Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MIA and other updates

So I've been silent this past week on mine and other blogs because of a change in internet providers that left us without an internet connection since last Monday. We had hoped to make the change a little more seamlessly, but got stuck when the old provider cut us off unexpectedly.

Anyway, it really opened my eyes to how dependent I've become on the web. It was only about eight days that we didn't have access, yet it feels like it's been weeks! I really missed emailing and blogging and reading other blogs, so without the ability to connect, I felt much more alone and for lack of a better word, disconnected, throughout each day at home. I learned, however, that I can get much more work done without the distraction of the internet. I have to admit, I usually tell myself that I'm going to be productive while Kaylin is napping, but almost always end up spending the entire time she naps browsing on the web. (I think there's an obvious connection there to my latest blog about chores and use of time.) So I really have to be careful about that and use my time more wisely.

On that note, I want to comment here to all of you who responded to my blog with tips and ideas on the balance of house and family. I think my tone sounded a bit more desperate than I intended (I think I live in the moment sometimes). It's not that I don't know how to spend time with Kaylin, or that I don't do it that often, it's that I don't do well with balancing chores and household projects with quality time with her, and then I feel guilty about it, like I'm a bad mother, for example. It's really one or the other, and I think it was because (like some of you said) I would let the work pile up and get overwhelmed by it, instead of tackling it on a day-to-day basis. So while I spend most days playing with her (meanwhile the house gets quite messy) on the weekends or when it just gets to me, I would spend most of the day cleaning and not much time with Kaylin (or Tim if it was on the weekend). So, I'm really grateful for the tips, and can't believe I never thought of making a "chore chart" type of system where I do only one chore a day, every day, leaving the rest of the day and the weekends open. So thanks. Also, this week helped me realize how much better I could be using my time, during naps and at night. I actually got quite a bit done that I'd been needing to for awhile (so much so that I actually found myself not knowing what to do during a few of Kaylin's naps!). Of course, the work always piles up again, but I know that I just have to balance my time better.

Kate, I may have to check out that book you mentioned. And I'd be interested in trying your "blanket time" idea, but I don't know if I'd have the patience or resolve to follow through with it--Kaylin is constantly on the move, always exploring. It'd be hard like you said, but great to have! We'll see.

And since there is no way I have to time to comment on all the blogs I read that I missed this last week, I'll just say, I really enjoyed catching up and seeing new pictures and hearing how everyone is doing. And Kristen, how funny that your sister did Diaper Daredevils too! She wasn't in my class though. Oh, and I don't think that was me you saw walking down the street, I think I was at home at the time. But how funny that you thought it was me! Glad you got to come up and see your sister and her new baby, but sorry to hear what happened with your back! How awful! But it sounds like you're doing better. Brianna, sorry to hear about Kaitlyn, hope things turn out okay and that she gets better soon!

Oh and just a little update from long ago with Kaylin regarding her allergies: we finally got her blood tested and it turns out that she is allergic to peanuts (a level 3 out of 4) (as well as dairy and egg)! And from doing a little research, it turns out that unlike dairy, you don't grow out of a peanut allergy. It's one of the most deadly food allergies, so it's a little daunting thinking about her future with this allergy, especially when she's older and Tim and I aren't around to constantly control what she's eating! I just have to hope in God and trust in Him that he's in control of the situation. But it's scary for me nonetheless! And how I love peanut butter, and snickers, and peanut butter cups...but it's not about me anymore, and we don't want a potential life threatening food in the house. She's going to get more testing done soon, so lets hope the tests are wrong (they're usually not though). Man, the challenges of being a parent!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cleaning, projects, and kids...

Something that has eluded me for awhile now is how to run a "graceful" household. The balance between having a clean home, time for Kaylin and Tim (and not just any time, but quality time), getting projects completed (crafting or household), making meals, time spent in the word and devotions, and time for myself, exercising, etc., has just seemed to overwelm me recently. I always feel like there's something to do, and important stuff that I just can't seem to devote my time to. Does anyone else ever feel like this? Maybe I'm just not using my time well, but there just never seems enough time during the day for everything. I know that part of my problem is just having the wrong focus (a little too much on myself), but this too is such a hard thing to change.

I think it's starting to cummulate into feeling like I could be a better mother. I don't know how other mothers are, but I feel like most of the day I go from room to room, doing various chores and projects while Kaylin follows me around or entertains herself. I know it's not as bad as I probably feel it is, but sometimes it seems that way. For example, I think in all total, I probably only spent 15 minutes today on the floor with Kaylin playing and giving her undivided attention. She gets my attention during diaper changes and meals too, but that's not really quality time. So I feel that it's either have a clean, organized home, or a happy baby. I know there's a balance there, but what is it? I don't think I've dusted in months, papers that I need to organize are piled on the desk, I've only scrubbed the bathtub once since we've lived here, yet I always feel like I'm constantly cleaning and tidying up. I think part of the problem is that I hate clutter and I think I'm slightly obsessive compulsive because I always have to have things stacked up completely right (balanced), things in a straight line, no crumbs on the floor (it's hard to explain). So if I see something amiss I usually stop whatever I'm doing and try to fix it or clean it (and yet I always feel the house could be cleaner). I'm trying to ignore the impulses, but living in a small space only seems to magnify it. Spending time with Tim and Kaylin is so much more important (and I'm constantly reminded of Martha and Mary in the Bible) but I just can't seem to find that balance. Maybe I should get up earlier and swear off the computer and the tv. (Right now it's 12:30 and I should really be in bed!) I wish I could hire cleaners to at least take some of the load off, but that's not a possibilty.

So how do you guys balance your households? Do you tend to put off chores and projects in turn for time with your children, or are you like me and struggle with putting your children and husbands first? It's definitely hard sometimes to be a wife and mother! I pray that God gives me more grace to do both well.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Diaper Daredevil!

Here are a few pictures of Kaylin from her Diaper Daredevil's class. It's a gymnastics class for one to two-year-olds where the kids just run around and jump and climb on stuff. Kaylin's favorite thing is to run around on the runway-like trampoline because she really gets going and it's kind of bouncy, plus it doesn't hurt when she falls (and she always does). (Not sure of the technical term of the equipment.) Today was her last day in the class so I wanted to get some pictures of her.

She has fun, but being one of the youngest in the class, she can't do too much besides run around. She doesn't climb much (she usually doesn't attempt it by herself--she always wants my help), so getting around is a bit hard for her, but maybe it also helps her learn. She's a bit timid, so that makes what she can do a bit limited as well. But it's all about growth and I know she'll get it soon.

She really enjoys watching the other kids (especially the older ones), and would stand and stare all day if she could. It's fun watching her emerging personality and discovering that she really is her own individual.


Anyone have any fun traditions that you like to do with your family? I have been thinking recently that I would love to create some special traditions with Kaylin and Tim, but Tim feels that you can't "create" traditions, they should just come about naturally. I can't really remember doing any traditions with my family, and I wish we had some. The only thing we did was family movie night every so often, but I wouldn't really count that. I would love to even create some to do with just Kaylin, something little and special that's just for the two of us to share. I'd love to hear what you guys grew up doing with your families, or what you do now that is special!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Now questions on dinner...

So I probably should have this figured out already, but I wanted to get some feedback about meal preparation. As I've said earlier, Tim makes most of our dinners because 1) he's a really good cook, and 2)I'm a really lousy cook and I just don't like cooking much. But it's not fair that he has to work hard all day, then come home and make dinner, then give Kaylin her bath and get her ready for bed, with no break until like 8pm. So, I know I need to step up and start doing my wifely duties (okay, just kidding, but you know what I mean). But really, I want Tim to be able to rest a bit and have dinner made when he gets home so he can have more playtime with Kaylin and we can have more time together to just be together.

I don't have a lot of experience planning and cooking meals (It didn't help that growing up wasn't much different--my mom didn't cook much, we usually had the same meals over and over--or frozen food, so I didn't learn much in the cooking department). One of my frustrations is that I never plan ahead, and usually start thinking about it only about an hour before Tim gets home. Because I don't plan ahead, we usually don't have much on hand and because I don't have a lot of experience anyway, I scramble around trying to come up with something. I've tried before to plan out meals a week at a time, then go to the store and shop for it all, but it always ends up being so expensive and I never know for sure what we're going to do for the week and a lot of the food ends up going bad and is wasted. Kaylin's allergies is an added complication and most of the time we have to prepare two meals, which is tough too.

It seems like it shouldn't be as complicated or stressful as I feel like it sometimes can be, women (and men) cook everyday, and seem to have plenty of variety in their meals.

So what do you guys do? Do you plan out meals a week at a time, or a few days, then go shopping? Or is it a day-to-day thing? (Like me?) What do you find helpful--using cookbooks, the internet, etc. What does your planning look like and could you give any tips? And how do you keep your children (if you have any) occupied so that you can cook? (I know, probably another blog topic altogether.) When I'm attempting to cook, Kaylin's either eating her meal (by herself, which I don't like) or wandering around "exploring" as she likes to do so much.

Sorry for the long post, but I'd love to hear how everyone else handles this part of their lives. It's too bad that something that seems so unimportant, (but I know it isn't) can be stressful and cause for dissatisfaction. Hope this all makes sense!

Questions on fabric

For all you crafty types and quilters out there, I need your help. I am about to embark on a craft project and need a lot of small pieces of different types of fabric. I've never been into quilting so I don't have too much experience buying fabric and was wondering if I can buy scraps of fabric or if most stores only sell by the yard? I don't want or need that much fabric for this project; I guess I could just visit some stores, but I thought I'd get some tips here first. Thanks for your help.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Just a little update on Kaylin's teeth: they're still not here! I can see one that has already poked through the gum a tiny bit (but it really hasn't come up much more than when I first saw it), and the second is still under the gums. I first noticed the teeth over a week ago, and was hoping that they would have come all the way up already. I think I need to be a bit more patient! Guess they might take as long to come all the way up and out of the gums as they did to actually first appear under them!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

For those of you who didn't know, Kaylin is almost 14 months and completely toothless! I'm excited to say, however, that today I noticed two little "buds" under her bottom gums. She's finally getting her first teeth! We are so excited that she will be able to chew better so that we don't always worry that she's going to choke. And we don't have to worry that there are any developmental issues, which means no xrays! I have no experience with this so I don't know how long it will take before the teeth come all the way up. I hope soon. And I guess this explains the sleep issues at night, the extra fussiness during the day, and all the extra nursing--but regardless I'm just thankful that her teeth are finally making their appearance! (Pictures to follow...when those teeth come all the way up.)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Happy 4th of July! (Belated)

I'm all ready for the fourth!
I love playing with my grandma's necklaces! (And they look so good on me too!)
My Aunt Dani croched this very cute Fourth of July top for me!
Okay maybe I didn't like that very much!

More pictures of Kaylin

Crawling through a tunnel at Fairytale Town in Sac.
She likes putting on our sunglasses. We looked through the rearview mirror and this is what we saw--she had put on my old sunglasses and had fallen asleep with them on.
My sister Karen is in town for the summer, and here we're on the train at Nut Tree in Vacaville.
It's hard to get Kaylin to smile in pictures now-a-days, but all I had to say here was, "Kaylin, itsy bitsy spider..."
Kaylin absolutely loves water!
Relaxing after dinner.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Any recommendations for books?

I want to find a good book on raising children in a Christian home, and I've seen a few on some other blogs (Kate, Brianna). How do you like the books you're reading and would you recommend them? Maybe you're not finished with them yet, or have some others you could recommend too. I'd appreciate any leads. As a side note, my computer is acting weird when I try to leave a comment on some of your blogs (maybe all of them?). It gets stuck and freezes so I can't leave any comments. So I think for the time being I may have to leave comments on my blog.

Kate--I wanted to ask you if you're teaching Charlotte baby signs? The original Baby Signs program was started at UC Davis, so everyone is very big into it here. There's classes and playgroups (the classes are a bit too expensive, so we haven't attended any, and you can't attend the playgroups unless you go to the classes). We've just been doing a few signs here and there with Kaylin (I ordered a book--starter kit--from Amazon), and she seems to be picking them up now really well. (She didn't seem to start doing any until about eleven months.) So congrats that Charlotte is doing them at so young an age! Anyway, just wanted to comment about that, and thanks for sharing the video--very cute!