Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flying with a toddler is rarely as difficult as you think it will be
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.
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.


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.