Friday, January 30, 2009

Hang in there!

I am trying to jazz this blog up myself and it's a bit wacky right now. Don't worry, I sent out a call for help!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can You See My New Toofers?

Raising Co-Sleepers

I've been having trouble getting Ella and Sean down for naps at the same time for quite awhile now. Usually I just let Sean skip his nap and end up holding Ella while she naps in the afternoon and pray that Sean doesn't wake her within the first 20 minutes.

Yesterday, they were both really tired at the same time, so I decided to give the tandem nap a try. I took them upstairs and laid Ella in her crib with the Ocean aquarium toy on. That usually entertains her for a bit. Sean and I went in the other bedroom and I laid down with him to nurse him to sleep. He tucked his Woody doll and Elmo under the covers with him and gave them a kiss goodnight. He got super drowsy and was almost asleep when Ella decided she was done with the crib. I got up and brought her to the big bed, laying in between Sean and me. I patted Sean while nursing Ella and told him to go nite nite. Amazingly, he did and so did Ella.

I debated napping with them, but really needed to take care of some chores so I got up and went downstairs.

Less than 30 minutes later, I heard on the baby monitor that Ella woke up. I sprinted up the stairs to try to get her before she woke up Sean.

When I got there, I saw the sweetest thing. Sean had woken up and was patting Ella on her back, like we do to him, and saying "Nite nite baby. Nite Nite Ella."

I picked her up and laid with him to try to get him back to sleep while settling the baby. He just rolled over and drifted right back to sleep so I brought Ella downstairs with me.

Sean is four years old and has Down syndrome, yet just demonstrated one of the biggest benefits of co-sleeping: the ability to immediately tend to a baby's needs. That's my boy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Train

See, there is cool stuff to do in Kansas. You can sit at the tracks and watch a train plow snow.

Thanks for the video, Larry!

Tranny- no worries, I know you are equally dissing states. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For the Love of Oz

I did some interesting blog meandering tonight and thought I'd pull these two stories together.

I started out reading the latest entry at The Rocking Pony. Karen linked to a blog post by Tranny Head Rawks ... and Is Hawter Than You that got me laughing, so I started reading more there. THR has a weekly post where she dishes about different states. Of course, I wanted to read what she said about good ol' Kansas.

I've never actually been to Kansas. However, I DO actually know people from Kansas. From what I understand, the place is a total wasteland.

Not that what's there is that bad. Instead, there's just nothing there. From what I have heard, you can drive forever and just see flatness. Flatter than flat flatness. I mean, picture my boobs, and then think of the opposite of that. That might give you an impression of the flatness.

If it were possible to have a state that was imploded, Kansas would be that state. I think this is why there are tornadoes there. It's an effort for the state to implode.

I decided to see what Dr. Google would tell me about Kansas. Most pictures I found were of (big surprise) tornadoes. Besides tornadoes, there were some sorry looking pictures.

Hmm, not exactly a stellar review of my adopted home state. While reading the comments posted about her review of the home of Oz, the last one was a lone defender so I checked out her blog.

Lady K is a Kansas born and raised lover of Oz. She completely captured the essence of Kansas in this
post about summertime. Now, most natives will tell you that summer is the roughest time of the year to live here. The heat, the humidity, the bugs. But as a child you don't notice those things. You embrace the warmth because it means the pool is open and so refreshing. The humidity is no match for big fat slice of Black Diamond Watermelon. And while the mosquitos and chiggers are no fun, Lady K points out the sound of the Cicada and the fun of catching lightening bugs. She included fabulous vintage photos of her summertime youth and it brought me right back to mine.

Poor ol' Kansas is so often misunderstood and the butt of jokes. It may not be every one's paradise but it is well-loved by many.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sitting Sweet

I had such a nice weekend. Saturday, Ella and I went shopping with my mother-in-law, Janice. The three of us had a great day, hitting several stores, finding several great deals and a nice lunch together at PF Changs. Janice treated me to lots of new clothes as my Christmas gift. On Christmas, she gave me one of those recordable sound/music cards and she sang "Feliz Navidad! We're doing a shopping trip!" It was sooo funny, everyone had a good laugh about it and Sean played that thing over and over hundreds of times.

We stopped into a furniture store so she could show me the chairs they ordered for their new living room and I ended up talking her into buying some art for their apt! I love what we found there, some perfect pieces for their place.

I asked to pop into Gymboree after that and found several cute things for Ella Roo. Here she is in a new shirt from Gymboree that goes great with some new longies we got a couple weeks ago.

We got back just in time for me to whip up a dish to take to the Family Dinner Nite at our church. The kids had fun there and Doug and I enjoyed talking with friends.

Sunday, we went to church and then spent the rest of the day relaxing at home. I baked a pumpkin pie and made spaghetti for dinner. I even took a nap with Ella! Sean did some movie watching with his buddies, Woody One Boot and New Woody.

It is cold out today, I even saw a few flurries. That made it hard to get going this morning and it is making me want to bunker down again today.

Friday, January 23, 2009

25 Bits o' Deborah

Jennifer at Elliot's Nest tagged me for this, so hopefully I can type it out before Ella needs me. And hopefully I can think of 25 things about myself!

1. I have only lived in 3 states in the US: Illinois, Kansas and Alabama.
2. I have visited 20 states (not counting states I merely drove thru or had airplane layovers at.)
3. I have lived in 2 countries: US and Germany.
4. I have visited 10 countries outside the US: Mexico, Belize, Germany, England, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland.
5. I never ever dreamed I'd end up spending most of my life in Kansas.
6. The longest I have lived in one house/apartment is five years.
7. I prefer to live in moderately sized cities, close to a larger city, so that I can enjoy a sense of community while still having the benefits of large city life. I love cultural diversity!
8. When we lived in Goodland KS, I had a major culture shock, but grew to love the quiet life out west. I dubbed my Sunflower Mom name from there, nodding to the beautiful sunflower fields that surrounded us and the Giant Van Gogh Painting that loomed over us.
9. When we bought our current house, the kitchen was painted teal green and had a sunflower wallpaper border around the ceiling. I did not like it and was happy to see it gone.
10. This year is my 20 year high school graduation anniversary. I attended high school in Germany, so I won't be going to a reunion. I joined Facebook instead to see what my classmates are up to.
11. I describe my college years as "my scenic route to adulthood." I started college with high ambitions of finishing in four years with a degree in history. I wanted to continue on and become a professor of history. My first semester I struggled through my first history class and excelled in psychology. I changed my major to Psych.
12. After four years of Psych, including a transfer to KSU & only 12 credit hrs left to graduate, I changed my major again. Decided I didn't want to get a PhD.
13. I began studying art and finished in 3 more years with a Fine Arts degree. My concentration area was Sculpture, with Metalsmithing as a secondary focus.
14. The only thing I have sculpted since college is Playdo.
15. Doug and I met thru mutual friends. His bandmate worked with my boyfriend. They used to hang out together at the apartment I shared with the boyfriend.
16. Doug and I started hanging out together, sans the friend and my ex-boyfriend, after a 4th of July party in 1998. By December 98, we were a couple. We moved in together a year later and married in May 2000.
17. I hope my kids take their time to enjoy college and adulthood before settling down.
18. I hope I live long enough to see them enjoy their young adult years and start families.
19. I often worry that we started our family when we were too old. I have a hard time picturing what life will be like 20 yrs from now.
20. I love to travel and would love to be able to visit a new place every year. Doug has never been to Europe and I really hope to share that experience with him.
21. I look forward to when my children are old enough to appreciate travel more. We have taken them on several trips already. Since Aidan was born, we have been on vacations to Colorado (several times), Belize, Illinois, Maine, and West Virginia.
22. If possible, I'd like to take them to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Oregon next.
23. I would love to take the kids on an Amtrack trip while they are still young enough to be thrilled by the experience. I went on one when I was 7 and still remember it vividly.
24. I have a caffeine vice. My favorite form is Red Diamond brand Sweet Tea. My sister Tanya and I refer to it is our Crack Tea. It is seriously so so good.
25. My MIL is taking Ella and me shopping tomorrow, as my Christmas gift. I need to hit the hay so I can hit the racks tomorrow!

Went to the Dark Side...

I joined Facebook today. OMG I can't believe I held out this long and OMG I can't believe how many people I know that are on there! It's like I finally arrived at the party!

I so do not need another online habit....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teething Misery

I apologise for not posting much this week. We went to visit my family over MLK weekend (had a great time- even got to have a fancy dinner date with Doug and old friends!) and then have been busy since we came home.

Eleanor has been unusually fussy and generally unhappy this week. I determined the cause yesterday when I felt her second tooth popping thru the gumline. Right next to tooth number one. She's cranky, not napping or sleeping well at night and has a runny nose to add to the drooly mouth. So I am getting very little hands free time. In fact, she is in the baby sling finally sleeping on me after a hour long scream fest.

When she gets to feeling better, I will be back with the List of 25 tag from Jennifer!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Singer Sessions; Vol II: A Special Gift for a Special Baby

I had a extra motivation for practicing my sewing this week. A friend and fellow La Leche League member gave birth on New Year's Day to her son, Micah. Amy had told me during her pregnancy that she was interested in trying prefold cloth diapers with her new baby. In the past she had used pocket diapers or fitted diapers. I mentioned that I would hold on the Ella's as she outgrew them to pass them along. Amy also asked if I knew someone that would dye them, as she loves bright colors.

A seed was planted in my head and I was happy to see it grow into a finished project tonight.

Last week, I dyed the diapers and a baby t-shirt using Dylon permanent dyes. After washing them several times to make sure the excess dye was washed out, I started embellishing them. I used the Freezer Paper Stencil process to paint a hot air balloon on the shirt, spelling out Micah's name. Unfortunately one of my paint colors is very close to the shirt color so the contrast isn't that great on one letter. Doug teased me that it reads "Mich" instead of "Micah." Hopefully it doesn't look that bad in person!

When shopping for fabric for the prefolds, I knew that I wanted something very colorful and hopefully in rainbow motif without being girly. I was so happy to find the hot air balloon fabric! Just right for Micah.

See, Micah is known in pregnancy and birth loss groups as a Rainbow Child.

A rainbow represents promise and hope. In Genesis, the story of Noah and a flood that destroyed the earth is described. It rained for 40 days and nights and only Noah and his family were saved because of their obedience the God. They listened and tried to warn others to no avail. Well, when it was all over and the water began to recede a rainbow appeared in the sky as God's promise to never destroy the earth by flood again. It gave them hope that they were safe and that the future would be bright in a sense.

Essentially the "promise" would be a living child and hope that it can and will happen for all of those that want it so badly.

Micah is the beautiful rainbow following his sister's death. Emily was such a precious little girl, so loved and adored by her family. I remember Amy bringing newborn Emily to meetings. Her passing was so sad for everyone. I hope Micah brings hope, healing and happiness to his family.

I should see Amy and Micah tomorrow night at our LLL meeting and give her my colorful gift. I hope she likes it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's "Snow" Picinic, It's Snow Fun!

I saw the cutest activity at Elliot's Nest. Jennifer said it was too cold to play outside in the snow, so she brought the snow inside for her boys to play with. Well, it was around 40 degrees here that day, but I thought "that sure looks like fun! What a clever idea. Bet my kids would love that."

Sure enough, it snowed last night! And since today is Parent Teacher Conference Day, there isn't school. The indoor snow play was a hit!

Does this Count as a New Food?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Calling All Inventors!

Can someone please invent a tracking device of some sort for my son's glasses? Please? Please?????

I am soooo tired of playing "Where did Sean hide his glasses?"

Kickin' it Old School

Looking adorable in her "old school" prefold with 1981 style rainbows.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Round and Round the Cobbler's Bench...

the Monkey chased the Weasel
the Monkey thought it t'was all in fun
til, POP! Goes the Weasel!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Always Reaching"

I found this on Three's a Charm and she found it on Malakai Stow. It's too good to not keep passing along! In Sean's short four years of life, I have found this to be so true for him as well. So many people have said, "When he hugs you, he hugs you with his whole self." Doug has a second cousin, also named Deb, that taught dance and she once said, "Sean moves with his whole body, every sense of his being. It takes years to teach dancers how to move like that and many never get there." His spirit is just.right.there.

"Always Reaching" written by a father of a child with Down Syndrome:

From the STL DS Newsletter
by Matthew’s Dad

Every time I see my son, I reach for him.

It doesn’t matter if he rounds the corner 4 seconds after I have seen him last, or if I am picking him up from school and have not seen him for hours…I reach for him.

I can be 1 foot away or 100 feet away…I reach for him just the same. I reach for him with my arms, with my eyes, with my heart.

I wonder sometimes what I am reaching for.

I have seen this in other people when they see my son.

My family, my friends and perfect strangers. They all reach for him.

I see the same movements, the same gestures, the same need to hold out their hands for him. They want him to come to them, some know him and some don’t. Some call his name and others just motion for him. But they all seem to want him to come.

For a moment, you can see his spirit reflected in their faces. I watch the smiles grow across their faces with a fullness that is unavoidable.

When he falls into their arms (which is what he does to everyone), I see a momentary peace envelop them, and their eyes close, they pull him in and they experience what I call “The Joy of Matthew”.

He gives it to you. He wraps you in it. He wriggles and squirms and mashes the love into you. If you did not know what to expect, you may be surprised and find yourself amazed at the feeling, overwhelmed at the emotion he carries with him.
I am lucky. I get to hold him all the time.

And I have been able to think about that feeling and where it comes from and what it may mean. I think Matthew is a window through which we see a pureness of emotion… pure happiness, pure sorrow, pure joy and pure love.

Despite what some may think, our special children are closer to God than we are. We see so much in them that we lack. We wish quietly in so many ways that we could be more like them. And when we hold them, if just for a moment, we feel closer to God.

That must be why I am always reaching for my son.

That must be why they all reach for him.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tastier than McD's

but really not that much healthier!

I told Doug today, "Let's eat in for lunch, I want something better than take out." So I made Turkey-Bacon Guac Sandwiches with a side of Cara-Cara Oranges. It looks good, tasted delish, but once I got to thinking about the ingredients I realized it probably wasn't much healthier than McD's!

4 Deli Thin Slices of Turkey 115 calories
2 slices bacon 284 calories
Tablespoon Cream Cheese 75 calories
Tablespoon Guacamole 108 calories
Monterey Jack Cheese 106 calories
2 Slices Wheat Bread 140 calories
1/2 an Orange 30 calories

Total for the meal= 858 calories

My usual Micky D order: Quarter Pounder with Cheese & Lg Fries (that I share with a kiddo usually) is 1010 calories.

This is just an FYI post to my thighs...

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Singer Sessions, Vol. 1

And so it begins...

My first sewing lesson on my new The Singer Simple sewing machine. My mother-in-law, Janice, was kind enough to come over and get me rolling. She taught me how to thread the machine and set up a bobbin (Doug has had oodles of fun making lewd bobbin jokes since then.) I decided my first attempt at sewing would be to make some cloth diaper wipes out of old receiving blankets. I figured I had a ton of them and it seemed like an easy thing to start with. I showed Janice my idea and she helped me set up a cool stitch pattern to use and away I went! It seemed to be going well, so she took off so I could figure it out on my own.

Unfortunately, I forgot to ask her how to turn corners, so my first attempt is pretty "reinforced" in the corners. LOL Nevertheless, I was proud of myself for trying and snipped up the strings and edges and showed it to Doug. He said, "Not bad, not bad. Let's see how it works, Ella just pooped" and he handed her off to me. Nice. Well, I am happy enough to say it made an efficient butt-wipe. :P

I called my mom to tell her what I was working on and she told me how to turn the corners. This morning, while the boys were at school, I made another wipe and it turned out much better. I started on the third one, got one edge done, then ran out of thread on the bobbin. By that time, Ella was tired of sitting in the highchair next to me and demanded I pick her up.

Lucky for me, she went to sleep fairly early tonight so I had time to re-fill the bobbin and make a few more. I got six 8 x 8 wipes made out of 2 blankets. Not bad!

Aidan wants me to hem up his PJ pants that he got for Christmas, so that will be my next session. I can see this becoming a very fun and useful hobby!

Softly, but Beautifully Spoken

Saw this a couple days ago and loved it. Jennifer Graf Groneberg reading from her book Roadmap to Holland. I loved seeing all the photos of her family and hearing her voice tell their story.

Life With My Special Ks: New year... new YOU!! (Blog style)

Life With My Special Ks: New year... new YOU!! (Blog style)

I need this makeover! I would love to have a pretty, more unique blog layout but have no idea how to make one. Rebecca at Rebecca Creates is so talented at putting together great designs. Wish me luck in this contest!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Eleanor's First....

Mommy, there's something strange going on here.

I'm not sure if I like this at all!

It feels like a little pointy thing in my mouth.

A tooth! A tooth! My very first tooth is popping out!

Welcome 2009!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it is a wonderful new year for everyone. I predict our year will go by so fast as we see Ella grow into a toddler, Sean developing more language, and Aidan morphing into a 1st grader. I know that Doug's year will be busier for him at work, the company is buying 80 new accounts this year from a former competitor. Hopefully we can all adjust to the longer hours Doug will need to work. The boys just love their Daddy so much. We have been so lucky that he has been able to provide for us and still be here when we need him. Most single-income families do not have that luxury. I hope the new year gives me time to enjoy my kids, learn new things, help my community, and work on being a better wife and mother to my family.

Doug and I actually managed to see the new year begin together. After an evening out, we got the kids to bed and kept our eyes open long enough to share a kiss at midnight. Too bad Doug ate enchiladas with onions for dinner. LOL

Today we took the kids to spend their gift cards from Grandpa Steve and Becky at WalMart. Aidan picked out the Imaginext Gorilla Play Mountain that he's been wanting for a few months. So far it's a big hit with both of them. They got the Imaginext Pirate Ship last year for Christmas and have played with it daily since. It looks like the Gorilla Mt will get a lot of playtime as well. Sean got a Hot Wheels Light & Sounds trike. He is so excited about it! Luckily it was on sale, so we only paid $30 for it. Doug put it together and the boys took turns riding it in the house the rest of the day. Sean seriously didn't want to get off it!

I made a bunch of snacky things for dinner, inspired by fellow bloggers shared recipes. We had the Elliot Dip and Sliders along with boneless hot wings with celery, and cheese & crackers. Uncle Curt & Kenzie brought over Rice Crispie Treats and Brownies. Aidan had me put out a bowl of Cheeto Curls. Yummy stuff!

I went to bed early with Ella, so when she woke me to nurse at 5 am I couldn't so back to sleep. I kinda like my early am time to myself. I get a little laundry done, have quiet time to read or write. I do end up burning out by afternoon though, so that is a downfall. Well, it won't be long before Seanie's looking for me, so I might try to sneak back into bed.