Monday, December 31, 2007

The Fashionista

So, I should've known based on Sierra's clothing choice most days that she has an interesting style. But I still walked into the fabric store while they were having a sale one day and let her pick fabric for her curtains. Note to self: don't give a 3 year old carte blanche in the fabric store unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences.



You know you have to see a close up. The stuff is made of 10 million little threads. You'll notice they are completely NOT straight, etc... in the above picture. I'd like to see you try to sew it. It's stretchy, heavy, and you can never tell if you're on the fabric itself or just the threads while you're trying to sew.



Yes, they're....ummm...interesting. And she *loves* them.

And next time you see a clown riding a little bitty bicycle, give him a tip. It's WAY harder than it looks! Especially when you have a three year old following extremely closely behind you telling you you're doing it wrong.



Sedona learned to blow raspberries this week. Action shot:



The girls watching the video of Sierra's informal dance recital. Sierra is not actually IN the video, since she was too scared to get up there, but we now have to watch it 3-4 times a day so she can see her friends (she's out of school for Christmas break) and practice her dances. Sedona is also fascinated.


And yes, I did cut my hair shorter. Only one person noticed it the first time, so I cut more off a couple of days ago.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reading, reading, reading

After 6 months with no TV, I think it's safe to say my sewing and cooking skills have improved greatly (two hobbies I've started *really* enjoying in the last few years, but never seemed to have much time for). But mostly, we read a lot now. Besides my ever growing collection of books, we've managed to accumulate a pretty significant stack of magazine subscriptions--we get Mother Earth News, Outside, Smithsonian, Real Simple, and Bon Appetit. Mother Earth News is the only one we pay for. Bon Appetit was a gift (big thanks to my mother in law for taking note in my interest in it last time we were at her house) and the rest have been "bought" through online survey sites where you accumulate points by answering questionnaires. Now I just need to get my hands on Time, Newsweek or Money :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My girls!

Now that my mom's gotten her copy of this picture (part of her christmas), I can finally post it!

No, I'm not crazy enough to really let Sierra hold Sedona up on the playhouse like that, I'm holding on to the back of Sedona's overalls for dear life and leaning out of the way of the picture ;-)


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hello again

It's time for another fun filled episode of Name That Baby!!!!!

Who's who?





And I hacked my hair off:




I think I'm gonna cut it shorter, but first I need to buy some clips to hold it out of my face b/c I don't think it'll fit in a scrunchie after I cut it again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Re-Cap

It's been a whirlwind day!

Started off by taking Sedona up to the office to weigh her. She hasn't really gained anything (0.5 oz in the last week....she should be gaining 0.5 oz per DAY), but she hasn't lost either. She also had a REALLY good dirty diaper while I was there. It was yellow and everything. They've been neon green slime for so long, I was super excited to see that. (I'm such a mom) I also had to then improvise a diaper since I had left the diaper bag in the car. Since I already had a chucks pad (no naked babies directly on the scale, please!) out, I took it upon myself to use two bandaids that were right there and make good use of my cloth diapering skills. LOL When I got home and Josh saw my handy work, he insisted I take a picture:


When I got home it was time to start the cooking. This my first year to cook the whole holiday meal spread for a group of people and I did pretty okay. I kept thinking something was going wrong because it should take the whole day and I wasn't doing much of anything in the morning, but it really did only take about 2 hours to do the whole thing. I liked it and everyone ate without gagging, so I'm gonna count that as success LOL

Then came the presents. Sierra got a big kick out of handing everything out and then we all started in on opening. Sedona actually got two of hers open by herself. Sierra was doing real good until she got to uncle harry and aunt jen jen's present (a cash register to play with)---that was the end of opening presents. She just wanted to play with that and we had to keep reminding her she had other stuff to open. Every two minutes she was back at that register though! She enjoyed her other gifts, but the cash register was definitely the #1 gift this year. Before bed I told her it was time to put out her cookies and some milk for Santa and her response was, "maybe we need to try them and make sure they're still good because if they're bad now, that might make santa claus mad." Hmmm...smart kiddo. So I let her have one cookie (she proclaimed, "yeah! they're still good!") and we set out a plate for santa. She is all enthralled with the idea that grandma, papa and granny (her great grandmother) are staying at her house. She thinks it's really cool and kept asking where everyone was sleeping.

The evidence:


I thought this little hat Sedona got was the cutest thing :-)


Sierra showing off her cash register (I told her to hold it up, then said, "no, hold it so I can see your face". Some things get "lost in translation" when talking to a toddler!)


Another hot gift, the baking set. She kept saying, "I want to cook something now" As in, right now, this minute.


The cash register in action. Her new phrase is "okay, give me your money"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Santa Claus is Coming to Town


My gorgeous girls!!!

So, this is the first year Sierra understands Santa Claus and can anticipate presents, etc... I admit, I have shamelessly used the Santa Claus threat for about a month to keep her in line. I had high ideals of not doing that, but it was so easy and it worked so well, that I just couldn't help it. As part of the Santa Claus thing, I explained to Sierra that she has to leave cookies and milk out for Santa. So she made cookies all by herself. Well, she had help with the oven part, of course, and I read the recipe and told her which scoops to use to measure and I did the vanilla and the salt, but the rest of it, she did! She even learned to crack eggs :-) When she was done, she called grandma to tell her "I made cookies for Santa Claus and you can have some, but you can't eat them all because they're for Santa Claus"








Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wow

This is wrong on so many levels. And yet....intriguing



Twitch, the roadkill teddy bear. Product of Road Kill Toys (their website's not up yet). Even comes with a body bag to keep maggots out and a toe tag detailing his demise. hmmmmmmm

Sierra came home from school today with ornaments she made (beads on pipe cleaners). She proudly informed me "we can put these on my tree". Crap....I'm supposed to put up a Christmas tree aren't I? We actually have one (6.5 feet, but never taken out of the box), but no lights or anything. Maybe I can convince her the Christmas Tree is really the baby apple tree out front?

Tomorrow's the earliest possible time we'll hear results on Sedona's IgE test. I somehow doubt we'll really get them though.

And a "shout out" to my momma friends. As Josh says, we met up last night to kvetch. After way too much time with the totally clueless, but very sweet and accomodating college aged barrista, I was able to order an apple cider and spend an hour and a half complaining about my children with the two women who best understand my parenting style and understand I wouldn't complain so much if I didn't love them so much (my kids and my friends ;-) These ladies definitely keep me sane and help me grow as a woman, mother and wife.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Milk, Bamboo and Turkey...

Toddler nursing at its finest. I need to print this out to put up in my office. I also have a picture I took of a giraffe nursing at the Houston Zoo.


My second batch of milk I donated to the Austin Milk Bank. This is roughly 200oz (somewhere around 6 liters!!!! I've now donated about 10 liters total). Now that I'm off dairy and soy, my milk just got a whole lot more valuable (some of the preemies that receive the milk need dairy free), but I'm taking a break until we figure out what's going on with Sedona.


Our new floors!!!!! We got an AWESOME deal on real bamboo floors right after we moved in (many thanks to my parents for picking it up and bringing it to us), but we haven't had the money to buy the glue or the time to put it in. With a four day weekend ahead of us, we decided turkey day was a good time to lay floor. It's going to look SO nice, especially when we get around to doing the living room (christmas?).
The board on the right is put in to be sure the floor is square (since walls often aren't), after the rest of the floor sits long enough for the glue to cure, you go back and fill in that section. Yes, we left the baseboard there. In the interest of financial and time savings, we decided we would just add quarter round to the base board instead of taking out what's there. So there's a gap all the way around the room at the moment. The blue tape is just to help hold all the joints together in the first few hours.





And our slightly scaled down turkey dinner. You'll notice the exquisite centerpiece, courtesy of Sierra. She says there are "lots of sparklies" (gold glitter at the end of the feathers).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ctrl Alt Delete

I think I have successfully "rebooted" my taste buds. You should give it a try sometime. When you avoid all refined sugar for a week (honey still allowed), vegetables start to taste sweet. Maybe the two months I've been off corn syrup have made a difference too. No joke though, I'm starting to dislike cooked carrots in my dinner because they're *too sweet*. It's very very bizzarre. I still want frosting though, any kind of frosting. I suspect when I get it, I'll take one lick and go, "blech! too much sugar!"

Today has been extreme "spring" cleaning day. The carpet has been ripped out (we've had floor to put in since we moved, but haven't had time) and since Josh's mom thinks Sedona's issues are due to mold, I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to clean. Oh, did I say clean? I meant annihilate every living thing. So far the hallway, guest bedroom and Sierra's room have been completely emptied and every surface has been wiped down with bleach---walls, tops of doors, baseboards, floors, every nook and cranie of the windows, ceiling fan, outlet covers and light switches, shelves, everything. Yes, I know mold can live in the walls, but we've done so much rennovation around here, I do not believe there is mold somewhere here that I don't know about (i.e. the bathrooms still have some, but there are not-distant plans to gut those down to the studs and remodel). Josh had the audacity to walk into Sierra's room when I finished and say (with great disdain), "it smells like a hospital in here".

We go to the pediatrician at 9:30 tomorrow to see what he has to say about Sedona's issues. Should be interesting, wish us luck.

Feel free to email me any thanksgiving recipes that are wheat, dairy, egg, corn, sugar, fish, soy, peanuts, citrus, oats and food additive free.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. A friend of mine commented a little while back, "The Omnivore's Dilemma rocked our world". I think that's probably the best summary I can give. If you are at all interested in a self-sufficient life style and sustainable living, this book is a must read. It's in three sections--the first is "the industrial" and follows the politics and business of corn growing in America (try reading it at precisely the time in life that you've had to remove corn from your diet due to your baby's sensitivity to it and it'll make ya really mad). The second section is "the pastoral" and lets you follow along the typical running of a truly sustainable and harmonious farm. The third section is "the personal" which follows the author through personally creating a meal from meat he hunted, and fruits/vegetables/mushrooms he gathered. The book is very well written and follows people on their own farms instead of just dealing with the theory. It's quite interesting how he attempts to follow corn grown in a certain field through to a burger at a fast food restaurant (unsuccessfully, of course, since industrial giants won't let you see them make high fructose corn syrup or observe the kill floor of a slaughter house). And it's inspiring to follow the natural order on another farmer's more sustainable operation (where the animals live like they're supposed to and the food is sold locally).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How about....

Just fair warning...whatever habits you have will be amplified and pointed out to you when your toddler reaches that verbal/logic/debating age. So, my habit of "how about we....(go to chick fil a, vaccum and then play, just read a book right now)" has turned against me and everything we ask Sierra to do is rapidly shot down with "how about we......." She also calls us "guys" as in "hey guys, come here!" or "how about we just go swing now guys?"

And the funny Sierra conversation of the day (yes, we play with her, but she's not yet great at playing by herself for more than 5 minutes, so by the end of the day we're pretty much done)
Sierra: Momma, will you come play with me?
Me (nursing sedona): not right now, in a little bit
Sierra: Daddy, will you come play with me?
Josh: not right now Sierra
S: somebody needs to play with me!
Me: why don't you call grandma and tell her how mistreated you are?
S: And then grandma come over and she have lots and lots of treats in her purse! grandma have two, three, four, FIVE treats!!!! (all said with HUGE theatrical expression)

And conversations you don't want to hear in your house:
Josh (while changing an electrical outlet in the living room): uh...momma, come here please
Me: yes?
Josh: what would lay hard eggs in an electrical outlet
Me: snakes
Josh: hmmm
Me (after a second of thought): oh...ewwww we don't have snakes, do we???
Josh: welll........

That's when I looked and saw the crushed shells of about 6 or 7 eggs. The one unhatched egg went straight outside where I crushed it open. Yup, snake. Thankfully VERY old egg, but how exactly do I make sure the snakes are gone?!?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SierraDragon, the Elmo Slayer

Another Halloween has come and gone. Sierra initially chose to be tigger, but had a pretty decent panic attack trying on the costume at the store (she has issues with putting things over her head), so she settled on a "dragon" costume (I think it's really supposed to be a dinosaur, but hey, whatever!). She then proceeded to bug me every single morning and afternoon (she thinks when she wakes up from a nap, it's a new day) about whether it was halloween yet. She was VERY happy when I told her this morning that, yes, she COULD wear her costume to school. She put it on, crawled on to the bed and growled at Sedona, who burst into tears and looked like she might actually have a heart attack from fright. Took Sierra a little bit to get over her shyness, but after she did, she started saying "can we trick or treat more?!?" after every single house. Here's the evidence:




Getting ready this morning (you're just gonna have to ignore the large pile of laundry, we both work, it was 7am and the kid's happy, which is the important thing ;-)



About to go trick or treating



Showing off her best dragon roar for the camera



Trick or treating on sorority row. You'll notice she has the same trick or treat basket as last year. It was cute then (she was dressed as elmo), but this year we were such excellent parents that we forgot she needed something to put candy in, so we decided we could claim that she was a particularly ferocious dragon and had slayed elmo.



one of the sororities went all out and had (among other activities) a cookie decorating station

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quote of the day

This is from The Omnivore's Dilemma, but I think it extrapolates quite well to childbirth and breastfeeding issues as well:
The problem is that once science has reduced a complex phenomenon to a couple of variables, however important they may be, the natural tendency is to overlook everything else, to assume that what you can measure is all there is, or at least all that really matters. When we mistake what we can know for all there is to know, a healthy appreciation of one's ignorance in the face of a mystery like soil fertility [or bringing forth a new life, or nourishing a new life] gives way to the hubris that we can treat nature as a machine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm melting!!!

Okay, I know, weird title, but anyways. This picture just has to make your heart melt. This was Sedona's very first "giggle fit" I'm not sure what was so funny, but she really got going. Isn't it just the cutest picture ever??? Well, except for Sierra's smiley baby pictures, but we know the girls are really twins, so they can both be the cutest ever ;-)



And here's Sierra and her cousin Aiden going for a ride. They have the same birthday, Aiden is 2 years older.



And in super good news, I got my packet from the examining board today. Not only did I pass the exam, I got a 90%!!!!! They won't release the statistics for this exam for quite a while, but I found the stats from 2003 (can't find last years for some reason), and very few people (like 30 out of 2100) get a 90 or above.

Friday, October 19, 2007

City Homesteading

I've decided there's no sense in waiting for "someday" to be homesteaders. Remember those books, Better Off and The Omnivore's Dilemma? They got us thinking about being as self sufficient as possible when it comes to food. Since we got a late start for a fall garden, we're limited in what we can put in, but we figured we'd put our past record of successfully growing strawberries to work for us. The result was this giant raised garden bed:

It's in an octagon shape. The outside edges are 12 feet long. The outside edges of the inner octagon are 6 feet long (the inner rings are 9 feet/side and 3 feet/side, respectively). This genius idea (it wasn't ours) allows us to set a sprinkler in the middle of the whole thing and water without standing there the whole time or keeping up many many feet of drip line. This whole bed adds up to 435 square feet of space and is currently planted with 350 strawberry plants.

These are our smaller beds:

They're 6 feet on the outside edges and there are two of them for a grand total of almost 700 square feet of growing space. Not counting the 10 fruit trees that went in this week and will hopefully be producing well in a few years.

And in other news, Sierra *really* enjoys yogurt.

Whoop!

The IBLCE posted exam results this morning (just pass/fail, the official notification, including scores, get mailed today) and I passed the exam! That means I am now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The pathway I followed to take the exam required me to:

Have a bachelor's degree; take background courses in sociology, psychology, human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, child development and medical terminology; spend over 2000 hours counseling families about breastfeeding issues (over 1250 of which had to be one on one sessions); and accumulate over 150 hours of continuing education specific to lactation

Once I could document all that, I was approved by the examining board to sit the exam. Unfortunately the exam is only offered once a year and this year I happened to have a baby 10 days before the exam! We all traveled to Houston, where they set up a separate room for my family to stay in and a proctor came with me every time I had to nurse to be sure I wasn't looking at notes or talking about anything breastfeeding related. While the test didn't seem terribly scary to me, I have been a tad concerned that perhaps mommy brain made me answer the questions in the wrong place on the answer sheet or something else that would've made me fail.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Brain's Tired

A short over-view of our trash set up: We have a white trashcan for trash, and three green trashcans for recycling. The plastic and metal bin have white trashbags in them. Now, most guests we have over don't get the recycling set up and that's fine, we don't sweat it. But since Sierra lives here, we're trying to get through to her that all the bins are different (mainly so I can quit digging used kleenex out of the plastics recycling bin). So tonight she goes to throw away something and she's headed for the recycling again. This conversation follows:
Sierra: This one?
Josh: No, the trashcan
S (nodding her head): yes, this one
J: No, the white one
S: [Just looks at the green recycling bin with the white trashbag with a puzzled look on her face]
Kim: The one with the lid on it
S (looking at the trash can): oh, this one?
J: Yes, that one
S: Oh, okay (proceeds to throw away her trash)
S (while walking back to us): That made my brain tired

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yikes!

I appreciate a company with a fast response time. I'm impressed by an owner that can convince his employees to work in an efficient manner. But really, I would have preferred I had not been told 400 strawberry plants and various fruit trees would be delivered next week if they were really just going to show up on my door step at 8pm tonight :-p This causes a tad bit of a problem....we don't have anywhere to plant the strawberries yet!! The plan for saturday was to prepare that space. The strawberries shouldn't really wait to get planted though, they need to go in the ground ASAP, so instead of a leisurely family saturday working outside, the strawberry plants are in the fridge and Josh will be staying home from work tomorrow to get us well on the road to getting them taken care of.

The only other news around here is Sierra's continued insistence that she is losing her teeth (because her Kindergarten-aged friend at school is starting to lose hers), and lots and lots of talking about the scraped knee she sustained at school on Friday. Unfortunately, she apparently doesn't remember *how* it happened. All I can get out of her is an (oft repeated) account of lots and lots of bleeding, getting a bandaid and then, "it not hurt anymore!!" It's really a teeny scrape and I suspect she was running on the porch again (which I've personally witnessed her teacher warn her about multiple times, but she still does it every single day when I get there). Oh, and we got locked out of one of the rooms in our house. When you buy an old house with various locks that you have no keys to, you should go ahead and change those. We spent two days trying to "break in" before we gave up and took a hammer to the door knob.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cash crops, books and more skillz

Sedona was practicing her skills again last night. It really leaves me torn between "please just go to sleep!" and "how cute are you?!?" She continues to lay on the chunk. Actually, her growth has slowed down a lot and I think her body has finally realized we are not in a famine and she does not need to despeartely cling to every calorie that comes her way. She's somewhere around 14 pounds now. She's still quite short though, so she looks super chubby. I think her fingers may just disappear into the fat folds of her hands one day. I've also discovered she has a roll of fat behind her knee. No joke, there's a thigh, and a calf, and this extra roll in between. When I bathe her I have to dig out not only the usual baby toe jam, finger jam and neck jam, but also elbow and knee jam.

Been reading some interesting books lately. Usually I just add them to my book list, but these have been quite applicable to our lives. Josh has read them too and we've been brainstorming ideas. The first one is Better Off by Eric Brende. Good account of a guy and his wife who go to live with what he calls a minimite (not amish or mennonite, but a lot of the same lifestyle choices) community. They even ended up with a homebirth while they were there. It's given us some ideas on things we can do now to live more simply. The other book (we're both in the middle of it) is The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It's been really good so far. It's a little depressing because we have discovered Sedona has a sensitivity to corn, so I've been avoiding as much corn and corn syrup as I can (we're really hoping she outgrows this!) and we've learned there's corn in just about everything. Reading this book has pointed out a lot of things we didn't know though...for instance, the wax coating they put on apples, etc... at the store is corn based. Also, I knew about government subsidies for growing corn, but I didn't realize that there was a different, better program to help out the farmers prior to that. Lots of good information that is just reaffirming our goal of growing as much of our own food as possible and moving more towards a whole foods diet.

And speaking of food...we have our fall garden planted. When we moved here, we put in more gardening space than we had at the old house, plus we have room for lots more. We've planted broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprout transplants (18 of each), 9 cabbage plants, and started seed of LOTS of carrots (4 different types) a mix of salad greens, beets, several types of onion, sugar snap peas and snow peas. We've also put in fruit trees recently. It will take a few years to get much off of them, but it's been something we've wanted to do for a long time and been studying up on. We ended up with a methley plum, bruce plum, mollie delicious apple, fuji apple, granny smith apple, two types of peach, ayers pear, orient pear and brown turkey fig. And we've put in a large order for strawberry plants that should arrive next week. Chandler and Sequoia strawberries--200 plants of each. We've been successful with strawberries in the past and apparently a lot of people have problems with them, so they don't show up in great quantities in the farmer's markets. A good yield would be about 3/4 pound per plant (300 pounds total), which we're planning to sell at the farmer's market in the spring.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Birthday Pictures

Sedona in the process of wrapping pa-paw around her little finger. I think I heard something about "hey, I heard you carry candy in your shirt pocket..."

Sierra blowing out the candle on her cake

Holly and Sierra enjoying the new playset

Grandma cuddles

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mad Skillz

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I cannot stress enough how quickly the second baby grows. It goes WAY too fast when you can't concentrate on them all day. Today was (I'm pretty sure) my first time to really spend the whole day alone with Sedona. She was born during Sierra's break from school and I went back to work the same day Sierra started school. I wasted all that baby time with Sierra frustrated and wanting her to grow up (granted, she was a MUCH happier baby once she was mobile), and now I really just want to be in a quiet house alone with Sedona and never get the chance. So....we spent a good part of the day cuddling and playing. This is how big she's getting:




She still refuses to smile for the camera. She'll be really hamming it up and as soon as I get the camera out, she scrunches up her eyebrows and looks at me like, "what is that thing?? I just wanna talk to my momma". And at 2am last night (okay, I don't really know what time it was b/c it's sacrilege in this house to look at the clock in the middle of the night--just makes you more tired) she decided to practice her new skillz. She would push herself up on her hands, flash the biggest grin in the world as if to say, "how cool am I?!?" and then FLING her head to the side so she'd roll over. Then she'd kick and fuss b/c she can't roll back to front yet. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I'm glad she's found a good use for her big noggin, but really...must we practice while the rest of the house is trying sleep? ;-)

QA

Hello, my name is Kimberly and I'm a quiltaholic.

Okay, seriously. Never made a quilt in my life, but a friend gave me a bunch of fabric and a lot of it was scraps, so I figured, hey, maybe I'll make my grandmother a scrap quilt for Christmas. A lot of the scraps were already cut into squares, so I planned to just sew the squares together and there ya go. But I've never quilted, so first I did some internet research. I came across directions for making piece-work easier and free patterns and all that stuff, so I decided to try one of the patterns that was specifically intended for scraps. This was the result:


I realize they're not perfect, but pretty good for my very first block, I thought. I decided to go looking for another pattern, but ended up just playing with the fabric and came up with this on my own:

Again, I know it's not perfect or super original, but pretty good for my first no-pattern block! Then I was playing around with the fabric again and came up with this:


Yes, it's gonna be "scrappy quilt" to the extreme, but then that's kinda the point---use up the scraps and learn technique at the same time. I'm pretty sure my grandmother will get a kick out of it even if it's the ugliest quilt known to man LOL

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