Monday, March 28, 2011

My Sweet Susannah

Oh my, oh my. I can't begin to put into words how much I love my little girl!! She is sunshine to my soul every single day, no matter what the real weather is - I always have my sunshine.

I want to blog just a bit to journal a few things about her so I don't forget.

Picking her up from the nursery at church. Oh my, the other kids get excited to see their parents, but not like Susannah!! Her arms and legs become windmill blades and she bursts into a grin bright enough to light the whole city!

Saying "uh-oh". Last week my MIL kept Susannah for the day, and after lunch she and Susannah were playing the "drop it" game in the high-chair (only at Grandma's! LOL), and she taught Susannah how to say "uh-oh". Susannah says it more like "uh-uhhhhh" or "uh-ewwww", but she knows what it means and uses it correctly! Sometimes she says it just for fun, too :)

Snuggling with her blankie one morning.

She is improving her core motor skills by leaps and bounds! I don't think the Dr. has anything to worry about with her slower than some kids development. I did show her a few things - how to pull up from a sitting position, but that was about it. All on her VERY OWN, she has gone from tummy to sitting (not much, but she has done it several times), she's starting to get up on her hands and knees from her tummy - that is something she would not or could not do, even if we tried to help her, she loves to stand holding on to something and will try to pull up on things (from her tummy). I think in all reality, she was/is just doing this stuff in her own time.

Grandma's coffee table is just right for
cruising furniture practice!

Susannah signs :) As in sign language! Many families in our church teach their babies sign language. At first I wasn't keen on the idea, but watching other children began to see the vast benefits from it. We started out using the "all done" sign (and saying it verbally, too) when she started solid foods at 4 months. Just in the past couple of weeks she has started to sign "all done". We were occasionally throwing in the "please" sign once in a while and recently started showing it to her more regularly. On Saturday Daniel was eating potato chips and she wanted one... he helped her sign "please" and a chip or two later she was signing "please" upon request! Yesterday and today she was signing "please" during her meal, wanting her drink or bread that was on the table. She never really fussed or whined for things, but this will really help her communicate with us much better until she can orally communicate. I want to teach her more signs, like "more", "drink", "eat" and "thank you." Those are ones I want to teach for sure, we'll see how far we get.

On a non-progress note, Susannah has her 2nd ear infection. Friday evening she was running a fever, and that came and went throughout the weekend. We could tell she wasn't quite her usual self, but she wasn't exhibiting lots of sick symptoms. Thankfully she is happy to drink lots of water, even though her solid food appetite isn't up to normal. We're eager for Daniel to come home with her prescription later today so she can start getting better. Last night's sleeping had a big hiccup in it when she woke up with another fever, and she isn't sleeping very well this afternoon, either.

Happy as a bug in a rug - right before I
realized she was running a 101.6 temperature!

And that's what's going on with Susannah currently :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen Edition - After

Ahh... Friday afternoon I started Spring Cleaning the Kitchen. I had a long list (and a few "before" pictures) and my goal was to get it all accomplished in 2 days. I came very, very close. Susannah has not been feeling well this weekend, running low grade fevers now and again, so she and I stayed home from church this morning. While she napped I listened to last Sunday's message and finished cleaning.

And now, without further ado, here are my "After" pictures:

What is really on the counter between the stove and frige:

This is the first time I have completely gone through almost every inch of this kitchen since we moved into it. 3 bags of trash and 1 bag of stuff for Goodwill later, my cupboards are much more orderly. They weren't BAD, but they certainly needed a good going through. I threw away a bunch of "high sugar dog food" cereal I had gotten either free or very, very cheap that was outdated ... because we didn't like it enough to eat it. With each thing I handled, I thought "do I like it? do I want to eat/use it?" and if the answer was "no" it went into the trash.

This is my in-kitchen "pantry" cupboard
where alot of spare groceries (like... chocolate chips?) are kept.

This cabinet needed some serious reorganization.
I'm in it pretty much every day.
Now my cookie sprinkles are contained (top left),
granola is at an easier-to-reach level (mid-left),
and the bottom shelf isn't crammed with whatever.

And underneath the sink. Oh, how I wish I had a "Before" picture to show you! It was almost to the point of "throw the item in and slam the door quickly before it falls out."

There is no longer an out of control plastic bag collection,
my smaller cleaning supplies are all corralled in a nice basket,
and it's just way nicer all the way around.

Obviously I didn't take a picture of each cupboard, I didn't want to bore you to death. But believe me that each one is much cleaner and better now!

A few things I learned or realized through this:
  • Very, very soon I am just going to go buy a new dish drainer and drainboard. My current set was retired from my MIL, I've repaired cracks, it's saggy and grows scum and mold where water doesn't drain from it completely, it drives me batty... and well, I'd say since I've had a new set on my Christmas list ever since we got married and I haven't gotten one yet, I'll just have to take the plunge and buy it myself.
  • 2 full days is about all the willpower I have for sticking with one room before I start to burn out.
  • I need to make more jello salads :P We have lots of jello that I bought (for next to nothing) for the purpose of making jello salads... I just need to remember to make them!
I hope to continue my Spring Cleaning this coming week. I'm not sure what room will be next, probably either the pantry or the bathroom & hall closet. Both places need a serious overhaul.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen Edition

I am giving in to my deep desire to give the house a thorough Spring Cleaning, and am starting today, with the kitchen. I'm not sure how long or how far I'm going to get, but I'm starting out with great intentions and high expectations!

I took these pictures yesterday before I did any general, daily clean-up, so it doesn't look the same today (actually a little better!). Missing is also the wall where I was standing to take these pictures - which is what we call "The Island" that really isn't an island - it is the hot spot for collecting "stuff". If I make it far enough to take "after" pictures I'll be sure to include it :)

My list of what I want to get done between today and tomorrow:

Saturday noon-time update: Still going strong! I think I can finish up today :)
  • Dishes: Wash, dry & put away
  • Counters: Move and wipe off/under everything
  • Wipe & dust trim and ceiling fan
  • Wipe & dust cupboards (outsides)
  • Clean off and wipe down refrigerator (outside)
  • Clean out and wipe down inside of cupboards (upper)
  • Clean out and wipe down inside of cupboards (lower)
  • Clean microwave inside and out
  • Clean oven/stove inside & out (including polishing the glass-top)
  • Wash and disinfect trashcan
  • Clean out, wipe out and organize under sink
  • Wash and disinfect dish drainer/drainboard and sinks
  • Clean out from under stove
  • Pull out refrigerator and clean under/behind, sweep off coils (??)
Saturday night update: I only have the floor and windows to do, but for now I'm going to bed.
  • Pick up, vacuum, wash floor and apply grout sealer
  • Wash Windows (I can't believe I forgot this one...)
  • Wash light fixtures

I'll be stopping back by occasionally to cross things off as I get them done. I have the list pretty much in execution order. It's a long list so I'd best get crackin'! Maybe I should put on some peppy music to clean by...

Do you spring clean? I have never officially done it - at least as the chief homemaker. Please share any tips, tricks or experiences you might have!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

5 Little Peppers (or kittens)

We're still the proud owners of 5 little kittens :) I love seeing them all lined up like this. I moved them out from under Susannah's dresser and right now they are in our room, but I think I will move them out into the main part of the house eventually. Kittens like to play and I don't think I want them playing in my room while I'm trying to sleep :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Better Than Hate Mail!

You know how sometimes you just put something somewhere and tell yourself you'll move it later? I found one of those things today. It's been right under my nose for over a month now... and I've just gotten used to it and haven't paid any attention to it.

We had company over on Saturday. Today I was walking through the dining room and right at eye level I saw this:

The Valentine's Day card I gave Daniel and that he put on our china hutch. LOL! At least if any of the company saw it they know that Daniel is all mine. And that I don't send him hate mail ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Susannah's 1st Birthday Party

This past Saturday, a week and 1 day after her real birthday, we had some friends over and celebrated Susannah's birthday with "style". Since we would've been rather squeezed to all fit around our dining room table IN or dining room, we borrowed a folding table from Daniel's parents and we ate out in what will be the new living room.

It was a fun little party. Daniel's mom was here (his dad had to work), and 2 families from church who are like family to us were here, too. Betsy is my "church-mom" and I've decided that Alyssa gets the fun role of being my "church-sister" :)

I made 2 big pizzas - 1 "Meat Lover's Supreme" with hamburger, sausage, bacon, pepperoni, onions, peppers and black olives (and of course sauce and lots of cheese!), and 1 Chicken and Shrimp (with homemade alfredo sauce), and then we also had fruit on the side.

I decided to keep Susannah's birthday cake simple this year, and I made her a cat cake. If you know how much she likes cats, you'll know this was perfect for her :)

Fitting with the "cat theme" (lol), I brought our in-house cat family out from under Susannah's dresser for people to see. I'd originally only brought out the kittens, but they were protesting quite loudly and the Mama cat came and climbed right into the basket with her babies and they shushed right up! She is such a good mama cat! We joked that the kittens were the party favors :)
After the party, Susannah was tired but wired. She had a hard time going down for her nap Saturday afternoon. I was plumb tuckered out from a crazy, crazy week and too many short nights so I was in sore need of an afternoon nap. Daniel was wonderful and took care of Susannah's needs while I rested. It was a good, fun day. I know Susannah won't remember it aside from pictures, but we wanted to do something fun for her first birthday :)


On another note, fitting with Susannah's first birthday, would be the "stats" from her 1 year checkup. She is:

20lbs. 11oz. (50th percentile)
30" tall (75th percentile)

The Dr. strongly hinted at wanting her core motor skills to improve by her 15 month visit, since she isn't crawling (she scoots - which IS normal), walking, cruising furniture or pulling up. Since then she has sat up by herself once (one moment she was on her tummy and the next time I turned around she was sitting!), and after showing her how to pull up on a (very heavy) portable file box, she loves to do that! She is still very unstable on her feet if she's not being supported, but she's making progress. She hasn't figured out how to pull up from being on her tummy, but she has it down pat going from sitting to pulling up.

After the checkup I was a little anxious about "what if she doesn't improve like he wants?" but in all reality, I am positive that she is just doing it her way. She is SOOOO laid back, just like her Daddy (and I'm not high-strung, either), and has taken her good time in everything she's learned so far. She's just now starting to sign "all done" with some consistency. She was "late" in learning how to roll over, and in learning how to scoot forwards on her tummy. She's VERY smart. She has great dexterity - she can take her finger and poke it straight up my nose and not miss! - and I just don't think that her core motor skills being "behind the normal" is unusual for HER. We'll just have to show that Dr. a thing or two when we go back :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Susannah!

It is hard to believe that an entire year has gone by! These past few days I've been remembering the weeks and days before Susannah was born. My anxiousness... how we didn't get her room painted until the weekend before she was born... how we didn't know if we were going to have a boy or a girl... wondering what life would be like with a baby in our family...

And I wouldn't have it any other way!! I would most definitely do it all over again, every single part of it.

Now I am Mama to a one year old. Wow. It's a whole different ball game than being Mama to a one month old :) But I still love it!!

This morning Susannah woke up happy, and had a happy day. That was very welcome after a couple days of her being out of sorts.

Late this afternoon I mixed up some cupcakes for her birthday, and she got to lick her first beater when she woke up from her nap. She wasn't too sure about the beater at first, but I licked one so she could watch, then gave her a taste of hers and she went right at it! She didn't want to give it back, either :)

For a little specialness, I found some balloons and hung them from the kitchen ceiling fan, low enough that she could bat at them.

We had a fun little party with just the three of us. It was fun to watch her looking at her cake and candle, and then eating her cake :)

She didn't make too much of a mess, either!

Gifts will happen next week when we have a couple friends over and celebrate with more formality, but we wanted to make this day special, too.

Just for fun, tonight I measured her and with all her squirming, wiggling and wanting to grab the measuring tape, she measured 30" tall. I might try and get a weight tomorrow. She just barely has 8 teeth! Her 8th tooth cut through between yesterday and today.

She is well aware of what "no" means, and is usually quite happy to not obey :P Her favorite things to do that she's not supposed to is play in the cat's water and food, dig in the kitchen trash, and open the cupboards underneath the sink. We have plenty of teachable moments every day! She is so cute, though, when she will look at us while she's contemplating the crime, and then shake her head "no".

She has finally figured out how to "walk" if we are holding her hands, similar to how she walks in her walker. But she won't hold her arms up and hold our hands, she holds her arms by her sides and bent at the elbow. Awkward for us, but cute :) That is not her normal mode of getting around, but we do it sometimes for fun.

She is our Ladybug and Sunshine, so very special to us. It is an honor to be her Mama, and I pray that we'll teach and raise her to be a wonderful, lovely, Godly, young lady.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cloth Diapering: Take 2

So, barely a week into using cloth diapers most of the time (except for night-time or going away), we're back to using disposables until Susannah's nasty diaper rash goes away. I've been looking at "how to kill yeast in diapers" searches this afternoon, and everybody has their own way. Which one to pick, which one to pick??!! Arrrrg. I don't know that what she has is yeast, but she's had more and worse diaper rash since I started cloth than she's had in the entire 51 previous weeks of her life.

I've been changing her more often. I've always wiped her clean regardless of wet or wet & poopy. I've been using Desitin very liberally and with verrrry slow results. I started using Coconut Oil, too. I'm not sure if that's making a difference or not but I figure it can't hurt. By the way, is it just me that get's aggravated at designed the Desitin can so you have to stick your WHOLE HAND in it to use the bottom half of the cream?!?!?!
This morning at Kroger I stood in an embarrassing section of the store - which is directly in line with the cashiers! - trying to figure out which box of Monistat-like product would get me just a TUBE of the grease. I think every single box has all sorts of things I don't need with it. Arrg. And price ranges from $6 to $26. I suspect that Susannah has a yeast infection instead of just diaper rash, and a friend recommended Monistat. I put some on her before her afternoon nap, we'll see if there's any improvement here in a bit when she gets up.

I had no earthly idea what a big can of worms switching to cloth would be. I'm trying to decide if I want to stick it out or just avoid all the headache and go back to disposables. Regardless, I need to de-yeast the diapers. What does that mean? From the best I can figure out, I need to use HOT, HOT, HOT water and some sort of oxygenating bleach. Or I could use Tea Tree Oil. Or Grapefruit Seed Extract Oil. Or Motor Oil*. Or rub them with organic compost*. Or send them into outer space and do a handstand while facing the equator with one eye closed and both shoes untied while I wait for the diapers to re-enter and come back to Earth*. And then hang them in the sun to dry (which I'm already doing).

*Ok, yes, I'm exaggerating, but there's a billion different theories. I just want to kill the dad-blamed stuff!

*Don't do these things. I was joking.

So yeah. Here I thought I was going to be adding a cutesy little "super-domestic-mom-who-CDs" button to my hat and all it's done is add headache. On top of that, I thought surely this week was going to go great. I mean, Daniel and I had a mini-getaway for our anniversary (that never got blogged about... sigh) with lots of R&R, and I was rearing to go Monday morning. I think Monday went great, Tuesday went good... and Wednesday, well, I'm about to go bury my head in the sand again.

And on that note, I need to get off and go empty the slop that is stinking up the place.

Oh, and not to mention that Susannah's first birthday is tomorrow and I have done ZERO to prepare for it. I want to do something fun tomorrow for her!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Morning Randomness

We made the switch to all wireless phones to save about $40-$50 a month. When we first moved here we had terrible cell phone service in the house, but then they put a tower in just a mile or two from here and now we have service all the time. Plus most of the people I talk to most frequently are "in" so I won't be using minutes most of the time :) Moving to wireless meant that yesterday we were without Internet while everything was straightened out. I didn't realize how much I rely on the Internet for social interaction! Maybe I need to unplug every once in a while.


Our camera bit the dirt, er, sand. Somehow I had a little bit of sand in my coat pocket, and when I put the camera in my coat pocket the two mixed. Sand got down in the lens cracks. Not good. Daniel tried to get it out. I tried to vacuum it out. Daniel tried to take the camera apart but that wasn't working. We started to consider our options: Getting the camera fixed vs. buying a new one. Monday I spent a large portion of the afternoon finding local places that even repair cameras, and then getting estimates. Estimates were at least 1/2 of what we paid for the camera 6 years ago and would take several weeks, so we decided to replace. More time on the Internet :) Say hello to my new friend:

Photo Source

A Nikon Coolpix P100. I have been longing and desiring for a Nikon DSLR 300, but spending that much wasn't prudent or wise at this time. So we went middle of the road. And we discussed what dollar amount we would spend BEFORE we decided. This one has more bells and whistles than our old camera, and already I'm liking what I've figured out so far. I have a LOT of reading, experimenting, learning and practicing to do, but somehow I don't think I'll mind :) (And this camera came with a lens cap - no more sand accidents!)


Monday late afternoon I heard teeny, tiny mewing coming from Susannah's room. Uh-oh. Did she really?! She didn't. She did. She did?? She did!! Our mama cat, Chubby, had her 5 little kittens underneath Susannah's dresser. We knew she was about ready to pop, but Daniel was guessing later this week. I highly suspected that she was going to do her best to have them indoors, but I really hoped she would find a nice cozy place down in our shed or in the carport that she liked better. Haha, the joke's on me!

Less than 24 hrs. old

The fun thing is that they are right in Susannah's line of sight when she's (awake) in her crib. The amazing thing is Chubby's dedication to her babies! She did not leave them once from the time they were born (Mon. afternoon) until Tuesday morning. And that was to run outside quick, get a bite to eat and then she went back to them. Now she'll go outside for a little longer, but when she comes back in, she RUNS into Susannah's room to her babies. I feel a little badly that we will be getting her "fixed" after the kittens are weaned - she's such a good mama cat! - but we can't keep running a baby factory.


On the laundry front, except for cloth diapers, we've entered the season of drying all the clothes in the dryer. Daniel's allergies are starting up already. He sneezed probably 10 times this morning. On the cloth diaper front, I'm getting along pretty good, I think! I figured out that I need to change Susannah a little more often, but aside from the 1st major flood, we haven't experienced any leaks. I only have enough diapers for 2 1/2 days, though, so I think I'll be getting some more.

And that's all the "exciting" stuff that's been going on lately :) Time has flown by this morning and while the laundry has been going, I haven't gotten very far with other stuff. Gotta keep movin'!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Can't Lose

Ugh, some days I just want to bury my head in the sand. Or at least become a hermit and live in a cave where dishes and clothes wouldn't matter.

Since I can't do either of those (well, I guess I could do either one), I just have to tough it out.

If I am going to win the war against the dirty dishes, I must fight the battle and wash them.

If I am going to win the war against the mountain of clean clothes piled at the foot of my bed, I must fight the battle and fold them. AND put them away.

If I am going to win the war against the stuff that piles on the table and counters, I must fight the battle and keep the stuff put where it belongs. And "file it instead of pile it."

If I am going to win the war against not getting enough sleep, I must fight the urge to stay up late and just go to bed. And go to sleep instead of reading.

If I am going to win the battle and do my Bible Study Homework, I must fight and make it a priority and just. do. it.

These are some things I have been struggling with a lot this year. I cannot use Susannah as an excuse. I cannot use being a mama as an excuse. I know this because looking through my lists LAST YEAR, when Susannah was only months old, I accomplished these things fairly regularly. I know I can do it again. I just have to be the boss of my "don't want to's" and tell myself that "oh, yes, I AM going to do those things!"

Just another post, keepin' it real here.

Plus, I can do ALL things through Christ, right (Philippians 4:13)? As Steve Green says, "not just some things, but ALL things."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cloth Diapering: Take 1

For a while now I've been slowly warming to the idea of using cloth diapers. My initial reasons for not using cloth was

(a) I do not want to scrub poopy diapers in the toilet. No way. My mom did it - good for her, but I do. not. want. to. End of story. Oh, and I do not want poop in my washing machine. I know people do it, kudos to those who do, but I don't want to. My washing machine isn't a toilet, Haha!

(b) With coupons and sales I was getting Huggies (my fav. brand) really cheap, so I was thrilled to use disposables.

Now that Huggies isn't trying to give away the old style with the old packaging offering the rock bottom sales and coupons on every corner like they used to, I've been paying more and more closely to the shelf price when I buy diapers. And I'm starting to dread having to pay another $20 for a big box of diapers.

When I got to thinking about it, I usually only change Susannah 5-6 times a day, and most of those times she's just wet. And when she does have a dirty diaper it's no longer the ooey, gooey breast-fed baby poop, but stuff that would be a lot easier to get off the diaper with minimal cleaning.

So... I thought I'd take the cloth diaper plunge, at least part-time. My SIL had given me a huge grocery bag full of cloth diapers back when Susannah was born, so I already had diapers. Friends have loaned me diaper covers and a Snappi.

Yesterday I washed and line dried everything, and this morning I could not figure out the best way to fold the diaper to get it to fit well. These aren't the pre-fold diapers, but the enormous, huge, single-layer diapers. I was a little bit ashamed that I couldn't remember how Mom folded hers! I managed to get it on Susannah, but I think I need to experiment a little and see if I can improve.

I'm not sure what Susannah thinks of it. She has been a royal crab this morning (she's down for a nap now) and I don't know what the deal is. She is not usually this way. I'm hoping it's not the diapers, cause she'll just have to get used to it if that is her problem!

But now that she's wearing a cloth diaper, I'd better go find something to use as a makeshift diaper pail until I can find something suitable...

If you use the huge, non-prefolded diapers, please comment and tell me how you fold it! I think I could do ok with the way I did it this morning if I was going to use diaper pins, but I like the idea of the Snappi better than poking my fingers or Susannah.