Thursday, January 28, 2010

Climbing out

Have you ever been in a pit? You know, one of those times in your life where all you see around you is dirt and mud and muck? I feel like we've (our little family) been in a financial pit for the last two and a half years. And through no great skill of our own, I feel like, kind of, sort of, maybe (I don't want to jinx it, after all) we're climbing out. It seems like tiny steps are appearing out of the mud and muck and if we're just smart enough to step on them, rather than jump onto them and promptly jump back down into the muck, we might eventually find ourselves climbing out of this mess.

I have learned though, that these steps are only so supportive and we need to treat lightly upon them so we don't crash through them (they're only piles of dirt). This is sometimes difficult to navigate, this idea of responsibly using what is being provided without crashing through like the proverbial bull in the proverbial china shop.

Morgan read recently that due to economic hardships the world over, they (you know, the elusive "they") are calling this the Humble Age. For us, that couldn't be a more apt description. Two and a half years ago we were flying high. We had enough money to provide for our basic needs and enough left over to allow us to do pretty much whatever we wanted. We had two fully financed, brand new, under warranty cars and house we owned (HA!) and the knowledge that we could spend whatever we wanted this week because next week, another paycheck was a-comin' in. Back then, in my mind, people who didn't have those things, probably didn't work as hard as we did, or maybe they weren't as smart as we were. Or maybe they were experiencing a run of bad luck. Most likely they were just irresponsible. The me of today laughs at the me of three years ago. HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAH! And I just want to say to her, "you stupid, stupid, arrogant little twit. Just you wait, you will be humbled and humbled BIG TIME."

Its different for us now. We live more modestly. Our cars aren't financed nor are they under warranty but they get us around reliably. Our house isn't our own, but it keeps the rain off our beds. We can afford our necessities but very little else and I can tell you what it is like to support a family while living at or under the poverty level. We've struggled and, at times, we've dug ourselves deeper into our pit but I can easily tell you I'm prouder of who we are today than who we were three years ago.

We are, I would say, cautiously optimistic. We'll take these little steps that are appearing out of the dirt and carefully, cautiously, step out into, hopefully, the sunlight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mountain Trips

We went snow shoeing last weekend and I've been meaning to post about it all week but just haven't. Also, I've been trying to think of pithy comments to go along with these pictures but I'm just not feelin' it. So, please enjoy the pictures with none of my "entertaining" banter.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Try this recipe

So, I saw a recipe online for homemade granola bars. It was so simple, I had to try it for myself. They turned out so well, I strongly suggest you try them for yourself.

1 Tablespoon dates
3 Tablespoons dried material (nuts, granola, oats, dried fruit, etc.)

Puree dates with food processor or mash by hand until they are a sticky glob. Add whatever dried material sounds good and mush (I found doing it with my hands worked best) until you have a big ball. Press into a pan, or shape into a bar between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator and eat. The recipe says they are about 220 calories so its either a big snack or a small lunch. I'm definitely taking them to school with me this week.

We used the following mixtures:
dates, dried cranberries, granola, oats, yogurt covered peanuts, cinnamon
dates, peanut butter, crushed graham crackers, raisins, cinnamon
dates, dried apricots, pistachios, almonds

seriously, so, so good. I think this would be a really fun thing for kids to make. Conor wasn't really interested this time (if its not COO-KEES, he's not into it) but maybe in the future. Morgan and I had fun creating though.

I can't say this was actually cheaper than buying pre-made granola bars, but I feel good that I know exactly what went into these treats.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The one teeny tiny benefit of being sick

Ok, being sick sucks but people take care of you and that's always kind of nice. Also you get to eat 6 pudding cups in one day and not feel guilty about it.

So I ended up with Conor's dreaded flu bug and because of the lovely child inhabiting my inner regions, it hit me a pinch harder than it did Conor. I was unable to keep anything down, including the water that I would swallow to rinse out my mouth after, you know, doing the business, so my doctor recommended I head to the ER to get a bag of fluids.


SIDE NOTE: St. V's ER rocks. Absolutely no wait time and they sent me to the kids ward. Which would normally be horribly depressing but it was a good night and there were no sick or wounded children there. Yay for healthy kids. Well, you know, except mine. Whatever. At the hospital they give you warmed blankets and it. is. devine.


Right, so anyway, the lovely ER doctor gave me my delicious IV bag and I really felt so much better in about 45 minutes. But, he wanted to make sure my "inner child" was doing well so we got an ultrasound! Yay. I figured they would do the doppler to check for heart rate so I was pleasantly surprised when he rolled in the u/s machine. We hoped for the money shot but didn't get it so we're still in the dark regarding sex but look at this little cutie pie!

What? I think alien-looking, monkey-headed babies are particularly adorable.

In sickness and in health

I promised that to Morgan but apparently, as Conor is the spawn of Morgan, the same applies to him.

Oh, the boy was sick. Like throw up sick. Like oh my heavens, seriously, this is beyond disgusting sick. Before last week, Conor had thrown up exactly three times in his life.

Time 1: 9 months old, after dinner, into my mouth. No really, let that one sink in a bit. I was playing with him, apparently a little too enthusiastically, the vomit came and it hit my mouth. I stood up, screamed at Morgan to do something, get me something and he proceeded to run circles around me. Doing, ever so helpfully, nothing. Oh, well, he laughed. THAT helped.

Time 2: Middle of the night, I didn't notice until he woke up the next morning. Seemed to be feeling fine so, non-issue.

Time 3: Just after he started school I was called to get him with a 103 degree fever. Took him home, and dosed him with Tylenol which he promptly threw up down my shirt. It was gross, of course (he had spaghetti for lunch that day), but paled in comparison to Time 1.

But all three of the above were one shot jobs. I was woefully unprepared for a real bout of the flu. And so I present to you:

-Throw up is gross. No matter who it comes from. Why do people tell you, before you become a parent, that you won't mind your own child's vomit? Who are these people and 1) why do they lie and 2) why do they like vomit?
-You should always keep your house stocked with Pedialyte and pudding cups. Otherwise you have to send your mom out to the store to buy them for you. You are too afraid to leave the house for fear of another "vomitous episode".
-A child gives very little indication when he is about to be sick
-A child does not get sick in the toilet
-Or a bowl
-Or even a towel thrust under his mouth at the last minute
-A child gets sick in between the cushions of the couch.
-I still do not know why this happens.
-A child will throw up one minute, then run around the house like a crazy person the next, then spew vomit out of his mouth (still on the go!) the moment after that.
-A child does not know how to get vomit out of his mouth. He will require the loving hands of his mother to help. The mother will question her love and devotion to said child.
-It is possible to do eight loads of laundry before noon on a Monday.
-Even if a mother has received her H1N1 vaccination her son will still share his flu bug with her.
-The movie Cars is a god send and I heart Disney.

The end

Big boy bed

Well folks, we've done it. Successfully moved Conor into his big bou bed. I was dreading it in a way that only my pessimistic heart can. We had set the bed up in his room about 6 weeks ago along with his crib. The idea was to read stories on it and play on it until it was no longer a novelty. We finally got a bed rail and were ready to make the switch. And then I got cold feet and delayed it...for another three weeks. You know, just to be sure.

See the thing is that he was waking up every. single. night. It was really annoying. Finally, we figured it was because he was simply too big for the crib. I discovered this on one middle of the night trip when I found him caught with his legs in the crib slats screaming his bloody head off because he couldn't extricate himself. If it hadn't been so pitiful, it would have been funny.

Ok, it was still a little funny.

So, Saturday dawned, and we took out the crib. I cried. Seriously, my baby is no longer sleeping in a crib. Its a big ole rite of passage and while I'm, of course, happy that he is transitioning to more grown up sleep arrangements, its still a little sad.

Saturday afternoon, nap time: Dun, dun, DUN! He was so tired from playing at Auntie Walker's house so we shoved some lunch at him and went to read stories. I was sure, he would freak out. Instead of freaking out...he fell alseep. In like, 90 seconds. And then slept for three hours. Oh it was ROUGH!

First hurdle, cleared, thankyouverymuch!

Our plan for bedtime was to utilize the Super Nanny approach. Put him to bed using regular bed time routine, when he gets out, go in, say nothing, put him back in bed, leave. do this as many times as necessary until he is asleep. Super Nanny, I think, advocates for the child to be sleeping in the bed. We decided that as long as he slept in his room, we didn't care if it was in bed, on the floor, or in the closet. Sleep is the issue here.

I think we made about three trips each to put him back to bed but by 8:05 all was quiet. And HE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. UNTIL 7:40 in the AM!!!!!! The big boy bed is a miracle!

Last night was a bit more difficult which, I think, is to be expected as we complete the transition, but overall, I couldn't be happier with our little man.


It was cookie baking night earlier this week and for the first time, Conor got to help. Daddy gave him a measuring cup with flour and the 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and he was able to "help" put flour in the mixing bowl. It did not take him long to discover that it was more fun to dip the spoon in the bowl then add flour to the mix.
Hey this stuff? This stuff is pretty tasty.
I mean, really! This stuff is GOOD!
Have you tried this, Mommy? Because I'm telling you, it is good, good, good!

Maybe I should taste a little more, just to be sure.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bedroom Remodel

Since we were married Morgan and I have been talking about our need for a proper headboard or bed frame. We've always just had the standard metal queen sized bed frame but have always been too cheap (oh wait, that's just me) to actually invest in something.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, Morgan had an idea to use an old door and make it into a headboard. So one morning we drove down to The Rebuilding Center, spent some time looking through their doors and picked one out. Total cost: $20.

It needed sanding and refinishing so we got to work. Its important to always be safe in these situations. You never know what kind of paint dust you'll be inhaling.

We discovered a pretty good sized crack which we fixed and and then cut off the bottom of the door so we had four panels instead of five.
We also puttied the hole where the knob and lock used to be, added a shelf, some molding (I guess that's what you would call it) and some korbels to add detail to the shelf. Unfortunately, this about the time when I got bored of the project (so typical of me-no wonder I don't have any hobbies) so I can't offer you any pictures of those interesting details. Total cost: $30

While I was at school Morgan rearranged our bedroom, VACUUMED, hung the headboard, and found a blanket to match our pillows. Total cost: $0
We decided that we needed something bigger or taller on the shelf to take up some of the dead space above the headboard. The pictures are cute, but seem sort of lost up there all alone. I headed to Ross today to put the finishing touches on it.
Total cost for the door and paint and whatnot: $50
Total cost for the accessories: $25
Coming home to a freshly vacuumed bedroom: PRICELESS

Friday, January 8, 2010

go see friends? go see friends? go see friends? go see friends? go see friends? go see frie...

These are Conor's friends. The little people he hangs out with every Tuesday and Thursday while I"m off in the halls of higher learning. I would like to direct your attention to three very special ladies. First of all Taylor and Gwennie. If you ask Conor which friends he wants to go see he will inevitably tell you first Taylor and then Gwennie. He LOVES them. And also, please look at sweet little Vivian. Since day one young Vivi (Conor calls her Bivi) has been head over heals for our boy. On the first day she kissed him and told him she loved him. Unfortunately for Vivi, her love is unrequited as Conor barely pays any attention to her at all.

Apparently the little monkey prefers his ladies to play hard to get.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I am exhausted today and its just now noon. Conor has settled into a lovely routine of waking up at 6am every morning. It used to be that I would get up at 6:30, Conor would begin to stir around 6:45 and I would get him up and get breakfast going around 7am. It was a wonderful schedule and it worked for us. I got a half an hour to myself to drink my coffee and check emails and he got a good, solid 12 hours of sleep.

So now he wakes up sooo early and is cranky and ready for a nap at 10:30. But 10:30 is too early for a nap because then he would be up from the nap before 1pm and he would be beyond miserable by 7pm which is bedtime.

I'm doing my best to work his wake up time back to 7 but it just isn't working. We tried a later bedtime, first 7:30 then 8. We tried an early bedtime, 6:45 for stories, 7pm asleep. Nothing works. It appears that 6am (or earlier!) is his wake up time. Which, fine. Whatever. Its just the crankiness that gets me. The whining and the throwing himself on the ground and the repeating and the repeating and the repeating and the repeating and the repeating and the repea...

I decided that to kill as much time as possible before nap time, and to avoid a complete loss of sanity at home, we would run every errand I could think of. We:

-went to Starbucks for coffee and a "snack"
-went to Powell's to sell some books
-went to Nana's to borrow some CD's
-went to Winco for groceries
-went to Costco for pictures

On the trip from Powell's to Nana's Conor said "go see Nana" no less than, AND I KID YOU NOT, 50 times! I counted. And actually, he said it way more than that because I didn't start counting until he had already begun to annoy me.

I don't even know where I am going with this. Obviously I have lost the capacity for coherent thought. Perhaps I should go take a nap. After all, I un-lazy'd yesterday cleaned the carpet and cleaned both bathrooms. Seriously. I deserve a break.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Morgan tells me I've gotten lazy lately and I can unashamedly say he is right. I am one lazy lady lately. (Man, I love alliteration.) It began innocently enough. I was pregnant (well, I still am) and I was tired and I felt generally sluggish and crappy so when Conor napped, instead of cleaning, like I normally would, I plopped myself down on the couch and watched tv for as long as Conor would sleep.

Unfortunately, my house has paid the price and even though I am feeling much, much better, we're still living in less than spotless conditions. I mean, don't call Child Protective Services on me or anything, we're not disgusting or squalid or anything. Let's just say we're living with more dog hair (even though Tucker is a more or less shed-free dog), more crumbs and fewer vacuum cleaner passes. Strangely, I have kept up on the laundry although that is my least favorite of all household chores.

More often than not, Morgan comes home to find dinner not even started, lunch dishes (sometimes even breakfast dishes) still in the sink and me jumping off the couch lest he think I have been sitting on my caboose ALL day long.

So, perhaps my New Years resolution should be to get my act back together. Now that I am firmly ensconced in the second trimester, I really am feeling better and my energy is returning and, quite frankly, I'm running out of excuses to be lazy.

But, on a semi-related note, my closets are practically bare. I have been purging like crazy over the last couple of weeks. I'm now trying to decide if I want to just drop all the "stuff" at Goodwill simply to get it out of my hair or if I want to save it all in the garage (as opposed to saving it all in closets - that's just shuffling) and have a garage sale this spring. I'm thinking we could probably make a couple hundred dollars with a garage sale and that money could definitely be put to good use re-stocking the closets with more, obviously entirely necessary, objects. Oh, this is the cycle: clutter, de-clutter, clutter, de-clutter.

Well, for now, no more lazy. I really do need to get dinner fixed. And, as a good wife, I should probably have a cold beer waiting for Morgan when he comes home. But I am NOT putting on make-up or taking off this ratty sweatshirt. I mean, I have my limits.

Oh, and Conor did SO great at his dentist appointment today. I mean, he couldn't have been a brighter star. Teeth look good even though he is very slow in getting them, and Mommy and Daddy haven't completely failed with brushing. YES! A slight overbite due, most likely, to his night-time pacifier use, but nothing to be concerned about. AND! BEST NEWS I'VE HEARD SINCE...well...FOREVER! Most children naturally wean from the passie around 3. So, if he's happy and content and the passie isn't ruining his lil chompers, there's no need to force him to stop using it. What? The DENTIST (he is a doctor, after all) said it was ok. So yeah. Dr. Cavano is now my favorite medical professional.

Was this not the most rambling, nearly incoherent post you've ever read? Good thing I start school again tomorrow. I need to start using my brain again.

Oh! and also...

Look at the cuteness!

Missing the Sun

Morgan and I were just talking about how now that Christmas and New Years is over, the winter months and rain really begin to wear on us. Its like, now that the holidays have passed, we have nothing to look forward to* in these long, cold, dreary winter months.

I knew it was serious this morning when I saw this picture and had a physical longing for Southern California. I hardly ever miss living in San Diego. Not becacuse there is anything wrong with it (aside from astronomical prices on everything from eggs to real estate) but simply because I didn't really live there long enough to develop any strong ties.

But man, I could use a sunset like this.

In other news, Conor has his first dentist appointment this morning. I'm choosing not to dread it like its the end of the world. I can, however, see it going very badly. Also, I can see it going just fine. Will update later.

*I mean, obviously, we have a baby to look forward to, but he or she is coming in the months that are already pretty much guaranteed to be sunny. So the baby, in and of itself, will not break up the monotony of rain, rain, rain and rain, followed by cold, dreariness and, oh yes, rain.