Monday, March 30, 2009

Going off the grid

photo from here

Last week I nearly broke my big toe, putting me out of commission for a long time. In fact, it still hurts and I can't really walk that far. As I sat around with nothing to do (well, nothing I WANTED to do) I realized how dependent I am on the internet for so many things. I must have checked my email about 30 times the first day, watched hulu during nap times and spent countless hours browsing through facebook and leaving little comments on my friend's comments. At the end of the day, I felt sick and achy. No, not from the pain medicine, but from staring at this little screen for hours and hours. This was not the way I was made to operate! I know that technology can be wonderful, but between twitter, hulu, netflix instant movies, email, google groups, yahoo groups, and SO many more, I am not in touch with what is truely happening around me. It's SPRING for heaven's sake, and I'd rather be typing? I think not.

SO, starting Tuesday (tomorrow), for one week, I am signing off. I'm going off the grid. No twittering, no watching movies on hulu or netflix, no obsessively checking my email and my status to see if whatever little tidbit of information I submit to the masses is being commented upon and therefore validating my existence. I care TOO much and am disappointed when no one comments on my quippy little blurb! Sad isn't it?

Some things remain because, honestly they are such a part of normal life now, I'm not sure I could maintain any sort of contact with the human world without them.
They are:
My phone - since I don't have a home phone it'll have to be my cell phone, and
Email - but only once a day. I figure I check the postal mail once a day (sometimes), I can check my email one per day too.

I'll miss the little beeps my phone makes to tell me someone has twittered me, but I'll survive. Who knows! Perhaps I'll pick up my guitar again. Perhaps I won't be checking my email while a beautiful baby rests in my lap trying to get me to look her in the eyes. Perhaps I'll learn something more about a friend than can be said in 140 characters. I'll let you know what happens. (and yes, I fully expect withdrawl.) :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm 5 months old today!!

I'm the Baby Bear, also know as Cora, Squidoot, Squid, Doot, Little, Toad, My Girl, and whatever other name my Mama and Papa can think up for me in the moment.

Today I am 5 months old!
My favorite things are: :)
  • Sleep - I'd rather do this than eat sometimes
  • My whale and dangle-y sea creature friends that hook onto my play mat
  • Mama
  • Snuggling with Mama
  • My mobile of ladybugs which I talk to when it sings to me
  • Singing with Mama (long 'goos' and 'coos' when we sing together)
  • Papa
  • Fuzzy beard kisses from Papa
  • Machine gun fire (speed) kisses
  • Zerberts on my tummy
  • Eating my fist
  • Swimming in the bathtub
  • Being outside!
  • Being naked! In fact, if you want to see me REALLY wiggle and squeal, change my diaper!
  • Exploring. For example: Did you know I have toes?! They look tasty.
  • Sticking out my tongue. In fact, I only put it inside my mouth when I sleep. I like to taste the world!

I do not like: :(
  • Tummy time (but Mama still makes me do it - break out the earplugs!)
  • The cat in my face (for now). I've only just realized that he and the dog are living beings!
  • When Mama Bear and Papa Bear do not prepare my bottle in a timely manner
  • Missing my naptime
  • Eczema - it makes me all itchy!
Not much else I don't like. I'm a pretty happy girl!

I can:
  • Sit up, supported
  • I love to stand up! See the first photo. I've got strong legs. (Mama says, please ignore her post baby (additional) chubbiness.)
  • Wiggle and ooch backward while on my back - but refuse to roll over (see Tummy time, ICK!)
  • Coo, squeal, smile, giggle and pull Mama's hair and Papa's beard (also Papa's nose)
  • Grab things and put them in my mouth (although my aim is still off mostly)

I'm still blue eyed, (I don't think this is going to change, but you never know) and I weigh about 14 lbs. Not much, but I'm still growing! I'm in the 5-10 percentile for babies my age (birth date, not due date). At my last Doc appointment I was 2 feet long! I'm sure I'm taller by now...I can FEEL it!

Anyway, here's me in my awesome blue dress (which is REALLY a shirt from Mama's friend Mandy), but works for a dress too. I also like to eat my dress.
This is the face I make when Mama pulls out the camera.

See! I told you I like to be naked. (Mama hates that she has to resort to onboard flash to get a photo of me that is not a blur. I'm just so wiggly!)
And just for good toes

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain, Rain, I guess gardens need you, but after that, GO AWAY!

Today seems like it never began! It was never morning, just one shade of ick all day long. Now it's 5pm and it's the same color outside that it was this morning, and at noon. Yuck. Plus I cannot figure out this baby girl. She's tired, but doesn't want to sleep. She's hungry, but won't eat. If I hold her, she wants down, if I put her down, she's ok for a few minutes and then crying again. AAARG!

I'm struggling with sleep training(if you can even call it that) through all of this. For the last nearly 5 months of her life, if she needed me, she cried and I came to her. Now, I let her fuss it out, or sometimes cry it out. Last night, I felt as if I was breaking trust with her. Now some part of her knows I won't come if she cries and it hurts my little mama heart. I know she needs to learn to fall asleep on her own at some point, but it just breaks my heart to hear her cry. When I finally go get her, she cries like her feelings are hurt! Oh I can't take it! Now she's finally asleep and I want to go get her, snuggle her, and tell her how much I love her! But how does she know I mean it? There are many opinions out there about this and I don't know what mine is yet, but I know that I'm sad about this stage. She's my tiny girl! And yet not so tiny any more.

Friday, March 20, 2009

For Mandy

This post is for all you mamas out there who wonder why everyone else has a shinier, cleaner, happier, more productive life than you, and how in the world they do it all. Here's why (and how): IT'S NOT TRUE and WE DON'T! (I've asked this question too) So I'm coming clean (or rather dirty) about the current state of my house. Here's the mess.

The dishes - So many I had to use the kitchen floor for pots and pans. We've been ignoring these dishes for some time now. (Note the overflowing recycling bins behind them)

The laundry - clean (to be folded and covering my dining room table) and dirty (taking up space in the kitchen floor aka the laundry room atrium)
The groceries - which never got fully put away before something (or some little one) needed my attention more. (Plus, why put these away when they amuse the cat for HOURS?) :)

Here's the one chore I got done: (and this isn't all of them! I had to do it in 2 shifts.)

Why yes, yes I do like to precariously perch my pots and pans so they pivot between peril and perfection while I pontificate on and on about my penchant for perniciously thwarting penury. I also like alliteration. Can you tell? Hee hee!

On the other hand, last week I focused on relationships and went on a picnic, attended 'Happy Our' at my sweet friend's house, had a date with hubby, played with my baby a TON and let the house go. Alice told me this poem when the baby bear was first born and I keep it in mind when I look around and see my disaster of a house.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep!"
~ Anonymous

and I'll add to that - neither do friendships! I love you friend!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On the cheap - a day in the park

I'm a bad, bad chronicler, at least in terms of photos. The baby bear and I packed our lunch to join other mamas in the park for a (free) get-together. Shelby Park is one of the loveliest parks in our fair city with the Cumberland river running right beside acres and acres of wooded hills. I love that park. *sigh* Because of rainy days previous to our alfresco adventure, I brought along a huge tarp to share with other mamas. Everyone should own a tarp, I personally feel. And an umbrella to protect my delicate baby's skin from the midday sun. It's such a nice colorful umbrella! Then you look more closely and realize it's one of those artsy umbrellas and this one sports a repeating image of 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch. A bit creepy, but it was free so there. But I digress!

Sadly only one other mama showed up to our Baby Mama meetup. Oh well. She and I had such a nice time anyway! We talked about layoffs, cloth diapering, coupons, the works! I snacked on a pb&h (peanut butter and honey) sandwich while trying not to drool over her burger.

The baby bear thought the umbrella was the 'bees knees' and told me and the umbrella so, a lot! Then she fell asleep in the shade of the oak tree we camped under whose leaves were still hanging on from the autumn (brown and shriveled), wrapped in a blanket to keep the breeze off of her toes. I did take a photo of that.

Then home with pink cheeks and full senses from a lovely day in the park! She fell asleep in her bed, all tuckered out with something new...a lovey. She had her pick of all of the ones we were given and this is how I found her when I went to check on her.

A whole day of soaking up spring. Cost? Not a thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the cheap - date night!

Last night the Geek and I went out for our Tuesday night regularly scheduled date. Being as we are BROKE and the Geek is unemployed, doing it on the cheap is crucial. As luck (or kindness) would have it, my good friend over at Beyond the Fried is a Bzz Agent and this time around is testing out the 'Guiltless Grill' items at Chili's. She hooked me up with some free entree' coupons and off we went!

I used a little of my (quickly dwindling) saved allowance to spring for an appetizer and the Geek ordered a soda. All told, with tax and a 15% tip, our very filling dinner came to a whopping $16.61. Whoo hoo! Then we came home, put the baby to bed (yes, she came on our date) and plunked on the floor (our couch is waiting for the Geek to get a job before it is repaired) to watch the film Stardust, courtesy of Netflix to which we subscribe anyhow. We had a great time! For less than $20. Take that, economy!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On the cheap - handmade love

The penny pinching continues, but that doesn't mean that there aren't still things I want to do, buy etc. My neighbor is having a baby soon and I've been collecting things here and there for her shower. She requested gently used items! How great is that?! I found some sweet gently used things, but wanted to make her something special. I had a couple of ideas but settled on some soft crochet balls for the baby. I made these without anything inside, but when you make them you can add things inside, like a shaker egg, or a bell. Anything that won't come out or open up while inside. (An Easter egg with pebbles? - seal the egg shut!)

I started with this pattern from Martha Stewart online, but I'm not sure if anyone actually crocheted (is that a word?) up this pattern before they published it. It makes more like a football than a round ball. I had to do some re-writing, but it's a great place to start for the general idea. I used a worsted weight yarn (Red Heart 'soft yarn' - Cheap, washable, oh so nice!) with an F size crochet hook.

Here's my modifications to Martha's pattern: (This is for the yarn and hook size listed above)
Follow her pattern through 'Round 11'. Then...
Round 12 and 13: 1 sc in each st to end of round. Finish off.

Make 2 and stitch halves together except for one inch. Stuff the ball until it is firm - when you squish it and holds its shape.

Add something that rattles or jingles for fun! You can also use wool and felt this ball in your washing machine after you've stuffed it, using a little less stuffing, then dry on low. (Can you imagine a dryer full of these bouncing around? It makes me smile to think of it.) I got 2 of the three done and feverishly hooked and hooked trying to finish the third, but didn't. The girls at the shower thought I was crocheting a yarmulke! It does resemble one before it's stitched to its other half.

PS. Hide these from the cat!

And finally...the baby bear gives her grin of approval for these soft fun balls. Hasn't she gotten big!?

Friday, March 13, 2009

On the cheap - a return to my past

As you know, the Geek has been laid off since oooooh, December, and things are getting a LITTLE tight around here. But while I'm not going to turn this into a 'being cheap' blog ie...'the laid off geek and the starving artist', I wanted to share a coupla things we've been doing around here. Now, I grew up pretty broke. 9 people (7 kids) in a 700 square foot, three bedroom trailer, living on co-op 5 gallon buckets of peanut butter and my mama's ever imaginative ways of making 'poor as dirt' seem not so bad. In fact I didn't know we were poor until High School. Last night I made one of my mama's standby recipes which she called 'chili-mac' but is really macaroni noodles with meat sauce - no chili involved. I've never made it before, but I realized as I finished it, why she did. It makes a HECK of a lot of food! So here it is, the recipe.

1 1lb box of macaroni noodles (bought on supersale at Kroger)
1 lb ground beef
1 28 oz (giant!) can tomato sauce
Appropriate spices - basil and oregano (which Mama always grew fresh) garlic and onion (either fresh, chopped and cooked til tender or dried, which is what I happened to have on hand), salt and a little pepper

Cook noodles in a giant pot until tender. Drain and set aside.
While noodles are cooking, brown the ground beef, drain any fat off
Add tomato sauce, flavor to taste with oregano, basil, garlic, onion and salt
Bring to a rapid boil and then let simmer for 5 minutes

Pour sauce over noodles, stir and serve. Top with Parmesan if you can afford it! :) Eat leftovers for lunch for several days. (feeds 7 hungry children once or 1 hungry husband for several days) Serve with fresh veggies grown in your garden (which we don't have yet).

While ideally the Geek needs a job, we'd like to ask you to pray for God's will for us. Whatever that is. We don't presume to know what He has in store for us and our best laid plans are nothing to His.

Monday, March 09, 2009

We made the switch! A journey from paper to cloth diapers.

Since our little lovey was born (4 months ago, can you believe it?!) we've been using disposable diapers. With every giant garbage bag full I experienced more and more guilt. I mean, those diapers are going to be around for my daughter's grandbabies!! I wanted to switch to cloth, but it was very intimidating. There are zillions of diapers, covers, all-in-ones, pocket diapers, fitted diapers, prefolds, contoured diapers...the list goes on and on and on and ON! I was totally overwhelmed. So I put it out there (on our local neighborhood google group) that I wanted to get started and a total stranger mama of twins invited me to her house to see her system. She even gave me a couple of diaper covers that her children had outgrown. Then our local diaper service donated (yes, DONATED!) a bunch of diapers, covers, diaperpail, pail liner, and cloth wipes to me. Another friend gave me a bag of more stuff with pre-folds, contoured diapers and snappies, then another mama gave me her all in one diapers! I was overflowing with cloth diapers and I hadn't even begun to put them on her bum.

Now, my mama cloth diapered us, but I remember this bucket of stinky diapers and liquid, (poop soup as cloth diapering sites refer to it) and I was not looking forward to that at all! Plus, the little plastic shorts...ick. But cloth diapering has come a long way! No more poop soup! They come in all colors, shapes designs, snaps, velcro, waterproof cloth and more! It was hard to imagine, but some of the cutest things out there for babies are diapers! And they are going to get pooped on! It's a whole world of work at home mamas fueling this thing. Most of the popular brands were made by mamas. I think that is amazing!

So in light of the Geeks still unemployed situation, I decided to go ahead and move on over to cloth. I tried a couple per day to get in the hang of things and finally decieded to not buy any more sposies (disposables). It was scary! But she hasn't leaked yet and I actually really enjoy knowing I am doing a good thing for our budget, the planet, and my baby's bum!

Because she is still so small and most of the stuff we were given is for bigger babies, I did buy pre-fold diapers in infant size, plus some covers too. But since I was going to have to spent that money on diapers in the next few weeks anyway, I don't feel guilty at all. I know I won't have to spend it again!

Kind people in my neighborhood gave me a list of where to begin and I am pretty much there. Here's what they recommended:

"But here's a good start if you do laundry every other day:
  • 24 prefolds (either infant size or premium size depending on the weight of your baby)
  • 3-5 covers (the younger your baby the more covers you will need... the same is true if you used a snappi or not. If you use a snappi you can get by with fewer covers)
  • 2 diaper pail liners (one is in the wash with the dirties while the other is in the pail collecting dirties)
  • 1 pail
  • 1 snappi (these come in 2 different sizes depending on the age of your baby - infant and toddler)
  • 20 wipes - if you are washing prefolds you might as well wash wipes... then you don't have to buy these at the store too. ( I made my own with those tiny wash cloths that we were given TONS of, and cut up least favorite flannel receiving blankets - yes they unravel a bit, but it's for cleaning up poo! It doesn't have to be perfect)
  • 3 doublers - for extra absorbency during night/naps (these you need if you're not changing a diaper at night) I chose 3 hemp doublers from an online diaper shop"
  • I also added a 'wet bag' (a waterproof bag for used wet diapers). A mama has to get out sometimes!! I also added a little spray bottle for my diaper bag to wet my cloth wipes.

So with our newly prepped pre-folds and covers in hand we began our adventure. Here's our first cloth diapering. The baby bear did not approve of being put in this bulky thing, plus Mama was trying to get the hang it too! (this was before we bought smaller pre-folds.)

Giant diaper bum!
My stash of diapers - they came like this and had to be prepped (washing in hot water and then drying 3-5 times)
After prepping they looked like this (fluffy!!)
This is what we use every day or 2 - minus the larger diapers on the right and not all of the wipes.
The pretty colored covers are by Thirsties. The white one is a Bummis Super Snap.

So far, so good! I'm not overwhelmed by laundry and we are in a groove.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I don't mean to whine, but...

I received a phone call from one of our bill companies today. Apparently the Geek had forgotten to pay this one. A simple mistake and it was only 2 days late, but the caller wanted it paid then and there on the phone. I told the Geek about it and it's taken care of, but I had a little panic over the fact that this may be our future soon.

We still have a huge stack of bills from the Baby Bear's birth that keep showing up. How many people saw her at the hospital?! Was this while I was knocked out, because I don't remember all of these people seeing her? And still, no job for the Geek. You know that verse about asking for bread and getting a stone? If it looks like a stone, and feels like a stone, and tastes like a stone is there any way it could still be bread in disguise? I'm wondering this as we wait, pray, and wonder.
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