Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Embarrassing admission

I'm coming right out and admitting it:

I've been watching The Bachelorette on TV. I look forward to it each week.

It's a show that may very well represent everything that's wrong with 21st century entertainment. At the very least, it's diminishing my brain cell count by the minute.

But it appeals to the romantic in me (and I don't mind laughing at it--and at myself watching it--too.)

So, 'fess up. Any ridiculous time wasting activities in your life right now?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The kids' current hobbies

Chickie's current hobbies:
  • Taking the caps off markers and putting them on her fingers, then tapping things with them.
  • Spending five hours in her room playing because she can't come downstairs until it's clean...then cleaning it in ten minutes, just in time to eat dinner.
  • Drawing people, aliens, animals, etc. Girls and boys are differentiated by whether or not they have long, pretty eyelashes.
  • Changing food preferences on a whim.
  • Telling great jokes like this one: Knock knock. Who's there? Ivan. Ivan who? Ivan workin' on the railroad! (The jokes that make sense usually come from Sid the Science Kid. The ones that don't make sense usually come from Chickie's creative brain.)
Zoodle's current hobbies:
  • Seeing how long it takes Mommy or Daddy to realize his binky is still in his mouth after he gets up in the morning.
  • Opening the door of the public rest room stall (or the main door on a one-stall setup) while Mommy is on the potty.
  • Seeing how far he can run from Mommy in public areas.
  • Charming Mommy with a huge, Zoodlerrific smile.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Micro: Warning--gross photo

We went swimming at the neighborhood pool last night. Here's what I learned:

1 little boy
+ 1 big towel (long enough to trip on)
=1 BIG, fat lip


(And one scrape on the chin...and on the cheekbone...and on the shoulder. Poor Zoodle!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's great blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

Crochet Project Number Three: A hat.


(Free pattern at this adorable blog!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

When kids are a little TOO observant

Yesterday I was driving with my kids. We were almost home, and on a whim I stopped at a hair salon very close to our house. I'd never been there, but a sign proclaimed "WALK-INS WELCOME" and my hair has been in dire need of a trim. Thankfully the stylist did a good job, and the price was reasonable. I'll probably go there next time too. I'm such a procrastinator when it comes to getting haircuts; maybe I won't wait so long next time when the salon is so close to home!

The kids were very well-behaved. (Parents, isn't it nice when you go somewhere new and your kids cooperate? I'll take all those moments I can get.) But my sweet Chickie is very curious, and as she usually does, she asked a lot of questions.

"Mommy," she said, looking at my stylist, "is she a girl?"

"Yes, honey, she's a girl!" I confirmed. At first I was a bit confused; she definitely looked female.

"Because her voice sounds like a boy," Chickie said.

Ugh. My stylist explained, "I just have a deep voice." Thankfully she didn't sound defensive, but I knew this was a situation that needed to be handled carefully.

"God makes some women with high voices, and some with low voices," I told Chickie. "And he make some men with high voices and some with low voices."

Soon the subject changed. I considered apologizing to the stylist, but I thought that might make the situation more awkward. Of course, Chickie wasn't trying to be rude. I also didn't want to immediately correct her for just being an observant four-year-old. (Asking an honest question is very different than making fun of someone.)

Yet I do want to teach her about being polite. So when we were driving home, I said, "Chickie, I'm glad you like to ask questions. But sometimes you need to ask me questions after we leave somewhere." I told her that a question about whether someone's a girl or a boy might hurt that person's feelings. We discussed it further, and she seemed to get the point.

Of course, Chickie's question today was far less offensive than it could have been. (How many of your kids have asked loudly, "Is that lady pregnant?"...when she isn't?)

While we don't have these situations every day, it's not uncommon for Chickie to ask me things like, "Why is that man in a wheelchair?" or "Why does she have those pictures on her arm?" In general my strategy is to be matter-of-fact, and to treat diversity as a positive thing. If the subject of the inquiry can hear our conversation, I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable by acting like I'm embarrassed. I'll respond, "That man probably can't walk, and so he rides in that chair." Or, "She thought that would be a neat picture for her arm. It's pretty, isn't it?"

In some cases, I don't think that kids' questions are likely to make people uncomfortable. Someone with a tattoo probably doesn't mind others noticing it! But Chickie is old enough now to be somewhat sensitive to context. I'm going to continue trying to be more proactive about teaching her when to ask questions that might be hurtful to others.

What do you think is the best way to handle it when kids are just a little too observant?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer travel!

We are planning to do some fun traveling this summer. Now, our families are very spread out, so all our family vacations revolve around visiting relatives! Thankfully, we like our relatives!

To keep traveling affordable, we use our Southwest Airlines Visa for most of our purchases. The Engineer travels for work too, so we link our Visa to his Southwest Rapid Rewards account. Currently we have four free round trip tickets--yippee! (By the way, Southwest recently sent me a special offer to pass along to my friends. If you get a Southwest Visa card, you get a free round trip ticket after you use it for the first time, and I'll be given 25% of the required credits for a round trip. So if you're interested, drop me an email at, and I'll get you hooked up.)

In August we'll head to Arizona to visit my parents. The kids will be in heaven--a week to play with Grammy and Sampa!


We'll leave from there and immediately fly up north to visit The Engineer's parents in northern California. The kids will love seeing Grandma, Grandpa, and Gigi!




And at some point we're going to take a road trip to visit my dad's mom. I haven't seen Grandma since Chickie was 15 months old. (And I can't even find a photo from that trip!) I definitely want to introduce Grandma (and various cousins, aunts, and uncles) to Zoodle, and to let Chickie get reacquainted with them. The drive is 12 hours without kids (so probably a few hours longer than that for us!) but it'll be worth it!

Are you planning to travel this summer? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chickie's room: The valance

I finished the valance for Chickie's window! Here it is, with Chickie.


It is very imperfect, but thankfully it looks pretty good from far away! Just don't get too close....



As I looked at the not-so-smooth edges of the butterflies and flowers, I kept imagining Project Runway's Tim Gunn or Michael Kors saying with a disapproving frown, "It looks home-sewn."

But, hey, it is home-sewn! And thankfully, Chickie likes my amateur work!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chickie, the advertising expert

We were in the store the other day, and Chickie spied small bottles of chocolate milk with Toy Story characters on the labels. She excitedly pointed them out and asked, "Mommy, can we get those?"

"No," I told her.

"Why not?"

"Well," I said, "I can make chocolate milk at home, and it's healthier [because I don't use that much chocolate] and cheaper." I decided it was time to teach her an important marketing lesson. "The Toy Story characters don't make the milk taste any better," I told her.

"But Mommy," she explained, "It's not about it tastes better. It's about it looks cool."

Her grammar may not be the best, but she sure does have a good grasp on advertising. Is she too young to start sending in applications for business school?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Micro: Perfect timing

Let me take you back to June 5, the day before Chickie's Big Girl Day. It was the last day she was allowed to do her stinky business in a diaper.

She took advantage of that freedom, and I cleaned her up for the last time. (Well, cleaned her up in that way for the last time!) I took the diaper out to the garage, where we had a diaper pail we'd gotten when she was born. That thing got a lot of use with our two kids. I opened it...

...and it broke. The handle came clean off.

Yep, our diaper pail broke the very last time I planned to use it. Yesterday I happily returned our final, unused $6 sack refill for the pail. When I'd last stocked up on refills, I didn't realize we wouldn't need many more. I guess the pail itself knew more about perfect timing than I did!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mommy intuition FAIL

Friday night it took Zoodle awhile to really get into a deep sleep. I was laying with him, frustrated. He kept batting at his head and ear. The same thing happened later that night when he woke up and came into bed with The Engineer and me.

When I got up early Saturday, I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I thought Zoodle had another ear infection, what with all the ear-grabbing he'd done. This was not good news. He's never been prone to EIs, but he got two back-to-back recently, and I was afraid this was #3.

I got lots of advice from my online friends, such as...
  • Ear tubes helped my child.
  • Chiropractors can really help with ear infections.
  • If he's getting repeated EIs, he may be sensitive to dairy.
  • Garlic oil drops will help heal and soothe a sore ear.
  • He may just be teething.
  • He could just have allergies.
I considered all the advice, and thought about putting some of it to practice, but all day, Zoodle seemed fine. Sure, he had some meltdowns, but nothing beyond normal two-year-old stuff. He certainly wasn't acting like a kid with an ear infection.

The Engineer got him to sleep at naptime easily. Bedtime was my job. I lay with him, and he didn't seem to be in pain. (Laying down makes ear infections a lot more uncomfortable.)

Then he patted his head/ear. Hmm. And he spoke through his binky something like,

"Put your hand on my head."

And a lightbulb went on in my brain. Sometimes when I'm helping Zoodle go to sleep, I'll rest my hand on his head, often stroking it. Lately he'd been asking me to do that. So when he was "batting his ear" last night he was actually just sleepily asking me to put my hand on his head.

I'll take affection over infection any day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's fun blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

Silly Zoodle! Binkies are for babies!

Remember that old advertising slogan, "Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids!" Well, two days ago I got tired of seeing my 2-year-old looking like a big boy below the waist (with underwear on) and like a baby above the neck (with a binky in his mouth for so much of the day.) So his binkies are now for bedtime and naptime only.

And you know what? He's doing fine! He asks for a binky sometimes, but Friday was better than Thursday. The lack of binkies hasn't caused any major meltdowns, which has surprised me; I thought he was so attached to them! Maybe I was more attached to that "quick fix" than he was!

I'm not sure when we'll take it away altogether. Since his sleep is not the best right now, binky-free sleep isn't something I'm ready to push yet.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chickie's turn

It's Chickie's turn for a cute room!

Her new bed is set up, with her Dora bedding.


As you can see, she loves it. But I gotta say, I don't think they make kids' character sheets to last. The thread count on those things is probably about 12 threads per inch. Oh well, it's not like she'll be using them for longer than a couple of years or so, if that. And she couldn't care less what the quality is. It's Dora! Squeee!

I've told her I'll make a Dora valance for her window. She also wants me to paint her name on her wall, with flowers and butterflies. I don't like painting rooms, but I do like doing that type of decorative painting. I'll probably paint the wall behind her bed, maybe a nice purply pink. I can handle one wall...I think.

When we got the comforter I realized it has flowers and butterflies on it.


So I'll probably use those as a model for the ones I paint on the wall. They'll still look cute even when she's outgrown the Dora bedding.

Of course, I can talk big, but we all know how crummy my follow-through is with decorating tasks once I get bored with them. Because I've committed to Chickie, I'd better see this one through. I'm just glad to know that even if it takes me awhile to get it all done, she loves her new Dora bed!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vaccines, family doctors, and health departments

I just made an appointment for next Tuesday for my kids at the county health department, to get a couple of vaccines each. (Shh--don't tell them!) We've always gotten vaccines done at the doctor's office, but the family physician we use is discontinuing most of her childhood vaccines.

That sounds weird, huh?! Vaccines tend to be a pretty major part of childhood well checks. But this article from the American Association of Family Physicians makes it clear that it's becoming more common for family physicians in America to stop offering childhood vaccines.

You might think this had something to do with the ongoing vaccine safety debate. Nope. It's about money. You see, our nurse explained to me that some vaccines cost them over $100 a dose! That means that once they get reimbursement from insurance companies, they are often losing money doing vaccinations. That's just crazy!

So my doctor's office is sending us to the county health department for immunizations. Get rid of the insurance middle man--everyone there either gets free vaccines (if their income level qualifies them for that) or pays $10 per child, per visit. And if you don't officially qualify for free vaccines, but can't pay the $10, they'll still give the shots. There are probably a lot of tax dollars subsidizing this, but I bet the county is also paying a lot less than $100 a shot, with the volume they have to purchase.

It's okay with me that we have to go to the health department. We go to a small family practice with one doctor, and family physicians who own their own practices don't usually make a whole lot of money. I certainly don't want our wonderful doctor losing money by vaccinating my children.

But it just seems like there's something wrong with this picture. Shouldn't our primary care physician be able to give us basic care, including routine vaccinations? I'm not even sure if it's the pharmaceutical companies or the insurance companies who are more at fault here, and I certainly don't know what the solution is. But family physicians fill such a wonderful niche in our health care system. I wish they weren't being pushed out of the vaccination business.

For the first two years of her life, Chickie went to a local pediatric practice. It was a good-sized practice, with an adorable office. If we were still going there, the kids would probably get their vaccines in the office. They're probably in the position to buy enough doses to keep it affordable.

But we just didn't get the same type of service there that we get at the little office of our family doctor. Our doctor is friendly, gentle, and knows us. Our whole family goes there (with The Engineer alternating between her office and a clinic close to his work.) I always have time to ask the questions I need to ask. Our Christmas card is on the wall of the child examination room!

So we're sticking with our family physician. But according to the article I read, some patients are leaving their family physicians because their doctors can't afford to keep doing childhood vaccinations. That's hard on families and on doctors. Dr. Andrew Macintosh in Ohio put it this way:
Offering pediatric care in a family setting is what keeps me going in my practice. A well-child check erases the pain of seeing the patient with 15 meds and twice as many complaints....Children provide young, motivated patients that make the job more fun.
I hope that something changes, so that family doctors can keep doing what they do best--treating whole families.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Art, by Zoodle and Mommy

Zoodle wanted me to draw with him today. So I drew some quick little line drawings, and he colored them. We had a blast--it was a lot more fun than a coloring book for both of us!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Micro: Cake! (Not a baaaaad one)

The Engineer has been promising that Chickie could have a party when she figured out the whole pooping in the potty thing. Well, as I blogged yesterday, she figured it out! So yesterday it was time for a little party--just our family and one of Chickie's friends.

Remember that kitty cat cake Chickie had for her birthday? I never did figure out why she wanted a kitty cat cake. I also haven't figured out why she wanted a sheep cake for this party. But hey, I live to serve. Well, to bake and then to serve.

So here it is...her sheep cake.


Not baaaaaad, huh?


And two candles for going #2...


Sunday, June 13, 2010

A BIG (and stinky) milestone

Over a year and a half ago, after Chickie had learned to pee in the potty, and a few months before her third birthday, I wrote on this blog, "Chickie is talking positively about pooping in the potty, so I'm earnestly hoping we'll hit that milestone soon."

A month after that, I posted about the potty chart I'd made to encourage her to poop in the potty.

The next day I wrote about Placebo, the magic "pill" I was giving her to encourage pooping.

A week later, I posted about how I'd started crying when I'd had to take Chickie home from church early because she was writhing on the floor of the nursery, incredibly uncomfortable because she was so determined to hold in her poop to avoid the potty. I'd given her a Pull-Up at home, and she'd very willingly used it.

I didn't write another update on this isssue until several months later, almost four months after she'd turned three. I wrote about how I'd pushed Chickie to poop in the potty for several days, and she'd become more and more traumatized by the experience. She'd learned to very successfully withhold her poop until we'd finally used a suppository to force the issue. After days of frustration, stress, and guilt, I once again let Chickie do all of her business in Pull-Ups.

That was in May 2009--over a year ago. Since that time, I'd avoided saying much on the blog about Chickie's potty training struggles. Most of you, if you knew the history and ever thought about it, probably figured it had resolved itself.

It hadn't. Until this past week. Chickie is finally pooping in the potty instead of in diapers or Pull-Ups. She's doing it without tears. She's still not entirely comfortable with the concept, but she's doing wonderfully. At four years five months old, she's a big girl. And one of the most challenging phases of my parenting so far seems to be finally over.

This may be one of those posts I need to delete when Chickie gets older. It could understandably embarrass her. But I'm going to write it anyway, because I know there are other parents that are going through this, searching the Internet for answers just like I did, and I hope it helps them to read this story. (And hey, as embarrassing as it may be for Chickie, it's such a hugely fabulous thing for me that I just have to share!)

So for all those parents who are Googling phrases things like, toddler won't poop in the potty, preschooler won't go #2 in the toilet, 3- or 4-year-old still poops in diapers, how to get my kid to poop in the potty, child afraid of pooping in the potty, etc., this post is for you. In fact, I'm going to address the rest of this post directly to you, parents or caregivers going through the same frustrating thing we went through
  • I know it feels like your child will never poop in the potty. People are telling you, "Hey, I've never seen a kid graduate from high school wearing a Pull-Up!" and while you know that's true, it sure feels like your kid can never get past this! If your child is free of serious developmental issues, he or she will get past this. But it could take longer--maybe a lot longer--than you expect. If you can accept that, it'll be easier to get through it.
  • I know you may feel like a failure. You aren't. Even if you aren't a textbook potty trainer, you probably didn't cause this problem. I think this issue, this fear of pooping in the potty, is usually primarily due to a child's temperament and/or physical issues. Please realize this doesn't make you a parenting failure!
  • People will probably offer you a lot of well-meaning advice. You may be lucky and find that some of it works. But if it doesn't, it will frustrate you to hear so many "sure-fire solutions" that you already know don't work on your child. It's okay to ask people politely not to give you advice on this issue--preferably also acknowledging their very kind intentions!
  • You may worry that people are judging you. And some of them might be! I remember when we were near the beginning of this frustrating journey, a friend of mine told me she'd been through the same thing. Her son hadn't overcome his fear until shortly before kindergarten started. I blurted out, "Oh, I won't let it go that long!" Immediately I realized how judgmental that was. But I still believed it. When I had a four-year-old still pooping in diapers, I realized how silly my attitude had been, how little control over the situation I had. But I'm sure some parents have understandably seen my situation in the same way I saw my friend's! Trust that your true friends will still respect you as a parent, even though they may not understand why you can't get your child out of diapers!
  • The strategy that worked best for me was to stop forcing the issue so my child could grow out of the fear. I tried so many things. Mineral oil (even though her issue was not constipation!). A potty chart. Pretend "pills" (Reese's Pieces) to "help her poop." Offers of candy, toys, gymnastics classes, and a party as rewards. I put her in the bathroom until she pooped, even if it took two or three hours. (I'm not proud of that. At all.) Pleading, cajoling, loosing my temper. A countdown with a calendar. I required her to stand, sit, or squat on the potty to poop, even with a diaper on. Holes cut in her diapers. Comparisons with her potty trained friends and her brother. A warm drink for her while she sat on the potty. A warm tub, followed by Vaseline on her bottom. A video to watch while on the potty. Books and songs while on the potty. And I wouldn't be surprised if I'm forgetting some of what I tried. None of it worked. It wasn't until I relaxed and stopped trying so hard that I found quite a bit of peace. (And then I'd try something else that didn't work, and I'd have to force myself back into that relaxed mode!)
So...what finally worked for us? Before I disclose that, let me warn you. I don't have a magic tactic. What worked for me probably won't work for you unless your child happens to be ready! But if you can wait until your child shows signs of readiness, then I bet you'll figure out what does work!

In the past, I'd tried two times to take the diapers away altogether. Both efforts followed the same pattern. Instead of becoming more comfortable with the potty, Chickie became more and more traumatized. She started withholding, which she's unfortunately quite good at. She was so uncomfortable. I ended up using suppositories just so she could, screaming, sit on the potty and poop. Both times, I realized she wasn't ready, that we were going backwards, and that it was better for her to poop in a diaper without trauma than to poop in the potty with escalating trauma.

Then I started potty training Zoodle, my 2-year-old. I've been lucky with him; potty training has been pretty easy. And something shocking and amazing happened. Chickie (after observing her brother's efforts) sat several times on the potty and strained, trying to poop. She only managed to poop a tiny bit, but I realized that since she was initiating pooping on the potty (even though it was pretty minimal), maybe she was getting over her irrational fear.

Then it all stopped. Chickie decided she really just preferred diapers for poop. But I had seen that possible sign of readiness, and I decided I wanted to try to push it again.

Remember how I mentioned a calendar and a countdown? I tried that just before Chickie's third birthday, and it didn't work. I decided to try it again. I sat down with Chickie and let her decide what her first no-diaper day would be. I gave her the option of picking any day within the following two weeks. She chose the last possible day, June 9, and with my help she began marking off the calendar every day.

Chickie was not thrilled. She kept saying that pooping on the potty was scary, and pooping in diapers was easier. I encouraged her that she could do it, and reminded her that she had chosen the day.

Wednesday was the big day. In the afternoon, Chickie started telling me she needed to poop in a diaper. I was firm--no more diapers. (I knew if this experiment went really badly, I'd need to change my mind, but I really hoped we could stick with it.) She went a tiny bit in the potty that night.

The next day, Chickie withheld her poop, and by Friday she was obviously uncomfortable. But in the evening, she suddenly walked to the potty, sat, and really pooped, without freaking out. We rewarded her with candy and lots of praise. The next day (yesterday) she went upstairs and did the same thing--again, no apparent fear or trauma.

After trying so hard, so many times, it amazes me how easily it's happened...since Chickie was finally ready. That's the key--waiting until the child is ready. It doesn't mean you can't push at all...but when the pushing makes things worse, you may have to back off and try again another time.

Waiting can be the hardest thing in the world. But believe it or does work. We're still buying Pull-Ups for Zoodle at night, but as of June 9, we are done with diapers! And that's a milestone worth celebrating!

Check out this post to see the cake we had to celebrate Chickie's milestone!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's a great (YAWN) life

I've been whiny lately. Zoodle's going through this period where he's having trouble going asleep and staying asleep (hence the full-sized bed, which I've already made good use of, sleeping next to him when necessary!)

It's tough, because there are multiple factors that could be contributing to his sleep struggles. (He's teething. Maybe he's giving up his nap, even though he's young for that. Maybe it's just that, as my Twitter friend religionbites said, "He's tttwwwooooo!") And all of those factors need to be dealt with in different ways. So The Engineer and I are just muddling along, trying to figure this out and get through it. Sleep deprivation isn't fun!

There I go...whining again. (Hey, I spend all day with a two-year-old and a four-year-old; I'm bound to pick up their habits, right?) I was all set to write a blog post explaining that I might not be blogging as often while we get through this time, since my inspiration and motivation are directly related to my quality of sleep.

Then I found myself thinking about my friend's uncle and aunt. They are in their 80s, and both of them fell this week. Her uncle's condition is dire, with bleeding in his brain, and they can't operate on him. Her aunt is having severe back pain.

And I realized--what they're going through is truly hard! Dealing with a toddler who's having trouble sleeping--sure, that's a bump in the road, but a bump I probably won't even remember in a year. If I look at my whole life right now, it's pretty amazing. I have a wonderful husband, kids I adore, a nice home, and all my physical needs are met. I have joy and meaning in my life. I have a real family and a church family who love me and enrich me. At 32 years old, my life is wonderful!

Sure, my everyday problems are genuine, but it's just nice to put them in perspective, to realize that even with nighttime wakings, I still love my life. I want to treasure these years with small children. This is a phase I won't get to repeat (assuming God doesn't have any BIG surprises in store for us!)

Amidst my yawns and frustrations, joy is there for the taking. I'm accepting it today!

P.S. I wrote this yesterday. Last night I got 8 1/2 hours of sleep! Now that's something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My big cowboy

Remember how I posted here, here, here, here, and here about the cute stuff I was doing to decorate Zoodle's room in a cowboy theme? That was over a year ago, and...

...his room is still not done. When it comes down to it, I'm not into decorating. Zoodle was lucky that I got some inspiration and motivation, but once the motivation had dwindled, I moved on to other things. Zoodle's room has some cute elements, and lots of empty space on the walls. Poor Chickie's room is totally boring--her nursery at our last house was cute, but I've never gotten around to doing much in her room here!

But this week I had the perfect opportunity to introduce the most awesome element of his cowboy room--a quilt designed by my sister, and made by my mom. We've had it since he was an infant, but I asked my mom to make it to fit a full-sized bed, so we hadn't been able to use it.

Zoodle had been in his toddler bed (which was his crib with the front removed) for a couple of months. Recently, he's been having trouble going to sleep, and he's also been getting up in the middle of the night wanting to be in our bed...then back in his bed...then back in our bed. It's getting old.

I've tried laying with Zoodle in his toddler bed, but I'm sure you can imagine, that's not very comfortable. So we decided it was time to move up to a big bed--one that Mommy or Daddy can fit in, when Zoodle needs some extra help sleeping!

Zoodle's bed is actually the one Chickie's been using. It matches his dresser. The crib converts to a full-sized bed (with the back of the crib used as a headboard.) Chickie likes sleeping on the magic couch in her room anyway, so she's sleeping there until we get her bed frame and mattress later this week. The Engineer was a trooper yesterday, moving her bed into his room.


That sideways bed looks like an element of a surreal painting!

Finally, Zoodle's big boy bed was upright and covered by the adorable quilt from Grammy.


We've ordered a Dora comforter for Chickie's "new" bed. I've been meaning to get her a comforter for a couple of years, but as with most decorating things, I never got it done. She's been using an ugly old comforter from The Engineer's bachelor days and was very excited to choose something fun! I've also told her I'll make a Dora valance for her window, and do some decorative painting in her room.

At this rate, I might finish decorating both kids' rooms before too long...probably just in time for them to develop new interests!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I finished my scarf! (Yes, I know it's June....)

I did it--my first crocheted project!


I used the Easy Ribbed Scarf pattern from Tracie Barrett. It's free here!


It was a good pattern for a beginner. I didn't know how to do one of the stitches, so I found some instructions and videos online. The stitches aren't perfect, but they got more even as I went.


I'm looking forward to my next project--a scarf for Chickie with yarn that she picked out! It'll be so fun to wear these about five months. Sigh.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer pasta salad

I found this recipe at a blog called Finding Joy in My Kitchen. I've been getting a lot of recipes there! I saw her recipe for Tomato Cucumber Pasta. I modified it when I made it because I have a hard time not tweaking recipes! My version is below. It was a hit at an event we attended this weekend. Enjoy!


Summer Pasta Salad
Adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen, who got the recipe from The Truax Family


1 1/2 lb. pasta of your choice (I used bowtie & radiatore)
2 cucumbers, chopped (skins on)
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or 1 pt. plum or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered)
1 can/jar artichoke hearts, sliced (mine were marinated in oil, etc.)
25 pepperoni slices, quartered
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 heaping Tbsp dried parsley or 2 handfulls fresh parsley (chopped)
Shredded parmesan cheese, to taste

1 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and run cold water over it until it's cool.
2. Mix together salad ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk dressing ingredients and immediately add to salad. Toss well.
4. Chill before serving.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's smart, funny blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

It's the little things (made bigger!)

Chickie loves the PBS Kids show Sid the Science Kid. For many months, she's been asking for a magnifying glass. (One of the episodes of Sid, frequently repeated, is all about magnifying glasses.) Finally I spent a little over $5 on this Melissa & Doug brand Mombo Snake Magnifying Glass, from Amazon. (And it's come down to $4.19 since then!)

Chickie loves it. It's been her favorite toy for the last few days, and even when the newness wears off and it goes into the normal toy rotation, I think she'll keep coming back to it. What a bargain--a $5 toy that educates and entertains! It really is the little things that can be the most fun...especially when it's a little toy that makes other little things look bigger!


Disclosure--I bought this toy with my own hard-earned (by my hubby) money. And this post does not contain an Amazon Affiliate link because I've never bothered to sign up as an Affiliate. For those of you who it worth it?

Friday, June 4, 2010

This isn't a blog post....

It's an excuse for not having a blog post today.


I'll post a photo of the whole scarf once it's complete!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Potty training, in two easy steps

Zoodle is consistently peeing on the potty. He tells me when he needs to go. He has pooped on the potty three days in a row. He stays dry in his undies during naptime, and though we keep a diaper on him at nighttime, it's dry in the morning a majority of the time.

Ladies and gentlemen, my 26-month-old is potty trained.

Want to know my easy, two-step plan? I'll share it, just for you--free of charge.

Step One:
Have a kid with an easy, compliant temperament.

Step Two:
Try whatever potty training method you want; it'll probably work.

See, I know from experience that when a child (*cough*Chickie*cough) has a more independent temperament, he or she may not respond well to any of the myriad potty training methods, if he or she doesn't want to be trained.

I know that "my" quick success with Zoodle doesn't have much to do with me at all. It's all connected to Step One, having a child with an easy temperament...and of course I didn't have any control over that. magic formulas here. At least not any that are foolproof! I'm just going to bask in the glory of a child who was pretty easy to potty train. (I'll admit, I think I deserved it this time around!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Health by the numbers

I've blogged about how much I love running. It gives me energy, makes me feel happy, and gives me a body I feel great about. But what about my overall health?

I get annual well woman exams, and I get blood work before the appointment. I got my blood work done last week, and my appointment was yesterday. Of course the nurse takes my pulse and blood pressure at the appointment too. I was excited to see how my numbers had changed since last year.

Compared to last year, my diet may be slightly healthier, but I think it's mostly the same. I do eat less than I did a year ago, but that's because I was still breastfeeding Zoodle then. The biggest change has been in my fitness. For 7 months I've been running three days a week, and I've also recently been doing strengthening exercises at home. What difference has that made?

Blood pressure:
2009: 102/72
2010: 96/64

2009: 80 bpm
2010: 72 bpm

2009: 87 mg/dl
2010: 70 mg/dl

Lipid panel:
Cholesterol (C); Triglycerides (T); HDL (H); LDL (L); Risk ratio LDL/LDL (R)
2009: C 169; T 50; H 55; L 104; R 1.89
2010: C 153; T 55; H 51; L 91; R 1.78

My triglyceride and HDL numbers are slightly worse, but all of the other numbers have improved. Total cholesterol has come down 9.5%. I really pay attention my lipids to since I'm genetically predisposed to high cholesterol.

One number that is about the same? My weight. Health is about so much more than weight. I was thin before I started running. The number on the scale hasn't changed significantly, but my body has changed, inside and out. I'm thrilled to see some proof that the running is making a real difference in my health!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A good tri

Last year I wrote about The Engineer's first triathlon. I was proud of him then for taking on a new challenge. Now I am proud because he's stuck with his training for over a year, and yesterday he ran that same triathlon for the second year. He is confident and fit, and I'm happy he's mine!