Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree...

...when the apple tree looks like this!
This is the tree in our front yard, some kind of crab apple. The problem is that it got so heavy with fruit that the branches started breaking! We lost three branches at different times in the year, and of course they're all the ones that face the street so anybody coming down sees how pathetic our tree is. Justin has been eating the fruit ever since we moved in, but it took me several months to get up the courage to try it. I'm just not the outdoorsy type that knows how to forage for food... But he eventually convinced me that they were yummy and the branches were NOT going to break on my head if I pulled on them. So I tried them and they were indeed yummy - sweet with a burst of tartness.

So then he had the bright idea that I could make an apple pie with them! I'm not a huge fan of pies, but I do like cobblers, so I decided that it might be fun to make a homegrown apple crisp. So I harvested a bowl full of the apples.They were pretty annoying to try to get the seeds out, since I'm spoiled by being used to the corer/wedger that will core and slice them for you. Even just cutting them in quarters would leave a piece too small to be worth anything. So I cut them in half and then used my Pampered Chef Core 'N More, which worked pretty well. Then I made an Apple Oat Crisp. We ate it with some No Sugar Added vanilla ice cream. YUM!!I must say I'm pretty proud of myself. Unfortunately, we had our first hard frost last night, so the apples won't be good much longer. But how many people can say they made a cobbler with apples off the tree in their front yard?! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

$1.84!!!

Yes, the title of this post is what you think it is. Today I paid $1.84 a gallon for gas. Let me say it again.

One dollar and eighty-four cents.
Per gallon.
Of gasoline.
The kind you put in your car.
Regular unleaded.
Oh, yeah!

The actual price at the pump here is $2.06, but our grocery store gives a cents-per-gallon discount that you accumulate by shopping there. So I used my 22 cent discount for the month of October to buy 10.5 gallons of gas for less than $20 total! I'm not really excited about the general financial situation in our country, but the low gas prices are something I can get REALLY happy about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

5 Months!

My baby boy is 5 months old today! I can't believe it! He's so big, strong, handsome, smart, talented, and happy - he just lights up our lives! I'm so thankful for my beautiful baby man. Here are a few new things he's doing:

He's a rollin' fool! I think he has finally discovered that rolling will get him from one place to another, and that is slightly alarming for me. Time to babyproof! This morning after his breakfast, I put him down on his blanket to play with his toys while I cleaned up a little bit. I never left the room, but I did turn my back. And when I turned back around, this is what I saw!Seriously, he managed to get that far in just like 30 seconds! Oh man. I'm in deep trouble now. He also is really wanting to crawl, and I think it'll be pretty soon. He's got the "swimming" down where he lays on his belly and flails his arms and legs.

Now that he rolls, he is all over the place in his crib. No way we're ever going to be able to get rid of the bumper. I just have to pray that God protects him from any dangers related to the bumper! He seems to prefer sleeping snuggled right up against it, and usually he even works his way all the way to one end. Something about being enclosed on 3 sides? I don't know, but it makes me laugh. He is such a good sleeper, though, and we're so thankful! He rarely fusses when we put him down - he just rolls onto his belly and goes right to sleep.

He has also discovered his feet, which are a source of endless entertainment for him. I had posted a while ago that I was afraid his diapers were hindering him being able to get to his feet, but he's pretty much overcome that now. He still does better with his diaper off, but he can still reach them even with it on. In this picture, I was trying to get a picture of him in the new outfit that his Nana sent him, but he was more interested in playing with his feet than posing for a picture. Thanks anyway, Nana!

He also thinks the word "foot" is absolutely hilarious! He just laughs and laughs when I say "foot foot foot foot" over and over again! I tried to capture it on video for you, but it was right before naptime and he was a little too tired to be so funny. I'll try again, so stay tuned!

He is also doing great with the solids - he really seems to have gotten the hang of opening his mouth for the spoon. He had sweet potatoes today, which he liked better than the avocado, of course. It was really easy to make it too, so that's encouraging for me.

So things are just going great here, and we look forward to what the next month will bring!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Um, Yeah! Totally Clean Face!

I just wanted to post these pics of Elias eating his cereal this morning. After I posted the pics of his first cereal experience, a friend commented about how clean I was able to keep his face. The reason for this was that it was so liquidy there was nothing much to stick to his face! But now that we're eating cereal at the normal consistency, you can see how much of a disaster he is. He's enjoying cereal now, though, and eats it every day with breakfast. We're also starting vegetables now! He had his first taste of avocado yesterday! Definitely didn't know what to do with that, but he did eat some, which is our end goal. After this I think I'll do sweet potatoes, then winter squash, and then we'll head for the fruits! Yum!

Our House

When we moved in more than 3 months ago, I said I would get pictures of our house to post on here for you! Well, I FINALLY got myself organized enough to do it. So here's our house! If you hold your mouse over the pictures, you can click the little stop button at the bottom right and then hit the arrow to look at each picture individually.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New links

In the past couple of weeks, I've found a whole bunch of blogs and websites that are informative or entertaining, and I thought I'd share them with you all. I hope you find something useful or interesting!

Money Saving Mom - "An upbeat and encouraging blog dedicated to helping you find great deals, stretch your hard-earned dollars, and live on less than you make so you can save more and give more."

A Frugal Friend - Tips on saving money with coupons, rebates, freebies, and deals.

Penny Pinching Parent - Tips on how to save money on baby and kid stuff, including coupons and deals.

Leaving Excess - A blogger who quit her life as a CPA to become a stay-at-home mom and is now trying to come up with creative ways to live simpler with "less clutter, less stress, less money and fewer headaches."

Wholesome Baby Food - Now that Elias is starting solids, I'm planning on making his baby food, and this is an awesome reference to get me going. Includes recipes and tips on age-appropriate foods.

A Year of Crockpotting - This lady made a New Year's Resolution to use her crockpot every day in 2008, so she posts her recipe and a review of it every day! I've found and used some awesome recipes off this site! Gotta love the crockpot.

$5 Dinners - A blogger who decided to try to make dinner for her family every night for $5 or less - total! I can't believe the stuff she can make for that little!

Gottadeal - This is just an ongoing list of current online deals, some of which are really good. There are also forums, but I've never looked at them.

Right@Home - Recipes, household tips, coupons and online deals.

Eat Better America - Tips and recipes for eating better. What I like most about this site is that they have traditional recipes that they have "healthified" to make them better for you.

Food Reference - A wealth of information about food! I use this site to find neat trivia facts to use at a Cooking Show about the foods I'm going to be using that evening. For example, did you know that pickles are good for diabetics because the vinegar that they're pickled with helps regulate blood sugar?! Now you know...

Consumer Product Safety Commission - Updates about current product recalls and seasonal safety tips. You can also sign up for their email alerts, which let you know when a product is recalled - very helpful, especially with all the baby stuff that gets recalled these days.

LOLCats - I had seen some of these pictures in other places before, but I just recently found the website where they originate. They take pictures of cats (or occasionally other animals) and add HILARIOUS captions. They're not kidding when they call it LOL - I laugh so hard I cry.LOLDogs - Same as LOLCats, but with dogs, obviously.
dog

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Letting Go

I posted this blog a couple weeks ago telling about how I totaled the amount of time I had spent pumping in the month of September, and it was outrageous. I had posted at the end of it that it was worth it, but the more Justin and I thought about it and talked about it, we realized that it wasn't. Women who are able to nurse their babies don't spend near that amount of time in getting their babies' food. And even the majority of women who exclusively pump don't spend that much time. I am a low-volume producer, which means that I'm not able to pump enough for Elias' full demand, so we are supplementing with formula. (In any given day, about 80% of Elias' intake is breastmilk.) I have been pumping excessively in the hopes that my supply would increase and we'd eventually be able to get him off the formula supplements.

I didn't realize, though, how hard it was on me to do that and how much freedom I could have to enjoy my son and enjoy life more if I let go of that. So I have decided to cut back on the pumping. My supply will probably decrease, but at this point we feel like a happy and healthy mommy is more important for Elias than ever being able to get 100% breastmilk. This is a relief in a way, and I'm already enjoying having more sleep and more time to get things done during the day. But it's also a very difficult decision, and emotionally feels just as bad as it did when I had to give up nursing in the first place. It feels like I'm admitting defeat, acknowledging my failure at being able to provide what's best for my son. It also makes me feel guilty that I'm choosing to give Elias less breastmilk and more formula, since I believe that breastmilk is actually better for him. I feel selfish that my time and convenience is more important than his optimal health. Now, I don't need any lectures. I know that formula is a perfectly good option and that many babies grow up to be happy and healthy without ever having had a drop of breastmilk. I myself am a formula baby, and look how awesome I turned out! ;) I'm not saying my feelings are entirely rational - I'm just getting them out there. This is how I feel and I'd appreciate your prayers as I persevere in slowly dropping pumps and we adjust to the new way things will be around here.

When I made that previous post, I was pumping 6 times a day for about 40 minutes each time. I then dropped to 5x a day for 45 minutes for a week, then to 4x for 45-50 minutes for another week. Tomorrow I will be dropping to 3 pumps a day. I am thrilled and relieved to have not lost any supply yet, but I feel like there's no way I can decrease my pumping so much and not lose some milk in the process. So please pray for me as I see the ounces decreasing and the guilt and sorrow increasing. Depending on how well the 3-a-day schedule goes and how much I'm still producing, I may stay there for a while. I still want to be able to give him a good amount of milk, especially for the immune properties as flu season is upon us. I had intended to pump for Elias for a full year so he could be weaned straight to cow's milk, and depending on how it goes, I may still be able to pump twice a day or so and give him a little bit for that full year. I'm not calling it quits entirely. But my health and sanity require me to let go of all that I had been hoping for with regards to providing breastmilk for my son, and just trust God to keep my supply where He wants it to be for however long He wants it to remain.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kick & WHAT?!

You've seen plenty of pictures of Elias in his Kick & Play. He loves to kick and he loves to play, so this is a pretty appropriate toy for him! He has found yet another fun use for the Kick & Play, though - he loves to fill his diaper while sitting in it. Seriously. I'd say 18 of his last 20 dirty diapers were created while he was sitting in the Kick & Play. Because of this, it has earned the affectionate nickname of the "Kick & Poop." Justin says that he's practically potty trained already, since he mostly only fills his pants in this one place. I'm not going to go that far as to hope that he's aware of what he's doing, but I do think it's pretty funny.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Toot, toot, chugga, chugga

I use iGoogle as my home page because it all in one place displays my email, my Google reader with all the blogs I read, and the current news headlines. (I could have it display much more than that, but that's really all I want to see when I first open up the internet.) I've been using iGoogle for gosh, at least 2 years, and I just absolutely love it. In that time, I have always had it set on the same theme, so it always looked the same every time I opened it. But last week I decided it was time to have a little variety in my life, so I told it to just give me a new random theme every time I open iGoogle. This has been fun, and there have been some cute things, some strange things, and even some disturbing things. I laughed out loud, though, at the theme that popped up when I opened it today!
Yep, it's The Wiggles! I would imagine that most people using iGoogle would be a little too old to like The Wiggles, but apparently there was at least one person who wanted a Wiggles iGoogle theme and created it. On the right side is The Wiggles in their Big Red Car (hence the title of this post), but what I think is really funny is the other characters on the left side of the screen with their arms in the air swaying. Hahahahaha! As fun as The Wiggles are, I can't wait to see what pops up tomorrow! A stay-at-home mom has to get her excitement wherever she can. ;)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Little Buddies

We have a small group at church that has 6 couples in it, and 4 of these couples have babies under 1! (Of the other two couples, one is newlyweds who don't have kids yet, and the other has older girls - ages 2 & 4.) So it is quite a little zoo when we all get together, and so much fun to have friends who are in the exact same stage of life we are in. One of the mommies snapped a picture of all the babies "playing" together at last week's small group, and I couldn't resist sharing. SO CUTE!!! (Click on the picture to see a bigger version.)From left to right: Wyatt (3 months), Noah (6.5 months), Josie (9.5 months), and Elias (4.5 months)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm A Good Citizen!

I voted today!

When I went a couple weeks ago to register, the lady at the County Clerk's office saw that I had Elias with me. She said that our precinct is the largest in the county, and the lines to vote are usually hours long. So since I'd have the baby with me, she strongly recommended that I come in and do an absentee ballot beforehand so I wouldn't have to navigate the long wait with what would quickly become a very unhappy baby. So we went to the courthouse today and did an absentee vote, which was quick and easy, and now I have a good conscience because I voted!

There were quite a few others there to do absentee votes - one other family with small kids and several elderly people. They all just smiled and cooed at Elias, who charms people left and right everywhere he goes. One elderly lady was coming in as we were leaving, and she stopped to talk to Elias. She apologized to him that he was going to have to clean up the "hell of a mess our generation has left for you!" Oh my. I told her he'd do his best.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rice Cereal!

My cutie boy got his first taste of rice cereal today! We've been changing his schedule (dropping the 10pm dream feed), so I decided to wait to start the cereal until we got that set. But he's been on the new schedule since Friday (Now he sleeps from 8:30pm to 7am!), so today we went for it! It was fun!! He did alright with it - wasn't sure exactly what was going on, and was impatient to just finish his meal already! But he did great opening his mouth for the spoon, and I think he swallowed most of what I put in his mouth. So I'll keep it up one meal a day for a little while and see how it goes! Here are a few pics of the occasion for your enjoyment.

Friday, October 03, 2008

5.3 Days Out of My Life!

I'm still pumping my milk for Elias, and we're doing great with that. I had a discovery today, though, that I thought was too funny not to share. I keep track of my pumping on a spreadsheet (Yep, major nerd!), and so I have a record of all my pumps since I started tracking in the middle of August. So September is the first month that I have the full data for. Out of curiosity, I totaled it up to see how long I spent pumping for the month. Oh my.

In the month of September, I pumped 7,672 minutes,
which equals 127.9 hours,
which equals 5.3 days!!!! DAYS!

I spent almost 18% of the month of September pumping! (If I had kept track of how many hours I slept, I would be able to figure out what percentage of my waking hours was spent pumping... That might be too depressing to know that, though...)

I pumped 727 ounces in those 5.3 days, though, so I think that's worth it. LOL! Just had to share.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wiggle Worm

Elias is really starting to MOVE these days! A few days ago he started doing this wiggle wormy thing, and he manages to get himself all the way across the floor doing it! I captured it on video because it is just too funny! He doesn't cover much ground in this video, but you can at least see the way he moves. He cracks me up with a rattle in each hand! Please, I beg you, before watching the video, turn off your speakers so you don't hear my terribly annoying mommy voice!!
video

Can I Get An Amen?!

This was the headline of a post on the New York Times Well Blog today:

Dieters Gain More Weight During Pregnancy

Women who have a history of dieting are more likely to experience excessive weight gain during pregnancy, a new study shows.
All I have to say is that I am living proof of this fact!!! I never in my wildest dreams would've imagined that I would gain so much weight during pregnancy, after having worked so hard to lose it all! I'm not going to remark about all the dire risks the article presents for both me and Elias in the future because of my excessive weight gain. What I will comment about, though, is this:
Co-author Anna Maria Siega-Riz said the findings show that women with a history of unhealthy eating behaviors should be offered counseling and extra support to help them achieve a healthy weight during pregnancy.
I definitely think this would be an awesome idea. Nobody at my doctor's office offered any advice on how to keep weight gain on track, and in fact they never even commented on how high my weight was getting! In a way, I appreciated that because I already knew it was terrible and felt bad enough about it already. But having some help in keeping it from getting to that point would've been nice. Hopefully if we end up having a second, I'll be able to do better!