Monday, April 28, 2008

national poetry month

april has been national poetry month. stop and read a spell. here is one of my favorite books of poetry. gotta love shel silverstein.

and ee cummings, too.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday ;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

image from

it takes a village. or a whole damn state.

who would have thought work would be a break? this is the longest i have been away from the kids....well, since the kid became kids!

so, it takes a whole darn state of people to raise a child or two. we have five (yes, that's 5) adults shuffling 2 kids this week. yikes! today, grandma and nonno are watching finn, whom i dropped off and am picking up. uncle S was on lala drop off and is on pick up. both kids are with grandma and nonno tomorrow (me on drop and collect). wednesday, M on lala drop at preschool, me on finn drop with grandma and nonno, me on lala collect, and grandma on finn delivery. nonno on uncle S care, since S is having surgery. WOW!

and me....i have renewed my appreciation for my pump. got 9 oz in about 5 minutes of pumping this morning and another 6 oz and hour ago. of course the little guy would only reluctantly suck back a couple ounces at last check in, but i didn't hear wailing and grandma and nonno sounded good. i suspect they will have him on a bottle by wednesday night. can we all say a good date night is on the horizon for M and me? (tried and couldn't get a chez panisse reservation for the time i want anytime in the next month, but will try again...)

(oh, and yes, i know sleep training is likely out the window for at least this week as i am guessing this kiddo will wake tonight for night time nursings to make up for today!)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

milestones 4

okay, so i hit fried to tears by the end of the week. add the exhaustive factor of worrying about the weekend ahead with S and M off on their guy trip (kayaking in tomales bay. poooor them. not.) and i was toast. well i am hear to recommend sleeping through the night, by jodi mindell. i have been skimming and reading where applicable to us and am so refreshed to find a sleep training book that bends and flexes to suit multiple different styles. co-sleeping? fine. you can still help your child sleep better for them and better for you. 2 month old? 2 year old? fine. you can still come up with an appropriate schedule.

so after hitting crispiness, i hit reset and started over. i realized what a different place i am in with finn at this age than i was with lala. with lala, i was back at work at 7 weeks postpartum and so she was on a schedule based on my schedule and a schedule that her granny and grandma were able to help her keep for sleep and feedings. finn, my little man, suffers the curse of the second child and is shuttled around based on when i need to be where. unfair to the poor guy. he also got older (if you can call 4 months, old) at some point while i was in a sleep deprived zone-out, so it just knocked me back when i realized i was still nursing him to sleep.

so....i am now transitioning him into a bit of a schedule and have quit nursing him to sleep. and i am here to say (knock on wood) that he has slept from 6:30/7pm to 6/6:30am with no wake-ups (but with a dream nurse that he sleeps through at 10/10:30pm). he is going down for naps in his bed and sleeping an hour or more. he is going down awake and falling asleep on his own. and putting himself back to sleep when he wakes. YAY.

now, i fully expect set-backs because i am back at work for the week, finn will be with my parents, and....well, the baby doesn't take a bottle, so he is in for a traumatic few days. i can't think of anyone more suited to tackling the bottle battle with him than my dad, though, so that is reassuring. i suspect both guys will be wiped by the end of the day. and except for a couple 2 hour-or-so dates, i haven't been apart from finn, so this is a big deal for me this week.

and potty trained. she has had no more accidents and has moved from using the potty to the toilet. YAY. (oh, except she is still in diapers at night and will be for awhile, but i am not worried about this. not ready to tackle it yet.) AND my baby girl is now in a big girl booster seat in the car. i blinked and she grew up. sniff.

so, in (not so) short....the kids and i had a really good weekend. :) and so did the guys. ;)

why be economical?

we don't live paycheck to paycheck, but we know some people who do and many who have chunks of debt.

why are we frugal? a friend once told me a quote she heard: "we do the things we have to do so we can do the things we want to do." i use that line a lot now with lala when she is whining about having to do something she doesn't want to.

you can apply that statement directly to economizing or just say; we are frugal in many ways so that we can spend in other ways. frugality gives us some flexibility and broadens our choices.

i like what meredith at like merchant ships has to say and i like where she directs us to go to think more on it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

cute bag!

to do list

updated from my april fools day list (even though it was no joke!)

  • all the usual house chores
  • get through potty training and sleep training (without losing my mind)
  • file theft police report done
  • schedule financial planner
  • sort out 401k allocations
  • Baby latch on medicine cabinet
  • fix exersaucer toy done
  • clean bath tile and grout
  • Notarize wills
  • safety film onto kids room windows
  • weed old files
  • Finn's baby album photos & newspaper clipping
  • Declutter: work bench (and then move downstairs), CDs, garage, shop
  • nursing prereqs
  • Paint red wagon
  • research schools
  • Transfer videos to DVD
  • dye stained clothes
  • Sew: mei tai, boppy cover, fleece sleep sack
  • sell car parts
  • web searches
  • season cast iron

Friday, April 25, 2008

popularity contest

by the way, i can see a listing of my posts and and the number of comments for each. it is clear that the kids and decluttering garner the largest responses. no one is much interested in my frugal posts. that's okay. anyone reading is stuck with them, since that's just a part of what interests me at this point in my life.


i am totally consumed by sleep training at the moment. i just reached the brink of exhausted insanity. finn is a completely different baby than lala was for sleep, so i just hit reset and am starting over. be back when i find my brain.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

why i hate where we live

we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. M and i are so proud to be homeowners and we got here on our own with no financial help from family. ditto goes for all the DIY renovations we have done on our house (minus the recent termite repair work).

well, tonight, with S' help, we were bundling and moving all our junk out of the driveway for bulky pickup. we had been collecting it there to make the most of the free service (well, free with our paid garbage service).

so imagine our total pissiness to discover that last night or today (they were there earlier in the day yesterday) someone climbed through all the piles and walked off with $1000 in old cougar car parts M had left between the garage door and the cougar. it isn't clear if it was a person collecting metal for scrap recycling or someone aware of what they were taking. to you or me, it was a dented up bumper and some other random metal stuff. a recycler will only get $20 or so for the stuff, but because it was for a 1967 cougar, M can't just go down to kragen and replace the stuff.

that is why i hate where i live. we pay a shit load to live here yet we can't just leave something in the driveway and expect that it will still be there later. and our 3 year old already knows it and worries someone will walk off with her stroller if it isn't locked. (and it is locked. how sad is that?)

(and by the way, this is one of those topics i need to complain about, but please don't rush to post a comment telling us this is why we need to move and blah blah blah....thanks)

photo is junk we got rid of!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

earth day 2008

happy earth day, what's in a name blog followers. in honor of this day, all my posts will be somehow earth related. (and if you are wondering why my greeting is in blue, not green, it is because i heard an interview on npr during which the interviewee, an environmental organizer and lobbyist, explained that blue living is the new green living. a more holistic version of "green living." what do you think? a little too much? maybe, but also the new reality.)

making your own...

you know my 5 frugal things post below?

well here are a few links to get you started, for those interested...

also, where i mention that i do mail-in rebate programs? saturday, i received money from long's drugs for toothpaste i "bought" last month (pays to not care about brands) and a $10 safeway gift card for renewing our (already super discounted) newspaper subscription online. very cool.


i have to admit that i am not perfect and totally get sucked in by consumerism, despite all my preachiness. (target's dollar spot and the dollar store often get me and those are two of the worst for social as well as consumer and environmental reasons, aren't they?!) well, today, on earth day no less, i went to target AND babies r' us (you know, the costco size store that looks like someone barfed baby junk into?) in my own defense, frugality hit a nerve with the need to buy new car booster seats for lala. (for safety reasons, we won't buy these used.) she is 1/4 inch away from outgrowing the seat she has been in since birth. i researched them and target has the one we want on sale this week and we had a gift card to babies r' us. there. i came clean.

extreme simplicity

i thought this book, extreme simplicity: homesteading in the city, by christopher and dolores nygeres, was a fascinating read for anyone trying to make the simple life happen in an urban area. the couple lives in los angeles and makes it on very little income and without "typical" jobs. they had a ton of great ideas, but do note that if you have kids and don't have a double lot (they do), you are going to be more limited than they are.

photo credit:


i've talked about putting the word out before, but i mostly have done so from the angle of frugality. as we celebrate earth day today, i want to come back around to that from the environmental perspective. what if we were all able to more comfortably and successfully trade, barter, and share, rather than each of us buying new things? think of the material waste we would prevent! and i have also talked about from the selfish angle of my embarrassingly speaking up and saying, "hey! we could use X if anyone has it!" (this has most recently netted us our stove, which we offered to buy from our neighbor, but she wouldn't let us.) so how about i shout out from the other side...we have plenty and are happy to share and/or loan much of what we have have to friends and family reading this blog. we have done work and child care trade days with friends and love this approach, but also have material "stuff" that might be useful and save one of you out there the cost to buy, rent, and store yet another thingamajig. just a thought. if you can take good care of it, just ask!

Monday, April 21, 2008

when purging meets frugality

i just sold a stash of cloth diapers i just wasn't using or liking on finn. yay. money made. unused items gone.


all the C family babies have arrived now. 3 babies within 4.5 mo. cool! welcome baby AMC!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

sewing projects to do

now i am on a sewing roll. hope it doesn't get broken by the fact that my machine is in S' room! the fleece pants were a hit! i might make another pair and finn is already almost out of his sleep sack, so i plan to make one using this pattern. i made one with this pattern for a friend a year ago (shown in the photos). additionally, i would love a clean, new cover for my boppy pillow, found this link, and have cute striped flannel to use (another free bolt nunu rescued). and i still want to make mei tai for finn.

5 earthy things

you know my post pondering what more i can do to help the earth and asking you to do the same? it doesn't have to be much. if we all did just a little (more), even that would help. i am sure you have all followed the issues of decreased potable water, increased oil consumption, and increased greenhouse gas production and the impacts all these issues are having now, let alone as our children (and their children and so on) grow up.

so here are 5 additional earthy things our little family is committed to doing:
  1. switch to homemade or store bought phosphate free dishwasher detergent. (already have for laundry)
  2. do The Compact to the fullest extent we can manage, which means considering every single purchase. (won't manage all used items, because that isn't the most environmental option every time. for example, if a small new part is required to fix something rather than replacing the whole thing, we will buy the small new part.)
  3. continue to renew our TerraPasses and seriously consider our next car purchase if M continues the commute he has. (and no, at the moment, i don't want to go into a whole post about M getting a job closer to home or our moving closer to work. and unfortunately, telecommuting regularly isn't an option.)
  4. try to be more economical with our water usage
  5. work on "greening" our home. next step, blown-in insulation.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

i think i am over the big baby comments

here is why: S is here! he hasn't seen us for a little over 2 months. when he saw finn, he said, "he is big!" i replied with my practiced "he is perfect!" S says, "yes, he is, but saying he is big wasn't an insult."

good point.


Friday, April 18, 2008

okay, here is to hoping next week means better sleep all around. and not having to listen to both my babies wail themselves to sleep. breaks my exhausted heart.

(and for those giving a crap (pun intended) about milestone updates...lala has only had one accident all week. she is doing fabulously, but i am certain it is a stress, hence the bedtime wailing and general whininess. finn is being coaxed into a "dream feed" schedule, where i nurse him when i go to bed and then encourage him to sleep the rest of the night on his own. so far, we are up to about 4:30am. oh, and M is back to riding (a chunk of the way) to work now that his bike is repaired! goooo, M!)

5 frugal things

5 frugal things that help the earth
  • hang laundry
  • walk
  • make your own cleaners
  • grow a garden
  • recycle
5 frugal things that take no extra time
  • have an at-home day
  • compost
  • use less
  • buy used
  • send an email instead of a letter
5 frugal things i love
  • making something new from junk (part of recycling, above)
  • free - getting and giving (part of recycling, above)
  • baking at home
  • thrift shopping
  • sewing
5 frugal things i do:
  • diy projects
  • shop around and then bulk buy sales
  • use cloth...everything
  • wash and reuse non-meaty bags
  • mail-in rebate programs
5 good frugal resources (books/websites)
  • the joy of cooking
  • the complete tightwad gazette
  • the readers digest fix it yourself, do it yourself, and back to basics manuals
  • freecycle and craigslist
  • and in general, don't forget your local library!

hallway progress

i primed the hallway! now i can choose a paint and get it done. well...sort of done. it still needs trim and the cabinet we are putting into the hole the old wall heater came out of.

UPDATE: M came home and we decided to paint. here is the hall after the first coat. is it grey or purple? who cares. it was free and we have nearly 5 gallons of it. (it is the same paint we have in the entry, for anyone who knows our house and cares.) it will look good once the trim and cupboard are in and all the doors, trim, and cupboard are painted the bright white we have been using. really, there is very little wall in the hall!

BEFORE prime, paint, and new door knobs. after patching, though.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

tired and uninspired

lala woke me 3 times in a 1 hour period last night, just after i had nursed finn at 11pm (trying for a "dream feed" sleep schedule with him). the description my mamma friends have been using is "crispy." consider me battered and deep fat fried. i am tired and completely uninspired with what to post. so 2 things...
1) S arrives tomorrow. or maybe saturday. we don't really know, but we are excited!
2) earth day is next week and i have been giving this a lot of thought. i am ever striving to be better to our earth and learn new ways to weave this into our need and desire to live more economically. so ponder that with me....what are you going to do this week (and the next and the next and so on) to be better to our big round mamma?

they fit!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

fleece pants

what do you think? think she'll like them? think they'll fit? i'm a little worried the crotch to waist rise is too short.

(and a frugal thank you to nunu, who rescued this bolt of fleece from a woman who was in the midst of leaving it at a thrift store. the scraps from the pieces i cut for the pants are what will be used for diaper liners for night time cloth diapering the kiddos.)


i find the half ages to be the hardest...18mo, 2.5, and now 3.5 years old. lots of whining, crying, kicking. but now the added challenge is the girl is smart. i got corrected for using the word hate on the telephone because what do i tell her? "hate is a strong word. let's find another way of saying that." today, she ignored me (we are working on this desperately...any tips?) and it resulted in a chain of events that lead me to say "i am upset and disappointed." the girl just shrugged her shoulders and said "okay." UGH!

and my little guy....a woman says to me today, "you have a big baby." now...why can't i just say, "he's perfect!"? i replied "yep. he is long." she then asks how old he is. i said "4 months." she replies, "whoa! he is huge." to which i should have said "he is perfect." get the pattern here?

and what about me today? feeling a little sad after some news from a friend.
being productive...did my usual wednesday chores (changing bed/bath/kicthen linens, empty garbage/recycle/compost, vacuum, clean bathroom), washed and hung the luandry, vacuumed Bob, post trip (including the trunk!), and sanded and primed the patching in lala and finn's room.

i plan to sand the hallway tonight and prime it tomorrow night.

lala is having quiet time, finn fell asleep, and i am off to cut some fleece diaper liners and pieces for the fleece pants i am going to make lala. i think i settled on using this pattern and some of her existing pants to help me along.

g'day milestones 3

lala had her first accident this morning, but is determined to get another prize and try the big toilet.
finn woke crying at 10:45pm, cried solidly for 20 min, with M trying to soothe him twice. (it worked until M went away each time.) he then cried on/off until 11:30pm or so. he slept until close to 4am, when i nursed him and then he slept until 7:15am.
am going to try again tonight and if this happens again, i may opt to do a 10pm or so nursing then push him to go the rest of my night with no nursing. this would be ideal, really.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


okay, so M has a couple of major hobbies: woodworking and lala's cougar. me? i have dabbled in sewing. but it has been awhile and all of a sudden, i am desperate to get back at it.

here are some links to get me going. i want my first two projects to be a mei tai for finn (i have one, but i made it when lala was 18 mo, so i want one with a narrower leg spread for my little guy) and some fleece pants for lala, since i have a big bolt of fleece. these t-shirt pants are also adorable and a fabulous way to frugally recycle clothing. oh, and how about these?

in general, jan andrea has some fabulous projects.

TLM thinks i should make my own pocket diapers. or fleece ones. i guess i could add legs and use this pattern for pants, too.

stimulus package

our economy sucks so badly, the feds are giving us money to try and get us to spend the money. what is wrong with this picture?

lala, who is 3.5 yrs, was given money to treat her nonno to lunch last week when he watched her so i could be on a conference call. she didn't want it. she wanted money. you know...the jingly kind. so i gave her some pennies to go with the bills. when i mentioned this all to my dad, we had a laugh about how smart kids are. i mean, hey, 5 pennies is more than 1 $1 bill, right? and as my dad pointed out, that bill isn't worth much these days anyway, given that our government just prints more when they run out. sigh...

milestone update

okay, knocking off the laxatives already. in 24 hours, lala pooped SIX times in the potty. my mom, who dropped by for a visit (it was sooo nice, thanks mom!), heard my worry about running out of prizes and brought some (more) goodies with her. she had supplied the first batch already! so success so far there! YAY!

finn woke twice last night, each time 5 minutes before my cut offs, so cried for 5 minutes each time and nursed for about 10 minutes each time, but the second nursing was distracted and he was awake and chatting to himself afterwards. so tonight, i am going to push both times back by 15 minutes (maybe more on the second), push the bassinet further from my side, and M will get up and try and soothe him before nursing him a second time. napping in the crib has gone fabulously!

Monday, April 14, 2008

milestone week

i am just wiped out. we got home from our trip only to have a night where, between my 3 favorite people, i was woken SIX times during the night! so with S coming this weekend, i am making a sleep training push. i am tag teaming it with a poop training push with lala, so unbeknownst to her, she began a laxative daily (doc prescreibed, no criticisms, please!) on saturday morning and was told there would be no more diapers for pooping once we got home and that there was a prize for each time she didn’t have an accident. by dinnertime tonight, I was worrying that she would just poop once in a diaper at bedtime (she hadn’t pooped since saturday), but she pooped twice between dinner and bedtime! she was so proud of herself and i was thrilled because it ended a very tiring, incredibly whiney day from her.

finn, meanwhile, got pink eye over the weekend, but it is already clearing without medicine. I began sleep training him today. no more swing naps if i can help it. he napped a short time in the crib in his and lala’s room (first sleep in the crib!) this morning. i suspect if i had let him cry a bit, he might have fallen back to sleep. during the afternoon, i put him down in his bassinet in our room (lala was having quiet time in their room). he slept longer for that, with a wake-up/cry time in the middle, during which i checked him and gave him tigger. he grabbed tigger, hugged and sucked on him and fell back to sleep. right after his pre-bedtime diaper change, i laid him in the crib to wash my hands and help lala, came back 3 minutes later for him, and he had fallen asleep in the crib! i moved him to the bassinet and he is still asleep.

my plan tonight is to not nurse him before 12 am and then not again before 3:30 am, even if it means letting him cry. (again, no criticisms. this is really hard for me to do, but i have no regrets at what a better sleeper lala is for our having done this with her.) fingers crossed this isn’t too painful. i thought about starting this last week, but after letting him cry for 20 minutes one night, i nursed him and figured i should wait until after the yurts. now I want to be through the hard part before S gets here.

here is to better sleep for everyone.....

coming down - heading up

some months ago, i posted about coming down from the intensity of everything that happened last year. one of the benefits to a long car ride for us is an opportunity, undistracted by our surroundings (except for the chattering, interrupting 3.5 year old) to talk. about anything. about everything. driving down our beautiful coast, we agreed that we need to do more trips, even just free day outings, together as a family of 4. in a round about way, we started discussing how all of a sudden, we have a few free weekends in a row coming up and how long it has been since that happened and how foreign it feels. M started talking about how difficult last year was and how we are still trying to recover. he said that, last year, we went into overload debt so deeply that we are still trying to pay back our reserves. we aren't talking money here. we are talking energy and time. he commented that this took a toll on our relationship and that having since added another child, he and i are rediscovering our way. (don't worry, we are good! :) ). and he said he suffered permanent career damage. he just couldn't make enough time for his dad, us, and his job, so his job suffered the most.
so here i am to say that 6 months after the death of his dad, grieving still continues. tom's loss. the loss of time. the loss of innocence. the loss of freedom. the loss of energy.
but things do get easier, and if you could have seen how cute lala was with M first thing the morning of his birthday or the pleasure M got watching finn giggle uncontrollably as lala made funny faces at finn, you know we hit the bottom already and we are definitely on our way up.

yurting 1

lots of questions about our weekend!
we went down the coast to big sur this weekend and stayed at a yurt resort. M loves yurts, so before xmas, when i read about this place, i booked us for his birthday. it was very cool! for those of you interested in staying at this place, when you are ready to book, email me for rates and my thoughts on which # yurt you should ask for. we were probably in the worst yurt there (placement of the yurt...the yurts themselves were identical and quite lovely), because only 4 of their yurts are set up for families and ours was at the top of the stairs from the parking lot. we also had the least expensive yurt (they are priced, varying on placement on the hill), so this worked fine for us! we had a view of the hills (gorgeous) and the parking lot (not so gorgeous, so we suggested they install and opaque railing on that particular yurt to block out the parking lot, stairs, and lights). some of the yurts are removed and private and many have gorgeous ocean views. the place is secluded and has a pool, hot tub, and includes a waffle bar breakfast. :) more on the yurts for those who want to know. just ask and i will post. we got info on the yurts themselves, because we want to buy property and a yurt may be the first structure we can afford to put on our yet-to-be-acquired land.

as for the rest of the weekend, we went south to san simeon for a siting of elephant seals, tour of hearst castle (cool, but a bad idea with a 3.5 yr old) and then on to cambria for some food and beach action (fabulous beach)!

the weather was gorgeous and it was nice to have time, just the 4 of us!

(oh, and yes, that is a zebra at the bottom. right on the side of the road. william hearst used to have a zoo on his property and the zebra are still grazing on his land...)

yurting 2

Sunday, April 13, 2008

happy birthday, M

yesterday was M's bday and we had a long weekend away as a family. i love you, baby!
(more photos and babble to come about our weekend.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


when M gets really tired, he talks in his sleep. lala does this too. the difference with M is that he often does it as he falls asleep, so he is mostly asleep, but talking, insisting he is awake. this is problematic when he and i are having a heavy conversation as we go to bed (bad timing, i know). he can be mean (for him...mean is all relative) and not have a clue what he is saying. anyway, the night before last, we were having a light conversation when i realized this was happening. we had an odd exchange, which i tried to end and he resisted ending (incoherently). finally, i said "i love you, good night!" he says "do you? i am glad. because you know, you are my #6."

i laughed so hard that it startled him half awake and he accused me of being rude. (which of course made me laugh even more.)

in the morning, i had to tell him about this and ask...who are #s 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5? :)


time is flying. such a cliche statement, but i have been labeling all my blog posts, so during a conference call to work, i went through old posts and labeled them. as a result i got a flashback of my past year. so much has changed. my little girl has gotten so much more grown up. my little guy has been conceived, grown, birthed, and is becoming a little person. my father in law died. i have struggled with the numerous changes in my own life, my own balance, my own reactions, my own responses. i am exploring and welcoming input on my journey as a mamma, as a home economist, as a world economist, and as a good steward to our earth. i guess this is my journal and your peek into a bit of what makes me tick.

and with this post, i will add a new label. me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

babies... quickly they grow!
our little friend LMH celebrated her half-birthday yesterday. it amazes me that she could already be 6 months old. and it amazes me that finn is already 4 months old. in the last week and a half, i went from worry over his delayed physical development (stiffness being the primary concern) to the mamma of a very giggly little guy who is kicking and bouncing and on the verge of rolling himself over. and 4 months has meant so many changes for his big sister, too. i am not sure she even remembers life without him in it. she seems to add him into all her pre-finn memories. she no longer uses a binky, doesn't nap anymore, and dang...when she does, she is a night owl! (9pm, still awake tonight.)

and the sleeping baby and my big girl tickling her little brother, trying to make him grin for a photo she is taking.

about that decluttering

i got a few emails and posts from friends and family worried i would purge away special presents and toys lala has been given. don't worry! i am not. but honestly, people, that is part of my problem. i am trying to keep special items (those in question were special items), toys she plays with, things i think finn will play with, and then i have to let go of the guilt tied to most other stuff. we just don't have a very big house and kids encompass a lot of it.

so, from now forward, please understand that when i say decluttering, for me it is a combo of purging and organizing.

here are a couple of ikea hits...a lovely basket to store toys in the living room (big improvement in my eyes and since i live here, that is all that matters) and 3 cork trivets applied with double stick tape to our kitchen/downstairs door, so i can tack papers on that need to be put in the file cabinet. (there used to be a chalkboard here, hence the residual tape i need to remove, but we have chalkboard paint on our hall door, so that is now home to our weekly calendar.)
S' head will thank me. we used to have a basket tacked to the kitchen door and he kept hitting his head on it as he went down to his room!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.

I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put them down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom -
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love,the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being aMom.

I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

~a random email - i sent to my mom last year, she returned to me today. love you, mom.

kid clutter

my friend and i have been having an interesting email conversation about purging toys. how does one keep the kiddo clutter down and teach your child to let go and share? anyone that has ever had a 3 year old knows that this is tough. you want to involve your child in the process at this age, but getting them to let go (they are natural hoarders!) is tough.

until recently, i would wait until lala was out of the house, then go through her toys, purge, bag and store in the garage until enough time had passed that i had decided she wasn't missing the items. we have a lot of family in the area, so it seems new stuff is always coming into the house. so, it has only been in the last couple of months that i have told her for every item that comes in, one must leave. she has been involved in the last round of purging, particularly for bigger items. she just asked for a doll cradle and was told she would need to trade her doll bed in. no problem. she even told me which friends she would like to offer it to! this happened again with toy grocery cart versus stroller. she also knows that some things go out on our porch for freecycle or donation strangers to take. for little things, i am still a sneaky purger, but i only take the items she has multiples of or i simply never see her play with.

i feel like this method is good for now. it is helping introduce to her the idea that other people have less than we have and we need to share. it is my little way of moving us towards a future of volunteering.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment."
~Ansel Adams

photo from

cloth diapering - updated review - #2

my last cloth diaper post was a copy and paste of something i had written about cloth diapering when lala was about 1 year old. i have now gotten almost all the way through a very long, rough potty training period and begun cloth diapering #2, who happens to be a boy (so a bit differently shaped) than baby #1. here are my updated thoughts.....
(Forgive me if gender switches back and forth...I am taking my previous post and updating it for my full 3.5 years and 2 kids (different genders) worth of experience thus far!)

We use a combination of Chinese diaper service quality (DSQ) prefolds (those flat diapers that are called prefolds because they are layered with more thickness in the middle) and Motherease one size fits all snap-on cloth diapers. I love the prefolds. Even with pocket diapers I use our prefolds, not the inserts that come with them, and while the Motherease are convenient, even with the snap in doublers, they aren't absorbant enough in my opinion!

When putting on the prefolds, unless we are using a pocket diaper cover (see below), I put the diaper under the butt, then twist it so the twist is between the legs. I secure it using a Snappi (rubber clip with claws that grab the diaper).

COVERS…I am very opinonated. My hands down favorites, consistently through all the sizes, are Proraps. Fuzzi Bunz (pockets), Bummi, and Imse Vimse Bumpy covers tie, but Proraps are the cheapest. We have used and tried: LiteWraps (love the fit and leakage protection, but they are expensive and wear-out quickly), SnapiWraps (love the fit, but leaked), Cot n’ Wraps (loved the fit, but leaked), Nikky’s nylon (love the fit and leak protection, expensive, and fit best when she was smaller), BioBottoms (loved the fit and leak protection, but better in smaller sizes and expensive). Bumpy (love the fit and leak protection. Expensive.), Prorap (love the fit and leak protection.), Dappi (fit is ok, leak protection is good, don’t like the vinyl.), Gerber EZ covers (okay for fit and leak protection. Inexpensive, but they don’t last.), Fuzzi Bunz pocket diaper cover (love the fit and leak protection, but very expensive…use for overnight with a prefold folded in quarters inserted), Diaperaps (didn’t like the fit when she was smaller. Size medium seems ok. Good leak protection), Bummi (nice fit and good leak protection. hands down best for a big toddler still in cloth overnight), BumGenius 2.0 (rave reviews from other, but leak for us!), Wonderoos (leak).

Our 3.5 year old is ~35 lbs and still wears cloth at night. She outgrew our beloved Fuzzi Bunz at ~ 30 lbs and so at night, we use a toddler prefold, doubled with a premium prefold folded into quarters, lined with a fleece liner, all twisted on and secured with a toddler snappi, wrapped in a Bummi. Works great for our heavy wetter!

Since our girl outgrew the pocket diapers, we have acquired some "new" pocket diapers that are considered one-size-fits-all. Wonderoos and BumGenius. Wonderoos just generally leak. The inner fabric is not fleece, and that might be why. BumGenius get rave reviews from almost everyone, but our 4 mo old son is still leaking out of them at night. I bought them very gently used, so will try stripping them, but if that doesn't work, I will be reselling and diapering him in a similar method as I mentioned for our daughter, above, at night.

Wool: I have only used a couple of wool diaper covers and so far, they just aren't for me. They require a different type of care and I am allergic to wool and lanolin, so I have a rough time with them.

NUMBER…we try to change hourly when in cloth during the day. The exception is when she is in a Fuzzi Bunz…the layer of fleece helps keep her skin dry. I sent 5-8 diapers and 2 covers with her OR 5 Fuzzi Bunz with her to childcare whens he was ~1 year old. I send 8 washcloths (for wet wipes). I almost always come home with clean leftovers. We don't change either kiddo at night and our son is only 4 months old. I think having a stash of 30 or more prefolds and 8 or more covers is ideal.

DIRTIES: we use Bummi’s coated nylon sacks for transporting dirty diapers, covers, and wipes and for lining the dirty diaper pail (a Diaper Champ).

WASH: we wash every day or every other day. Cold rinse with baking soda. Hot wash with Trader Joe’s laundry soap. I dryer dry the diapers. I hang dry the covers and Bummi bags. Any stained diapers or covers are hung in the sun.

TIP: Imse Vimse liners are great for dealing with poop and reducing the need to dunk. Tushies disintegrate, often while still on the baby, and Gerber EZ liners, my first favorite, are no longer made.

OTHER RESOURCES: is awesome for reviews and for forum support. You can buy and sell used diapering supplies there too. You can buy/sell at, too. You are no longer allowed to sell used diapering items on eBay. lame! I have bought most of our new diapering items at great service! And...I would guess we have spent approximately $300 on cloth diapering 2 kids. This includes some new items, some used items, and a fair number of freebies.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


besides the huge bucket of clothes she just gave us for finn, our fabulous neighbor just gave us her lovely stove/oven, which she is replacing with a kitchen remodel. woo hoo! i bake and cook A LOT, so this is so exciting for me. our old oven was very basic and the door was bent, so it leaked heat out of one corner!

also, i posted an in-search-of (ISO) post on a local parents board for a doll cradle (to buy) and a generous woman gave us a doll cradle and high chair. lala is in heaven!

finn's month-aversary

i can't believe he is 4 months old already! dang if he isn't the cutest, smiliest, mellowest baby ever. finn is really into the giggles now, too!

Friday, April 4, 2008


we miss you, tom. it has been 6 months today.

zip zip zoom zoom

if we have to own and drive 2 cars (yes, i know have to is all relative), you know what i really want? one of these with biodiesel conversion and bio fuel from some local eatery (for me)

and one of these (for M)

week in the life of a SAHP

oh my! a napping preschooler 2 days in a row?!

i was starting a "week in the life of a stay-at-home-parent (SAHP)" post, but frankly, it was damn boring. that isn't to say my life is boring or what we do is boring. completely the opposite, actually. i just don't think it makes for interesting reading to anyone other than those who adore us completely (we miss you everyday, baby!) or are trying to make a new go at being a SAHP and need support on how their day is going to be filled (because they will be filled, oh yes). does this mean i am in a SAHP groove now? yes, but still missing space for exercise my body and mind in a "me" way, not in a "chase down a 3.5 yr old while simultaneously nursing a baby all the while trying to explain what the word 'kill' means and why it isn't an okay concept for a 3.5 year to be discussing openly."

we filled the 10 day stretch of no preschool really nicely and had a great time together. and i am able to juggle the kids and some of the thrifty activities we have had to resume to have me home. that said, i have had 2 incredibly productive mornings this week, since preschool resumed on wednesday! the moment of SAHP truth is coming because i return to work (for legal reasons) for a few days at the end of the month and am then unemployed. which means it is not only real, but we will truly be one income. we are chewing on that now....more posts to follow.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

homemade popsicles

you can mix just about anything and freeze it into popsicles for a healthy treat. these happen to be homemade yogurt, orange juice, and strawberries that were starting to get mushy, blended and frozen in molds bought at ikea (i.e. cheap). healthy, but i still only give them as a treat when requested and a proper meal is eaten (unless i am at the end of my rope and need a good bribe). other good freezeable options....frozen fruit, juices, milk based smoothies, homemade yogurt (even if it hasn't set), jam (even if it hasn't set). i bet you could even sneak in some veggies (like odwalla does in some of their drinks that still taste fruity and sweet)!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

hey, R...

lala got your card and stickers. and stuck to the "skin or paper only" rule when i wasn't looking. see? :)

meal staple

what is the meal staple in your home? in ours, it is beans. we always have a container of beans on hand. we buy dry beans in bulk (25 lbs at a time!) and make beans by the pot full. each pot makes 4 or 5 pint sized containers, which we freeze until needed. beans and rice, bean burritos, even just beans on their own. we love them and they are cheap and nutritious. here is our basic recipe: soak beans overnight. to a pot (we use a pressure cooker to cook them up quickly), add the beans and cover completely in water. add crushed garlic, chili powder, several jalapeno peppers, chopped onion or onion powder, and salt. all to taste. cook until tender. if you cook them extra long, those pintos get deliciously mushy, like a healthy "refried" bean.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

new checklist- too many things to do

maybe because lala has been on spring break for over a week and she doesn't nap anymore, but my list is growing without my having a chance to check things off. and this list doesn't include what M works on (endless house fix-its).

  • all the usual house chores* doing. doing again. and again. and so on.
  • schedule financial planner
  • file for childcare reimbursement
  • sort out flex account and 401k allocations
  • benefits enrollment done
  • get life insurance for me done
  • Costco done
  • IKEA
  • mail/file taxes done
  • Baby latch on medicine cabinet
  • Notarize wills
  • Vacuum downstairs done
  • Sort & pack boy clothes from Karen done. oh my! combined w/ what we already have, i think we are set on everything except socks through 2T. that includes shoes and jacket! finn will be in 2T before 2yrs, though. :)
  • safety film onto Lala's windows
  • mamma musings/journal ongoing...
  • smog Bob
  • file papers done. this, sadly, had been on my list since before finn was born.
  • Finn's baby album photos & newspaper clipping
  • itemize,declutter, & empty workbench. Move downstairs.
  • Paint kitchen floor
  • steam vacuum done
  • Declutter: work bench drawers, CDs, garage, shop
  • nursing prereqs
  • Paint red wagon
  • Prime & paint patches in Lala's room
  • sand, prime, and paint hallway (so M can make and install handmade cabinet and trim)
  • research schools
  • Transfer videos to DVD
  • dye stained clothes
  • Sew: fleece pants, mei tai, boppy cover, fleece sleep sack
  • sell car parts
  • check and re-spray ivy & blackberry
  • web searches
  • get car booster seat for Lala
updated 4/4/08

*curious about the regular chores? sweep and wash floors, vacuum, empty garbage, wash diapers, change bed, bath, and kitchen linens, wash all laundry, hang dry if possible, bake, cook, pack lunches, wash dishes and empty dishwasher, wash big pots by hand, tidy up, tidy up, try and teach lala to tidy up, change diapers, bathe kiddos, clean bathroom, clean kitchen, tend garden, grocery shopping, and assorted other crap i can't think of now.

when LH gives you lemons.... make lemon bars!

lemon bars
1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup melted butter
mix and press flat into 8x8 inch pan. bake at 350 F for 20 minutes before adding top layer

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons lemon juice
grate rind from 1 lemon
mix well and pour over pre baked crust. bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. cool and dust with powdered sugar.

recipe from maggie s.

Monday, March 31, 2008

mike bikes

M started biking part way to work. how cool is that? he found a route where he drives down to our side of the bridge, parks, then rides his bike over the bridge (the wind resistance alone scares me!) and then on to work. good exercise and a savings of ~$6 daily in bridge tolls and gas! yaya, M!

toddler tear-jerkers

these 3 books make me cry almost every time i read them to my kids....
(had pictures, but they are now failing to show....not your typical, well known books, which is why i share these three.)

  • i loved you before you were born, by anne bowen
  • when mamma comes home tonight, by eileen spinelli
  • on the day you were born, by debra frasier

Sunday, March 30, 2008

picture perfect

want to recycle, wrap a pretty gift, and spend no money on wrapping? use a map. mine were all out-of-date freebies from AAA.
(you can also use sheet music, wallpaper, comics, and assorted other recyclable papers!)


our fabulous friend and neighbor emailed me and said "come over and look through boy clothes." i did and check this out. there was a ton of stuff she was happy to give me, but this is what i walked away with after i sorted through it all...a third of the ton of stuff, which left me with...a ton of stuff! with the exception of shoes, winter jackets, and PJs, i think finn might be set through size 2T (which he will be in at around 18mo, i expect).

Saturday, March 29, 2008


1/2 to 1 cup honey (i use a full cup if i omit the oil)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup oil (you can omit this, but then use 1 cup honey)
1/2 cup bran
1/2 cup sesame seeds
7 cups oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
(nicola's additional options: nuts, other seeds, ground flax, raisins or other dry fruit (add after baking))

mix all the dry ingredients together. stir in the wet. bake at 350 F for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. stir and check every 5 minutes.

recipe from Far View Ranch Camp

chewy granola bars
3 cups granola
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips or fruit
2 eggs

combine well. press into a greased 8x8 baking pan. bake at 350 Ffor 20 min slice into bars and cool.

recipe from miserly moms

whoever says parents don't take as many photos of baby #2 as baby#1 didn't live in the digital era. look at my little cutie, lifting his head. tigger joined him, but tigger's head control is a bit behind. ;)


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