Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 37

Developments This Week
  • Wonder Week 36 is here in full force.  It's not even crying, it's screaming
  • Some of his 12 month clothes are no longer fitting.  Sad Face.
  • Clapping! and lots of it!  It's adorable. 
I've started playing some of my mom's sermons for Lloyd.  I was given a CD with all her sermons at her first church after her funeral.  Hearing her voice makes me feel really good.  Like she's still connected to me.  She had such a kind voice and kind words, such wisdom.  Maybe I'll post them online one day.  She talks about us a lot in her sermons.  That makes me feel really good.  I've been writing about her a lot lately.  Is it hard to read about her if you knew her too?  

I had a wonderfully long conversation with an old friend on Friday and I know when my Mom died it hit her and my Austin friends pretty closely too because they knew her.  They're the last friends I had who did know her, the only who have memories of her well.  I don't feel normal talking about her comfortably with most people because they only knew her as a cancer patient, or my mom as a distant person who was a priest.  But within these sermons she's the mentor, the open ears, and the strong woman that so many people were touched by.  Maybe one day Lloyd will sit down and listen to this CD to get to know his grandmother.  I hope he is the kind of man who will.  

In the meantime I want to make him one of these Books of Names and Faces (from Pinhole Press) for his birthday in a few short months (ack!).  I've already started making an annual photo family album (2009 is done) based on the idea from here and the best photo organization tip I ever read (but can't remember where I read it at) was to title your photos by date starting year, month, date and then any identifying information so they'll sort correctly in any way you upload them (aka 2012 02 29 Week 37). It's nice to see all these old photos.  And to do something with all the photos that we never print. And the photo books are much more condensed versions of the old school photo albums of yore.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Project 52 | Week 8 | Sensory

They don't even make this perfume any more.  I never use it.  I look at it every day.  I smell it on days like today when I want to think about her and feel her close to me.  It's my mom's perfume.  Not the one my sister remembers (that is Liz Claborne), but the one she wore when I was little.  I don't know when or why she switched but every time I smell this Perry Ellis it reminds me of her.  Caitlin smelled it when we were cleaning out her beauty drawers after she died and it didn't have any memories of it.  So I have it, sitting on my vanity in the bathroom.  

It makes me wonder what Lloyd will think of when he thinks of me: a smell, a taste of his favorite meal, the sound of my laughter, who knows. So much of my mom is wrapped up in smells of her dishes in the house and the taste of her dish when I get it right.  It makes me feel like home.  I talked with an old friend today whose mother has early stage Alzheimer's.  Like me, so many memories of her mother when she was healthy are wrapped up in making dinners together, baking, spending time in the kitchen. When you lose the ability to ask your mom what makes her dish unique, it's hard.  Somehow it makes everything more acute in your memory.  

I wonder what Lloyd's senses will store for him for when he is older.  What smells will always remind him of home. What dishes and tastes will make him feel like he's itty bitty, when his feet still dangled at the table.  To me, the smell of that perfume, of french bread baking, and the taste of whole wheat yeast rolls  with grape jelly will always remind me of my mom and my dangling toes.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feeling My Faith

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday.  I'm not a person who really vocalizes my faith or beliefs a whole lot.  So for those of my friends who don't believe or don't feel like reading a very God filled post, now's the time to skip over and I won't feel hurt.

I grew up in a household where if you wanted to discuss God, Church, Faith we could, but other than going to church every sunday, we weren't compelled or obligated to speak about our faith or beliefs.  Even long after my mother went to seminary and became a priest, my sister and I were allowed our open-ended beliefs.  But sometimes I really feel strongly that there is someone watching me, believing in me, offering me guidance.  Not always and usually not when I feel like I "need" it.  But often enough for me to be secure in believing there is a God; that my faith is warranted in my own way.  

I've struggled as much as anyone I think does.  After my father died I truly questioned faith and God for years.  I might have been in college at Tulane before I felt secure in believing again.  I remember vividly, with tears streaking my face, asking my Mom how she could believe in a God who would take her husband away. I will never forget her response: because I have to believe I will see him again some day.  

Like others I know who have lost babies, I really do believe I will be able to hold them once the end has come.  I believe I will be able to see their faces once I arrive.  I believe my mother and father will be waiting for me with tears in their eyes, to comfort me in the safety of their arms once again.  My belief in heaven is as solid as my life on earth, maybe because I've felt its presence on a few occasions that a lot of people might think are hocus pocus or delusional.  But I know what I felt and I'm an intelligent person.  

Coach is a more church-going person than I am has probably missed mass less than 5 times the entire duration of our relationship.  I think he finds comfort in the routine.  I find comfort in the solitude mass provides, but as I've experienced more loss in my life I find myself praying more throughout the day.  I feel closer to God then (in addition to my growing irritations with the church's judgmental attitude and bigotry, but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, so back to Ash Wednesday.

We went to mass last night (hence the late Mommy Diary) and after the homily we walk up to get the sign of the cross in ashes on our foreheads.  Coach was holding Lloyd behind me.  He asked me when we entered church whether they'd do the ashes on Lloyd and I believed they would.  So he walks up and they give Lloyd his ashes first, then Coach.  Here's the hocus pocus for you: I felt a huge blessing, relief, and surge of peace hit me the second Lloyd received his ashes.  I swear, even for a second, he was a little brighter.  I felt my mom there.  Through those ashes, she was offering her blessing to my son.  I felt her more last night than I have in months.  The day he was born I felt her with me as I strained to get him out.  But nothing like this.  I've needed her guidance today and I needed her faith.  And there she was, in the way she could be.  Protecting him from above.  

Maybe that's too much for whomever reads this.  But I still feel overwhelmed with this tingle in my bones just thinking about the feeling I had when it happened and how he looked as he received his ashes.  My sweet angel on earth being blessed by my family's angels in the sky.  It makes me feel good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 36

as if he's saying "what what?"
Developments This Week:
  • Senior Crankypants is in the house!! Wonder Week is here!
Man, the screaming and crying is intense.  He just wants to be held and cuddle.  He's figured out he gets to cuddle just as much by being a sweetie as by screaming.  What a turd.  He's such a sweet and affectionate little guy but this is such a big effect and change.  But I hope that this means I'm raising a man who is not afraid to hug, kiss, cuddle, snuggle, and express whatever he is feeling.  But it's still exhausting at the end of the day during these periods of new development.

I've really tried to consciously make choices in how I speak to him every day, how I act towards him, how we "reward" him when he does something great.  I feel that I speak to him in the same manner I would speak to a daughter, but they say mothers of boys have a tendency to not be as vocal and talkative to them.  I don't know how much more I can talk to him! And this little boy loves to hug and kiss and cuddle.  

All I can think is that I want him to be a husband that can communicate with his partner or spouse in a way that supports their relationship.  That they are never in any doubt how he cares for them.  Although if he doesn't pinch his spouses butt like his Daddy pinches mine, I'd be okay with that. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Project 52 | Week 7 | Out-takes

Because those little squirmers don't like to hold still when there is so much to learn and explore. 

But sometimes the "screw-ups" are the best part. And lead to some truly great photos. But I continually have to remind myself that it's ok for me to mess up and not be perfect.  Some of life's best moments are the ones sullied by imperfections.

Project 52 is a weekly diary of life.  Sometimes one photo sometimes a few.  I learned of it and followed over to StyleBerry and have been reading both hers and Chelsea's (where I read hers for a long time). I wanted to do my own but didn't have the guts to not look like a total dork blog-stalker.  But I kinda decided to get over it.  I love that at the end of my Mommy Diary I will have all of Lloyd's first weeks chronicled.  I wanted to do something for me.  I need to maintain me too. So while I think I'm going to do my Project 52 on motherhood, I want to focus on how being a mom changes me or makes me a better person.  Not on something Lloyd did that makes me a mommy.  If that makes sense.  Maybe it'll force me to do some things that are good just for Mommy.  So here we go. I have the others I did but never posted and I guess I'll just back-post them eventually.  Don't judge me.  I swear I blog-stalk in a good way. :)

Inspired by Chelsea at Finding Joy which is where I learned about StyleBerry's Project 52

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mommy Diary: 8 Months

Developments this Month:
  • 3 Teeth
  • Our "big boy" carseat.
  • Crawling
Holy moly.  I have an 8 month old. Two-thirds of a year is gone!  He is getting so fun.  I'm so lucky to be his mommy.

We're short today because it's also a weekly entry. Plus, I mean that kid is cute!

Mommy Diary: Week 35

Developments This Week:

  • Crawling. Really quickly. Including after toys that roll across the floor.
  • Tooth #7 snuck in.
I just typed a whole entry and it went somewhere into the internets to never be found. SO ANNOYING!

Anywho, tooth #7 snuck in without any warning.  I take that back, he started waking up at 1am every night.  Which is bizarre!  He also was taking forever to fall asleep so it was only like 3 hours after he would go to bed.  Then Coach's Mom noticed the tooth on Sunday and come Monday morning it was there in all it's painful glory.  Poor guy! How did I miss that?  So a little tylenol is taking the edge off the ear pulling and crying.  

I also made homemade pizza on Monday for our un-valentines day dinner.  My mom has the best pizza dough recipe ever and we love to make it and load it with lots of toppings.  Which included mushrooms, zucchini, caramelized onions, butternut squash, and a little homemade pesto.  Even though fake "cheese" just doesn't melt or taste anything like real cheese it was still amazing as usual.  I think the squash made the "cheese" seem more creamy too.  Lloyd flipped out though. He just started picking/sucking all the toppings off the dough and seriously zoned out for 45 minutes eating.  Continually shoveling food in. We eventually just took the tray of mangled dough away and put him in the shower.  He usually is super talkative and holds his food out for you to "see", but not with pizza. Homeboy was concentrating.  It was hysterical.  So cute!  He loves his food and baby-led weaning wins again!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Reusable UN-Paper Towels

Look how pretty these towels are!  You wouldn't even know that they're currently our new Reusable UN-Paper Towels.  
They aren't really that difficult to make (flannel on one side, thin terry cloth on the other).  I made about 18 over the course of a few days worth of "play times" on the floor in the sewing room / study.  I also didn't really know how many to make and I think I'm good for now.  I find that I use about 1-2 a day in lieu of conventional paper towels.  We've gone from going through at least 1-2 rolls of paper towels a week to maybe 5 sheets a week off the roll we now keep below the sink.  Huge cost savings!  Plus, I really do try to be more earth friendly.  Like the cloth diapering we've done, it started as a financial decision but makes you feel like you're doing the earth a favor by making a "healthier"/greener choice.  

I got the great idea from Chelsea at Finding Joy, who I went to high school and sang in the choir with.  She's a really neat woman who has an adorable 2 year old boy and brand new twins (2 babies! at once! ack!).  She's a really great seamstress and I get a lot of creative ideas from her, but she's also a SAHM who is trying to be financially responsible for her family.  She is one of the people I ended up asking a lot of cloth diaper questions from.  She even wrote a great blog about her Cloth Diapering System.

I am still playing with our storage solutions for them.  I think I'm going to buy one of these over the cabinet or pull-out cans for under our sink.  Instead of using it for a trash can I'll make another PUL can liner (to prevent any mess from hitting the can, and if it gets gross I can wash it too) and put the dirties under there until I wash them.  I've also experimented with the wash cycle and our Rockin Green detergent, which has done a pretty good job of keeping them fresh and clean without harsh chemicals like bleach being needed (you're not very green if you're pouring cups of bleach down the drain to keep your "green" towels from getting nasty are you? haha).  But that stuff is meant for cleaning CD's so you know it can clean.  If they get too gross I'll dry them outside once it gets warm enough to do some au-natural sun-bleaching.  Yeahhhh buddy. :)
can you tell I tried some fancy camera action and played with my settings? Yay photo blogs!
Edit: I've had some questions about how I made them. I just decided on a good size for us, sewed them right sides together leaving a 2 inch (or so) gap, clipped corners, turned right side out, and did a 1/8-1/4" top stitch to close.  It was a little more work but they've held up wonderfully.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Guest Post on Rockin Green

Wowie!!! I'm a guest blogger on Rockin Green Soap's blog right now!  They posted a request for guest bloggers on their facebook page last week and after sending them our story they decided to publish it on their blog.  We use their detergent for cloth diapers (and now our regular laundry).  What is even cooler is that it is a small company started by a woman who needed soap for her kids sensitive skin, and she's a Texas Momma!  Double trouble!  

We even got a free sample of their new Pet House Rock and I'm really excited to wash our nasty dog beds in it and see how fresh and clean they get.  I swear you can wash those things daily and they will still be filthy in seconds.  That left over rawhide stuff just cakes those beds in weird ways.

It's nice to not have to buy 2 different detergents (one for diapers and one for laundry) because the price is reasonable and we've noticed less skin issues.  Both Coach and I have super dry skin and with all the weather changes sometimes even using the "unscented" detergent readily available we sometimes get the itchies.   So really, I'm excited because I feel like I'm supporting a U.S.A., local (ish), small company and they honestly make great products.  I'm a mini-non-celebrity.... or not. But it's definitely cool!

I also have a Going Green post coming up that I took some fancy photo's for on friday.  But Lloyd is crawling so I'm now adding "baby herder" to my SAHM job description. :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Project 52 | Week 6 | Conservation

Because sometimes using less is doing more.  

I really struggle with how to make our house run on a budget.  Coach does a good job of giving me a set amount of money to work with for groceries, but I constantly feel like I'm too close to my limit or spending too much.  I really hate that feeling.  So if I can cut a few corners here and there and be more green, I'm going to do it.  

These un-paper-towels are a big help.  We go through so much one-use stuff in our life that it's hard to imagine a life without some things.  I'm really hoping these will cut down on our disposable footprint.  I know they'll save us a ton of money.  So hopefully, eventually, I won't constantly go to the grocery store with a panic about how much I'll spend in order to get everything we need.  

Inspired by Chelsea at Finding Joy and StyleBerry's Project 52

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 34

Developments This Week:
  • More and more crawling.  He started chasing the small balls from one of his toys around the living room for about 5 minutes.  Then he got bored and was "stranded" in the middle of the living room.  
The last few weeks it's been semi boring around this house.  We're just watching Lloyd maneuver his little body around and it's pretty entertaining to us but probably not to others.  He is so chatty and talkative during the days too.  I am so sincere when I say I wish I knew what he was saying.

He has also started this very strange maneuver with his hands.  He holds his hand out either side-ways or palm up and pulls his fingers into his palm.  I think it means "help me stand" because that's usually when he does it.  Who knows, but he is honestly trying to communicate because he does it consistently throughout the day.

Coach has been sick now for a month. He went to the doctor a week ago and they ran 3 sets of bloodwork.  He has elevated liver enzymes so they ruled out Hepatitis (frantic 24 hours!), but they put him on a high dose antibiotic for 2 weeks then he will have blood taken in 2 more weeks.  So I guess they're trying to rule out a bacterial infection.  But this man has never been sick practically other than exhaustion. So it's been really difficult to do anything around here with a demanding baby and a lethargic husband.  We're all ready for him to feel better. I want to know what was making him run a 103 fever and elevate those enzymes. I mean seriously, weird right?

I also have a going green post coming up once I find the time to photograph my reusable un-paper towels.  I've made just over a dozen and I love them.  So much easier and better to clean with than real paper towels, and already saving us rolls of the disposable stuff (aka going green, but most importantly saving us $$$$$).  Can you hear the granola crunching over here? haha.

and because you can't have enough Lloyd:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 33

Well this week has been pretty quiet other than watching him try SOOOOO hard to crawl.  He just stretches one side of his body as far as he can, then pulls his other arm out, pushes and stretches the other side, repeat.  It's hilarious and we're cheering him on all day.  It feels like he is so close!  
for example, this is him crawling towards me when we were trying to get the above photo ready.  Notice the crazy outfit. :)
We put on all the new face-plates to our electrical plugs last night because he's already been interested in them. Crazy to think we're already child-proofing.  It feels like he was just born, just unable to even hold his head up.  This time is flying, and I know I say that every week, but it really seems like it. No one can prepare you.  

He loves to pull himself up and gets really close to figuring it out but gives up.  Part of it is he hasn't figured out how to plant his feet yet so he ends up doing the splits almost.  He is so curious.  Going to the grocery store or out and about is an adventure for him.  It's really adorable. And since we go out during the daytime, there are a lot of grandma's out and about who just love to comment on how cute he is and how gorgeous his eyes are. He is always sure to give a big toothy grin.  And boy have those teeth come in! It is still weird for Coach and I to look at him when he talks (which is all the time) or smiles (also, a lot of that going on) and see all 4 top teeth staring back at us.