Life as I know it.

Well, a flashback of life as I know it.

Some times you spot a moment in life and it feels like if you don’t take a picture maybe that moment didn’t happen. I feel like I have those moments daily. Each moment feels so special. Silly as that must sound.

I guess part of it is that I’m afraid of forgetting the day-to-day. The things we do without thinking about it. The things we forget we did last month. Like this moment. We played Minnie Mouse dominoes and Ginny probably won. It’s not an important moment. Not one we would scrapbook or publish in a Christmas letter, But looking at it makes me smile, my messy-headed kiddo, my husband not ready for the camera, and some how there are no dogs on the couch.

Speaking of dogs, last May we adopted this fur-ball into our family.

Trooper, the troublemaker.

His eyes reminded me so much of my sweet Gretel that I had to bring him home with me from the shelter. Who knew window-shopping at the shelter would turn into buying a dog? (The answer is “B-man”. B-man knew.)

But I did, I brought him home, pulled about 60 tics off of him, bathed him, medicated him for several weeks, and the nursed him through surgery…. and though he didn’t handle it as gracefully as my sweet Gretel handled life, Trooper is young and improving so much. Of course, before these more recent improvements we had other things to deal with – like when he broke the door handle.

This used to be a door handle.

The doors to our backyard are lever handles, and Trooper… the troublemaker… figured out that he could open them, and when jumping on the handle didn’t open them, it at least made a good amount of noise.

Eventually the handle actually broke. While waiting to figure out what the replacement would be, I improvised with a ribbon and some painters tape… ya know…. because bugs and the need to actually open the door. I was actually pretty proud of this innovation. 🙂

Then I replaced the door handle with a regular knob. I’m pretty proud of that too.

A working lunch.

This moment still tickles me. It’s just a simple thing, Ginny playing while I was folding laundry after a camping trip. She pulled her little laptop in and told me she was going to “get some work done”. Then of course she needed a snack, and a drink, and a chair from the playroom. My silly girl.

Also, she loves that silly little laptop.

And I love that silly little girl. So much. And, for the record – I love this dress too. It looks so good on her, bring out her bright blue eyes, and it was a steal on ebay!

A silly compilation, but my life none the less.

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Sweet Summer

While the winter and spring months disappeared quickly, the last few months of summer have left a bigger impression on me. I didn’t realize how catatonic I’d become, sleeping in until the early afternoon, then going to bed early in the evening. It’s a wonder I have any memories – most of which involve driving in the snow and sweet things others did for my family.

We did a lot of travelling, which I will document eventually, but my favorite moments have been the little things. Little things like seeing Ginny love the same trampoline I grew up with.

 

Or when we find the best in our flooded carport: built in puddle jumping! Ginny got to pick those polka dot boots out at the L.L. Bean outlet when we were in Maine.

 

We managed to squeeze in three camping trips in just two months. One trip was a three-day adventure in celebration of our five year wedding anniversary. Ginny loves it, outdoors is definitely her element.

 

 

My favorite moments over the summer though are when I get to play witness to Ginny and her Daddy. The way they interact, it makes me jealous! She’s full of giggles, he’s incredibly patient. Any person who dares to say that men can’t be as nurturing as women need to spend a few days in this household.

 

Ginny has grown a strange fondness for lizards and the name “Jeff”. A neighbor gave her a small rubber lizard, which was named Jeff. Since that point every stuffed animal, doll, and living thing without a name has been named Jeff. Jeff is also the name of the guy that makes my salad at Panera every Tuesday. Go figure.

While I was sick people helped us out in so many different ways. One of those not-expected ways was the people who brought over hand-me-downs for Ginny. Every penny counts, and I’m thankful to have such thoughtful friends. Below is a picture of Ginny in her “running shoes”. She’s convinced that wearing them requires running. It’s endearing.

 

Ginny got her first umbrella this summer, as a birthday gift from a neighbor. It has Mickey Mouse on it, and her name. Of course she is enamored.

I think one of my favorite things to do with my little love (and my big love) is to get out of the house. I’m a bit of a wimp still, and “getting out of the house” might be code for “I’m too tired to cook so lets go somewhere”. It’s a nice treat, and a good experience for Ginny. She’s been learning how to order for herself, and she always asks so nicely!

 

 

I move slowly these days, but I try to move a lot. I’ve found that if I spend all day on my feet, I have joint pain the next few days. It’s hard. I want to do things. I want to feel better. I want to be motivated. So when that moment of energy comes I grab on to it, and I push and do and go and get things done. Then I pay for it.

I’ve been going through our things, I have a large collection of donate stuff by the front door just waiting to be taken. My house is coming together, and the spot I’m most fond of right now is this little table with the house plants I’ve managed to keep alive. Our the window you can see our extra-large umbrella that makes the patio slightly more appealing. Thankfully the weather should be cooling off soon, and then we will be spending our morning out there. Just need the mosquitoes to die.

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it’s cold here.

 

 

It didn’t get above 16 degrees outside today. I thought I loved the cold, but I’m not so into having it be so cold without getting to go skiing. Thankfully I can still put Ginny in snow bibs and marvel at the cuteness that is toddlers and snow. 🙂

 

 

 

One morning this week I came downstairs and Ginny had insisted on all of her “friends” eating breakfast with her. I love that Daddy obliged this request. You’re only two years old once!

And then this is just Ginny and I heading out for some errands. I knit that blue hat this autumn. She’s so proud of it, and loves reminding me that I made it for her. My little lovely. 🙂

 

Those little boots kill me too. They are hand-me-down-borrows from her best friend and I think they’re adorable. Plus, when we do have snow, they are legit warm. So cute and practical!

And lastly: Ginny is a big fan of “selfies”. When she sees herself on the screen she always comes up with the biggest cheesy grins!

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Ginny lately.

This chick-a-dee owns my heart.

A few nights ago she woke up and then promptly threw up. It was a rough night, and we spent a lot of time over the following 24 hours just chilling, watching Mickey Mouse, and snuggling.

When she has trouble sleeping we set up her little travel cot in our room. She’s a bed hog and can’t sleep in bed with us (unless you like getting kicked in the head… which I don’t enjoy… so we don’t).

Of course, the dangers of getting sick – she missed tumble time this week. We might go to the open play later this week – but it’s not as fun as the class. Here’s Ginny and her little best friend at tumble time last week. G loves it, and she likes talking about it and asking if it’s time to go to tumble time. Sheesh.

Any way – just thankful my little is feeling better. Of course… while she was sick she was happy to just chill, which meant… more sewing time. Bitter-sweet, but I’m glad she’s getting back to herself – the silly goose.

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times and seasons

I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately. Yes – I realize it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. The thing is, it’s kind of my motivational music right now. Like an enforced crunch time. Like listening to fast paced music when you run. Well… when I’m working on Christmas presents I like to listen to Christmas music. It gets me in the mood and reminds me why I am re-threading my bobbin for the hundredth time today.

Turns out an entire dust rabbit was hiding in there. I’m also out of that canned air spray stuff. Naturally. I also tightened the tension down there and magically everything worked perfectly! Magic!

I also had to pull out my label maker. It’s probably my favorite little tool. I use it… often. In any case – I typically have to pull the book out to remember what the little symbols all stand for. I definitely had this problem with my serger… that’s a different story though. It is also labelled now.

Win!

So while I fought the good fight with my sewing machine, I planned out some nice holiday-inspired activities for my sweet husband and Ginny. First there was finger painting…

That lasted for a while. We don’t pull those paints out very often. She was excited and disgusted at the same time. She kept wanting to wash her hands. Silly girl.

After painting her and B-man whipped up a batch of cookies. Yes. It was adorable.

And I finally got to do some sewing.

I’m actually really super excited about the gifts I’m making for the ladies on my husband’s side of the family. I don’t know if any of them follow my blog, so I can’t post pictures of the finished objects yet, but I am giddy. 🙂

It was so holiday-esque on Sunday that I actually considered getting and Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. That didn’t happen. But it almost did.

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sleep when the baby sleeps (07/11)

New moms are often told to sleep when the baby sleeps. Honestly – it’s great yet impractical advice. I was lucky though. At the time B-man worked from home exclusively so I had help 24/7. It meant that I really could sleep when the baby slept, because my sweet husband made up for everything I wasn’t doing. So whenever Ginny would fall asleep… it was very likely that I would fall asleep too – nursing always made me tired.

So tiny. I can still feel her little 7 pound body against me. I miss being able to hold her like this. Her tiny butt makes it look like I have HUGE man hands!

This never happened on purpose, and I know some people would say I spoiled her by letting her sleep on me – but to those people I say “poo poo!”. I love that she spent the first several months of her life right next to me. Now that my non-snuggly baby can move around I feel deprived!

In this picture she is swaddled, and I’m actually mostly sitting up. And that’s the flowery pillow I’ve been sleeping with since I replaced my childhood stuffed animal with it… in high school.

A shout-out to B-man… I’m thankful he captured these moments for me. I love that I have so many pictures of me and Ginny (these are just a few among them). I don’t have many pictures of myself with my mother, so it was one of my priorities. Thankfully my husband took the job and captured a bunch of sweet moments.

And now the mish-mash of leftover July 2011 pictures:

These little pajamas were my favorite. They had a little elephant on them and the footsies were so precious. I liked them so much I actually bought them in every size. *for shame!*

 

Ginny meeting her cousins for the first time. The little boy there is just a year older than her, and we got together to celebrate his birthday. She spent a majority of the time sleeping, or nursing, or sleeping.

Pissed off baby. This is actually the hiccup face. That poor chicky had hiccups almost 90% of the time.

Obviously this was so long ago that I don’t remember the story behind the screams, but this kiddo was super good at being pissed off. For the record: she still is.

After her first ride home we had to make a mad dash to target to get a smaller neck support. Also note that my 1-2 week old baby has a clip in her hair. Because she had SO MUCH HAIR!

First family lunch date. lol. We went to Chili’s because I was sick of eating hot dogs and simple stuff. Ginny slept the whole time… so you could say she was really well behaved.

Sleep.

More sleep.

Squished up sleeping.

 

When she had thrush she couldn’t nurse well and wouldn’t take the pacified, but sucking on my finger seemed to calm her. So I tucked her into my shirt (that’s a thing, right?) and just snuggled her. 🙂

And this last picture is kind of precious to me. B-man was sitting on the couch while I nursed Ginny and he looked over and said “You look so pretty.” I laughed – I was exhausted and felt pretty crappy. He said “No wait, I’ll show you!”. So he snapped this picture and showed it to me. I don’t think it’s a particularly flattering picture, but it means a lot to me because it means he sees more in me that I see in myself. He loves me even when I’m a bit rough and worn out. It should also be noted that I covered up for this picture. I didn’t usually use a cover in my own home.

 

And so I’ve caught up the first… two weeks… of my daughter’s life. Only 2 years to go! I’m going to try and mix it up a little more, but I had these posts all planned out, and my camera is being difficult so I have yet to coax it into giving me my more recent pictures that I wanted to blog.

 

 

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rub-a-dub-tub (07/11)

So normally you don’t bath your newborn until their little cord falls off. Unless they have a mop of hair that is getting kind of questionable looking. Then you give them a sponge bath and wash that hair.

 

Wash, wash, wash!

 

She was a very expressive newborn – she’s still very expressive. She was also a very focused newborn. I think she must’ve been born with completely functioning eyes because she could track things a lot earlier than “normal” and she had pretty decent neck control for a less than 2 week old baby.

I look at this picture and think “HUH!?”. Sure – her face is weird, but I weighed less than 200 pounds in this picture. Which is almost 50 pounds less than I weigh right now (and almost 70 pounds less than what I weighed two months ago). I could blame it on nursing – because nursing made me ridiculously hungry – but a lot of it was just laziness and trying to keep things simple. Clearly it took me two years to get my life back under my own control. Waaah.

The best part about post-bath-baby was the ridiculously fluffy hair. It was, in a word, awesome. Soft and sticking straight up. And a thumbs up for a successful first bath.

Of course, the post-cord-falling-off-first-bath was a bit more traumatizing. We didn’t have a special baby bath tub, so we just lined out bathroom sink with a towel, then put warm water in the sink. It seemed like a nice way to do it, right? Cushy? Ginny did not agree.

 

Well… she liked it so much she didn’t want us to take her out of the bath.

I can still hear her screeching in my mind’s ear. That’s a thing right?

Aaaand… we’re all good again.

 

 

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at the hospital – 07/13/2011

Prepare to be inundated with baby pictures. I wobbled back and forth about whether I wanted to post lots of pictures of Ginny, but when it comes down to it this blog is kind of like my life scrapbook, and I would most certainly have pictures of my daughter in my scrapbook. In an effort to make up for not blogging for two years I’m going to be posting old pictures, and trying to remember the stories behind them.

Our second family picture:

 

The numbers are iffy. But I count the first picture of her on my chest as the “first” one – but that one involves a very dirty baby and a lot of emotions on my face. I don’t actually like looking at it because it just says “motherhood is terrifying!”. Which may be true, but isn’t the important part. The important part is that my child was born with enough have to tie a bow in it. That right there is a piece of yarn – not a velcro bow. And it is actually tied around a handful of Ginny’s newborn hair.

Yes I had ridiculous heartburn the entire time I was pregnant, why do you ask?

 

 

Because of the few mishaps we experienced when Ginny was born (meconium, long labor, and that she stopped breathing the first time I tried to nurse her), we ended up staying an extra night. Technically I should’ve been discharged, but the nurse there said that my insurance would cover the second day and  it would be easier to have the room while we waited for all of the double-checks on the baby and stuff. During that day there was a lot of crying. For Ginny – not me. Shots, blood tests, breathing tests, hearing, etc. It was also a day of much visitation.

I’m going to be honest: It never occurred to me that people would send flowers. And balloons! But the morning after Ginny’s birth we had a beautiful display. Three from my husband’s family, and one from my Dad’s work. lol.

Daddy, Mommy, & Ginny

Especially in the beginning people would comment on how much she looked like me. I think they were thrown off by the hair. Apart from the hair all I see if B-man. Look at those cheeks! Those are most certainly my husband’s cheeks.

Next we’ll go down the roll:

B’s Dad

B’s Mom
My Mom
My Dad

Additionally my grandparents and then B-man’s brother and SIL stopped by as well.

My Dad was actually there in the afternoon as we were checking out of the hospital. He left work early to come and help us get everything back into the car, get home, and get settled. He was kind of the underdog of this whole experience. I didn’t think I would want my Dad there. When he showed up with my Mom I was a little weirded out – but I am so incredibly thankful that he was there.

She looked so tiny buckled into the carseat. Her head flopped to one side and the buckles seemed to encapsulate her. We drove home, then headed into our apartment. Since my family consisted of mostly minors at the time, and minors were not allowed into the maternity wing unless they were siblings of the newborn, none of my siblings were able to visit in the hospital. Instead we went home, got settled, and then called my Mom to bring everyone over.  We ordered some pizzas and every body took turns holding Ginny. I can’t find the pictures from this – but I swear it happened.

So that covers from the night Ginny was born, until we took her home. It’s just the beginning. 🙂

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a new page

I love my neighborhood mom group. My neighborhood is really unique, in that is is very old-time community-esque. I guess I haven’t really talked much about my house – so I’ll save that for another time, but regardless: I love it. The mom group has a facebook page, and that is how I found my new book club.

 

We read Ender’s Game last month, and I hosted it at my house. There were 8 of us, and I am now the proud owner of 6 bottles of wine… lol. Wine’s not really my cup of tea, so whenever I host I usually end up saving it to open up when my husband’s family comes over, regift it, or use it in cooking. But… not the point.

 

So I spent a lot of time cleaning my house today. Pause.

 

Yesterday my daughter had a death wish. I was in the bathroom for 2 minutes. 3 minutes MAX. I knew it was too good to be true – that my toddler was letting me pee in the bathroom by myself. But I didn’t question it and enjoyed the restroom respite. Then I went down stairs. Then I wanted to cry and run away at the same time.

 

Unpictured are the marks on every single appliance, magnets, toys, bags, a spatula, the island, the pantry doors, the kitchen table, and her clothes.

So once I was sure I could look at Ginny without experiencing irrational anger we got into the car to drive to Target to get some magic erasers.

She definitely understood that Mommy is upset (still… a day later…) but thankfully I handled it gracefully, and she only spent some good time on the bottom step. I don’t think the punishment suited the crime, but she did have to help scrub and got her legos taken away. Of course – no legos is punishment for everyone, as it’s her favorite and most engaging toy.

Silly girl.

So today was mostly tidying around the house, finding more marker marks, cleaning the floors, rearranging chairs, and cooking yummy food.

We chatted for a bit, Ender’s Game was not the best book I’ve ever read. I can see why people like it, but I found it difficult to get in to.

No in depth analysis here. I’m actually not a big fan of reading. I get headaches and have a hard time following long storylines when I read it myself. But I’ve worked out a system:

B-man reads to me, while I knit. Unfortunately I find his voice so soothing that I often end up falling asleep mid-chapter. 🙂

But it’s been a good night. I didn’t want to deal with cleaning up after a fire, so I collected a bunch of candles from round the house and stuck them all in there. Kind of silly, but it does add a nice ambiance.

I served a cheese platter with Gouda and peppered cheddar (so yummy!) along with turkey summer sausage, grapes, strawberries, and rosemary/olive oil triscuits. Then I also did a little pinterest-adventuring. So… I’ll start here: the original pin. It was just picture. The link was a dead end and came with no further instructions.

I mean… it looked simple enough. So off to Wegman’s I went. They have really delicious asiago/artichoke dip at Wegman’s, so I thought I could substitute that for the spinach dip. But… when I got there I found that the dip was $6 for a small container. So I hoped on my phone and found a recipe for asiago artichoke dip. I used this recipe as a jumping off point. My recipe looked more like this:

2 – 10 oz jars of marinated artichoke hearts

4 cloves of garlic

3.5 cups shredded asiago cheese

2 cups finely shredded mild cheddar cheese

1 cup mayo

1 cup whole milk plain yogurt

garlic salt & pepper to taste.

I forgot about the lemon juice.

I combined the first two ingredients in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. It broke the pieces up really well. Then I added everything else. Mix, mix, mix. Assemble as picture. Then I just had to guess. I baked it at 425 degrees F, for about 30 minutes (I just it at 20 and twisted it around so it would brown evenly.

My biggest mistake was using store-bought pie crust. I make a mean pie crust. It’s delicious, and I love making it. I wish I had just made it. But I was trying to be chill and not put too much stress on myself. The store bought crust was too thick, and not pliable. All was going well. Circle of dip, bunch of dip in the middle, top pie crust, bowl over the middle, fork the edges closed, cut the slices and… I couldn’t turn the pieces on their sides without ripping the pie dough. So… mine was just flat. It worked out fine though. I cut the pieces so that they could be picked up easily, and the store bought crust was still pretty yummy. Works either way, might be prettier if made with a homemade crust.

I also served hot caramel apple cider. I’m sharing that recipe in a later post. 😀 It’s my new favorite holiday treat.

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Meeska! Mooska! Mouska! Two!

My little one is 2! I really can’t believe how quickly time flies. Last year I spent a lot of time prepping and planning Ginny’s first birthday. It was nice, but I felt so overwhelmed and I remember being frustrated and my little goose because I was trying to plan this party and she was… well – I realized the irony right then and there, but in the throws of baking a cake is not the time to back down. So this year I decided to go easy on myself. Simple food. No cake-pops. And just a small party. Of course, small is relative when you have a lot of family in the area and delightful neighbors.

 

Through several fine strokes of luck our basement has really rounded out, into a nice “game” room. One friend gave us the (free!) air hockey table in the background. B-man’s parents gave us the Foosball table, and behind the man in the yellow shirt (but not pictures) we also have a leather couch that our neighbor was trying to get rid of… free. All of it! It’s also nice and cool down there in the middle of summer!

B-man and I got Ginny this little castle/slide/boat hide-out. It no longer resides in the living room, but much fun was had by all while it was there.

Once the food was all ready… I forgot to take before pictures, so these slightly blurry after pictures will have to cover it. We had, per the requirement of a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party – hot dogs.

Then I made pasta salad with bow-tie pasta, so it could be a play on Minnie’s BOWtique.

I also made jalapeno poppers. Believe it or not I picked out the foods first and then came up with the “names”. I seemed to recall a “Mexican” Donald Duck and… sure enough!

We’re also all (well… mostly) big caprese fans… and caprese rhymes with… Daisy! I’ve got some pretty good luck with this.

Then lastly I made chick-fil-a style carrot salad. It has pineapple in it, and if you’ve ever seen the MMClubhouse show, you would know that Goofy is a big lover of all thing pineapple. I had this sticker of goofy, and added the pineapple in with some felt-tips.

I made the cake too. It was… crazy. The cake stuck to the pan and was un-useable, so I made a mad morning dash to the grocery store the morning of to buy a new mix, got home and was out of eggs. Naturally. A quick trip to my neighbor’s house and that was solved. I had planned on making it look like “toodles” from the show. He’s like the Mickey equivalent to Dora’s backpack. I made the cake. The frosting. And then… I got very stressed. So my Mommy stepped in and decorated it for me. She did such a beautiful job. 🙂

And last minute too! I also made Mickey Mouse cupcakes. I made the cupcakes first, in case the cake didn’t work out.

After lunch we gather every one in the kitchen for a little song singing and candle blowing.

Can I have one of those mom?

Oh… cake!

She clapped when we all blew out the candles. She also sang the birthday song for a week afterwards.

But she didn’t actually want cake. She wanted a cupcake. Your wish is my command, birthday girl!

Ginny is so lucky to have so many people to love on her. Despite my “no presents, just fun” invitations – there were lots of presents.

She loved it – though towards the end she just wanted to play with the new things!

The last present from my Mom was a really nice surprise. It was this quilt:

It is the quilt of my childhood. It started falling apart when I was headed off to college. It was actually her first full quilt. So she decided to take it apart and sew it all back together, with proper quilting. She sent it to me while I was away at school and I loved it – though with the new seems the quilt had shrunk quit a bit and was really too small to be used as a bed quilt. So I brought it home, and asked if there was any way to make it bigger. I didn’t really think this request through – because it was a very large request and I wouldn’t have asked had I realized. My Mom took the whole quilt apart again, some how found the 20+ year old fabric, extended the quilt, then put it all back together, and gifted it to my daughter (and me!). This picture is all three of us, and the blanket. I love it!

The party was simple. Fun. Cheesy decorations from Party City that I let Ginny pick out still dot my house a month later. But I love it. People stayed from 11 – 7 pm. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of pinterest and making everything cute and coordinated – but I enjoyed this party a lot more than I did the first one. And I know Ginny loves it – which is really all that matters.

Happy birthday little goose!

 

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A peek of Maine

We’ve been visiting Maine for the last week. We arrived Wednesday at about 4 am, as the sun was rising.

That first day was a blur, Ginny didn’t want to sleep, since it was daylight outside, despite the lack of sleep she stayed up all day and made every one miserable. lol. Sleep has definitely been the biggest challenege of this trip, as the room doesn’t have curtains, so Ginny rises with the sun… at 5 am.  We visited several different places, but for now I’ll just share a few pictures.

 

 

A panorama of the view from the house at sunset.

B-man and I at Mackworth Island. He skipped rocks into the water while Ginny tried to copy him.

 

Ginny getting some energy out at Portland Headlight, in South Portland.

And one last sunset.

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It’s been a while…

I’ve been doing lots of things. Nothing too “new”, and nothing really exciting. Just lots of things. Thankfully I’m getting the into the swing of managing all these things, and am going to get back to blogging. A two year hiatus was all it took! Go figure! I’ve got a busy weekend ahead: movie night with B-man, Richmond in the morning, and then I’ll need to get on the ball with Mother’s Day, but in the mean time I just wanted two post a picture. Ginny will be two in almost exactly two months. So… she’s considerably bigger.

 

 

And that is it. 🙂

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i’m starting to get depressed again

my neighbor came over today. She played with Ginny while I did the dishes, then helped me clean of my patio that was covered in leaves, pine needles and tiny acorns. She talked about the funk. Ya know, that point in life where nothing is going right. In her case it’s an empty nest, in my case it’s a lot of different things.

my dog is dying. Gretel had been throwing up for several days in a row. So I took her to the vet and they did a blood test and found that her liver enzymes are low and her blood isn’t clotting. She has liver disease. The only way to find out how bad it is would be to spend $500, at which point they say “she’s going to die soon, just enjoy her” or they could say “she is going to die soon unless you spend $100+/month on doggy medicine, at which point she may live a few years more.”

boo.

either way she is going to die, I’ll just be lonely, and more poor if I choose the second option.

so we’ve decided to wait it out. she is still happy. she has stopped vomiting, and we are encouraging her to eat a little bit more.

the saddest part to me is that Ginny will not remember this sweet dog of mine. Gretel has so patiently put up with all of the ear pulling, crawling over and hang on that a dog with a baby around unfortunately deals with. Gretel has added so much love to our lives, and has been such a sweet companion to Ginny – and Ginny won’t remember. it breaks my heart.

this issue alone has had me bawling since last Friday. we are literally just waiting for her to show signs of discomfort. then we’ll be paying some one to kill our dog.

in other news: I’m having a hard time making new friends. I only live about 45 minutes north of my old stomping ground, but it seems like getting together with old friends is getting more and more complicated. people are busy, and moving on. while i am desperately clinging to my past. 45 minutes of driving each way makes short trips for walking about stores or a 30 minute play date all but impractical.

on top of this, I have been throwing myself out there left and right. I am friendly to strangers at target, I attend several different group play dates, and have been trying to hang out with people that I wouldn’t normally consider building relationships with. ya know, keeping an open mind.

but two months into this effort I am exhausted, and still feeling very lonely.

through no fault of his own, my hubs has been very busy at work, which often results in him being very tired at home. he gets up late, goes to work, gets home late, we eat dinner later, then he falls asleep while we’re hanging out in the living room. add this to my lack of social interactions with people I feel connected to and I’m a few drops closer to a bucket full of crazy.

I’ve been busy  focusing on other people. I feel like all of my spare time has been dictated by what other people want me to do, and I’m kind of sick of it. half of this problem is related to having a toddler who is dependent on me for her life. I get it. Okay.

unfortunately I have found myself being taken advantage of lately. they are quick to ask for and accept my help and time, but stingy when it comes to returning the favor.

boo.

in other news, I have started attending a water aerobics class twice a week. it is very nice to have the 2 hours twice a week to work out, relax, shower, listen to loud music in the car. it’s very nice.

and in closing, I bought this little shirt at H&M for Ginny. I went in there and rememebered it is a lot more expensive in the US than it is in Germany. note taken, again.

she’s getting too big. it breaks my heart more and more. thankfully she heals it with his cute giggles, new words, and desire to climb on bigger and taller things.

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Organizing: toys (15 months)

When you have a baby, you are going to end up with things in your house that you didn’t ask for, and often times they are things you wouldn’t have purchased to begin with. Thankfully we often get more clothing as gifts than toys, since there is so much out there in the “cute girl clothes” section! I’d imagine if Ginny had been a boy we would have less clothing and a lot more gender themed toys. While a lot of her toys do end up being pink and purple, it is okay because when I purchase something I choose the gender neutral option.

Now, if I lived in a log cabin in the middle of a large plot of land far from neighborhoods that don’t want you to hang up a clothesline, I would probably not have any toys in my house. There is enough for Ginny to do with out me spending money. She loves moving the laundry with me, helping out with the dishes, and I’m sure a set of measuring cups is just as fun as the stacking cups we got her. In fact, I would estimate that she spend less than an hour each day actually playing with toys.

So, with that in mind… I have been trying to par down. Earlier this week I was at a friend’s house, sitting in their kids’ room while Ginny and I joined in a lovely game of house. I was the Mom. Just in case you wondering. No – I didn’t pick that. As I looked around it felt so clean. There was a kitchen set with a managable amount of play food and plates, and then the older girl had a doll house with miniature furniture. There was also a bag of stuffed animals in the closet. It made me think about my own collection of toys, and I admitted that I often have a hard time getting with of things, which is very very true.

So yesterday, finally gathering up the convictions to go through and store/donate/organize the ever growing collection of toys, I blitzed the living room.

Yes, we keep the toys in the living room. It looks a lot like this:

When my (future) children are older I may have a play room in the basement, or more toys in their rooms, but currently all of the “playing” is done on the main floor. The entire floor is baby proofed, so I feel comfortable leaving Ginny to play in the living room while I work in the kitchen.

You can see the play kitchen all the way on the left, a small chair/table combo, and then the white shelving unit that the TV sits on. In our apartment we had an entertainment center and this shelf was off to the side to house toys and baby stuff. The Ginny started walking and the entertainment center no longer sufficed. Too short. So we moved up to this.

I went through all of her toys and sectioned them off into “keep for the future”, “throw-away”, “donate”, and  “available”.

Of course… turns out B-man is very attached to things too. So currently… nothing is being donated. Instead everything that isn’t on the “available” list of toys went into this toy box:

This includes but is not limited to:

  • baby toys – Ginny is now a toddler and not interested in these toys, but I am saving them for future children to use.
  • older kid toys – things we’ve been given that are too advanced for her as of yet.
  • Extra stuffed animals – we have about 5 in the living room, and 5 in her bedroom. All the rest get to hang out in the basement.
  • Duplicate concepts – how many shape sorters does a girl need? I chose to keep out the one that has two of each shape because it allows for mimicking work. I put a purple star in the box, she puts a purple star in the box. The other two we were given are a little above her right now.
  • Saving for late – Ginny recieved several nice sets of play dishes for her birthday. Instead of opening all of them up right now we have tucked some away for future use. We kept out the metal pots and pans – because they make great noises – and a set of dishes made from recycled plastic. I questioned this choice, since these are the only plastic plates she now comes into contact with – making it not very true to life – but decided that since other children often play with her toys it was the right choice.
  • Anything she has gotten bored of recently. I rotate her toys often enough that tucking these away for a little while will make them more interesting later.

We had considered removing the play kitchen from our living room. Ginny isn’t really interested in it yet, but decided to keep it upstairs a little bit longer because it is often used by older kids when we have play dates.

So are you wondering which toys made the cut? Well, this is by no means scientific, but I try to present a wide variety of toys that touch on different concepts. If I hadn’t been given most of these I probably would’ve come up with a cheaper/at-home version to do the same thing.

Accessible, Top Row, starting on the left:

  • a fabric bag with wooden block in it. I bought the blocks at the grocery store for $5.
  • Ginny’s dump truck. Now that I think about it this toy should probably go into hiding and reappear later, because she isn’t really into it right now.
  • This rattle/manipulative.  Ginny still enjoys moving the various “arms” around and shaking it for the rattling sound.
  • This wooden teether/manipulative. We got this through a secret santa at our Baby group. She has been using it a lot as her molars come in.
  • The afore mentioned friend had this musical cube at her house, and Ginny seemed intrigued. It had been away in the box for a while so when Ginny found it this morning she was very interested. She is old enough now to push the different buttons, adding and removing instruments to the classical song that is playing. This was by far the favorite today.
  • Ginny recieved this set of puzzles made by Lakeshore  from her Aunt, Uncle and Cousins for her birthday. As you can see one is on the shelf, always available, and the rest are tucked into the “big kid” drawer on the far right.
  • Behind the puzzle is this shape sorter. As I mentioned earlier it has two of each shape, which makes it easier for me to model the toy for her. She also enjoys just dumping out and collecting all 10 of the pieces.

Not Accessible, Bottom Row, starting from left:

  • You can easily see Sophie, and a nursery rhyme “book” that sings the songs and has interactive buttons. There are also a few wooden toys, and little baby toys, for when we have younger babies over. Ginny isn’t really into these any more, but it’s nice to have them on hand. We also have this toy phone, which Ginny still loves to play with when she finds it.
  • The next bin has 3 beanie babies (perfect for little hands to carry), a baby doll, a stuffed hello kitty my neighbor brought over (“Vintage!” because it was from her daughter’s who is a little older than I am.), and a folding cube set that my mother made for Ginny. We usually take a beanie baby on trips to the store to minimize her desire to grab things from the shelves.
  • The next box is the play kitchen box. It includes the afore mentioned dishes, pots and pans, and then a smaller tub of fake food. Most of the fake food is felt. 2/3’s of it is from Ikea (we have the fruit set and the veggie set), while the rest of it is either from this set (also from the cousins, made by Lakeshore), and then a few plastic things that came with her little grocery cart.
  • In the last box are the “big kid toys”. This is mostly toys that Ginny could play with, but only if I was sitting right there to prevent mass scattering of pieces (hence the extra puzzles). It includes several Melissa and Doug toy sets that I was given second hand. We have the pizza set, the sandwhich set, the cake set, the cupcake set, and a lacing set (this isn’t the one we have – just a concept link).

Not pictured, because they don’t reside in the living room, is our collection of musical instruments: a small drum, a recorder that Ginny likes to blow on, a whale shaped tambourine from the thrift store, a shaker, and some bells. And of course Ginny’s books.

Having the toys out like this may not be for every one. I don’t mind seeing them, because in fact, a baby lives in my house. Having less than 10 toys available at one time makes cleaning up a breeze, and because I have carefully chosen age appropriate toys I don’t see many tantrums related to frustration. I still rotate the little things (like changing the puzzle, or putting different balls out), but for the most part these toys will be it for about a month. Then I will re-evaluate.

Over thinking much? Probably. But it makes me feel good.

So tell me, do you over think toys? Do you donate/re-gift toys you are given but don’t want your children to have?

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mornings with ginny

I have been reading a few different books. Some talk about the Montessori method of teaching children, and some that focus on the Waldorf methods. Having attended Montessori schools as a child I have a few memories of those systems, and I like that the Waldorf methods make me feel a little more connected to the earth.

If I were going to rename my blog I would be the accidental hippy. Just roll with it. that’s what I do.

So these Waldorf books both talk about instilling a rhythm in your daily life. Time flows in rhythms, whether it is the way Christmas comes every year, or the way the weather cycles between the seasons. As adults we have names or our weekly cycles. Monday, Tuesday… these days mean things to us. But as names they are pretty abstract. Young children have a hard time grasping concepts of time. It’s still relatively new to them. Tomorrow and next week seem like one in the same. So Waldorf suggests adding a physical element to your daily and weekly rhythms, instead of just abstract names. So we have church day, vacuuming days, washing day, etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with distinct activies for the rest of the days of the week. lol.

I also have tried to implement a daily rhythm. So when we get up in the morning we do the same things every day.

We start out on the potty. By “we” I mean Ginny. I usually end up holding it. Forever.

But I didn’t get a picture of her on the potty. Instead I got a picture of her in the potty.

Once that is done we get dressed, and then get breakfast.

This morning she had about 1 cup of cottage cheese.

And while that may seem like a lot of cottage cheese, I just keep offering it until she pushes it away. I guess she’s growing though, because when I sat down with my breakfast:

Well… she ate almost all of this too. I got about 3 bites in.

Of course, she really only eats breakfast, because for dinner she wanted a few graham crackers and a couple dried cranberries. Is it too early to have “fend for yourself” dinners? lol.

And then we had cup practice:

Every morning I give her a *tiny* bit of milk in the cup. Once she drinks it I add more to the cup, until she’s had enough. this practice is leading up to her getting to use her own glass cups, which is actually just around the corner, but I’ll talk more about that some other time.

After the cup practice we do the dishes. Ginny helps me put plates in the dishwasher, and then she loves lifting the door and pushing on it to close it. Then she claps.

The TV stays off during the day. I don’t know how I used to watch so much TV. I guess I was just nursing, and sitting, sooo much. Now the only time it comes on before bedtime is for the music channels.

I’ve been listening to the Soundscapes channel because it has very calming music on it.

The calming music is good, because I use listen to it while I do yoga.

As soon as I spread the mat out Ginny likes to walk on it, which I understand, because it feels neat under her feet.

Then she will take off running to play behind the curtains or chase the dog a little bit. She usually gives me enough time to do two sun salutations.

I am really enjoying this little addition to our mornings, because it really does help me feel centered. I turn off the lights, open all of the blinds and let the morning sun fill the living room while I breath through each movement.

It feels good.

Once breakfast, dishes, and yoga are done, we move on to other household chores that need attending to. This morning it was washing the bed linens and airing out our feather duvet.

This only lasted about 2 minutes. 1. Because it was hot and the air was stagnet, lacking any wind at all. And 2. Because after I got B-man to hang the line so I could put the blanket up, I pulled out the HOA book and realized that clotheslines were against the rules.

So we took it down and threw the duvet in the dryer on the fluff cycle. When Fall comes around I may be tempted to break the rules again for a few minutes.

After this point things vary from day to day. Some days we go to the library, some days we go hang out with friends, and some days we just stay home and play. But adding this little “rhythm” has definitely helped me feel a little bit more peace in my hectic day, so hopefully it is helping Ginny start her day off well too.

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