Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Free Baby Products

I already posted this on my blog so if you read both, sorry:

A lady in our ward (Eva Jean) called me today saying that her daughter is getting rid of some baby things that she has and wanted to know if I wanted any of them. She said everything is in great condition and not hugely used. I claimed the double stroller that she offered - we were going to be buying one soon. But we don't need any of the other things. So here's the list:

A car seat - (I don't know which kind or what the limits are. Talk to Eva Jean about that.) She said it's only slightly used and in great condition.

A play mat thing

A swing.

That's all I can remember. I think that was it. So let me know if you need any of these things, or let Eva Jean know directly. Otherwise they are going to DI. Thanks!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Calendar 2008

My original plan was to just recycle last year's advent calendar but when I looked at it there were several things that we just couldn't do in Egypt. Things like visiting Temple Square or going Christmas Light Looking. So I made up some new ones, only I forgot to include any "grown-up" Christmas stories. Rachel doesn't really have the attention span for that, though, so I suppose we can read those as we see fit and add more grown-up things as our family grows.

Here's what we'll be doing this year:

  • Watch "Mr. Krueger's Christmas"
  • Watch "Nora's Christmas Gift"
  • Watch "The Story of the Other Wise Man"
  • Watch "The Nativity"
  • Watch "Joy to the World"
  • Reach the Christmas story and act it out
  • Watch the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional (Dec. 7)
  • Choose a favorite Christmas song to sing
  • Take a donkey ride on Daddy's back
  • Play a game together
  • Sing your favorite Christmas hymn
  • Watch Mommy and Daddy dance to "their" song
  • Turn on Christmas music and dance around together
  • Go caroling to a friend or neighbour
  • Go to the branch Christmas party (Dec. 13)
  • Share your testimony about the Savior
  • Tell why you love someone
  • Send out Christmas letters (Dec. 5)
  • Call Grandparents to wish them a Merry Christmas (Dec. 24/25)
  • Share a favorite Christmas memory
  • Draw a Christmas picture
  • Make snowflakes
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Sing Christmas songs around the Christmas tree

The ones with set dates will be reserved; no surprise fun on those days. The others I cut into strips and put them into an empty kleenex box. We'll take turns drawing them out and hopefully it will help us get into the Christmas spirit. Another benefit of putting them in the box is that if we draw out a time-consuming one and Andrew still has too much homework we can put it back in and fish around for a quick one and leave the time-consuming ones until after finals.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Go To Sleep!

When your baby was, lets say about 9 months old--what was his/her bedtime like? Did he/she cry a ton in the crib, while you listened in the other room? Or did you rock them until they were asleep in your arms? Or do you just let them stay up until they just crash? Bedtime rituals? I want to hear it all.

Mostly, I lack the patience to rock him over 15 minutes each night, and sometimes that just doesn't seem like enough, because once I lay him down, Michael just screams. But I can only take so much screaming. But I don't want to take him out, because he only thinks it's play time again.

So I'd love to hear about some of your experiences, and advice...please.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Potty Diaries

On Friday Rachel woke up at 7:30 AM and went potty. She went all through church without an accident. Then we stayed after church to be home taught. Then we stayed even later so that Andrew could do his home teaching. Rachel finally went pee (in the potty) while Andrew was home teaching with Girgis and Joseph.

Then Andrew had to home teach the Lewises, so we went over to their house and Rachel stayed dry the whole time. We then had a lunch appointment for a lunch/dinner at the Barton’s and Rachel managed to stay dry until around 3:30…when she peed her pants…but she was standing up when she peed and her rubber pants contained the whole mess. Amazing! I was really happy about that because the Bartons have a very nice home and I would have been forever embarrassed had she peed on their floor.

She napped for 45 minutes once we got home, woke up and went potty. Then she played with her new toys until it was time to go to the Sharp’s for dessert and games. She stayed dry there until around 9:00 PM when she peed in her pants again. She just doesn’t do well at other people’s houses, I guess, but since she should have been in bed I suppose I can’t really blame her for peeing her pants.

We were in the middle of a good game of Settlers (I won, so it must have been a good game) and Rachel just wouldn’t simmer down. She was jumping on the couch, running around the apartment, and “mopping” the floors until 11:00 PM when we left. We tried putting her down, but she was in a screaming mood and we didn’t want her to wake up Finn or Abby, so she stayed up virtually all day long from 7:30 AM until 11:00 PM with only two accidents all day long. Not bad for a 14 month baby, I think…

Today Rachel got up at 7:00 AM, but since she didn’t go to bed until 11:00 last night I just nursed her and put her right back in her crib. She fell back asleep until around 10:00, got up, and wouldn’t go potty. We bummed around the apartment, watching the Presidential Debate on CNN, while we waited for her to be ready to go. Eventually she went and then we left to go explore the Citadel. She stayed dry the entire time we were out, I was a little nervous to have her be in underwear because I was “wearing” her, but I don’t like the idea of putting her back in diapers when she’s doing so well in underwear. She did a wonderful job, though, and went potty when we got home, and then went down for a nap.

When she got up she didn’t want to go potty, so we let her play but continued to pester her about going on the potty about every 10 minutes or so. She ate dinner and still didn’t want to go on the potty, so we let her play again, still pestering her about going.

Finally, around 7:00 PM, she dropped her toys and kind of squatted. Then she stood up straight and ran over to me shaking her little fist like a wild woman. I was so happy!

We’ve been trying to teach her the sign for “potty” for a few months now. You make the letter “T” by holding your hand in a fist with your thumb between your pointer and middle fingers, then your shake it back and forth to mean “toilet.” Rachel hasn’t been able to get her thumb between her fingers yet so she usually just shakes her fist. She’s never done it to let me know that she has to go before, though; she’s only done it when she’s already sitting on the potty and we’re talking about it.

So I ran her to the potty, pulling off her undies as we went. It was a good job I did that, too, because the minute I set her down she let everything go.

We celebrated her communication with high fives all around and a standing ovation and lots of hugs and kisses.

Rachel is doing a wonderful job at going on the potty. I’m so proud of her! And I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I can’t even remember the last time I’ve had to change or wash out a poopy diaper (of Rachel’s). It’s had to have been at least 2 weeks? I’m not sure. Let’s just say that elimination communication is the bomb. With the next one, I think we’ll start a little earlier. With Rachel, we’ll just keep on keeping on. She’s doing so well!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FHE Idea

Since we've been married, Family Home Evening lessons have always revolved around very grown-up topics and grown-up conversation. We've used big words, no visuals, and lots of scriptures.

We continued with this after Rachel was born. She spent most of her FHEs nursing or sleeping.

She's bigger now, though, and a lot more focused and we've been struggling with what to teach her and how. We lack resources and we lack creativity. Rachel loves to look through her "reverence book" and talk about the things in the pictures--sacrament, temples, prophets, Jesus, etc.--and that's been going alright, but what we really wanted was some sort of direction to go with this. We want to teach her the basic gospel principles in our home so that she can start building her testimony today.

But how do you help a one year old do that?

You use the new nursery manual! I'm so excited that they've redone this! It has awesome little lessons that are still a little too long for Rachel's sake but simple enough that she can sit through about half of one. There are pictures and activities with every lesson. In short, it's awesome.

Andrew taught the first lesson this Monday and Rachel seemed to enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Car Seats

Copied from our blog:

Now that Amy is 1, the time to get her a front facing car seat is coming closer. (We're not quite ready to be done with the carrier that we can just bring in the house without waking her up. I love that. But before long, it will be time to change.) So I was just curious if any of you parents have opinions of what you did/ didn't like in the car seats you've gotten. What kind of features should we look for? Do you have favorite brands or even specific car seats? We have been pleased with graco so far and would be happy to get another graco car seat. I plan to do some research/ price shopping before we get one, but I thought this would be a good way to start the process. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Am a Mother

I'm going to post this on three of the blogs I post on so more people see it. Sorry for those of you who read all those blogs. I just loved this book!!!

I Am a Mother
by Jane Clayson Johnson

It's the story of an LDS woman who chooses to be a stay-at-home mom rather than continue in her successful, high profile career. She refutes myths the world would have women believe about motherhood being inferior somehow.

My sister, Laurel recommended this book to me - no surprise. We talked about it yesterday, and she said that she was surprised how much it touched her because it was already all what she totally believed in. I felt that way, too. Her story was encouraging and inspirational and fun to read. She had great things to say about motherhood. Reading her book is quite similar to reading Elder Ballard's conference talk from last conference in that it makes you just feel good about being a mom and takes off a bit of the ridiculous and unnecessary pressure we moms sometimes put on ourselves. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lanisinoh made my day

Rachel went through the diaper bag a few days ago, scattering this and that all over the living room. Forgotten diapers, toys, extra outfits, and other random items found themselves decorating our floor. Among all of Rachel's paraphernalia was an unopened package of breast pads.

I have finally reached the point where I don't leak a gallon of milk every time Rachel whimpers and have been able to go without breast pads for a few weeks now. Before that I used washable cotton pads, not the disposable kind. But I had received a free sample of Lansinoh disposable breast pads and they got placed in the diaper bag for emergencies. They've been in there for about a year. I'd totally forgotten that I had them.

I remembered when I was cleaning up the living room and found them.

On the box was this little message,

"Good for you! Breastfeeding is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Breastmilk not only enhances your baby's growth and development but provides health benefits for you as well. Lanisinoh realizes that it isn't easy to breastfeed in today's hectic environment. You are giving your child the best possible start in life and you have our respect, encouragement and full support."

I just about cried.

I've been really emotional, what with my little baby reaching that year mark and all. I've been going through her pictures and just crying, wondering if I've taught her everything I should have taught her by now, if I sang enough, if I played enough, if I held her enough.... You know, all the am-I-a-good-mother thoughts.

When I found this box of breast pads I again found myself awash in emotion. I remembered how difficult it was for us to start--we didn't really "get" it until she was at least 3 months old! All the pain, and the tears, and the pain, and the pain, and the frustration, and the pain. I remembered how excited I was the first day she latched on by herself without any problems. I remembered all the fun times we've had just sitting, holding each other, getting to know each other, stroking each other's faces. Oh, and then the biting! Ack, the biting!

I love the bond that nursing has helped Rachel and I make. I love that I "have to" spend time with my baby because she "has to" eat--it means that I always get a turn holding her no matter how many people are there to hold her for me!

I'm not quite sure when I'll be weaning Rachel. After our move to Egypt. Maybe around the time she enters nursery. Maybe beyond that. I don't know.

It's nice to be reassured, though, that I made a good choice to breastfeed. I'm not sure why that little blurb on the back of the box moved me to tears. Perhaps I just happened upon it on a day when I needed a little encouragement myself.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Iron Chef

Alright all you aspiring chefs, wives, or anyone who cooks, I need your expertise. I have quite a few ingredients in my house that I haven't really touched, mostly because I don't know what to make with them. I've listed a few of these items below-read through them.

Small White Beans, Black Beans, Red Kidney Beans. All of these beans are dry, by the way.
Mango Chutney (I used this once, but haven't touched it since. Ideas?)
Yellow Corn Meal (Something besides just plain cornbread)
Dry Ranch Dressing Packets

Please share your recipes and ideas with me!

Friday, June 27, 2008

First feeding!! woohoo!!

I have a few milestones i want to share with you all. About a week ago, Katryn slept through the night!! she fell asleep for good about 9pm, and didn't wake up until 7am!! Needless to say, I was dying. . .I thought I was going to pop! She hasn't done that since though. Probably a fluke :)

On wednesday, she rolled over! From her stomach to her back!! woohoo!! She was scooching forward, trying to get to her toy, and just kicked right over! Matt and I were both cheering and clapping for her, and she just grinned at us like, "I totally did that"

and yesterday, we fed her cereal for the first time! She loved it. Everytime she saw the spoon, she'd open her mouth and just start kicking her feet for it. She stayed pretty clean too, I was impressed. And she didn't want to stop, we finally just stopped feeding her, because I didn't want to clean up puke in the middle of the night!
(and the rumor about babies sleeping longer if you give them cereal before bed. . .total lie, she woke up the same amount she always did--exact same times as well)

anyway, I knew you ladies would all understand my excitement behind all this!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beware of the monsters

Hi all you moms of toddlers out there,
My sweet, almost 2 year old girls have turned into MONSTERS lately. They hit (not only each other, but me and my husband as well - that really pushes my buttons), they bite, they push and shove, and Isabelle has been throwing some royal tantrums lately. Sadly, the nursery leader informed us on Sunday that Eliza bit a classmate. I really don't know how to handle it all. And I don't even know where it is coming from. They can't communicate very well yet (I think their language skills are lagging because of their twinness) and I attribute a lot of their behavior to frustration, but still, where do they learn this from? They don't see mommy and daddy hitting and they don't watch it on TV, so is this instinctual? How have you handled this type of behavior? Ignore it? Time outs? What? I am at a total loss. I put them in time outs, explain to them why I put them in time out, but not five minutes later, they strike again. Seems like the time out is completely ineffective. So, my big question is how do you teach not to hit?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cloth Diapers

A number of friends have asked me about cloth diapers recently. We use cloth diapers because they are a lot cheaper than disposables and will be easier to use out in Egypt. We're also doing elimination communication with Rachel and so often catch her just as she's starting to go, remind her to stop, and then go to the potty, so her diaper would only be a little wet. I felt bad putting a used disposable on her, but felt bad throwing it away because it was hardly used. So cloth works out well for us.

We're fairly new to this, but here's our little system.

We buy our diapers from Cotton Babies. The "try-it kit" probably isn't a bad way to start. I wished that I had purchased it instead of just the prefolds when I started out. It comes with prefolds and the expensive kind of covers. We just bought the cheap-o covers. They work fine, but for value, the "try-it kit" is actually pretty good, I think. It's $30 and you get 2 $12 covers, plus the prefolds. Anyway, we've survived without nice diaper covers, but there have been occasions when I wished we didn't have to pull the diaper covers down...

We get Indian prefolds and Dappi covers. We bought our pins at Wal-mart or somewhere, but you can also get them from this website. Folding the prefolds is a little tricky, and counterintuitive, really, since they call it a prefold, yet you fold it. Yeah, that's because the "birdseye" ones are even worse--they are just a flat layer of flanel and you have to fold it in thirds and then wrap it on your baby. The prefolds come ready to just wrap on your baby. I don't know if that made sense.

Anyway, I had to have my mom come and help me learn to fold a diaper. And I looked at a couple of websites. I found this one most helpful, but if you search for "diapering 101" or "how to fold a cloth diaper" or anything like that, a number of helpful sites should pop up for you.

I do the "twist" wrap for Rachel. I find it a little less bulky.

Now for the AIO (all in ones)...there is so much lingo to learn with cloth diapering, it's kind of ridiculous. I have a couple of friends who also use cloth diapers and I polled them about what they use. One of my friend only uses BumGenius. Crystal uses Bummies or something like that (I don't remember). She warned me to stay clear of Kushies, which is the kind they sell at Wal-Mart, so I haven't tried them. I just took her word for it. I would also steer clear of Happy Heiny's and Mommy's Touch. We tried them in our trial pack and they just didn't hold water (get it? They just didn't hold water...ah, ha, ha).

We did like Haute Pockets and Bum Genius, although, the Bum Genius are our favorite. They have a cool little flap thing to help keep the liner inside, which is nice. The Haute Pockets kind doesn't have that, although I think they have more colors to choose from, which is kind of fun but since they're just diapers, who cares, right?

These diapers look and act just like disposable diapers, which means that husbands and babysitters can use them, no problem. Andrew doesn't use pins and babysitters won't touch cloth diapers, so the nicer ones are convenient. They are also less bulky so we like to wear them when we get out of the house so that Rachel doesn't look like she has a huge behind.

They are rather pricey, though, and run upwards of $15 a pop. I think they are worth it, but it is difficult to buy enough all at once. Our initial purchase was 12 prefolds, 4 diaper covers, and 4 pins. That's enough typically to carry us through two days of diapering. We wash every other day so it worked out well. And it only cost us about $25, which is way cheap.

After using just prefolds for a while we felt like we could splurge and get some nicer diapers, so we ordered the trial pack from Nicki's Diapers since we still weren't quite sure which kind to buy. After using those for a week or so (in addition to our prefolds) we decided that we liked BumGenius the best so we ordered six of them from Cotton Babies. Now we have 12 prefolds, 1 HautePocket, and 7 BumGenius diapers that we use and that's fine for us for now. We're thinking about getting a few more BumGenius before we leave for Egypt though.

Anyway, that's pretty much all I know about diapers. Not a whole lot. We're still kind of in the experimental stage.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Surviving Single Motherhood

I'm sure I'm not not only one who, at some point, will go through single motherhood whether temporary or permanant. In the six weeks I've been single-momming it, here's what I have learned. Hopefully it will help someone else survive. =)

1) Accept any and all help offered. Being a mom is hard even when you have live-in husband-type help... it get exponentially harder and your "To Do List" will grown infinantly longer without the help. Accept any offered help. Let your neighbor watch your kids so you can have some recharge time. Let your friend bring you a meal. Let your husband's friend mow the lawn.

2) Let it go. Doing it on your own, things get crazy, and you'll go crazy if you try to do everything (without help) all the time. Your kids and your sanity are most important. Let thing of lesser importance go.

3) Get out and talk to adults every day. I work, so thats where I got this one in. If you are lucky enough to a full-time, stay home mom make sure you get out every day and get to talk to someone who can form complete, coherant sentences. Take a walk, get to a play group, call a friend and go to the park... anything to get you adult interaction that you need.

4) Make plans. The lonliness can get intense when you're missing your hubby, even when you've for your cute kids around. Plan some fun activites to do with the kids that you can all look forward to. Having plans will help break up monotony and help the time pass more quickly.

5) When necessary, take a break. If you're overwhelmed, if you're upset, if you need a good cry, put your kid(s) somewhere safe and have it out. Theres no shame in putting your baby in the crib, the pack and play, their room and taking a mommy-moment... even if all they do is scream while you take your moment. Also, if you need some time out on your own, call a friend, ask for a babysitting favor and go to the mall, go see a movie, go get a pedicure. Anything that will make you feel better, recharge your batteries and help you get through tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We don't actually have any of this brand of thing, but whoever thought of it was a genius. Seriously, Rachel loves tags.

And I know she's not the only one because my friend Autumn's baby likes to chew on them as well.

Basically this mother noticed that her child liked to chew on the tags of his blankets/toys/clothes and so she made a blanket with an assortment of tags on it.

Now really, why didn't I think of that?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Infant Carrier Deal!!

I visit shnoop.com pretty much everyday. I got my stroller through them around christmas time for only $100, and I've LOVED it. their items are all new, I think they're just overstock items.

Anyway, today they have this infant water carrier for their deal. Yeah, I bought it. It's only $12.99!! I couldn't pass that up.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mothers vs. Fathers

Last week we had FHE at Andrew's parents' place and his sister Emily gave a lesson, a lesson that demonstrated how very little we actually knew about each other.

She gave little quizzes about all of us, asking what our favorite colors are, what kind of food we like, what we do for a living, and so on.

Answering Andrew's questions were easy. I got almost everything right. And so did everyone else. He is a very predictable person.

Answering my questions were harder than hard. I don't really have a lot of "favorites." So much depends on my mood. Mexican or Italian? It depends on the day. Blue or pink? It depends on my mood. I took the longest on my own quiz.

Answering everyone else's quizzes was so-so. I didn't get a lot of the questions right but neither did anyone else.

Anyway, that's not really what this post is about. What it is about is how mothers and fathers differ.

I noticed that for both Karen and myself, everyone wrote down "Mother" as occupation, in addition to secretarial work. Karen works as a secretary, and we both do contract work for Harman Music.

It is true that being a mother is a job, I think. Goodness knows being a mother takes up the majority of my time every day.

But no one wrote down "Father" as a job for Reid or Andrew.

It was interesting for me to see how we view those roles. Mothering, we all seem to believe, is a full-time job. Whether you work full time or stay at home all day, being a mother is a job. Your children always need access to you via phone, via email, via sitting on your lap...you're always a mother.

But fathers are fathers when they come home from work, so isn't that like a job for them, too? Why don't we recognize them as such?

Crazy Multitasking

Copied from my blog to reach a bigger audience:

My friend, Toni was over at my house for a little while today, and we started talking about the crazy things you can do while nursing a baby. I wondered out loud what the craziest thing all of you mothers have done while breastfeeding and decided to ask. Please comment so we can all know how cool you are.

Mine: Chopping onions.

I don't remember why making dinner couldn't wait, but it couldn't. And of course Amy's dinner couldn't wait. I hate chopping onions; I cry a lot. And I was a little nervous about the knife right by Amy, but we managed. She got her meal, and I finished dinner.

OK, your turn. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Teething solutions

I'm on the hunt for tricks to help Katryn! She's almost 4 months old now, and is in the throes of teething. It's turned my happy little girl into a screaming girl. I just don't know what to do and I need some advice from people who have been there! I'm not expecting her to get any teeth for another few months, but I've heard they move up and down, causing more pain at some times, than at others.

Any body have any tips? She won't really take her paci anymore, and prefers to just chomp on my fingers/knuckles. And boy howdy, do I mean CHOMP. I have some teething rings, but they say not to freeze them, so they don't stay cold very long.

I want my happy girl back!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Signing for Kids

Ok, I think that it's time for a new post. Have any of you moms done sign language with your young kids? What are some experiences that you have had-pros and cons of it. When do you recommend starting using Sign Language with them. I really am open to anything that anyone has heard about this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

rhymes and songs for in the water and out! (Infant to schoolage!)

Being a swimming instructor for so many years, I have had the opportunity of teaching babies starting from six weeks old. Even if your area doesn't allow babies in the swimming pool (ahem Nancy) These are some little songs and poems that I have used in the pool and out!

"The Grand Old Duke of York"

The Grand Old Duke of York
He had Ten Thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill (lift baby up as high as you're comfortable)
And he marched them down again. (Lower baby)
And when they're up, they're up (Lift again)
And when they're down, they're down (lower)
And when they're only halfway up (in the middle)
They're neither up or down.

He marched them to the left
He marched them to the right
He marched them around and around and around (circles)
And he marched them out of sight (Hide your eyes, babies eyes, or if you're brave and in the water, go ahead and put them under. To do this safely with infants under two, count 1-2-3 do a sharp quick breath right in their face. This causes a reflex action in which they inhale and hold their breath. Then it is safe to dunk them (shallow dunk) under the water.)

"Rain" (a great bathtub rhyme)

Rain is falling down (trickle water from sponge or fingers onto baby)
SPLASH! (splash hand in water)
Rain is falling down
Pitter patter, pitter patter (lightly trickle)
Rain is falling down

"Ten Little Bubbles" (I use bubbles and a bubble blower for this in the tub, pool, or out! Each time bubble is mentioned, I blow bubbles with the bubble wand. Babies love this! To encourage bubble blowing in the pool, graduate to blowing right in the water - minus the bubble wand and bubbles!)

One little, Two little, Three little bubbles
Four little, Five little, Six little bubbles
Seven little, Eight little, Nine little bubbles
Ten little bubbles go SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH! (or pop, pop, pop)

"If you're Happy and you Know It" (We all know the song, I'll give you the actions I use in the water)

Splash your hands
Kick your Feet
Put one ear in the water
Put the other ear in the water
Blow some bubbles
Put your face in the water
Shout Hurray!
Wave To Daddy, Mommy, Grandma, Grandpa, whomever

My kids absolutely love this one, even now!

"We're going to Kentucky, (start turning a circle)
We're going to the fair (Turn the other way)
To see a Senorita with flowers in her hair
Oh Shake it baby shake it! (Wiggle gently while holding baby if little, or wiggle baby if bigger)
Shake it all you can
Rumba to the bottom (twist down)
Rumba to the top (twist back up)
Oh Rumba to the bottom
Rumba to the top
Rumba to the bottom until I holler STOP! (And cease all movement suddenly (I freeze and my kids would scream "again! again!" And away we'd go) )

"The Little Old Man"

A little old man flew up in space (lift child high)
And he got ice cream all over his face! (Look surprised and point to your face or theirs)
So wash him with a washcloth (pretend to wash face, or really do it if in tub)
Roll him in a rug (turn a circle or spin child in tub)
And tuck him in a towel, until he's Snug, Snug, Snug! (Hug tightly or really take them out of tub and wrap in a towel!)

I've got more songs and rhymes, including a great one to sing while getting dressed! If you're interested let me know!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How about Young Baby Activities?

So I've been reading some of the suggested ideas from the previous posts of games and activities to do with the older baby.  But, being a mother of a two month old, I feel his life is very routine, and only eat, sleep, and poop.  Are there any activities you can suggest for stimulating senses in such a young one? Not only for him, but also for me, so I can feel I'm doing more with him.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Any help with toilet training? I don't get it! My first two were way easier than this last one has been! I've tried everything from treats, charts, making him sit until he goes, bribes, discipline, cheerios in the bowl, underwear, pull-ups. My son will be 5 next in a week and a half and he will not use the toilet! I am desperate for any new tactics!!!! Thankyou!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In Response to Bonnie's Friend's Question

Ooh--I'd love to hear all of the ideas that she gets. It's nearly impossible for me to keep Rachel busy all day, every day. She's such a busy, busy, baby!
  • We try to go outside at least once a day, weather permitting. We watch for birds (and other animals) or go on "feeling adventures" where we touch everything we can and discuss smooth and rough and prickly, etc.
  • We swing, we slide, we play with fire hydrants. Anything that entertains her pretty much. We just talk about what's going on.
  • I also try to do something musical with her. We play on the piano or we bang on "drums," which are usually tupperware containers, boxes, etc. I also have some little castanets that we gave her for Easter. She likes those but can't use them very well.
  • We play with blocks a lot. We practice putting the blocks "in" things and "on" things.
  • I also will sing songs about the letters on the blocks--E says EE and E says Eh. Every letter makes a sound and E says EE and Eh.
  • Or R is for Rachel, that's good enough for me. R is for Rachel, that's good enough for me. R is for Rachel, that's good enough for me, oh Rachel, Rachel, Rachel starts with R!
  • I will find a block with a picture on it and then find the matching letter and show her: Airplane starts with A! She's so cute! She's started to hold two blocks beside each other and show me them, thinking she's doing the same thing I'm doing. She's not, but that's okay.
  • We sort the blocks by colors or write things with the letters: her name, simple words, etc.
  • I build towers and she knocks them down. We make lines and trains and castles with them. We balance them on our heads...
These are really disjointed ideas. Sorry. I'm tired...but I'm kind of on a roll so I'm going to continue.
  • I have a little tin can (with a plastic lid--no sharp edges). We cut a slit out of the lid and we use juice can lids for "coins." We practice putting those "in." They're fun for "music time," too.
  • Rachel loves bubbles. I blow, she tries to eat them right out of the air.
  • We play "cat and mouse." I crawl around on the floor and Rachel follows me around. Or I'll chase her saying, "I'm going to get you!" or "Roar!"
  • We sing songs. A lot of songs. We have a pig puppet and a cow puppet and we sing "Old MacDonald had a farm" using those animals first...and then we go through all of her stuffed animals. I don't know what an ewok says...so we skip that one.
  • We do a lot of finger games...you can find a ton online.
  • I have her follow me around the house while I clean up. It slows things down but gives us plenty to talk about. She loves helping with the laundry. "Who's shirt is this? It's mommy's shirt! What color is it?"
  • Sometimes we go on to Starfell or some other kid friendly site and I let her play around.
  • We read stories everyday and talk about the pictures
  • We bang on pots and pans
  • Peek a boo is a huge favorite.
  • When I'm really desperate we just take a bath or shower
  • We have a glass-top table that we play through. I'm usually looking down at her while she sits underneath it. I'll put my finger on the table and she'll put hers on the same spot underneath. And then I move my finger and she'll move hers. We also kiss each other through the glass. She thinks that's hilarious.
  • Mirrors are a lot of fun. We point to each other and ask where mommy and baby are. The other day Andrew put a sticker on her forehead and she spent a good 10 minutes at the mirror trying to get it off of the "other" baby--her reflection. So funny!
  • We take pictures just for fun. She loves the camera.
  • We look out the window and point to things we can see...
  • We people watch. She loves to watch big kids play--big for her is anything older than herself.
  • We have magnets on our front door and fridge. She likes to pull those off and then I put them back on. We haven't done a lot of experimenting with this, but she has taken them off the door and stuck them to the metal frame of her stroller, so I see some potential.
  • We've tried coloring but she's more interested in eating the crayons than coloring at this point
  • We often just categorize all of our toys by color, making piles of green toys, pink toys, etc.
  • She loves balls. We roll them all around the house. She chases after them and goes nuts.
  • I really want to start going to story time weekly...they do new finger plays there and Rachel loves to be surrounded by books and children. If only the weather would stay nice and warm...
  • We practice "being soft" with her stuffed animals and pictures in books. I help her stroke them gently and prompt her to "be nice."
  • We watch the clothes spin around in the washing machine
  • She loves to look at pictures and movies of herself. We talk about her and other little babies. She loves babies.
Pretty much anything that we can explore, we do. We talk about every aspect of everything. I have these cute puzzles that she's way too young for, but we sing songs about them...there are a ton of songs you can sing with minimal props. We have a farm puzzle and we sing Old Mac Donald and This little piggy and Baa Baa Blacksheep and any other song that has to do with any animal in the farm picture.

Anyway, I think I'm going to go to bed. I'm exhausted. I hope that's something along the lines of what she's looking for--and if she gets any good ideas, let me know! I'm running out of ideas myself. It isn't so much that Rachel gets bored with things...It's that I get bored of things.

I really want to get more organized though, because I think that Rachel's personality will demand much more structured entertainment in the future...so any and all ideas are welcome.

My friend's question

I have a friend who posted this on her blog:

I have a question for all of you out there. Aspyn is now at the age where she is a lot of fun. She is starting to figure things out and wants to discover things. So, here is the question. Do any of you have some fun and creative activities for infants/toddlers? I have decided to spend about an hour each day doing something different with her that involves learning. I have made some things for her but I was wondering if anyone could give me any more ideas. So, if you do leave a comment for me. Thanks!!

Aspyn is 10 months old. I was wondering if any of you have some interesting things to say that I could add as comments to her blog. Thanks!

April Menu

Here's my April menu:

Tuesdays (Beef):
1 - Abby makes dinner. (This is Jack's mom. She makes dinners for us in return for me watching Jack. I love it! Thanks Abby!)
8 - Southwest Tamale Pie
15 - Mostaccioli Beef Casserole
22 - Beef Stuffed Crescents
29 - Ground Beef Noodle Bake

Wednesdays (Mexican):
2 - Tortilla Scramble with Salsa
9 - Chili-Chicken Enchiladas
16 - Breakfast Nachos
23 - Arroz con Pollo
30 - Black and White Mexican Bean Soup

Thursdays (Random. I planned Thursdays last this time and this is what we got.):
3 - Smoked Sausage with Penne and Veggies
10 - Leftovers (or something)- Book Club is at our house that night so I will be too busy cleaning and getting treats ready to cook dinner.
17 - Chicken a la king - This is really reserved for some random night where whatever is planned doesn't happen. I just stuck it here. Let's be honest, I'm am quite flexible in this schedule.
24 - Something that somehow doesn't get made during the month. This always happens. Especially with Abby bringing meals.

Fridays (Chicken, Chicken, Chicken):
4 - Chicken Pasta Toss and Carrot Coins with Thyme
11 - Chicken Tortilla Bake
18 - Chicken Potpie (with a premade crust. I tried making the crust once and didn't enjoy the experience.)
25 - Chicken over curly noodles and garlic-cheese crescent rolls

Saturdays (Mostly this became prepared doughs night. The Simple and Delicious Magazine I got this month had a recipes-with-prepared-doughs contest. We love biscuits and crescent rolls, etc. so we are excited.):
5 - Fast food. (We are heading to my parents' house between afternoon session and Priesthood session of General Conference and will not have time for such silly things as home cooked meals.
12 - Spicey Chicken Bundles
19 - Pizza Loaf
26 - Ham and Cheese Loaf

Sundays (Minimal work night):
6 - Eat at my parents'
13 - Beef and three-bean chili
20 - Meal from Abby
27 - Meal from Abby

Mondays (Quick cooking night):
7 - Hot dog bean soup
14 - Breakfast pizza
21 - white chili
28 - Something we haven't done yet.

Wow that minimal work night followed by quick cooking night sure makes me sound lazy. Well, I'm honest, anyway. This month's recipes were primarily from Simple and Delicious for March and April 2008 and a new cool Mexican cookbook I found at Macey's (see Wednesdays' dinners.) Now I just have to get to the grocery store.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Month of Menus

Well, having been inspired by Nancy, I finally bit the bullet and made my first monthly menu. It took longer than expected, but having it done has given me some glorious, much-needed peace of mind. Meal time around our house has been going downhill steadily for the past few months. I was in a "need to run to the store to grab a few things for dinner tonight" cycle that would happen a couple of times a week. I mean, I like Target, but not enough to spend half my waking hours there. And, dinner time was slowly moving later and later, sometimes as late at 8pm. I'm almost ashamed to reveal that little secret here to all of you supermoms, but I rationalize that we're just being really cool and eating like the Europeans. I have made it my goal to have dinner on the table at 6pm every night. It's a lofty goal, and one that will take some planning, but hopefully will be made easier by the following.

Thanks Nancy for the example and encouragement.

Sundays - Crock pot dinners
6 - Crockpot Lentil Soup
13 - BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
20 - Pot Roast
27 - BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Mondays - Mexican Night
7 - Cream Cheese Enchiladas
14 - Chicken Quesadillas
21 - Burritos
28 - Haystacks/Frito Chili Pie

Tuesdays - Pasta Night
1 - Ravioli Bake (thanks to whoever posted that recipe - I tried it and it was super easy and delicious!!!!)
8 - Old World Manicotti
15 - One Skillet Spaghetti
22 - Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
29 - Lasagna

Wednesdays - Breakfast for Dinner
2 - Eggs in a basket/Bacon/Cinnamon Rolls
9 - Egg Pancake/Hashbrowns
16 - Crepes/Scrambled Eggs
23 - Eggs for a crowd/Muffins
30 - Buttermilk Pancakes/Yogurt

Thursdays - Casseroles
3 - Tuna Noodle Casserole
10 - Potluck Chicken Casserole
17 - Broccoli Rice Casserole
24 - Meatball Subs

Fridays - Pizza
4 - DiGiorno Cheese Stuffed Crust
11 - Homemade Pizza
18 - Nacho Pizza
25 - Veggie Pizza

Saturdays - MYOLO (I love this! Both the acronym and the concept. A night off - Woo hoo!!!)

One Skillet Spaghetti - my husband and daughters gobble this meal up
Yield: 7 servings

-1 lb. hamburger
-2 med. onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
-1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes (I prefer to use smaller tomatoes, such as diced)
-3/4 c. chopped green pepper
-1/2 c. water
-1 can (4 oz.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
-2 t. salt
-1 t. sugar
-1 t. chili powder
-7 oz. uncooked thin spaghetti, broken into pieces
-1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, about 4 oz.

Cook and stir hamburger and onions in 10-inch skillet or Dutch oven until hamburger is light brown; drain. Stir in tomatoes (with liquid), green pepper, water, mushrooms, salt, sugar, chili powder and spaghetti; break up tomatoes with fork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until spaghetti is tender, about 30 minutes. (Add water during cooking if necessary) Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and heat until cheese is melted.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, March 28, 2008

April Appetizers

So I just went to make up my shopping list for the next two weeks and noticed that I only had two days of meals planned because...March is over! Amazingly enough, the end of each month continues to surprise me. You'd think that I would realize that day 28 is rather close to day 30 but somehow my brain breezes over that fact.

Before I could make my grocery list I had to make a month of menus. Kim commented to me that this is a good idea but she doesn't think she can do it. Well, I didn't feel like sitting down and thinking of original things to make so I copied January's list, pasted it under April, took out the meals I didn't want to make and had to think up like only 7 or so different meals for the whole month. I mostly took out oven meals because I don't think we'll be wanting to use our oven very often once the hot weather takes over.

So, Kim, if you want your month of meals planned, just look at the past menus and steal a complete month's worth of menus--no thinking involved! Steal away, steal away.

Here's April for you:

Sundays--Sunday Dinner
6: Breakfast for dinner
13: Egg Salad Sandwiches
20: French Toast
27: Mashed potatoes

Mondays--Mexican Night
7: Burritos
14: Taco Salad
21: Chicken Fajitas
28: Quesadillas

Tuesdays --Make your own/Leftovers

Wednesdays--Rice and other
2: Spanish Rice
9: Sweet & Sour
16: Pork 'n' beans 'n' hot dogs
23: Stroganoff
30: Meatballs

Thursdays--Pasta night
3: Alfredo
10: Pesto
17: Pasta Salad
24: Just noticed I put down pasta salad again so this will be a mystery spaghetti day

Fridays--Pizza night

5: Gravy and Fries or Hashbrowns--whatever's in the freezer
12: Pineapple Chili
19: Sub Sandwiches
26: Chili

Food Storage

I couldn't figure out how to post a link in the comment section, so I'm going to try doing it in an actual post. Anyway, here is what I was going to say in response to Joy's question.

It's funny that you brought this up because just a day or two ago I came across the answer to your question. I am in the same situation. My parents gave me some cans from their food storage, but they are quite old so I was wondering the same thing as you. Our ward is going to the cannery today as assignment and so in preparation our RS prez gave us order forms. On the order form (you can find it here: http://providentliving.org/pfw/multimedia/files/pfw/pdf/109157_HomeStorageOrderForm22Mar082208US_pdf.pdf) it lists all the items they can/sell and right next to it, it lists their storage lives in years (assuming it was stored according to recommendations all those years). Anyway, I think it should answer your question. Also, you should check out the Church's food storage website(www.providentliving.org). It has lots of good stuff. And here is more information about recent findings on food storage life. http://www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,7797-1-4222-1,00.html and http://deseretnews.com/cn/view/1,1721,495006685,00.html

New/Old food storage

Wednesday night we got a whole ton of food storage items from a couple in our ward who passed away a few months ago (their daughter still lives in the house and had the YM clean it out for their service acivity). The only problem I have with this situation is that some of the food is starting to get a bit old. I know some of you are much more in the know about food storage from the cannery than I am and maybe you can help me know if something is just too old. (My mom's advice was to just open one of all the cans and see if it's good or not, but that's a lot of effort and I don't want to store something in our apartment if it's not going to be useable...) So here's what I have:

Pinto beans (1993)
Salt (1993)
Rice (1993, 1999)
Fruit drink mix (1999)
Apple slices (1999)
Dry milk (1998)
Chocolate milk (hot chocolate) (1999)
Wheat (1998)
Sugar (1993)
Chopped onion (1999)
potato pearls (1998)
Rolled oats (1998)
Chocolate pudding (1998)

If you have any better advice about this food (there are over 40 cans all together) let me know please!!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Drool, snot and tears

Amy's crying in her crib right now because she wants to be asleep, but she's not. I was just rubbing her back and trying to help her calm down. She has a runny nose, and she and I keep going back and forth about whether or not she should suck on her binkie to help her calm down. I put it in; she pulls it out with drool and snot stringing between it and her face. Plus the tears running down her cheeks. To make matters worse, she got her shots today. She hasn't really seemed bothered by them before other than the initial pain if getting poked with needles. Today she has screamed more than normal though. Poor girl. I think she hurts. So sad!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I don't know about any of you but I will confess.....I HATE doing laundry. I just need to vent for a minute. When I was single I could get all my laundry in one day and kept it under control for a week or so. When I first got married it was just about the same....I could spend one day doing laundry and feel accomplished that I had completed our laundry for the week.

Now having me, a husband, and two kids it just never seems to be completely done. I ALWAYS have a load in the washer, a load drying in the dryer, a couple of piles of clean clothes that need to be put away and of course there is always a pile of dirty clothes in our room and each of the kids rooms and occasionally a pile in the bathroom.

The laundry seems to be never ending. I am OK with getting the clothes washed and dried, it's the putting away I seem to have a huge problem with. It just seems so discouraging because every time I turn around the dirty clothes piles seems to be multiplying and replenishing more work for me to do!!! ARRRGHHH..go away dirty clothes!!!!!

Does anyone have any good laundry tips on how to stay on top of things?? Or do any of you feel my pain?? I would love to hear what you all have say about this matter!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Homemade Goodness

I used to think that some of the things people did for their babies were crazy, but that was before I had one. For example, I used to think that making your own baby food was crazy. Why would you do that? Gerber really isn't that expensive, is it? Well... yes and no. Its not really too expensive until you've suddenly got a child that can eat through $15 of baby food in 10 days. Then is suddenly seems to much more expensive.

I've been thinking for a while about just biting the bullet and making my own baby food and I finally just did it. Let me tell you, it was a lot more fun, a lot less crazy and so much cheaper than I expected! Check out my freezer door!

I made (bottom shelf from left to right) peas, green beans, garden veggie, carrots, spiced winter squash, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and (topd shelf left to right) melon, banana, blueberry sweet potato pie (blueberries, sweet potatos cinnimon and plain yogurt), peach apricot, peach and apricot baby food cubes. The melon and banana are just diced and ready to thaw and smash before serving (or dice smaller for finger food) and the apricto isn't in cubes (apricots don't really freeze, they get soft set). I also have some apricot winter squash still in the ice cube tray, and blueberries and mangos to deal with. I'd really like to try an apple-peach-mango combo for Allison. Most of my recipes I found at Wholesome Baby Food. Great resourse with tons of information on how to make it, what tools you need, when to introduce what foods, TONS of nutritional info and lots of fun "recipes" and combinations to try.

For most of my foods to make my life easier I bought (on sale!) 1 pound packages of frozen fruit or veggies. So easy to quickly steam or boil, then puree with added liquid in my blender. The only "tool" I had to buy was more ice cube trays, which I found 3/$1 at dollar tree. All in all, I really enjoyed doing what I used to think was crazy. =)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

no-bake cookies and easter garland

Holy cow, these have become a staple in our house the past few weeks. Matt's been eating them for breakfast and lunch. good thing I usually make a good dinner for him, or he'd eat them then as well.

Growing up our family didn't make these very often, because my dad doesn't like them. I don't know why, probably the sugar overload. Anyway, the recipe's easy, and they're ready in about 15 minutes or so. and they don't involve too much mixing by hand, which I don't like doing very much.

No Bake Cookies

1 cube butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
dash of vanilla
4-6 cups oats
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)

boil butter sugar and milk for about 2 minutes, add cocoa powder and vanilla. Take off of stove top and add oatmeal (and peanut butter, if you so desire. We never desire). spoon onto a tray and place in fridge. Makes about 2 dozen. (I put wax paper on the sheets so I don't have to wash them!)

It's like our new sunday tradition! and it's tasty.

As for the easter garland, I found this at Tip Junkie and thought it was great.

Basically it's easter eggs with holes punched out on each end and strewn together with string to make pretty decorations. (and cheap, which I'm ALL about) I can't get the image to load, so go there and check it out (besides, they have lots of other cool stuff on their page).

I'm going to hit up the after easter sales to get my eggs for this, because why pay full price when I can wait a week and get it for half price?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Veggie Tales

I just purchased 2 Veggie Tales DVDs. My grand total: $0!

Well, I had to pay for shipping, but it was still pretty cheap. We don't have a lot of children's movies so I figured since they were this cheap we should go for it.

Big Ideas has a lot of their DVDs on sale right now and then if you use the coupon code "wiz" $10 will be taken away from your total. I bought the two cheapest DVDs and so they were completely free (+ shipping and handling, which came to be about $4).

I think we will save Lyle the Kindly Viking for Rachel's birthday and The Star of Christmas for, well, Christmas, of course. They were each on sale for $4.95 (marked down from $14.99). There were a few more for that price, and quite a few more between $7-10. I thought it was a good deal, especially since the coupon meant it was completely free.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Potty Training Story

There once was a time that Rachel would just sit on the potty if you put her there, and before that there was the time that she couldn't sit up anywhere at all--but that was a long, long time ago. Sure, she'd fall off the potty every once in a while and I'd have to catch her before she hit the ground, but for the most part she'd just sit there. Then her balance got good enough that I could, say, put her on the potty and brush my teeth or put a load of laundry in.

Those good ol' days are over. Now Rachel will only sit on the potty if she wants to. Otherwise she'll just get off. I have no problem with her getting off the potty, except that it kind of sticks to her little bummy and so when she starts crawling, the potty goes along with her for a little bit until it becomes unstuck.

Usually this isn't a big problem. Except that Rachel has discovered that an upside down potty makes a wonderful drum. She doesn't understand why I don't approve of that activity.

It is a pretty big problem when she decides to get down by herself after she's used the potty, though. More often than not I'm close by, doing my hair or something, and can tell her to "stay on [her] potty" and then can help her off. Today, however, was different. I left her unattended for about thirty seconds, which is something you just shouldn't do with Rachel.

"You go pee-pee, Rachel. Mommy's going to go get some clean clothes for you."

I ran into her bedroom, grabbed the first onesie and pair of pants that I saw and raced back to the bathroom.

I was too late. Rachel had gone pee-pee, decided that she was done and climbed off the potty. It had stuck to her bum when she got down on her hands and knees and half of the pee had spilled on the floor. The potty, luckily enough, had stayed right side up and Rachel was busy splashing the pee remaining in the bowl, unluckily enough.

She only got a few good splashes in before I stopped her but those splashes were enough to get pee pretty much everywhere. How, how, how does she make such big messes so quickly?

On a happier note, I found a way to get her to play with her own toys and books instead of exploring.

I clean them up. The minute her books are back on the shelf and her toys in their bins, she's back pulling everything out again. It's an almost foolproof way to keep her entertained for 2 minutes to two hours. The only problem is that there are only so many times a day I am willing to clean up her toys!

This Just in

There's a class called "For the Love of Food" at the Provo Library. This month's class, on March 18, is on heart healthy eating. It's at 7:00 pm in room 309 (Bullock) in the library; admission is free.

April 15th is on fitness.
May 20th is on grains.
June 17th is on vegetables.
July 15th is on dairy.
August 19th is on protein.
September 16th (I think--the date isn't actually on the poster. odd.) is on quick meals and snacks.
October 21st is on nutrition during pregnancy.
November 18th is feeding infants.
December 16th is on feeding preschool children.

Apparently there will be information about stretching your budget and preparing healthy food.

If you're interested, be sure to check it out!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Korean Carrots

I am going to make Korean Carrots to go with dinner one of these days. I have been craving them ever since I've gotten back from Russia. I even bought the little gizmo that shreds the carrots into perfect little strips with gift card money soon after we got married because I wanted this salad so badly.

I still haven't made it, but I used my julienne peeler while making another salad today and it made my mouth water just thinking about Korean Carrots. So I went online and found some recipes.

These two look the best to me!

Now I can't wait to go out and buy a big bag of carrots--or at least a few big carrots. I'm not sure we could eat a whole bagful before they go bad. We usually just buy baby carrots because they are instant food, but you need nice long carrots for Korean Carrots.

They sell this on the street in Russia in big huge vats! You just say how much you want and they scoop it into a baggie for you and you take it home for dinner. My host mom would bring it home at least once a week because I liked it so much. Perhaps I exaggerate--it may have been only every couple of weeks.

The first night I arrived in Russia my host mom had a big meal all spread out for me on the table. It was well after midnight when I arrived and we had eaten on the plane. And then we had eaten on the bus on the way down from Moscow. And then my host dad, Alexander (he had me call him Alex, because it was American, while everyone else called him Sasha), gave me some cookies in the car. And then my host mom, Oxana, expected me to eat this huge meal.

She started with the appetizer, of course, which was the Korean Carrots. And they were so delicious I just gobbled them down. I couldn't help myself, even though I wasn't really that hungry. Because I ate so much of the appetizer she gave me second helpings of the main course, which wasn't really even that great--just rice drizzled with oil and a half-cooked hamburger blob thing. And then more cookies!

And my mom wondered why I gained weight in Russia.

Anyway, I've been thinking about Russia a lot today and I really want some of these carrots!

Free Chips and Cheese - Act Fast

So here is a awesome coupon for free chips. The only downer is the coupon expires really soon but the site allows you to print up to two. I took my two coupons and got a free bag at Walmart and then stopped at Target and got a free back there as well. There is also a link to A Full Cup that allows you to generate more then one coupon for cheese at Target. The coupon is for 50 cents off the purchase of two market pantry cheese packages (expiration date 3-8-08). You can print five, six, seven, eight or whatever number you want and then go to Targetand pick up the individually wrapped market pantry cheese packages. They are 24 cents a piece. That means that for every coupon you have you can get two free cheese sticks. I used both these coupons this week so now we have free chips and cheese. They do expire though at the end of the week so act fast.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cute Dress for Sale

Rachel is running low on dresses so I went into Savers the other day to pick out a shirt to make one of those cute shirt-dresses for Rachel. Much to my dismay, every button-up shirt on the rack was between 4.99 and 5.99! How could that be! Apparently it's been much too long since I've gone into a secondhand store.

Now, I don't mind wearing hand-me-downs, not at all. In fact, I was raised wearing hand-me-downs. I just don't like paying for things that are well-worn or even slightly stained before I use them once. Hand-me-downs are much better if they are free, or cost under a dollar.

I don't need to buy a $5 shirt at a second hand store when I can buy a $5 shirt in the mall. In fact, one of the stores that I frequent (read: I've been to the mall like twice since Rachel's been born) has great sales going on all the time. They had a $5 jeans sale, they often have a 60% off rack, and last time I went in there they had a $1-3 rack. Brand new, never been used, perfect condition clothes that they just want to get out of there. The store is DEB, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, after perusing row upon row of shirts, hoping to stumble upon something for less than $5, I walked over to the baby section to see if they had any dresses there. I was again disappointed to find that everything was about $5 and up. In my mind $5 is not a good deal, it is my spending limit. I left the store empty handed.

Then for some reason, like trying to find my daughter a dress, I went onto Walmart.com and was pleasantly surprised to find a super cute dress for only $4! It ships for free to the store location of your choice, so we purchased two, one for this summer and one for next, and shipped them to our nearest Walmart. Two dresses for $8.54 and I didn't have to do any sewing!

Take that, Savers!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Flu is Going Around

We've been a little under the weather at our house. I think I actually got this bug back in February so this time around I didn't get very sick. Andrew, on the other hand, is pretty sick.

He's stopped throwing up but he's still concerned about losing his fluids, if you catch my drift. In desperation he did Google search after Google search, trying to find a cure for his...problem.

He must have done some heavy duty searching and I have no idea how long it took him to find this because I had a similar problem when we lived in Jordan and I just had to deal with it because nothing really worked for me--although my problem in Jordan wasn't just a 24-hour flu; it was more pharaoh's revenge and lasted beyond a month.

Anyway, Andrew found a cure in Heart & Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy & Birth by Elizabeth Davis, a book on Google Books that he thought was a little woo-woo. After weighing his options, though, he figured he had nothing to lose and so tried the cure.

It seems to have worked so far. Our bathroom has been vacant for, oh, at least 3 hours now. That's actually pretty good considering his track record the last few days.

So, if you get the little diarrhea bug at your house, try Davis' cure:

Make a pot of rice with a 1:4 ratio, heavy on the water side. Boil until the rice is tender and drain the excess water into a mug. Drink it. Wait.

Andrew said that it tasted alright and he feels loads better, so apparently it works. Who knew? I always thought that diarrhea was something you had to wait out. Andrew thought it was something you cured with Pepto Bismol. Neither of those things worked, but the rice water did.

I almost can't wait to get sick again, just so that I can try this cure. Just kidding. I think I'll survive if I never find the opportunity to use this cure on myself. I'm not so fond of being sick.

March fun for the Parkses

So we didn't do a March menu. We're not going to. In fact, I have no idea what we are eating tonight or for the rest of the week for that matter.

No, I did not snap and lose all responsibility. We are going to be housesitting/babysitting for 2 1/2 weeks. So our food is taken care of. Down to the planning. (The mom is going to leave a list of dinners her kids like. We just get to eat with them.)

At first, the whole thing sounded overwhelming, and I think it still will be. However, the not-having-to-freak-out-about-budgeting-for-a-month thing sounds wonderful. As does the not-having-to-plan-the-meals for most of the month. I think this week and the last week of March (when we will be back on our own) we'll just try to coast. We aren't going to be quite as careful as normal because we will have more money in our food budget than we are used to. I'm really excited about that! What will be crazy is suddenly being mommy of 3/4. (I watch my great-nephew (almost 3 months old) a few times a week. There are 2 elementary school aged girls we will be watching and taking to lessons and things. Plus we still have a baby of our own (6 months old now.) I'll let you know how it goes. I am excited for the new challenge though. If it goes well, maybe I'll try to figure out who else's kids I can watch after this is done.

By the way, Rosie, if you are ever in a bind to get a babysitter when you have to work, I would be happy to. Or any other time. It's always nice to have quite a few resources for babysitting and getting to trade babysitting times. I'd be happy to. Let me know. It can be a much delayed return service opportunity for your driving my companion and me around on the mission. And introducing us to some of our best converts. What a great service! While I am addressing this post just to you, have you heard about the Nauvoo reunion Matt is putting together? Let me know if you need details.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Traveling With Kids - A Response for Rosie

This is a response for Rosie but since I'm constantly annoyed by my own overly long comments I'm posting it as a general post. Both of my two children have been born since we left our home state so we have had our fair share of kid travel. To date with one or more children we've done two transatlantic flights, four transcontinental flights, four cross country road trips, and more flights from Illinois to Utah and back then I care to remember. Travel with children is a balance of brining enough stuff to be entertained but not so much that you can't move through airports, security, and to waiting vehicles with ease. Here are some things I've learned...sometimes the hard way.

1) Some of the hardest moments can be just getting up to and away from the plane. Nothing like twenty or so extra pounds of squiggling weight when you are trying to get through security. A stroller can definitely come in handy. Since the kids were very small though we've opted out of using our whole travel system and instead gone with an umbrella stroller. It's a lot lighter, takes up less space on the receiving end, and there just isn't anywhere for things to hide which keeps the security for the most part off our back. If you don't have room for a stroller definitely bring a wrap or carrier so that you can keep your hands free. Also the airport doesn't advertise this but you can ask at the ticket counter to get a pass for a love one to go up the gate with you. The extra help can be invaluable trying to maneuver through security. Also don't assume because you have a baby they won't select you to do a more thorough search and yes they will still make you take your shoes off so pick easy slide ons.

2) Like Bridget mentioned lots of snacks is key. I like to bring grapes, crackers, cheese, cheerios, fruit snacks, small things that you can pull out when times get rough. With a ten month old though most of these options probably aren't even open to you. Make sure you have enough formula or milk unless your breast feeding and then make sure you have a cover that you feel comfortable with. The stewardess will often bring you water but don't expect them to be especially helpful. Sometimes they are but you don't want to have to count on it. For those people with kids that are eating keep in mind that lap babies don't get meals. Shoot sometimes even kids with tickets don't get them. When we flew to Germany the stewardess wouldn't bring us a meal for our son because she thought he was a lap baby. Then when we proved to her we'd paid for his ticket she said they had run out of meals. Oops.

3) Entertainment is very important. Now that our son is older we've discovered what a life saver a portable DVD player can be, especially on cross country trips but they are kind of big and for cross Atlantic flights they don't have enough battery life. I think this is when Ipods with video would come in handy. Regardless though most cross flights have movies. Bridget is right though. New toys your child has never seen are a must have. We used to wrap them because that added even more excitement but keep in mind that if security goes through your bag they will unwrap them. We're flying home this month and I've already gone to the dollar store to pick up some new toys and nick knacks to keep the kids entertained. What the toys are held in can also be exciting. Our son likes holding his toys in a little back pack. Our daughter loves playing with little purses. Also never underestimate how enjoyable non toys can be. Our daughter loves chewing on a toothbrush. That can entertain her for almost an hour. Our son loves playing with my ipod, turning it on, turning it off, trying to put the headphones in his mouth. The works.

4) Make sure to pack a couple extra outfits and possibly even an extra shirt for yourself. Also have enough wipes and diapers to keep you going (my daughter loves to pull on wipes and diapers so they also make decent toys). I also like to bring a diaper mat. It helps on airport floors. There really isn't much you can do about changing diapers in the bathroom. They are just small and crowded. Work on your balance :)

5) Make sure to be early to the airport. There is nothing like losing your aisle seat when you are about to fly over a whole day. Also you can use the extra time in the airport to let your daughter walk or crawl around before getting on the plane. When your going to be trapped for so long you need every extra second of energy burning.

6) It helps to make friends on the plane. If possible talk to your neighbor and make friendly as much as you can. You never know when you could use the extra help when you need to go to the bathroom or when you need the friend if your child is screaming at two am. They might still be annoyed but at least you had a few good moments.

Finally I got this from a friend that travels to Argentina twice a year...you are never going to have to see these people again so no matter what happens as soon as you get off the plane you'll be free. As for the single motherhood month let me know if you have any ideas. My hubby is going to be in Jordan for two months this summer and with the price of buying four tickets we just can't afford for us all to go. I'm a little anxious on how this two months is going to go.

March Menu Maddness

This year seems to be going by way too fast. I think watching Rachel grow up makes time seem to slip by because she's so different everyday. Anyway, here's what we'll be eating for this month...

1--Out to dinner at an authentic Italian Restaurant. Half homework, half date.
2--Gravy and Fries. We'd go for full-out poutine but cheese curds make me gag.
3--Taco Salad. So yummy.
5--Scalloped potatoes. We've had potatoes sitting in our fridge since before Rachel was born. Those ones are fine. The ones in our cupboard are simply ready to be planted. Anyone want a bag of half-grown potatoes?
6--Pestoey goodness.
8--Tomato Soup with goldfish crackers. Or oyster crackers. We have both.
9--Meatloaf. If Andrew feels like making it. I hate making meatloaf. Or meatballs. Or anything that deals with raw, bloody meat. He always wants it on the menu, so it's there, but he's only made it once so far. We didn't end up eating it last month.
12--BBQ Chicken. We didn't have this last month, either. I forgot to buy chicken. We have chicken now.
13--Pasta Salad
15--Fake Rice-o-roni stuff
16--Twice baked potatoes
17--Green Eggs and Pancakes. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
23--Easter. We'll probably end up having dinner at one of our parents' houses. If not, we'll eat one of the meals that we'll inevitably skip.
26--Stir fry
27--Homemade (Andrew put this on the calendar) Mac'n'[formaddÊ’o]. My husband is a nerdy-nerd. I am a nerd, but he is a nerdy-nerd.
29--Toast Francois. (Again...courtesy of my nerdy-nerd husband, whom I love dearly).
30--Hamburgers and Hot Dogs :). Okay, so we got in a bit of a skiff about this one. I told Andrew he could choose one or the other because we are only two people and I'm not going to make hamburgers and hot dogs for just two people. He said that his family does it on their BBQ all the time, that it's really easy. I countered that we don't have a BBQ and we can't afford pre-made patties, so it really isn't that easy. He chose just hot dogs. So I wrote hot dogs on the schedule and then the second after I did that he went into the Wiki and changed it back to hamburgers and hot dogs with a big smiley face. Looks like he'll be helping with dinner that night! :)
31--Black bean tortilla casserole

And there you have it. Now that I'm getting pretty good at these menu things, I'm kind of nervous when I contemplate moving back to the Middle East. I don't know if I'll have an oven that works. Or if all my stove burners will work. Or what ingredients we'll be able to afford. Or how big our fridge will be. Or if we'll have more than two cupboards. Hmmm...I'll have to figure out a whole new system.

What's for Dinner? I'll tell ya. . .

I'm in the process of revamping our meals. We were doing really good for a few months, and then I had Katryn and it all went down hill. I'm trying to get us back onto a good rotation. I don't like planning the whole month, so I do 2 weeks at a time--payday to payday.

What I'm doing now is picking 50 meals. Mostly meals we eat regularly, about 5 I want to try, and about 5 that are just "something easy". I complied the list, and then I went and compiled all the recipes and printed them all off and I'll put them in a folder in the kitchen. After that, I took slips of paper and wrote the numbers 1-50 on them and put them in a cup. Last night I had Matt draw out 10 slips and those will be our meals for the next 2 weeks (after payday next friday, since we're in between right now). so here we go!!

Sat 1-grilled cheese or quesadillas--matt's working late
Sun 2-Twice baked potatoes
Mon 3-frozen pizza
Tues 4-funeral potatoes
Wed 5-pasta
Thurs 6-frozen pizza
Fri 7-mac and cheese
(you can tell the above week is waiting till pay day comes!)
Sat 8-egg and salsa sandwiches
Sun 9-katryn's blessing--wraps
Mon 10-leftovers
Tues 11-spaghetti
Wed 12-baked rigatoni
Thurs 13-cheesy ziti
Fri 14-boneless buttermilk fried chicken
Sat 15-leftovers
Sun 16-chicken in pan sauce
Mon 17-ravioli bake
Tues 18-stroganoff
Wed 19-something easy
Thurs 20-something easy
Fri 21-leftovers

we're only picking 5 meals a week since there's only 2 of us, we tend to have lots of leftovers. Not that I'm complaining! it makes lunchtime the next day a lot easier for me!

here's a recipe I'm anxious to try:

Ravioli bake:
1 jar tomato pasta sauce
1 package (about 25oz) frozen cheese filled ravioli
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

heat oven to 350deg. spray bottom and sides of 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup pasta sauce in the pan. Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in a single layer over sauce; top with half the remaing pasta sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli. Sprinkle with parm cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. remove foil and bake uncovered 15-20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center. let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

I'm anxious to see what else everyone else has! I'm always looking for new recipes!

Happy eating in March!

Traveling with Kids

Okay... I currently have two things that are freaking me out and I think some of you could help me out on.
#1 - my impending 5 weeks of single motherhood. Brian has an internship in Berlin this summer and he leaves near the end of April. Allison and I will be going with him, but I have to finish out the school year (I teach science) before we can go. It'll be about five weeks on my own before we get to follow. Does anyone how advice for me (either personal experience or someone else's experience) to help me survive 5 weeks for single motherhood? My mom will be coming to stay for a few days (mostly to babysit while I work), but beyond that, I'm on my own.

#2 - Before my stint as a single mom ends I have to make through a 18 hours of transatlantic travel with a 10 month old. This TERRIFIES ME! I have requested the airline bassinet on the bulkhead row for the flight leg to Europe, but its still a very long time to manage a very small child in a small, crowded space. Any advise for how to travel with kids internationally? Along the same subject lines, when we get to Berlin it will be 8 am local time... 1 am Utah time. How do I get her changed over to the new time zone? I would LOVE any advice that anyone had to offer me.

Montly Meal Time Again...

March first already (how on Earth did that happen?!?). Here's what the Thornock's are having for dinner this month.

1 - Sauteed Sandwiches
2 - Louisana Red Beans and Rice (never actually manged it last month...)
3 - Chicken Enchiladas
4 - Ginger Beef Stir Fry
5 - Chicken Creole (again, didn't make it... ran out of my ingredients)
6 - Lasagna
7 - Pita Pizzas
8 - Left Overs
9 - Orange Thyme Chicken
10 - Tacos
11 - Pork Chops
12 - Oven BBQ Chicken
13 - Haystacks
14 - Frozen Pizza
15 - Burgers and Fries
16 - Chili
17 - Fajitas
18 - Porcupine Meatballs
19 - Pork & Pineapple Veggies (Brian loves this)
20 - Spaghetti
21 - Papa Murphey's Pizza
22 - Chicken Tortilla Soup
23 - Salsa Chicken
24 - Mormon Mommy Casserole
25 - Chicken Pockets
26 - Parmesan Chicken
27 - Steak
28 - Yummy homemade pizza
29 - Left overs
30 - not quite sure yet...
31 - Nachos

On a side note... Brian and I are in the process of reviewing our monthly budget. We signed up for the MoneyWise Workshop that the Marriot School puts on periodically (for free at that) thats all about managing money in your marriage. We currently save money every month, but we're trying to find ways that we can cut back a little and save a little more. Monday night we'll spend out FHE looking at some charts from our February spending (we use Microsoft Money to track budget and spending). Our goals are two fold: #1 - we're going to Europe this summer and we want to have enough money to spend some time playing in Paris and London (we'll be living in Berlin for 2 months). We've been fortunate enough to save enough for our plane tickets already, so now we're just working on some fun money. #2 - we'd like to be able to save for closing costs on a house and hopefully some for a down payment too. We're hoping to get into a house of our own before 2009 is over. With those being the goals, we're hoping to cut our grocery budget by about $25 each month... any great money saving food ideas? =)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cloth Diapers

I recently purchased some cloth diapers to try. They are much better than the Gerber ones that I originally bought and the company that sold them to me also had rubber pants. Somehow we thought that perhaps we didn't need those because no one sold them. And then we tried putting Rachel in a cloth diaper and, let me tell you, it didn't hold a thing.

Anyway, I went online and found Cotton Babies. They have some good products but a lot of it is terribly expensive. After I had ordered some diapers and rubber pants, I found a "Try It" kit. I would definitely recommend that anyone who wants to try cloth diapers buy this kit--even though I didn't. I'm still thinking about getting one (if I ever learn how to fold diapers right!).

The diaper covers alone are worth $24 (they are usually $12 each) and then each diaper it comes with is $2 and the Snappi is usually over $2. So that's about a $40 value for only $30. Not bad.

I am terrible at putting them on Rachel. I found a site with "Diaper Folding 101," explaining all about the different folds, complete with step-by-step pictures. I'm still terrible at it though so I'm going to have my mom show me how to do it. She used cloth diapers for years.

The diaper folding site also mentioned that a lot of people just make their own cloth diapers. I had never thought about that before, but I guess it would be a great way to recycle old receiving blankets, sheets, towels, etc. If only I knew how to sew!

And I had to include some pictures of Rachel that have nothing to do with anything...except that I took them of her while I was trying to get her picture in a cloth diaper. I gave her the soothie to placate her and she ended up playing with it for about a half hour. She wouldn't let me take it away from her--keep in mind she didn't ever really suck on it, but she did chew on it and wave it around quite a bit.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Time for Learning

I am so excited to send my son, Ian to preschool. Those of you who know him know that he is sooooo ready to go to school. Unfortunately he doesn't start until September. So, in the mean time I decided to try to find some resources of things to do with him at home. In my attempts of looking for stuff I came across this great website called Brightly Beaming Resources that I wanted to share with all of you.

It is a whole preschool curriculum from newborn on up. I know alot of you have young babies like me and are looking for things to do with them. This curriculum has an outline to do with your babies. I am going to start this week with the Steps to Reading Program. I am also going to try to adapt some of things that we will do so that Maggie can have fun with us (she is only almost 7 months old). I think Ian will like it and he will get to spend time with mommy!!!

Take a look at the website, I think you all will like it. It gives ideas for things to with your kids!!!
Happy Schooling!!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Playing with your infant

Rachel is so old that I found myself referring to the good ol' days as "when she was a baby" to Maria at church today. She is still a baby but Maria's baby is so much younger that...it makes Rachel seem so grown up.

Anyway, some other mothers were talking at church at how awkward it is to play with their babies. I had to agree that it was rather awkward for me at first, too. Here is this lump of a baby that doesn't look at anything and doesn't do anything special and we're expected to stimulate it. It's a hard job!

What really helped me was having Emma to babysit. She was a year and a half old. She reacted (sometimes) to things I said, and at least knew how to play a little bit. I'd prop Rachel up somewhere to watch and Emma and I would talk and play and try to involve Rachel. We played a lot of games where we'd stack blocks on Rachel and things like that.

Eventually I just got so used to giving a play-by-play of my life that when Emma stopped coming I continued to do this for Rachel. As she's gotten older it's been easier to "play" with her but she still doesn't "play" well. Mostly she just sucks on things. I'll try to play with her and still just give her a play by play of what I'm doing.

"I'm finding all the red blocks. Is this block red? No. Is this block red? Yes! Yes it is! Where is another red block?"

I do the same thing when we read a book,

"Wow! Look at all the stars. How many stars do you see on the page? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5..."

Sometimes I feel like a lunatic because I talk in this patronizing voice all. day. long.

"Mommy's making pizza dough!" (I always speak in third person. I don't know why.) "She's measuring ONE cup of flour, TWO cups of flour! See how it puffs into the bowl. Now she's mixing. Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix. Do you see her spoon? You want the spoon, don't you? You can't have the spoon..."

It's enough to drive a person mad but I actually enjoy doing it now. It's even more fun when Andrew is home and will answer all my silly questions in a high-pitched baby voice.

Anyway, I don't know. How did you guys play with your babies when they were only a few months old?

On an entirely unrelated note...Rachel has been SO good the past few days. She hasn't cared when I walked out of the room and even played all by herself for like TWO HOURS straight yesterday!!! I hope this is a continuing trend. I might even get something accomplished!

And...I found this site. It's Fisher-Price online learning games. Rachel loves to type on the keyboard so we're going to try it out tomorrow. I think she'll enjoy it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Break Through

Today we had a break through with elimination communication. The last three weeks it has mainly just been mom and dad catching poop and also baby girl going when we put her on the pot. Today baby girl was in the bathroom shrieking and playing with the potty lid. I came in and asked if she needed to go potty. She started shrieking again. I put her on the potty and sure enough pee pee and pooh pooh. Finally some actual communication about the elimination. Hurray Baby Girl! You had better believe there was a whole lot of screaming, cheering, and clapping going on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Favorite way to save on Food Money!

Free food that I don't have to cook!

I am so excited!

So are all of you excited and intrigued and begging that I would type more info?

National pancake day. Free short stack of pancakes (3). 7am to 10pm. IHOP. Here's a link:

Matt heard about this, and I wondered if it was a local thing, but apparently it's all over. So I hope you all have an IHOP nearby. And that you bring a book when you go. Something tells me that free pancake day will attract quite a few customers. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Potty Post

So this ladies is a potty post. This last week we have reintroduced our daughter to elimination communication. We started motivated by Nancy a couple of months ago but at that time our daughter would have had nothing to do with it. This week though we decided to try again. First we just put her on the toilet three nights after dinner. She did her little business and seemed pretty happy about it. So now we are putting her on a few more times a day, after all her meals, in the morning when we wake up, and whenever else I feel like putting her on. She actually loves it. I'll give her a single sheet of toilet paper and she spends a few minutes pretending to blow her nose. She also always leaves me a special surprise in the toilet. So here is her deal. She now knows her business belongs in the toilet and always pees or poops when we put her on it. She just doesn't know yet that it only belongs on the toilet. In the end that's fine with me. My mom teases us that we're just getting better at catching and in a way she's right but we started toilet training with our son before he was two as well and the truth is he never had a fear of going on the toilet like some of the other kids we know. So my mom is probably right. We are probably just good catchers and a good year away from putting our little girl in big girl panties but in the meantime I haven't had to change a poop diaper in three days and if this helps her so that she doesn't have issues going on the potty later well hurray! On a much sicker note our three year old son is obsessed with the baby potty. He loves to be the one to empty it and it's dirty business in the big toilet. ICKY!

Chicken on Sale!

I hate to keep a good price to myself, and with all the talk about grocery budgets lately this seems appropriate. Smith's has great prices on frozen chicken right now... less than 6 dollars for 3-4 pounds bags (depending on what you buy) of boneless skinless breats, thighs, tenderloins, breats with ribs still attached and more. I went yesterday and picked up 8 pounds of chicken for just $12! That's only a $1.50 a pound, which is awesome for boneless skinless breasts. I'm a "stock up when the price is right" shopper, so I figured I'd pass it along to anyone who maybe missed in it in this week's ad (I usually just toss Smith's ads since I don't shop there). Prices good through Tuesday the 12th. Happy grocery budgeting and budget keeping, Ladies!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why I am in my Pajamas at 1:00

Not like you need an excuse. I love pajamas. But I have a really good one today. It starts last night.

As soon as Matt got home from work we scarfed down dinner (which I pulled out of the oven just after he arrived like magic.) Then we hurriedly got Amy and ourselves ready and went to a BYU basketball game for an elders' quorum activity. (I know, I'm not in elders' quorum, but Matt wanted me to come, and they said elders could bring their wives.) It was time for Amy's evening nap so I put her in her swaddle blanket before her car seat. As I suspected she would, Amy fell asleep on the way to the game. So I got her out and carried her into the Marriott Center rather than bother with her stroller. She still woke up by the time we got in there. But she was happy the whole time at the game. She would startle when loud cheers broke out. She only "cried" twice which was really just a pout with noise that you couldn't hear over the noise of the game. Combined crying time was less than 30 seconds which is incredible since she basically skipped an evening nap. We were so proud.

Once in the car after the game, we waited a while rather than fighting traffic. Amy fell asleep then too without so much as a cry. How bad I felt when we got home and had to get her out of her carseat to take off her coat so she wouldn't fry in the night! She didn't mind. She decided to play with Daddy for a little while before she went back to bed. So it was almost 11 when she was out for the night. What an amazing baby! We had a very sleepy scripture study and finally conked around midnight. We were both exhausted.

Then . . .

Amy woke up at 6 this morning and decided she wanted to stay awake after I fed her. That's early for her. I didn't mind. In fact I got motivated and cleaned a little and pumped after feeding her, etc. etc. When I put her down for a nap at 7:15ish, I made breakfast. Then Jack came. He's my great-nephew who I watch a few times a week. Jack was asleep soon after his mom left him. So I left Amy (who woke up after only 45 minutes or so) with Matt who was getting ready for work and went back to sleep around 8. When Matt left, Amy was playing quietly in her bouncy chair and Jack and I were sleeping. Wonderful. Until 10. Aren't they great babies!

Then Amy wanted to eat and play for a while. I thought she would need more nap time by then. But she wanted to play. Then she started getting cranky. So I swaddled her and put her in her crib. For a while she talked to herself. I decided I was ready to finally eat some breakfast. I put my waffle in and got it out in time for Jack to start crying. Quick potty break, and then Jack would not be ignored. While I was feeding Jack, Amy lost it. She was screaming so hard. But what could I do? I was feeding Jack.

As soon as he was done, I put him down and went to eat breakfast. I'm cruel, I know. Amy was still screaming. However, I was afraid she might need me for quite a while and that Jack would start needing me too. If I didn't eat something, I was not going to be strong enough to take care of them.

So here I am eating with background music of two screaming babies. (Yes, Jack started crying because I put him down when he was awake.) When I finished I checked on Jack to make sure he was going to make it and then headed to Amy who had the bigger need. To my relief, Jack had fallen asleep again.

Amy on the other hand was VERY angry. She had cried and drooled so much and with a yucky nose that there was a rather large wet spot on her sheet and boogers on her face. (Sorry it's graphic.) I tried just giving her a binkie. No go. So I gave in and nursed her. She fell asleep! Yay! She started crying soon after, but I took a shower anyway. By the time I was out, she was sleep again. And she still is! So both babies have gotten great naps and are still sleeping.

Anyway, when I got out of the shower, I realized that the morning escapade could repeat itself, and if it did I wanted to be well rested. So I put on pajamas and grabbed a book and climbed into bed. I got to sleep for more than an hour. I know this is starting to sound like I am lazy and selfish, but remember I only slept 6 hours last night and have listened to Amy scream quite a bit more than normal this morning. She spoils me. I don't normally hear very much of that. So today took its toll.

So that's my story. And at this point, why get out of my pajamas?