Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Warning: This is a rant.

Do you know what TMJ is?

Let me back up.
Today, I am overwhelmingly insensed with our healthcare insurance company and/or our particular insurance plan. Previously, I was under the impression it was a good plan - I was told by others both in and outside the university that "university insurance is great!". Well, in this case, I am sorry to tell you, THEY WERE WRONG.

I have had TMJ since I was in Junior High. The very short explanation is that the TMJ (temperomandibular Joint) connects the upper and lower jaw. Occasionally (due to MANY different causes) the joint can become inflamed, can move out of track, can be painful, and become almost completely useless. And yes, if you plan on eating (or talking, or yawning, or sneezing, or swallowing, or doing anything else with your mouth aside from humming) so if it is rendered unusable you have a hefty problem on your hands - er - in your mouth.

About six months ago the stomach flu ran through our family. I got it, of course, and among my numerous trips to the loo I noticed my jaw began to get worse and words. Surely, I thought, this was only a temporary effect of all my up-chucking. But months went by and it's only gotten worse. So, because I've finally gotten to the point where I can no longer do normal human things (why did I let it get here? keep reading - everything comes down to money eventually I'm afraid) I made some phone calls this morning to see about getting it looked at.

Who do you go to for TMJ? I haven't a clue. So, I called my new dentist. After all, dentists do mouths, why not jaws too? they referred me to an oral surgeon, but before calling them I gave a call to my insurance company to see who their preferred provider was.

And do you want to know what they told me? The words coming out of that woman's mouth were enough to bring me to tears. Literally. "Under your plan, Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska will not cover any visit, procedure, or any other thing having to do with the Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ)." Here I am, sucking my breakfast from a straw and you're sitting in your pretty little office telling me you don't DO TMJ?

Now here's my beef: Insurance companies cover ALL SORTS of practically unnecessary procedures (some are called "elective"), infant circumcision, to name one. They also cover treatment for drug abuse, alcohal abuse, and eating disorders. They cover counseling therapy, and sports medicine, physical therapy, and bariatrics - but not TMJ? That seems absolutely senseless.

I have got to know why. Why on EARTH do they function this way? It's as though they're saying "you know, a lot of people have problems with their Jaws, and assisting them is expensive, so we're just going to tell them all NO. On the other hand, we'll gladly assist people who have spent their lives ruining their bodies with harmful chemicals and substances. We'll gladly give them all the financial assistance they need to finish their lives on hover-rounds with attached oxygen tanks. "

How can a problem this painful not be covered - at all?

I am beyond angry, I am incensed. I put this visit off long enough because we've been (quite frankly) breaking even month-to-month and my deepest fear is that my time as a stay-at-home mom will quickly come to an end with any unexpected expenditure. Well, here's that expense. The consultation alone will run $135 out of pocket. And that's BEFORE any treatment. Potential treatments range from temporary muscle relaxants to arthroscopic surgery. Ugh.

To make matters worse (Hey, I warned you this was a rant) I had to cancel our YMCA membership today. I cried right there at their desk as I signed the cancellation form. Between the medical procedures Levi's had done recently, and the out-of-pocket visits I'll need to make here shortly, the $75 simply isn't there.

I had to remind myself as I drove away that we are blessed not to be in debt. We have to make choices - no matter how difficult - about where we put our money. While the Y was absolutely great, it is definitely an "extra". We've made similarly difficult decisions in the past regarding other "extras" (internet, TV, cell service, appliances, new clothes, eating out, vacationing, you name it) but for some reason this one was the hardest yet.

Writing is therapeutic sometimes. I think this time it only made me more frustrated.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

supermarket showdown

I wouldn't consider my self much of a braggart. I usually keep my small victories to myself. But this one... This one I had to share. Not because it's overly interesting to read about (in fact, unless you find yourself in a place of shear boredom, you may want to move along) but more just so that I can realize the true gravity of what I accomplished. Putting things in writing tends to do that well for me. So, here I go.

As I discussed in this post, I use a strategy called "ad matching" when I go grocery shopping. I scour the weekly grocery ads, circle the good deals on things I already need for the week and then pack my ads with me to my local grocer. My grocer will give me the lowest advertised price, so long as I can prove it. After looking at this weeks ads, I knew this would be a GREAT trip.

I'm short on interesting things to do - can you tell?


Here, in no particular order, are the best deals I found this week, which brought my grocery total to $71.12 (I left out the not-so-interesting, but if you're honestly the type that wants to know that I spent $1.36 on a 6-pack of raisin boxes, I can give you more detail)
  • 4 boxes of store brand cereal, $1.00 each
  • 8 cans generic pasta sauce, $0.48 each (which I will later spice up, but this is cheaper than raw ingredients people!)
  • 5 pounds of grapes, $0.99 per pound
  • 16 yogurts (6oz cups), $0.25 each
  • 2 24-oz Cottage cheese containers, $1.68 (should have bought more, may go back)
  • 2 dozen eggs, $0.48 each
  • 2lbs colby jack block cheese, $2.99 per pound
  • 2.5lbs shredded cheese (including parmesan!) $0.99/8-oz bag
I'll spare you the rest, but suffice it to say we're good on a number of staples for a while. Reminds me of the time (not even 4 months ago) I bought 25 lbs of ground turkey in one-pound rolls for $1 per pound. I wondered if it was a mistake. It most certainly was not. We've gone through half of it already in everything from burgers to casaroles, lasagna to meatballs, and more.

There were a handful of ad-matches I had planned to use but didn't in the end. Hy-vee, for example, advertised skippy peanut butter for $1.00 per 16oz jar, but none of their PB is all natural (read: no sugar) so I passed it up. I think there were a couple more, but it's somewhat of a blur at this point.

Hope your weekly trip is as successful as mine was - I'm darn proud.
Now, the real challenge: Not going to the store again until next Thursday.
I'm stocked.
Bring it.

Today I will...

  • kiss my husband good bye at 2:30am and hopefully welcome him home before 7:00pm
  • wake to a babbling Levi at ten to six
  • keep a rather cranky Levi awake until a reasonable napping hour by walking barefooted outside - and subsequently landing in bird poop
  • sweep
  • mop
  • use the majority of my alloted blogging time doing the previous two
  • attack my grocery list - identify deals - ad match and SHOP (before lunch, ideally)
  • play catch up with the laundry - is it me, or is this a daily affair?
  • paint (yeah right, who am I kidding, this is likely dead LAST on my list)
  • nurse a baby
  • feed a baby
  • feed a husband
  • put them both to bed before 8pm
  • make a meal to deliver to friends tomorrow - dessert included :)
  • try to figure out what food is giving Levi loose poop - a common theme in his short life
  • wait ONE more day before my new camera arrives at Best Buy (a topic yet to be blogged about)
  • reminisce about the wonderful lunch I shared yesterday with friends and their babies after play group.
  • wish I could do the same today - totally dragging - it's amazing how long the morning feels when hubby leaves before dawn. I literally count the minutes until morning nap
  • probably have to find a second cup of coffee (very rare for me) see previous note on "dragging"
  • try desperately to keep up with my running toddler
  • continue to wonder why said toddler hasn't gained any weight in a month when he was gaining just fine before he started walking - wait - maybe that's the reason. Hmm...
  • enjoy the mid 80's until the high 90's prevail tomorrow
  • look for the following at Home Depot (if I ever get there, and don't worry hubby, I probably won't so we can go together Saturday): Closet door pulls, a drill bit to cut pull-holes in closet doors, a piece of molding to cover the closet door track, and a brushed silver door knob
  • meet with the photographer who took all of Levi's pictures over the past year and possibly order a few to remember the year by
  • show Levi his new touch-and-feel-flashcards
  • remind myself over and over (and over) that, although at the end of the day I may have precious little to show for my efforts, my investment in this hurricane of toddler energy will pay off 100-fold - and then some.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(click on it for an up close view - honey, I thought you would get a kick out of this!)


Some of you may have noticed the suspicious lack of photos in my last few posts

Truth be told, my camera is no more.

Nobody dropped it, no one gave it a bath, it didn't get buried in the back yard nor did it take a trip down the slide. It wasn't accidentally broiled, or frozen, or tumble dried but I'll assure you there are things in my home which have been. No. It simply quit working.

About three years ago I did insurmountable research before purchasing my cannon powershot S20 IS. It was HUGE, HEAVY, and blurred almost every shot I took one-handed. But in its day, it was the KING of cameras. If that doesn't show you how fast technology changes, I don't know what does.
So I'm looking for a new camera. I'm intrigued by canon's newest powershot series, although they cost more than I have. Jonathan has quite generously donated $100 of his saved-up spending money (birthday and Christmas gifts from family members) and I'm at least somewhat determined to stay under that limit.

Where's my spending money you ask? well, remember, I purchased Ruby. And that was all I had.

I'm also looking at Nikon's coolpix line, which looks less expensive. I am not very particular about our next camera, but I DO expect the following:

accepts SD cards (we already have them, and my computer has a slot for them)
takes video
has excellent stability (can handle a little shaking while shooting)
in the $100 range
(preferably) is rechargeable
is slim and lightweight

Currently checking out e-bay and (both of which are thoroughly overwhelming) and also costco's website, although things are more expensive there.

So, your suggestions would be much appreciated.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A fear of flying

...which, really, I do not have.
What I do have is a fear of flying with a 14 month old.

Levi and I are trekking to the Pacific Northwest in August sans daddy. Usually I consider myself quite confident when it comes to caring for my infant alone. I do it on a daily basis. What I cannot fathom is caring for him, alone, on an airplane. Let me explain

Last Christmas we all flew to the PNW together. All three of us. To say that wrangling a 7-month old Levi was difficult would be marginalizing our efforts. At a mere 7 months he wanted to be Unlike his 3-month-old flight, he was not content to sit and nurse. No sir. I know this because I was bitten - several times. He would not be bothered by *new* toys, snacks, or cell phones. This boy wanted to be down, on the ground, motoring around.

So, you may begin to see my dilema. Now faced with taking the trip alone, not being able to pass a wiggly child back and forth sounds like an all too new level of restraint.

But I do have a couple of things going for me.
First, on the way there anyhow, I chose an evening flight. If I'm lucky Levi will pass out nursing in my arms for at least our first leg to Denver. If I'm SUPER lucky, he'll pass out again for the second leg.
Second, I plan to make use of my dear friend Ben. You know, that pink bottle of snooze juice? After running it by Levi's Ped. I've got the go ahead to give it a try. We've tried it once to make sure he doesn't "ramp up" and while it didn't send him off to la la land, it also didn't send him doing laps around the basement. At the very least he may have become a little more relaxed. Relaxed is all I'm going for.

So what advice do you have?
Aside from new, engaging toys, snacks, and our dear friend Ben, what can you suggest?

Friday, June 18, 2010

the CDC on nursing and weaning

I tend to let my mouth run from time to time. Surprised?
You shouldn't be. You probably do it to. :)

Specifically I'm referring to my spouting off of seemingly educated information. Now, I certainly never misinform intentionally, but when it comes to something I'm passionate about I can tend to let my mouth get ahead of me by repeating things I've "heard" but don't necessarily know to be true.

My case in point: recently I told a good friend that "the worldwide average weaning age is 4 years old". If you read that, you may think it partially believable. After all, there are a TON of indigenous people groups who nurse children for quite a while. But stop and think for a moment what the word "average" means. This word imposes the assumption that there are an equal number of children weaned prior to four years as there are weaned after four years. Not only that, but it assumes that for every child weaned at 2, there is a child weaned at 6 - that 4-years is the "average" - the sum of ages divided by the quantity of babes.

After looking into this, (first, here in a post by breastfeeding blogger "the lactivist)" not only did I begin to find the "statistic" absurd, I also found educated breastfeeding proponents questioning its validity and source. Anthropologist Kathryne Dettwyler states the following in her paper titled "A Natural Age of Weaning"

"One often hears that the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.2 years, but this figure is neither accurate nor meaningful. A survey of 64 "traditional" studies done prior to the 1940s showed a median duration of breastfeeding of about 2.8 years, but with some societies breastfeeding for much shorter, and some for much longer. It is meaningless, statistically, to speak of an average age of weaning worldwide, as so many children never nurse at all, or their mothers give up in the first few days, or at six weeks when they go back to work. It is true that there are still many societies in the world where children are routinely breastfed until the age of four or five years or older, and even in the United States, some children are nursed for this long and longer. In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age."

So, you see, it may be rather artificial to try to pinpoint a worldwide "average" age of weaning - whether mother led or child led. That said, we have a WEALTH of data from the Centers for Disease Control with which to determine weaning ages (or, more importantly, the average length of breastfeeding) of American Infants.

According to the CDC, nearly 74% of U.S. infants are nursed - at least once. Sometimes that's all it is - we really don't know. I can tell you from personal experience I was ready to take Similac up on their generous offers the day I left he hospital. Nursing is no picnic in the beginning. That aside, the CDC reports that at three months of age 33% of infants are still exclusively nursed (exclusively meaning without any formula used for supplementation).

[As an aside, Levi was not a part of that 33%. We had to give him some formula while I pumped because he was rapidly losing weight.]

That means that the remaining 67% must have either weaned, or been supplemented prior to 3 months of age.

By six months of age less than 14% are still breastfed exclusively - but this needs a little explanation. You see, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be started on solid food NO SOONER than six months of age. But how many people follow that advice? I'd guess (and this is truly a guess) almost none. I know we didn't. We started at 5 1/2 months.

It must be mentioned however that the starting of solid food (whether it follows breastfeeding or formula feeding) marks the beginning of weaning - the time at which a baby begins slowly moving his focus from the breast/bottle to table foods. The CDC reported just over 43% of infants were "non-exclusively" breastfeeding at 6 months (i.e. taking formula and/or solids in addition to breast milk), meaning that 29% had been fully weaned from the breast by that time.

Almost 23% of U.S. infants still received breast milk at 12 months of age. Obviously, NONE "exclusively" breastfeed at this time, as all require solid food by now. This statistic tells us that 77% of infants have been fully weaned before one year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control recommend mothers breastfeed for a minimum of one year, with the first six months being exclusive. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years. A true average weaning age cannot be ascertained because the CDC keeps no records of infants who nurse well into toddlerhood, but this can be said: well over half of US infants are weaned prior to six months of age, and more than 3/4's are weaned before age one.

More than anything this post has been an opportunity for me to dig a little deeper and figure out what I should and should not be repeating. So, the next time I go spouting off information that sounds as though it might be "technical" or "statistical" in nature, you go right ahead and ask me for my source, because honestly I really shouldn't be spouting things off without one.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

on being medically conservative

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself among the medically "conservative".
Why not?
Well, maybe it's because I know so many who are so much more medically conservative than myself. I know people who refuse vaccines all together, people who don't give their kids antibiotics, people who don't believe in using tylenol or motrin. I know people who don't have pediatricians. I am also acquainted with some who have engaged in home birth, and "free birth" (birthing a baby with zero assistance, and no medical professional; at home). None of these things are practices I would engage in, not because there's anything wrong with them, but because I have more fear of bodily harm via infection than I do of medical intervention.

To a point...

Last Friday Levi came down with a fever. As I've explained in a previous post the fever continued well past 24 hours before I caved and called the pedi. I called because he had no other symptoms. That said, my mommy instinct could have told you there wasn't anything HUGE wrong with him. He was far too happy and had way too great of a disposition for that.

While there, they performed a number of tests to rule out the unseen. I allowed them to do these tests, I could have refused them. I almost did. But, I allowed them because I'm a worrier and the on-call doc (it was Sunday after all) said "this is what I would do if he were my child". Convincing enough.

Come to Tuesday evening and Levi presents with a speckled rash. "HOORAY!" I thought. This is just Roseola. Harmless. Common. So, I called our Pedi. again to ask if we could quit using the "just-in-case-it's-a-UTI" antibiotics she had perscribed.

"not so fast"... she said to me, in not so many words

Apparently there was a teensy bit of bacteria in Levi's urine sample (19,000 units, compared to the 100,000+ that signal a UTI) so this on-call doc who looked him over in the first place suspects the rash is caused by something else, possibly the antibiotics themselves.


So, the nurse I'm talking with asks me to make an appointment, which I agree to begrudgingly, with our normal pedi. Jill (who I love). Jill and I are like minded when it comes to balancing logic with intervention. She looked at his chart, looked at his rash (which she agreed was totally roseola) and concurred the bacteria in his bladder was completely unrelated.

But wait. How does e-coli get into one's bladder? I'll tell you how.

I was not present when they cath'ed my son. Jonathan stood gaurd. I've watched it 4 times in his short life (only ONE of which was necessary, and I knew it was, because there was blood in his urine) and I thought I might vomit if I had to watch it again. To my horror, I found out from my dear husband that they had to try FOUR times to successfully cath Levi. They used the SAME cath for the first three of those. So, you be the judge - don't you think it just might be possible that a very small, almost insignificant, amount of bacteria could find it's way into the bladder if the SAME tube was unsuccessfully crammed in there THREE of Four times?? I do. and I'm no professional.

But my professional Pedi. agreed with me.

You see, I understand that medical professionals have the obligation and responsibility to protect themselves legally. I understand that the majority of parents they interact with are probably a bit less conservative, desiring more precautionary intervention than I do. I understand that the on-call doc was trying to cover all her bases and not leave a stone unturned - But sometimes, the intervention seems like overkill.

Sometimes, you have to use logic.
and that's why I love Jill. She uses logic.
And logically, Levi had Roseola.
Not a UTI, not a bacterial blood infection, not a reaction to the two shots and two oral doses of anti-biotics.


And yes, that was a rant.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

(almost) wordless Wednesday


(I don't believe it's possible to get a non-blurry photo while wearing one sleepy infant and holding another. Either that, or I need a new camera. Probably both)

livin' cloth-free in 'sposie land

Guess whose baby is in disposables this week? ooh ooh pick mine, pick mine!
We're on what I think is a completely unnecessary course of antibiotics.
They were prescribed to him Sunday, before we figured out that he had Roseola and not something more serious (the rash showed up yesterday, confirming my suspicion.

Anyhow, no cloth for us until the antibiotics are out of his system. If you use cloth, you probably know what I mean.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The things I don't wonder

I've often said that I'm ashamed at myself for some of the things I thought about/towards friends with babies & children. I diminished many of them in my mind for doing things in a way that didn't seem right to me. Whoa, was I in for a shocker. Here are some of the things I used to wonder, but not longer do.

Of new mothers, or mothers of young children, I no longer wonder ...
... why they are always running late
... why they say they "don't have time" to go to the gym every day
... why they wear their babies
... why they nurse their babies to sleep, and also when they wake in the middle of the night instead of quickly teaching them to "self soothe"
... why convenience food sometimes IS worth the money, even though it may not be nutritionally
... why they can be labeled as "lazy", when in fact they're so busy their heads are spinning
... why their babies won't always nap when you put them down
... why listening to their baby scream in the back seat makes them feel helpless and sad.
... why they have to find THAT blanket before nap/bed
... why they give in some times. It doesn't always teach children that you're their subordinate, you really do have to choose your battles
... why some have such difficulty with nursing (walked that road)
... why they can't always just "get control" of her kids in the grocery store
... why remnants of nutrigrain bars, fishy crackers, & graham crackers are usually found amongst the toys in their backseat. It's not that they're messy, it's that their kids are messy and they'd rather be spending time with them than cleaning the car out EVERY WAKING MOMENT.
... why they occasionally have a messy kitchen/house/life. Refer to previous statement.
... why steam-cleaning the upholstery falls so low on their priority list
... why they never seem to "have it together"
... why they have to be home so early in the evening. Can't bedtime be pushed back just this once?
... why others have to be so quiet during naptime. After all, didn't they train their babies to sleep through noise?
... why they would allow their children to throw tantrums
... why they would put their child down in front of the TV or a movie
... why it appears as though their life revolves around their child(ren)
... why they always look tired
... why they would cater to their toddler's desire for chicken nuggets and peaches instead of insisting they eat vegetables before getting any other food
... why the dishwasher can go three days before being unloaded because the clanking noise will wake the baby
... why the laundry will wait a similar amount of time - or, you know, quadruple that.
... why they can't make the baby stop crying in the restaurant/airplane/store etc...

There are a lot of things I don't wonder any more
and yet, I still have to stop myself before making judgement calls on the choices and efforts of other parents. In doing so I've had to eliminate the phrases "couldn't you just...", "Why don't you just...", and "well, it would be easier if you..." from my vocabulary, phrases which completely diminish a parent's decision making skills.

In child rearing, as I'm slowly learning, there are decisions to be made from day one, and it's all to easy (as a bystander) to invalidate and passive-aggressively mock the decisions made by others. I understand that as humans we will always find the need to protect our own choices - that is, to inflate the choice WE made so as to prove it was the very best choice possible - but before the next time you do that verbally, think about how something similar might sound coming right back at you.

just think about it.
And before you know it, there will be a few things you won't be wondering about anymore.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Definitely a Monday

This is the face of a sick little boy.
My tired, feverish son.
Friday night he spiked a relatively low fever (hovering around 102) which kept with him, with no other signs of illness, through Sunday. Because of his "history" (if one case can legitamately be called a history) of UTI's, and because he had no other symptoms, we were told he needed to be seen.

I knew what this meant.

Indeed, after checking his perfectly healthy little ears, nose and throat, the doctor ordered a catheterized urinalysis. To add insult to injury she also ordered a finger prick, and a blood draw. Why? well, with a non-symptomatic fever (meaning a fever that is not also accompanied by a cough, runny nose, ear ache, spots in the back of the throat, rash, etc. within the first 24 hours, pointing to a virus.) Dr.'s worry about the unseen. Bacterial blood infections, UTI's, and so on.


The dip test on his urine came back clean. Most likely, no UTI for Levi. I could have told you that.

The CBC came back clean, no bacterial blood infection for Levi - PTL, neither of us wanted to spend 7-10 days in the hospital.

So, what does this small Hnosko have? Your guess is as good as mine. His fever broke around 3:00 this morning. For the first time in a LONG time he was up nursing a good chunk of the night. Usually I wouldn't ablige night time requests, but a sick baby gets whatever he wants, especially in the way of food and drink. So, rocking I was. Rocking and rocking. And daddy was rocking too. Much of the night.

The storms didn't help. Vicious thunder and lightening filled the night sky.

Speaking of rain, and pouring... when the bills come in for medical care (as they are doing this week, rapidly since Levi's VUCG) we usually also have a home-improvement need. This time around: clogged tub drain. Two bouts of drano within 24 hours hasn't dislodged whatever it is. Every time we run the sinks the tub backs up, so the clog is somewhere in between.

Let's just say I need a little more sanity than I currently have at my immediate disposal this week. A little more sanity, and a little more sleep.

But oh, how blessed we Hnoskos are. How blessed we are indeed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

When I was pregnant I was on the prowl for all the newborn necesities - only problem was, I didn't have a newborn and therefore had very little knowlege of that the necessities were.
Oh, many people told me "you'll need this", or "you'll want that", or "don't waste your money there", but you really don't know what you'll want, need, or expressly have to have, until you have a baby to use it with.
So, for my reference and reflection more than anything, here are the top ten things that got us through our first year with Levi:
The Miracle Blanket: Levi was swaddled in this until he was 5 months old. Yes, Five. See those flaps over the arms? they go under the back. Not even my houdini baby could make it out of this swaddle. I credit it with HUGE amounts of sleep.

The Boppy Pillow: I took my boppy everywhere. I took it to church when we went to the cry room, I took it on the airplane when Levi was 3 months old, I took it to friends houses. Until Levi was able to support his own head, I took that thing everywhere. Thank you Boppy, for saving my shoulder.
The Moby Wrap: Actually, I have a friend's baby sleeping on me in the Moby this very moment. Levi and I went on lots of walks this way. True, it does take a bit of "fabric oragami" to get it on, but man, is it comfortable.
The Bullet Blender: I suppose I should give some credit here to my stick blender, but between the two of them I made all of Levi's food. Easy. Cheap. Tasty (even to me, bonus!)
(Blogger removed this picture - I officially hate blogger. I'm so sick of going back in and fixing margins that I say, if you want to know what a bullet blender is go to . Forget the picture, I'm done)
The Medela Suplimental Nursing System: To be fair, I HATED this thing. But, I think it truly saved our nursing career. If you know what it is and what it does, great, otherwise don't worry about this one.

The Exercauser (also known, in our household as "the disk" or "the spinner"): I cannot begin to count the number of times I stuck Levi here so I could simply get a moment's respite. He was a FUSSY baby until he was nearly 6 months old. But, certain things would hold his attention temporarily. This was one, and Praise the Dear Lord for the friends who loaned it to us!

Bum Genius Diapers and Rockin' Green Detergent: Do I need to say any more than this? We've saved oodles of dollars, and many pounds of land fill refuse. No amonia stink. Simply two great choices.

The White Noise Machine: Why didn't I find this thing sooner? This is the same one we use, on "waterfall" setting. It blocks out a lot of our creaky floor problem (although, not all of it) and allows me to do a few things around the house while my light sleeper naps.
Blackout Fabric: While I was looking in to the posibility of buying black-out curtains ($$$) I found this stuff at Joanne Fabrics. $5.99 a yard. I took thumb tacks and tacked it up to the window frame. Now, I can't even see my feet in his room without the light on. Brilliant!

I intended to go a little more in depth in this post, but with a sleeping babe on my chest (and no idea when one of the two in the house will awaken) I better wrap this up for fear of never finishing it.
Now, what are a few of your favorite things?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nap time might as well be sacred

Nap time is MY time

You know what I mean.

When he naps, I relax my shoulders and that annoying kink in my neck goes away

When he naps I do those things that pile up on my list all morning long - the things that are difficult to accomplish with a one-year-old squarely attached to my thigh (literally at times). Things like emptying the dishwasher, making large batches of levi-friendly food for the freezer, washing clothes, washing diapers, or starting on dinner. normal, daily, things.

When he naps I regain just a bit of my sanity - a bit of my pre-mom freedom.

When he naps I take care of myself. I eat a meal. I drink water. I use the bathroom - in peace. I blog. Sometimes (gasp!) I shower AND style my hair.

So, here's my beef - Back when Levi was 6 months old he took two 40 minute naps a day (all together now: NO WAY!) As he reached 11 months he was taking two 1.5 hour naps a day (huge sigh of relief) and as he's nearing 13 months he'd really like to take a good 2 hour nap from 8:30-10:30- which I certainly enjoy - and then a teeny tiny 30 minute nap from 1:30-2:00. A nap that certainly won't allow him to last until 7:00pm. Oh, and I should mention he wakes in the morning at 6am.

So, what do I do? Has the inevitable finally come? Is it time to drop that morning nap? Or do I merely shorten it by waking him after a half hour or so. I should preface this by saying that for convenience sake we've forced him to skip a morning nap once or twice and the afternoon nap has never been any longer. So, I'm stumped.

Advice - Anyone??

(This is the most recent picture I have of Levi sleeping (outside the car). Since then - and I've tried numerous times) he's awoken as I open the door to his room. Don't have to worry about burgalars with this baby, a creek in the floor will wake him up.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Building the Great Wall

Where did the last week go?
Oh yeah, it went here:

While my mom and step-dad were here for Levi's birthday party (which I will post pictures of the next time I get a moment to breathe) We decided what better time than the present to add a new room to our basement? This was, by my step-father, called a "simple project", just a wall, and a closet to frame, drywall, and paint. That's "all".

And I guess it wasn't much more than that. In fact, we didn't even hit any snags in the process. But it became apparent that our views of "simple" were quite different. You see, I equate "simple" with "fast" - These two do not belong together.

"Straight forward", yes. The entire project was quite straight forward. Everything was very standard procedeur. But there's a lot to be said for a standard procedeur when it's being completed in the home of a couple who has never (I repeat, never) done construction-based home improvement. We have a LOT to learn.

Needless to say, the finished product is nothing short of AMAZING. We still have yet to finish paiting, to hang trim, and to install doors. But in my mind, those are small details compared to the enormity which has already been finished.

So, as the Chaos dwindles in our home
And as the dust settles (literally)
And as I'm reminded that not only have I been an almost absent member of the blogosphere for the past week, but I've also let a LOT of things
go around this house...

I am also, in the same breath, SO happy with what we've done to our home, and SO grateful for those who made it possible. THANK YOU Eric, Jonathan, Brian, Bryan, and (yes) Brian. Not only do we have a lot of friends named Brian, but we have a lot of friends (and family members) who willingly donated their time and talents to help us with the project we've been talking about since we bought our house in June of "08.


Friday, June 4, 2010

one year check up

It went really well yesterday, much to my surprise
I thought it would be a difficult time since he was catheterized the last two times he was there. Thank you Lord for making the baby memory VERY short!

at 12 months Levi is:
in the 46th percentile for weight (just over 22 1/2 lbs)
in the 96th percentile for height (32")
in the 75th percentile for head size
eating with a fork - a new development and he's REALLY slow with it
taking two 1.5 hour naps
sleeping 11 solid hours most nights
habitually scratching the back of his neck. Don't know what that's about but I mentioned it to the doc
eating everything except dairy and soy. Tried dairy last week on him, had two days of nasty diapers. Won't give him any more until 18 months. On the bright side, I can have it in moderation and still nurse him.
nursing 5-6 times a day for only short bouts
throwing mini temper tantrums
loving fruit, loathing vegetables
resisting diaper changes like the plague
getting small flicks on the back of the hand when he intentionally throws food off his highchair tray - and responding to them quite well.
enjoying his jumbo legos, his ball popper, his little kitchenette, and of all things, bubble wrap (with supervision)
eating 5 meals a day (used to be three meals and two snacks, but now I think they're all about the same quantity of food)
and MANY other things that I can't remember.

Blogger is being a poop. It won't let me add photos, change fonts, or do many other things. GRRR. Once it will, I'll add plenty of cute pictures from his party etc. I feel like I'm getting VERY behind.

Anyhow, happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I know painfully little about construction
painfully little except this:

Plan on spending twice what you budgeted
plan on going to the hardware store twice as many times
plan on it taking you twice as long as you suspected (or more)

My mom and step-dad came from Seattle for Levi's birthday. I got this CRAZY idea at Christmas that when they came we should put up a wall in our basement. The time came, and here they are, and there (across the room from me) is the wall.

I have a LOT to learn about this whole home-improvement thing.

There will be photos to share, but right now I'm swimming in dust. I can't count the number of tools between me and the other side of the basement, and I certainly can't name them all. Pictures to come, but just an FYI - my normal daily blogging time will (for a time) be taken up by a can of primer, a can of paint, and a few brushes.

NO idea it was this much work
SO grateful for everyone who made it possible
SO excited to have a new room, the new room I'd envisioned
VERY happy to have added value to our home
NOT ready to see my parents leave in but a couple hours.

Pictures to come,
Pictures to come