Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mommy and Me Monday - leftover vacation photos

Posting a week late, but here are a few Mommy and Me Monday photos from our vacation.

Me and Annie in the Moby

Me and Audrey at Pacific Star Winery

Go link up on Krystyn's blog for more Mommy and Me Monday

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Fort Fun

Sunday afternoon.  Josh is resting.  Audrey is restless.  What to do ... what to do ...

I know.  Let's build a fort!!!  So we moved some furniture around and built a fort.  The fun lasted all of 10 minutes until she decided Annie wasn't fun inside her fort and instead wanted to play with the neighbors.

Someday maybe the girls will create forts as a getaway from mom/dad and to plot against us or use a fort to hide from each other and read their books.  Or maybe they'll make forts and have slumber parties in them.  The possibilities are endless.  I've just ignited what may be a fantastic fire to Audrey's imagination.

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Gramma Molly

Christine and Gramma Molly
1998 - HS Graduation
Ten years ago today, my grandmother passed away. Gramma Molly was an amazing woman. She was an amazing grandmother. She was an amazing mom. She was amazing. Period. In every aspect of her life. She lived out the scripture, “In all you do, do to the glory of God.”

She listened with an open heart and mind when people talked to her. She loved with the love of God. She was faithful to her word. She was an example to be followed and a woman easy to love.

I remember thinking when I was growing up how cool and down to earth she was. That she listened to me, a kid, on my level. She didn't discount what I had to say because I was a kid. And as I grew up she continued to do the same. When I was in high school, I took her to my end of the year band banquet. I was embarrassed for her, because of the trendy and secular music and dancing and activities. Nothing bad, mind you, but I figured she was too old to be around some of the music and dancing. I figured it would offend her. She was having a blast and wanted to stay and was disappointed when I mentioned wanting to leave early. She encouraged me to stay and enjoy the end of the banquet. She was a fantastic “date.”

A couple years later I greatly disappointed my mom when I opted to get my belly button pierced. She was appalled at me, but I was 19 or 20, so there wasn't anything she could do. She thought she would impart the fiercest of all punishments and make me tell my grandmother, who came to town a couple weeks later. She figured my grandmother would scold me and tell me “what for.” But Gramma just laughed when I showed her my piercing. She didn't disapprove, not sure she approved, but she didn't give me the lecture my mother secretly hoped.

Gramma Molly started a tradition with us that I would like to continue (but I haven't fully convinced Josh yet that we should). On a birthday, she would get a small gift for the non-birthday girl. It was an un-birthday present. It wasn't much, usually a simpler version of the birthday girl's gift. But it was special. It was fun. It probably helped the jealousy that would no doubt reside in the other sibling.

In the summer of 2001, she had a trip planned to visit. But she had to have knee surgery and was unable to visit when originally planned. But we had a surprise visit from her a month later when she had an unexpected overnight layover in Denver. We had a great time with a quick breakfast in the morning and then off to the airport. When she returned home she mailed me a quick note that said she loved me and was sorry she couldn't stay longer, but would make sure she got out soon. Not 3 months later she got very ill and passed away. That note was tucked away in my drawer for awhile, unbeknownst to me that it would be my last communication with her. For several years I would find it spontaneously and start crying, tuck it away and move on. Finally I got tired of finding it and hid it away where I wouldn't come across it randomly anymore. Now I have no idea where that note resides. I think I'll look for it tonight after the girls go to bed.

I miss you Gramma Molly. You have touched me in ways that you never knew. You inspired me to be a woman of prayer. You taught me how to laugh and accept what was there before me. You were very special.

*I wish I had a better photo of the two of us, but they were all taken before digital cameras and therefore are scanned in and of lower quality.  I believe this is the most recent photo of the two of us.  This was 3 years before her passing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We were LONG overdue for a vacation. Aside from my maternity leave, it had been a year since our last extended time off of work. And with the addition of a new baby, we were desperately in need of one.

Josh's sister came to town, so we took the opportunity to go up north and visit his mom and sister. We took the week off work, rented a house on the coast and just had a great time. We checked out a couple new touristy sites and went back to our old favorite spots.

Some of my favorite photos are below. The rest can be found on my flickr page.























Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cloth Diapering at Daycare

I've seen so many posts lately that discuss cloth diapering at daycare.  Everyone says how simple it is and then I read a long post with a million steps to using cloth diapers at daycare.  If reading these posts is as daunting to you as it is to me, well, let me see if I can help.

We are a family on a budget.  We switched to cloth diapers because we don't have a lot of money to buy disposables.  With 2 in diapers, it's even more expensive.  When I was researching cloth diapers I looked at the price of a standard pocket diaper and said, "ummm ..... NO!"  That was just too much money for our little budget.  I needed a system that would get me through 4 days for under $150.  At the time I worked from home Monday and Friday, so those were my laundry days and my husband gave me $150 to spend on cloth.  (Didn't want to make a big investment if we weren't going to like them, ya know?)

I knew I needed something easy.  Not just for daycare, but for my husband.  I got 2 day-packs of the Flip diaper system.  There were 12 diapers.  Enough for 3 days of daycare.  My husband could do them.  I still had $50 left.  I grabbed an Econobum Full Kit.  Perfect.  The Flip for daycare and my husband, the Econobum for me.  Since Audrey was on solids at the time and her poops had transitioned from the peanut butter stage to plopable lumps, I didn't need to worry about how to deal with poops.

I sent Audrey over in an Econobum, put 4 Flip inserts and 2 covers in a diaper bag.  She came home in a Flip and all the soiled diapers/covers were in a plastic bag.  I didn't even bother to send over a diaper bag.  I left all the changing materials with daycare and just sent the diapers over in a pillow case.  It helped that daycare was across the street and our friend.  There was no spraying when I got home.  No stuffing.  No quickly doing laundry.  No unstuffing.  Just plop in the diaper pail and be on with my day.

Enter Annie's birth.  OK.  Two in diapers.  I must have more.  Actually, with Audrey potty training and having a small stash of some homemade fitted diapers, I didn't really need any more diapers.  Just needed covers.  I increased my cover stash (thank you baby registry) and was good to go.  I now only work from home on Fridays, but still do laundry on Mondays and Fridays.  Audrey wears a cloth trainer to daycare (with an extra in the diaper bag) and now Annie is the proud wearer of the Flip diapers.  My routine is the same.  Send over with 4 diapers and 2 covers (maybe 3, because breastmilk poo gets on the covers).  Come home and plop in the diaper pail, restock diaper bag.  Wash on Monday night and Friday day.

When Annie started solids and her poo started to transition to that peanut butter stage, I put flannel liners (literally ... a cut up receiving blanket) in the diaper bag.  Instructed daycare to put a liner on the diaper and put it in a separate bag from the wet diapers if she poops.  Then I spray just the liner when I get home.  I could use flushable liners, but my frugal self is OK with spraying some flannel if it saves me money in the long run. Annie's poop is almost done with the transition from soft and gooey to hard and ploppy.  So our spraying days may be over.

So to sum up my routine:

Every evening (Sunday through Wednesday): put 4 Flip diapers and 3 diaper covers in the diaper bag.
Every morning: Put Annie in an econobum or homemade fitted diaper and put Audrey in a  cloth trainer; send girls to daycare.
When I get home from work (Monday through Thursday): put wet diapers in the diaper pail, spray dirty liners if any
Monday night: do load of diapers
Friday during the day (my work from home day): do a load of diapers.

I will fold and put away as time permits.  If time doesn't permit, they sit in a laundry basket and that's just where my diapers stay.  By not having to stuff diapers for daycare, I don't have to fold my diapers right away.  It's easy enough to leave them in the laundry basket and grab what I need when I need it.  If I have time to put them away - great, it makes my husband smile.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rules for using Speaker Phone

If your office is anything like mine, a lot of people use speaker phone. Whether its to be hands free to also type, or just easier for them or whatever, speaker phone is used a lot.  But what speaker phone users don't understand is that using speaker phone alienates many other coworkers.  I propose the following set of rules for speaker phone users.

  1. You must be in an office, not out in cubicle land. If you don't have an office and must use speaker phone, go find a conference room. Or look into getting a handsfree headset.
  2. Close the office door
  3. If the person you are speaking with is close enough to hear you without the phone, go to his/her office and have an inperson conversation.
  4. Do not yell. The microphone is plenty sensitive.
  5. Turn the volume down low enough that the rest of the office cannot hear your conversation.
  6. If you don't want the whole office to hear you, take it off speaker.

As a reminder ... using speaker phone does NOT make you appear smarter, cooler, or more powerful. Even chimps at the zoo can press a button to activate speaker phone.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sad day for Audrey

Remember this post - Sunday Fun?

Audrey LOVES this house.  Anytime anyone is in the garage or driveway, she escapes to her house.  It was her little private space.  And a place for her and her friends to play without having to go in OUR house.

Well yesterday we had to say good-bye to the house.  I'm surprised it lasted this long.  Almost 4 months.  Spiders were beginning to take residence, Audrey's older brother took a screwdriver to it and damaged one side, and we needed to get a car into the garage.  

We told Audrey that because spiders were living there that we needed to throw it away.  She said "yeah."  But as we took it out to the driveway she started to freak out.  Not throw a "I want my way" temper tantrum, but she was really sad.  She sad on the floor and cried.  She was genuinely distraught.  So we changed our minds and tried to figure out a way to keep the house and put a car in the garage.

We couldn't.

So when Audrey went inside, we quickly tore it apart and put it in the recycle bin.

Of course she noticed.  Right away.

"Daddy threw away my house," she exclaimed.  The poor thing was so sad.  We distracted her the rest of the evening.  Then this morning, on our way to work, we drove by said recycle bin with cardboard sticking out the top.  She said, "Daddy, where's my house?"  Poor little girl.  

I feel awful, having to take away something so special.  I'm sure she doesn't remember playing all day with him building the house, but she knows it was her special place to play. And now it's gone.

So Josh will build her a new one in the back yard.  With wood.  And a real door.  And that one will be REALLY special.