Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Gonna Be a Great New Year!!

I'm not one for new year's resolutions, but I have been finding myself thinking of goals for this next year.  2010, it sounds so futuristic!  I made some joke about Ingrid doing college spring break the other day, but I stupidly said "woohoo, spring break 2013!"  Brendan pointed out that's only in three years, and that hopefully Ingrid won't be on spring break getting drunk at age 5.  Let's hope not.

Anyway, goals for the new year.  First and foremost, I'm excited to get back to sewing for my etsy shop.  I have big plans in my head for the future of Applesauce Crafts.  I've been reading sewing books, trying to get better and make my things look a little more professional.  I still like the wonkiness of homemade, but it would be nice if they looked a bit...straighter?  I got more business cards, and return labels, and I'm getting sew on labels printed.  I have a list of the ten things I want to have in my shop, and I have a really good stash of fabric hiding in my closet that I can use.  Other than batting and thread, I think I have everything I need to whip up some good items.  Except time, that is...

I also would like to lose some of my butt.  Brendan was putting together a dvd of old Ingrid videos and I cringed to see how small I was a mere six days after giving birth to Ingrid.  I'm larger now.  A year and a half later and I'm feeling enormous.  I have never been one to care about weight in numbers, but when I can pinch a few inches of back fat and my pants stop fitting, it's time to rethink what I'm doing.  Or, what I'm not doing...which is exercising.  I used to run and lift weights and I was so in shape!  And I know it's just an excuse, but it's hard to exercise with a 19 month old!!  I tried to lift weights the other day and she came and sat on me, and when I tried to move her she screamed and cried.  And the stupid snow makes it nearly impossible to go walking--my one tried and true form of exercise taken away from me because our town does not do snow maintenence on sidewalks.

I think this new year is going to be great.  Brendan's going to get a jobby job and we're going to move for real, like to the town we'll be living in for more than a year.  Our credit cards are almost paid off, aside from the occasional toothache, we're healthy.  Ingrid's a joy to watch grow and learn.  Things are good.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holidays are meant to be enjoyed.

I was just thinking about our Christmas plans and trying to decide a couple things.  We are in Michigan this year, the first time I've been sort of close to my family.  By close, I mean 2 1/2 hours away instead of 4, and we don't have to drive through Chicago to get there.  I haven't seen my family on the actual day of Christmas in years, so it's pretty exciting to be able to be there with them this year.  We will have our own family Christmas morning and then set out to my brother's house for an afternoon with the extended family--all of Ingrid's cousins and my brothers and sisters.  I love having Ingrid spend time with her cousins when she can because she has a lot of fun, and I know she won't really be very close to them growing up.  So...this year seems to be the year for spending lots of time with everyone.

However...not only is there my family's get together on Christmas, but my mom's side of the family, the WAY extended family, is getting together the day after.  And my grandparents are getting up there and this could be the last year for them (morbid but realistic...)  And it's the one year we live in Michigan!  So I feel like I should go, but it just seems to be too hard to plan it.  For one thing, it's another hour drive from my brother's house.  And that would mean we'd have to spend the night somewhere, which is never fun with Ingrid because she's a basket case.  And we'd have to find someone to watch our dog on Christmas, which isn't gonna happen.

So, after a bunch of going back and forth, I had to step back and realize I want my holidays to be fun and peaceful.  Last year we were living with Brendan's parents and didn't get to have our own holidays.  This year we are back in our own place, with our own tree, and we had money to get Ingrid presents, and I want to enjoy it!!  Brendan's actually taking time off, he'll get a four day weekend, so I really am looking forward to hanging out with him.  And thus, my decision is made--we're going to my brother's for the afternoon, but nothing else. 

I remember the family I used to nanny for had a three month old and they had a whirlwind holiday--driving an hour and a half for Christmas Eve, then coming home for Christmas morning, then driving two hours for one family gathering, and another hour for another one the next day.  It exhausted me just hearing about it!!  I always thought to myself how nice it was to not have family nearby, it just wasn't ever an issue.  So now that it is an issue, I just have to say forget it, I still want my peaceful holiday.  I want to sit around with the fireplace crackling, fresh cinnamon rolls in the oven, football on TV (most likely...) and Ingrid puttering around the house with her new toys.  Not driving with a screaming kid that hasn't had a nap or gotten a good night's sleep.  Again, just call me Scrooge, I'm such a party pooper!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is There a Santa?

Over on Mama Notes there's a post asking do your kids believe in Santa?  This is something I think Brendan and I will have to talk about next year, but so far this year, there's no Santa.  I always found that tradition a little weird, a fat guy breaking into your house and watching you while you sleep...I know I probably look too far into it and I should just lighten up and bring some magic into my kid's life, but I don't want to lie to her!  No, Santa isn't going to fly around the world and he isn't going to come into our house and he didn't buy you those presents.  I made half of them, with you watching, so no, not Santa. 

My mom thinks it's sad I never believed in Santa, but I don't feel like I missed out on anything.  I vaguely remember driving home from somewhere on Christmas Eve and my mom pointing to a plane in the sky and saying "Look, that's Rudolph!" and being excited, but who knows how old I was, and with three older siblings, I couldn't have been shielded from the truth for too long.  What I DO remember was my oldest naughty brother (really, he was horrible as a child!) unlocking my parent's bedroom door to with a toothpick or similar, looking everywhere in their closet for Christmas presents.  And the stash of used boxes we kept for wrapping gifts, stuffed up in a crawl space sort of place in our laundry room.  And the story of my mom smuggling a Cabbage Patch Kid out of the store in 1985, which was my present that Christmas.  Santa never really played into it.

So for Ingrid, I know I won't tell her about Santa, I won't make her sit on Santa's knee and have creepy pictures taken, I won't leave out cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer.  Call me a Scrooge if you must, but I don't see the point.  Christmas to me is a fresh pine tree, lots of twinkle lights, sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, egg nog, and the family coming together to hang out with each other, play games, and eat lots of food, and then bundle up and take a walk out in the snow.  To me, that's way better than Santa.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Bored.

I don't get bored usually, but today is one of those days.  I think it's because I want to go outside and I can't.  Well, I can, but Ingrid doesn't like the cold windy days and cries when we go out.  So we're stuck inside and there's only so much of that I can take.  And the crap thing is that it hasn't even snowed--it's only the middle of December!!!  I have months of this ahead of me.  Ugh.

Hopefully we'll find something fun today, like going to Urban Toddler or the mall.  I hate the mall, but they have this kid area that Ingrid just LOVES, so that's an option.  Blah, what a day.  I hope it gets better...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep, Sleep, Sleep.

Hey guys.  It's me, talking about sleep...again.  And remember how I just posted how cozy cosleeping is?  I still believe that, if it's only me and Ingrid in the bed.  Add daddy, though, and it gets a little crowded.  I guess the old saying that three's a crowd was coined by someone in a small bed with a toddler kicking them in the stomach all night...

So, the very same night I wrote about how cozy cosleeping is, Ingrid ended up in our bed again.  This time, though, both Brendan and I were in there.  She snuggled up between us and it seemed really nice.  Then she would wake up and cry every time Brendan rolled over.  And he rolls around in his sleep a lot.  And Ingrid is a mover, too, so she was trying to sleep sideways in between us, hitting Brendan and kicking me.  And crying.  After an hour or so of this, I finally decided that it wasn't working.  She can't sleep in our bed if both Brendan and I can't be in there.  I refuse to kick my husband out of his bed!  So back into her crib she went, and she slept just fine.

Now, three or four nights later, she's doing really well.  She gets up a couple times between 7 and 11, wails for mamamamama, I go in and hug her and then put her back in her crib and she sleeps until 8am.  Cross your fingers this is a lasting thing! 

In other news, things are festive and cheerful around here.  We have our tree and it's twinkling nicely in the corner.  All presents are bought, we're just waiting for some to get here from Amazon.  I found the cutest talking Lola doll for Ingrid!!  I'm probably more excited about it than she will be...And I finally cracked and bought her the Plan toaster I've been wanting FOREVER!  It's just too cute not to have.  And Ingrid loves playing with our toaster so she obviously needs a play one, right?

I've made quite a few etsy sales the past couple weeks, which is exciting.  I just love opening my email and seeing that someone bought something from me.  I wish I had more time to sew more stuff--I have tons of the cutest fabric ever just sitting in a closet but I haven't had much time to do anything with it.  Once the holidays are over I'm sure it will be easier.  Yesterday Ingrid was really good and just played in my box of scrap fabric while I cut out quilt pieces.  She's going to grow up to be a lover of fabric, too, I can just tell.  As soon as I get it out she runs over to it and lays on the soft minky, and touches the felt and goes through all the rest and looks at it all.  I can't wait to teach her how to sew :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

CoSleeping is Pretty Cozy

Yep, another post about sleeping.  Sorry, everyone, but it's a major thing here right now--did we get any?  How much did we get?  Who slept where?  How does that affect our mood? 

Last night and the night before Ingrid fell asleep in her bed, woke up as we were going to bed, and begged to go in our bed with us.  It's funny, she is absolutely screaming and crying and snotting and wailing "mamamamaamamma" and the second I go into her room she stands up and, with no hint of the previous crying, says "Bed?" and points to our room.  Drama queen.

So last night she slept with me, all cuddled up and kicking my bladder and making static sparks with her pjs and blanket.  We fell asleep right away, which I'm realizing doesn't happen often for me.  She, and Brendan, can hit the pillow asleep, but I take awhile usually.  However, with my little lady all curled up by me, I drifted off in no time and we both slept the whole night through.  Brendan came in as he was leaving for work to say goodbye, he actually had to wake us up!  We said bye and then laid in the cozy bed as the cats came up to say good morning and sniff us, and it hit me how awesome that is. 

When Ingrid was in her crib and crying every hour or so, I got no sleep, obviously.  And hearing her cry made me feel crappy.  And having to get up out of bed and go to her was annoying (and cold.)  Having her in bed with us is so warm and cozy and I sleep so much better.  I'm so glad she finally sleeps in our bed!  It seems counterintuitive but I really wanted her to be able to cosleep so those nights she was upset I could bring her in. 

Our doctor tried to tell us at our last appointment that if we wanted to sleep we'd have to take two weeks to let her cry it out.  "It'll take a long time but it will be worth it."  Inside I was cringing and rolling my eyes, but I just nodded and said uh huh.  And we really did do that once or twice, and she fell asleep...for an hour or two.  Nothing has made her sleep through the night quite like being snuggled between mama and daddy.  Take that, doctors.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Party Preparations

Did I spell preparations right?  I'm having one of those moments where words all look wrong to me.  And they make no sense when I say them to myself.  I think I had too much coffee this morning. 

Anyway...

Sunday we are having a party for a few friends and their kids.  I am so excited to have people over!  We're getting our tree Saturday, then I'll be baking and cooking all morning Sunday to be ready for our afternoon of fun.  During Ingrid's nap today I've been making little goody bags for the kids, and ornaments with their names on them. 

I love getting things together for a party.  Ingrid and I went to the store and just wandered around looking at festive things.  We got a tiny string of lights to put up on our holiday shelf, and some santa napkins and plates, and toys to put in the goody bags.  I have lists of food things I need to get ready, and presents all wrapped and ready to go under the tree.  I've been listening to holiday music on Pandora and it even started snowing.

It's Christmas, everybody! 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hello, World!

Oh man, am I in a good mood.  Ingrid has slept in for two nights straight!  All through the night, not a peep!  Well, there was a peep last night but I let her settle herself down and a minute later she was quiet again.  All this sleep makes for one happy mama!  I got up at 7:30 this morning--SEVEN THIRTY!  Usually we're up by six, and I have to drag my ass out of bed, but this morning I was the first one up.  I had coffee already made by the time Brendan brought Ingrid out.  What a great way to wake up.

Things just seem to be really going well here.  I feel happy and well rested, Ingrid has been adorable, Brendan has been sure to help out as much as he can since he's been working late.  I have another giveaway going on with Applesauce Craft, so I am busy making more gift sets and dresses to stock the store.  Ingrid and I have been doing fun activities the past couple days and I'm realizing A)it makes the day go by faster to have an activity and B)it makes her happy to have my undivided attention for an hour or two. 

Usually she's playing around me while I clean or bake or something.  I play a little with her but I've never been one to get down and really PLAY play, you know?  It bores me, honestly...But with crafty stuff like making crayons, it's fun for me, too.  I have play dough we should get out, and today we're making Christmas cookies.  I have to set up a place where she can get really messy with frosting and sprinkles. 

That is what sucks about this apartment--carpet in the dining room.  Who thinks that's a good idea???  The only sweepable place we have is our tiny kitchen so if I want to let Ingrid make a mess that's where we have to be.  Every other inch of our stupid place is carpeted.  Blah. 

Anyway, things are good here.  I'm looking forward to a nice weekend of sewing, Brendan has already said he'll take care of Ingrid all weekend so I can have a break.  I'm listening to Pandora's "jazzy holiday" station and drinking coffee and I got to sleep a whole uninterupted 8 hours last night.  Life is grand. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Homesick, Sorta.

Brendan and I went to Milwaukee for Thanksgiving.  It was a great trip, so much better than the last time we were there.  In August we stayed near Milwaukee at the family cottage and only made it to the city for a day.  We couldn't wait to get the hell out of there!!  Something about the noise and the heat and all the people, we wanted to get back to our quiet little apartment.  This time, though, it was really fun and made me kind of homesick.

We made it to Brendan's parent's house in the afternoon, Ingrid did really well in the car and even slept some of the way.  Ingrid was in love with her gramma and grampa right away, giving hugs and kisses and following them around.  We put our pjs on really early, like by 5pm!  And Ingrid dragged her blankie around the house and explored.  We had a futon mattress on the floor by our bed for Ingrid, and we put her blankets on it and told her to lay down, and she did.  I went through the whole entire family saying "night night" to them all, and by the time I was done with that, her eyes were heavy and she fell asleep soon after.  And slept the whole night through, except for a little stirring, when I just layed by her and she fell asleep again.  Huh.  You just never know with her!

Friday we visited friends at the coffee shop I used to work at.  One is preggo and looking cute and we talked about cloth diapers and baby things.  I want to be there for her!  And the other friend we saw I miss so much it's crazy!  We used to get coffee every single Monday or Tuesday, and I miss that so much.  Then we went to Madison to see friends and meet their daughter who is Ingrid's age.  We hadn't seen them in SO LONG!  It was so fun to get together and have our girls play together.  We daydreamed about moving there and living close by and what it would be like.  Nice, that's what it would be.  Nice to know someone, nice to have someone to hang out with, nice to be close to family...

Saturday was more visiting--week old babies, and 8 month old babies.  Brendan got to go out with friends and I got to take a three hour nap.  We had Christmas with the parents on Sunday morning before we left, then we had to make the 6 hour drive again...

And here I sit in Michigan again.  I'm homesick for Milwaukee.  I miss going to Fuel and seeing friends, I'm sad about missing out on friends having babies and the babies growing up without me even meeting them.  I'm wishing we could move in February instead of June or July.  I'm hoping Brendan gets the ball rolling and starts to look for jobs.  I can't decide if I care if we are in Madison or Milwaukee (they are an hour apart and both have pros and cons...) 

And yet...

I got a note from my friend in Colorado and I think it would be awfully nice to try that out, too.  We would have so much fun living in the mountains.  We know some people there.  No family, but my friend that lives there is practically a sister.  So, what will it be???  Colorado or Wisconsin?  Certainly not Michigan, which makes me ready to leave.  I'm sick of being in limbo, I'd like to be done moving now, please. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, for the love of god...

I am officially starting this morning over.  Ingrid was up until 10pm last night, crying on and off.  I was trying to be calm about it, and mostly succeeded.  But at 10 when I was just about to doze off in bed, she started crying and I lost it.  EVERY SINGLE NIGHT??  Jeez...

So, after no sleep again, I was awoken to a whiny girl trying to open my door.  When she came in, she smelled suspiciously like poo, which Daddy mentioned but never changed...When I needed to go to the bathroom she whined.  When I needed to get my coffee she whined.  Oh, for the love of god, child, leave me alone for two seconds!  Let me wake up!! 

I got my coffee and then Brendan started rushing around the house looking for something he couldn't find.  I swear to god, every single morning he looks for something he needs and makes a mess searching for it.  I get up to help him and find it about two seconds later.  Why can't he ever find stuff???  And while I was helping find his phone, Ingrid decided to be curious about my cup of coffee that was on the table.  I came into the living room to see her looking all concerned and hearing a drip drip drip.  She had a diaper on, though, so she wasn't peeing.  What WAS that?

MY COFFEE!!  Spilling all over the table, the chair, the carpet.  Not a big deal usually, but WE ARE OUT OF COFFEE, there is no making more this morning until we get to the store!!  No sleep and no coffee?  You've got to be kidding me.  I lost it a little and yelled and Ingrid cried and then I felt bad.  She's curious, what is this magical elixir called coffee that mama and daddy are so fond of?  Can't blame her, she's a kid. 

So, after yelling and thankfully finding there was one more cup of coffee in the pot, I decided to start the morning over.  No more yelling, no more crabiness.  I'm going to drink this coffee and be nice mommy while we clean and pack for our trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Milwaukee.  Nice mommy, nice  mommy, nice mommy.  Deep breaths. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful For Lots of Things :)

Thanksgiving time always has people saying what they're thankful for.  I like to be thankful all year long, but I will play along at this time of year as well.  Here's what I'm thankful for right now:

1. Being able to stay home with Ingrid.  I love being a mom, I love going on walks, coloring with her, hearing her say new words, watching her pretend things and marveling over all the things she knows how to do.

2. My husband for working and making money and never once saying I should get a job.  He has always been supportive of me staying home, and now he's supportive of me doing my etsy shop, too, even though it means I buy lots of fabric and a new sewing machine and there's always scraps of everything laying around the house.

3. My etsy shop!  It has given me a reason to sew, which I LOVE to do.  And it makes me feel like I have a talent and I've never had that before.  It gives me a creative outlet I have needed for a long time.  I never realized how badly I needed it, but now that I have it, I see I was missing something before.

4. My mom.  She is the only person I feel comfortable leaving Ingrid with, and therefore the only babysitter she's ever really had.  Thus, my mom is the reason we get date nights.  And when she's here it just makes my day because she plays with Ingrid and bakes and cleans up and gives me a much needed break :)

5. My friends.  I have made some great friends here in Michigan that are always willing to have a playdate.  I can't even imagine if I were here with no friends and it was just Ingrid and I at home all day long...I love being home most of the time, but I need that socialization big time!!  And my friends in Milwaukee that have kept in touch with me after I moved--I miss them so much!  I am thankful that our friendship is important enough for them to still love me even though I'm six hours away. 

My family is healthy, we are no longer as poor as we were last year living off a grad student stipend :) and we are loved by friends and family.  I will play along at this time of year, but I think it's important for people to remember why they are lucky all year long.  I am thankful for all these things every single day! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sleeping A Little at a Time...

If it's not working, do something else.  Whatever we were doing with Ingrid was not working, so we tried something else.  Friday night we went to dinner and my mom watched her.  She was fine while we were gone, but then up three times between 9 and 10:30pm.  So, I took her mattress out of the crib, plopped it on the floor, grabbed my comforter and pillow, and we camped out.  Ingrid thought this was very interesting.  She laid on her mattress for awhile, with her hand touching my arm.  Then she crawled over to me and snuggled for a bit.  Then back to the mattress.  Then she stood up and ran to the mattress, jumping on it and screeching "Wheee!"  Hmm, not really the sleep I was hoping for, but not crying either.

After an hour and a half of me dozing next to Ingrid, who was crawling back and forth between me and her mattress, she finally started whining a little.  I asked her if she wanted to go back to her bed, and she said yes.  I put the mattress in the crib, stuck her in, and she slept for 7 1/2 hours.  Last night she was up a couple times but not nearly as bad as it had been.  Just getting that one night of 7 hours of sleep, and naps while my mom and Brendan watched her, I feel so refreshed!  How ridiculous. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ugh.

I need a pick me up today.  Ingrid hasn't been sleeping well for weeks now and it's starting to wear on my nerves.  Last night she was up every hour or so from 7pm until 630am.  She did not sleep more than 2 hours at any one time during the whole entire effing night!!  I am exhausted this morning.  And so is she, but she won't just go back to bed like I could...she wants to play but she's so tired she doesn't know what she wants to do.  She just cried for a half hour for no reason--I tried to get her interested in books, a blanket, her kitchen, a snack.  Ugh.

She is a year and a half and this has been an ongoing battle.  I don't know what to do anymore.  I have tried giving her what she needs, even if that's a cuddle for a minute, then back to bed.  But she gets up so much, I don't get any sleep.  I've tried letting her settle herself back down, which happens sometimes, but usually she'd cry nonstop if I let her.  I have let her before, too.  I went in every few minutes to try to calm her down but not take her out of the crib and she cried for two hours until finally I took her out and she calmed down for a little bit.  I try to take her in bed with us but she never sleeps, she just starts playing on us.  Ugh.

Isn't it supposed to get better the older they get??  She slept better as a baby.  She'd sleep 8 hrs straight, have a bottle, and sleep for 3 hours more.  That I could handle.  This I cannot.  Ugh.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Week 3: My cloth budget

When I started researching cloth diapering I didn't know what kind of budget I would have.  I didn't have a lot of money to spend, so I knew I would buy used.  I checked out craigslist and saw a couple people selling some diapers for around $100.  Compared to the $700 we would be spending on a year's worth of Seventh Generation diapers, that seemed like a bargain to me! 

We were lucky because we found a huge stash of fitteds for $50, and then I got six covers from sellers on etsy for about $45.  We used those for awhile, then I won a couple Fuzzibunz, then I bought 10 more at $10 a piece, for another $100.  When I wanted to get more pocket diapers, I traded out some of the fitteds, seeing as they were sitting in a box in the closet!  I ended up trading for another four or five pockets without spending any more money than the original $200.  I think that's pretty amazing, if I do say so myself!!

I am such a bargain hunter and I buy most things used, so to me, buying used diapers just made sense.  We have a one year old who I don't really want to be in diapers for too much longer, so I didn't want to go nuts on all the fancy cute diapers out there.  If money weren't an issue and we were going to be cloth diapering for longer, or for more kids, I would definitely get some of the cute ones, though!  So many prints and colors and different types, it makes my head spin! 

You can spend as much or as little as you want, it's really all up to you.  Prefolds and covers are super cheap, buying used is cheap, or you could go full on and buy all brand new expensive kinds.  Either way, I swear you'd spend less than the disposables, which is awesome!!  And you can sell them when you're done, or use them on another kid.  Can't do that with sposies, can you?!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, November 16, 2009

Deep Breaths...

Ingrid is very independent. This is a trait I usually love in her.  I love that she can sit and read books by herself.  I love that she can play with her stuffed animals by herself.  I love that I can usually take a shower and she'll keep herself entertained.

However, lately she has taken that independence and decided she doesn't have to listen to me.  So...running away from me when I have a bag of garbage in one hand and the dog's leash in the other, or running away when it's time to get shoes on, or running away when it's time to take a bath.  Or, touching things after I say please don't.  Getting into the garbage and eating coffee grounds (you'd think that would be a one time deal, but alas, it happens every day.)  Coloring on the walls or tables or chairs or books after I tell her please use the paper. 

I know kids this age are testing their boundaries, and I never had a problem with this when I was a nanny.  I knew these were the boundaries and the kids would not stray outside the lines.  But with Ingrid I'm finding that the lines are blurry.  Some days I just don't feel like fighting with her, so I chase her to put her in the tub or I chase her to get her shoes on or I tell her twice not to color on the walls instead of just once.  Or I actually let her color on the walls because it washes off and I just don't feel like chasing her.  That kid is fast!

Today we were going to take the dog for a walk and I had the garbage, so she needed to walk alongside me until we got to the dumpster.  Usually she's pretty good at this but today she just was pushing all my buttons.  She ran the opposite direction as soon as I told her we needed to go this way, when I chased after her and grabbed her and told her to go this way, she stopped altogether and wouldn't walk at all.  It's like we just both have these personalities where we are going to get our own way.  We are just fighting each other to see who will win.  Battle of the wills and we both have VERY strong wills.

I don't mind letting her do what she will most of the time.  But how do I get her to understand that sometimes she HAS to listen to mama??  Sometimes I need her cooperation, I need her to listen to me.  But how do you make a 1 1/2 year old understand that??  So, deep breaths.  Deep breaths.  I love her independent spirit, I love her independent spirit.  If we don't have to have a battle of the wills, don't.  

Why is parenting so much harder than nannying???? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wanna Win Something?

My first etsy giveaway has started!

http://taketimetosmelltherose.blogspot.com/2009/11/applesauce-crafts-review-giveaway.html

Chari over at Take Time to Smell the Rose has a review/giveaway of my etsy shop. Check it out, enter, win something cute!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 2: My Ideal Stash

To continue November's theme of how to build a cloth diaper stash over at The Cloth Diaper Report, here's this week's topic: What's your ideal stash?

This all depends on types of diapers and how often you wash. For example, when we use fitteds or prefolds in a cover, I change more often. But using pocket diapers like FuzziBunz or BumGenius, we can go longer between changes. And I usually wash every day, so I don't need a huge stash. But if you don't want to do laundry every day, you'll need more. Personally, it's become such a habit of throwing in the diaper load every afternoon, I don't really think about it.

Our stash right now is 7 FuzziBunz Mediums, 4 BumGenius one size, 2 other pocket diapers, a few fitteds and prefolds, and 4-5 covers. We usually only use the pockets and use the others for backup or at the end of the day when I don't want to "waste" using a pocket. Isn't that stupid? Why does it matter? But in my head, if Ingrid is going to be in her diaper only for an hour before bathtime, I don't want to use a pocket. Things like this will surprise you, so again, be flexible :)

I really like my stash. I have only used them on a toddler though, as we started cloth diapering when Ingrid was a year old. If I were to have a baby in cloth, I know I would need a lot more, as they wet a lot more. And people say different diapers do better for small baby's poo, which I never had to deal with either. But for me, this stash works really well. If I had to change anything, I would probably have more one size diapers, as the Medium FB are getting to fit funny. I should probably go up to the Large but I don't want to spend the money...And they do fit, so I'll just use what I have.


MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kill Your Television?

I am not the hugest fan of TV. I absolutely hate ads, which makes me LOVE the invention of DVRs. I barely ever watch live tv now because I can't fast forward through the commercials. But I'm also not totally against tv. I like a lot of tv shows, I like finding stupid movies to watch on tv, I like completely vegging out not moving a muscle while watching tv. I really never thought too much about it one way or another before having kids, but now it's like this huge thing I see everywhere about kids and tv.

Ingrid watches tv. She's 1 1/2 and likes Yo Gabba Gabba and Charlie and Lola. She is in the room when we watch shows not geared toward kids. She knows how to point the remote at the tv and push the button. Does this make me a bad mom? Is this going to make her obese and stupid?

I have a friend that teaches at a Waldorf school and she doesn't think kids should watch tv at all because they need to use their imaginations and read and play. I agree with that, and a family I used to nanny for limited their sons' tv watching a lot and those boys always were making up games and being really imaginative and loved to read.

But then I used to nanny for another family that had a 12 year old boy that watched tv as much as he wanted, and he also was able to be imaginative and devour books in one sitting. He even wrote a book over the course of a school year. So is tv really that bad?

I guess I see the point that if kids aren't sitting there in front of a tv they will be doing something else. And if tv isn't an option, then books or play will be. But I believe for most things moderation is key. Ingrid watched a lot of tv this past week because she was sick and honestly, it kept her attention away from crying when I stepped out of the room to switch a load of laundry or go to the bathroom. But the tv she watches is always dvds with no commercials or on NickJr where they don't have commercials. I care more about that than anything else.

It was just brought to my attention yesterday how much we worry as parents about everything when a friend said she was a bad mom for letting her kid watch a half hour of tv. And I used to feel that way, too, like oh no, I really shouldn't be letting her do this! But at some point I said screw it, she's a smart kid and she loves books and she talks up a storm--I doubt watching Yo Gabba Gabba is going to ruin all that. And then I thought my husband grew up with the tv on nonstop (his parents still always have the damn thing on!) and he has his phd in chemistry!

I don't know, am I missing something? Am I overlooking something that IS really bad about tv?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How I Chose my Cloth

I'm participating in a blog hop over at The Cloth Diaper Report about how to build a cloth diaper stash and this week's topic is how did you choose what kinds/brands.

I started out by researching for days on the internet, which just made me overwhelmed and unsure. First I had to learn all the lingo, like what an AIO was, or a prefold, or what OS meant. After that I had to think of how much money I could spend. I had this idea that I needed to get a whole stash right away and go from disposable to cloth overnight. You can do this, but you certainly don't have to. I'm realizing that now.

Anyway, so I researched and saw how much things cost and got a little worried I wouldn't be able to do it. Then I looked on craigslist and found some people in the Ann Arbor area selling their diapers. I was really into the idea of buying used, especially for just starting out. I had read all about how you just don't know what will work for you, and I didn't want to spend a ton of money on something that may not be our favorite. Plus, my daughter was a year old and she's the only one we're having, so these diapers would be used for a year and then we wouldn't need them anymore. I think that made a difference to me, if we were going to have another baby I would feel better about spending more money since they could be reused.

I had two women I was supposed to meet with about their diapers. One had 10 Bum Genius diapers, which would've been $100. The other lady had a box full of "old style" diapers (she said) for $50. I went to her first. She had the motherload of fitted diapers! They are all one size, some aplix closure, some snaps. All have snap in doublers. And there were close to 50 diapers in the box! Plus she had some prefolds and covers, although they were old Gerber plastic pants and not really what I wanted to use...So, I never did make it to the other lady's house, I just bought the huge stash and went home all excited!

We used those exclusively for about a month, and I never had a problem with them. I really liked the big diaper butt look, and the crisp white cotton just looked so--healthy? So much better than paper disposables! And to me, the fact they didn't have pins just made them SO much better than what I thought cloth would be!!

Then, we won two brand spankin' new Fuzzi Bunz diapers from a blog giveaway, and my life changed. They were so amazing, so absorbent, so cute in green and blue. Suddenly my fitteds looked old and bulky. So, back to craigslist and I found a woman selling her old Medium FuzziBunz diapers. I got ten and we were set. And since then I've swapped some of the fitteds for Bum Genius, DryBees, wahms, other covers, and now we have a really diverse stash. Not at all what I'd planned on, either!

I think that's the important thing to realize--you cannot imagine what you're going to like, what is going to work for you, and how those things are going to change as your child gets older. Be flexible, go with the flow, like most other things with being a parent!


MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nurse Amber

The sickness has hit our house big time. Not sure if it's the swine flu or another flu or just a bug, but Brendan and Ingrid have been sick all weekend and I feel like I've been on the verge of being so...Fevers and snot and crying, laying around, cups of tea, and plenty of bad movies. And who gets to take care of everything? Me! Hooray! I've been doing plenty of cleaning up after everyone, wiping everything down, putting away blankets or sweatshirts that get thrown around when the feverish one gets too warm, finding said blankets and sweatshirts when they get the chills. Making soup, pumpkin pie, and pizzas, then having to do tons of dishes. And then feeling stuffy headed and achy myself and wanting to take a nap and not being able to.

I understand it's my job to take care of Ingrid, and when she's sick she absolutely will not let anyone else take care of her. I get that. And I get it makes me a really nice wife if I do things for Brendan like get him a cup of tea or go get cough drops from the store. And if I'm feeling okay, I will do these things without a thought. However, if I am also achy and tired and needing a nap, it starts to wear me down. Yes, I will say it, I get pissed off that I have to do all the taking care of and when it's my turn for care, who will do it??

Brendan took Ingrid for an hour while I went to lay down and she screamed the whole time, and came to the door whining for mama, and rattled the doorknob trying to open the door. And I hear Brendan out on the couch calling feebly "Ingrid? Where are you?" It just makes me mad that I take care of her all day and all night and I need an HOUR of me time to rest up for the next 24 hour shift and he can't get off the couch to watch her?

I love my husband but I am WORN OUT right now! And Ingrid has been up three times in the past two hours. It's going to be a long night...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Not Bad Weather...

...it's just "challenging." This is what I read on Fiona's blog the other day and I really loved it. I love the midwest in the summer, but there are times I hate it because of its bad weather. Like how you have to enjoy being outside because you can only do it three months of the year. But if I look at it as challenging weather I can still go out in, most of the year opens right up! Really there are just a few weeks in the summer when it's too hot, and a couple weeks in the winter when it's super cold and you'll get frostbite just looking out your window. The rest of the year may be chilly or warm or rainy or sunny, but you can go out in it. This has changed my whole outlook on life in the midwest!

I used to look at rainy days and sigh. Dreary days put me in a dreary mood. They meant staying in and getting bored or being lazy. But the other day, for example, it was rainy all day long, but the dog still needed to go out. So we put on our rain coats and walked over to the dog park. Cody chased his ball, Ingrid splashed in puddles, and we survived. We dried off when we got home, changed our jeans, and had a snack. It's possible to have fun in the rain, who knew??

Today it looks dreary but Ingrid and I had to go back down by the lake to look for Cody's missing collar. Sometime during yesterday's walk he got tangled in a tree and it came off. So, no matter what the weather was, we had to go down there to find it. Coats on, stroller ready, dog on leash, and off we went. It was chilly and damp, but not rainy, and Ingrid and I had a great time. Cody got to run, we found the leash, and we got to enjoy a really super fall day with no one else around.

This is one of the things I've heard others talk about: if you go out during "challenging" weather, no one else will be there and you'll get the whole great outdoors all to yourselves! Fiona took the girls to the zoo--no one there, unlike a hot summer day where there are tons of small people running all over, and the hot sun making everyone cranky. Sarah has written about going to the park on a rainy day and her girls having the whole park to themselves. How wonderful!

Little shifts in my perspective have helped me be happy in my situation instead of longing to be somewhere else. It's a problem I've had my whole life--wanting to be somewhere else. It's usually been centered on the weather, too. "It gets too cold here, I hate it here. It's too rainy, I hate it here. I want sunny days, I hate it here." While I DO hate winter and snow, and the midwest still isn't my ideal living situation, I am here, and I have to make the best of it. Now that I can look outside and still find the ability to go outside and do things no matter what the weather, it's made it that much easier to live here. For now. I still would like to live by mountains. One thing at a time, huh?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Can't We Just Buy a House?

Yesterday we went to look at a couple apartments. I hate living in apartments. I am sick of moving all the time. We've moved four times in the past six years and are contemplating moving twice this year. It sucks.

Our apartment is nice in that it stays fairly warm during the winter. It's been pretty cold and we haven't had to turn on the heat yet, which is nice. Our old apartments were drafty old things and the curtains would blow in the wind when the windows were shut...And we have a gas fireplace which is cozy, and the walls are painted nicely and they have a dog park Cody adores. But it's so stinking far away from everything! I had to go to Target and it was a 15 minute drive. Just to pick up toothpaste. And I've mentioned how great Brendan's commute is.

So we looked. There is a nice part of Ann Arbor that is close to everything: right off the freeway, walking distance to Whole Foods, REI, stores of all varieties, the mall (not that I ever go there, but if I did, it would be in walking distance!) How nice would that be to be able to walk over to the store to pick up milk? Or take a walk with Ingrid to get lunch? And Brendan would be just down the street and be able to get home fairly quickly. But the apartments were a bit smaller than ours and cost $200 more a month...with no dog park for Cody, and no heat included. Hmmm.

I guess I just wish we would've known the area when we moved here. Moving sucks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Letter To Parents Magazine

I'm just sitting here minding my own business, paging through the latest issue of Parents magazine, when I come across something that just pissed me off. On page 92 there is this sweet little article about "Saving Dollars on Diapers." Clip coupons, buy in bulk, buy what's on sale. Not one mention about cloth diapering! Hello, you want to save money, use cloth diapers! It made me so irritated that I wrote the following email to them:

I was just reading the latest issue and came across some tips on how to save money diapering your child (page 92.) I cannot believe you never mentioned cloth diapering!! Using cloth diapers saves tons of money. Say you buy 20 brand new one size diapers, say each diaper is $20--there's $400 to diaper a child from birth to potty training. Add in the minimal cost of washing diapers and you still are way less than the $2000 it says one would spend on disposables. And that's a very high estimate for the cloth-many diapers come in around $16 each, and moms like me buy gently used ones for a fraction of even that cost. Cloth diapering has come a LONG way from diaper pins and plastic pants, and I think Parents magazine needs to step up and show it! Cloth diapers are cute, better for baby's skin, easier to use than most seem to think, and not a bit messier than a disposable. Plus you get to reuse them and save money. I would LOVE to see your magazine do an article about cloth diapering!

Thanks for listening,
Amber Liddle


Seriously, cloth diapers are NOT crazy! When I said I was going to check them out, so many people said I was crazy, I even thought I was crazy because I was thinking it would be old timey diapers with pins. Things have changed, people!! Hopefully someone will read this and maybe I won't even be the only one that wrote in about it. To me it just seems like a major oversight to not include cloth diapering in an article on how to save money...What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Babies and Toddlers

I've been on the fence about having another one, right? The other day when we went to see our friend's new baby, I jumped over to the side of not having another...Not to say that I'll stay there, seeing as I was pro-one from the day Ingrid was born until she turned one. Then I thought it would be nice to have a brother or sister for her. Then we traveled on a plane and I went back to wanting only one. I change my mind easily, it sucks.

So Tuesday we went to our friend Heather's. She has a two month old, Olivia, and I was really excited to see how Ingrid reacted to her. Ingrid could've cared less, I don't think she realized it was another human. She was way more interested in the dog that was whining at the back door. When she did see the baby in the swing, she had a fun time taking the blanket off and then throwing it back on, watching it land on the poor baby's face. On a positive note, Olivia seemed to find this very entertaining and smiled the whole time.

The a-ha moment was when I was holding Olivia and feeding her a bottle. Ingrid came up to me and whined and cried and tugged on my leg. She tried to take the bottle out of Olivia's mouth, and did whatever she could to get my attention away from the baby. I know tons of moms do this, but I don't want to!! I hate having my attention drawn in six different directions! I love to be able to pay all my attention to Ingrid. I know I would just get used to it, much like I got used to nights of no sleep and other horrible things from having the first baby, but I really don't want to...

Knowing my personality, I think I would do much better just having one and doing it all for her than trying to spread myself out over two kids. People think because I was a nanny before having Ingrid that I must just love kids and want a ton of them, but they are wrong. I love kids, one at a time. I watched two little boys while I was pregnant. One went to school for most of the day, leaving me with the other. I had two hours after school where I had both boys and it was the hardest time ever. I watched them over a weekend and I thought it would take another week to recover. Most of the families I nannied for had one child. I like having only one child to take care of.

I have been reading this book, Parenting an Only Child by Susan Newman. I really like some of the things she has to say. She goes through debunking myths of onlies being too dependent, being lonely, being demanding, wanting siblings and feeling like something is missing since they don't have one. And she also goes into what to say to people that think you're crazy for only wanting one, and how to deal with your own feelings when you question your decision. It's been a great way for me to sift through all the thoughts I have about family size and why I have these hormonal shifts in either being happy with one or longing for another.

What I have figured out is this: I don't want another person, I want to just go back to when Ingrid was a baby for a day or two. I want to relive her being immobile and cuddly and wanting to be held all the time. I don't want that full time, though, just a day or two. Like how puppies are so cute and cuddly, but they grow to full grown dogs--I just want to pet a puppy, not buy one. Yes, I just compared my child to a dog :) So, I think I will just enjoy other people's babies and then go home and enjoy my one and only.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Etsy junk

Stuff is happenin' at Applesauce Crafts!! I'm getting ready for the holidays by making some cute Christmas jumpers, and possibly snuggly flannel pants if I ever get back to Joann's for more flannel. Two blogs will be featuring reviews and giveaways from my shop, which is pretty exciting. Around the first of November Chari over at Take Time to Smell the Rose is hosting a giveaway, and sometime soon after that, Emi at the Cloth Diaper Report is doing her review. I am very excited and so appreciative of the opportunity to promote Applesauce Crafts and get the word out that I'm making cute things :) If anyone needs any Christmas gifts that are one of a kind and ridiculously adorable, check out my etsy shop!
Oh, and also, I'm thinking of adding these reusable cup holders for all the coffee and tea drinking mamas. What do you think? Part of me thinks if you want to be green you'd just bring your own mug, but on the other hand, this is way easier to carry with you than a travel mug, and every little bit helps. Hmm, help me decide, does the world need reusable cup holders??

Sunday, October 11, 2009

News from the Job front.

Brendan talked to his advisor a couple days ago, about his future and how long he'll stay at the University, etc. It looks like he will continue on at UofM until the spring, then start the job search and we'll be moving in the summer. Ahh, a sigh of relief to actually know what the next six months is going to bring!

So...now the question is this: do we move into Ann Arbor for the six months after our lease is up here, or do we renew here and then do a big move to wherever B gets a job? Pros for staying here: not moving until summer. We would have to move in January again, which is NO FUN in Michigan. It was -14 degrees I believe when we moved in. Yuck. Also, our stuff is here and unpacked and we're cozy here. I love our dishwasher, washer/dryer, fireplace, and the dog park.

Pros for moving to Ann Arbor: We'd leave most of our stuff packed up so less packing to do when we do our big move to Brendan's new job. Brendan would be able to be home earlier if he didn't have to do the stupid commute to Ypsilanti. Seriously, we don't live in a city and his work is about ten miles away, WHY does it take him an hour to get home??? I hate the traffic around here, it's worse than it was in Milwaukee, a real city! I would also like to be closer to the stuff that's going on in Ann Arbor. I hardly go there because it's just a pain in the ass to get there. If we lived there, though, we could actually do things like go out to dinner!

I am undecided. Moving means spending more money on a smaller place without laundry. I don't know if I can do that :) Pro and con lists suck, I can always see both positives and negatives and neither one seems to outweigh the other...Stay tuned, our saga continues.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No More Bottles!!

We are on day two of no bottles and it seems to be going pretty well. Crap, I just jinxed myself!

We started two nights ago, after Brendan unloaded the dishwasher and had to put together all six parts of the bottle for each of the three bottles that were in there. I have been irritated with them as well, and had thought of not bringing them with us when we went on vacation in August. Then I decided I'd like to sleep on my vacation, so we kept using bottles. But as soon as Brendan made a disgusted sound and said he wanted to be done with bottles, I figured it was time.

I did not want to force Ingrid to give up bottles right at a year old. I couldn't see why I'd give up something that worked so well for us. She only ever had them at nap and bedtime, I just didn't see what the big deal was. I figured we would know when the time was right. I am so glad we waited until she seemed ready and we were both on board, I think it makes a big difference in how well it's going vs. how horrible it could be.

Ingrid seemed ready because she never really drank much of the bottle, just a couple ounces. And then she'd get up three times a night for a quick suck and go back to sleep. So she really didn't NEED it, it was more for comfort. Like I said, I was ready to be done with them just for the fact of how annoying it was to make sure we had all the parts to the vent system and the right flow nipples, etc etc. If there's a next baby, they're getting the cheap-o bottles that only come with a nipple ring and the nipple. None of this fancy venting system!! So I was ready, and then when Brendan said he was ready, it was time.

The first night was tough. Ingrid cried on and off for an hour and a half, but fell asleep after much singing and shushing and rocking. Yesterday at nap time she went right down, she could've cared less if she had a bottle. Last night she went right down, too, but was up a couple hours later and screamed for two hours! I offered her a sippy of milk, which she thought was very offensive. She threw a little temper tantrum right in my arms, hitting me and throwing the cup out of my hands and arching her back and yelling. Not fun. Today naptime, right down. Tonight at bedtime, she went right down. Let's see if she will stay down. I asked her very nicely before bedtime if she would please sleep and not scream in my face...Let's hope she listened.

I can't believe she's done with bottles. She is such a little girl now, she smiles at us with a mouthful of teeth, she talks up a storm, she's not a baby!! Where does the time go?

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Great Article

Holly over at the Cloth Diaper Experiment posted the link to this article. I think it's pretty funny when people try to say disposables are better than cloth or not as bad for the environment as some would have you believe. Yes, they are convenient sometimes, and yes, I still use them sometimes. But I would never say they are better for the environment than cloth diapers. That's just silly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh, Cloth, How I Missed You!

Last time we went on vacation I brought along all our cloth diapers and went to the laundromat and washed them every two days. It was not worth it at all. I ended up spending over $20 washing them, but because I ran out of quarters I couldn't do an extra rinse on them and all the diapers ended up smelling super bad. Gross.

So, this time when we went to Denver I bought disposables to take along. I got a pack of Earth's Best non-chlorine diapers. Also not worth it. They're paper, they leaked, and they gave her a rash. Rashes are not good, they do not make for happy babies.

When we got home the first thing I did was change Ingrid out of her disposable and into a cloth diaper. They seemed so cozy and soft!! I can't believe I ever used disposables. But there has got to be some compromise for vacations, doesn't there??

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Off To Denver!

Bright and early tomorrow morning we are leaving for Denver, Colorado. It will be the first time Ingrid's been on a plane! How exciting, and utterly terrifying. She loves to wave at every plane that goes by in the sky (we live by an airport, so that is quite frequent.) I've been talking a lot about how we get to go on a plane and fly with the birds and go see Aunt Shell. I have toys and books and dvds and snacks. So I hope it goes well, but you just never know with Ingrid...

From the very start Brendan and I knew we'd continue to travel and do fun things, even with kids. We always hated when friends would say they couldn't go somewhere because of their baby. We were going to just have our baby live our already established lifestyle, within reason. It wasn't too hard for the most part. Ingrid came to the cottage with us at 6 days old, Brendan's college friends got together for a raucous party when she was four months, and she just slept in a pack and play throughout the whole ordeal. I took her to Holland for Tulip Time and she fell asleep in my arms while I was at a bonfire with friends. Sometimes she's really great!

Then there are the times when she's not. For example, the night we went to a friend's house to play Guitar Hero and she screamed bloody murder the entire time we were there. Or the time I was in a wedding and she screamed and cried the entire night before the wedding, until Brendan took her out to the car and slept with her on his chest. In the car, with the seat reclined. Or just a couple weeks ago when we tried to take her camping and she was up all night long. You just really never know with her!!

Even though we never know what we're going to get with her, I'm still glad we travel with her. Most of the time she's okay, and she always settles in the second day we're there, she just needs to get used to things. I want her to be okay with going places, I want her to be flexible. I just hope it gets a little easier as she gets older. So, off to Denver tomorrow, on a plane. I hope she's in a good mood and sleeps well at the hotel and we have a good time. Otherwise, I'm not sure Brendan will agree to go anywhere with her ever again...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Have You Been All My Life???

My sewing machine came from the UPS man today. For one thing, when I think of sewing machines I think of 40 lb. monstrosities, seeing as I've been using one from the 60s. So I see the UPS man holding a big box and I think, oh, no, he's gotta lug that thing all the way up the stairs! However, I grab the box from him and my first thought is "they forgot to pack the sewing machine in here!" It is SO light!

When I finally got a chance to use it, I broke the needle. I had the bobbin thread going the wrong way...BUT, once I got that right, and a new needle in, oh my god. The fabric just glided right through!!! I barely had to touch the peddle for it to go. And when I wanted to try all the different stitches, I just had to push a button. And suddenly it would go from straight line to zigzag. From zigzag to this really cool loopy stitch I don't even know the name for.

I loved my mom's machine, it has done me well and I learned a lot on it. But lugging it out of the closet every time I wanted to use it was awful. And having the pedal stick on me so it kept sewing when I wanted it to stop five stitches ago was so frustrating. I'm just so excited to make things! And I was pretty damn excited before!

I have a Brother CE4000 and I love it. I'm sorry, 1968 Riccar, it's over. I've moved onto a younger model.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sewing Machine Woes

I have my mom's old sewing machine from the 60s, which has always been great. I even spent $100 a few years ago having it fixed since the guy told me those machines are almost indestructible unlike the newer plastic ones. But now the pedal keeps sticking and the thread gets tangled and it is noisy as hell. I'm not sure I want to get it fixed again since it was $100 and only stayed fixed for a couple years. Anyone know of a good affordable machine? I've looked at Joann and Amazon and see mostly Singer or Brother. Does anyone have either brand, and do you like it? I'm looking for around $120, so none of the fancy ones, unfortunately. Not yet anyway :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two Super Recipes

I love allrecipes.com. I go there when I'm bored with our current rotation of dinners. Last week I wanted to find new ways to use chicken breasts, and found these two recipes which turned out to be really tasty. Maybe not the healthiest, but they sure do taste good.

Broccoli and Chicken Casserole
-steamed broccoli
-cooked cubed chicken breasts
-1 can low fat cream of broccoli soup
-1/3 c. milk
-1 c. shredded cheddar
-1 TB melted butter mixed with 1/3 c. bread crumbs

Mix together soup and milk, add to broccoli and chicken. Top with cheese, then breadcrumb mixture. Cook at 450 for 20 minutes. YUM.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

-cubed chicken breasts
-cumin
-fresh cilantro
-1 can black beans, rinsed
-1 can enchilada sauce
-corn tortillas
-1 c. fat free sour cream
-1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar

Cook chicken with cumin. Add cilantro and black beans. In casserole dish, layer 1/2 enchilada sauce, 4 corn tortillas, chicken/bean mix, 1/2 cheese, 1/2 sour cream, and layer again. Top with foil, cook at 375 for 30 minutes. Take off foil, top with a little more cheese and stick back in to melt it. Let it set for about 5 minutes after taking out of the oven. Again, YUM!

I'm always looking for good casserole recipes (I'm such an old lady!!!) I just think they are so easy to prepare and a good option for nights I don't feel like doing much for dinner. Anyone have any other good ones? Vegetarian ones?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baby Fever

Yesterday I went nuts cleaning and rearranging the furniture. I moved the dresser from Ingrid's room, which meant I had to put all her stuff somewhere else, I moved a couch, I organized closets. It was insane. During all this madness I came across three things that induced a severe case of baby fever.

Number one: a packet of pictures my friend had taken throughout my pregnancy. It starts at 14 weeks where I actually look better than I do now (sad but true...) and goes all the way to 38 weeks when I'm rockin' a bikini. I just love pregnant bellies! I have always had a flabby belly so being pregnant was the only time I've ever liked my shape, because I didn't have to suck it in!!

Number two: my journal from that year. It starts a few months before I got pregnant, when I was so worried I wouldn't be able to get pregnant, when I was talking about Clomid and adoption, when I was worrying over the timing with Brendan finishing school and all. Then there's the time when I was pregnant but didn't know it, to the day I simply wrote "4:30am, two blue lines. I'm pregnant. Holy s**t!!" And then throughout the pregnancy, feeling the baby move for the first time, finding out it was a girl, all the names we called her before settling on Ingrid. And finally up to the week before she was born where all I could think about was getting her the hell out of me so I could meet her already!!

Number three: teeny tiny baby clothes. I went through all her clothes to see what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of and all these memories just came flooding back from when she was that small. Oh, small babies, you are so cute! Ingrid is definitely more fun now than when she was a tiny lump of baby, but she was pretty darn cute as a four month old...

So all in all I'm having major baby fever. And yet at the same time I'm so excited for my etsy store having opened (and I got my first order!) that I can totally see just having Ingrid and starting to really focus on a business. It's a blessing and a curse that I can see the positives of most things, I swear to god.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wow, that was easier than I thought!

I opened my etsy store. Applesauce Crafts is now open for business!

www.amberliddle.etsy.com

Yea!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Etsy Dream

For awhile now people have said I should start an etsy shop. I've really wanted to but just never had the motivation. I thought it would take too much time, and with me being at home with Ingrid it just wouldn't be possible. But lately I've been sewing a LOT and making dresses for people on swapmamas. I realized I've made like 10 dresses in the past week or so. And I've made at least 5 owls, a baby blanket, and a couple bibs. Hmm, either I'm getting better about working while Ingrid is napping or I'm neglecting her. Or a little of both?

I don't want to neglect Ingrid, that's my biggest fear, that I'll get so wrapped up in my sewing that I'll stick her in front of the TV or I won't take her outside as much as I should because I have three dresses needing to be hemmed, or I'm just finishing up an owl and need to get it done. Really, Ingrid is very good about being by herself in the mornings, she actually prefers it. If I try to read to her or play with her, she pushes me away or goes into another room (nice and subtle...) So most mornings I do get an hour or so to get things done while she plays in her room. And then it's nap time and I can really get crackin'.

So I made a list today of
what I want to have made for my shop.
I want 2 dresses in each size done,

five or six owls,

and five bibs.

I also would like to try to get two blankets done since I have the fabric for it, but I don't know if that will happen or not.

Plus I would like to get cards made to send along with purchases, and I'd like to get some pretty tissue paper to wrap the items in. I just love when I get something in the mail that is nicely packaged! And I'm working on a name for my store, but that's taking time. Everything sounds so stupid when I try to think of something! I really want a German word but I haven't come up with anything good. Any ideas??

It just seems so amazing that I'm finally doing this! It really feels good that A) I've had so much motivation lately, and B) I've gotten so much positive feedback from people. As soon as I've posted a dress on swapmamas I get three people asking me if I can make one for them. And same with the owls, people have really liked them. I post things to my facebook page, too, and also get people asking me if I'm going to sell my stuff. The weirdest thing is people say I have talent. I have NEVER had a talent before! Other people would act or sing or play an instrument, or they'd be really into something like art or science. I always just floated by not knowing what I wanted to do, kind of dabbling in things but never really having a talent for anything. It's like I'm finally finding out what I want to do, which is very strange. I'm a late bloomer :) At 32 years old I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. Cool.

Stay tuned, I should hopefully have a couple names you'll have to help me choose from. And then by October hopefully I will have a link to my super duper etsy store!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where Will We End Up???

Brendan and I have been talking a lot about jobs again lately. He officially has 5 months left at his fellowship and has been looking at jobs to see what's out there. And every time he finds one, my brain goes off into daydream mode and I think about where we'll live, what we'll do there, what kind of house we could find in our budget, etc.

The past couple weeks have gone from Colorado, where I would LOVE to live, to Holland, MI, where I grew up. Hmmm. Colorado is gorgeous, there's a lab in Golden so we'd live close to Denver but not in the city. One of my best friends is nearby in Arvada, the mountains are right there, we'd be able to go do real hiking whenever we wanted. Plus, Denver is close, there are direct flights to both Grand Rapids so I could see my family, and Milwaukee so we could visit Brendan's parents and our friends. Perfect!

But then Brendan said something about a professor job at Hope College, which is in my hometown of Holland. I HATED growing up there!!! I could not wait to get the hell out of there when I was 18!! It was horrible to live there. But then I thought of it from an adult perspective and I think it would be okay to live there with a family. We could live right downtown in a cool old house, walk to parks and shopping, I have a couple friends from high school with little girls the same age as Ingrid. Family is right there, which is a blessing and a curse. The beach is there, good camping is close by. We could get a babysitter without any trouble, as my sister is always willing to watch Ingrid :)

How can I possibly go from Colorado to Holland, Michigan, in a span of a couple days?? It's amazing to me that I can really find the positives in any place Brendan brings up. I think it would be harder if he said he found a job in the middle of nowhere in Texas or something, but so far I have been pretty okay with anywhere he says. He even said something about being here for an extra six months if he would get a job that started next fall and I was okay with that, too. I don't really love it here, but the other night we went out to dinner with some friends and I realized it's just where we live. Ann Arbor itself is pretty cool, if not a bit expensive. It's super cute, though, and if we were to live closer to things, I think I'd really like it. And I do love the friends I've made here, and I'm always meeting more moms and if I knew I was staying I'd put even more effort out there to be part of things.

I guess it's cool that I can see myself living anywhere, but sometimes I wish I had more of a pull to be somewhere specific. I feel kind of lost right now, like we're totally just floating here for now, and I know that my family is my home and wherever Brendan and Ingrid are is where I belong, but I want a home. I'm sick of feeling like we're only here for a few more months, then I don't know where we'll be. I don't mind renting, but it would be nice if I could feel like it's worth putting effort into making our apartment cozy. Right now I just feel like what's the point? We'll just be moving soon anyway...blah. Hopefully Brendan will start getting some interviews and we'll figure all this out. Having no control over it is tough, but since I don't really want to be the breadwinner for our family, I'll leave it all up to Brendan to get a job he likes :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

One Car Family

We have talked a lot about being a one car family. Right now it's not possible, as we live too far away from Brendan's work so he can't bike or take the bus. And we live too far away from any stores for me to be able to walk there. Before we moved here, though, for three years we lived about five minutes away from his work, so he biked every day, or on really crappy days I took him and picked him up. Today he grabbed my keys by accident, so I am without a car and unable to leave the house! And it got me thinking how much I depend on having that car, and how I need to get over it. We would really love to have only one car, but I know I am the one that feels she should have one at her disposal. I feel kind of bad about that--I'm so selfish!

Anyway, today Brendan called and said he had my keys and I panicked. Even though we had nothing going on today, I felt like I was stuck at home and couldn't go anywhere and of course that made me want to go somewhere. But then I took a deep breath and realized it was raining and my plans had been to sew and bake bread, neither of which necessitated me leaving the house. So...I made three dresses and did two loads of laundry today by noon! It was kind of nice knowing I was home, we were going to have to make it work.

I also started reading the Little House books last night. I haven't read them since I was a kid, but man, they are great! I'm excited for Ingrid to get a little older so I can start reading them to her. I'm reading Little House in the Big Woods right now and it's all about them canning food and smoking meat and getting everything together for the winter. And I just feel so cozy reading about them making paper dolls and making bread and churning butter. They don't need two cars in the Ingalls family! And they live in the middle of nowhere! Obviously I'd have a tough time adjusting to life as a pioneer, but for a little bit while I was reading it it sounded so nice. Then I thought of depending on Brendan to shoot my food and the daydream crumbled. We'd starve.

But to get back to the one car family--I really think we can do this. Depending on where Brendan gets a job, we will try to look for a place close to his work, hopefully close to shops and things as well for me. And I will have to try to be okay with the times he needs the car and I'm left at home. It somehow just seems like such a big deal to me and I have to get over that. It's really not! There are days I never leave the house, weeks where I don't use the car for two or three days in a row. But the knowledge that I *could* use it if I wanted keeps me from hyperventilating.

Does anyone else have only one car, and if so, how do you deal? Or do you think you ever could do it? For us it just makes sense, as Brendan is at work all day and I only really use the car for errands and running to play dates. I feel like we could make it work. I hope we can!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Baking Epiphany.

The past few days have been downers for me, I don't know why. I was really unmotivated to do anything, I let the house get a mess, there was no food in the pantry or fridge. I was sick of watching Ingrid, I didn't want to do anything with her even though I knew she was bored and that's why she was acting out. I just felt...blah.

Then yesterday morning we got up early and had a playdate with our friends Jami and Ben. I made a loaf of banana/zuchinni bread and after I put it in the oven I had this strange feeling come over me. I had missed baking! Making that loaf of bread suddenly made me feel more peaceful, ready to deal with a toddler, and reminded me I like my simple life. How can that be? It was like something clicked and I remembered why I like to be a stay at home mom and what kind of life I want to lead.

I admit, I get carried away with daydreams. Lately I've been getting a lot of people wanting to trade things for the dresses and owls I make and I started thinking of how nice it would be to have a little sewing room where no little hands could pull things off tables and get into the felt scraps. I started getting irritated with Ingrid for being the curious person I usually love that she is. I started wanting her to need me less so I could get on and do my own thing. That simple act of making a loaf of bread put me back into reality--I am at home with a one year old. I have a home to take care of, a dog that needs walking, a toddler to keep entertained, and some fresh air and sunshine that need to be taken in. Perhaps in a few years there will be time for hard core sewing, but for now I have to take advantage of what I have--an adorable daughter that wants to play!

So the rest of the day went smoothly. We went to our friend's house, we came home and Ingrid napped. I got three owls cut out to be worked on after Ingrid went to bed. After naptime we spent the afternoon outside. And I was really in tune and happy to be where I was. Thank god, because I really hate feeling cranky and crabby!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Miss Sassy Pants

Ingrid has started a new phase where she likes to say nonononono and shake her head and look at me while she does something I've just told her not to do. I know it's a common phase for a toddler and that every mom goes through it so I have to ask the experienced moms--how do you keep your sanity???

Up until now it has been easy to care for her. I let her explore and do what she wants within reason, I don't pull her away from everything, I try to let her figure things out for herself. And when it was time to go or we had to move on to the next thing, she came willingly. Now it is a fight to get her to listen. When we come in from outside she throws herself out of my arms to climb the stairs. You would think that after weeks of me herding her inside before she makes a break for the set of stairs going up another flight that she would understand she's not allowed to go up there. But no, every single stinkin' time we come in she bolts for the second set of stairs and screams bloody murder when I pick her up and set her in front of our door. Then she refuses to come inside, so she sits and screams in the hallway, filling the entire apartment building with the sweet sweet sounds of a 15 month old. You're welcome, neighbors!

Yesterday was very trying for me and I admit, I yelled. I don't want to yell, I don't want to be mean mama, I don't want to be telling her no to everything. I hate when I hear moms saying no-no to every little thing their kid wants to do. Kids need to explore, to touch things (within reason) and I know they are just naturally curious. But can you please not be curious about our new Wii system which you already managed to almost break? There's nowhere else for me to put it, I cannot keep it out of your reach so you are going to have to learn how to stay away from something so inviting.

I think that's my main thing--I have set up our house so she is free to go where she wants. I never had to tell her no before, really. But now she's so mobile and growing ever so much taller that she can get into new things, things I can't move out of her way. Things she has to learn she can't touch. So how do I go about doing that without yelling no at her all the time? Especially when she's sassy and yells back at me "nonononononono!" I don't want to teach her to yell, I don't want to speak to her with a mean voice. I want to be loving and gentle and yet I find myself getting so irritated that I yell "Jesus Christ, kid, you are driving me nuts today!! Go find a book to read!" (Yes, I am available for the Mom of the Year award, thanks for asking.)

Help me, fellow mamas. How do you tame the sassy one year old? Or how do you tame the sassy part of yourself?

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Addiction

A couple weeks ago while browsing through blogs, I came across an ad for Swapmamas.com. I went over there to check it out and now I am an addict. Have you ever been there? It's amazing--it's a bunch of ladies posting things they want to get rid of, like baby gear, kids clothes, handmade items, house goods. I had a box of yarn to get rid of and I've been making felt owls, and for that I got a new Maya Wrap ring sling and a hand crocheted bib and hat for Ingrid! Today we have to send out three packages of random things, like old onesies and a bottle brush we never used, and are expecting 2 handmade bibs, some clothes for Ingrid for this fall, and a toy car. Just for sending out our old stuff!! I am in love!

I found a woman who makes purple pocket diapers, people that hand knit sweaters, and this lovely lady that makes the cutest coats. She's got a daughter Ingrid's age and is 8 months pregnant, though, so we're going to wait until spring to get a coat from her. She's just the slightest bit busy at the moment...

I think my favorite thing about being a mom is the sense of community I've found there. We are all in this together, we all go through the same things, and it seems like we're all pretty much there to help each other out. When I was pregnant I got so many free things from people, we didn't have to buy much for Ingrid for the first nine months. I thought people must be so generous, we were so lucky. And we are lucky, and they are generous, but now I realize--no one wants that outgrown stuff laying around the house and they are glad to get rid of it :)

Anyway, just thought I'd share. It's seriously the best place, I am so glad I found it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm Still Me.

My friend Mirabelle came to visit last night. She was driving from Montreal to Milwaukee and stopped at our house for a night. We got to hang out today until she had to be on her way which was so much fun! We've been friends for a long time and she is just the most honest person ever. She is great person to just sit and drink coffee and chat away the morning with. Especially since we haven't talked in a few months, we had tons of catching up to do.

After chatting about old friends and old problems and new things going on in Milwaukee and elsewhere, we talked about what I've been up to lately. I didn't think it was anything special--I hang out with Ingrid, I bake bread, I sew things. Pretty boring stuff. But she said she was really happy for me because I sounded really content and happy and she was glad to hear I was still me and not some robot stay at home mom.

Ahh, the robo-sahm! It was one thing I NEVER wanted to be!! I always always always wanted to remember who I was as a person. I used to be fun! I used to be a punk! I used to stay up past 10pm. Wait, no I didn't. I never could stay up very late :) But I didn't want my life to revolve around babies. I love babies and I think about having another, but I don't want my conversations to all be about poop or teething or sleep deprivation. Yes, I love to talk with other mamas about stuff like that because it is my life, but I don't want that to be the ONLY thing I talk about. And I worry about that sometimes, like when Brendan comes home and asks what we did that day. Laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, bought groceries. *yawn* I love my days like that, but it does sound boring. I want to make sure I'm still an interesting person, you know?

So anyway, Mirabelle was excited I was doing crafty stuff and connecting with other people. She said she was glad I was still me. And that made me really happy. I'm glad old friends that don't have kids and therefore don't think about diapers and stuff all the time can still have a conversation with me and still think I'm interesting!!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Baby!

Congratulations, Mary Anne! I just saw on your blog you had your little girl :) I'm so happy for you and your family. That tiny baby all swaddled up in a hospital blanket is the sweetest sight ever!! Damn you, though, you're seriously making me want another kid!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Diapers

Today I'm going to go look at some more diapers I found on craigslist. They are FuzziBunz sized diapers in assorted colors, apparently. Why am I so excited about this? Why was last night like Christmas Eve? I can't wait to go to this lady's house and look at her used cloth diapers and see if they're ratty or pretty and worth the $10 a piece she wants! How ridiculous. The diapers we got originally are fine, they work, we have covers for them, so it's hard to spend money on other diapers when we don't really *need* to. But the lure of pretty colored pocket diapers is just too hard to resist. I never ever thought this would become as addictive as it has! Why is that? Does anyone ever get addicted to disposable diapers?? Absolutely not! They bitch about how much they cost, how they had to run to the store at 7pm because they didn't realize they were out, they complain about leakage and rashes. And here I am thinking "I should get some diapers in colors that match Ingrid's BabyLegs." INSANE! But I suppose I could be addicted to much worse things, huh?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Should There Be Another...

These are the things I will remember if we have another baby:

1. The first six weeks are hard and I will let the baby sleep wherever, whenever and not worry I'm forming bad habits.

2. I will wear the baby more than I wore Ingrid. I didn't know about wraps with Ingrid, we had a front pack and I used that instead of a stroller and when I wanted to get things done and she was fussy, but I will use a wrap and really WEAR baby #2. If we have one, this is all hypothetical :)

3. I will try to nurse. I have meds I'm on and I don't want to NOT be on them, but I never really tried to find out if there were similar meds that I could've nursed on. Formula sucks, I don't think it's evil, but BF would be so much easier I think.

4. I will try to cosleep. We had Ingrid in our room but I was so crazy about every single noise she made that I would jump up and check on her. We both slept better in separate rooms. Until just a few months ago when she started getting up every hour for a couple weeks--I would've loved to be cosleeping then so I could stay in bed and try to comfort her instead of getting up, walking to her room, rocking her, putting her down, walking back to my room, getting in bed, and then hearing her cry again.

5. I will for sure cloth diaper from day one. Now that I understand how much money those stupid disposables cost when you can get super cute cushy cloth ones, I can't believe I went a whole year using them!! I am such a convert!

I just read a blog carnival about cloth diapering and what you know now that you wish you'd known then and it just got me thinking of having a kid in general. There are so many things I wish I would've known when Ingrid was born. But that's a dumb reason to have another kid, right?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Possible TMI

Sorry, everyone, this may be too much information. BUT--I have to share. After using cloth diapers I see how it's really not as gross as I thought it would be. Or else I'm just desensitized to poo and wee. But it got me thinking about other paper products that I use and could get rid of. I already stopped buying paper napkins and paper towels, we just have a big stash of cheap-o washcloths from Target we use. I got rid of disposable diapers, I would LOVE to get rid of toilet paper and use family cloths (but fat chance of that with Brendan, I don't think he'd go for it!) And then I said wait, pads! I use pads! I throw them away! They must go!

So, off to etsy I went, and after a little browsing, I found these cloth pads. I ordered a starter pack of 5, got them in the mail, washed them with Ingrid's diapers a couple times, and then waited (and waited) to use them. When it was time, I was so excited! A) because I thought I might be pregnant and DID NOT want to be, and B) because I had these really cute flannel pads sitting in my drawer waiting to be snapped into my underwear!

It's been a couple days now and the verdict is in: I LOVE THESE THINGS! They work so much better than even my best name brand pads, I haven't had a single leak even at night, and let's face it, they are so much cuter than looking at white plastic that has god knows what chemicals in them...After using them you just rinse them out in cold water, keep them wet until you wash them, and then I just threw them in with the diapers. Easy peasy and they're ready to use again today.

At first I was grossed out because it's...blood. But then really, I deal with so much poo from Ingrid, is it really that much worse?? To be honest, dealing with raw chicken grosses me out way more than either of those bodily functions. So if you're squeamish, it may not be for you, but if you already cloth diaper or have a strong constitution, try them!! I just ordered more from this lady and now I'll have a complete set for around $60. I'm so pleased!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Uh, YUM.

I have been having fun lately making things with whole wheat flour or spelt flour, adding flaxseed meal to things, etc. Today I came across a recipe for spelt cookies but I messed around with it to be able to use what I had in the house. (It called for maple syrup and molasses. I don't keep real maple syrup at home, we use the crappy stuff...) I just got the cookies out of the oven and I am SO proud of myself! They turned out great!

Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs flaxseed meal mixed with 3 Tbs water (let sit for 2 minutes before adding. This is an egg substitue)
1 1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tsp each baking soda and powder
chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

I had to add a little more flour to make it a good consistency, but it was around a cup and a half. The cookies are chewy and tasty and VEGAN! I didn't even think about that, but no eggs and no butter means no animal products. Cool. It was fun to try something new and have them turn out! Next time I make cookies I'm going to substitue almond butter in my peanut butter cookie recipe, with whole wheat or spelt flour. I have SUCH a sweet tooth and it would make me feel better if I baked stuff that at least was whole grain, even if it does have chocolate in it.