put new sheets on the bed, gather up a few supplies we still needed, etc all by himself. I had even planned on cleaning up the bathroom (just wiping counters and stuff) but honestly, none of that mattered one bit. The one thing cleaning/organization I remember perfectly well about labor was when the midwife asked for the crockpot. I knew the answer but also knew I wouldn't be able to say it. But Craig did great with everything, even knowing where the crockpot was. I wouldn't make the mistake of leaving anything again but only because I wanted Craig with me instead of running around. I think most husbands know they have to be on the top of their game and will rise to the occasion.

Also, my midwife had visited the apartment several weeks earlier and seen the bedroom so even though I thought I would be spending time in the bath and on the bed, she knew how to set things up when I decided I like it better on the floor. Now, we didn't have a ton of space there, but I didn't really need it so even though all the homebirths I had read about happened in houses, don't think that apartments don't work too! (We did tell the neighbors that I was close to delivering so not to worry if they heard noises since one of my big worries was that they would hear my yelling and call the cops)

Q) Isn't it messy?

Yes and no. Birth is a bit messy, there is no getting around it. But that doesn't mean you are left with a yucky house afterwards. After the birth, my midwife wanted to hang around for a hour or so to make sure Lucy and I were doing okay and breastfeeding was getting off to a good start. While we napped, she cleaned up. She had put pads down everywhere so there was literally only one drop of blood on my cream-colored carpet and she got that out easily with hydrogen peroxide. By the time she left, the place looked better than when she got there!

And lastly, not really a homebirth question, but still a hippy mamma type one so I thought I'd add it in:

Q) What do you do with Lucy's diapers when you're in a public restroom? You can't really wash them right away like you can at home, so what do you do with the dirty liners?

This is changing. In the past, Lucy has been EBF (exclusively breast fed) and things were easy. All diapers could go straight into a wet bag. A wet bag is a waterproof, zippered bag that is fully washable so when it is emptied, it can go in the wash too. (I have a planet wise and highly recommend it). In a lot of places (on the train, for examples) I think it is actually easier than disposable because it is fully contained, I don't have to find a trash can.

Now that she is starting eat solids, it gets trickier. Wet diapers are the same but the "other" ones are a bit more work although there are options with how you handle that. You can do the old fashioned toilet dunk, buy or make a sprayer, or use flushable liners. I haven't actually done any of those yet, Lucy has only started having "different" diapers the last couple days and I just threw them in with my other ones. I will probably find out this afternoon when I wash them that I shouldn't have done that but I haven't had time (or access to a car) to go out lately. Tomorrow is Lucy's 6 month check up so I have to go to the city and I plan to stop and get some liners to use when we are out and about. They are thin but sturdy so you can pick them up and everything on them up and deposit it right into the toilet and the diaper is then fine to go in the wet bad. We will probably use these at my mom's house as well but tomorrow is our next scheduled Lowe's stop (we have to schedule them or we would go every day!) and I'll be having Craig pick up the supplies to make me a sprayer for the new house. Until we move in there, I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing.

To be honest, I am totally dreading this part of cloth diapers. It probably won't be as bad as I'm imagining but I've been spoiled with my EBF baby.


6 months!


You're half a year old already! These posts are normally filled with a list of all your milestones and achievements but this one might be a tad more sentimental. My dad used to always joke that he was going to put a brick on our heads so we would stop growing but I never knew he actually meant it. It is exciting to see you grow and learn new things but honestly, I am a little choked up about you being half way through your "babyhood."

Another first this month was your first election party! (Notice the elephant)

You started solids which means technically, weaning has begun. And you've even put yourself to sleep three times this week. The last few weeks have probably been the hardest other than the first week of your life. I know you haven't felt good and you've been extra clingy so even one week ago, I would have been so relieved to have you be more independent but now I kinda have mixed feelings about it. I'd better stop dwelling on that now or I'll start crying.

It does make me so glad you are my snuggly little girl. I didn't realize how much so until the last few outings we have been at where other moms and babies are but you are really a momma's girl. You like to go places and see new things and new people for a little while but mostly, you like to be somewhere familiar, especially sitting in my lap or being worn and talking to me. You've started staring up at me when I wear you. You'll look around for a few minutes then stop, look at me, smile, then go back to looking around. It's as if you need to check in.

Mommy is teaching me the joys of catalog shopping!

Every once in a while I'll realize you are cranky but I can't figure out why when you should be full, dry and well-rested and then I'll realize that we haven't had face to face time. So we sit and "talk" and you love it! You'll often hear some random word and think it's funny so I'll repeat it and you laugh, I'll repeat it and you'll laugh over and over again. But if I say the same word the next day, nothing - which then makes me laugh.

The "kisses" I talked about last month are definitely kisses now. They are messy but deliberate. I can even turn my cheek to you and say kiss and you will lean forward and slobber on me. And you love getting lots of kisses too. A "smoochie attack" rarely fails to get a laugh.

But you love your daddy too. I can tell now that you really do respond differently to us both. If you are hurt or hungry, you want me but you've realized that this "daddy" guy is fun to play with. I love watching you light up when he walks into the room and I can't wait to see your relationship develop more and more.

I feel like this month was the calm before the storm, since mostly you've been developing in a slow but steady manner, pushing up higher and holding it longer, scooting backwards, being more direct in your handling of objects, etc. I think that any day now, you are just gonna take off.

Disappointed that he couldn't get any pictures of you in a pumpkin last month, Daddy stuck you in a kimchi pot for another fun photo op.

The one thing that you already have down is sitting. Overnight you went from sitting 1-2 minutes with me worried you would topple at any moment to really sitting. Today you played with a pot and spoon for about 10 minutes without needing any assistance from me to stay up. I would have felt unnecessary but you couldn't get back onto your tummy without my help. Normally, you just lean forward into a crawl position then collapse to rest on your belly but the pot was in the way so you were stuck! You stopped playing and I could tell you wanted down but I just watched you while you sat and thought for a moment, then you started screaming at me.

You can't say any words but you can definitely communicate! We call you our screamy mimi. You're screams aren't always mad, sometimes you just want our attention, but they are always loud. Speaking of communicating, I'm also pretty sure you tried to sign "change" back to me several times this past week when I changed your diaper but only time will tell if I am imagining that or not. You're just getting so big! (I think you are about 17 lbs but we'll find out for sure at your doctor's appointment on Friday then I'll update this with the official numbers)


Baby Led Weaning (and a cute baby video)

I mentioned baby led weaning in an earlier post but didn't really explain what it was. Some of you may know but for those that don't and might be alarmed by my reports, I thought I would explain.

I read a lot of foodie blogs and with my interest in nourishing traditions style/whole foods eating I had seen a lot of making your own baby food. While pregnant, I had great visions of making all my homemade baby foods, freezing them in ice cube trays and serving my baby nothing but the best.

But then two things happened. One, my life changed. The last 6 months have been a bit more unsettled than I was expecting and that doesn't appear to be changing. I'm away from home about 1/3 of the time and the other time is spent going back and forth between two homes trying to get ready to move. I wouldn't change that right now but it doesn't make it easy to be super-domestic. Luckily, I also started hearing more and more about baby-led weaning and the more I heard, the more I loved!

It goes hand in hand with waiting for solids because by the time your baby is ready to eat, they are actually able to eat. The basic idea is two-fold.

1) Skip the purees. You give your baby food in a similar manner to what you would eat yourself. Even without teeth, babies can do a pretty good job of managing many foods. She may gag a bit, but its important to know that choking and gagging aren't the same. Gagging is a normal and health use of a reflex as she learns to move food back into her mouth. If it isn't working right, she gags it back up so she doesn't choke.

2) You let the baby feed herself. No opening your mouth up wide or making airplane movements to convince her to open hers. You give her food, she eats - or she doesn't. And she may take a while before she moves past the smushing it to the eating it stage. That's fine.We are actually turning out to be a little loose with this "rule." Lucy likes to hold and play with the food and she likes to eat (some) of it but she doesn't like to do both at the same time. She likes me to hold the food in front of her, then when she wants a bit she will lean forward with her mouth open and take it. Since she is still in charge of eating it when she so desires, I don't mind.

There are a several reasons while I think this method is great. Lucy will be sitting and eating dinner with us. It continues on the same self-regulated feeding that breastfeeding allows. Research shows babies will be less picky when they grow up since they get used to a wider variety of foods and textures. And one great short term benefit is that babies don't always have the same constipation problems that purees can bring on (the theory is that they don't get very much at first and gradually build up, they give their inexperienced little system a little bit more time to adjust). That alone should make it worth it! And you can read about those and others elsewhere if you wish but more than that, I like this method because I can do this!

I can do this at home, at my parent's, my in-laws next month or wherever our travels take us. I just feed her what we are going to be eating, with a little adjusting. Her first meal is a perfect example. I made sweet potatoes for our thanksgiving meal but covered ours in butter, orange zest and brown sugar. For Lucy, I just reserved some before all that, cut it into thick fry shaped pieces that would be easy for her to hold and let her at it. I started with just one food but if she was another month or two into eating, I could easily have given her shredded turkey and a couple green beans too.

To learn more about it:
Babyledweaning.com talks about Gil Rapley's research and the theory behind BLW.

Baby-led-solids.blogspot.com chronicles little buttercup's journey into the world of solids and is great for serving ideas.

But by far the most fun way to see it in action is youtube. Search Baby led weaning and there are lots of videos. And since BLW is more popular in England, although it is gaining popularity here in the U.S., not only do you get to watch babies eat, you get to listen to their parent's comment about it in British accents. Even if you don't have kids or any desire to do BLW, it's a great way to waste time. Archie's first food is a fun one. But of course, I think our kid is the cutest of them all, so here is Lucy enjoying her first banana. (And don't stop early, the last 10 seconds is my favorite :-)

She had already tasted sweet potatoes at this point but wasn't convinced she liked them. She would lean in to taste them, make a weird I-don't-think-I-like-this face, then lean in again. Silly baby. And apples were a no go. She picked them up and threw them but wasn't interested in eating them. But she is a fan of the 'nana.



We are still at my parents' so this is just going to be a quick update, but I couldn't skip the opportunity to write in peace while Lucy is happily sleeping away. I think she likes my parents' mattress better than ours because she sleeps great here. Or maybe we've just spent the three weeks prior to this dealing with teething, a bad cold, and the unpleasant effects those had on her sleep pattern so anything other than up every hour seems amazing!

Back to the point, Thanksgiving was good here. My mom always kept our menu consistent throughout the years so my aunt and I were able to copy it fairly easily by making the pies the night before (two pumpkin and one apple, the same every year!) and assembling the casseroles first thing in the morning. I think we were a little too concerned about being timely though - the turkey was done by 11am! We all ate a lot so we must have been hungry anyway.

Lucy also got her first meal - sweet potatoes. She had a good time playing with them and did taste them but I don't think she actually swallowed much. She'll get the hang of it in time and until then, at least we got some cute pictures!

Lucy has been enjoying all the attention she gets from Grandpa and Bubbie. We didn't want her other grandparents to miss out though, so here's just a sample of the view from around here:

Note on the video: Her new favorite activity is playing with pots and pans and she had been sitting there for about 5 minutes playing happily while I ran around trying to find the camera. Then as soon as I did, she stirred it a little too hard and got hurt/scared. But 2 minutes later she was back playing again. Why is it so difficult to capture the good moments on camera?!


Airport Anger

You can count me among the people that think TSA has gone too far with its latest round of intensive passenger screening. What was once ridiculousness has now become abuse. Despite the fact that, as TSA backers say, "flying is not a right," nobody should have to ensure these X-rays or a grope-down as a primary screening method, without that passenger having raised suspicion first.

One might respond, "It's necessary to keep us safe." That would be a legitimate argument, but there's no reason to think that this stuff is accomplishing anything. While TSA reacts to the last attack (we had to take our shoes off after the shoe bomber, they "touch our junk" after the undie bomber), terrorists are working on other plots.

If we wanted to get serious, we would stop screening little kids, nuns, and people with colostomy bags. We have to admit that the people trying these attacks come from, or have ties to, certain countries. It doesn't have to be "racial profiling." Profile young men with ties to Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc. Sure, keep on doing random screening of other people, but let's stop bending over backwards to appear to be truly random by screening people who obviously aren't threats. Of course, this won't happen.

But on a personal note, I'm undecided over whether I should choose X-ray or pat down if I am posed with the choice when I fly at Christmas (if this system survives that long). I like the idea of opting out of the scanners as a form of protest, and thus slowing things down and creating extra work for TSA. But then I have to be patted down. So I'll have to think about it.


Gearing up

The last three or four weeks I've been feeling someone watching me. Specifically, watching me while I'm eating. It can be kinda funny, you move your spoon back and forth and it looks like her eyes move too. So then you go up and down, in circles, back and forth and her poor littles eyes start going crazy. Yep, Lucy's watching.

Apparently, even though you all know where I stand on solids too early, she didn't get the message. And while I still didn't think she was really ready, I began to feel a little guilty eating in front of her. So I did what all women do when the feel guilty - go shopping!

Last weekend, Craig and I hit the road and went baby supply shopping. We got a neat hook on high chair (we look at the phil and ted's metoo but liked this one better).


Our wooden one is already at the new house since I thought we would be moved in by now - ha! This one is working fine for us now and will be great for when we are visiting our families over the holidays and at restaurants.

We also picked up a couple bummis bibs since they seem to be the favorite in my mommy circle, a table mat and a micro-steamer bowl to round out our purchase. We plan on doing baby led weaning so this whole eating thing is gonna get messy fast. But that should be pretty much all we need to buy.

For the last week, Lucy has been joining us at the table for our meals. But that doesn't mean she is getting any food. Nope, we sit her in her seat, buckle her up and give her an empty bowl and spoon!

See, I heard this theory that since babies are little humans and humans are social creatures, babies are surprisingly social. They want to be doing what everyone else is doing, go figure. (Why do I think this isn't going to be the last time she will be socially ready for something before she is developmentally ready? I don't think I will find it so amusing if she wants to start dating at 13 though.)

So I thought we would test it out. And it has been working. Instead of fussing in her swing and staring us down, she sits happily in her chair, waving her spoon back and forth and banging her bowl around - just like us. Okay, not quite like us, but close enough that she doesn't seem to notice the difference!

She's turning 6 months really really soon so actually food will be making an appearance any day now, but until then, don't tell Lucy she's missing out!


Bathroom bits

We bought a bathroom exhaust fan last night…and the crowd goes wild! After all that, we just went in to Lowe's, found one for under $100 that had a light with it and walked out. Easy peasy. It was a bit anti-climactic.

I never did respond to Rachel’s question about the need for a heater. The only reason we were considering it is about 17 lbs, bald and used to cry whenever she was given a bath. Yep, that is “used to” as in – past tense! I really do think it was because she was cold. Our bathroom is small and the vent in there won’t shut so during the summer when we had the air on, it was colder than most of the house. Now that we have the heat on, it is one of the warmest rooms. And she know likes baths again. Coincidence? I think not.

I’ll make a confession, until last week when we tried out baths again, I was only giving her a shower once every 14 days or so. I know that is a long time but even with showers, she would cry as soon as she got out of the (nice warm) water into the (mean cold) air. And not just fuss a little bit, cry so hard she would throw up, which would often mean she ended the bath messier than when she started out. She didn’t understand that it was only for a few seconds and then I would put clothes on her and she would be warm again. Since she wasn’t running around all day getting sweaty and dirty, I thought two weeks worked. But we have now moved back to bathing every other day and I must say, I do feel better about it. So why didn’t we go with the heated fan?

Well, Rachel made some good points about the negatives to a heater, then the electrician made an even better one – it would require its own circuit and add an extra hundred dollars to the installation costs (plus the additional cost to buy the heater/fan combo) so we said "no thanks". If we have problems with Lucy and the cold again, we’ll just buy a space heater. I would say go back to the bi-weekly baths but she might get a some sort of complex if her dad keeps referring to her as his “stinky feet baby”.


Lucy's favorite things: Books

Christmas is fast approaching and I know many of you have little ones in your life, either your own or nieces, nephews and babysitees. I thought I would share with you some of Lucy's favorite things. In return though, you have to promise to share your favorite items too since I am always on the lookout for awesome baby things.

We'll start with books. I've been reading to Lucy since she was a newborn although it took a couple months before she knew what was going on. Now she likes it and it is amazingly easy to see which ones are her favorites. Some books she will sit on my lap but be squiggling and wiggling and looking around while other times she is glued to the page. Repetition is one of the biggest LLL (Lucy likeability level) factors so I have to like them enough to read and reread them too. The ones I've listed below are the ones that when I start to read them, she immediately grins as if to say "Hey, I know this one!" while not causing me curl up in a ball if I think about having to read them again.

The winners: Sandra Boyton Books.

I had never even heard of Sandra Boyton until we were given Moo, Baa, La La La. I'm not sure who gave it so us, but I'm guessing it was a mom. It currently resides in our car for emergency baby entertainment purposes but I've also picked up The Going to Bed Book and Horns to Toes and in between at book fairs. The pictures are colorful and fun but not too busy. There are just enough words to keep us both entertained but the pages moving quickly enough. With a great rhythm without being annoying like Dr. Seuss can tend to be, I think they would be a great stocking stuffer or baby shower gift add-on. I plan on getting more (But Not the Hippopotamus sounds especially promising).

Runner-up: A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

This isn't the full version but a board book with 8 poems and vintage drawings and paintings to accompany them. Lucy likes it but it gets read mostly because it is my favorite - and I don't normally like poems. We read 2-3 every night as part of our bedtime routine. While we will probably get the full version later on, right now this is perfect because the 8 poems gives me enough variety while still allowing her to recognize them all. I had no idea when I got it for $1 at a book fair that it would be such a great addition to our library.

What about you? What books do you and your little ones enjoy?


Questions anyone?

I definitely planned to write this back when Lucy was just a few weeks ago but it wasn't until a couple days ago when I was reading some midwifery materials that I realized I never did! Better late than never, I guess.

When I was pregnant and planning a home birth, I was pretty confident in my midwife and the whole process but I still didn't understand how certain things would work. I just couldn't picture it all. I think that would have been the case no matter what type of birth I was planning but at least I would have known people I could ask if I was going to a hospital.

Now that I've been through it, especially since I know at least one mama who reads this blog and is planning a home birth, I thought I would open myself up to questions. Even if it seems like a weird question to ask, believe me, I probably wondered about it before too so don't be shy. I'll collect them all then post the answers in a couple days.

So if you are preparing for a home birth, interested in birth stories or none of the above but still curious as to what the heck we did with the placenta or why the need for all that hot water, ask away!


My dream fan

No, I'm not talking about the bathroom exhaust fan. We have narrowed it down but still haven't picked a final one. It's ridiculous and I don't want to talk about it.

I'm talking about my ceiling fan. I'm excited about my ceiling fan. You might even say giddy. And those of you who have not spent some time looking at them lately probably won't understand why but 95% of ceiling fans are ridiculously ugly. I tell the truth. Just plain ug-lee. And we were starting off with a number of pretty limiting conditions:

  • We needed a hugger style. They don't work quite as well as down rod styles but our ceilings are only about 8 ft tall so anything that dropped down too low would be dangerous. Not cool (pun intended).
  • We need a smaller fan. Most fans only come in 52 inches but that was going to be too big and a lot of smaller fans look like they belong in kids bedrooms. Despite Craig's insistence that we could make a plane propeller fan themed living room work, I didn't really think that was the direction we wanted to go.

That got rid of a large percentage of the fans out there. And aesthetically, I wanted something casual and contemporary but also slightly retro. Preferable chrome or silver colored although really anything other than brass would have worked.

So when I saw this
I knew it was the one. It fit all our needs and was very highly rated. And it comes with a remote and guys love remotes, right? Not so fast.

It took some convincing because it was a little more than Craig thought one should spend on a fan. But after seeing that I was right my selection really was the best choice for our space and that I didn't just pick an expensive fan for the heck of it, he agreed. Our fan is one its way home!



We haven't been posting these last two days - because we've been so busy working, and I have the battle scars to prove it.

When I got back from the trip, Craig had already finished most of the painting so all we had left was the living rooms and hall walls and those went pretty quick. We have now finished painting!

Craig had off today so we decided it was time to tackle the carpet. Wednesday afternoon, while I hung out in the car with a napping* Lucy, Craig pulled it and the carpet pad up. But of course, that wasn't the hard part. We spent that evening and most of today pulling up the tack strips and the bazillion staples that held the pad in place. I think we are about 80% done which is good since I've already gouged myself with a staple, scrapped my arm with a tack strip and given myself a big blood blister with the needle nose pliers. The staple was the worst, I saw the
two or three drops of
gushing blood and started to feel woozy. Now I've started wearing gloves so my hands are safe but after spending the day on the floor with all the dust from the carpet, my sinuses are killing me. Clumsy and congested - I'm so pathetic.

I also got started replacing the light switches from old almond switches with "fancy" 1960s plates to new white rocker styles ones. I have a fair amount experience with electrical work from my job back in Utah but not in a home setting so I've been studying lately. I was pretty confident in my ability to do some small projects although I think the thing I know most is when to let a professional do the job. Replacing some outlets and the switches now and changing out light fixtures later is doable but we had an electrician come out to give an estimate for a couple bigger things like installing a ceiling fan (the living room had no overhead lighting), bathroom exhaust, and grounding a couple outlets.

The funny thing is that it didn't take me long to pick out which ceiling fan I want but picking out the bathroom exhaust fan has been a big headache. There are so many choices, too many choices. Do I want just a fan or do I want a light and heater too? How quiet do I want it? I don't want it to sound like I'm sitting next to an rocket taking off but since the living room is pretty close by, I think there could be some benefit to a little noise if you know what I mean. We checked out a bunch of options at Lowe's today but still haven't come to a final decision and I've probably put 3-4 hrs into researching already. It's ridiculous because as soon as it is installed, I don't think I'll ever think about it again. Now I know why people who have built a house say they will never do that again - decisions are so tiring.

So that is what we have been up to lately. More to come soon!

*the 10 minute drive from apartment to new house is the worst, she always falls asleep just as we get there and if I wake her up, she thinks she has had a nap so she doesn't need on but is still tired and cranky!


Cleanup Duty

The main drawback of our new abode is that we are on a semi-busy highway. It's not so bad, because our backyard has plenty of play space, so we don't really need to use the front yard for anything. Plus, it has good visibility for my political yard signs. However, it does mean garbage ends up in the ditch in front of our house. I'm not really sure if I own the ditch, or if the state or county does, but I'm sure nobody else will pick up the garbage, so I get to do it. Here's some stuff I found the other day:

  • Macaroni and cheese box. Maybe that person has a microwave in the car?
  • Empty toilet paper roll. This is the only bathroom-related item I want to find.
  • Beer bottle. Of course.
  • Long-expired temporary license tags.



Simplifiying. Typically when you read blogs about making things simply, the posts are accompanied by pictures of cups of coffee or sunsets and conjure up images of calm and peacefulness. That is not my goal in simplifying. I'm not trying to free up time to sit back and drink a latte, take a leisurely stroll through the forest or sit on the beach and watch the sunset, I'm just trying to get by. So here are some easy and quick ways I've been simplifying:

  • Decluttering my emails. Instead of deleting each day the emails I've signed up for but don't want to get anymore, I'm actually going to the site and unsubscribing. It only takes a minute or two for each one but hopefully it will streamline my email. (But don't "unsubscripe" from real spam, like "get a bigger *** in 3 days with our magic pills", that will only let them know you are real and send more your way.)
  • Throw out magazines. I've come to the realization that I will never read them again and if I keep them all, I won't be able to find that one project idea I really did want to follow through with. Today I sat with Lucy and tore out the pictures/projects I liked, stuck them in a notebook, and threw the rest away. Lucy enjoyed tearing and drooling on the rest of the magazine while I worked so I actually got a lot done in just 30 minutes.
  • I put a paper bag next to Lucy's changing table. Whenever I get her dressed in something only to find out it no longer fits, I just toss it in the bag. This happens several times a week and if the bag wasn't there, I would probably put it back in the dresser thinking I would sort through all the clothes later - but never would. This takes no time at all and when the bag is full, I take it downstairs to my storage system.
What little steps do you take to make life easier?


Brain dump

I'm still here at my parent's until this weekend. Craig is at home working at work during the day and working on our house in the evenings (but don't worry, I let him take a break to watch the election :-) I think he's making good progress and I'm excited to see it this weekend although he gave me some awful news last night - the previous owners were technically correct when they said that under the carpet was hardwood, they just neglected to say that in between the two was a layer of tile. It's only in the two bedrooms so it isn't the end of the world, just a more work. Craig kept telling me to calm down when I was ranting about it last night. It's a "safe" subject to get mad about though. If I get upset about other things I can't always turn it off so sometimes I just need to vent emotions other ways. I kinda thought that when really bad things happen, the smaller bad things in life wouldn't seem like such a big deal in comparison. Intellectually that is true but my nerves are a bit raw and I get upset over silly stupid stuff more easily because of that, even when I don't want to.

That said, things here are going pretty well. I have a bad track record when it comes to visiting my mom. The last two big visits I had planned both started out with a 911 call and my mom ending up in the hospital. It's a good thing I don't believe in "luck" since I'd hate to be considered my mom's bad luck charm. I think that God just knew I needed to be here those times and lined things up that way, but it does make me nervous so it took a day or two before I was able to relax and enjoy our time.

But we have been enjoying out time. We've just been hanging out in the living room with her, Lucy playing on the floor while we talk, watch tv or listen to praise and worship music. It's really great having her here at home and I know she feels the same way. The weather is great so we even went out of the porch for a while. They finished installing her ramp yesterday so that should be happening more frequently until it gets too cold.

Yesterday, she started getting really tired because her platelet levels were low. We got her scheduled to go in and get a transfusion this morning and I knew it was going to be okay but I still hate seeing her like that. I got upset and normally I try to hide it because too much is going on but this time I was able to talk to her and tell her how I felt. Her communication is improving, especially when it comes to telling us her needs, but she still can't just sit down with me and have a chat especially when she is tired so most of her comforting was a hug and a hand squeeze but she did say a few words and I know her well enough that I knew what she was trying to tell me. I feel guilty when she is the one comforting me but I also know she is still my mom, and that is what she wants to do.

We all stay pretty positive most of the time but sometimes you need to address the scary elephant in the room, get emotional, then move on so in an odd way, it was nice to have those moments with her. And they really can't last too long because Lucy is always there just playing away on her tummy. No matter how deep the conversation is, when it's interrupted by a baby "raspberry" everyone always has to laugh.

I didn't have much of a plan when I sat down to write but I think this post summarizes the week
well, life is all about ups and downs. I'm trying to focus on the ups.


Cutest chick on the block

We had a fun halloween this year. Lucy and I have been at my parent's since the middle of last week and Craig joined us over the weekend. He brought along the pumpkin from our pumpkin patch adventure and Saturday afternoon, attempted to carve it for Lucy to sit in. We thought that surely we had gotten on big enough but half way through the carving we realized that there was no way she was gonna fit...oops. She didn't seem thrilled with the idea anyway and Craig ended up carving the other side so it was not a big loss.

Trick or treating was supposed to be Saturday, from 4-8, which seemed like a long time to me. I don't want to seem like a old curmudgeon but I really doubt if any kids young enough to trick-or-treat have that kind of stamina and I hate giving out candy to anyone old enough to buy their own.

I put those feelings aside though, got out our ton of candy and finished getting dressed up so we were could be ready for give it out. Lucy was a little chick and I was her farmer. (Craig was a party pooper and didn't dress up.)

4 o'clock came - and went. No tricker or treaters. Finally at around 4:45 we had our first batch but they were really slow in trickling in. It wasn't long though before Lucy was done with the whole halloween thing so we passed off our candy duties to a willing uncle Ben. By the morning there wasn't much candy left, I'm not sure if we had a lot of kids show up later in the evening or if the hander-outer took his fair share of treats in the process but either way, fun was had by all so I'm going to call the evening a success.


Wedding Weekend

It was a packed weekend. We got to Austin Thursday morning and after a little nap then headed to the rehearsal. Lucy made it through the first go through hanging out with Craig but soon decided that only mom would do. Luckily I’ve been a bridesmaid before and groomswomaning isn’t very different.

1001122 Wedding weekend 005 I’m not sure what we found so amusing but apparently someone said something funny.

1001122 Wedding weekend 012 Lucy is hanging with two of her three favorite uncles.

We tried to convoy to the rehearsal dinner but someone had a little breakdown on the way so we sent the rest of the family ahead. After a change of clothes we continued (have I ever mentioned that when Lucy gets really upset, she projectile vomits?). Before we got there though, we had to change clothes again due to a diaper incident - so much for preparing cute outfits in advance! Luckily once we got to the bbq place (of course, what other food would we eat in Texas!) she quickly fell asleep in the sling and slept through most of it.

Friday was wedding day! We spent the morning at the house, I tried to get Lucy to take really good naps and my brother and his friends worked all the kinks out of the video feed system. We had to get to the church fairly early for pictures but this time I had learned my lesson and kept Lucy in a diaper until the very end.

1001122 Wedding weekend 030 Windsor is a true kindred spirit and baby lover, holding a baby while in her wedding dress is brave indeed! This is only the picture Craig captured on the sly. I can’t wait to see the real ones. 1001122 Wedding weekend 036 Eventually I did get her dressed though so we could get a few family type pictures.

1001122 Wedding weekend 037C’mon guys, calm down. Let’s try again.

1001122 Wedding weekend 039 That’s better.

Then it was walk down the aisle time! The wedding was wonderful: the homily was great, all about how to share the gospel through your marriage, then after the vows and rings were exchanged, we had the Eucharist and Rick and Windsor served us the wine. It was so sweet.

Windsor looked gorgeous. The theme was vintage and family and when everything was described to me these past few months, I couldn’t really picture it but once I saw it, I totally got it and it all looked beautiful. Craig and Lucy didn’t get to see much of the wedding. Lucy was just not in the mood to sit and be quiet so they hung around outside with another baby/parent duo.

Then the party started! They had a live band. They were really good but a bit loud for a baby so we stayed in the back. That didn’t mean we didn’t dance though – here is Lucy and her daddy swaying to “My Girl”. Isn’t a burpy the perfect accessory to a nice suit?

1001122 Wedding weekend 050 But I have to say that watching my cousin’s little ones dance was way more fun that dancing ourselves.

1001122 Wedding weekend 051 1001122 Wedding weekend 052

Some of you might recognize L, he was my ring bearer. He is quite a bit bigger now although just as cute and as you can see, quite smooth.

After dinner, I took a few minutes to look at the tables they had set up. They had brought it a lot of neat family things, like story cards in the favor bags so we read about her family and remember some of our families’ favorite times. There were pictures of not just Rick and Windsor but lots of family pictures as well. And as I mentioned before, a table with notes to write for my mom. I love how family is so important to both of them and I love that now both of them are a part of my family! Yeah for a new sister/aunt.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it through the whole event since Lucy hit her breaking point about 10pm but I do hope to watch the rest next time I visit my parents. It was okay since I was in charge of getting Ben back to the house at a relatively reasonable hour as well. He had the ACT test early in the morning – but that’s a whole other story.

Most weddings end with the reception but not this one. Since it was on a Friday night, we still had all of Saturday to celebrate. Saturday morning we took a little cruise up the lake. It rained right before and right after the cruise but I guess the weather knew we were trying to celebrate because it was gorgeous during the ride. Here’s the newly married couple, aren’t they cute?

1001122 Wedding weekend 058 Here’s the not-so-newly married couple, but we’re cute too, right?1001122 Wedding weekend 060The aloe is in the picture because just a few minutes before this picture was taken, Lucy grabbed it and poked herself in the eye with it. I guess Craig wanted to remember the traumatic experience? The cruise was great because it gave me a chance to catch up with my middle school friend Emily before she had to leave town again.

1001122 Wedding weekend 070Saturday evening I took absolutely no pictures, but that was only because I was too busy talking and eating. We had a bbq with family and old friends that we pretty much consider family. Lucy even cooperated and slept well on my dad’s bed in the back of the house so I could actually talk to people. It was a great time to catch up on what everyone has been up to lately and say goodbye to Rick and Windsor one last time before we all went our separate ways. Sunday morning, bright and early, we flew back home and I took a nice long nap.