Tuesday, January 24, 2012

First Snowman Ever

We had a real cold snap last week that prevented us from spending much time outside.  I'm sure Benjamin could have handled it, but I worried for Miriam since she's been gasping for air on the quick in-out dashes from the car/house when we run errands.  Also, I'm a complete chicken when it comes to cold.  I was not meant to live in Wisconsin.  Anything less than 50ºF mandates that I wear long underwear when spending any time out side, and, unfortunately, Wisconsin weather usually falls into that category 75% of the year.

Sunday, it started to warm up.  We went to church, ran our errands, and made it home around 3:30pm.  Since we have until about 5:00pm before it gets dark, I asked Benjamin if he wanted to go out and play.  I gave him the choice of going out with Chris or going out with me (secretly wishing he'd go out with Chris), and he chose Daddy.

I bundled Benjamin up, for which Chris chided me.  I didn't think that a t-shirt, sweatshirt, coat, mittens, hat, snowpants, scarf, and boots was too much for 34ºF, but Chris didn't think he needed the sweatshirt or scarf.  I wonder if Chris spent much time in his childhood playing in the snow.  It's not just the cold, it's the wet that gets you!

Once I ensured no skin was showing (okay, maybe that was a little much...but I would be a terrible mother if I sent him out with any less!), I sent them out of the house and charged them with making a snowman.  With the weather warming a bit (from 10ºF), the snow was starting to melt and made for perfect packing snow.

Once the snowman was done, Benjamin didn't want to come in yet, so Chris took him sledding in the park next door.  And when they were done, I met them inside with hot chocolate.

And that's when Chris told me he thinks that's the first snowman he's ever built.  Thirty-one years old and his first snowman was built with his son.  I suppose there's no better time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meeting Goals

So, last week didn't quite go as planned, but such is life!  When making my goals for last week, I really overestimated my ability to get anything done with two toddlers.  In my attempts to unpack, they just undid everything I accomplished!  I would put something in the kitchen cabinet, turn my back to pick something else out of the box, and my two little "helpers" would have emptied the entire cabinet!

I quickly gave up hopes of actually getting unpacked (I mean, what's the point? We're moving in August again anyway, God willing.), and turned my attentions to other things.  It was freezing here last week, so I did some knitting on my scarf.  I didn't get all 20 repeats done, but I did get 16 of them knit! I didn't take the kids out to play in the snow, but Chris did.  I didn't do laundry every day, but the laundry all got done.

I reworked our budget this past week.  (I'm not sure I publicly stated, but I've been out of a job since early December.)  By the grace of God, we're not even wanting for anything!  Yet, I thought it would be even better if I renewed my focus on finding a job.  We do have some debt, and if I brought in a paycheck, we could pay it off even faster.  I also decided to do a very detailed menu plan to ensure we don't cave and go out to eat because we weren't prepared.  Because of this, I was able to increase our grocery budget but a little.  (I have only recently discovered just how much my children eat now that I'm feeding them only out of my pantry.  I hate to see what they're going to be like as teenagers!)

So, my goals for this week are going to be much less lofty than last week.

1. Do one load of laundry everyday. (I'm going to keep working on this one until it's a habit.)
2. Finish putting the kitchen away.  (It's getting seriously annoying with the boxes in the way.)
3. Stick to the menu plan.

4. Take them to a library story-time. (It's time we meet some new friends in our new town!)

5. Plan something we can do after the kids have gone to bed. (Didn't do this last week.)

6. Knit 15 rows on my Spectra scarf.  (I want to finish it this winter yet!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

10 Goals For This Week

photo credit

Well, it seems this blog has become a catch all, now hasn't it?!  It was supposed to be a knitting blog, but I'll tell you something.  Not a whole lot of knitting happens with young toddlers!  And now, we just moved, so all my yarn is packed in boxes and bags.  So, you all will have to bear with me as I get my life back in order.

I'm going to try to keep myself more organized this year.  I'm going to simplify my life so it doesn't become too overwhelming.  A lot of big changes are going to happen to our family (fingers crossed) in the next few years, so it'll be of the utmost importance to stay on top of things!

Because of this, I've decided to share weekly with you 10 goals I have for my week.  They may not be lofty goals, and in the beginning, they may be goals I know I'll obtain, just to keep myself motivated.  Still, they will be challenging for me to meet them all!

1. Finish unpacking kitchen
2. Finish unpacking living room
3. Do one load of laundry per day
4. Donate/give away what we don't need for the next 6 months

5. Take them outside to play in the snow
6. Mail out Benjamin's birthday invitations

7. Plan something he and I can do together after the kids have gone to bed
8. Make sure he knows I'm appreciative of everything he does for us.

9. Work 20 repeats on my Spectra scarf
10. Find a stranded colorwork mitten pattern that I like

Does anyone else set weekly goals to motivate themselves?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Family Bedroom

I don't think it's any secret that I raise my children in a gentle and natural manner.  While there are a lot of things that I wish I could be more natural with (their diet, for example), one of the most simple and easiest things has been to create a natural sleep environment for them.

Babies are not meant to sleep alone.

There, I said it.  I don't think that anyone who puts their baby in a room all by themselves does anyone any favors.  First of all, your baby doesn't understand that she was not born in a cave surrounded by hungry Tyrannosaurus Rexes.  It is your job to teach her that she was born in a nice comfy, artificially heated, and triple insulated home.  However, dumping said baby into a cold bed all by themselves doesn't teach them this.  That would be like me handing you a Calculus book and telling you to teach yourself math.  In fact, more and more research is proving this to be a really bad idea.  A recent article in Psychology Today laid out the dangers of allowing your child to Cry It Out.

Even more so, humans are not meant to sleep alone.

Now, there's one our society doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on.  Our biological needs drive us into the beds of other humans, regardless of our age.  I sleep better knowing that my husband is next to me.  He makes me feel safe and loved.  Before I was married, I slept better knowing that my sister was in the bottom bunk.  Surely, any scary monsters would have to eat her first, thus alerting me to their presence and keeping me safe.

There's safety in numbers.  There's safety in biological reflexes.  There's safety in doing what comes instinctually.  This is why my family decided to create a Family Bedroom.

Our Family Bedroom
There are four of us, and now that the kids have reached full fledge toddler age (Miriam is now 15 months old), we added more sleeping spaces to our room.  Previously, we bedshared, which had Miriam on one side of me and Benjamin on the other.  It was getting a little cramped!  So, we side-carred the crib and shoved a twin sized captain's bed at the bottom of our Olympic Queen bed (which is 6" wider and 5" taller than an average Queen sized bed).  Now each person has their own sleeping space while remaining in the proximity of their protectors.

It's been going very well with this new set-up.  After the 1st night, which was the transition night, Benjamin has spent the whole night in his space.  This has freed up SO MUCH space in our bed that I'm actually feeling a little alone!  Miriam is still getting used to going back into the crib after she nurses (yes, we are still night-nursing), but it's not an entirely foreign concept to her.  She has always needed a little more space to sleep than Benjamin.  It's feeling so great to be able to lay them down and walk away now!  Because they're in their own safe sleep environments and they each know how to climb down from the bed on their own, I no longer need to remain in the bed with them to supervise sleep.  That has cut down on my internet and knitting time, but my household chores are getting the attention they deserve!

For further information:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday

Are you done with your Christmas shopping?  Maybe you're just starting to think about Christmas knitting.  Maybe you're just a sucker for good deals. :-)

I've decided to gift a little Christmas knitters cheer to you all.  On Cyber Monday (that's November 28, 2011, this year), I'm activating a coupon code that will get you all 30% off the Striped Earflap Hat pattern.

Benjamin's and Miriam's Earflap Hats

Go to Ravelry and to the pattern page and enter in code "cybermonday30" for your 30% off.

Or go to Etsy and to my shop and enter in code "cybermonday30" for 30% off there as well.

Merry (early) Christmas!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Experimenting with food

I discovered a handy little tip on Pinterest the other day that sent me running straight for the grocery store to buy a bunch of green onions.  They had been marked down to $0.50 a bunch!  They sat in the fridge for nearly a week before I cut them up and threw the greens in the crock pot in lieu of a yellow onion.  I quickly sunk the white tips (with a bit of green left on them) in a baby food jar and covered them in water.

Two days later, and they're sprouting!  It works!

Day 2 - Scallions start to sprout

You'll notice that I've left off on my 30 Day Photo Challenge.  I'll come back to it.  I've learned a lot about taking pictures, but I've learned even more that I'm incredibly busy between the kids, the house, and work, and even moreso that I dislike my point and shoot camera very much.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking a break

I'm took a quick break from the 30 Day Photo Challenge.  My husband is leaving in the dead of tonight to drive to Bloomington, Indiana, in order to meet with a trombone professor and scout out a potential DMA (Doctor of Music) program.  We have friends from college who live in that area, so he contacted them to determine if they would like to get together.  That's when we learned that our friends are expecting their second baby to be born any day now!

Of course, that meant I had some emergency baby knitting to be done.  I couldn't send my husband to their home, potentially a home with a newborn, without a gift in hand for the little one.  As I have no such newborn in my house anymore (big sad!!), I requested that one of Miriam's dolls be the model.  The hat is made to fit a 14" newborn head, whereas the doll only has a 12.5" head, so it looks a bit too large for her.

Fake Isle Earflap Hat

The hat is yet another version, knit from my Striped Earflap Hat pattern.

Fake Isle Earflap Hat

The yarn is leftovers from a sweater that I knit for Miriam.  It is Sirdar's Snuggly Baby Crofter DK and is a "fake" fair isle striping yarn.  It is SO soft!  There's a good amount of acrylic in it (no wool at all), but it doesn't feel like acrylic at all.  I still struggle with the "perfect number" for this yarn to make all the stripes and fair isle effect line up exactly, but I would definitely use it again, just to find this number!

Fake Isle Earflap Hat