Monday, March 28, 2011

Chest Freezer!

Every year after we get our tax return, we use part of it on one or two major purchases. Last year, we got ourselves a new computer and TV/computer monitor.

This year, much of our tax return is unfortunately going to go towards incurred medical expenses.

But we did manage to get ourselves one thing that I am really excited about. And that is a chest freezer. It's 7 cubic feet, and will be perfect for extra freezer storage. It will allow me to make and freeze meals in advance. It will allow us to take more advantage of really good meat sales. I can even make batches of bread dough in bulk and freeze it for future use. No more opening the freezer above the fridge only to be nearly pelted in the head by a frozen sausage roll.

Though, it seems like we have a whole lot of extra freezer space right now, but I'm sure I will probably manage to fill it up in no time and still be wishing for more, haha.

Friday, March 25, 2011

First 25 Words

The following is a list of Z's first 25 words. They are not in chronological order.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Romantic Love vs. Parental Love

Okay, this question came up in an online forum and I responded there, but I thought it worth sharing my response here, because it was thought-provoking for me.
Here's the question: How do romantic love and parental love compare? How are they the same? How are they different?
Interesting question...

With my children, it is rather a different kind of love in some ways. I feel more responsible for my children than I do for my spouse. I feed them, I play with them, I comfort them...I can do all these things for my spouse, too; but when I serve him, he realizes I'm doing it out of love and that he really has no right to demand that I do these things for him, and he thanks me regularly. With my children, though, I consider it my job to care for them, and I do it whether they appreciate it or not.

It is a nurturing love. I love them because I serve them; because they need me; because even before they were born, I knew them better than anyone else in the whole world knew them.

It is an awe-inspiring love. I know hormones have a lot to do with it (don't they in romantice love, too, though?); but when I gave birth to each of my boys, and they were placed in my arms, it was a moment was like no other. And I felt my whole soul and body reaching out to that newborn baby, like but also unlike, the feeling that accompanies sex-- only more pure and innocent and 100% selfless, because I knew there was no way my child would ever be able to repay me for what I had just given him and would continue to give to him for at least the first 18 years of his life.

Even romantic love changes after having a child. I have fallen more deeply in love with my husband since having our children. We have created two lives together, we are now "creating" two young men together. It's not always easy, but, what doesn't manage to completely rip us apart can only make our bond stronger. We have learned to love each other better, and in different ways than we did before, because we've had to for our relationship to survive.
Some characteristics of a Romantic relationship versus a Parent-Child relationship...

You chose each other. You had time to get a "feel" for each other and decide whether or not you really wanted to be together.
You strive to "become one," where there used to be a time when you didn't even know each other and were completely independent of each other.
You are peers.
You hope to be together for the rest of your lives.
If the former turns out to be impossible, you are allowed to separate and never see each other again, and it is perfectly socially acceptable.

You chose to have a child, but he had no choice in the matter, and you have as much control over his personality as he did over yours (meaning none), yet you must learn to make the best of the situation.
You start out as "one," but over time he becomes more and more his own person, and less and less "yours."
You are at least a decade older than him (two decades if you were smart), and you will never truly be peers no matter how you may try.
You sincerely hope that he will not be with you for the rest of your life.
Sure, you can abandon your child, but if you do you will be regarded with contempt by most of society.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Wardrobe

So I thought it might be fun/interesting to take some pictures of my wardrobe to show off my "style" (or lack thereof-- you be the judge!).


Some stuff is really wrinkled because I fished it out of the dirty clothes for the pics...

Hmm, got a couple things in twice...oops...



Some favorite winter outerwear, a fleece jacket, vest, and a hat that I made myself:

Swimsuit, coverup, and hat:

All the shoes I need:

Lots of jewelry (nothing worth coming to my house and stealing, haha):

I used to wear all this stuff a lot more before I had babies/toddlers trying to yank it off of me...Someday, I will be able to wear it all again...

And, that's all! Well, most of it.

Footprints in the Snow

My toddler's footprints (shoeprints). He just treks around in the snow like he's been doing it all his life :)

Anyway, I thought it made a cute picture.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trash or Treasure?

I have been attracted on-and-off to the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle. Pros: less clutter, easier to keep the home clean (no knick-knacks to dust around!), more generally pleasing and presentable. Cons: Well, I'm just a sentimental fool and still can't bear the thought of getting rid of some things.

I sometimes manage to get myself to a point where I'm just about ready to donate those old fancy dishes, but then I think "But Grandma gave those to you because she knows how much you value old heirlooms." Or I consider all the books collecting dust on the shelves, their spines uncracked for years, and then I think "Someday your children may want to read those." I open up the closet to reveal a shelf overflowing with spare blankets and think, "You don't really need all these blankets"; and then I think, "But what if the power went out?" And anyway, it's tricky with the blankets; because those that are the least practical (crocheted from acrylic, lots of holes) are the ones that are the most sentimental, so I can't get rid of those, but then it doesn't really make much sense to get rid of the really good, heavy-duty blankets, either. And then, there's all the baby blankets, and they're just too adorable to part, I'm not ready to be done having babies yet.

And what about all those holey jeans that need mending? Most of them are really beyond my skill to mend. But, maybe someday I'll make them into a jean quilt...meanwhile, though, my desk is half-covered in old jeans...not very functional. Not very minimalist.

As I was waiting in the chiropractor's lobby the other day I came across this article in Real Simple Magazine, with the "expert" consensus on how to pare down typical clutter areas (office supplies, kitchen utensil drawer, work bench, medicine cabinet) to just the essentials. Right away, though, looking at the kitchen utensils picture, I noticed a few things missing that I consider essential and that I would, in fact, sorely miss: potato masher, egg slicer, silicone whisk, Pampered Chef stoneware scraper...Do these "experts" even use their kitchens? And then, some of the things they recommended keeping, I rarely use. Really just goes to show, I guess, that the quest for minimalism is really a very personal thing, and that the old saying holds true: "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Starting to go through things, though, I have managed already to fill two large bins full of stuff to go to the thrift store. My house doesn't seem that much less cluttered yet, but it's progress. And by clearing out the stuff that we don't need, there will-- theoretically-- be more room for stuff that actually holds some personal meaning and importance, even if it is not always that practical.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Precious Moment #1

Just now I was giving my 4-yo a hug and he said to me "Aww, you're so pretty." I looked at him and smiled and said "Thanks, you're very handsome yourself." And then I smelled pickle on his breath and added, "and you smell like pickles." At which point G cracked up, and we both laughed together.

Monday, March 7, 2011

From my 4-yo

A message from my 4-yo. He dicated the first sentence, then he wanted to type on his own.

I played with my cotton balls.

cxcjbvhbxbxjb dhf sbf db   ue ufeuyukryeuyeury yrerer trter yrtry t rtyrtutrtryetnt yusyueryeryeur

i love you


Age 3 with my firstborn was a very difficult age for me. I won't go into a lot of detail, but there was a lot of will-clashing going on, among other things.

Then, he turned 4. And it was almost like magic! I don't know what happened, but he and I are getting along so much better now. It is easier for us to reason with each other, and he has finally decided to become more independent with things like using the potty, dressing himself, etc. whereas before he didn't want to try any of it on his own but insisted on help.

But the last couple of weeks, he has become so dramatic! Any little thing can set him off into a torrent of wailing and tears. I've largely had to learn to simply ignore these bouts and wait to reason with him until after it's all over. It's hard sometimes.

I have also become quite adept (I think) at telling the difference between when he is being more superficially dramatic, versus when he really is devastated about something. My husband seems to have a harder time with this, though, as he is not naturally as in tune with people's emotions and has a harder time differentiating between superficial and deep emotions.

Like a week or so ago, I proposed a "game" with G: I would put away the blocks and he would put away his cotton balls; we each would go as fast as we could, and the winner would get a hug! I figured, win-win for each of us, since really we'd be hugging each other. So anyway, he was all for this, and he "won," and I gave him a hug and he was so excited that he won (typically he doesn't really seem to care that much about winning).

Well, a few days later I proposed the same game again-- with the same toys. This time, I won. G was devastated; he cried for a half-hour inconsolably. Lesson learned-- don't let the 4-yo lose when there's a hug on the line...Well, it's amusing to me now, but I did feel bad about it at the time. I had not at all expected him to be that upset.

Friday, March 4, 2011

For a Better Night's Sleep...

All through my teenage years and all through college, I struggled to sleep at night. Well, I still have my struggles, but for different reasons...But back then, I had two problems: 1)I couldn't get comfortable; and 2)I couldn't calm my mind down. I still struggle with the latter, but the former has finally been addressed, since my pregnancy with my first baby.

When I was in high school, I always slept on my stomach. To me, this seemed to be the most comfortable way I could manage to sleep, though it still was not perfect. Sometimes I would also sleep on my side, but this was a challenge for me because I did not like my legs touching. I did not like to sleep on my back, because I couldn't stand to have my mouth hanging open.

In college, I continued to sleep the same way. In one of my health classes, sleeping positions came up once, though the teacher did not say much more than that the best position for sleep was on one's back. Well, as stated above, I refused to sleep on my back.

I continued to struggle, into my first year of marriage. Then, I complained that it was the bed's fault that I was uncomfortable (being an old throwaway that my husband had picked up from a local hotel; it was really quite bad). We eventually bought ourselves a much nicer bed, and that really helped.

But, the best thing I ever discovered came quite by accident, when I was pregnant with G, maybe in my second trimester. I had a pillow that I was placing behind my back at night to prop myself, but that wasn't quite enough and eventually I got the idea to try a pillow between my legs as well.

Voila! It was the pillow between the legs that changed everything. I could now sleep with my whole body in a more natural position, legs together but not touching. All of a sudden, I was sleeping better than I had before (disregarding the leg cramps that came later in me pregnancy).

All through my pregnancy, I had been counting down the days that I could start sleeping on my stomach again, as it was still in my mind the best way for me to sleep. But, the night finally came (long after the birth, as I learned that sleeping on one's stomach during the first several months of breastfeeding is not a good idea) when I could try sleeping on my stomach again...I laid down. And it was the most uncomfortable position imaginable! I could not sleep on my stomach to save my life! It hurt my back, and it hurt my neck. How had I managed before to sleep that way?! It was unfathomable to me...

So, I continue to sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs to this day. And I am having some of the best sleeps I've ever had (disregarding the night wakings and the toddler in the bed).

So, a tip for anyone who struggles to find a good sleep position: try putting a pillow between your legs.

A Girl and Her Glasses

The day I discovered I needed glasses, I was in my 6th grade math class. The teacher had us take out pencils and paper, and then placed a printed math test up on the overhead. I could not read it. I raised my hand and told Mr. C that I couldn't read the test and he let me move up to the front. Even at the very front, as close as I could get, I could not read the test on the overhead.

At this point, I just cried. I tried to hide it, buried my head in my arms. So many thoughts went through my mind, just adding to the tears. I had studied for this test; I was going to get an A. But now I couldn't read it, so I was going to get an F. Everyone else seemed to be able to read the test just fine. What was wrong with me? Well, then it dawned on me that I needed glasses.

Good news: I asked my teacher at the end of class if I could come back after school and take the test. I explained to him about my problem and he understood. So I went back after school and took the test, laid out on a white sheet of paper (for contrast) on the desk right in front of me so I could read it.

As soon as I got home from school, I told my mom I needed to see an eye doctor; she took me in right away (idk, maybe a day or two later) and I got my first pair of glasses.

I was amazed on the drive home that day. Everything was so clear through my new glasses! I could read street signs! I could see the detail of the trees in the distance. The mountains were no longer just a big gray blur on the horizon.

The most incredible thing for me was later, I went with my family to see a movie at the theatre. Before I'd gotten my glasses, I had always complained about how blurry the picture was, but I thought it was just because our theatre had bad equipment. Now I discovered that I was the one who'd had the "bad equipment."

My first pair of glasses, and my second pair as well, were pink plastic rims. I was of the mistaken idea at the time that I would need large frames to preserve my peripheral vision. I looked like a nerd, I'm sure. Though I didn't care; I was just happy to be able to see like a normal person!

When I was maybe a Sophmore in high school, I finally decided to go for wire frames that were a good deal smaller than my old plastic ones. I'll never forget the comment I received from one very blunt friend, "Wow, you don't look like a nerd anymore!" Thanks, Laura... But, it was true, and I felt a little less "nerdy," too.

In college, I even tried contacts for a while. But, those turned out to be more of a nuissance than they were worth, so I switched back to my good old glasses.

I feel naked without my glasses. They are a part of me. I even look at pictures of myself where I have taken off my glasses for the picture, and I just look too different. So I only take them off for really special pictures now.

I was at the glasses store getting the nose piece fixed the other day, and I took a look at the glasses for kids...they sure looked a lot more stylish than the ones I had as a kid...