Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Four Years Later

It was four years ago this week that we purchased our first house.  We didn’t get the keys until Labor Day weekend, but the house became ours.  It’s crazy to think about it, and to see the ways it has changed and grown in that time.  I thought I might do a retrospective…sort of a before, in progress, and the current state of things post.  Our house is still by no means finished, but we are making progress.  We have the bathroom and bedroom updates planned for this fall, and hopefully we will get through them with little Liam in tow.  Liam’s room and the kitchen are the only real “afters” so I’ll do those today (the kitchen…I did Liam’s room pretty recently)….and then our room and the bathroom with the planned updates.  And Andy’s office will just be left out for now because it’s a disgusting pit and I try to avoid it at all costs :)

The kitchen when we moved in:

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And now (you are of course ignoring the things on the counter and the dishes in the sink, thankssomuch):

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It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of work to get the kitchen to where it is.  It’s not perfect, but it’s ours, and it suits us.  And I like looking at it and remembering each project. 

We painted the cabinets one weekend in January a few years ago.  I showed Andy a blog that had painted kitchen cabinets black, and we both liked the look, so we went to Lowes and bought the supplies and did that day.  We were priming and painting until 2AM, and we left a space heater running in our garage to help them dry out.

Two falls ago, we were at Lowes buying new carpet when we discovered a hardwood floor that we had never seen before.  It was a third the cost of the brand they usually carried, and we loved it.  I went to the bank the next day to transfer money from our account, and we bought it that night.  When it was delivered, it sat inside the back bedroom and the living room until Andy’s parents came down a week later to help us install it.  The tile was down so crazy hard—Andy and I spent hours one Friday night using the back end of our hammers trying to get the concrete board up, and it was not working.  The next day, Andy’s dad took one look at the floor and went to rent a jackhammer.  They spent all day Saturday helping us lay that floor, and Andy’s dad came back the next weekend to help finish.

We did the countertop and sink and the door this past fall.  The original door was an interior door that stuck really badly.  Andy accidentally put his shoulder through it one day trying to get it open (also—we had a similar problem on the back door and I put my shoulder through a glass window)…he replaced it with the door the hall closet that was 2 inches two short…and we lived that way for a disturbingly long time.  The day we put the countertop in, we had to go to Lowes…we had purchased a countertop before hoping to get it installed, but we didn’t…and it warped too badly to be used, so we had to go buy a new one…that was a lesson learned.  And the sink….I knew that I wanted the granite composite, but we didn’t measure the current sink before we went to buy it.  When we got there, Andy was sure ours was at least 8 inches deep, and we bought a 9 inch sink.  When we got home, I measured our original sink—it was 6 inches deep.  But I LOVE the BIG ONE.  And the faucet—one day we were walking through Lowes (this was probably almost three years ago) and I saw that faucet on clearance for really cheap.  So I convinced Andy we should buy it, realizing that we would use it at some point in the future…I held onto that faucet for nearly two years before it got installed.

And the IKEA cabinets—our kitchen is very lacking in storage space.  I made the decision about the IKEA cabinets shortly after we finished the counter in October…and finally made it to Cincinnati to buy the cabinets the end of February with my mom and dad.  Andy and my dad put them together, and you cannot even believe how happy I was that day :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

These are not my pants…whose pants are these anyway?

This morning it was chilly out, so I decided Liam needed some pants today.  That’s when I discovered that Liam has 3 long sleeved onesies and one pair of pants in his current size—since we didn’t think it would start getting chilly for another month or so, we hadn’t really stocked up on those things.  So I dressed him….in his navy top and brown bottoms.  And then Andy asked me why I had dressed our child like Dexter (the titular character from the SHOtime drama about a serial killer).  Here’s a comparison:

Liam (he’s holding Green Eggs and Ham and being licked by Ollie)


Dexter (in his kill outfit…and pixel-y)


So…yeah.  Luckily, we got a Kohls coupon, a Target gift card, and a notice for Old Navy’s baby sale in the mail today….so we’ll remedy his clothing problem this weekend or next week :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

I have never felt so tired for so long in my entire life

So.  I have something to say.  My child really stinks at sleeping during the day.  In fact, he’s horrible at it.  His nighttime sleep is fine, great even, but naps are another story.  Naps are going to kill me.  Because it’s not like he’s a weirdo who’s content without a nap….oh no, he needs one, he just won’t take one.  Here’s a rundown of a normal day:

We wake up.  We hang out.  Liam starts to look tired, yawning and such.  I put him in his crib and wrap him up, give him a blanket.  He begins shrieking before I leave the room.  He continues shrieking for 35 minutes, until I give up and go get him.  He has crazy dark circles under his eyes at this point, and continues shrieking.  I carry him up and down the hallway, I try to figure out how to calm him.  He stays awake and stays mad.  I pray up and down the hallway.  He stays awake, but God gives me the grace to keep walking up and down the hallway.

Sometimes he falls asleep.  Sometimes he doesn’t.  Sometimes we have to get a whole new feeding in before sleeping happens.  He has also developed a radar, so that when I put him down, he wakes up instantly and shrieks…and we start the whole process over.  And I’m exhausted.  I think I need Liam to take a nap as much as he needs the nap.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Small Group Memory Verses

Our small group is currently studying Desiring God by John Piper.  Like all other Piper, it’s not light or easy reading, but it’s very convicting and very deep.  We read the chapter on money last week, and we camped out awhile in1 Timothy chapter 6, talking a lot about money and contentment.  We committed to memorizing that portion of Scripture together….so I chunked into easier segments for me to remember.  Here’s my passage


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Liam’s New Books

I really want Liam to be a reader.  I don’t want him to be a television/video game junkie—I want him to read and to want to read.  And so I try to read with him a little each day.  He has a sweet little library, and we rotate through his books pretty regularly, but Mommy needed a few new books.  As I was talking to my mom today (Grandma and Granddad and Aunt Lauren came to visit) I was reminded that I wanted to find a few new books for Liam.  So here are Liam’s new books—and the best part is that I only spent about 25 dollars for all six books.

1. Green Eggs and Ham—this was Andy’s favorite as a child, and I wanted Liam to have his own copy

2. Dr. Suess’s ABC—He already has the other alphabet version of the Bright and Early Board books—and he loves hearing letter sounds sounded out

3.Sheep in a Jeep

4.Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see?—I love Eric Carle…love him.

5. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

6. Big Board First 100 Words

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Worn Out

He does slow down sometimes….after a long walk :)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ollie and Fox-topus

Ollie got Fox-topus the day Liam came home from the hospital.  You know, the way parents give their older children a gift when a new baby comes so they don’t feel left out?  Well, Ollie is our child, and he got a gift….and he loves that thing.  It got taken away for a while because he wouldn’t stop squeaking it at 11 at night and waking Liam up.  It mostly lives on the fridge for now, but some days I get it down and let him play with it for a few hours.  He LOVES it….as evidenced by the fact that I can’t get an in-focus picture of him with it….he won’t slow down long enough for me to get one.  Also….please ignore all of the stuff on the living room floor….Oliver has put most of that there (not the coffee cup..that’s mine).  I spend my days caring for Liam and cleaning up Ollie’s messes :)


Guarding the fox

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A parenting first

Today we had a parenting first—the trip to the doctor’s office for an overreaction.

For the past 2-3 weeks, Tiny Dancer has been sleeping through the night.  Like go to bed at 8 and wake up at 6 sleeping through the night.  It’s been glorious.  But this week, that wasn’t happening.  Last night he was up three times in the night, which hasn’t happened since he was 6-8 weeks old. 

He also didn’t poop yesterday.  Perhaps TMI, but this boy consistently has a BM 1-2 times a day since we switched to the Gentlease formula, and yesterday we had nothing.

He has been crazy fussy and needy this week—wanting to be held almost constantly, and crying when we put him down—both traits we haven’t seen since we switched him to the Gentlease formula.

This morning when he woke up, his left ear was cherry red and looked inflamed up the back of his ear.  So I called the pediatrician’s office and scheduled an appointment.

As it turns out, his ear is fine.  He has a bit of the cradle cap rash in his ear, and we can treat it easily.  And the tummy stuff is probably causing the fussiness and sleep problems….and is probably related to attempting to  gradually switch to a generic formula for approximately 12 hours on Monday.  That won’t be happening again.  And with the amount he ate through the night, he might be on a growth spurt (he weighed 15.5 lbs. at the doctor’s office today—HUGE).

So hopefully we can get the ear thing under control, and his stomach will start to normalize (he’s gone to the bathroom today twice), and we will get the sweet happy boy back.

As long as the other child whose name starts with O and rhymes with Chopped Liver doesn’t keep trying to lick him every chance he gets.  Seriously, for the first time ever Tiny Dancer is sleeping in his carseat and O-ChoppedLiver keeps trying to wake him up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I can’t believe I forgot to post these

So…I never posted Liam’s bedroom pictures. I have no idea how I forgot…I put a few on Facebook, but none here. So I’ll remedy that situation now. I love this room so much…it’s by far my favorite in the whole house… makes me want to get the rest of the house closer to finished, so I can love it as much as I love this room.liams-baby-nursery-at-home-01 liams-baby-nursery-at-home-02 liams-baby-nursery-at-home-03 liams-baby-nursery-at-home-04 liams-baby-nursery-at-home-05 liams-baby-nursery-at-home-06

Liam at three months

Bitty Boy,

You are three months old today!  You are getting to be so grown up and so funny.  Daddy can’t get enough of you—at least once every day he snuggles you close and asks, “Isn’t he just so sweet?  Don’t you just love him.”  And sometimes I just can’t stop smooching you.  Or snuggling you.

You are getting big this month. I don’t know your height and weight—we don’t go to the doctor this month, but I know you’re heavier.  You are starting to make my arms and back sore when I carry you for a long time.  You are wearing mostly 3-6 mos. clothing, and your Carters brand clothes are all 6 mos (but that still may be from where I accidentally shrunk everything a bit before you were born).  You are in a size 2 disposable diaper, and you’re in a weird place with your cloth diapers.  You’re between sizes on the Fuzzibunz so they were leaking a lot and aggravating me…so we’re only using a few a day.  You are probably ready for the Bum Genius, but it’s been too hot to use the washer and dryer, so I haven’t had a chance to prep them.

You are a very opinionated baby.  There are specific ways you want to be held, to be fed, to be put down for bed, for everything.  You love being carried.  I tried using the sling and the wrap a few times this month, and you screamed.  I think you might have taken it if I made you stay longer, but you really prefer being held.  You only want Mommy or Daddy when you are tired and cranky.  When you’re in a good mood, you will go to anyone.  At a church supper this month, you got passed around, and loved all the attention that was showered on you.  You were especially fond of Nate, the pastor’s son.  He made faces at you, and you just smiled away at him.  You also really loved your Aunt Elizabeth this past weekend—you and Ollie both were big fans of hers.

You grab onto toys with your right hand and hold on.   You like to pull one of the toys on your activity mat down to where it’s at your face.  You like to grab the elephant on your bouncy seat and move it around.  Everything that you get in your hands goes straight to your mouth—especially fabric, like your burp cloths and blankets.  You rip a handful of my hair out at least once a day, and I often have to groom you to get my hair off of you…partly because you pull it out, and partly because it’s falling out. 

  You slobber all the time.  I am so often covered in your drool, and about once a day you spit up all over one of us.  You are a pretty good night sleeper, but a horrible napper.  We have talked about changing the curtains in your room to see if that helps.  You like to lay out and kick and move and talk.  You have found your voice, and it’s loud.  Ollie likes to lay next to you, and you usually kick or punch him.

You are a lot of fun, bitty, and we love you so much!  We love getting to know you and see your little personality start to form.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Liam’s Education

Before I start this, please realize it’s tongue in cheek.  Clearly this isn’t the most important thing in the world, and it’s really meant as a bit of a joke….I don’t take raising Liam lightly, but there are times when Andy and I joke back and forth about the things it will be important for him to know….and we often have different opinions on the goofier things..this is one of those things.

Now that Liam is a big bad three months old(yes…I’m a week late on that post…what can I say, my days of doing things in a timely manner are gone…I did have them, I remember…it was college, and I wrote down every assignment and due date for the semester in my mortarboard and color coded them according to class…then kept a running list of all assignments so I could cross them off when I turned them in….those days are gone).  Where was I?  Oh yeah…Liam.  3 months old.  It’s time for him to start learning some skills.

Specifically, some lady wooing skills.

He’s got it down now.  Ladies everywhere flock to him.  But gummy smiles and roly poly thighs can only get you so far in life.  Specifically, through the first few months of life. 

So he needs to learn some skills.  And his dad won’t be able to teach him.  His dad thinks that the food court at the mall is an appropriate first date.  And that Frisch’s Big Boy is a good place to go on Valentine’s Day (because we already drove past Bob Evans and who wants turn around?).  (Also, when did we turn 90?)  So clearly his dad is out on the lady wooing education.  Which leaves me.  So today we started step one.

Learn all of Dave Barnes’s best lady wooing songs.  It’s a good repertoire to have.  Hopefully he’ll inherit his dad’s singing and gi-tar skills, and with those songs he’ll be a lady wooer.  Heck, he might even be able to get away with Frisch’s Big Boy.  But he’d better not try.

(This is all I’ve got.  I don’t have a step two at this point.  I’ll figure that out later.)

So without further ado, Liam’s first lady wooing playlist (there are more….more from Dave even, but since is only 3 months old, I’m starting him slow and giving him a chance to take his time….we’ll get to Nothing Fancy, On a Night Like This, and Since You Said I Do next month):

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For Aunt Lauren

Aunt Lauren, I know that finals week is rough.  Sometimes things might feel a little blurry, like they are out of focus:

Or like someone is trying to hit you in the head:


Or maybe just a little spazzy:

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Or sleepy or groggy or just plain worn out:


Just remember that I love you and finals will be over in a week.  And you get to hang out with me in one week!  And see me in person, and not just the lousy out-of-focus pictures my mommy took way too late this evening :)



Baby weight drama

Since Liam has been born, my weight has been stationary.  I lost several pounds shortly after his birth, but since he was about 4 or 5 weeks old, I hadn’t lost any weight.  In fact, when I stopped pumping I gained 10 lbs. literally overnight. 

As in, the day after I stopped pumping I couldn’t fit into my pants the next morning. 

My fat pants.  The ones I bought after Liam was born.  The ones in a size I had never even skirted near before.  They were too tight.  So I cried.

  Because I can assure you I hadn’t eaten 35,000 calories, so it was really most upsetting.  I was trying to lose weight, but nothing was really working. 

Then last weekend, Andy was with his friends from college at their annual gathering, and one of the men had lost 70 lbs. on a diet over the course of the past few months.  This is one of Andy’s friends who is the most levelheaded and not at all weird (which is saying something)(my mom wanted this particular friend to date one of her coworkers), so Andy inquired about his diet.  It has a real name, but I don’t remember it, but it’s basically a slow carb diet.  So for the past week, we have tried it.  Andy lost 15 pounds (I know, I want to hurt him), and I lost 5.  So we’re definitely going to keep it up.

The plan goes something like this:

You are on the diet for 6 days a week.  You take one day a week off..for us, that’s Saturday.  On your day off, you eat whatever the heck you want. 

For the rest of the week, you are limited to meat, vegetables, and beans (lentils, legumes, nuts also).  No fruit, no dairy, no sugar, no grains or pasta.  You are supposed to eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.  So last week we had 2 eggs and a half cup of egg whites and a 1/2 cup of black beans for breakfast (I found a recipe for Cuban style black beans online that used dried beans….and it’s so much better than anything that comes from a can).  We had taco soup for lunch, and then for dinner some sort of meat/vegetable combination.  We are both trying to avoid snacking, which is only difficult at 3 pm and 10 pm for me.  It honestly wasn’t too bad…I think knowing that if I had a chocolate or sugar craving, I could satisfy it in a few days was helpful.

The hardest part so far was today at Walgreens when the cashier tried to convince me to buy a candy bar because they were on sale for 49 cents.  I wanted to shout GET BEHIND ME SATAN at him, but I refrained.  Then came home and told Andy we have to go back on Saturday.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I didn’t know going to the groomer’s was dangerous

I got an injury at the groomer's.  It's not Ollie's fault.  He got scared.  This ill-mannered female wretch named Muffy tried to bite him in the face and attack him.  Muffy and her flaky old people owner's pulled in as I was getting Liam out of the car.  Muffy got loose in the parking lot.  Her flaky old people owner's caught her, and then went inside and just stood in the entrance.  I purposely stalled in the parking lot for a few seconds getting the boys out (and you know, I was pretty slow...since I had a baby and a dog and all) so that they would hopefully not be right in the doorway when I got up there.  No such luck.  Muffy turned and started growling at Ollie....Ollie’s groomer was right in there and she helped me get around the flaky old people into the more open spot when you walk in....where I could put Liam's carseat down out of the way so he was safe.  Ollie was trying to get away from everyone, and tried to jump on me for safety and scratched the crap out of my thigh. The worst of the scratches is like the length of my hand and kind of blood is at the surface but not pouring out. It hurts.  He wouldn't leave me, so his groomer got down and started talking to him....he went with her, but he looked so he thought he was in trouble.  His head and ears were down and he was slouching.  Then Liam and I made our way safely outside, staying far away from Muffy's flaky old people owners.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So far this morning….

We woke up at 6:27 AM for the third morning in a row…I think the light must get in his room at that time…or his internal clock is set to wake up at 6:27.

Liam ate a bottle and got a diaper change….I passed him off to Andy in bed and went to make breakfast.

Andy, Ollie, and Liam made their way out of bed while I fixed breakfast.  We ate. 

I took Ollie to the bathroom.  He pooped on himself.  It required a haircut on his posterior.  Then Andy combed out his hair.  Then we gave him ear drops because he has a slight ear infection.  It was a rough morning to be Ollie.

Andy got in the shower for work while I played with the boys and poured his coffee.

After Andy left for work, Liam and I went for a walk for about an hour.  He fell asleep and then woke up the second we got home.

Liam ate again… was a difficult eating time.  He kept smiling and laughing and pushing his bottle out of his mouth with his tongue.  Then he started kicking and moving and trying to headbang.  Basically the kid uses feeding time to practice his roller coaster moves.  Sometimes when I burp him, he looks like he’s riding a bull in the rodeo.    It’s pretty funny stuff :)

The neighbors #$%^ dog jumped in our window to torment Ollie.  Ollie went nuts and I locked him in the bedroom.  If that dog ran behind my tires, I wouldn’t stop.  I know it’s horrible.  But he is awful.

While Ollie was cooling off, I gave Liam a bath.  Then we finished the bottle from before the bath.

I let Ollie out and spent the next 35 minutes playing with both boys.  Liam started to yawn and yell which is a good sign he needs to nap.  He is really good at going to sleep at night, but naptime is a nightmare.  He’s currently in his crib screaming as I type this.

And it’s not quite 11 AM and I’m exhausted.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Insurance Issues

One of the biggest obstacles we have faced with me leaving my job to stay at home with Liam is insurance.  My job provided our health insurance, and Andy’s job carries absolutely zero benefits.  He works for a smaller company, so his boss isn’t legally required to provide his employees with anything, so he doesn’t.  This was my biggest hangup when deciding whether or not to resign.  I researched for months, trying to figure out what the best option was.  I had finally decided to go with one company, which was actually the same company my school insurance had been provided through.  In hindsight, I should have realized that this particular company had been incredibly difficult to work with during my hospital stay after Liam’s birth, but I didn’t process that.

It was a nightmare.  Somehow we had applied online, but then an agent also contacted us, and it took them well over  a week to figure out that we somehow had two applications in the mix.  Then they wouldn’t cancel the first application.  I spent HOURS of my time on the phone trying to deal with this situation.  It was literally every nap Liam took during the day for a week before I finally got everything figured out.  Then our quote came back—at 694 dollars a month.  Our original was 285.  Apparently we are all on death’s doorstep because there was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for our payment to be this high.  At this point Andy took over and cancelled everything with them.  Because I couldn’t pick my head up off the pillow long enough to stop crying.  Because I was frustrated and angry and sad.

But then…I had an idea.  I had been using an online site that pooled plans from a variety of companies.  I decided to go to individual company’s websites and look up their options straight from the source.  I found several do-able options, and finally picked one.  With this second company, all I did was fill out the application.  Then a week later, we got a packet in the mail saying that our coverage would begin on X date, and that our payment was 15 dollars higher than originally quoted.  15…not 400.  I can handle that.  So we finally have that figured out….after a solid month of dealing with one company, I got the other in less than a week and only maybe an hour of my time.  Now it’s too bad that insurance premiums aren’t tax deductible….I think we may hit the income percentage to make out of pocket medical costs tax deductible this year after all of my complications….I just have to keep track of all of my paperwork, and check with my dentist’s office and see if they can reprint a receipt for me.