Thursday, May 31, 2012

Can You Be Too Patient?

I've always believed "Patience is a virtue." (Pretty reliable source behind that idealogy, by the way.) I've always viewed myself as a pretty patient person. God has been very quick at testing that patience as soon as I make a public comment of me being a patient person, but I feel that He has grown me a lot through those trials.

Without going into detail, The Lord has increasingly tested my patience through various life circumstances that have been increasing in trial. I think He purposely does this because each challenge seemed too big at the time, but each one helped prepare me for the next. If some of the challenges we've had to face as a couple/family had been told to me years before, I never would have believed we could make it, but through the gradual testing/reshaping of His infinite wisdom, I have learned to look at each new situation and say, "Ok, I don't know how this is going to work out--just that it will. I'm going to try to pay attention, learn, and respond the best I can until we get through this."

I do not mean to imply I am in any way 'spiritually mature' or somehow immune to worry. I was one of the world's biggest worriers as a teenager. I remember worrying about things that hadn't happened--or even had indications that they would happen! Maybe that's why God has chosen to give me the trials He has. To teach me not to worry about the next day. It certainly is a big difference between the girl who used to worry about things that, if they even happened, wouldn't happen for many years into the future and the woman (it feels really strange to call myself a 'woman' even though I suppose I must be one by now) who has felt little worry about our future even though I just resigned from my job to stay home with my children, effectively cutting our income in half. Don't get me wrong, there is a small amount of anxiousness nagging at the back of my mind, but I have the very 'blessed assurance' that God will take care of it, especially considering that this is something we prayed long and hard about and felt He was leading us to do. That being said, we have followed him wholeheartedly into life adventures before and come away from the situation completely opposite of what we thought would happen and wondering what happened (but still believing that He had a plan in all of it and that it was for our good).

Back to the patience, though. I have struggled with being 'too patient.' Can you really be too patient? I don't know if I believe you really can. I think the reason people have told me I was being too patient is that I tend to not speak up when others would. I am very non-confrontational. This made it hard for me in the classroom environment at times when I would deal with student discipline. Although it is easier to be authoritative with children than adults for me, it was still a struggle at times. Especially when your thoughts are, Ok, I can address this behavior in a head-on, authoritative way and get another all-out tantrum from this kid and end up with them being dragged to the office (again) and disrupt my entire day with the rest of the class (again) OR I can ignore it/try to address it in a smaller way and pray it stops soon enough to avoid further distraction.
I also know some people probably wouldn't stay silent with their husbands during arguments/discussions, especially when they say things that are completely irrational, etc. Luckily for me, God has taught me that my husband, loving as he may be, will say totally dumb things when he is angry. Things that don't even make sense when he says them. (I think we all have the tendency to do this when we are angry, but since I am so non-confrontational, I don't do it as much. It's not because I am super spiritual--I just keep my thoughts inside. And trust me, I have plenty of thoughts, ha!) I have learned that instead of pointing this out, if I remain quiet and listen patiently while he vents, he will eventually realize the error of what he said on his own and 99% of the time he comes back to me when he is calmer to apologize and have a more relevant discussion.
Now, my husband is by no means a hot-head, argumentative person. We have a great, loving relationship and get along great almost all the time. I have just learned from others' reactions that they would have said something to certain things, but like I said, we always come to better terms once we are both calm. :) I have also learned not to discuss our arguments (something that I figured out pretty early in marriage through some trial and error). It's hard when you are newly married not to get caught in the 'venting parties' that can sometimes happen between women when one of them mentions something their husband did--next thing you know, you're all comparing stories of how your husbands have disappointed or offended you. While this seems okay at first and you are wanting to share some of your frustrations too, I have learned that this only made me mad all over again or more irritated! I still struggle with keeping my mouth shut when someone tells a funny story of something 'dumb' their husband did, because I know that my 'funny' story can very easily turn into 'bashing' and I wouldn't want him talking about me in that way, now would I? (Not that us wives ever make mistakes, though... ;) )

Anyway--the reason I'm thinking of patience today is this: Eliana was 'due' Monday. I use the term 'due' loosely, since a due date can technically go 2 weeks either way. When I was waiting to see when Ezra would be born, I tried not to think of his due date as the day he was coming so that I wouldn't be disappointed if he came past it. It was still hard when he did, especially since people had continually told me there was 'no way' I would carry him past Halloween (he was due November 1 and came the 10th). Just because I look like I'm going to 'pop' at any moment doesn't mean I am, apparently. ;)

We went to see our midwife, Tuesday. I wanted to know what the 'game plan' was if Ellie continues to hang out in my belly quarters. If I haven't given birth by next Tuesday, we will try stripping my membranes (this is what we did with Ezra and he was born less than 24 hours later, so I have a lot of hope in this method if we need it). If she doesn't come soon after that we will, in the words of the midwife, "get mean." In other words, try some natural induction methods that aren't quite as 'nice' as power walking, stripping membranes, or taking herbs. As for herbs, she gave me several to try to get my body into birth mode. Evening primrose oil--2 by mouth, 1 by--well you figure it out, and some black and blue cohosh tablets that I can take every 15 minutes if I want to. I guess I was in the mindset of "induction=pain," but that was thinking of artificial/chemical/hospital induction. Anyway, I said something along the lines of, "Well, I don't want to make her come earlier than she needs to." Our midwife and Josh both looked at me like I was crazy and the midwife said, "You are aware she was due yesterday, right?" Oh yeah. I forgot for a second--oops! Her apprentice said, "I think she's the only woman I've ever heard not want the baby out when they're overdue!" I said something like, "Well, I'm just now getting to finish up preparing and stuff!"

Here's the thing. When I was pregnant with Ezra, I wasn't working full time and chasing a toddler afterwards. This time around, I haven't felt like I could just take time to focus on and enjoy my pregnancy. It didn't help that I was much sicker during the first trimester, either. Add in an enormous amount of stress at work and home (God started telling me He wanted me to stay home a few months into this pregnancy and it seemed like an insurmountable thing at first), and I just haven't had much time left to revel in my pregnant estate--and I am typically a very happy pregnant person! I've felt like this time around, I never had the time or energy to exercise and I was never getting enough done at work or home.(Hello--I ended up overdoing things at work and went into false labor--remember?)

Since staying home on the last day of school (something I'm still struggling not to feel guilty about), I've been slowly regaining my health and sanity. Walking in the mornings, exercising additionally if I get a chance (prenatal yoga or Wii Fit), eating better and snacking when I need to, keeping caught up on laundry and dishes--I cannot possibly express my joy at seeing an empty hamper and sink for once, and spending some much needed time with my little man before baby girl comes. I've also been able to put some finishing touches on El's room and get some major blogging done--3 posts in 2 days is pretty impressive for me, even if I've had one of them typed up for a while and was just waiting for pictures to be added.

All in all, I feel like this is the best time I've had all pregnancy. Plus, I know how out of shape I've gotten and want to be as fit as possible when it's time to get this baby here! Labor is so called for a definite reason, and if you want to go natural, you need to be as prepared as possible, which I know full well!

For now, I'm going to keep taking the herbs (no noticeable changes yet, although I may have felt some contractions since taking the cohosh), sitting on my yoga ball (prepping that pelvis, ha), doing 200 pelvic rocks per day (both the ball and the rocks are supposed to help Eliana get into a good birthing position), power walking in the mornings and afternoons, and praying for continued patience. I have to admit, waking up each morning to see a birth tub set up next to your bed can start to get to you a bit when you are eager to hold this snuggly little blessing as soon as you can! I'm enjoying the contentment of knowing Eliana will come on her birthday--which she and God already know--and soaking in these last moments of Ezra's life as an only child (prayers are so very appreciated for him as we make the upcoming transition).

Well, I'm off to take some herbs and motivate Ezra to eat the last of his cereal so we can go outside. I power walk in the end of our cul-de-sac while he rides his four wheeler or bike, draws with chalk on the driveway, or plays in his cardboard box 'house' (there really is no better toy than a cardboard box, I promise you).

Patiently, not perfectly, waiting,

Deidre :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Making a New Recipe while Pregnant: A Comedy of Errors

So I set out to do a blog post about a recipe that my SIL had given me tonight. Put together the food, take a few pictures, post recipe--easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right? Yeah...not so much when suffering from what I like to call severe pregnancy brain. Also known as, I have a two year old who is covering himself with a red cupcake, I'm trying to remember to take herbs every time I think of them to encourage this baby girl find her way out of my womb, and the aforementioned toddler had no nap whatsoever today, leading to my brain being even more strung out than is my current 'usual.'

So back to the recipe thing. I think the easiest way to present the recipe in conjunction with the humorous, brain-dead approach I took is to give you the directions side-by-side with how I messed each step up.

Here is a link to the recipe I was given by my lovely SIL. I am very thankful to her to introducing me to this wonderfulness known as the "Overnight Sandwich" on Saturday. As I was eating my second piece, I literally thought, I could eat this every single day until the day I die. Pregnancy hormones are serious stuff, people!
I accidentally left the pickles out of the picture, my bad.
  • 2 loaves Italian bread My SIL clued me in that you only need 1 loaf of bread. I bought two, thinking I would make two sandwiches--one for now, one for later in the week or over the weekend. Unfortunately, this didn't work out since one of my cream cheese packets expired a long time ago--I definitely plan on doing two at once next time, though, assuming my brain can handle it! I used the "Everything Italian" bread from Walmart.
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup green onions, sliced ...OR if you are crazy and for some reason imagine that the recipe said 'chives' instead of 'green onions' when you get to the store, no worries--you can still use them! ;)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound ham, thinly sliced I bought one pack of turkey instead (I just prefer it to ham) and only used half the package.
  • 1 pound roast beef Note: roast beef typically comes in a package that is less than 1 pound, but I still used half (so I could get two sandwiches out of my ingredients)
  • pickles, sliced

Cut bread loaves in half lengthwise. Hollow out top and bottom, leaving 1/2 inch shell. I didn't get too technical with the "1/2 inch shell" thing. Also, I would add, be careful and try not to create a hole on the bottom that you have to cover up with a spare piece of bread later. No reason for that advice... ;)
Note to self: when taking pictures this close to your hand, you look like you have huge arms.
Possibly Helpful Hint: Save the 'guts pieces' of your sandwich to make croutons.
(This is only a 'possibly' helpful hint because I haven't actually attempted to make croutons before.
If all else fails, Ezra and I will take them to the park for the birds--win, win.)

Combine cheeses, onions, mayo and Worcestershire sauce. 
Chop onions (or chives, lol) first (I know, 'duh.')
Feel free to marvel at my very imperfect chopping skills.
I like how ingredients look in a bowl...this weirdness may be pregnancy-related...

After some stirring, mashing, and more stirring...
Spread over cut sides of bread. 
FYI: This mixture smells amazing!
(Oh, and if you've made that little 'hole' that I don't know why I would have mentioned earlier,
now is a good time to make sure it's sealed well. ;) )

Layer meats on both sides of bread. 
This was probably the easiest parts (and one of the only I didn't mess up)!

Place pickles on bottom half. Press halves together. 
OR...get lost in the method of placing pickles perfectly (can you say, "nesting syndrome gone haywire?") until you realize you've covered both sides with pickles. We really like pickles, but this is surely overkill. I had to scrape the pickles off of the bottom piece and back into the jar and then hope for the best when I flipped the bottom half of the sandwich onto the top and then flipped the whole thing. Don't worry, I only dropped one pickle and I shoved it back in. :)
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
OR realize you have no plastic wrap and use aluminum foil, hoping for the best. I think that if you were going to refrigerate overnight, the plastic wrap would keep it from drying out better, but we ate this one two hours later w/ no problems. P.S. It looked like the world's largest baked potato...

Slice and serve.

...and ENJOY! You can thank me later. For now, you can thank your lucky stars that you can follow a recipe without feeling like your brain turned into Jello. :)

Happy Eating!

Cuddle Feet Boutique Review

Welcome to my first official product review post!
*Don't neglect to read this post all the way through--there is an important notice at the bottom of this post! :)

I am extremely excited to be able to tell you about this wonderful WAHM (work-at-home mom) business! I first came across Cuddle Feet Boutique during a Facebook auction. If you are a fan of any type of small business on Facebook, you've probably seen them do some sort of auction or giveaway when they reach a certain number of 'likes.' These auctions usually include items from other small businesses who are trying to spread the news of their product or service. Typically, you 'like' their page for a chance to bid on an item or win a giveaway. This is how I ended up 'liking' Cuddle Feet Boutique's Facebook page.

I didn't end up winning a giveaway during that particular auction, but since I liked her page, I occasionally saw posts of her products and status updates in my Facebook newsfeed. Well, one night, as I was doing my daily newsfeed scroll, I saw one of the cutest little pairs of shoes--Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric flip flops! Even better, the owner of CFB said she had enough fabric for another pair of shoes if anyone was interested. I have to admit, as a teacher and lover of all things adorably cute, I just had to find out more!

The original flip flops that caught my attention. Adorable, right?
With just a few questions--which the owner was very quick to answer thankfully--don't you just hate it when you ask a question and then wait for days for someone to get back to you? I had some custom-made VHC crib shoes in the works!

Now, you might think this was going to be expensive--most hand sewn things are, especially when it comes to the VHC. If you don't believe me, try looking up anything "very hungry caterpillar" on Etsy! I was going to see if I could nab a cloth diaper or dress to match the shoes I bought, but figured out pretty quickly it would be much cheaper for me to just buy the fabric online and make my own (if I ever get brave enough to battle a sewing machine again--love/hate relationship with the one I used the last time I was working on something). Anyway, I am very glad to tell you they were SUPER affordable! I was able to nab mine for $10, with $1.50 shipping, for a total of $11.50. Another perk was the fact that she accepted PayPal (I love being protected in case something goes wrong with an order).

In the midst of all this positiveness about this business, I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive while waiting for my shoes to arrive in the mail. You see, I have ordered/seen handmade items like this online and at craft fairs, etc. quite a bit, and sometimes you wonder why the person put things together the way they did. Either you can see tiny errors everywhere or they don't seem to consider the pattern of the fabric they are using at all. I was hoping I wouldn't get a pair of shoes that had been cut and sewn in such a way that you only saw bits of the caterpillar's tail or head every now and then. I was so pleased when my package arrived and totally blew me away! A lady after my own heart, this one pays attention to such details! First off, she made an adorable coordinating pouch for the shoes (which I now know are included in all crib shoe orders) out of the polka dot print VHC fabric. Secondly (but really first in my list of priorities), she did the most perfect job possible with the fabric print. The backs of each shoe are the polka dot print, but the tops of each shoe have a little caterpillar (each facing inward) and the bottom of each has a full caterpillar. No strange, "chopped up" caterpillars--yay! I was beyond enthused--ecstatic, really. My husband didn't quite get it, but I have trained my 2 year old well enough that I got an "aww, cute!" from him. :)

The adorable crib shoes with coordinating bag
(notice how each foot has the caterpillar facing in--I LOVE the attention to detail!)

A picture featuring one of the shoe bottoms
(both bottoms have an almost complete caterpillar--again, attention to detail=much appreciation and happiness from me!)

***NOTICE!*** Be on the lookout! There is a GIVEAWAY post coming very soon! Cuddle Feet Boutique will be sending a FREE set of crib shoes to one lucky reader! I am so thrilled to be doing my first giveaway post and I can't wait to see the giveaway shoes--I'm sure they'll be completely adorable!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

False Alarm...

Have you ever had to eat your own words? I remember always spazzing at Josh when he would offer advice about other people's children before we had any. "Don't say anything! You'll curse us and our kids will be awful!" Luckily, our kiddo is a pretty good egg, albeit a challenging one at times.

Well, I'm not exactly eating my words, so much as personal thoughts, I suppose, since I never really talked about this out loud. I am referring to false labor. When I was pregnant with Ezra, I remember hoping I wouldn't end up at the hospital before it was time, but seriously doubting I would since my main goal was to remain at home as long as possible before heading there. The fear of calling people before it was truly time was definitely real, considering our families were 4 hours away (this was when we were living outside Nashville).

I didn't have a full-on false labor scare when pregnant the first time, but I did end up feeling guilty when my mom and dad came up for the weekend expecting a baby and he didn't come until Tuesday. I had been contracting throughout the day on both Wednesday and Thursday and I guess my mom was determined not to miss a thing so they went ahead and came on Friday. Of course, I went from almost constant to no contractions (at least not many at all compared to what I had been doing). We still made the most of it, visiting and going to malls to walk, walk, walk. My dad ended up going home Sunday morning and my mom decided to stay until the next day since we had an appointment with our midwife. At the appointment, it was discovered that at some point the OBGYN I had been using had changed my due date without telling me (this was actually the second time they'd changed it without telling me), so according to their records, I was now 8 days past due.

Now, I am very much anti-induction, and they had to schedule me for one on Saturday, just in case I didn't have him by then, so we decided to strip my membranes. Basically, this is a simple procedure (uncomfortable, but not too bad) which releases those lovely prostaglandins that help stimulate labor naturally. From the research I'd done on the subject, most women had said that if they weren't due yet, it didn't work, but if they were overdue, it tended to work. Apparently this theory worked for us too. After our stress test (which indicated Ezra was going wonderfully and just enjoying his surroundings), we scheduled the induction date in case it were needed and then the midwife stripped my membranes. I think this was around noon. I contracted that day, but I wasn't going to believe anything was for real since I'd done the same thing for two days with no results, although along with these contractions were some cramps in my lower stomach. Long story short, Ezra was born at 10:34 am the next morning.

Well, right before bed Monday night, my back started hurting. It was across my whole back, so I didn't think it seemed quite as labor-like as it should, but it wouldn't un-tense, which made me wonder. Josh was kind enough to rub my back and it simply wouldn't relax. I remember being very restless that night and drifting in and out of sleep only to notice that my back was still tense. I started to panic, thinking, I can't be in labor yet, I have to go to school today! It was awards day, and I fully believed I was going to make it through the last two days of school and was also hoping that Ellie would follow in her brother's footsteps (that seems like an awkward phase to say about a newborn, but I can't think of a better one--let me know if you do, ha) and hang around extra days or at least until her due date so I could have several days to make sure I had time to relax and prepare fully for her arrival.

I made it through the day Monday, but got more and more uncomfortable as the day went on. I texted Josh at lunch to tell him to come to the school when he got off work to load up my stuff from my classroom just in case. The later it got in the day and the more I did in my room (no heavy lifting, just making sure everything was taken off the walls, etc. and putting a few of my things on a table so it would be easy to grab all of my things quickly, as well as working on my paperwork for the end of the year).

Now, it's really hard for me to tell when I'm in labor at first (sounds strange, I know, but it is NOT like in the movies, trust me). I had been waiting to see my plug or have some other definite sign but now I was hurting pretty badly. I took a warm bath once we got home and Josh met the midwife in Brookland since she would be there for a bit that afternoon and he got the birth tub from her so we could go ahead and get it set up, just in case. I'm the only patient she has right now who is due, so this is still at our house.

Josh's mom just kept Ezra since he'd been with her all day. My parents came over soon after we got home and it seemed like things were progressing for a while. Josh's parents came by with Ezra because I was just missing him terribly and thought it might help me to see him. Josh and I finally laid down to sleep for a while a bit after 11. Around 12:45 I woke up and thought, I'm not hurting anymore, but as I began to wake up, I began to feel the pain again, and my belly hurt really badly--but it was hurting up top (not laborish by definition). I told Josh I needed him to call Tressia (our midwife) to see what was going on. I had avoided this because I knew it didn't seem right and I didn't want to bother her unnecessarily, but now I needed someone to tell me I was in labor or I wasn't. When she checked me I was only at two centimeters, but she felt Ellie and watched me for a while and said it seemed like I was having some good pains. Ellie was (and still is) in a strange position and she said that might be keeping me from making much progress and that it was probably going to be a while.

Josh and I went back to bed eventually and slept a couple hours, but we kept waking up and it wasn't very comfortable. About 4 am, I woke up and thought, I feel a lot better--crud, I've bothered everyone for nothing! Tressia asked me how I was doing and said she thought that my pains were being caused by overdoing it and that I would need to take it super easy today and declared "No last day of school," in a rather definitive tone. By this time, I knew that there was no way I was going to school. I'd known that the night before. Thankfully, the staff at school was extremely understanding and helpful and I knew everything would be fine--if I could just get past the guilty feelings I kept having for not making it all the way to the last day.

Josh went ahead and stayed home today, partly because he was exhausted and partly because I didn't want to be alone. We have done a lot of nothing, but we both needed it, particularly me. Ezra stayed with Nana at his cousins' house as usual and we watched some TV, took Tylenol, and tried to nap some. My back just stopped hurting about 20 minutes ago and now I'm hoping we will get some rest before Ellie shows up, like I'd originally hoped.

I'm still not feeling 100 percent. I feel like you do after you have been sick and in bed all day--still tired and ready to just feel better.

My little man just got home a bit ago and has been pretty sweet. He even brought me my bottled water and made me drink some. :) He also told me my belly was pretty. He knows how to steal a lady's heart for sure. We are going to tidy up the living room--which also has that 'we've been sick/in bed all day' look and make some supper soon. I'll be sure to let the world know (aka update my Facebook status) of any changes, but right now, I'm just hoping for some relaxation and complete lack of back pain. Oh, and for Ellie to get into a less 'wonky' position. That's not too much to ask, right?

Thank you to everyone who has been thinking of us and praying for us. I'm sure that's what has helped me to get the bits of rest and helped my back to finally feel somewhat better.

Maybe the next post, we'll have Eliana here, who knows?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just waiting and preparing...

We are pretty much to the 'waiting game' period of pregnancy these days. Ellie is due in 9 days (which I know can mean anytime within a 2 week period prior or following that date). School will be out after Wednesday, so I'm hoping she hangs out until then. I still have some paperwork to do, packing in my classroom to finish, and a talent show to rock out with the first grade teachers (no worries, we'll be sitting down as we sing--didn't want to go into labor with too much choreography, ha). I'm thinking of scheduling my mani/pedi that Josh got me for Mother's Day on that Thursday as a "stayed pregnant until the end of school" hurrah. :)
I've been pretty "nest-y" this week. Trying to organize anything and everything, at school and at home, especially in Ellie's room. Today I got some more organization done in her room--de-cluttered the changing table (it had become sort of a catch-all), took out some stuff that didn't belong in there (a box of books and some old computer accessories), put the newborn cloth diapers onto her changing table, put some of the newborn clothes into her dresser and got some more ready to hang on a shelf that isn't yet on the wall, and rearranged the furniture (with Josh's help, of course).
Now it looks like the bare bones of a nursery. Painted walls and furniture--check. Accessories? In the correct vicinity, but not yet arranged.
Ezra and I went to Jonesboro today to get a sheet for Eliana's crib and while we were in town, I figured we'd make the best of the trip since we don't go out very often and I'm sure it will be a long time before I brave such a trip with both children in tow. We went to Hobby Lobby first, since it is the place Ez seems to lose interest fastest. He actually enjoyed himself looking at cloth diaper accessories (yes, cloth diaper fabric, snaps, etc. are now available at Hobby Lobby--be still my heart!!) and things like drawer pulls (that may sound strange, but hey, he's a curious two year old). We were able to get a memo board for Ellie's room that I had wanted before but at the time it hadn't been on sale. Now it was clearanced--score! :)
After Hobby Lobby, we went to Target to get the sought-after crib sheet and also a new nursing bra for me. I still have the ones I used with Ez, but figured they'd seen better days for sure and I'd need a new one sooner or later, so I might as well use the giftcard I had from a baby shower. Ezra also managed to get a giant chocolate chunk cookie, go figure. ;)
I decided that since he was in such a good mood that I would walk the mall to help me get exercise/give us one last chance to do something just the two of us while we still could. We picked out two pairs of sunglasses for him at Children's Place. I wanted to get him some for our Florida trip and I've felt bad for him squinting in the back of the car a few times lately. Crazy 8 had an adorable sun hat for Ellie that just happened to match the bathing suit I got her at a consignment sale and it was on clearance, so that was purchased as well. A few stores down, Hallmark was closing and everything in the store was half off and I was able to get Josh's and Josh's dad's Father's Day gifts.
On the way out, we stopped by Gearhead Outfitters because I'd heard they had a big selection of TOMS. Wow, whoever told me that was not kidding! They had two walls, plus a table of the Tiny TOMS. It took every shred of self-control I had to not buy Ezra a pair of black shoes with skulls and crossbones. When he saw them, he said, "Pirate shoes!" I told him we'd have to come back and get those later, with Daddy's permission. ;) Ok, maybe it didn't take every shred of self-control, since I knew that he wasn't in dire need of shoes right now and I'd rather be able to stay at home with him wearing Walmart shoes than in debt or working for him to wear this cool pair. Plus, that's what grandmas are for, right? (Just kidding, folks.)
The awesome "pirate shoes."

Speaking of staying home, I'll be sure to do a post about my recent career change soon. I'm just pretty sure it will be a time-consuming and emotional project and I just want to finish up with school before I get too involved in it.

I'll leave you with a few pics of the bare bones of the nursery. SO much left to do to make it adorable, but at least the heavy stuff is moved around! :)
Not the best lighting, but wanted to get a shot of the room color and prove that there is furniture in there now. The glider will eventually be replaced (or at least covered, the red basket is going to be exchanged for a pink one, and the Sterlite tub is on its way out. The shelves and the memo board are on their way up...eventually. :)

trash can, diaper pail, changing table (clear container is birth supply box, which is on its way to our bedroom)

Some fluffy cuteness for all my CDing mamas out there. ;)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just Bumpin' Along...

Lately I've reached that stage of pregnancy where people look at me with a mix of sympathy and excitement and ask, "How many days?" To answer the question they are asking (aka, "When is your due date?"), the answer is 15 days (14 in a few hours). I tend to say the due date or, more recently, how many days are left, but then add that Ez was 9 days past his, so I'm not too anxious yet. I'm just focusing on getting through the next 8 days of school, then she can come anytime as far as I'm concerned. I need to finish my DRA testing on my students (determining their end-of-year reading levels), get all my grades in (it's been so crazy lately that I have a ton to put in), and pack up my classroom (looking forward to that least of all).

Usually, we just pack up what is on the bookshelves and leave things in cabinets there. The custodians informed me the other day that I needed to pack up everything because we have a teacher moving into my room from another school. I'm not really sure how that makes any sense, especially since I'd be making more work for her. Right now all of the stuff in cabinets is neat and organized--much nicer than the chaos I came into at the beginning of the year (there were cabinets with stuff literally stuffed into them with no organization at all). [By the way, no one is really to blame for the mess I entered--the room had been through 3 teachers and multiple long-term subs in a matter of just a few years and stuff had just accumulated in there like crazy.] I think if I un-organized everything, then the custodians will have more stuff to move around as they clean, and the new teacher will have to unpack everything and reorganize again (even if my boxes are organized and labeled). Just doesn't make sense to me, but maybe it's the hormones talking? Right now, my plan for packing up is to get my stuff packed up to take home and pack up the bookshelves first and do the rest if I have time. Who knows? Maybe Eliana will decide to differentiate herself from her brother and come early after all. :)

Speaking of the little love, she is still doing well. She has moved down a bit more according to my tummy measurements this past Friday. The midwife came to our house for the 37 week visit so that she would be familiar with the area when the time comes for Ellie to be born. Ezra did a great job as her assistant. He loves the little tape measure and she is so awesome with him. She let him help measure my tummy and  hold the fetal heart monitor (there is probably a more official name than that) while we listened to El's heartbeat. I really wish I'd gotten a picture, but it seemed odd to tell Josh to run and get the camera at the moment. I'm going to make sure we bring it on our next appointment in case Ezra's in a helpful mood again. :)

In other news, Josh's baby sister, Libby, moved to Florida this week. It's been a hard week for just about everyone in his immediate family. Until the grandkids, she was the baby, and it's been especially rough on her parents, of course. Before she left she was nice enough to take some pictures of Josh, Ezra, and I. I was really wanting some sort of maternity/family pics before Ellie got here. We had a friend take some when we were pregnant with Ezra and I loved them. This time around was a bit more hectic with a crazy toddler who kept wanting to run away instead of be still and smile, but Libby was able to get some fantastic shots anyway. Head on over to her photography Facebook page and 'like' it. She'd really appreciate it. :)
Ezra in a rare still moment

I love the colors in this one--I can't remember the last picture Josh and I had of just the two of us (technically the three of us, no offense, Eliana)

My two favorite guys :)

I think you can tell we look alike here

We might be a bit should see Ezra's room! :)

"E" for Ezra and Eliana!

Cardinals fans, just maybe... ;)

Cardinals and trains? He was overjoyed!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Boy's Best Friend

No, it's not a puppy. It's a dragon. :)
Ezra has apparently developed his first imaginary friend. I think it shows he has a great imagination and that he'll be ready to read earlier. Don't ask me specifics on that second part, I just enjoy believing it! ;) {I do know that imagination and reading/writing go hand in hand and there is lots of research to back that up.}

Here is an excerpt from an email I sent Ezra this morning. Yes, I am well aware that my toddler can't read or check his email, but someday he will, and he'll probably be very embarrassed by how 'adorable' I rave about him being, but he'll hopefully appreciate them on some level.

You seem to have an imaginary friend. His name is Dragon, so we assume he is a dragon. You had watched How to Train Your Dragon at Jack's house, so for a while I thought you were talking about something you played with Jack. You would sort of interchange the names Jack and Dragon. To be sure, I asked you a few questions the next time you brought up Dragon.We were on our way to Jack's house one morning and you said something about him, so I asked where he was. You said he was outside. I asked where and you pointed to outside the car window.
That afternoon, we were outside and you were playing with some rocks when you mentioned him again. I didn't want to bring him up and make you obsessed with having this imaginary friend, but since you brought it up, I asked you a few questions. You told me he was red when I asked you what color he was and that he was big when I asked if he was big or little. When I asked where he was, you pointed to another point in the yard and said he was watching "t.b." (TV). Later, when I wanted to go inside you wanted to watch TV with Dragon. Then in a bit you wanted to give him the rest of your blue popsicle. Wanting to see how that would pan out, I told you you could and you walked around the side of the house to the front yard, but got distracted talking about our new tree (we had a different one but it got a disease, so Granpoo got us a new one). I asked where Dragon was, and you said he was hiding in the grass. Then you played Peek-a-boo with him. Total preciousness. You were quickly back to the subject of the new tree--you are pretty obsessed with trees, especially after watching The Lorax in theaters (that is a whole other story of adorableness).
Mimi kept you the next day and I let her know what you'd told me about Dragon so far and asked her not to bring him up but to just see if you did. She said you brought him up once while playing and once when you went to the potty. She said you got up on the side of the potty to pee (you perch like a bird--we have no idea why, but it's pretty funny), and stopped to turn around, putting your hand behind you in a blocking motion and said, "Dragon, don't push my back." HA! Oh, and when Mimi asked, you said he was orange. Apparently he is a color-changing dragon? :)
We haven't mentioned Dragon much ourselves because we don't want it to become one of those non-stop things, but you do occasionally bring him up while you are playing. When I was your age, I had an imaginary friend named Jorney (no idea where the name came from). One of the stories about Jorney goes that once when your great grandma Pat was curling my hair, she said down the curling iron and I told her not to sit it there because that's where Jorney was!

Hope you all got as big a kick out of this as I have. If not, oh well, maybe it made you smile or giggle a time or two.

Did you or your children have an imaginary friend? Do you think it affected your/their development or creativity?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From "The Cloth Diaper Connoisseur"

Yeah, I should totally go with that title... ;)

Just kidding.

But on the serious side, I have been very glad to help several of my friends "make the switch" from disposable diapers to cloth ones, and I feel pretty good about that! I do get a lot of the same questions a lot (sometimes from the same person), and I'm so glad I can be helpful.

I remember when I first started researching cloth diapers, I was so nervous to buy anything because I wanted first-hand knowledge before I bought something. This is really hard to do with cloth diapers because they aren't typically sold in stores. In fact, the only time I've ever gotten to see some in person before buying them was at a consignment sale, when I found an amazing deal on some SunBaby pocket diapers.

I was lucky enough to have a friend in Tennessee (where we were living right up until Ezra was born) who helped me get started considering cloth. She had cloth diapered her first two children and wanted to do the same with the third, but was very disappointed when she bought a pack of Gerber flats and found they were so thin they were see-through. She had used them with the first two children, but didn't think the quality available to her now would hold up for a cloth diaper. (FYI: I'm not trying to be negative to Gerber on this change. They probably very rarely have anyone use their flats for cloth diapers anymore--they are mainly used for burp cloths. Also, they may have changed again by now, because this situation took place roughly 2 1/2 years ago, and I have noticed that some of the bigger companies are starting to notice the popularity of cloth diapers is increasing once again. Maybe I can get some and do a comparison blog once Ellie is born.)

Anyway, in the midst of trying to help my friend find some suitable flat diapers, I discovered the "amazing world of cloth!" I was finding new things with every Google search and became more and more intrigued about the new options for cloth diapering. It actually looked...easy. The products were decidedly more affordable than diapering your child with disposables (although, depending on what you use, you will initially pay more in the beginning, you will continue using the same ones, so you definitely end out on top). And to top it all off, they were so cute! The cuteness factor didn't really get to me until much later. All I could think about was price. I remember looking at sites that offered pocket diapers or all in ones (AIOs) and thinking, 'well, those are really cool, but I'd never be able to afford them.' (Now I have a pretty decent stash of them, thanks to savings, patience, time, and clearance sales!)

Around the same time, my friend and her husband decided to start a home-based business. When he asked me for suggestions on a business that would be in demand, but not highly available, I immediately said, "Cloth diapers!" He laughed and said his wife had been saying the same thing. Thanks to them, I was able to see some products they carried in use on their new daughter, and even got to change her a couple of times. I remember the first time I changed her when she was wearing a flat with a cover. Her mother was smart enough to forget all the fancy folding and just fold her flats into a rectangle. I remember I took out the rectangle, put in a new one, and snapped the cover back. Then I looked up and said, "That's it? Did I do it right?!" She laughed and said I had. When Ezra was young, I had a similar moment once when Josh's youngest sister (16 or 17 at the time) saw me changing Ezra's diaper--again, a flat with a cover (no fancy folds required)--and she was shocked it was so easy. I remember her saying, "Well, gosh, I thought there would be pins involved and all this crazy stuff."

(Note: I realize some people really like using folds for cloth diapers, and I say more power to them. For me, it was much easier to just fold clean diapers into rectangles, stack them on the changing table, and be ready to go when it was time for a change. I tried the origami fold and a few other flat folds, but found it was much more time consuming for me, they didn't hold in messes any better, and sometimes Ez would get creases on his bottom from the folds, so I figured the rectangle fold might even be more comfy for him.)

Eventually, I was able to get some pocket diapers (once again, thank goodness for clearance sales) and now I have all the diapers I will need with Ellie (maybe even some extras, if I'm totally honest). Allow me to share some pictures... :)

My first 'stash'--3 dozen flats, 3 newborn covers, 2 small covers (I only put a few flats in the picture for reference):

Additional covers I got for him from Diaper Swappers:

The larger covers he used towards the end of our cloth journey (he's potty trained now):

New covers bought especially for baby Ellie (the first 3 I was being gender neutral about, the flowers one in the front was when I was really hoping for a girl, and the pink polka dots was the girl version of a cover we always wanted for Ezra but was always sold out--the only cover I bought actually knowing we were having a girl)...

Ezra's pocket diaper stash (we have 14 Bum Genius diapers, but I just showed one of each color).

Pockets bought for baby girl at Rhea Lana's (even when I wasn't sure we would have a girl, these were too good a deal to pass up!)

Newest addition to our stash...Bum Genius Newborn All In Ones. I ordered a 'gender neutral' assortment, and these are the colors I ended up with. I'm looking forward to trying these!

You cannot really grasp the utter cuteness of these diapers unless you see a size comparison. here they are next to Bum Genius One Size pockets (if you are considering buying all one-size diapers, pay attention to the size difference--most 'one size' diapers don't fit babies well until around 10 lbs.)

Our flats and covers stash in the dresser...

Our all in ones/pockets stash (aka, 'easy' diapers--great for daycare or family members who are less comfortable with cloth)

I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a 'huge stash!' I'm pretty sure other people have me trumped by several dozen diapers (or maybe hundreds!) but we have come so far from our beginning! :)


The Cloth Diaper Connoisseur ;)