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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flying with a toddler is rarely as difficult as you think it will be
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Sometimes it's much, much harder.

When I get a little more sleep, and come to terms with the fact that I'm taking my (sleep deprived) toddler to one of the fanciest restaurants in the city tonight, at what would ordinarily be his bed time, I'll blog about yesterday's travel experience.

(this post will be alternately titled "mistakes NOT to make when flying with your toddler")

Friday, December 17, 2010

New do for a little dude

A couple of nights ago, I took the plunge.
Literally.
I took on the monumental task of cutting my toddler's hair...

In the bathtub.

Although the job didn't get finished there (that took a highchair, curious george, and one zoned-out kid), I did manage to snip the majority of my son's whispy locks inside the confines of the tub - and I also managed to save them!

It may be difficult to tell he even got a trim, but I assure you he did. No more rat-tail for my son, and (after this morning's high-chair episode) no more whispies growing over his ears. All clean and fresh.

Somehow, I thought this would feel like more of a milestone than it does. Hmm... maybe after his first buzz cut.

Not Me Monday

Some weeks are better than others, eh?
No, I mean really, some weeks you feel like super-mom (or super-dad, or super-employee, or super-spouse...) and some weeks you seriously wonder if you super powers were some sort of sick practical joke.

I started writing "Not-Me Monday" posts thanks to this blogger who has a heart for God, and so much love for her brood of five+hubby. Five? I can hardly keep ONE on the right track.

Here it goes. This one's a doozy, folks.

The week started out with a bang. Tuesday, I took my son downtown where we collected my sister-in-law (darling Jillian, you're priceless) and took her with us to keep and eye on Levi while I got my hair cut. We also went out for pizza! Having been a previous restaurant manager, I know how annoying it is when people walk into your establishment before you're open. So, knowing this, I certainly did NOT mosey in (and out of sub-zero temps) at quarter to eleven. Rude.

Upon returning home, let me be the first to tell you, my garage door was NOT wide open. I'm certain it had NOT been wide open (brand new snow blower and all) for the previous four hours.

Wednesday I had planned to make a meal for a meeting of 25 or so at our church. This has been on my calendar for a while - so I did NOT forget about it when I was reading my facebook feed in the morning and tell my friend (who has three under three) that I would be at the childrens' museum in the morning and more than willing to help her manage her handful. Not me!

While I was cooking up a storm at the church (and my son was playing with his pal Teague) I called to see how things were going at Rachael's house. She certainly did not inform me that my son had a fever of 103.1, and was standing by the sliding glass door pouting "mommeee?" Oh no.

We arrived home. I put my baby down for what I was *sure* would be a long nap. I was NOT wrong about this. Why would I be? I mean, MY son always takes loooooooooong naps. Enjoyable
naps! Knowing how ill he must have felt for having such a high temperature, I did not try to drag him to walmart (oh come on! you know you do this too when your kids take super-short naps. What else was I going to do with him?). On our way out the door my ever-independent son, who likes to navigate the stoop steps on his own did not get his fingers pinched in the door jam by yours truly. I also did not ad insult to injury by smacking his head on the side of the car whilst trying to get him into his rear facing car seat. I'm super mom, remember?

I did NOT continue feeling like a poor excuse for a caregiver... now.

Ok, so we get to walmart without too much trouble, and we're strolling through the store picking up a couple things on our list. As we made our way from the food section of the store to the home-repair section it was NOT my son who took ONE glance at the lingerie we passed by and,
without hesitation, looked me dead in the face, and with head cocked to the right, said "Milk?"

Oh gee my little nursling.

A few more before I look like a complete idiot... stay tuned
My son is learning shapes. And colors. and, of all things, matching (which he initiated, and I'll have to explain this further later). So he'll point out anything that looks like, say, a ball. He and I were snuggling after nap one day at which point he did NOT point to a small, raised, mole on my face and say "ball?" (Really?)

He did not then do the same thing to the (much larger) mole on his daddy's knee - and that most certainly did NOT make me feel just a little bit better.

And lastly, in my plight to offer my son a few more dosing moments during nap time (and being SICK of this short-nap business), I have been giving him a little motrin before he goes down. Well, the pediatrician wondered if he may have a sore throat and she suggested a little robitussen. Having gone back and forth between the two of these throughout the week (and seeing zero result in the form of more sleep from either of them), I would NOT have been the one to prop my toddler on my hip, and with both bottles in front of me, ASK him which one he wanted. He also would NOT have said something that sounded like "Morin".

He did NOT then go on to take a splendid 3 hour nap.

That's all I got folks. OK, lie. I have more notes here pertaining to other stupid things I did and said over the past week, but I don't have any need to degrade myself further.

...except to say that I might have put my son's potty chair on top of my own in an attempt to get him to stay on it for one solitary minute. Maybe I did that. But I'm just not sure.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hum Drum Rut (and a map)



Do you ever feel yourself falling into a rut? You know, a routine that, without you even noticing, turns from "ideal" to "monotonous"? Well, I think We're there. Not to say we aren't enjoying our rut, I think we are doing just that - but it's offering very little variety lately.I suppose this is somewhat both normal and necessary. Children thrive with routine yes? I'm willing to bet the only difference between a healthy routine (which, I would imagine, includes a healthy dose of variety) and what we've got going right now is laziness and my outright desire not to make any endeavor that may require too much energy from me. I'm short on that. Energy. You know how that goes.

aaaaaaaany way. Levi is sick. He came down with a spontanious fever yesterday (while my friend Rachael was watching him for me. Teague, you're next) My firecracker has decided sleeping is most certainly NOT the way to get well, and as such has taken a sabatical from regular naps. Ugh.

Also, and completely unrelated to anything I just said, I logged on to google analytics (a program I am not very familiar with at all) and realized that, to my shock, my blog has been visited by individuals in over 20 countries in the past 8 months. Go figure! If you're unfamiliar with Google analytics, and you fear I'm trying to track down whose who, fear not, that's not the way the program works. At least, I don't think that's the way it works - and even if it is, I have no idea how to see exactly *who* went looking on my blog. Only where they were from in the world, and how long they stayed here etc. So, stalk on, my unknown Korean friend. And you, yes, you from Turkey, I know you're out there!
(dark green = most visits, light green = few visits, White = no visits)

I've used it before, and I'll use it again - my only excuse for excluding from this post a (current) picture of my darling son is that my camera is upstairs. Between it and me lie whoknowshowmany creaky floor boards and one napping toddler. Instead, this profile shot will have to suffice.

(all the obedient toddlers were painting their gingerbread men with green icing. Meanwhile, Levi was busily painting the inner reaches of Teague's mouth with sweet, sugary, goodness. That's my boy!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sneak Peek...


...mostly because they won't arrive until we're in Seattle, and although I'm having them shipped directly there, I won't be able to get them to most of you until AFTER Christmas. So, here it is, our 2010 Christmas card

Yes. It's a very small PNG. The text reads "Merry Christmas From the Hnosko Family. Jonathan, Melissa, & Levi.
And a very Merry Christmas it shall be - in just 15 days!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Confession: I'm a blogger on a budget

"no, really?" you say rhetorically.
yes, and so it may come as no surprise to you I'm finding it difficult to shell out dollar after dollar to write, print off, and send my traditionally hilarious and simultaneously informative Christmas Letter.

I neglected to write such a letter last year - thinking that a 6 month old and a fresh recovery from a terrific bout of post partum depression were excuse enough. But this year, well, I'm afraid my excuses have run out.

That, and my son is so dog gone adorable, I'd be crazy not to share him with the world. Thanks to our dear friend [and, ahem, professional photographer in the making] Marilena, we have oodles of fantastic photos to share...



and that's just a sneak peak - there are MANY more that she snapped when she was here at our place just as the leaves started to turn. The woman has MAD talent, let me tell you.

So as I was going back and fourth about whether or not to break the bank, I found this promotion Shutterfly was running, and it sealed the deal.

But I need your help. I'm terrible at making artistically sound decisions. As I've been looking through the (astronomical number of) card options Shutterfly has this year, I have to say this card jumped out at me (maybe because it has a giant "H" in the top left corner). I also really like this one. Way more understated, but sometimes simple is nice. But then there's this one and - I'm overwhelmed. Do you see one you like?

Then again, even if I do manage to settle on a card choice, I may have so much difficulty narrowing down my photo options I may just have to send out some of these...

When we did announcement photo cards after Levi was born we went with one (very similar to this) that had a lot of pictures above and below two understated lines of text, I loved it. Maybe because it was heavy on pictures and light on text - after all, when you have a son as cute as mine, nobody cares what the words say. I may as well send one of these of my son to everyone, forget the "here's what we did this year" business, and call it good.

Every year (we call it our "anniversary gift" to each other since our anniversary is on the 29th) Jonathan and I order a photo book from Shutterfly that chronicles the previous year. Why? well, in simple terms, I'm NO GOOD at scrapbooking. Their photo books are nothing short of awesome, and also quite simple to create. The two we currently own are treasured - to illustrate that further, I should point out they are stored on a very high shelf to keep little fingers FAR AWAY.

Oh, I know what your'e thinking now. And you're smart to consider it. "ok, so she's finagled free Christmas cards, but to send them she'll spend minimum $22 - and that's without purchasing envelopes." Fear not, friends, I have a plan. You see, I figure I'll be able to GIVE at least half of these to their intended recipients in person. I mean, seriously, we're already spending umpteen dollars to fly half way across the country where the vast majority of everybody we know lives. Why couldn't I just hand them out? So, that's the plan. Which leaves me with about $12 in stamps to buy. Not bad for such a venture, I say.

And you? How's your Christmas card coming along?

Tightwad Tuesday

Why do I never find time to blog anymore... used to be a daily occurrence. I suppose that's a good thing though - it should mean I'm spending more time doing other things and less time staring at my screen - but two blogs a week 'aint bad, if you ask me.

Anyway...

Here's the nugget I've been thinking on this week. By now, you all know that Jonathan and I are making conscious decisions to save more and spend less. We've made lots of (small) changes and (small) sacrifices to do so. And yet, I think Jonathan would even agree with me here, neither of us feels deprived in any way. If anything, we feel less stress overall simply because we know we're slowly making our way towards our common goal: Wealth by way of frugality.

What? Excuse me?

Let me explain. I'll use a quote from my new favorite book* to illustrate my point.

"...most Americans are confused about the relationship between frugality and wealth. This confusion has a profound impact on how Americans spend. Because we think frugality has to do with being poor, we see it as an admission of economic failure. We think only poor people bring home a good find from the dump [or, in our case, the curb], and only poor people cut their own kids' hair [or, in our case, make our own yogurt and crackers for sack lunches]."

"Because we don't want to be seen as economic failures, we spend our money the way we mistakenly think the wealthy do - usually on day-to-day extravagances. We feel good, because briefly, we've made people think we are wealthier than we are. If we do it often enough, we may even fool ourselves along with our neighbors."

"It is true that most wealthy people buy a few more luxuries than do poor people, but the total percentage of income they spend on extravagances is extremely small. Consequently, a person with a low income and a wealthy attitude would live as modestly as possible to create maximum surplus to save and invest. Poor people often remain poor because they spend any surplus income on short term gratification"
*The Complete Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyczyn, 1998

No no, friends, we aren't going for riches here. But, darn it, I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Also, "wealth" to me represents the ability to stay home with my son and not bring in an income. So, we're making lifestyle changes that, yes, make more hands-on work for me, but also allow us to add to our emergency fund, meanwhile totally reducing my worry factor over our financial state.

Another key point I wanted to add came from the sermon our pastor preached this past Sunday. Wonderful message, but for the life of me I can't remember exactly which point it was that fit with what I've already said. I've been listening through the sermon again (on James, 5:1-12, speaking to "the rich") and still can't pick it out. Suffice it to say, we ALL fall into the category James would have described as "the rich". And we should all heed his warning to the rich because before we know it, in the twinkling of an eye, Christ will return. And do you know what he is going to want to know?

"What did you do with what I gave you? Your time, your talents, and your treasures?"

And that point resonates with me. On that glorious day when I meet Jesus face to face, I want to be able to know that I used what I was entrusted with responsibly. I did not spend wastefully. I did not pilfer it away. I did not hoard, and become greedy. I did not build up my treasure on earth, buying stuff and more stuff and more stuff, to make me happy, and to give me a false sense of worth. On the day that I am held accountable for how I used my what I was given, I want it to be said of me "well done!". Because on that day, there will not be any more" tomorrows" to which I could promise I would invest in His Kingdom, and wisely employ what He entrusted to me.

And so it is with that in mind that I try to humbly remember none of this is my own. Not my family, not my stuff, and certainly not my money. And as such, frugality and humble living is as much my responsibility to God as it is my means to be a stay-at-home mother. It is a means to both ends.
Wealth. Frugality. Obedience.
They go hand-in-hand-in-hand.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A few of my favorite things

I could write a long list of my favorite things... or I could just mention that many of them are sold at one place. I may not have been there, waiting with my nose smooshed against the glass at 8:00 this morning for the grand opening...


But I was there less than two hours later thankyouverymuch.
Trader Joes - I have been waiting to have one locally for TEN YEARS.
And today, well, today changes everything.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NOT ME Monday


Oye, what a week. I mean, a marvalous one, but WHAT A week. Holiday, husband home from work, baby's routine all out-a-whack, too much food and too little sleep - you know the type.

But among the many happy moments in my Thanksgiving week, there were some that were more than slightly irritating - and you know me, I always respond in the best, most polite way possible when irritated. I never lose my cool, and I have more patience than anyone you know.

In fact, it was with that very polite attitude of mine that I responded when I realized I hadn't a single egg in the house with which to make a pumpkin pie. On Thanksgiving Eve. Me? Forget eggs? Never.

It was Not me, mind you, who made Thanksgiving stuffing that was entirely too dry a couple of years ago. And therefore, it was not our dear neighbors who refrained from asking me to make it last year. It was also not my dear neighbor's husband (affectionately known as Levi's adopted grandpa) who, forgetting I had made that stuffing two years ago, reminded everyone of how dry it was. As such, it was NOT ME who, after being asked politely to give stuffing another try this year, made it TOO MOIST. I didn't even know that was possible.

Did you follow that? I sure hope so.

It is NOT my child (get a load of this one) who has recently discovered (ready for the gross-out factor?) his rectum. Yes, his anus. During each and every diaper change I wouldn't dare be caught saying "Levi, do not put your finger in your rectum" NOT ME! that's gross. Seriously GROSS!

In a stroke of blind faith, it is not me who has been giving my dairy sensitive toddler 4-8oz of cows milk, daily, for the past week. Oh no, I know full well what kind of problems that can cause. I've SEEN THEM. Weeks of diarrhea can be the eventual result of ONE SIP of cow's milk - why on EARTH would I give him more than that. Better question: How in the world can it be true that he's actually tolerating it? Go figure.

Feeling guilty about our expenditures on disposable items, I did not recently sew a new set of baby-wipes out of two old, donated blankets. I mean, you've heard me say RIGHT HERE that I don't want to use cloth wipes (because I don't like poop going into my washer, it is for that very reason I rinse all my diapers. Yes, yes, I know I could "rinse" my wipes too, but that's taking it a step too far people). I did, however, come up with a plan I think might work. I'll let you know.

Lastly, in the veritable abundance of free time I have, I did NOT recently take up yeast-bread-making as a hobby. I have not recently found it therapeutic to bake fresh bread, after fresh bread, after fresh bread. Nor have I been boning up on my baking science so as to use the least amount of yeast possible, while maintaining a strong flavor. Christine Boothman, this one's for you:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tightwad Tuesday

I'll continue in this vein, because it's on my mind.

As I'm thumbing through this tightwad book I keep mentioning, one theme seems to permeate many of its pages. It's a theme I've had at the forefront of my mind this week - and maybe you can relate. First, a little background into why this theme is so relevant to me...

I don't know when it started really, but I'll take a stab in the dark and guess it was probably college. I lived in dorms. I had very very little space, and even less money. I surmised that the things I would buy while in college wouldn't need to last me beyond college - and for the most part, I was right. I shopped primarily at Walmart for any non-food item I would need, and that was that.

Every piece of furniture I bought was made of particle board. Every electronic item (save my laptop) was bottom-of-the-line. Virtually everything I bought was cheap. I don't mean to say it was all inexpensive (although most of it was that, too) I mean it was cheap. You know, cheap quality.

Knowing in the very very back of my mind that these things were cheap, I had no expectation that they would last a really long time. And I treated them as such. Without my even knowing it, or paying attention, this way of buying followed me (or us, I should say) on into marriage and adulthood. After all, we've never really been "rolling in dough", so we've always tried to buy inexpensive things. And what did that leave us with? You got it: A collection of things that don't hold up to long-term use, and a long list of things that need replacing.

Which brings me to the theme running throughout the book I'm reading: Buy good quality things, and take excellent care of them.

For us, that means we are going to start saving to buy the higher quality choice within the category of items we're looking for. Why? because it will save us money in the long run. I need to get this idea of "temporary stuff" out of my cheap brain. Living frugally means so much more than spending less money - it means getting MORE for the money you spend.

Note that I did not say buying quality things means buying expensive things. Sometimes the higher quality item can be found used - which, in some cases, would still last longer than a lower-quality new item. Do you get where I'm going with this?

Note that I also mentioned taking good care of the high-quality things you buy. Taking impeccable care of a low quality item may actually be equivalent to, if not better than, taking poor care of a high quality item. I'll use one of my own possessions as an example...

Last year we bought a humidifier for Levi's room. It was a nice one - I got it at Walgreens. It was not top of the line, it was a generic, but I'd say it was a nice one. We used it every single night in Levi's room throughout the winter last year. Then what did we do? we left it in his room, full of water, all throughout the summer. Mold grew in it. I would look at it every-so-often and think "you know, I should really try to clean that", at which point I would decide that it would take too much time and effort. After all, it called for "distilled water", a requirement we never took seriously, and I figured I had probably ruined it long ago. And I had. In all honestly, it would have been better for us to have purchased a cheap humidifier, if we were going to ruin it. We would have saved some money.

This winter we purchased an equally nice humidifier with a filter. It does not require distilled water. Needless to say, I plan to care for this one very well. I intend for it to last us many winters. Speaking of winters, we are also considering the purchase of a snow-blower. As per our most recent "ah-ha", we plan to buy a nice one, with a good track record, and a good warrantee - and not settle for the cheapest workable option we can find. If it lasts, it will more than pay for itself in the time and energy necessary to remove snow from a long driveway and sidewalk year after year after year - or however long we're in Nebraska.

Please don't take this post as anything more than a reasonably-new-mother trying to get her thoughts out. If anything, I'm preaching to myself. Take from it what you want, but there's nothing I'm trying to convince you of. You don't need my convincing.

So, Your thoughts?

Monday, November 22, 2010

a post about weaning and breastfeeding (fair warning)

I feel conflicted.
Happy, and yet sad at the very same time - you might almost say the feeling is bittersweet.
Today, for the first time ever, my toddler did not ask to nurse upon waking.

"what's the big deal?" you say. "He's 18 months old for heavens' sake, you're practically nursing a preschooler." you say. Well, you see, that's the crux of my issue today. He IS eighteen months old (next week). And this IS normal and natural weaning behavior. But I have some serious decisions to make.

Ever since we (Levi and I) finally got nursing figured out - finally nursed exclusively at 4 months - finally adjusted to intolerances - ever since then I've nursed him on demand. Meaning, any time he asks. Why? because I could. I spent 4 months feeling like I couldn't, and now I CAN. Along with that came my decision to follow a plan of "child lead weaning", meaning allowing Levi to cut me off, versus the other way around. And I was, and still am, fine with that plan. But as I am coming to find out it is not all that cut and dry. I have to make some decisions, I have to decide where to draw the line. I have to (as my mother would say) "Make my choice, and love my choice", because once I make it, I have to stick with it.

What choice is there to make? Well, in simple terms I need to decide whether or not, if he "forgets" to nurse at a regular nursing time, I am going to nurse him, say, an hour later when he remembers or gets bored. That may sound like an easily answered question - but I'm vexed.

If I choose to nurse him whenever he likes (i.e., on demand), I'm most certainly following my "plan", so to speak, of child led weaning. At the same time though I wonder if I should limit nursing to a specific place, and/or specific times. If I do set boundaries he is almost sure to completely wean in a matter of months - and I'm just not sure I'm ready for that.

Oh, I think I'd be ready for it if HE initiated his own weaning. I think I'd be ready for it if HE (without my having to set boundaries, or having to refuse him, or having to redirect him as I did this morning as we were leaving the house and he REMEMBERED he hadn't nursed) decided he was done. But for me to step in and push him away? I just don't know if I can...

Nursing my toddler to a state of almost-sleep each night, watching his heavy eyelids droop closed in my arms - it's the most precious thing in the world. I find it absolutely adoring that knows when to unlatch and ask for the "other side"(in words that sound more like "uh-sigh") - and to actively keep it from him would be very very hard for this mommy - indeed, very difficult.

...and yet there are times where I'm SO DONE. There are times where my toddler is cranky and snarky, and bored, hanging on my ankle (when I OBVIOUSLY need to get some work done!) looking up at me and crying "MUH???" (which means milk). And all I want is for ME not to be the only thing he wants at that VERY moment. Sheesh!

So, which feeling is stronger? That's the question of the day. Do I draw a line, and if so, where? Do I set boundaries, and if so, where?

No, this is not one of those posts where I eventually come to a conclusion. In case you were waiting for that. Sorry. Stay tuned. And leave your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tightwad Tuesday

I'm a tightwad at heart. Surprised much?
Didn't think so.

I've recently been reading a book by Amy Dacyczyn called "The Complete Tightwad Gazette". It's actually a compilation of three books, which are compilations of many little newsletters Amy wrote throughout the 90's. At first I found it hard to believe anything she would have to say could possibly be relevant today, 15-20 years later, but it is. It seriously is. And if the saying can transfer from things theological, to things thightwad-ological: I feel convicted!

This woman is serious. She means business. washing and re-using ziplocks is just the tip of the iceberg. In reading her book I have been asked to lay aside my previously held notions of money's value. Page by page she gives me not only ideas for keeping just one penny more, but also reality checks regarding my standards of living, and the hold that "keeping up with the Jonses" has on my life.

There are a number of things I've learned from this book - and a few I already knew, had already employed, and simply needed to tweak. Below are some of the recent changes we've made in order to stretch our dollars.
  • Set a goal: put money into savings each month. At least something. Shouldn't be difficult if we follow through on everything else below.
  • Pull 20 fewer dollars out of the ATM each week for consumables. As Amy reminded me, it's NOT about how much you save in coupons and ad matches - it's about how much you end up spending.
  • Quit buying junkie crap that falls apart. Start saving to buy quality goods that won't need replacing. You get what you pay for.
  • Stay away from convenience foods as much as possible at the grocery store. Chips, crackers, canned goods (besides veggies, fruits & tuna), anything in an individual serving, anything that can conceivably be made at home (would you believe I made wheat thins yesterday? oh yes, yes I did).
  • Refinance our home at a lower interest rate (done. Closed last Friday. went from 5.8 to 4.375 for a savings of about $100/month)
But why? Why do all this work? I mean, aside from our mortgage, we aren't in any debt. Why wouldn't we just spend what we've worked hard to earn? We've worked HARD for it after all. Shouldn't we enjoy that money?

Well, yes. But that enjoyment may be more long term than short term. I'd much rather "enjoy" my children getting a college education tomorrow than Jonathan and I having a larger home today. I'd much rather "enjoy" my years of retirement tomorrow than a vacation today. I'd much rather "enjoy" being able to stay home with my kids tomorrow than have new furniture today (did I mention we went curb scouting Sunday? found some neat free furniture!) Although I'll be the first to admit that these values have been difficult for me to enforce, the outcomes of their enforcement are well worth their effort.

I'm preaching to myself. Can you tell?
Sometimes I need a reminder of why I'm "going to the trouble" so to speak. It is worth it, it really, really is.
And, let me tell you, I am ridiculously lucky to have a husband who believes that. Otherwise I'm afraid he may think me certifiable.

Friday, November 12, 2010

From Generation to Generation


Goodbye Grandma,

See you on the other side of Glory!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Heredity strikes again

I took Levi to the Ped. yesterday and, as it turns out, he has yet another sinus infection. I think my friend Rachael put it best when she said "what are they going to do about recurrent sinus infections? give him sinus tubes?" Alas, there is no such relief for babies with angry sinuses, as there is for babies with angry ears.

No, Levi came by his sinuses, and their proclivity toward becoming infected) honestly. His mommy and granddad, and great granddad are all big time sufferers of sinusitis. Sad, but true.

(Proclivity: that one's for you, Rachael Blaske)

So, here we go on another round of Antibiotics. Gosh I hate Antibiotics. As if having to take the darn medicine every day wasn't enough, it also gives my dear toddler the craps. Nice.

After two nights of restless and interrupted sleep (please refer above to sick toddler, and add to that a week of cheesemaking and therefore middle-of-the-night-heading-to-work for hubby) I am in a particularly grumpy mood. It's hard to be productive when one is grumpy, let alone feel good about anything one may have accomplished, whilst grumpy. Hmph.

Here's to a better night, tonight.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My morning, in photos

I was up with this goofy little boy a few times last night. He awoke near midnight in need of a little pat on the back. Then hubby left for work sometime around 2am. Near 2:30 Levi awoke again this time soaked from the diaper down (why do kids hold their pee until there's a gallon of it to let go of? I don't get it.). He was also burning up (as has been the trend of the past few days, we go to the Ped. this afternoon). I gave him more motrin and put him back down.

He was whining again at 6 - a waking I rolled over and ignored - and then at 7 for the day. We're both a little tired and worn out from the eventful night. Fortunately, he's not too tired to pull out mommy's clothes and play dress-up. Goof. My only regret of the morning is not catching him in this get-up while he was also wearing his bright orange sunglasses - which he only recently figured out how to correctly put on by himself.


Upon returning home from a lovely lunch with my sis-in-law Jillian (we went for pizza to Yia Yia's, and then to the Cookie Company for a delectable treat) I found this turn-cock leaking water on the floor of our laundry room. It's a very slow (and very annoying) drip. The connection point there is that of the water supply (pipe) to the humidifier line. If anybody has any advice about how to tackle this without flooding my basement, I'd be happy to hear it.

Amid the morning shuffle I had a delightful cup of coffee in this, my brand new mug. Would you believe that I made this mug? I did. It's true. But don't ask me to repeat the creative genius, I don't perform well under pressure.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not me - Thursday?

Stop the presses! I'm blogging before NOON!

Ok, quell your excitement. Here we go...

Because I completely forgot about NOT ME Monday (started by this fantastic blogger), I have a few things to share - unfortunately.

this is going to be one of my more embarrassing not-me posts. get ready.

I've been washing diapers ALL WEEK. Diapers are Stinky (surprised much?) So it was NOT ME who simply assumed that the mild smelliness of my laundry room was due to washer buildup of stinkies. Therefore it was also not me who went hog wild trying to clean out my washing machine. Tide washer cleaner, vinegar, some other brand of washer cleaner, Hot rinse, Hot rinse, Hot rinse... On Wednesday morning it was NOT me who found a bag of totally nasty, liquefied, rotten potatoes across the room from my washing machine on my pantry shelves. Nope, not me. Gross.

After hearing Hy-Vee was having a sale on milk (.99 per half gallon, Wed. only) of course I went on down. I picked up my four allowed half gallons and also picked up a piece of pizza dough ($2.00, in case you were interested, and they roll it out and put it on a free disposable foil pan for you. Totally worth it). An elderly gentleman in front of me at the check-out noticed my pizza dough and commented that he didn't know you could buy just dough. Not surprising, not very many people know. He purchased his own 3 half gallons, and then walked over to the pizza kitchen to pick up his own piece of dough. So, after I made my purchases, it was NOT ME who accidentally (I SWEAR) walked off with HIS already-paid-for milk (which he had left sitting on the counter while he quickly grabbed some pizza dough) along with my own. No. I wouldn't do that. And if I did, I certainly would have noticed before I got home and loaded it into the freezer and wondered aloud "why in he world do I have so much milk?" I'm not a thief, not me!

As I was leaving Hy-Vee, headed to East campus to visit hubby, I most certainly not have to PULL OVER, already having driven HALF way there because I realized that I did not buckle my son into his seatbelt. No, I always make sure his 5 point, rear facing car-seat is properly buckled before I pull out of my parking space.

Lastly, I made a bundt cake yesterday in expectation of some wonderful visitors that came to play yesterday morning. The recipe called for cinnamon, which I thought I was almost out of. Until I found a little ziplock baggie of it. This is not surprising to me as I have a LOT of ziplock baggies of cinnamon after we purchased a large amount of it in Venezuela in 2007. So, I dutifully added the measured cinnamon to my mixerbowl, measuring it straight out of the bag. After my cake was fully mixed, poured, and in the oven, it was NOT ME who smelled the bag of "cinnamon" only to discover that it was not cinnamon at all, but rather cocoa powder. Nope, I pay far too much attention to detail for that.

As an aside, it was also not me that buckled my son into his highchair while I made said cake, and put cartoons on for him. I would never do that. I care WAY too much about my child's developing mind to EVER plop him in front of the TV to entertain him. Oh, and I certainly don't do this EVERY day during his lunch time. No no, not me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just Do It

Did you?
(Did I what?)
Oh come on, you know.

So, did you?
(no really, I don't get it, did I what?)

You know, your duty, your CIVIC duty, your duty as a CITIZEN...

I know you have at least a few political opinions - opinions that you may not care to share, but opinions none-the-less.

I know you give an occasional annoyed glance at those facebook friends of yours who are always updating their politically charged statuses. While you may have already "hid" them from your feed, I know you care, deep down.

SO GO DO IT.

Do it so you have a basis upon which to complain (should you feel the need to).
Do it because you CAN; legally that is.
Do it to set a good example for you children - or your parents - or your neighbors - or anyone else who might see your "I did it" sticker.

(do it for 15 solitary minutes away from whatever you usually spend that time doing)

Do it because, face it, you really are running low on excuses not to, and shouldn't you save those for a time when you seriously need them?

Do it because even if you don't care about the political climate right now, even if you "don't know who to vote for", even if politics "isn't your thing", there will come a time this year when you'll want to say you had a say.

So go do it. Now.


Nebraska voters: go here to find your polling place and here for a voters guide
Washington voters: go here to find your polling place and here for a voters guide


Friday, October 29, 2010

My ticker


So in my effort to find more ways in which I can be ridiculously cheap studiously thrifty, I've started trying to pay attention to any areas where I may be thoughtlessly spending - that is to say, areas where I'm spending without really thinking about it. And it wasn't until recently that I had (what my dear husband would call) an "apostrophe!" (also known in the english speaking world as a epiphany! Ready? Here it comes.

Wait for it...

I spend a TON of money on things we turn right around and Throw.a.way.

Like what? Well, I'll give you some examples:
  • trash bags
  • paper towels
  • sandwich baggies
  • freezer ziplocks
  • baby wipes
  • dishwasher detergent
  • laundry detergent
  • hand soap
  • dish soap
Now, of course, each of these items has a use prior to it's disposal. Let's not forget for a moment that paper towels have HUGE value in my home. I GREATLY appreciate my ability to grab
one and wipe off my jelly covered child. Likewize, hand soap is very useful...

But the point I'm getting at is that these are things which we use - and then they are gone. These things are - da da da DA - Consumables.

And so I should be carefully watching my "spending" not only ON these items, but OF these items. (yes, this is self talk. I know you aren't stupid, you probably already had this figured out. I just need to get it out of my brain by way of my fingertips so it will STICK in my head)

So in order to get my consumables-spending (the amount of consumables I use in a day, not the number of dollars I spend on them - that's a closely related topic for another day) under control, I've come up with a concept - a word picture - That gets me thinking. I picture a digital ticker above my head. Every time I use something (something that will be DONE once I use it) That digital display ads to it the cost of that item.


Think about it - each paper towel, each baby wipe, each ziplock, dryer sheet, ounce of detergent, drop of dish soap - they all have a price.

By the end of an entire year I'm willing to bet I've "consumed" hundreds of dollars in consumables, most of which benefit me only in the sense that they save me time. And I'm not discounting that. Time is valuable. MY TIME is valuable. There are SOME things that are totally worth the money for saving my time. Disposable baby wipes would most certainly fall into this category. (This is where I could explain why, but you don't want the dirty details, believe you me. Suffice it to say I MADE MY OWN cloth wipes, and now they function as rags because I AM DONE using cloth wipes. Ahem.) Trash bags are another of these things, because there's no way I have either the time, energy, or desire to compost and recycle EVERY piece of trash we produce.

Maybe, like me, you're pinching your pennies. If that's the case, I encourage you to take a hard look at the things you consume on a daily basis (no, not food, silly. Yet another related topic for another day). Small changes add up to BIG change - our small change for the week is placing a stack of those under-utilized cloth baby wipes next to our paper towel dispenser. I'm going to do my best to grab one of those when I need to wipe up a quick mess, instead of grabbing something I'm just going to throw away.

What are you going to do?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not-so-wordless Thursday

(room for a friend)



(Here's lookin' at you, kid)



(Halloween costume = meltdown in 3-2-1...)



(Dining with Daddy)



(Drive through leftovers? Not without a scolding.)



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let me sing

I've loved singing since I was a child.
I'm not sure I've ever been very good at it, but I thoroughly enjoy making music.

These are the lyrics to the chorus of a song that a friend introduced me to in college. Later, I sang it in front of our church in Pullman, WA. They're powerful lyrics to me, and maybe that's due in part to the point I was at in my life when they made their impression, but the song still resonates with me - it's words bring me back to some of my most formative college years.

So let me sing for the love Let me love for the lost Let me lose all I have For what I found on the cross Let me trust you with my life Let me live to give you praise Lord, let me praise you For the grace by which I'm saved Lord, let me sing
"Let me sing" from album "Clear to Venus" by Andrew Peterson 2003

Do songs ever do that to you? Take you back to different points in your life, different challenges and struggles? Music memories, to me, are similar to how a taste can remind me of a very specific Thanksgiving dinner, or how a particular smell can take me back to the birth of my son.

Powerful, those memories. Powerful.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Appliances

If you own any appliances - you know, like a washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, furnace, hot water heater, or any of the like - you know they ALL have a reputation for one thing:

Breaking.

Plain and simple. You know it, I know it, we all know it. And in OUR family, about half of those things have had, shall we say, "issues", since we moved into our home two and a half years ago. As home owners it just comes with the territory, but these events lead me to wonder why I didn't take the utilities company up on their "appliance insurance". ah well, lesson learned.

Anyway, Our washer has had a few problems lately. I may or may not have previously mentioned that it would intermittently give me cold water when it was set to hot, and vise versa. Well, after putting it off for nearly a century (or 6 months) I finally called someone to come take a look at it. They were the same guys that I called when our refrigerator had "issues" over a year ago. Did I blog about that? Don't remember - but if I did I'll link up to it when I'm done writing here (nap time is precious and I'm not going to go wasting the last wee bit of it searching for a blog post that I may or may not have written.

So, I called these guys, and they came and fixed my washer. After they left, I began to notice (that day, actually) that the selector knob was - how shall I say - slipping. It wasn't turning normally. You'd really have to be here so I could show you what it was doing, but that really isn't the point of my post. So, knowing that my "service charge" was good for 30 days, I called the appliance guys again and told them of my predicament. I mentioned that the problem began just after they left - not that they were the reason for the problem, but that maybe the knob hadn't been tightened down after they put my washer back together (they took the cover off after all).

There was a gentleman on my porch in, I kid you not, 15 minutes. Although I assumed this was a simple issue (like I said, maybe the knob just wasn't tightened down) I was wrong. Turns out the gears were worn down and the "timer" dohicky needs replacing completely.

My face went blank.

I mean, I know things come in threes, but seriously? TWO washer repair bills along with my root canal and various asundried other totally random bills in the SAME 30 days???

And then Troy, from Appliance Technology, informed me that they would be making this necessary repair for free. Including the part. Free.

And this, my friends, is why I am writing this blog post. Should you ever have the need for appliance repair, I have the guys for you. Not only did they work tirelessly on my refrigerator a year ago (a task which took a few weeks and a lot of problem-hunting) They are also reminding me of their commitment of quality service with integrity by fixing my washer.

Appliance Technology
3743 N 63rd St
Lincoln, NE 68507-1808
(402) 467-4966

There you go, friends. I realize that none of this post is particularly helpful to those of you who don't live in Lincoln, but I couldn't end my day without giving these guys (who represent a small, local, family owned business) some mad props. Very helpful, considerate, professional, and above all, honest.

And isn't that what we're all looking for in any repair-person? Honesty? I tend to think so.

(update: no, I never blogged about how our refrigerator fritzed out on us three times in 2009. I was away during my post-partum-depression blogging hiatus. Things were a little hairy from June to October 2009, I'm not gonna lie!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - er - Thursday






(in case none of you finds it interesting to see my son cover himself in home made yogurt, I should tell you that up until very recently he has been allergic to all things dairy. These pictures mark a HUGE event in our home - and Levi couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something I will post more about later

So I sat down at the computer yesterday afternoon with a LOT on my mind. I have recently been struck with just how critical and judgemental of a person I am and after Tuesday morning bible study (MUMS) at Berean I really wanted to write down all of my icky feelings so I wouldn't forget them.

Do you ever do that? Write thoughts and feelings and "ah-hah" moments down so you don't forget and then continue on in your normal ways? Anyway...

I wrote a LONG LONG LONG post that didn't really seem to be going anywhere and, in the end, I didn't publish it. I saved it.

Criticism, critical opinionated eye rolls, and even in some part critical thoughts about how others choose to do things, are hurtful. ("choose to do things" could easily be expanded to include "choose to act/own/buy/wear/work/etc etc) Whether I realized it or not, I'm quite sure that the scoffs of "seriously?" under my breath have often been recognized.

So my question is, why do my thoughts so quickly become critical and judgmental? Initially I would wonder if I feel insecure deep down and have some inborn need to justify my actions etc. - but while I'm sure that's true for some of the areas in my life, I think there's more to it than that.

Anyway, more on this later. As I continue to search it out myself.

A simple Autumn treat my kid will actually eat

I found this recipe recently in an issue of Parents Magazine. Levi Loves it. Jonathan begs for it. and it has 5 ingredients. Sounds like a win, win, win.

Oh, and it's cheap. Make that a win, win, win, win.

Shortcut Pumpkin Bread
Yellow cake mix (we use Best Choice/super-saver brand which is dairy/soy free)
The eggs and oil the mix calls for
One cup pureed pumpkin
One cup mashed banana

Mix all ingredients together well
Pour into a greased loaf pan
bake at 375 for 50 minutes

Presto! Pumpkin bread.

Now, for the fine print - I actually add chocolate chips to mine. Call me a rebel, but if you want the truth they come by Jonathan's insistence. So don't blame me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NOT ME Monday


"Not Me Monday" was started by this blogger, whose posts I adore reading. I don't think she did a "not me" post this week, but whatever she wrote I assure you it's worth reading.

Ok, on to the not me-ing.

Let's start with an obvious one. I did NOT seriously neglect my blog over the past couple of weeks as Levi has shifted from two naps to one. You know me better than that. You know that I'm a highly organized individual who always has a spare moment (AND the mental faculties) to write something coherent.

(I did not just misspell coherent - three times - before I got it right)

I have not given my toddler motrin every night for the past week+ in hopes that he'll quit this middle-of-the-night tooth-ache waking. How do I know his teeth hurt, you ask? Well, I just know. And you know me, I certainly wouldn't give him Motrin, or any medication for that matter, unless I knew exactly what I was giving it to him for. I would NEVER, you know, just give him Motrin on the off chance that his teeth were waking him so that I might, you know, be able to get a full night's rest. I know children shouldn't be given medication that often, or for that long.

It was not my toddler who I found lying prostrate in the mud (voluntarily, I'll add) out at Roca's pumpkin patch. It was also not me who allowed him to soil himself in the dirt and mud forgetting that I had not brought a change of clothes. Not me.

I did NOT go on a date with my husband last night (a wonderful date, might I add), leaving our son with dear friends, and come home to realize I hadn't put ANY diapers in our diaper bag for him. Come to think of it, I did NOT wonder why he was not in a target diaper when he came home and then just figure it must have been easier for Rachael just to grab one of Teagues to put on him. (thanks for that, by the way :)

My child did NOT awaken in the middle of the night because the power went out. Who does that? How did he even know? Well, It is also not my child who is addicted to his sound machine - so addicted in fact that it's absence awakened him. I was NOT up most of the remainder of the night rocking a very confused toddler who simply would not be put down to save his life. My loving husband came in at 5:30am to relieve me, and I did NOT take him up on his offer to grant me an hour and a half of needed sleep while he rocked the confused toddler.

Finally, I did NOT find my son reading his "hooray, I obeyed" book TO an adoring crowd of stuffed animal friends this morning. My little ball of energy doesn't sit still nearly long enough to read a story with or to anyone, let alone long enough for me to photograph the event.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The house of one nap

You wouldn't think that going from one nap to two (Levi, not me, in case that wasn't obvious) would make a HUGE difference in my day. But it does!

I figured I'd just get right to the point of my post. It all started back in - oh - The end of May I'd say. Levi would take two naps every day for like a week, and then there would come a single day when he simply wouldn't go down for a second one. As the weeks went by we had more and
more days like this until sometime in the middle of September we were having more one-nap days than two-nap days. To make matters worse, that ONE nap (on the one nap days) was quite short. It was only the standard 60-75 minutes. One short nap = a cranky toddler.

Fast forward to this past week and all of the sudden I have a toddler who has started sleeping 12 hours (instead of the standard 10.5) at night and napping 90+ minutes smack in the middle of the day. I guess I always thought in the back of my mind that he would get it all ironed out, but it seemed like it was taking forever.

Needless to say, I'm happy that I'm now left with a very happy kiddo who sleeps well at night (for the most part), and takes one very decent nap during the mid-day. The only downside is that now I don't have my time in the morning to blog.


I know, you're sitting there at your computer singing a song of pity for me. You're playing your tiny finger violin all the while thinking "you should be THRILLED to have a toddler who sleeps and naps at reasonably tolerable, and also predictable intervals!" and rest assured, I am. No,
really, I AM! But like most humans on the face of this earth, I dislike change because it makes me uncomfortable and it breaks my routine. Do you follow? What I mean to say is that I'm not so much complaining, as I am making a valid excuse for my lack of blogging... and by all expectations, my future lack of blogging.

As for what has been going on recently - I have begun to redefine the word "busy". Life with a toddler is much different than life with an infant (and I suspect life with a toddler plus any other children would be exponentially more busy). Levi and I spend the majority of our mornings these days out and about. We run our errands, We go to the Childrens Museum (one of this
country's best), we go to the zoo, we play with our pals at the park, we visit friends at their homes, hunt down garage sale treasures, and all sorts of other things. For the most part, I do my best to tire the boy out.


By 11:30 we are home for lunch, and some time around 12:30 (sometimes as late as 1:30 recently, as he has been *GASP* sleeping until 8:00am) Levi takes a nap. This nap, all depending on how well I tired him out, can last from 90 minutes to 3 hours. Needless to say, I do my VERY best tiring him out.

Once awake for the afternoon, we usually have some cuddle time in our rocker where he likes to nurse and be quiet while mommy catches up on Oprah's latest. Then, we're off again, out of the house to run an errand or visit a friend. On days where there simply isn't another errand to run we try to keep as busy as possible with chalk, and crayons, and bubbles. We play with water, sticks in the yard, and anything that rolls. We go on nature walks, visit our next-door neighbo
rs, or walk to the Library. Sometimes we Skype with family in Seattle.

The theme of our day is "busy". Why? because This little dude has more energy than he knows what to do with. Without an outlet for said energy I end up with a very crabby toddler who whines and hangs on my ankles while signing "nurse" and saying "MUH?" (which loosely
translates to "milk-time", our phrase for nursing)

So, in short, don't be surprised if the theme of my blog ends up being "I'll-update-it-when-I-get-around-to-it" and blogging subjects are less interesting, and more informative.

Some day I'll get around to typing up the rest of my costco/supersaver/target price comparisons. Some day. For now, I leave you with a very cute picture of two very cute kids I saw at the pumpkin patch. So cute, I even took one of them home!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A post in which I remember I cannot place my faith in dollars.


It was not long ago that Jonathan and I were in Washington, living in Pullman. He was attending WSU, earning his masters, and I was working full time+ as a restaurant manager/catering coordinator. While things were by no means rosie all the time, we really did "have it made". We gave to the Lord, paid 350 a month for rent, had a few minimal bills (phones, insurance, electricity, internet), and bought just enough food to survive on. Everything else we threw into the bank, usually before we even had time to read the numbers on the paycheck. We're savers by nature (we find it difficult to spend money on ourselves) so it wasn't particularly difficult.


Fast forward to 2008. We moved to Nebraska where Jonathan was offered a job. By the grace of God, I also was offered a job. As planned, we tithed, paid our bills, and threw everything else in the bank. It was similarly as easy.

We bought a house; and even though we were now certainly spending more each month, we were still able to throw all of my paycheck into the bank. And I would say it was still relatively easy in the sense that we didn't feel like we were "strapped".

Fast forward to 2009. We had a baby. I quit my job. We stepped out on faith, knowing that we had been able to successfully live within the confines of Jonathan's paycheck in the past, and praying that it would also be possible to do so with a little one. We knew this would not be easy. With prayer, we made choices which would effect us financially (such as cloth diapering), we made choices which would effect us socially (such as reducing our budgeted allowance for eating out and entertainment). We made lots of choices. Together, those choices, the many prayers which preceded them, and the grace of God for which we are truly unworthy, this little family of three has been plugging along month - after month - after month - debt free.

And that was the goal. Right? To live on Jonathan's paycheck. Or was it...

I mentioned before that Jonathan and I are, by nature, savers. We have a difficult time NOT saving. As such, it is difficult for me NOT to see money going into savings each month but rather to be SPENDING ALL OF IT. It scares me. It makes me feel unsafe. It makes me feel uneasy and I DON'T LIKE IT. To be brief, I like to save for the sheer joy of saving. (How dumb is that?) So to say that it was my goal to live debt free would be - truly - fibbing. My unspoken goal was to live within the confines of Jonathan's salary AND to save money on the side.

Fast forward to September, 2010. On my list of expenses to pay are a plane ticket home to WA (our August trip, the bill for which I paid off in September), baggage fees, and one, nay TWO trips to an endodontist who is NOT covered by my insurance - one trip of which included an $875 root canal. ACK! As you may have guessed, without breaking the law I cannot fit these items into an already stretched budget. I simply cannot. And so, without further adeau, I would like to introduce you to: September 2010, the month when Jonathan and Melissa overspent their budget by $506.44

My eyes get big when I see that. I'm ashamed. Totally. And, on top of that, I'm fear full.

Except I'm not telling you the whole truth.

You see, savers that we are, we do indeed have an emergency account. We can (and will) transfer money from this account to cover the overage. But that very act makes he shiver in my boots. What if we spend our emergency account until it's dry? what if we continue to experience circumstances which force us to spend spend spend? What if Jonathan contracts some kind of weird flesh eating bacteria and has to be sent to a state-of-the-art hospital in Pa Pa New Guinea". WHAT IF? WHAT THEN?

The voice of reason becomes so quiet when I'm balancing our budget, that sometimes I almost cannot hear her at all. She speaks of thinks like "faith", and "provision", and "wisdom". As in, when we have faith, and ask for wisdom to make wise financial choices, God will provide --> even if his provision is not what we expected, even if his provision does not come in the package we desired.

So here we are in October. September has passed and yet I find myself continuing to worry about things I have little control over (read: I worry about the possibility that I may have to go back to work, that we may have to find a day care, that we may not be able to afford to raise more children...), but I do know this: If I place my faith in the dollars remaining in our emergency fund I will ultimately be dissatisfied, frustrated, and full of yet more worry.

(here comes the pep-talk)

The truth is, we can't plan for the unplanned, we cannot prevent the unexpected, and (despite my deepest efforts), we cannot fix things that are not yet broken (I'll explain our great bath-tub leak another time). So here I go, off into the depths of October, with a greater determination to live with what I have and purchase only what I need, but at the same time not to look at the unexpected necessities as God's unfaithfulness towards us. Rather, to look at them as opportunities to place our faith where it belongs.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can I get a mouth-transplant?

The reason I have not blogged in the past week is because I'm sick and tired of writing about my stupid teeth. Some days I wish I could have them all removed and exchange them for a set of dentures I could take out every night and place in a glass of scope.

But I digress...

The root canal was easy. The healing, not so. I could go into a long, drawn out, soliloquy about how folks with TMJ (like myself) often have a hard time healing from root canals because the ligaments that support our teeth and jaw are overworked and underpaid, but that would likely be boring and nobody would make it to the end of my post (if you're still reading, I applaud you). So instead, I'll go on to more interesting matters.

My son. My son to whom I have taught quite a few signs. My son whom I still nurse. My son. His worlds of nursing and signing have collided and now my toddler has figured out how to "ask" for "milk time" (as we call nursing in our home). I cannot tell you how long I've been waiting for him to learn how to do this, but more than that, I cannot tell you how much I want him to quickly forget how to ask. Why? because now that he's figured it out HE WON'T STOP ASKING. There are parts of my body which were quite enjoying what they surely figured was the weaning process at work - but alas, it wasn't. it was apparently just a break.

Ah well. I haven't seen many college students still breastfeeding, so I can only assume he'll quit one day. And when that day comes, I'm sure I will be very sad and wish that I could still scoop him up in my arms and nurse the blues away. I'd better savor this.

Speaking of new things Levi is doing, he has also recently learned how to climb - nay, jump - up onto each and every piece of furniture in our home. Not only that, but has figured out that if he climbs onto a piece of furniture, he can climb onto higher things from there (i.e. the bay window, the kitchen table, etc.) Nothing is safe. Nothing. I am awaiting the day I come back from a short bathroom trip to find him swinging from the curtain rod.

I have cute pictures I'd love to post (like the one of Levi and jonathan, both chowing down on Gyro meat at our local Greek Festival. Who knew my kid liked spiced lamb?) but as usual my camera is upstairs with my light-sleeping baby. One of these days I'll surely remember to bring it down.

One of these days.

Do you say that a lot? I feel like I use that phrase ALL THE TIME! And yet I guess all it means is that my time is filled with the things that matter, and everything else takes a back seat. And that's ok.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Drum roll please

Well, I did it.
After a couple nights of wake-you-up-mid-sleep pain, I called and scheduled a root-canal on what I *think* is the problem tooth. I had it done at 11:00 yesterday.

And ya know what? it was - get ready - easier than getting my crown put on. Yes, that's right, I said easier.

I have a theory that the people who say "root canals are TERRIBLE!" are really just remembering all the pain they were in prior to the root canal, because let me tell you, once Dr. Rush numbed me up, I could have fallen asleep. It was the first time in DAYS I hadn't felt my mouth throbbing.

Ok, now all the poking and prodding was no picnic. It's not like I'd sign myself up for another one tomorrow just to fill some free time, but it was NOTHING like the horror stories I've heard, and very much like the few no-nonsense stories some friends and family members have told me. I did choose to go to an endodontist (a root-canal specialist) and that may have made a HUGE difference in my experience, but I don't have anything to compare it to.

For those of you who have had the procedure done in the past, yes, I did have to have "interpulpal" numbing (numbing inside the tooth), which is typically the most painful part of a root canal but I have to say it was no big deal. She said "I'm going to count to three and the in-tooth numbing will be over". And it was.

Remember back up at the top where I said I *think* it was the tooth that was so bothersome. Well, I still do, but there is a possibility that the one next to it is also problematic. I'm trying, for now anyway, not to borrow tomorrow's troubles by thinking about it. The whole area is rather sore, and I'm on a good deal of Ibuprophen to take care of all that gum-tissue pain that is expected with any invasive dental work, so we'll see how it all feels after I stop taking Advil in a few days.

For now though, everything in my mouth feels MUCH better. Whether I need more work or not, this feels like a great improvement. Granted, I haven't chewed anything on that side yet, and I'm quite hesitant to touch my top and bottom teeth together (although part of that may be because I'm scared that it will hurt and prove that I need more work done) but I'd consider the procedure a grand success.

So, thanks for your prayers everyone, it was no fun, but it's over for now!
I'll post a picture of my tooth x-ray for you to ogle at when I get time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NOT ME Monday

Oh gee, I make so many embarrassing moves each week, it's hard to pick so few that a post will be short enough to be enjoyable. Here goes.

This Saturday we had our lifegroup over for brunch. It was absolutely lovely. So lovely, that I kept reminding my husband, all afternoon, how wonderful it was to have everyone over. Before they came I baked a batch of cinnamon rolls (with a disgustingly simple recipe that I really should post sometime) and I certainly did NOT run out of both brown sugar and powdered sugar. Actually, to be honest, I did not look and find that I had two, nay, only one tablespoon of powdered sugar with which to make icing (who even KEEPS one tablespoon of powdered sugar anyway??). I did not proceed by asking my dear neighbor for hers. Which reminds me, I did not also borrow nonfat dry milk from her a couple of days ago for yogurt making.

My husband and I went on a date yesterday afternoon (thank you Blaskes!) and upon arriving at our favorite local restaurant (the green gateau) I was certainly NOT informed that they were in fact closed. No, I always check things like this BEFORE we plan a childcare-provided date with one another. I'm a GOOD planner after all. After said restaurant turned us away we did not walk aimlessly around downtown, noting that 90% of ALL the restaurants were closed on Sunday afternoons. (I should note that we DID have a fantastic time with one another after we found a local dive called yia yia's, and shared ice cream at ivana cone)

In preperation for Levi's friend Teague to spend the week with us I did a little preparing in the way of cutting up some fruit and veggies, and preparing some easy-fix dinners for the week. However, I did NOT forget two MAJOR ingredients for the roast I was going to throw into the crock pot this morning. I'm so organized, I would never forget ingredients. Not only that, but I would NOT forget to even put said ingredients on my grocery list. Ugh. Hope you like pastaroni hubby.

Upon looking at the thermostat in the house this morning (which read 68 degrees, very low for this time of year) I did not tempt fate and wear a sweater WITH a jacket out this morning. No, I did not ignore the weather man when he said that, despite the morning cool, we would indeed reach 90 this afternoon. I know Nebraska's Fall's well by now, I know that this is how it goes: cold in the morning, scorching in the afternoon. I am not still wearing said sweater because I'm scared that if I so much as move an arm muscle I'll wake one of the two sleeping toddlers.

...speaking of those toddlers... They have certainly NOT defied all my expectations of fit throwing and melt-downing by being complete cherubs the entire morning. They also did not BOTH go down for naps at the SAME TIME without so much as a peep of discontentment. Because we have a small house which is very poorly insulated I am NOT relegating myself to the couch for the duration of their naps - however long that may be. I do NOT have to pee (just keep repeating that to myself)

How about you? I bet you never do anything to embarrass yourself (you certainly don't misspell the word "embarrass" as much as I do, I bet. and even if you did I'm SURE those little red misspelling underlines wouldn't drive you NUTSO as you continue typing and then have to go back and correct them because you CAN'T STAND their red-lineyness. Is that even a word?)

Happy Monday everyone, happy Monday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sharing, or lack there of.

I don't know how my son learned his most recent behavior - I don't know if he learned it from one of us, or if he's just acting on his in-born sinful nature. Anyhow, here's how playdates go:

Scene:
  • Teague (Levi's buddy) has a toy
  • Levi runs up to Teague, screams, and pulls it - nay - rips it from his hands
  • A laid back Teague moves on to a different toy
  • Assuming this toy must be more interesting than the first, Levi runs up to Teague, screams, and rips it from his hands
  • A laid back Teague moves on to a different toy
  • Remembering that THIS was indeed the toy he wanted, Levi runs up to Teague, screams, and rips it from his hands
  • I step in and hold said toy on my lap for both boys to use at the same time.
  • Cue temper tantrum and all-out wail fest from my flesh and blood.
And... Curtain.

So, what do I do?
EVERY time someone picks up a toy - any toy - my son simply HAS to have it. It's thoroughly aggrivating for me, and I can only imagine how irritated his little pals are going to become. Of course, it's worse with the toys at our house than it is when we're in the homes of others, but it happens there too. He's determined to get his way.

Wait - did I just describe a toddler?

Possibly, but there simply MUST be a cure for this type of behavior. How do I teach him that he cannot take toys from others - at the ripe old age of 15 months? I need a strategy here people. Help!

After writing this post, I found This article which describes, to the letter, what Levi does. Even the "proto-sharing" which he's an ace at. Proto- sharing is what we, in elementary school, used to call "indian giving" (VERY not-PC. I know. I'm not condoning the use of the phrase). It involved handing a toy out to another individual as though you were going to give it to them, and then pulling it back. Where do they get this stuff??

Thursday, September 16, 2010

At a loss (and not a lose of nerve)

As in, I didn't (repeat, did not) have a root canal this morning

Although, I almost wish I had. Because I'm still in pain.

I showed up at the crack of 8:00 - which would have been fine had my adorable son not chosen THIS morning to sleep until... well, I don't know when he would have slept until because I had to go wake him up at 7:00 to head to our friends' home where he could be supervised while I headed to what I thought would be my first root canal.

And it wasn't. Did I say that already?

I arrived there, shaking, and practically in tears of both pain and frustration mingled with fear. They took an x-ray and I spoke with the hygienist for a while. When the Dr. came in she performed a number of fairly rudimentary tests. "here, bite on this, tell me if it hurts". "Let me put something cold here, tell me if it hurts." "Does it hurt if I tap here? how about here?"

The result?

The pain is actually radiating from BETWEEN two bottom, back molars. One, the furthest one back, is the newly crowned molar. The other has only a filling. A LARGE filling, but just a filling none the less.

The problem with this result is that it lead the Dr. to believe that the nerve was not damaged. In other words, it isn't worth removing. She postulated 3 possibilities: one, the non-crowned tooth has a crack in it that hasn't reached the nerve. Such a crack might be aided by a crown - even if it's only a temporary fix before a root canal is necessary. two, the recently crowned tooth is still calming down, as is the one next to it which was likely jostled around a bit. Three, the recently crowned tooth needs a root canal, but isn't to the point of yank-it-out pain yet. Such pain, she told me, may be characterized by waking you up from a dead sleep, keeping you from drinking anything that isn't room temperature, etc.

My fourth theory is that my horrific (yes, it has reached that level) TMJ causes some pain which radiates from my jaw to my molars. This theory becomes especially tempting to believe when I consider that I ONLY have TMJ on my right side, and ALL these teeth are on my right side as well - right next to my jaw. Go figure.

So, about my tooth (I'm sure you're SICK of hearing about this, but hopefully the end of the saga is imminent) The pain only occurs when the bottom and top teeth touch. So I can concievably eat an entire meal, and as long as I'm being VERY careful not to let the teeth touch, I can come out just fine. But the moment they do, wowee!

So I made an appointment to have the other molar crowned tomorrow. I may yet cancel it, not sure if I jumped the gun. Not sure if I should just wait it out and see if the tooth "settles down, but really, it's already been 6 weeks. Can't someone just wave their magic wand and make this all disapeare?