Friday, October 14, 2011

Is She A Good Baby? Part 2: Being Held

Whenever you find moms trying to get to know each other and make small talk, at least around here, usually sooner than later someone asks, "Is she a good baby?"  I always answer "yes", but really, what am I supposed to say? 

"No, I'm pretty sure she's the Antichrist, but we love her anyways."


This is Part 2 of my series "Is She A Good Baby?", inspired by the book "Our Babies, Our Selves".  You can read Part 1 here. 



Baby! Why don't you want to be on the floor?  Bad Baby!
So, sleeping through the night is one of the hallmarks of a "good baby".  Another one is a low need for being held.  This is never so apparent as when having other people, especially ones unfamiliar with attachment parenting, care for your baby.

We rarely have other people, even family members, watch Ivy.  Not because we don't want to get out, oh no, that's DEFINITELY not it.  And not because we are leery about letting her be cared for by others.  Mitch was having sleepovers at 1 month old and all of the older kids have made the rounds to drop-in childcares, church nurseries, babysitters, and the like.  We tried to do the same with Ivy, but by about 3 months old it was pretty apparent that she wasn't like our other kids.  The other kids happily bounced from one caregiver to another with ease.  They entertained themselves well and were pretty "easy" to care for.  Well, easy one at a time anyhow.  Together as a mob they get a bit out of control.

Moving On Up

As you may (or may not) have noticed, it's been a while since my last blog.  Don't think I've forgotten about you dear readers.  I've just been busy with that pesky thing called life, but also, in August I started a new job at All Things Diapers.  Only part time, but all that part time work kind of ate up all of my blogging time.  Well, not all of it.  Part of my job over there is write for the store blog.  Can you believe it?  A paid blogging gig!  Very exciting stuff.  Very different from the free and easy style of my personal blog, but still exciting.  So, dear readers, forgive me for leaving this blog feeling a little like a vacant house with the furniture and everything still in it.  I'll still stop by from time to time.  Not every topic that pops into my head or my life is appropriate for an All Things Diapers blog post so I'll still need your ear sometimes, but please please come visit me over at the All Things Diapers blog too.  Have a fabulous fall :-)

Godspeed,

Elizabeth

Friday, July 29, 2011

Queen Mab Reigns

I always have such good intentions when it comes to crafts.  It's such a family joke that whenever someone says, "I could make that", we all laugh at them.  My basement is full of boxes of art and craft supplies and patterns purchased with good intentions.  But the road to hell is paved with superwash yarn and mosaic garden paver kits.  Speaking of superwash yarn though, I actually finished a craft project today that I wanted to share with you because it is so quick, easy, and satisfying.  I finished it in one park playdate and one after-the-kids-are-in-bed time.  It's THAT quick. 
It's a Waldorf play crown.  Some of you may be thinking hotels and apple salad, but in this context Waldorf is referring to the educational approach.  It's Montessori's long haired hippie cousin.  They really emphasize imagination and fantasy during the preschool years.  They also value simple, high quality toys made from natural materials - but who doesn't?  So, long story short, a knitted wool crown becomes infinitely more hip when you call it a "Waldorf Play Crown".  Call it what you want, my kids love it.

The pattern is available for free over at Tangled.  Pamela there did a year of free patterns for 2010 and this crown was November's offering.

So, if your kids are bored this summer, maybe all they need is a few crowns to get those imaginative juices flowing.  Pair one of these with some flower fairy wings a la The Artful Parent and who knows what might happen...

"O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman.."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Someday

Ivy is a lucky girl.  While the older kids bite, scratch, tease, hit, scream, and curse at each other, every last one of them adores Ivy.  They play with her, carry her around, keep her safe, teach her things, share their cookies with her, and generally love her.  They fight over who gets to lay next to her at night (usually no one because they can't stop arguing long enough to let her fall asleep) and who gets to pluck her happy self out of bed in the morning.  This morning Violet got the honors (well, actually Daddy got her out of bed but Violet helped).  As I changed Ivy's diaper Violet peeked over my shoulder and made faces at her.


"You love Ivy, huh?" I said.
"Yeah, she's the cutest little baby," Vi replied.
"When you grow up do you think you'll be a mommy someday and have your own baby?" I asked.

Violet pondered that for a moment.  You could see the wheels spinnning.


"I do want to," she said, "But I don't know how to drive."
I chuckled a little, "Don't worry, when you're older I'll teach you how to drive."
"Can you also teach me how to feed a baby with my boobies?" she inquired.
"Sure," I said, "I can help you figure it out."
"Okay," she said, satisfied.

Now that I think about it, as a mother I do spend an inordinate amount of time driving people places and breastfeeding (though never simultaneously).




 Definitely two of the more useful skills in my Mom Toolbelt.

That got me wondering about where the boys were sitting on the issue.  Mitchell used to want to have a wife and family and I wondered what his plans were now.  When we discussed the issue of marriage a few months ago, this is what the boys had to say...

(At this point the boys had already decided they were going to be lifelong roommates)

Mitch: I think I'd like a wife

Henry:  Not me, they kick you off the computer and make you to do chores.

Mitch:  But we need wives, we need someone to take care of the babies.

Henry:  We don't need babies, they're too much work.

Mitch:  Good point.  But we still need wives.  Otherwise who is going to guard the house while we're at work?

Henry:  Okay fine... (he pauses)  ...wait a minute, we can just get a lock!  Then nobody can get in!

Mitch:  Yeah, a lock!

When I asked Mitch today about possible future fatherhood he said no, babies are too much work.  When I asked Henry the same question he had a new sort of answer today.


"No way, having babies is gross!"
"Well, it would be the mama actually having the baby," I offered, "You don't HAVE to watch."
"NO," Henry said, "MAKING the baby is too gross.  I'm never doing that."

I forgot that a while back he had gotten a little persistent with the "Where do babies come from?  And how did they get in there?" questions.  He got more or less the full scoop so he's totally turned off on fatherhood now.  Ah well, best that they think sex is "gross" for as loooong as possible.  I wonder if Violet's answer will change once she has all the specifics on exactly how babies get in there and how they get out. Hmmmm...

What about your kids?  Do they think they want to be parents some day?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is She A Good Baby? Part 1: Sleep

Having kids who LOVE to play in the pool all day long lately has given me a bit more time for reading.  Lately I've been working on finishing an intriguing book that I started quite some time ago - "Our Babies, Ourselves".

It is an anthropological and biological look at babies.  How are babies around the world parented and why?  Is there a biological foundation for these parenting techniques or are they primarily cultural?


I encourage everyone to read the book. It's fascinating. But I'll also share some of the info and insights with you here in my new series "Is She A Good Baby?".

Whenever you find moms trying to get to know each other and make small talk, at least around here, usually sooner than later someone asks, "Is she a good baby?"  I always answer "yes", but really, what am I supposed to say? 

"No, I'm pretty sure she's the Antichrist, but we love her anyways."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sunday Scribbles

Sunday Scribbles, Saturday Night Edition

*I am writing and posting my Sunday Scribbles on Saturday - SCANDALOUS!  But I just spent the whole day lounging by the pool in a bikini like a celeb so I kind of feel like I can do whatever I darn well please today.  And I can hear you raising your eyebrows but never fear, I don't wear the bikini in front of company.  I just thought I'd experiment this summer and see if it's even physically possible for my marshmallow stomach to tan.

*Spending days upon end in the pool is very nostalgic for me.  When I was a kid we were home alone most of the summer and had a family membership at the neighborhood pool that was just a few blocks away.  I can't even tell you how many days I spent there but lets just say the membership definitely paid for itself and I am now a very good swimmer.  Spending the last few days out by our pool has been just great.  We haven't been swimming so much in the kids whole lives.  Getting them all packed up to go to the pool or beach is just waaaaay too much work.  Swimming in the backyard?  MUCH easier.

*My kids thought it was awesome that I was (very very briefly) a lifeguard so we played lifeguard for a while and I showed off my skills while they got to pretend to drown.  They were also impressed with my diving ring nabbing talents.

*Tonight I tucked my kids in bed and then joined my hubby in the hot tub to look at the stars and the fireflies.  It doesn't get much better than this.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Letter from this smart person with smart kids

I subscribe to a variety of blogs.  Far too many blogs probably, but I like to read and i'm too cheap to subscribe to a bunch of magazines, so when I find a good stream of articles, I like to hold on to that.  One of the blogs I subscribe to is API Speaks.  What is this?  It's the blog put out by Attachment Parenting International.  If you don't know what Attachment Parenting is... well... maybe that's just screaming for another blog post from me on the topic.  But regardless, that's what I was reading this morning.  And the title of today's post was "Letter to that smart person with smart kids".

And, despite the risk of alienating a bunch of my readers with my fantastic ego, I'm going to go ahead and write a letter back. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian

As you may recall, last summer we dove into the world of caves and had alot of fun (and shhhhh learned a bunch, but don't tell the kids).  This summer's topic has been selected and it's a good 'un. 

Egypt.

Ancient primarily, but we'll do a little bit of "then and now" to keep it real too.  Today was the 5th day of summer vacation and we had done no Egypting yet, so we were overdue.

A few hours later, after a trip to the library, the thrift store, and Mama's makeup box, we had...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Scribbles

*  Sometimes the minds of the men in this family are just fascinating to watch in action.  Henry has been working on patterns in kindergarten so he figures if we want another boy in the family, all we need to do is have another baby.  Boy, boy, girl, girl... naturally a brother will come next.  Or perhaps baby chicks instead?

*  I have never had my children hound me for another baby to this degree before.  Apparently Ivy has made quite a good impression.  Despite the fact that I was a less than stellar mother for about nine months because of nausea and various aches and pains that got pretty severe, they are all gung ho to do it again.  Almost from the minutes she was born they have been asking when we're having another and they are still going pretty strong.  Not a week goes by that some child or another doesn't make a comment about more babies.  Funny that this doesn't happen until mama decides that if she has ONE MORE BABY she is probably going to go right over the edge.

*  On a more positive note, I am just one child away from writing a post updating our school situation.  One is still up in the air for the fall, but once we get that one nailed down, a post will follow shortly.

*  The three goose families that have been living on our route to and from school have moved.  We enjoyed seeing the goslings grow and waving to them four times a day as we drove past, but one day tragedy struck.  The families were obviously distressed as they milled around on the shoulder of the road near the place where a very flat gosling lay in the road.  The next day, they were all gone, flat gosling included.  Perhaps it was just too painful to continue living near the scene of the tragedy, perhaps the geese and ganders just realized that the shoulder of the road is an inherently dangerous place for preteen goslings to be hanging out.  Bye guys, we'll miss you.

*Speaking of roadkill, why did the chicken cross the road?  To show the racoon that it COULD be done.  Thanks to Uncle Warren for that chuckler.

What thoughts are scribbling around in your head today?

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Happy Anteater

Okay, just ooooooone more post about the flats and handwashing challenge - I promise this one will be the last. Thank you so much for bearing with us to those of you who like my blog but have little to no interest in diapers. I know it's a niche interest, but it's MY niche.

I'm an outside-the-box thinker. I'm not bragging, it's just a fact. Sometimes it's annoying, to myself and to other people. I'm always coming up with harebrained ideas, good and bad.

My flats and handwashing ala Walmart challenge inspired me to come up with a couple of doozies this week.  If you've been following along with me then you've already seen my no-sew fleece cover design.  But I was also tinkering with the flat itself this week.  I cut some homemade flannel flats, which worked fairly well, but what worked even better was the new fold I invented. 

I call it:  The Happy Anteater



Reflections in a Yellow Puddle

Whew! What a week! I feel pretty spent right now. But in a good way. In an "I just climbed a mountain" sort of way. This week I posted the heck out of this blog, I ROCKED the flat cloth diapers (even invented a new cover and a new flat diaper fold), and I took four kids three hours away from home to a campground all by myself (though my husband did join us later, it was still an accomplishment).

The camping trip was quite a feat all on its own, but coming at the tail end of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge made it seem all the more momentous. 

Speaking of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, (because perhaps we haven't spoken enough of it this week? lol), the final stats are in and this is how we did...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flats Challenge Day 7: Your Grandma's Diapers

Our guest blogger today is none other than my own mother, making her blogosphere debut.  Take it away Mom...

Never a dull moment in the Maelstrom. Being the Gramma amidst the swirling, I seem to be repeatedly swept into the vortex of change, the newest being the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.

 Back when my daughter first made the change to cloth diapers, I must admit she needed a chain to drag me along, or should I say just a few guilt ridden lines of encouragement. Before we all became cohabitants, I figured I'd side-step the cloth diapers and get to use disposables when the baby of the moment came to visit, after all, the Other Grandma got disposables sent to Her house. Ah well, the joys of being the maternal grandmother---so much more compliance is expected of you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flats Challenge Day 6: Sharing the Love



Since I am on vay-cay right as we speak, enjoy the guest reviews (I know I did!)...

How Are Osocozy Flats?  ClothDiaper.com Review and Giveaway
May 25, 2011 by Julie Kieras
When I made the decision to cloth diaper, I thought I’d have to use prefolds. Then I learned about modern cloth diapers and was delighted. The idea of flats (flats? What are flats?) never crossed my mind. I honestly didn’t understand why prefolds were called “PRE-fold” because you still had to FOLD them. So how could they be PRE-folded, right? This is because I was unaware of flats, which really ARE un-folded!

Flats are great, because they are lint free, so in addition to diapering, you can use them for cleaning, burp cloths, dish towels, changing pads, and any numer of uses! Flats are what the rest of the world (that doesn’t have easy access to running water and electricity) is using to diaper their babies, because of the versatility, ease of use, and quick dry time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flats Challenge Day 5: TGIF!

Wow, what a journey this has been!  The week isn't over yet, but I feel like I have learned so much already.  Like how to dry flats ASAP and use a t-shirt for a diaper, how to make my own laundry detergent, and how to make a Noso diaper cover.  Also little tips and tricks.  For example, if you give the wings of your flat a twist towards the back before pinning, it tightens the whole thing up a bit.  And you need to get that diaper as tight as you can if you are using pins, because it will loosen a little as soon as the baby starts to move.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flats Challenge Day 4.5: The Apoocalypse

Yesterday started out like any other normal day in a flats-challenge-mama's world.  All was well until both girls fell asleep at about 1pm in the livingroom.  They NEVER take a nap together.  So of course I got all distracted doing mama things in the peace and quiet and the next thing I know I have to leave RIGHT NOW in order to get to the school on time to pick up the boys.  So I whisk the girls up and into the van, and I don't change the baby.  Usually it's not a huge deal, and I will just change her when we get home (she often naps right up until time to do school pick up) but this time it was disastrous.

Flats Challenge Day 4: Noso Glory

This is a week of bloggy firsts. First time blogging daily for a whole week, first blog challenge, first guest bloggers, and now my first vlog!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flats Challenge Day 2: Homemade Love

It's Day #2 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and I'm definitely feeling the flat love. Only one leak yesterday, but I was really pushing the diapers to the limit so I think that was pretty awesome. I was even able to use one small, thin, Child of Mine flat all by itself with no leaks with a kite fold (though it was SOAKED under the cover). Very impressive.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Flats Challenge Day 1: So It Begins...

My sweet little angle woke up this morning, grinned at me, and then promptly filled her pants  :::sigh:::.  So for my first diaper change of the flats challenge I used a Walmart flour sack towel, origami folded (my favorite fold), pinned, with a Child of Mine cover over it.

My plan of attack for today is to try out all the diapers singly, without any soakers or doubling, and just see how far that gets me.  I expect today may be a little leakier than usual, but I thought for the sake of science, I should give each diaper a fair shake at holding its own. 

My arsenal for this week includes:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's So Campy!

Next on my to-do list is making a manual washer or "camp washer".  When I've taken flat diapers up to the Boundary Waters before, I did my washing by just soaking in a bin and scrubbing by hand.  Worked just dandy but it was a bit hard on my hands.

But the fabulous folks over at DirtyDiaperLaundry.com have posted a how-to video for a simple camp washer made out of a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger.  Seeing as how I've been so wicked crafty lately, I thought I'd also try being handy.

And since any task is more fun with a friend, a cloth-loving-flat-challenge-buddy came over to help me and also make her own manual washer.



Friday, May 20, 2011

Are You Ready For It?

The rapture that is.  Or the zombie apocalypse.  Depends on who you talk to.  But generally the end of civilization as we know it.

If you're not, the CDC has a great page about how to prepare yourself for the upcoming zombie apocalypse (their world ender of choice).  Since there is talk of apocalyptic happenings coming tomorrow, now might be as good a time as any to make sure you and your family are prepared.  And if the world continues on, it's still tornado and hurricane and flood season so your preparedness won't go to waste.

I like the CDC's page, but as KellyMom points out on her facebook page, they don't say anything about how important breastfeeding will be during the zombie apocalypse.  If you've seen any zombie movies lately then you probably know that zombie-itis is usually pretty catchy and there will be lots of dead and un-dead bodies all over the place so it may be tricky finding clean, un-infected water to mix up formula bottles with.  I think that's an important thing to note.

Also if you've got flat diapers and a manual washer for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge you are also ahead of the game because those are great for camping, FEMA style emergencies, and post-rapture societal meltdown.

1 day, 5 hours, and 30ish minutes until Judgement Day - are you ready?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gluten Free Gold Mine!

photo by Suat Eman
The Gluten Free Diet is something of a mythical creature.  It's the "Autism Diet", the "ADHD Diet", the prescription for those with celiac, and good for weight loss (it's Atkinsesque).  All just by cutting out gluten.

Yet it tends to be the last resort for ADHD, when medication after medication has failed and caused nasty side effects.  Because going gluten free often seems as uncatchable as a unicorn.  It seems like absolutely EVERYTHING has gluten in it.  Bread, yeah sure, but also soy sauce, beef jerky, corn flakes, potato chips, baked beans, ice cream, Twizzlers, beer, chocolate, soup, heck even communion wafers!

What is there left to eat?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crafty Bitch

Bazinga!  I am ONE CRAFTY BITCH!  Yes, I mean that in a calculating, clever, and foxy way but ALSO like this...


I made those cute baby leggings/pants from an old sweater.

This morning.

Before breakfast.


Unfortunately it doesn't have enough wool in it to be a waterproof diaper cover, but it's still super cute.  I used this pattern and it couldn't have been simpler.  Next time i'll scrounge up a wool sweater so it can be cute AND functional.


Also yesterday I was working on these pennants for a birthday decoration banner for Ivy's party - not quite done, but almost.  Some of them also feature pieces of that same sweater.  You know, I'm not sure who that sweater belongs to.  It's not my sweater.  Hmmmm...  It was in a bag marked with big black marker "GARAGE SALE" though so that's my defense if my mom or sister comes looking for it.



Oh, and also I made that baby in the picture above.  Bazinga.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The View From Here: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

As I stood doing dishes in front of the open window, sunlight streaming in and birds warbling, I heard those All-American words, "Keep your eye on the ball."






Every now and then they take a break from beating each other over the head to be really adorable and kind to each other.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting Prepped

Flats and Handwashing Challenge stats so far:

Total $$ Spent: $90.43 with tax
Total Time Spent: 1 hour (shopping)
Total Diapers Changed: 0
Total Leaks: 0

I'm on my way with this challenge thing and it's time to start keeping track of things I think.  How time consuming will it really be to use flats and handwash them?  Will thin little flats be able to contain Ivy's business?  How much money am I spending (no one tell my hubby lol)?  These are things I want to know.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Walmart Shopping Spree

So, as you may or may not know, I am participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge over at Dirty Diaper Laundry.  Not just participating, but participating with STYLE.  In addition to using only flats and handwashing the diapers, I am also using only products purchased at Walmart.  Not everyone has access to schnazzy diaper stores or online shopping, but most families have a Walmart they can get to.
Yesterday, to get geared up for the event I went shopping.  I had done some reconnaissance online before I went and was dismayed to see that my local Walmart no longer carried Gerber birdseye flats or plastic training pants covers.  I had resigned myself to flour sack towels and receiving blankets and who knows what for a cover. 

The View From Here


I know what you're thinking, you're wondering, "Is that a photo-shopped hoax picture?  Is that baby still alive?  Is that a doll?  Because there is no way that a baby could be napping in the study and live to tell the tale.  No way that some screaming banshee or flying toy hasn't woken her."

But this is a real, live, photo of Ivy folks.  The secret?  We are alone today.  Ivy and I have the house to ourselves this morning because the boys are getting schooled and Violet is having horseback riding lessons with Gram. 

Thanks free public education (hey, there are SOME benefits), and thanks Gram! 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Winner Winner Sheen Dinner

Thank you to all who entered my Earth Day giveaway, especially those who participated in a litter walk or other earthish activity.  The moment you have all been waiting for... the winners!  Though really, we're all winning (and I'm bi-winning).  Joe here is a double winner because on his litter walk he found a spiffy golf club.  But the prizes will go to (as chosen by a random number generator on random.org):


1. Sarah
2. MissMOE
3. Joe
4. Ruralmama



Winners should send an email with your mailing address to bogflower at gmail dot com to claim your prize.

Whew!  So after all that excitement, what now?  Well, now I'm gearing up to participate in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge issued by DirtyDiaperLaundry.com.  Use only flat diapers and only handwash them for one week.

This news story inspired the challenge and is inspirational to me as well. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

I love Guinness

I've said it once and I'll say it again - I love Guinness.  No, no, not the drink.  Nasty, vile stuff.  I'm a wheat beer kind of a girl.  I mean the Guinness Book of World Records.

Amazing.

Who knew that Wo Zuyou could blow up a 6.33 inch diameter balloon with his eye in one minute?  Or that 1,470 is the most people who have ever flossed simultaneously on the same continuous piece of floss?

Guinness knew, that's who.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chunky Lemon Soup

Soooo... yeah.  The lemon bars turned out not so much as bars and more like soup with a crust.  Totally my fault - I put them in too small of a pan so they were too thick to cook properly.  Instead they became (after chopping up the crust) chunky lemon soup.  Delicious, though leaving something to be desired in the texture department.  But we'll try this again, in a proper pan, and we may have a stellar gluten free lemon bar recipe for you yet.

Just not today.


Today I have chunky lemon soup.  Yum.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Merry Easterween! (A Dinnertime Tale)

Today was an overly ambitious day I think.  Spring does that to a body.  Today my mother and I grocery shopped (twice - we forgot some stuff the first time), made bread, made a full on turkey dinner with fancy pants dressing and lemon dessert, let the kids paint, made invitations for Ivy's 1st birthday party, played Blokus and even got the slaves, I mean children, to do some cleaning.  Bazinga!  Yes, you may call us the dynamic duo.

And what does turkey dinner make you think of?  Thanksgiving of course, and what comes after Thanksgiving?  Christmas of course.  So I decided today was as good a day as any to send out my 2010 Christmas cards.  Better late than never, right?  And the kids school and dance pics that had been collecting dust on top of my refrigerator.  Bazinga!  A little Easter suprise in the mail for the grandparents, thank you very much.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let the Sun Shine, Let the Sunshine In

I haven't been blogging as much lately for a variety of reasons.  I can't seem to find time to whip up a decent post.  I feel like I need more time to craft something, not just slap together whatever falls out of my head in the five minutes my kids might allow me for blogging.  More importantly though, it's been nice out.  Sunny.  Warm.  And it has made me feel frisky and ambitious.


What have I been doing with all that frisk and ambition lately?  Not blogging, ha ha.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tell Me Hank...

With another weighty religious holiday on the horizon, I've been thinking about family traditions and rituals.  One of my favorite traditions growing up was our Christmas tree.  We would tromp through the snow (we always tromped, never trudged, walked, scampered, or anything else - always tromping) and cut down a likely looking fellow, drag it home, then after decorating we'd have pizza under the tree.  Since we weren't the type to order pizza on any old lazy Friday night and food had to stay in the kitchen (and dinner at the kitchen table), this was something special indeed.

Another tradition was the annual "first day of school" picture in front of the front door.  Each picture was charmingly different - we got taller, lost teeth, gained teeth, got a new front door, and eventually moved to a new front door.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Committee of Sleep

Did you ever have a dream that you just couldn't get out of your head?  And then long after you have forgotten the specifics of the dream, the message of the dream still follows you?  No, not those typical mom-mares where you lose the baby or the baby falls in a river/off a cliff/out of a moving vehicle and you just can't save them.  I hate those dreams - ick - and they're so hard to shake the next day.  Freaky.

But no, I'm talking about other dreams.  Dreams that direct your life.  Dreams that make you go "oooooooohhhhhhh... I get it now."

Artists, poets, and scientists throughout history have relied on the "committee of sleep" to help them find inspiration and solutions.  Angels frequently appear in the dreams of biblical individuals with all kinds of messages.  There definitely seems to be something more going on at night than just rest.

Muse, thy name is Sealy.

But seriously, I had a dream last night that seemed to answer a prayer that I've been praying over and over again for many months now. 

"God, what do you want me to do?  I'm here.  I'm willing.  But I have no idea what I'm supposed to do or where I'm supposed to go.  I'm lost.  Help me find your path."

That is a very big prayer for me.  Over the last several years, I haven't felt lost very often.  I felt pretty sure of where I was going - the only question was how to get there.  Since Ivy has been born however, I felt like I lost the path and I was just wandering around in the wilderness.  Since we moved I have felt like I was LITERALLY wandering around in the wilderness (which is a much nicer feeling by the way than the other one).  But the key word here is wandering.

Then yesterday I read a book and last night I had a dream and both of them just spoke to my soul and all of a sudden I could see the path again.

Today, I'm breathing easier.

I really needed that.

Have you ever had a dream like that or a moment like that?  Tell me about it.  Or blog about it and put a link in the comments. 



~Namaste~

Monday, March 21, 2011

A light exists in spring...

A light exists in spring

Not present on the year

At any other period.

When March is scarcely here
 
--Emily Dickinson
 
 
Today is the first day of spring break for Mitch.  I was trying to decide if I should get them up early and keep them on their schedule, or at least close to it.  Or should I let us all sleep in - glorious sleep? 
 
I decided to sleep in since the baby was sleeping in.  When I finally got up and stood at the kitchen sink getting a drink and thinking that I needed to wake the beasts, I looked out the window and this is what I saw.
 
 
 
 
Turns out they discovered last night that the ground in the sandbox was no longer frozen, so they got themselves up early because they had "work to do".  I don't blame them, there are few things more enticing than a virgin sandbox. 
 
I just love spring, don't you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two Part Harmony: A Diaper Review

I was scoping out my blogger stats and noticed that the post that was consistently getting the most views over and over was my post on cloth diapers for newborns.  So obviously we have some readers hungry for cloth diaper info.  I don't blame you, it's a wild, woolly world of cloth diapering out there with oodles of options.  And I'm taking the hint - I'll feed the beast.  Here for your fluff loving pleasure is a delightful diaper review.

NOTE:  If you're not into diapers, skip this post, I won't feel bad.  Also, if you're a diaper connoisseur then you can skip the explanations in the middle and go right to the nitty gritty towards the bottom.

ANOTHER NOTE:  I picked up some of the new diapers to try at All Things Diapers, our local diaper store (also an online store and diaper service - they are multi-talented!).  They didn't commission the review from me, but they were generous enough to offer me 10% off since they love to hear how their products work "in the field".  Thanks guys!

So, today I'm reviewing a few different two-part diapers.  Some people call them All-In-Twos, some call them All-In-Ones with a detachable soaker, some call them hybrids.  These sort of diapers don't have an official name but I think All-In-Twos, or AI2 tends to be the most commonly used so that's what we'll go with. 

A little info generally about AI2s:  The AI2 has two parts - an outer waterproof shell and an inner absorbent soaker that is not permanently attached to the outer.  The traditional AI2 has its two parts connected by a snap (or several snaps).  Some newer systems do not have the outer shell and inner soaker connected at all.  The most well known one I am thinking of is the Flip diaper.  This is an outer shell (identical to traditional diaper covers) and a fleece topped insert that just lays inside.  While this probably isn't technically an AI2, I'm still going to put it under this category because it has all the same benefits and drawbacks of an AI2.  Functionally they are pretty much the same.

Benefits:  There are 5 major benefits to AI2s over other diaper types.

1.  The basic idea of the AI2 is that if you only have a wet diaper, no poo, you can change out the soaker and reuse the shell.  So that makes AI2s more cost effective than pocket diapers or AIOs because you don't have to have as many shells. 
2.  Unlike traditional pocket diapers, you don't have to dig in a pocket to pull out the insert.  The insert is right there on top where it can easily be rinsed and washed.  Your hands stay much cleaner.  You don't even need to detach it to wash it if it's a poopy one. 
3.  AI2s have a soaker that is free floating and not fully sewn together.  Traditional AIOs with the absorbent layer that is completely sewn into the diaper tend to be a little more difficult to get completely washed, rinsed, and dried.  A soaker that is not attached on three (or four) sides "floats" in the wash cycle and gets clean (and then dried) on all sides much better. 
4.  Some AIOs have gotten around the washing problem by only sewing down one side of the soaker.  This is a great solution for washing, but long term, this isn't great for the diaper.  I have seen many well-used AIOs that employ that style and the first place to give on them is always the stitching on the sewn in soaker.  Holes develop as the floating soaker is tugged on in the wash and dry cycles.  AI2s have a soaker that is either unattached or attached by a snap so holes don't develop as easily in those.
5.  Unlike a fitted paired with a cover, you don't have to put two separate pieces on the baby.  They go on together in one fluid (haha) motion.

Drawbacks:  AI2 diapers are great, but they do have one major drawback.  Because the inner soaker is just laying in the cover and isn't wrapped around and attached to the baby (like a fitted or a snappi'd prefold), if baby poos, poo is getting on the cover - for sure.  Maybe even out of the cover too.  So while you can change out inserts and keep the same cover when your baby pees, you will definitely need a new shell for each poo.  If your child is a once-a-day kind of kid, that might be fine.  If your child is a million-times-a-day kid (like it seems mine is), then you might find yourself wishing for the extra protection the elastic legs on a fitted diaper can provide.  With a stouter diaper to keep the poo in, you would be able to use those covers more often.

Another drawback, but more minor, is that you don't have the option to use the inner without the shell.  Some people never have a desire to do this, but many find that using a fitted or prefold minus the shell makes a useful tool for potty training.


The Diapers:

CuteyBaby Basics - I was astounded to hear that there were bonafide cloth diapers available at our local chain grocery store, but when I went to investigate, there they were.  Right next to the Pampers and bottles.  Kudos to you Cub Foods!  I haven't been a huge CuteyBaby fan in the past, but this was a slightly different iteration of the diaper and I just couldn't get over their mad marketing skills so I had to get one.

SoftBums Echo - This brand is a local favorite.













Flip - If you haven't heard of the Flip then you've probably been living under a rock (or a Huggies).  I definitely needed to include this popular option.

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and Green Mountain Diapers - Since the Flip is basically just a rectangle of fabric and a cover I thought I'd also toss the diaper hack version into the mix.










GroVia -  This is another pretty popular AI2 option.
















So, we'll go through each diaper individually so I don't lose you jumping back and forth.  I'll tell you my initial reaction and also give the diaper a "star" rating in each of 3 categories - functionality, fit, and price.

Note:  I am basing the price rating on a dozen diaper changes.  It is hard to fairly compare price on a single diaper because the different diapers offer different pricing options and you always get the best deal when you buy more than one.  Some of the diapers don't even offer a "single diaper change" purchasing option.  I'm also basing the price on the standard cotton or microfiber options.  Most brands can also be purchased in organic fabrics but that costs extra.  The exception is the Grovia which only comes in organic.

CuteyBaby Basics:  I didn't have super high hopes for this diaper based on my previous experience with their AIO, but since they were available in my local supermarket (score!) I decided to give them another try.  I was glad to see that the velcro was firmly sewed on to the diaper this time.  When I first put this on I was impressed by how stretchy and soft it was but was also kind of taken aback by how poofy and droopy it was.  It reminded me of a pillow strapped to her butt.

Functionality - (3 stars)*** - Unfortunately while there were great aspects to this diaper, I could only give it 3 stars for functionality.  It was a great daytime diaper but under more arduous circumstances (if I forgot to change right after nap) it got a little damp around the leg holes.  Also this was the only diaper to actually fall off during nakey baby playtime.  The hook and loop fastener they used wasn't very strong.  With clothes on over it and with regular changes, it worked fine though.  My thoughts?  The soft cotton outer that they have on it has wicking tendencies that you don't see with covers that have a polyester outer.  Minky diapers are prone to this too I've noticed.  One thing that kept it from getting 1 or 2 stars though, is its superior poop holding power.  The internal elastic makes a poo pocket that is hard to beat.  BM never got anywhere close to leaking out of this one.  The poo pocket did make it a little harder to rinse, but I'd rather put a little more effort into rinsing a poopy diaper than rinsing out poopy clothes or car seats or carpet.  While this is a poo grabber, you can't reuse the cover after a poo.  After a pee though, it dries out quickly and smell-free for reuse.

Fit - (3 stars)*** - Again, we have a mixed bag here.  On the plus side, the hip velcro is genius.  Drooping wings are always a big problem if you have a skinny waisted kid but with the hip velcro, the wings stay up where they belong.  Where they dropped the ball with skinny kids though is the tabs.  There is no crossover velcro so while I was able to make it work by tightening them all the way, I would have liked the extra room that some crossover elastic would provide.  The fit around the legs and waist was good, no gaps.  Another problem though was the trimness.  This is not a trim diaper.  "Pillow" is a word that comes quickly to mind.  Soft and squishy, but poofy and saggy.  A size down may have been helpful, but there are only two sizes and the smaller size was much too small.  So the sizing makes getting a good fit tricky.  Where they really excel is comfort.  This diaper really is very comfortable.  The cover is lined with soft fleece, the elastic is very stretchy and forgiving, a very comfy diaper. 

Price - (4 stars)**** - $100 to $150 for a dozen diaper changes

Softbums Echo:  At first look, this diaper looked intimidating.  I wasn't quite sure how that huge snake of a soaker was going to fit into that little cover.  One little fold under though and it fit like a glove.  It was one of the trimmest options of the bunch.  I also liked the crossover velcro and had to use it on my 9 month old because she's pretty trim herself.  My husband though, was too overwhelmed at the thought of what to do with that super long soaker so he ended up just taking it out and putting a Flip disposable insert in the cover instead.  He's kind of a cloth diaper chicken - he doesn't like to stray outside his comfort zone (velcro AIO or Flip style cover/insert arrangement)

Functionality - (4 stars)**** - No leaks, plenty of absorbency, and the one-size gadget worked perfectly to adjust the size.  The cover, despite the fleecy inner, seemed to dry out quickly with no residual smell so that it could be reused throughout the day.  The only reason it doesn't get five stars is because the flat soaker doesn't do anything to contain poop, so unless it is just a teeny tiny poo, you are going to have to change the cover with each BM.

Fit - (5 stars)***** - With the one-size elastic in the legs and the crossover velcro at the waist, it was no problem to get the perfect fit.  Also the extra trim cut between the legs made for a nice looking diaper and a very mobile baby.  Despite the trim cut, there was still plenty of butt cheek coverage.  The fleecy inner on the cover seemed like it would be very comfy where it touched baby's skin.

Price - (4 stars)**** - $100 to $150 for a dozen diaper changes

Flip:  The Flip looked easy enough and it was.  It is one of my husband's more preferred diapers because of how easy and straighforward it is.  Nothing fancy or confusing.  I wasn't too keen on the plasticy interior of the cover though which was in contact with the skin on baby's hips.  And while the concept was easy, because the insert wasn't snapped onto the cover, when my babe was feeling wiggly, sometimes the insert fell out of the cover while I was trying to wrestle it on her and I had to reposition it and start over (because by the time I repositioned it she had crawled away at top speed!).

Functionality - (4 stars)**** - Works like a dream, whether with the reusable or the disposable innards.  Never a leak.  Only wish the insert had some way of containing poo so I could reuse the cover after a poo.  The plasticy interior makes it easy to reuse this cover quickly.  If it's the only cover you have you can even wipe the cover dry and reuse it immediately - no waiting for fabric to dry.  Also this one is super simple to rinse off.  I found myself wishing for an insert that snapped in though because it was trickier to put on my wiggly baby with an insert that could be kicked or wriggled out of position.

Fit - (4 stars)**** - The one-size snaps work great for adjusting, the waist gets very small and very large, it really works great. Trim and not saggy at all, this diaper looks beautiful when worn.  The only thing I didn't like was the plastic that was touching my baby's hips, but when you give that up in comfort, you gain more functionality (you can wipe it out).

Price - (5 stars)**** - Under $100 for a dozen diaper changes

Bummis and Green Mountain Diapers:  This is an alternative to the Flip diaper.  Really you can do this with any prefold and cover, but the ones I had on hand were yellow-edged Green Mountain prefolds and a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in a very cute new print.  I like the versatility that this option provides me versus the Flip.  With a prefold I can roll up the sides to make a poo barrier or I can just fold it into third so it is just like a Flip insert.  Depending on what covers you use, this can be a lot cheaper than other AI2 options.  Other than that though, my opinons on this one are almost identical to the Flip.

Functionality - (4 stars)**** - Like the Flip, wish the insert could snap in.  Also like the Flip, great functionality - no leaks.  I like that I can roll up the prefold if I want to make poo barriers.

Fit - (3 stars)*** - This particular combo - the Bummis and a prefold - is a bit poofy.  Bummis are known for being a more generous cut.  Not excessively so though.  Good fit around the waist, legs, butt.  I like that the Bummis cover had a polyester inner lining so it was softer on baby's hips where the insert didn't cover.  I think for a five star fit, you would need to go with a trimmer cover for this combo.

Price - (5 stars)***** - Under $100 for a dozen diaper changes

Grovia:  The Grovia is one I have been using for a long time because it was one of the one-size diapers I owned that actually fit my newborn right from the start.  Lately though, she is starting to grow out of it, so I guess it's not a true birth-to-potty option.  One thing that strikes me with this diaper is how gentle the velcro at the waistband is - not too scratchy or stiff.

Functionality - (5 stars)***** - No leaks with this one.  Plenty of absorbency.  The elastic on the edges of the insert give it the ability to keep some (but not all) poos off of the cover.  So at least that way you have a fighting chance of not changing the cover after each and every poo.  The insert snaps into the diaper at the front and the back so it stays firmly in place.  The one-size snaps are your typical front configuration and work just fine.

Fit - (4 stars)**** - A fabulous fit!  The infinite crossover velcro waist means this will be able to get snug on the tiniest of waists.  It is nice and trim throughout the legs too.  The inside of the cover is lined with a soft mesh so plastic doesn't touch skin.  The only downfall here is that the diaper is on the small side so while it will fit a newborn, it won't last as long as some other one-size options will.  The rise on it, fully unsnapped, is on the short side and is what is going to be outgrown first.

Price - (3 stars)*** - $150 to $200 for a dozen diaper changes



WHEW!  That's a lot of info, I hope I didn't overwhelm you (I probably did).

The final word:  All the options were great, and I think all were fairly priced.  None were outrageously expensive.  The cover and prefold was a great economical option.  Most of the options were very functional.  I was pretty disappointed by the CuteyBaby though for function.  It's hard to pick a favorite overall.  I think all of them, except the CuteyBaby, will be in my regular stash rotation from now on.  Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The First Signs of Spring

The weatherman said that four of the next five days are going to be above 50 degrees.  Could it really be spring?  As I walked around the yard this morning, I heard a goose honking and I saw the telltale sign that spring is finally here. 

Nope, not a robin.

Not a crocus.

Wheels.








Monday, March 14, 2011

And Now, a Word from Hollywood

I love birthdays.  I love parties.  I love planning birthday parties.  Sooo much fun!

But I've been off my game lately.  Between the new baby and moving, this has not been a shining year for parties for me.  Mostly we've been just doing sleepovers and family stuff.  We celebrated Henry's party yesterday with a movie and Chuck E. Cheese's for the family.

As I sat in the darkened theater, watching hippie Martians hug, it occurred to me that Hollywood these days seems a bit heavy handed with their morals and messages.  Has it always been this way?  It seems to me that this is a more recent phenomenon.  Or at least maybe in past years they've been more subtle about it.

We were watching Mars Needs Moms.  It was a decent little flick.  Cute, made me cry, and pretty squeaky clean as far as language, violence, and sex goes.  A PG movie like you'd like to expect PG movies to be.

But whoooeeee was it propaganda!  Not bad propaganda necessarily since it was a message I didn't mind my kids hearing, but it definitely wasn't subtle.  It was the conservative's version of Artic Tale or Walle.

The general premise is that years ago Mars started tossing their males on the trash heap (literally) because they are "dumber than a box of rocks".  Males raise the male babies down in hippie-love trashland and females run the world and have the female babies raised by nannybots in a very strict, technologically advanced, and militarized society.

The moral?  Guys are good for something, love your mom, and the two parent family is best.

I can get wholeheartedly behind the first two, but cramming that third one down people's throats rubs me the wrong way.  I mean, we're a two parent family.  I like two parents families, I'm all for them.

But while I'm pro-two-parent-family, I'm not anti-single-parent either.  Everybody's gotta do what they gotta do.  Sometimes maybe the guy does need to be tossed on the trash heap, especially if he's tripping on psychedelic drugs.  And where does that leave mom?  Well she has no choice but to go to work in the Martian army and leave her offspring in the care of nannybots.

Just sayin'.

And while I was pondering the additional pro-graffiti message of Mars Needs Moms, it reminded me of Weeds.

No, the hippie monkey men of Mars weren't smoking MJ, but I've been watching episodes of Weeds for the first time lately and I was also surprised at how heavy handed that show is too.

I'm not talking about the pro-marijuana legalization message, because that's actually one thing that I don't really see in that show.  No hardcore "weed rocks" messages there.

But what Weeds seems to be doing is trying to gather together a more degenerate audience (you know, the type that would be attracted to a show called "Weeds") and help them along the road to educated and enlightened middle class.

For example, the multigenerational, black, drug-dealing family is very up on their modern parenting skills.  The new baby is worn in a sling and breastfed.  The new mama sends Conrad out for a breastpump and then sends him BACK when he brings home the wrong one.

Tell me guys, which do you think is worse, buying tampons or buying a breastpump?  I felt bad for the guy, but was impressed at the pro-breastfeeding message woven into the story.

It was after this particular episode that I started to notice that Weeds seemed to be full of these little "The More You Know" type moments.

Heylia warns against being too germ-phobic with the new baby.  We get mini history lessons on Noriega and several other topics throughout season 1 and 2.  The list goes on.  And I'm not even to season 3 yet (still waiting on that one - I requested it from the library - gotta love MNLink!)

Again with this one, I like the messages, but they stick out like a sore thumb!  We're smarter than that, Hollywood!  If you want us to take our pill you are going to have to hide it deeper in that spoonful of ice cream.

Have you noticed any particularly blatant propaganda-ing in your recreational media these days?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Barbie is my Role Model

I started out this whole mothering thing getting broken in by two boys.  While we certainly have had our trials, toys for them has been pretty easy.  Try to avoid too much senseless violence (no toy Glocks) and you're pretty much good to go.  They love blocks, cars, dress up, legos, all that stuff.  And I'm happy with their choice in toys too.  Very much focused on machines and building and adventuring.  Good stuff.

Now that my oldest daughter is starting to have definite toy preferences though, it is getting to be a trickier game.  The oversexualization and princessifying of girls is a real sticky wicket for me.  Vi is a total girl.  The kind of girl I never was and have rarely met in real life.  She's very affectionate, likes to clean, shop, loves to dress pretty and wraps people around her little finger with her big blue eyes any chance she gets.  A blonde bombshell who revels in pink and glitter.  She would make a perfect trophy wife some day.  Or a sexy zoologist.  Or professional wrestler.  Don't get me wrong, she's got brains and muscles too, but she seems to have a definite knack for girly things that has been with her since the day she was born.  And she definitely didn't get it from her football and hockey playing mama.  I am no girly girl for sure.

When we peruse the garage sale toy boxes she inevitably ends up begging for some sparkly monstrosity or stuffed animal.  Which is fine.  Sparkles are fun.  I like furry animals.

But as she gets older, her attention is turning more and more to fashion dolls.  She is a little fashionista for sure.  If you take her shopping and ask her what she wants to look at, you would expect a four year old to say "Toys!".  Oh no, not this one.  She wants to look at shoes or clothes every time.

It's kind of fascinating for me actually.  I was never that type and I guess I just imagined that while yes, my children would be their own individual souls, they would probably be kind of like me.  Hahahahahaha.  I just can't get over her some days.  It's very interesting watching a whole other kind of creature come into being.

But anyways, so I end up pretty torn about dolls.  I always kind of considered Barbie the Great White Satan personally.  But as I look at the choices that are out there for dolls and girls toys, I'm really rethinking my stance on Barbie.

I mean, yes, she has a ridiculous body shape.  There's no getting around that.  It's absurd.  But past that, she's a pretty rockin' chick.

I mean, there are worse dolls out there for sure.

Bratz are a hot item.  But how do they fare as role models?  They are teen girls who are obsessed with fashion.  Fair enough.  Nothing particularly wrong or out of the ordinary with that.  I'd prefer if they were obsessed with science experiments and community service, but hey, I can deal.  Their fashion, however, leaves something to be desired.  It's pretty stripperific.  Some of their signature items are midriff baring tops and skirts so short that they put their lady-flowers on display.  Both of these items are not only against our house rules, but they are also against the dress code of most of the schools in the area.  And these are supposed to be school girls.  Like Barbie, their bodies are pretty unrealistic, but they take it in a pretty freaky direction with giant heads and lips that have definitely undergone a series of collagen injections by the ripe old age of 16.

So, I'm not a big fan of Bratz.  In fact, they aren't allowed in our house.  Period.  Ick.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the Fulla doll.  Have you heard of this one?  The Fulla doll is supposed to be like Barbie for Muslims. She is the epitome of a good Muslim woman.  She always wears her hijab when she leaves the house and her life is focused around family.  She is very modest, so no issues there.  I like her style and I had no idea a headscarf could be so fashionable!  However, she seems a little too one-dimensional as a role model.  She loves fashion, her family, music, and sports, but has no aspirations outside of the home.  They don't have astronaut Fulla and president Fulla to say the least.  Though she does come with a kickin' pink prayer mat.  I like a doll who is not afraid to show her faith.  So I wouldn't mind a Fulla doll around here, but they don't sell them at Minnesota Walmarts (but maybe at Egyptian Walmarts?  Does Egypt have Walmarts?).  And like I said, a little too one-dimensional for my taste.

So let's bring it back to Barbie.  She's as American as apple pie (you decide if that's a good or a bad thing).  She is definitely a fashion queen, but then again that's what Vi likes about her.  But she's more than that.  I had no idea how much more until I looked it up.  Of course she's been in touch with her stereotypical feminine side as a ballerina, babysitter, model, and cheerleader (yuck).  But she's also been a surgeon, special education teacher, paratrooper, UNICEF summit diplomat, firefighter, paleontologist, NASCAR driver, rockstar, bus driver, news anchor, clothing designer, and Starfleet officer.  Barbie has ambition and chutzpah, but also cares for others.  And Barbie graduates every single year.

Not only that, but she managed not to get pregnant until Ken "put a ring on it" despite his irresistable advances.  That is a feat not just anyone can manage.  And while she did have a c-section, she had an old old old school (medieval school) all-natural c-section with no drugs (at least there was none in the pregnant Barbie package I saw).  Props to you Barbie, props to you.

So, as I've grown, Barbie has grown on me too.  She's got balls, she's artsy, she's got a brain, a family, lots of friends, and a rockin' bod.  Barbie, I'm sorry I was so bitchy at you for all those years.  I was just hating you because you were beautiful.  You have my respect and admiration now.  And I would be proud to have you in my house for my daughter to dress and my sons to rip your head off and march around the livingroom chanting "Sac-ri-fice! Sac-ri-fice!".  Yeah.  Sorry about that.  Boys will be boys.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ebb and Flow

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was swimming with the current of my life.  Usually I feel like a spawning salmon, struggling and struggling to make any headway upriver.  But yesterday was a decidedly good day.

Nothing earthshaking happened, nothing magical.  Mitch went to school, Dusty went to work, the rest of us went to the library and then just chilled.  But in a way it was a magical day.  Everything just clicked.  I felt like I was getting a peek into the secret garden that normal people live in.  It was all duckies and bunnies, sunshine and rainbows.

But seriously, it was great.  We got up, everyone ate breakfast without whining, and somehow the kids all ended up in coordinating outfits (not purposeful but very cute).  Mitch went to school and we hung out at my uncle's coffee shop and did kindergarten lessons with Henry while waiting for the library to open.  The kids were well behaved, the baked goods were delicious.  We got books and "Weeds: Season 2" from the library and then came home.  I made lunch and did laundry.  I watched Weeds and snuggled the babe in for a nap while the middles made an elaborate setup with the Geotrax up in the playroom.  When the baby was sound asleep we read a bunch of our new library books.  After that, we did some painting, got Mitchell, and did even more painting and train play.


After an uneventful dinner and the dinner dishes done, I took Mitchell to Cub Scouts.  While he was there I went back to the coffee shop to work on some blog posts I have in the hopper.  The evening ended with a few heartfelt tears remedied by some special father-son time for Mitch.  For me, another episode of Weeds for me, followed by snuggling.

See?  Nothing fabulous.  Normal stuff.  Which for us, is fabulous.

There was peace, there was balance, there was marital teamwork.  There was art, there was reading. Thank you God for this soul filling day.  It made me feel like we might actually have the capacity in us somewhere for a normal life.  Or at least as close to normal as I care to be.  And that is a great feeling.

How has your week been?  Any highs you'd like to share?  Lows?  I'm listening...
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