Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Goodbye Cold Toes....

Hello Bahamas!

We are off on a family cruise this week. See ya on the flipside!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Working Resolution! Single Stream Recycling

One thing that has bothered me, literally for years, is the amount of trash my family is contributing to society.

I learned at a young age about the importance of recycling and the need to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills, thanks to my Grandma. She lived in a remote community in Colorado and they had to sort their trash and deliver it to the recycling center/trash dept themselves. She was the queen of reusing and a police officer of recycling. Every bit of food scrap went outside to feed the wildlife that passed through her mountainous yard. Papers, tissues and napkins were used as fire starters in her fireplaces. Bread bags were used to double bag baked goods to protect them from the dry high altitude air. Rubber bands and twist ties were saved. Grocery bags were paper and reused for each trip to the grocery store (she would of loved today's trend of cloth bags.) When it is a way of life, it's easy to make it a habit.

My spouse, on the other hand, never put much thought in to his mark on landfills. When I wanted to cloth diaper our children, he was only interested in hearing the financial benefit rather than the environmental impact. When I wanted us to try to make sure to use cloth grocery bags instead of plastic sacks, he didn't mind since he rarely goes shopping. But whenever I've brought up recycling, he didn't want to think about it.

His concerns:
"Where would we keep all those bins for sorting?"
"Who's going to sort all this stuff?"
"Who's going to take it to the recycling center?" (when we lived in other cities that didn't have curbside service.)
"Who's going to make sure it gets out on the right day?"
"How do we know what can be recycled?"

And then the best bit of motivation arrived in the mail a couple months ago. A note in our trash & water bill that said, "Sign up now for a curbside Single Steam Recycling Bin to be delivered to your house Feb. 1!"

What an awesome way to get everyone recycling! How can you possibly say no to this? So, I decided to make it our New Year's Resolution- the Minner family WILL be recycling all of our trash and work towards reducing the amount of waste matter we make.

The first step was getting an indoor can for collecting recyclables. Ella has been tormenting us with an obsession for trash can diving, so we took this as a chance to replace our existing can for one with a child-deterrent lid. I purchased two new 13 gallon cans and a package of blue recycling bags. I wanted to get started immediately and the bins are not due till February. We can still do the single stream sorting, but have to put them out in the recycling bags in the meantime.

We used to keep our trash can in a space next to our stove, which made it handy while cooking, but it wasn't big enough for two cans. I found a new space to put our sorting system and the location has worked very well.

Our trash is picked up once a week and the recycling is picked up every other week. The first week we recycled was pick up week and we had two bags out. The second time, we had four bags ready to pick up. The impact it has on our trash is amazing! Prior to this, we easily filled up our trash bin with about six 13 gallon bags of trash a week. This week, our trash bin is only half full. For the time being, we are keeping the recycling bags in our garage until pick up day, then we gather them up to take to the curb. Since we rinse out containers before putting them in the recycling, there's no smell or mess to the bags.

It's actually been really fun to see all of us get interested in learning about recycling. We check the bottoms of packages to see what number plastic it is. We carefully break down boxes to put in the bin. Before the boys carry something to the trash, they ask "Mom? Can I recycle this?" Even Sean says, "here? or here?" Doug has been fully cooperating without grumbles.

I'm so happy to see another step forward for my family!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Here she is!

The stylist agreed, bangs would be best for her hair for now. Ella wanted to sit on my mom's lap, so that freed me to take photos. She did really great and it was over quickly. It's so nice to see her pretty face!

We treated Ella to a sucker after her haircut, so when we got home, she washed up in the sink & I got a few nice "after" photos.

A Rite of Passage

After months of trying to "train" Ella's hair to part and grow in a direction out of her eyes, I am caving to the fact that it just isn't happening right now. She won't leave barrettes or clippings in her hair, so every day I pull up the top in a pigtail. Problem is, it's gotten so long that the whalespout look is a bit silly.
So then I tried two piggies, adorable, but hard to do on a moving target.

Next came a few weeks of pulling it to the back of her head, which works fine.

This week, I gave the side pony a try and liked it. A bit 80's, but not terrible.

However, as soon as I take her hair down, for bath or bed, it goes right back to this: a veil over her face. Personally, if my hair did that it would drive me nuts!

So today I am taking Ella to my hairdresser for her first haircut. I'm considering bangs (which many have said is the way to go at this age), but am going to see with they say there. I have a hard enough time making it in for regular haircuts for myself that I'm not sure I want the maintenance of bangs on a toddler. And, no, trust me, I am not going to snip it myself!

It's a bit emotional for me to be taking my last baby in for this rite of passage. It's like letting go of a bit of her baby hood. I know it's just hair, but a momma has attachment for things like that!

Ironically, today also seems to be the end of another part of my infant time with Eleanor. I'm having signs that the past 17 1/2 months of Lactation Amenorrhea is coming to an end. Rats! It's sad to know that unless I have some sort medical problem resulting in the need of a hysterectomy, I will "enjoying" cycles until menopause!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top 10 Things to Pack when Moving

By Aidan Minner, age 7.

Ya think he's a little worried we might forget to take him and his siblings with us if we move? LOL

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mess Maker! Mess Maker!

Where are you?

Mess Maker! Mess Maker! What did you do?

Mess Maker! Mess Maker! I have two!

Mess Maker! Mess Maker! Olive you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

How about a Knitting Update?

I had grand plans of knitting several Christmas gifts this year. I was progressing nicely and it seemed doable until I broke my arm. I couldn't knit for at least the first two weeks after that, and then could only manage a short knitting session a day before my arm started locking up and hurting. My long list shrunk rapidly to just the one closest to being finished, a scarf for my younger sister.

Tanya is a busy single mom with two teen/preteen boys so I wanted something pretty yet warm for her. This Basket weave Scarf fit the bill and was really enjoyable to knit. I love this shade of green and hope she likes it, too. Her winter coat is chocolate brown so I think it will really look nice on her. I never did take a finished photo, but these were taken shortly before I finished. The end length was right around 60" so she will be able to wrap it around comfortably.

I also wanted to make my older sister a gift, but didn't get it finished on time. She is a usually cold-temperatured person, like me, so I thought these fingerless mittens would be a nice treat for her to wear around the house on cold days, or whenever she gets chilly. The first mitt knit up really quick and easy and I loved how it fit and looked. Then I, you know, broke the arm, and didn't cast on the second mitt until a week or so ago. I decided I am not a 2 part knitter type person. I don't know if I will ever start and finish a pair of socks because these mitts taught me that I have a hard time sticking with a project like this!

I finally finished mitt #2, only to realize I had screwed up some stitches around the thumb and it didn't match the first mitt. I should of ripped it back to the mistake and re-knit it, but I just was so over the project I didn't want to spend any more time on it. I actually have enough of the yarn left to knit a third mitt, I think, and toss the goofy one. We'll see. For now I am sitting it aside and planning a different gift for her.

And, lastly, I saw this pattern for cute little gnome dolls a couple months ago and thought, "man, those would be so fun for stocking stuffers!" Yeah, oh well. I was bumming about the mitts, so last night I cast on the doll to cheer myself up and ta da! Today we have a cute little friend! I just used scrap yarn and some Poly fill stuffing I had leftover from other projects, so it is a great free project.

I am feeling recharged and excited to get back to work on a pair of pants I started for Ella back in October. Good thing I planned to knit them larger for her! LOL

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year and New Underpants

I've been kinda spacing off about what to blog about, but figured I ought to say something since it's been awhile. So, may as well talk about every mom's favorite subject: poop.

Right before Christmas we were celebrating a breakthrough with Sean, he was finally getting the hang of sitting down to poop. A few times he even got his pants off in time, put the potty seat on our toilet and sat himself down to take care of business all on his own. He had fairly consistent success for a whole week, then we went to visit my parents for a few days. He lost sight of the process there and had accidents in his pants every day. When we came home, he continued to have accidents almost every day. I think we've only been lucky enough to get him to go in the potty maybe twice.


I ended up tossing out a lot of the soiled undies, because we had a stack of ones that were really too small for him anyway. I went out and bought him two more packages of undies with his favorites guys on them: Spongebob, Woody and Buzz. I was hoping to try the "you don't want to make Woody and Spongebob all ucky! We need to make poopies in the potty so Spongebob and Woody stay clean" angle.

Day one in his awesome Woody underpants and he had an accident. Guess he doesn't really care if they get ucky.

*So as soon as I sat down to write this, Ella wandered over to me with a dirty diaper. Got her cleaned up and decided to try sitting Sean on the potty for a bit. He made a tiny "too-too"! I think I will leave his pants off for awhile and see if he wants to try again in a bit.*

Man, this potty learning business is a long process!