Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Little Reading

Recently my son discovered that he could turn pages in books. It makes for quite interesting stories at bedtime! We've also gotten a few Christmas cards with photos and Levi loves to look at them.  So I decided to combine these two new hobbies and make him a book for Christmas with pictures of our family.  There are services where I could have printed a book of photos like I've done in the past, or even a place to print more durable board books, but I just didn't want to pay that much because I really want him to touch it & use it & it will probably end up in his mouth a lot. Not to mention that I'm cheap. Hi my name is Lindsey and I'm on the verge of being featured on extreme cheapskates.

So instead I found this old school small vinyl photo album (okay okay it was at a thrift store but it was NEW) and had some family photos printed when I ordered my Christmas cards (okay okay the prints were free with my order). I stuck them inside and wrote a couple of simple sentences on colorful paper for us to read together. And that was it!  He'll love looking at the pictures, (especially since he is featured on every page! ) and turning the pages and we can change out pictures someday if we want. Boom.  Stocking stuffer!  And with this I think all the presents are finished.  Now to start the wrapping!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Have you ever had a brilliant idea and then someone came along and had that same brilliant idea and you could have made millions? ? Well that's me and tree branch slices.  Yeah, I did that before pinterest did. So where's my million dollars? ?  Oh,  I waited too long?   C'mon, man!

Allow me to take you back to where it all began, in the kitchen of our first rental apartment. We had just bought our first Christmas tree of our married lives. it was real because Irefuse to do a fake one.  Our tree came with a little tag that told us to make a fresh cut off the trunk before putting it in the stand.  And we follow directions.  THUS THE GREAT WOOD SLICE TREND WAS BORN!

I've been saving a slice of our tree every year since then, and someday we will be able to hang them as ornaments from a Christmas tree. And we will have a tree full of trees and it will be a beautiful tree and we will laugh at how long and beautiful our marriage has been and how many wonderful years we have been together and how long ago 2010 was and how our lives have changed since that first apartment kitchen and we will have grandchildren who ask us about the slices and maybe, just maybe, a silly thing like tree slices will be cool.  And then tree slices became cool and trendy TOO SOON and it's only been 5 years but already know I know my idea will be a has-been idea. HARUMPH.

But I'm still going to save them and one day we will look at them and smile and think of all the money we could have made selling logs.

So that's my story and if you choose to follow suit my only advice is to do a cut-your-own tree farm (or backyard!)and that way you can get a nice even slice off the stump instead of wrestling trying to hold a tree in place while you saw a slice from the bottom.

Hopefully later this week I can try and get a few good pictures of our son in front of our tree (from my parent's land, driven atop the Subaru for 250 miles, and still surviving!).  I have to find some new cute Christmas PJs though, he outgrew the ones I got him!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

SEVEN months!

Will there ever be a month where don't say "you changed SO much"?  Well it's not this month.  Buddy, you changed SO much! 

You are full on laughing now and it makes both of us feel like great parents to be able to give you the giggles.  You are eating real food, usually two meals a day because you get so messy it's quite a production to clean  you up.  But french toast is the reigning favorite.

It snowed and we thought you would enjoy playing a bit in it, but we were wrong!  You aren't impressed.

We got to celebrate Thanksgiving with family up north, where you (wait for it) LEARNED TO PULL UP ON & stand against furniture.  You did lots of practicing at Grandma & Grandpa's where it was nicely carpeted and extra cushy compared to our thin rug at home.  The Christmas tree will be a real challenge!  Oh, while we were there you also GOT TWO TEETH!  Yes you've been busy. 

Always on the move and busy busy busy.  Watch out world!

Week 27

Week 28

Week 29

Week 30

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today is the best

I am so thankful, on Thanksgiving Eve, for this life.  Rough moment happen, that's for sure.  But all in all, I am so blessed.

This is a moment to look around & remember.  Not because my house is clean, no definitely not.  But because my son has found the comfort that he needs through his challenging time of teething, learning to crawl, learning to pull up.  Learning how to fall and then try again.  And learning so much that I don't even know yet.  I am so grateful that I can be his comfort today, when our house smells like homemade bread and sweet potatoes and green bean casserole.  And I am thankful for the break he has convinced me to take in this busy day of packing for a trip to Grandmas.  I am thankful for this nap he is taking, with a full  belly, on my lap.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Starting on Christmas

Hello there!  Sorry it's been awhile.  It's hard to find things to write about when I never seem to finish anything.  Sometime I drive myself nuts with my inability to finish all the projects I start.  In fact, I've been meaning to write about this for awhile and today A Beautiful Mess wrote pretty much exactly what I've been meaning to say.  At the moment, I have a knitted stocking waiting to be blocked, a knit christmas gift to finish, THREE kinds of christmas decorations to finish, a new quilt started (not to mention the other ones I've started and never finished), lots of ingredients bought for different recipes to try, and a basement half rearranged.  Yikes.

Really I think half the issue is that I am such a "process oriented" person, as opposed to "goal oriented".  I enjoy the act of knitting (or crafting, finding recipes, quilting, rearranging) more than I enjoy the end product. 

Well the thing I'm most finished with is this simple garland I whipped up to wrap around our bannister.  I found a sheet of stiff felt at Hobby Lobby for less than $1.  I had been hoping to find an off-white color but I guess Hobby Lobby thinks only primary colors are appropriate for stiff felt sheets.  I cut out about a million (imperfect) nickel-size circles, and then ran them through my sewing machine.  I just sewed through the center of each one, let the machine run for a few seconds (to make the spaces between the dots) and then shoved another circle under the foot. 

It sewed together very quickly, and cutting the circles was a breeze.  Except for Dillon, who is incredibly bad at cutting circles.  I know because I tested him and he failed.  Sorry buddy, your secret is out.  So this, along with some pom-pom garland and maybe a few pine cones and our stockings will be hanging from our bannister this Christmas! I'll wait to show you the final thing, since I haven't started decorating yet because Dillon won't let me. 

Hopefully before Christmas I'll have some more things finished that I can blog about. Or not.  At least I'll try and enjoy the process!

Monday, November 10, 2014

SIX Months!

Wow buddy we made it half a year.  It feels like an accomplishment!

You are army crawling around, and getting pretty fast, too!  You are pretty fascinated by shoes so you crawl over to check them out all the time. 

You just started solid food this week, so we made it nursing exclusively for six months. THAT feels like an accomplishment!  We are doing "baby led weaning", so you get whole foods (not purees) in large chunks that you can grab and chomp on.  No teeth yet, so you really are working at it.  You have so much interest in the food, but you aren't really coordinated enough just yet and have trouble getting things to your mouth, especially slippery foods like banana and avocado.  But you really put a lot of heart into it and I'm sure you'll get better very soon with all the practice you are getting.

 We are pretty sure you respond to your name, like to smile a lot at people, and enjoy playing with boxes.  You also like looking through the balusters in the stairwell and we like to do a peek-a-boo game with you there. 

I could go on and on because you are such a fun guy right now.  And big!  17lbs 15oz at your appointment and we are feeling every ounce when we carry you around!

OH and you were a peapod for halloween.  It was amazing and lots of people told us how adorable you were. 

Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Safety First!

You guys,  it's No-Shave November! Also known as "movember" to those of you who don't realize that the prostate cancer people stole this glorious month from deer hunters. I love me some bearded fellas.  Norm, anyone?

Anyhow, I had asked on Facebook if anyone had any suggestions for babyproofing our fireplace.  Here were the requirements:

The living room (with the white rug), the dining room to the left, and the kitchen in the back left

1. baby can't have access to the underside of it where all kinds of gas tubes and wires are.
2. I still need to be able to walk around it, since this fireplace sits right in the middle of our kitchen/living room/dining room.
3. Bonus points if we can help baby avoid sharp corners.
4. We have the gas turned off so it won't ever be hot,  just full of wires and corners

Well I got a ton of responses (ahem3ahem) so i thought I'd try the least expensive and least space - requiring.  Here's what we came up with:

Obviously this cardboard solution is only for non-functioning fireplaces.  I picked up a sheet of black cardboard from hobby lobby for just over $1. We took or time and used a utility knife to score and cut a piece to wedge just inside each of the legs for the front and 2 sides. These are just tightly wedged in place,  so they can be removed if we decide to light a fire after bedtime some night (like Christmas).

The back we left open because, as you can see, it doesn't have a nice solid straight side and has flexible yellow tubing coming out of it.  I am thinking a decent size basket full of something will be enough to deter him from exploring it for now. 
Curvy backside (hehe) with an important tube coming out of it.  This will be behind some sort of large basket

And of course, I plan to help him avoid the corners to the best of my ability but I am sure he'll get banged up a bit at some point.  That's sort of what kids do though.  I've heard.

So thanks for the words of wisdom and wish us luck with the rest of the babyproofing.  My computer-geek of a husband has a lot of cables lying around that I'm busy keeping baby out of.  And then there's things like this:

That would be a terrible and blurry picture of my son chewing on a table.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Casting On

Are you ready for a baby-free post???  Well hold on to your hats, ladies and gents, here it is!

With the recovery of my wrists and the occasional goodnaturedness of my baby (dang, well that didn't last long), I began to knit again.

Has anyone else noticed that at the beginning of fall it's all "cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice" and then now when we are really into fall it's all "advent calendars and Christmas shopping"?  Well I do.  Can't we all just be content to be IN the season we are experiencing?  No?  Well I can't either because I decided to get to work on my son's Christmas stocking.

So I cast on...

And I'm winging it.  I've done stockings before so I thought I could wing it and it will come out okay.  I'm trying for cables.  And I can only go a row or two before my wrists start aching so it just may take me until Christmas morning.  Wish me luck! 

The other interesting thing about this casting on is that this is yarn I thrifted WAY back last November with my friend Jamie, who showed me how to turn a thrift store sweater into piles of beautiful yarn!  So cheap!  So wonderful!  So time consuming!  So lovely to rip out knitting for a reason other than that I made a mistake!

I'm just holding this thrifted yard two together, so that I get some bulk and it doesn't take me a year to make this stocking.

Happy Fall!

Friday, October 17, 2014

On being a Mom

The reality is that my son doesn't sleep well.  Or maybe he sleeps "normal" but no one talks about it.  I don't know, I'm new at this parenting thing.  He never really recovered from his four month sleep regression and now we celebrate when we get two hours straight.  He had been nursing to sleep but when I try to do that hourly, he just gets too full and it doesn't work.  So we rock.  And bounce.  And shush.  And pray.  And cry together.  And rock some more.  And walk in circles around the living room.  And then he puts up one final fight, and then he is O.U.T.   

But that's not the point of this post.  Because everyone has hard moments.  If it's not sleeping, it's weight gain.  Or breastfeeding.  Or getting sick.  Or finding a daycare.  Or starting solid food.  Or bullies.  Or potty training.  Or having to buy the jeans with the "slimming panel and comfort waistband".  Or not having enough money for a vacation to Mexico.  Or not spending enough time with kiddo.

The point is that it's rough, but I am a mom and I signed up for this.  I prayed for it for a long long time, actually.  And millions of women around the world pray for it every day, too.

I used to work with adults with developmental disabilities.  And one thing that always struck me, even then, is that I knew adults whose only word their whole life was "mama".  Or the only person they recognized ever was their mom.  And I get to be that for someone. 

The first person to call when you are excited about something is (well probably your spouse but second is) your mom.  If something terrible would happen, the person you call is your mom because moms make everything better. 

It's quite the honor.  And I try and remember that when I'm rocking and shushing and crying and praying and breastfeeding him again and getting smacked in the face.  It's more than having a baby.  It's getting to be someone's Mom. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

No More Hot Car Deaths

I have a pretty serious concern that I will forget Levi in the car someday.  I'm generally pretty sleep deprived and he trends to falls quietly asleep in the backseat. We have all seen news of babies left in cars because the parent forgot to drop the baby at daycare or forgot she was in the backseat when mom went to work. What a horrifying thing to carry around with you forever-that you inadvertently killed your baby.  Even though it's not "hot car" season, I would say "cold car" in Wisconsin is dangerous also. Supposedly, they are working on making high tech alarms to remind parents about baby in the backseat, but at the moment they are expensive and glitchy.

With that in mind, I've been trying to think of a diy way to keep myself from this awful memory lapse and I finally thought of something.  May I present the easiest invention in the world!


I used a piece of brightly colored cardstock and punched a hole in the corner.  Then I attached a carabiner to it.  Done!

Here's the big idea: make it your habit that this thing NEVER leaves your car.

This is how I use mine:

1.  Carry baby in carseat to the vehicle, open door.  Remove card from the carseat base & insert carseat into base.

My view when I first open my door to leave home

2..Clip card to my set of keys & drive off

3.  Arrive at destination.  Get out of the car and remove card from keys

4. Remove carseat with baby from the backseat, place card on the base

5. Walk away from the car

That's it.  If you don't use an infant seat & base, just lay the card on the carseat until you need to put the baby in there.

So you see, I took this idea from pens at offices and keys to gas station restrooms: If you put something big and clunky on it, you won't accidentally walk off with it.  This bright pink card won't fit in my purse without my noticing, yet it's fairly lightweight and not bothersome when dangling from my keys in the ignition.

And if you ever see me walking around with this hanging off my purse, stop me and say "where's your baby?".

After using this system for a few weeks, I can say that it is another 2 seconds added to each car entrance/exit, and took a few trips to get the rhythm of it down.  BUT I would generally say that an inconvenient 2 seconds is much better than harming my little one.  Happy Travels!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

5 months!

Whoa buddy you made some real progress this month!

You went from pretty immobile to suddenly being able to roll over and over, and spin around on your tummy--you can get anywhere you want to go!

You are pushing up on your hands and are just starting to get to being on your hands and knees.  Crawling here we come!!!

You are truly interested in toys.  You are purposefully reaching for and playing with toys.  Before this, you just played with whatever toy we put near you.  Now you see things and go for them!

You are getting to be a noisy fellow!  You are giggling!!  And you are grunting, growling, blowing raspberries, happy-screaming, and babbling.  Not to mention the occasional unhappy screaming.

You still haven't gotten back to being a good sleeper, but we have an occasional night that goes GREAT and we sure are thankful for those days!  At least with all your new skills we feel like there is a good reason you weren't sleeping!

You've certainly filled out--your cheeks are chubby and your legs have beautiful rolls.  I loooove them!  You still have your hair-at least on the top.  Around the sides and back you have a ring that has worn down to short little pieces.  Not tremendously flattering but I refuse to cut it.  Too bad, so sad.

I can't believe you've been here for 5 months already.  What a crazy adventure we've been on! 

Week 18

Week 19

Week 20

Week 21

Monday, September 29, 2014

a $.70 toy

I made Levi a toy--it cost me 70cents.  I used a empty peanut butter jar (incidentally, I've fallen in love with peanut butter without anything added, but it's really hard to find and I've been having to get expensive organic peanut butter!  Until I saw that my local grocery store grinds their own and it's way cheaper--score!) and filled it with water.  Then I added some thrift store beads ($.40) and sequins($.30).  The gold paint on the sequins came off after awhile underwater, so now there are clear sequins and glittery water.  I'm betting it's because Dillon told me that his son shouldn't play with glitter.

He wasn't terribly interested in it until this past week.  He's actually playing with his toys with a little more interest and attention span these days.  I'm pretty excited he likes this toy--except that it rolls.  And generally not in the same direction as my son.  He will get better at moving around soon though!

In general I think I have a minimalistic view on toys.  (Now, I understand that I only have a 4 month old and will probably eat my words in a few months or years, but this is where I'm at for the moment)  I like the idea that we will have fewer, higher quality toys in our house.  And by quality, I mean semi-educational, multi-use, & imagination-stretching.  So rather than having a plastic disney figurine that makes a noise when you push a button, I'd like to have more generic looking dolls that my son can have make whatever noise he wants.  Blocks can be whatever he wants (look, it's a car!  Wow, now it's a spaceship!  A castle!)  Pieces of fabric can be capes, band-aids, shopping bags.  You get the idea.  If you can say "what does it do?" and have only one or two answers, it's not the most ideal toy for us!

I saw somewhere a person liked to have one of five categories: art, pretend play, books, gross motor, and music.

That being said, we have quite a few of those toys in our house right now already.  And Levi generally enjoys them just as much as he enjoys homemade toys or anything he can stick in his mouth, really.  So I think in the future it'll be interesting to see where we end up as far as the toy collection in our house goes.  For now I like wood toys.

One final thought: Thank goodness we have a son because I am highly committed to keeping disney princesses out of my home. They just seem to take over a little too much.

Friday, September 19, 2014

"De Quervain's" OR "my experience with the blue gloves"

So I found out I'm stubborn.  I know, I should have realized this before age 27.  Since the only people who really read this are people I know, you are probably shaking your head in disappointment that I didn't know this before.

I was so stubborn that when my wrists/thumbs/hands started hurting after the baby was born, I waited until a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment to ask about it.  I was having shooting pains every now and again when I picked Levi up and every now and then they would "lock up" and my thumbs would stick in one position.  She referred me to a physical therapist and vaguely suggested it was De Quervains Tenosynovitis.  A fancy name for "mommy thumb" from lifting a baby all.the.dang.time.  So I started seeing a physical therapist.  Twice a week.  With an infant at each appointment screaming the whole time.  The whole clinic knew when we were there!

They ordered braces for me to wear, and when they arrived I was *delighted* to discover that they were boldly blue.  No tasteful black braces for this gal.  Thank you "Sammons Preston" and whoever at your company decided that blue was definitely the right choice. 

Sidenote: as a new mom with all the feelings associated with my changed body, as well as someone who is still learning how to carry her baby without being all thumbs, it would be great to be a bit more anonymous sometimes rather than blue enough to have the checkout gal ask me what I did to my hands.  Or small children ask me if my gloves were made out of can koozies.

So I went to physical therapy once or twice a week for over a month before I decided to ask if there was something more we could do.  That was me being stubborn again, I should have asked sooner.  I was referred to a hand specialist, and when I called I had to schedule an appointment OVER A MONTH out.  Grr.  Meanwhile, my hands would frequently lock up or any sudden jarring motion would leave me with misty eyes.  I was using my forearms for holding/carrying/opening things and used my hands like clubs or pinched things between my fingers rather than use my thumbs.  It was bad.

Well this past Wednesday I finally made it to my appointment (over an hour drive with an appointment starting at 8 am with a baby and my hubby in tow) and I got the miracle shot everyone's been telling me about.  I had a cortisone injection in each wrist.  I am so thankful that Dillon came with me to that appointment; I completely underestimated how much it would leave me unable to do a darn thing.  I'm not sure I could have driven home safely.  I was popping ibuprophen and it was helping, slightly, but I still couldn't pick up the baby.  Poor Dillon kept getting called over (thank goodness he can work from home on occasion) to help me shift Levi or move him to the other breast to nurse. It's getting better though and I'm back to a "normal pain" level.

So now I get to wait up to a month to see if there was any improvement.  Needless to say I was (and still am) frustrated.  I thought I'd write about it so that you all can go see the dang doctor if this starts to happen to you.  Don't wait, it'll just get worse and then you'll be poppin' ibuprophen and swearing at the child-proof bottle it came in like me.

I also thought I should write about it because my husband is seriously amazing.  For the past three months he has been getting up in the middle of the night every time the baby wakes to pick him up, change him if necessary, and lay him next to me so I can nurse.  Then, on occasion, I wake him up when the baby is done nursing so that Dillon can pick the baby up and put him back in the pack&play.  The other day we did this every 45 minutes all.night.long.  And then Dillon went to work the next day and functioned like a human.  He's my hero.  Someone start the slow clap for this guy.

How we all felt the morning of my shots.

So my hubby is amazing.  And blue club hands suck.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Hey all.  Sorry it's been awhile.  Our little bundle of joy has been continuing to sleep poorly so I've been catching a lot of naps while he naps during the day.  Also, I started cooking again.  That's right.  I got motivated to feed myself and my husband!

I just thought I'd share a little struggle I've been having.  It's in regard to my son.  He FINALLY started giving us little giggles (the best sound in the world) and has huge smiles that are all gums and I love it.  He gets excited when I blow raspberries on his tummy and smiles really big and then brings his hands to his mouth like he just can't handle the excitement.  It's awesome.  But I can't take any pictures of it.

Every time I try to take his picture when he is doing something cute, he freezes and stares at my phone, expressionless.  So  I have a million expressionless photos of my son. Just try to imagine all the cute things he was doing before he spotted my phone.  Here you are:

I finally caught him in the pack and play one morning, and this is a horrible picture but at least I caught his smile before a tooth started ruining his perfect gummy grin.

I did get a couple more recently, here's my favorite.

Update:  His carseat straps aren't usually this loose.  This was mid-getting him out.

So these are my problems. I know, it's a rough life.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

4 months

Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Oh boy, kiddo.  You really threw us for a loop this month for sleeping, so forgive me if I don't write in complete sentences. 

You found your feet!  And boy, do you like holding onto them for dear life!
You are outgrowing all your clothes!  We're going to have to go shopping soon and I can't believe how big you are getting.
No really good laughs yet, but a few small giggles are keeping us going.  And of course, that gummy smile that we love!
You are a real wiggler when you are excited, and you "swim swim swim!" all the time, especially when we're trying to get clothes on you!
You continue to show more and more interest in toys, and look at them and bring them all to your mouth to chew on.  And you're getting better at spending time alone on the floor with toys.
You also found out that if you grab onto my hair, I can't put you down.  Ponytails for mom for now on!
You are fascinated by food.  Although you're still nursing, you watch other people eat and can't get enough of seeing food.  Are you going to be a big eater like your dad?