Thursday, January 26, 2012

Small Successes-January 26th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up...

1. I ran off most of the copies I'll need for my religious ed class from now until the end of the school year yesterday, AND I didn't jam the copier at all.  Usually I jam up the copier multiple times and it causes me to pull several people away from their work to fix it.  They must be really happy when I leave the parish office some days.

2.  I utilized the hour that my girls spend practicing in the children's choir prepping a future craft for my religious ed class.  I'm surprised at how much I managed to cut out in under an hour.

3.  It's not folded, but most of the laundry is washed.  I'd love to fold it, but Katie wants to be held a lot these past few days, and she's creating new loads of laundry with her excessive spitting up that drenches her and me roughly every hour so I don't have much of a chance to focus on folding at the moment.  I'll just have to be happy that the laundry is sorted into piles for the time being.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...


Madeline is beaming in this picture because we allowed her to not only hold the baby while standing, but also to walk across the room with her.  Prior to last night she was only allowed to hold Katie while she was sitting down.  


Ellie has taken to separating her goldfish crackers by color and stacking her tostitos into pyramids.  She seems to have some OCD snack tendencies.


Bryan was trying out his "blue steel" look.  Didn't realize he was trying to be the next Zoolander.


Bryan takes AWFUL pictures of me.  They're so epically bad that I doubt anyone could take such unflattering pictures of me even if they had tried.  It's a terrible gift he has, really.  So I've taken to setting the camera on the bottom shelf of the upper cabinets in the kitchen and using the remote to take pictures of myself holding the baby.  Is it sad?  Maybe. But,  I'd rather take my own picture than not be in any at all.

round button chicken

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bits and Pieces

It seems like time gets away from me most days and it leaves me with things I want to write about but no time to actually write.  Excuse my total randomness as I try to get some of the ideas out of my head and into a readable format.

Katie seems like she's simply not amused with any of the baby items we have for her like the playmat, bouncy seat and exersaucer.  Rattles spread out on a blanket also do not amuse.  It seems nothing makes this sweet baby girl happy the way she is when she's in my arms.  She's exhausting me, but I'm happy to hold my sweet chunk of a baby.  When she sleeps she's heavy like a toddler who's trying out passive resistance.

Yesterday was a LONG day.  I had to get up early to teach my religious ed class.  I don't like to wake up on cold mornings when there's snow and ice on the ground.  When I arrived back at the house to the sounds of a hungry baby, I also had to take a call from my mom.  Not sure what it is about Sunday mornings, but my mom and dad sure love to call me just as I'm getting home to ask if they can stop over for a visit.  We had no real plans, so I said yes and the house descended into the usual tailspin of frantic cleaning so the place would look presentable-ish.  I should note that the house typically looks like it was bombed by most Sunday mornings.  Two days of Bryan at home and a full day of the girls at home will do that to our house.  I think it's a disaster area worthy of condemnation, but Bryan tells me this is what happens when you LIVE in the house.  I'm not buying it.  Between the stress of having to get the house straightened on short notice plus the total sensory overload from the NOISE, NOISE, NOISE of the visit (It's loud enough that I often wish I could hide somewhere when my parents come to visit.)  I don't know if it was the Starbucks coffee Bryan got me (first one that's tasted like it actually had coffee in it in several years) or the excitement from the day, but Katie was WIRED last night.  It was after 11PM last night when she finally went to sleep.  Typically she's in bed for the night by 9PM.

Today I decided to check out the show I've seen other bloggers raving about.  So I queued up Downton Abbey on Netflix and watched the first two episodes while Katie demanded that I hold her.  I knew nothing about the show other than other people liked it a lot.  By the end of the first episode I could sense that I had found a new guilty pleasure type of show.  It's certainly would get labeled a "Karen show" by Bryan.  According to Bryan, I like to watch shows and movies that no one else would watch.  Surely movies like Anne of the Thousand Days, Washington Square and Mrs. Brown couldn't have been made only for me.  Give me some good period costuming and chances are I'll be hooked.

With the exception of a chicken, I have all the food we need to make dinner for the rest of the week.  I made up a shopping list yesterday and remembered to take it to the stores with me this morning.  Katie and I managed to get all of the shopping done before it started to rain.

I think I need to move Katie to a convertible car seat soon.  She takes up most of the shopping cart at the grocery store and Sam's Club.  The only store I can take her to where her seat will fit on the top of the cart is Target.  I'm tired of being limited in how much food I can buy when I'm shopping by myself because I'm working with limited space.  Pretty soon I'm just going to have to wear Katie in the Bjorn carrier so I can utilize the cart more effectively.

I managed to get four more boxes of diapers for the baby with the 30% off deal from Amazon Mom.  I followed the advice of a commenter who had mentioned tweaking her subscription to still get the 30% off deal.  I played with the settings and managed to get the order to go through and I upped the quantity to four instead of one.  I'm probably set with diapers until July or August now.

I got caught trying to kill a few house plants.  I have three plants that I'd rather not have, but I won't toss a live plant.  Lately I had been accidentally deliberately forgetting to water them.  One of them is nearly dead, one is hanging on (it's been through Karen induced droughts before) and the other has a few brown leaves.  Bryan noticed that Yao, our bamboo plant in the kitchen was looking a little droopy and asked when I last watered it.  He's not in favor of passive plant murdering, so I had to water it.  I suppose I should water the other two plants as well.  I tried. I failed. Now I'll have to live with the plants happily mocking me with their leafy green presence that my attempts to off them have been thwarted.

I have several reviews that I need to write.  I just need to find time to sit down and write them up.  Maybe I'll get some spare time here or there later this week.

I've been procrastinating on what VBS program to use this summer.  Or, maybe, I'm just busy with the baby.  I'm trying to decide whether we should maintain the status quo and continue using the Catholicized version of the protestant program that the parish has been using for years and just adding some Catholic flavor to it in the arts and crafts room, or I can take a chance and give one of the Cat Chat VBS programs a try.  I have to have a meeting with the DRE soon and make a final decision.  I did go to  Sam's Club and get the pricing info for the drinks and snacks that we'll need.  At least I'm doing something to prepare for this year's program.

I'm hungry and Katie's sleeping.  I need to get myself a snack before she wakes up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Small Successes-January 19th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I think week three of eating dinner at home Monday-Friday (no ordering take out) is going quite nicely.  I used to read blogs where people talked about planning out a menu for a month or the week and I'd think it seemed so odd.  Why do you need to plan ahead for that?  Umm...yeah, maybe that's why at around 5PM every night I'd realize that we didn't have the ingredients for the dinner I had just decided to make, or would realize at that time that I should have started to cook an hour ago if I wanted to have it today.  So I know see the wisdom in planning ahead and going to the store to buy all the ingredients.

2. Both trees are gone and put away.  However, I'm not going to tell you that I can't figure out why the Advent calendars won't fit back into any of the boxes that they were in a couple months ago.  It's a mystery.  Of course, that means that I didn't put any of the totes that hold our Christmas decorations away.  I have a couple sitting out in the basement and one in the hall way on the main level.

3. I have the laundry mostly under control.  I have a couple of loads that need to be folded and another that needs to be run through the washer.  Some days I'm able to get a lot done while Katie naps, but other days she just wants to be held all day and so I try to oblige her as much as I can.  I did have to resort to wearing her in the Bjorn carrier a couple days ago so I could carry the laundry up the steps.  Going up and down stairs for about a half an hour with a baby either in my arms or strapped to me is a lot of work.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in every day life.


This pretty girl has been captivated by her Legos lately.  On Monday she brought herself one of the new girly Lego sets and she LOVES it.  Apparently mini figures that are shaped more like people vs. blocks, are a novelty with girls who are into their Legos.


I thought Ellie didn't like quesadillas all that much but she was so happy to be eating one tonight [Wednesday] that she insisted I take a picture of her with it.


You just never know what you're going to get when you aim a camera at Bryan.  



Katie is growing up way too fast.  Just before I pulled the camera out she almost rolled over from front to back.  Bryan and I are fairly certain the attempt would have been a success if the pink piggy hadn't been in her way.  I'm amazed at how well she can push her upper body off of the floor.

round button chicken

Monday, January 16, 2012

Using Zimbabwe to Prove a Point

Being the only girl in the family, I never really experienced hand-me-downs.  I had older girl cousins and occasionally one of my aunts would give some of my cousin's clothes to me.  I suspect my mom wasn't a fan of hand-me-downs given that she almost always found something wrong with the clothes and I seldom ended up wearing any of them.

Bryan, being a younger brother, had to wear hand-me-downs.  As a result he has a different take on hand-me-downs than I have.  I won't put stained or ripped clothes on my kids.  So items like that don't get handed down to the next child.  Bryan agrees with that take.  We differ when it comes to things like socks and underwear.  I saw nothing wrong with saving gently used socks and underwear to hand down, but that's where Bryan draws the line.  For the most part, I have humored Bryan in his request that Ellie not wear her sister's skivvies with the exception being training underwear.  I figure those who cloth diaper reuse the diapers for their next child, and I don't see there being much difference between cloth diapers and cloth training pants.

I like to rile Bryan up from time to time by telling him that I'm going to put outgrown underwear in the hand-me-down pile.  Comments like this are usually met with a resounding "NO!" followed by him telling me that we can buy new underwear.

Tonight he was sure to tell me that Zimbabwe placed a ban on second hand undies.  I thought it was a joke, but he sent me a link to the story.  I was a bit surprised to see that they're not the first country to ban second hand underwear.  Who would have guessed?

Three Months

Katie turned three months old today.  It's hard to believe she's been here for three months already.  We're already a quarter of the way towards her being one!
In the past month Katie has really changed a lot.  She now coos and tries to talk to us.  Some of the sounds she makes sound like actual words.  Sometimes it sounds like she says "Hi!" which I frequently say to her.  Bryan has commented to me that he thinks she's saying a few different words when she gets going with trying to talk to us.

She's very expressive and loves to give us smiles.  Of course, she has her moments where she goes from incredibly happy to angry in approximately two seconds flat.

Katie has developed a love of hockey.  Most evenings she will get very cranky if hockey is not on the big glowing rectangle.  Bryan is always happy to oblige his little princess and find a game for her to watch.  Hockey tends to calm her down to the point that she is riveted by the game.  Right now we're watching a game between two teams that we don't even care about, but Katie is enjoying it.  I like to tease Bryan that Katie isn't a Flyers fan.  She likes all the other teams.

Our little princess is working on getting mobile.  She is coming closer and closer every day to rolling over.  She just needs to figure out how to position her arm correctly and she'll be set.  She's also pushing herself up pretty well.  Tonight she was trying to get her knees under her at the same time that she was pushing up with her arms.  I suppose she'll be up on her hands and knees soon enough.

Her head control is good enough that she's able to happily sit in the high chair or bumbo seat.  She's even spending a little bit of time in the exersaucer each day.  She's not at the point of bouncing in it quite yet, but she can turn herself in it a bit, and she's doing her best to reach for her toys.

Shopping the Aisle of Misfit Toys

This is the time of year when I like to browse Target's toy clearance aisles.  Since these are mostly left overs from the Christmas shopping season, I like to refer to this area of Target as the Aisle of Misfit Toys.  It a bit like the Isle of Misfit Toys, from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, only different.

I'm trying my best to be realistic about toy purchases.  A couple months ago I totally snapped when I discovered our basement was a step away from being declared a disaster area did a bit of a toy purge.  The kids had/have way too much stuff.  In going down the Aisle of Misfit Toys I was hoping to find things we could actually use or need for the baby.  In the week after Christmas I scored a Duplo block set
 that will be under our tree this December 25th.  I figure since the older girls are really into playing with Legos, Katie will likely want to build with block, too, and more Duplo blocks means her big sisters will be able to make some fun things for her.

My misfit toy shopping has been pretty lack luster this year outside of my 50% off Duplo find.  But I wasn't too worried.  The less I find, the less I have to store for the next 11 months.  And to be perfectly honest, the kids really don't "need" anything.

Since Madeline and Ellie have off from school today I decided I would take them to Target and let them use their gift cards.  Madeline hoards her gift cards and has a sizable collection.  She's been eyeing up some ugly boots that she wants, and has mentioned wanting to buy something, anything, lately.  Since this kid typically won't spend her gift cards I figured it was worth taking her to the store to see if she'd actually buy something.   She wound up buying a pair of furry brown boots and a pink Wii remote.  Ellie wanted a remote, too, but they didn't have the blue one she wanted in stock.

After we wandered the store a bit I passed by the Aisle of Misfit Toys.  I was fully prepared to walk by it since the clearance signs said 30% and 50% off.  It's mid-January.  I want 70-90% off!  I think the economy is delaying Target from price cutting as quickly as they have in the past.  Then I noticed that they still had the pink cozy coupes
 that have been sitting there since a few days after Christmas.  We don't need one, since we have a red one in like new condition that we got at a yard sale nine years ago for $1, but Katie had a gift card from a toy we returned (I couldn't bring myself to suffer the obnoxious battery operated toy she was given).  So I decided to take a peek at the price on the cozy coupe.  It had been around $35 for the past few weeks, and I was not about to pay that much for something we technically already have.  I was surprised when I looked at the tag and saw it was $14.98.  Her gift card was for $13 and change so after calling Bryan, I ended up buying it.

Katie got a Step 2 push buggy
 for Christmas from my parents and when we went to put it together Bryan and I were terribly disappointed in how badly Step 2 had cheapened their product.  Ten years ago we had bought the same car for Madeline and it had a fun clicking yellow key (now it's a boring sticker), wheels that had two sides instead of one hollowed out side, and a nice handle that could be easily removed and stowed under the car for easy transportation.  We used the car for both Madeline and Ellie and we all loved it.  After Ellie outgrew it we gave it to someone (I wish I could remember who I gave it to.).  We were so unhappy with the cost cutting version of the car that we decided to take it back to Kohls and look for a used one.  So far I haven't had any luck finding one, although I'm still on the look out.  I don't know if the new cozy coupe will replace my need for the push buggy (I don't think it will.) but I was happy to see that it has a floor board so you can push a child who isn't quite old enough to Flintstone it around the back yard.  I'm sure Madeline and Ellie will like pushing Katie around in her little car.

I think I'm done with the Aisle of Misfit Toys for this year.  Other than the blocks and the car, I really didn't see anything worth buying, but I'm not going to complain.  I'm pretty happy with the two items we picked up.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Happy Medium

A few days ago I wrote about how I had to remove the bumper from the crib to keep Katie from trying to smother herself.  I didn't want to remove the bumper for a number of reasons.  I liked the way it looked, I liked that it kept pacifiers from falling out of the crib, and I didn't want Katie getting her arms and legs stuck between the slats.  Most articles that suggest you should not have a bumper in your crib claim that your baby won't get his or her limbs stuck in between the slats of the crib if you go bumper free.  Personally, I think that claim is bunk.

The first two nights Katie slept in the crib without a bumper she pretty much stayed in the center away from the sides.  Our only issue was that her pacifiers were escaping the crib.  At 5AM it's never fun to listen to a crying baby and a frustrated husband who can't find a pacifier anywhere despite there having been several of them in the crib at the start of the night.  I had a bad feeling that missing pacifiers were going to be a problem for us now that the bumper was gone.

Starting during the wee hours of Saturday morning we awoke to Katie screaming.  Usually, Bryan is pretty good about getting to her fast and seeing what she needs.  I was beginning to wonder what was going on when her crying didn't stop for a couple of minutes.  She was stuck.  Katie had wiggled over to the side of the crib and had gotten her arm caught between the slats.  Bryan worked her arm out and brought a very distraught Katie to me to be fed.  Several more times on Saturday morning the same scenario with her arm getting stuck would be replayed minus her needing to eat.  I began to feel sick to my stomach.  I felt like we were going to have to choose between using a bumper that Katie might smother herself with, or we were going to sacrifice sleep and risk Katie breaking an arm or leg with no bumper.

When I got up on Saturday morning I heard Katie crying once again and this time I went into her room to find her arm shoved through the slats up to her shoulder.  She was lodged in between the slats pretty well and it took me several minutes to free her.

I suggested to Bryan that maybe I needed to make a bumper that was made of only a single layer of thin fabric.  I wasn't really in the mood to break out the sewing machine and try making something that would work, but I didn't know if I had any other options.  I decided that I'd do a little searching online to see if anything existed that would work for us.  It turns out they actually make breathable crib bumpers.  With Monday being a holiday, I didn't want to place an order from Amazon and have to wait until the middle of next week to get it.  Fortunately, Babies R Us, a store on my list of places I loathe shopping had what I wanted in stock.  I was skeptical that this thing would work for us based on some of the reviews, but I'm happy to say that it not only fits our crib better than any other bumper we've ever used, but it also works quite nicely.  You can press your face into this bumper and still breathe easily (the first thing I tested out with this bumper) and it keeps Katie's limbs and pacifiers from going between the slats.  So far it looks like this bumper is the perfect solution for our crib concerns.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 26


Hi, my name is Karen, and I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to Starbucks.  We got a lot of Starbucks gift cards for Christmas this year, so I keep telling myself when I go and get my $5 drink that it's a gift so it's ok, but I'm pretty close to exhausting my gift cards.  My few time a week habit has become an almost daily habit.  $25-35 a week on coffee is a bit excessive, but it sure is yummy.  Bryan recently suggested I give it up for Lent.  I'm not sure I can do that.

I decided to be realistic about Katie's clothes and I returned the 3-6 month outfits I recently brought for her after seeing how packed her closet was after pulling out all of the hand-me-downs.  This is what happens when you hold on to your favorite outfits from older children and are then blessed with hand-me-downs from three other families.  I have the hardest time choosing what to dress Katie in most mornings.  Do I go with one of my old favorites or one of my new favorite outfits from someone else?  

I have a partially decorated tree in my living room.  I should be undecorating the tree while Katie naps instead of sitting in the dining room blogging hope I'll have time sometime soon to get everything put away.
Katie is fascinated by hockey.  If Bryan puts a game on TV she is completely riveted the entire time.  If this trend keeps up we will have to DVR a few games for the off season.
I had to go to Target today since Bryan wanted Starbucks [he's an enabler, really] so I took some time to wander aimlessly around the store.  They had the most adorable baby bathing suits with little tutu skirts.  I think one of those will be coming home with us in the future.  I'm just waiting for them to go on sale.
I'm starting to get ready for this year's VBS at our parish.  I already know several of the volunteers from last year are coming back for this year so I feel like this year won't be quite as stressful as last year was.  My awesome arts and crafts coordinator (Hi Tricia!) is already gathering ideas.  I'm so happy I have someone to collaborate with since that is such a big portion of the program.  Now I just need to pick a VBS program for this year.

Did you know that a narwhal is a real animal?  I had only ever heard of it in Elf where Buddy is saying goodbye to his arctic friends and this goofy looking whale with a unicorn horn on his head named Mr. Narwhal pops out of the water to say "Bye, Buddy.  Hope you find your dad."  Honestly, I thought Mr. Narwhal was a made up creature.  Ellie had to do a science project for school and she picked the narwhal as her arctic "pet" and so I learned about the narwhal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amazon Mom Frustration

This afternoon I got an email from regarding my Amazon Mom membership.  Last March I signed up for their Amazon Mom program which gave me a free Prime membership (Hooray for 2 day free shipping!) for three months and then an additional free month of prime for every $25 I spent on baby products giving me up to 12 months of a free Prime membership.  Since I was ordering baby essentials and diapers from them, I managed to get my free year of 2 day prime shipping rather quickly. The main reason I joined their Amazon Mom program was the deal it offered on diapers.  I was getting 30% off the Amazon price and free shipping.  It cost me about $115 for three months of diapers using this program.  The email I received from Amazon today was alerting me to changes in the program.  Starting on January 24th, they are no longer going to give me 30% off on my diaper subscription.  Instead I'll get my 15% off for the subscribe and save feature and 5% off for being part of Amazon Mom, but the 5% will only last provided I pay $80 for the Prime membership beginning in March.  You could say I was not happy with what I saw in the email.

Being the shrewd bargain hunter that I am, I decided that I would order an extra shipment of the diapers (I had skipped the past 4 months since I had no place to store another 4 months worth of diapers.).  Actually, my plan was to buy another box of size 2 diapers and then order three boxes of size 3 before January 24th.  When I logged into my account to set all of this in motion I found that Amazon had anticipated people doing this and had eliminated the option for an extra delivery.

I decided to contact Amazon's live help to find out why [even though I was pretty sure I already knew the answer] I couldn't place an order for an extra delivery.  Unfortunately, I wasn't given a reason regarding why Amazon won't honor their own promotion even though the item is available to ship for the new higher price.  
I cut and pasted my help conversation so I could share it here with you.  I'm annoyed that they won't just come out and say they were a bit shady in the way they handled the change in the Amazon Mom program.  I changed the rep's name slightly.
You are now connected to Gotham from
I'm trying to place an extra shipment order on my subscribe and save list for diapers (I had skipped this months delivery and now need to have the order placed) and I'm being told I don't have that option even though they're showing in stock on the product page.
Hello, my name is Gotham. I'll be glad to help you today.
To create a new order to be shipped right away, visit the Subscribe & Save page in Your Account ( and click "Extra delivery" next to the item you want sooner.
Once you click "Confirm" you'll receive an extra order now and the next one on the date you select in the pop-up.
The extra order button is greyed out and says it's not available at this time. It seems like Amazon doesn't want to honor the 30% off with Amazon mom. Would that be a correct assumption? Looking at the product page it's available for delivery now so I don't see why I can't get an extra shipment with my current subscription.
Looking at the subscribe and save page under my acct. now and my only option is to skip the next delivery.
Please give me a moment while I check the details.
I've checked the details and see this subscription is not eligible for extra delivery.
ok, thanks
Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Why am I unable to place the extra delivery? I
The email I got from Amazon today tells me that after the 24th of this month they are no longer honoring the 30% off with Amazon mom. Today is the 12 and it seems like they're refusing to honor my subscribe and save price.
I'm sorry about it, however I see there is no extra delivery option for this order.
is there a reason
Extra deliveries may not be available on all Subscribe & Save items.
Check your Manage Your Subscribe & Save Items page to determine if it is available for your subscriptions.
its always been an option in the past. Willing to bet it will be an option if I opt to pay the higher subscribe and save price with only 20% off. Seems very convenient that Amazon revoked the option that has always been there once the email was sent out regarding the changes in the Amazon mom program. Is there a reason you won't just come out and say that Amazon is not allowing it because they want me to pay the 10% more? Perhaps I won't be giving Amazon my business in this area anymore.
I;m sorry for the inconvenience Karen .
I'll be sure to mention it in my product review as well as my blog.
I understand, However in this case, I do not see any extra delivery option for this .
Thanks for your time, even if you weren't able to give me a clear answer as to why Amazon decided to not honor their own promotional program. I'm sure you aren't the one to blame for their obviously questionable move.
I'm sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Thank you for contacting Amazon. We hope to see you again.

I'm irritated with Amazon.  Personally, I hate to keep giving them my business for the diapers because of what they have done, but I also don't want to pay even more for the same product somewhere else.  Maybe I shouldn't even be ranting about them in the first place.  Their mom program has given me free Prime 2 day shipping (which is really nice) and their invitation only Vine program has also been very good to me.  Their Vine program alone gave me quite a lot of the items that I needed for Katie.  So really, I can't complain too much.  I'm just tweaked that they're going to get me for an extra $4 or so each month.  

Bye, Bye, Beautiful Baby Bumper

We noticed about a week ago that Katie developed a liking for the crib bumper.  In the middle of the night she would wiggle herself from the middle of the crib mattress to a particular corner of the crib where she would nestle herself, usually face first into the bumper.  On more than a few occasions Bryan or I have discovered her so firmly up against the bumper that we were concerned that she was going to smother herself.

I was hopeful for a few days that maybe we could stop her from migrating in the crib but there is really no negotiating with a determined baby.  Bryan and I  discussed what we could do about it and the only logical solution to the problem was to remove the bumper.

It absolutely pained me to remove the beautiful crib bumper that made the crib look like such a warm and inviting place.  I fell in love with this bumper seven years ago when I was pregnant with Ellie and I was so excited that I was getting to use it again for what I hoped would be another year or two.  Typically I only remove the crib bumper if the crib's occupant is trying to use it as a foothold to escape the crib. I have never had to remove it because someone found it to be an appealing place to snuggle up to face first until now.

I  took the bumper out of the crib a few days ago and I really don't care for the way it looks.  It no longer looks like a warm and inviting place to sleep, instead it looks cold and stark, like a cage for the baby.  I really wish she wasn't so determined to sleep with her face pressed into the bumper.  (Monday morning I found her with her face in the bumper and her finger shoved between the crib mattress and the side of the crib.  I still don't know how she managed that given how tightly our mattress fits in the crib.) For the sake of making the nursery look pretty I would love to put the bumper back in the crib, but I know having a pretty nursery is not worth taking the risk that I may wake up to my worst nightmare.

Small Successes-January 12th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up...

1. It seems like it took me forever, but I finally got all of the 3-6 month clothes washed and put away in Katie's drawers and closet.  I also removed the massive pile of outgrown 0-3 month clothes from the nursery floor.  The closet is packed with clothes for Katie so I decided that I will just take the outfits I bought for her back to the store since she doesn't "need" them.  Hand-me-downs rock!

2. The bassinet has been cleaned, disassembled, and packed away.  It became evident about two weeks ago that Katie was too big for it.  We hadn't used it much since early December, but we tried to use it one night when Katie was sick and she barely fit in it.  Our little one is getting big way too fast.

3. I've got the laundry under control.

4. Most of the Christmas decorations are down.  The big tree in the family room came down on Tuesday and I'm still in the process of taking the decorations off the living room tree.  I hope to have it finished by Friday at the latest.  Since it was nice out on Saturday, I took down all of the Christmas lights that were on the house by myself while Bryan tried to teach Ellie to ride her bike.  He had to sort of start over since the last attempt was before Katie was born.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.


Finally, I was able to get a nice picture of Katie looking at the tree.

This adorable girl makes me want to eat her up!

While playing in the basement this past Saturday Madeline found a pair of Ellie's old sunglasses.


Katie loves hanging out in the high chair these days.  I think she's enjoying the new vantage point.   She's been watching us eat dinner most nights this week.


Madeline is such a goof sometimes.  She looks like she could be Cousin It's long lost relative.


Ellie seems to have a thing for Lego mini figures these days.  She has spent many hours sitting at the dining room table playing with them this week.

Somebody is tired of me taking pictures of her all the time.

round button chicken

Monday, January 9, 2012

Photography Gateway Drug

So last Thursday my new camera lens arrived and in the few days I've been using this lens I've become hooked.  I'm convinced that an inexpensive*, but decent prime lens is a photography gateway drug.

I'm still playing with the settings on the camera to see just what I can do with the new lens.  I have captured several pictures of the girls that make me want to squeal with delight. (I'll be sharing pictures, soon.)  I was even inspired enough to pick up a photography book I recently reviewed to find some inspiration only to discover that I NEED want a wide angle lens.

It's funny how this one lens has me hooked.  I am, however, disappointed that the cheapest wide angle lens I have come across is over $400.  I'm wondering if it's possible to test drive a lens to see if it's worth buying.  Somehow I don't think Bryan is going to like my new addiction.

*Inexpensive when compared to the much pricier versions of the same focal length.  I still don't think $100 is cheap.

Book Review: Doctors of the Church

It seems like I've been reading the Pope's book, Doctors of the Church for ages [or roughly two months].  The book itself is actually very good, but my leisure time as of late has been scarce which leaves little time for reading.  As you can probably infer from the title of the book, the focus of this book is on those who have been named doctors of the Church.  Thirty-two doctors of the church are presented in this volume.

Like many other books written by Pope Benedict XVI, this one is taken largely from the Pope's Wednesday general audiences.  I have read several of these books and I enjoy them all immensely.  For each doctor featured in this book you'll find a short biography of them and learn about their contributions to the Church.

Reading the story of each of these saints is a great source of inspiration.  The Pope has a wonderful way of retelling their stories.  I certainly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn about the doctors of the Church.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Doctors of the Church.  They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 25


I think Katie is recovered from her bout with bronchiolitis.  She's no longer congested and only fake coughs when she's looking for attention.

The dog's career as a household thief is becoming a bit of a problem.  He went from stealing useless items like empty Nerds boxes, toilet paper tubes and the occasional tissue to things like pencils [someone likes smencils] and frankincense.  Yes, the dog actually got into the little box of gold, frankincense and myrrh that I placed under the tree last night for the girls to find this morning.  He knocked over the shepherds and an angle who were blocking the dog from getting to the box and took a mouthful of frankincense which he wound up dropping on the living room floor presumably after he discovered that it wasn't a tasty treat.  Dumb dog.
I think in another twenty years I'll be a full fledged Christmas wrapping paper hoarder.  Apparently I can't resist clearance Christmas wrap.  I had plenty left over from two years ago and still brought some last year.  Then I brought more last year which I barely dented this year.  And in what can only described as a bout of temporary insanity, I brought more wrapping paper this year.  I think I brought roughly 900 square feet of wrap in the past 12 days.  I couldn't help myself this morning when I saw that Target reduced their wrap to 90% off.  How can I resist foil wrap that is fifty cents a roll?  I tried my best, but I came home with two more rolls of wrapping paper and a couple bags of bows.  I am truly my grandfather's granddaughter.  He could never pass up a bargain and would often say that "the price was right" when asked why he brought a dozen or so of any particular item.  I think I'm going to see if I can donate some of the wrapping paper I don't like as much as the others to the preschool the girls used to go to for next year's holiday shoppe.
While I'm on the subject of Christmas wrap, it has not escaped the girls notice that I have a thing for hoarding wrapping paper.  Yesterday we drove by a house that had several partially used rolls of Christmas wrap sticking out of their trash can.  Madeline and Ellie pointed it out to me and one of them asked me if I wanted to stop and pull it out.  Umm, no....I may occasionally rescue things from other people's trash, but I NEVER reach into the can and even I have standards for what I will trash pick!  I only pick items that are sitting out at the curb NEXT to the trash can.
About three years ago Bryan's aunt and uncle gave me a remote control for my camera and a UV filter.  The UV filter was too small for my kit lens but is the perfect size for my new lens.  The remote was a item I really wanted, but I was too lazy to see what I had to do to get it to work with the camera.  Last night I was feeling a little adventurous and I read the instructions for the remote.  Hmm...all you have to do is turn it on and push a button on the back of the camera.  Yeah, I guess I should have looked into that a few years ago.  Setting that up was a lot easier than I anticipated.  So last night I took a few pictures of myself to test it out.  I'd share my self portrait but my smile looks forced in the pictures and I have two zits on my chin.

Does anyone else have kids who take books out from the school library that they already have just to show mom and dad that the library has the book, too?  I'll never understand why both of my girls do this.  I keep telling them to bring home books we don't have and to leave the ones we do have at the library so someone else can enjoy the book.  It's so bizarre.  This week Madeline brought home Black Beauty, which she has on her new Kindle.  She likes the book and wanted to show me that the middle school has it, too.

The public school gave the kids a half day today.  I'm sorry, but after ten days at home, things like a 3 1/2 day school week is simply unacceptable.  They barely gave me time to get the house in order and now they're home again.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Fun with my Christmas Gift

I used an amazon gift card and some money that I was given for Christmas and finally bought myself a new lens for my camera.  I've known for years that I should get one of these lenses, but I'm quite the cheapskate and refused to buy it for myself.  So nearly five years after getting the camera with the sub-par kit lens, I'm seeing why I shouldn't have waited so long.  The lens arrived this afternoon after I wrote the my {phfr} post, but I simply can't wait until next week's link up to share some of my new favorite pictures.

Let's just say that I'm a bit giddy that I didn't have to use a flash for any of these pictures.  The baby HATES the flash.  Maybe now Katie won't get that look of horror on her face every time I show up with the camera.


I love the color in this picture.  Who knew pictures of the baby's toys in motion could be so much fun?

I know Madeline is a bit blurry, but I love how the lights on the tree look.  My twinkle light frustration is finally over!


I love the colors.  I think the happy little sun on this rattle would agree.

Katie is always happy to hang out on this play mat.  


He doesn't think this is funny, but I love that I was able to capture his annoyance at having to wait for his treat.  Sadly, I wasn't fast enough to snap a picture of him flipping the treat into the air.


Leave it to Mr. Furkins to keep it real.  That bluish glint in both of his eyes is the TV.  I think it's interesting that you can see both sources of light for this picture in his eyes.  The eye on the right shows the kitchen light and the TV.

round button chicken
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