Gingerly Made: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall Gardening

It's been awhile since I've updated regarding our garden. I could try to write about how well everything is growing, but pictures are better. So here's a few shots of our fall garden.

Our lettuce is so huge! We're giving it away because we can't eat it all and there's no way to preserve lettuce. At least, none that I've heard of.

 The broccoli is growing great but no heads developing yet. I know broccoli has a long time to maturity so I'm just trying to be patient with it. I'm really anxious for some backyard broccoli though.

Our 1.5 year old rosemary plant is getting big! Caitlin eats a little and says "It's medicine".

She's also eaten most of the carrots we've picked.

Our turnip and mustard greens are doing ok. I think we may have planted them too closely and so the leafy parts are kind of thin. But if you look, we are getting some good turnip roots forming.

And in the words of Backpack from Dora the Explorer, "Yum, yum, yum, yum. Delicioso." Yes, I'm a mom and a nerd.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cutting Yourself Some Slack

As a women, wives, and mothers, we often put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves to do certain things throughout the day. Maybe you don't realize that you do, but you do. You expect that you are going to run your errands, clean your house, cook dinner, and spend a certain amount of time with each member of your family. Right? I know I do.

In particular, I have noticed that the cleanliness of my house affects my mood. A clean home invokes calmness and allows me to relax. A messy house stresses me out - big time. So I feel a big need to clean daily. But if you're home is anything like mine, daily cleaning seems to do absolutely nothing. About the time I get the kitchen clean after breakfast, it's time to make lunch, then clean again, and then time to cook dinner, and clean it again. The same goes for picking up toys and clothes left on the floor.

Recently I received the gift of a clean house. My father-in-law paid for us to have someone come to our house for three hours and clean. Awesome! Of course, we had to tidy the house so that she could clean it. She swept, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, dusted, windexed, etc.

But what amazed me was that in three and a half hours (she stayed extra to finish what she was doing), she didn't do it all! This lady is a hard and quick worker and yet, she didn't even have time to sweep and mop our dinning room and foyer. She told me that she didn't do the baseboards and blinds which is a normal thing for her although I wasn't expecting that. This professional house cleaner could not get all the cleaning done. Not only that, but she didn't have to wash dishes, do laundry, pick up the kid stuff, or stop half a dozen times to help the kids with something. If she can't do it all, why is it I expect that I should?

I'm still going to do my best to clean the house each week. But what I am going to try to change is my attitude about it when I don't finish my check list. I'm going to try to be more realistic in my expectations of myself.

All too often we need something like this to open our eyes and allow us to give ourselves a break. What in your life do you need to let go? Where do you need to cut yourself some slack?

Monday, November 28, 2011

What Would You Have Done

On Black Friday, hubs and I went out with the kids to do a little shopping. We were not out at midnight, no we were the reasonable people who missed all the really great deals because we actually slept, had breakfast and then went shopping. Although we did find a good deal on a camera at one of my favorite big box stores. I was not planning on getting anything for myself, but my camera has been recently broken. So of course, that has gotten my dreams of owning a really nice camera with exchangeable lens flared up again.

This camera we saw, the Coolpix L105, does not have an exchangeable lens, but I thought that for the price, it would be ok. So, I dipped into my hobbies budget and bought it. We also got nearly all of our Christmas shopping done. I've been crafting a lot of our Christmas so it was pretty easy to get the bulk of the shopping part our of the way in one trip. Whoo hoo!

Anyway, on our way home, Eric and I were marveling at how little we spent when I realized that something wasn't right. I pulled out the receipt and what do you know, we weren't charged for the camera! A free camera! Whoo hoo again!

Ok, so not really. We turned around, went back to the store, and paid for it.

And would you believe that after all that, I got the camera home and this thing doesn't allow you to manually adjust your aperture or shutter speed? I mean, my camera that's now broken isn't as nice as this one and it allows me to shoot in manual mode. Granted its range for adjustment wasn't that great, but still...

So, after all that drama of returning the camera to pay for it, I returned it again permanently. I want a good camera that allows me manual options.

But my question to you is what would you have done? Have you gotten something for free by mistake and did you return it or keep it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Our Own

I was feeling extremely overwhelmed right before Eric had to go back to work after Hayley was born. Eric is blessed to get two weeks paternity leave and I have been extremely thankful for it! But, I was dreading his return for days before he actually had to go back. Just the thought of managing two children on my own while he was at work scared me.

Don't get me wrong. I knew that having another child meant that I would be on my own with two children. It's just that I had ideas on how I was going to handle it before Hayley came. But once she came, it became apparent to me that things were not going to go as planned.

The Girls

My master plan was to use a wrap and get things done while baby wearing. I would set her in a bouncy chair or swing for a few minutes so I could sweep the floor or prepare dinner. Caitlin and I would have special one-on-one time while Hayley slept soundly in her crib. I knew that because I was now going to have two children to split my attention, Hayley would have to be ok with being set down and on her own more than Caitlin was as a baby. But none of that had worked out yet.

At that point, Hayley did not like her bouncy chair or swing. My mom got us a new bouncy chair because the one we had was really old and not working well anyway. Hayley would sit in it a little bit longer. She even fell asleep in it once. It reclines more and I think more comfortable for her, but no replacement for mommy. The wrap was great at a church function on Halloween, but then hasn't worked since. She just cries. And she will not sleep in her crib unless we wait to put her in until she's in a deep sleep. Thankfully Caitlin has been pure gold. I feel guilty for not being able to give her as much individual attention. She hasn't complained or acted out. I know she's a bit lonely for my attention. And Eric was home, playing with her, and giving her that attention I couldn't give. I've really prayed about it and asked others to pray for us as well.

And what do you know, the first day that Eric went back to work went amazingly well. Hayley slept in her crib and in her bouncy chair! I had time to give Caitlin some one-on-one time and even get a few chores in. Caitlin is still vying for attention, but can you expect less? She wants me to hold her a lot and I feel bad telling her that I can't hold both her and Hayley. I've tried to tell her that she and Hayley have to take turns and I make sure to tell Hayley (always in earshot of Caitlin) that it's Caitlin's turn to be held.

Not every day has been as easy as the first, but we are managing. It's quite an adjustment for all of us. Every day is getting a little closer to a routine and makes our new normal feel just that way, normal. Hey, I've even made time to do a little blogging. :) Crafting is taking a back seat right now. If I find time that's great! But crafting has always been an activity during nap time and right now I'm napping during nap time too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini-Marshmallow Shooters

Mini-Marshmallow Shooters
Another fun boy gift idea that's easy to make.

Eric cut out the PVC for me following the directions on The Idea Room. For a while, they were just the stark white PVC pipe, but I thought they would look better covered in camouflage duct tape. Don't you? And we added these targets glued on a cardboard backing for target practice.

Of course then we had a marshmallow fight in the kitchen. Come on, you know we had to test them out! Eric was too good at pelting me with little marshmallow bullets. It took me a little while to get the hang of aiming them. The trick is aiming high. Caitlin and Buddy, our oldest daughter and our dog, had fun picking up the discarded ammo and disposing of it properly (a.k.a. eating off the floor).

We made five, but I think we might have to make a few more. After telling my sister-in-law about it, she gave me a great suggestion - the grown up boys would probably love one too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Decorating

My little helper helped me put together this basket together for our dining room table. She loved sticking the flowers and leaves into the floral foam.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

State Fair

We took Caitlin to her first state fair a couple of weeks ago. She had a blast!! We got to dote on her a little extra before Hayley came which was half the point.

We started at all the animal tents and petting zoo areas. She got to feed goats and a camel, saw chickens and bunnies, and even ride a pony named Alabama.



Next we grabbed a funnel cake and found the Kiddlieland area where Caitlin rode her first rides. She rode with us to start with and then did a couple by herself. I was so proud of her! She even went on her first 'roller poster.' (I don't have a picture of that one. It was too fast.) I told Eric to go with her on that one, but after it was over, he said she would have been fine on her own. My little girl is growing up so fast!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Alphabet Puzzle

Caitlin has been doing a great job of learning her alphabet. We got a learning video for her from Leap Frog called Letter Factory and it has been a big help. Not only has it helped her learn the letter, but also the sound. You know, A says ah, and B says buh, etc.

She's done very well with capital letters, but is still working on her lower case letters. So, to help her put her big letters and little letters together, I made some puzzles for her. I cut out some apples and put a big A and a little a on it. Then cut the apple in half with some craft scissors. Easy peasy alphabet puzzles.

I'm just starting with A, B, C, and D and will add more letters as she goes. Also, I think I'm going to get some contact paper or something to reinforce the letters and make them last longer.


I blame my forgetfulness on mom brain. I don't know what I was thinking. In a previous post I talked about an awesome prize I won from HomeTalk, but I gave credit to the wrong blog for hosting the giveaway. Ahh! I can't believe I did that.

Kari over at UCreate was the actual host. If you are a crafty person, you have to check out her blog. It's a must on your reader list! She posts tutorials for really great projects from other bloggers all over the web. She also hosts a monthly Create With Me project where crafters can all work on the same project and post their pictures of their versions at the end of the month. I participated in the Tuhoku Tote project back in September.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Tale of Two Births: Natural vs Medicated

Every pregnant woman faces the question of whether or not she wants to give birth naturally with no pain medication or to be medicated during child birth. And if she chooses to try medicated birth, is then faced with a host of further questions about which kind of pain relief medicines and when to administer them. I have now experienced both extremes of these choices (aside from C-section) and wanted to share my experiences to hopefully help another mom make her choice.

I'll give you my conclusion now, so that you know I have no particular agenda. I believe that this is a very personal choice and neither is right or wrong and neither is better or worse. They are simply different. Here are my two stories.

Caitlin, my first daughter, was born after our fourth trip to the hospital. I had preterm labor and was put on partial bed rest prior to her birth. On that fourth trip to the hospital, I was about to be discharged because I had not dilated and after being observed for a couple of hours and given fluids via IV, was not dilating ('progressing'). Then my water broke at 7:30 AM. So obviously they kept me in the hospital after that. It was a slow labor and while not extremely painful in the early stages, made me all sorts of nauseous. So I opted for an epidural as soon as they would give it to me hoping that it would not only stop the pain I knew was coming, but also the nausea.

Epidurals work! The pain I was having was gone, and I never really did have much pain. I say much because of what happened later. But the nausea remained. I spent the 18 hours from when my water broke to when Caitlin was born sick. Somewhere around 8 centimeters, I was told that I was not progressing (I was not continuing to dilate at the rate they would like. If a woman stalls too much it could cause problems for the baby and that is why they were concerned.) So they administered a drug called Pitocin to speed up my labor. It did, but, it also caused contractions so hard that it was effecting Caitlin's heart rate. They gave me oxygen to help her out. I also was beginning to feel my contractions again because the Pitocin was causing me to contract so hard that it was overriding the epidural. Fortunately for us, I was far enough along that I delivered normally without need for intervention on Caitlin's behalf. (For some women this could have led to a C-section. In fact the same thing happened to my sister when she was at 5 centimeters and ended up with a C.) Caitlin was born at 1:30 AM happy, extremely alert, and healthy.

Hayley's birth was much, much different. I did not want to have Pitocin given to me this time around. What I went through with Caitlin after the Pitocin was given to me, and what I learned about the drug afterward really scared me off of it. Again, this is a personal choice. Some women have no problems with it, but I personally choose to avoid it from here on out. I also wanted to delay my epidural so it wouldn't slow my labor down too much. I was still planning on using pain medication with Hayley, but things don't always go to plan.

When we got to the hospital, they checked me and said that I was not dilated. I knew I was in labor because of the discomfort level I was having. When they told me I was at 0, I was so worried they were going to send me home. Well, they had me walk around the maternity ward for an hour and during that time, my discomfort increased significantly. By the end of the hour I was in the bathtub trying to get some relief. I was at a 3. Ten minutes later they were trying to hook up an IV so I could have fluid and eventually get an epidural. I was so uncomfortable that she checked me again and I was at 6. They told me then that I probably wouldn't have time to get an epidural because they have to give fluid for an hour before they can administer it and I was moving very fast. Anyway, I started at 8:30 pm with zero dilation and had a baby in my arms at 10:40 without so much as an aspirin. That was the most painful experience I've ever had, but not in the way you'd expect. TV depicts the mom screaming trying to get the baby out. For me, that was the good part. I wanted to push! It was the contractions that were hard for me. I cried. But Hayley is here, happy and healthy.

If I had to choose which way I would prefer, I'd say neither. I'd prefer some mix. My ideal birth would allow me to have an epidural without nausea and not 18 hours long. But, I know that if I do have another child (And I'm not saying I am or am not. Come on! I just had one! Let me get some sleep first!) it would probably be another natural birth simply because they say after the first, they come faster. And if Hayley came that fast, I can only imagine how fast a third would be.

I really hope this post helps some first time mommies trying to make their decision or at least give them some insight into what can possibly happen. Just remember every woman, every pregnancy, every labor and birth are different and only you can decide what's right for you. Don't let anyone make you feel badly about your decision.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Won

This is NOT a sponsored post. Merely a thank you for a great prize.

I'm so excited! Like many of you, I like to enter awesome giveaways on some of the blogs I read. Recently I won a $100 giftcard from Home Talk to Home Depot. The giveaway was hosted by Kari at UCreate, a cool tutorial blog for crafters.

We really needed a new faucet on our kitchen sink. You had to wiggle it just so and get it in the just the right spot to get the water to turn off. So frustrating!! That gift card was such a blessing because it let us replace that faucet with little impact to our budget. Faucets are surprisingly more expensive than I would have thought.

I just wanted to thank UCreate for hosting that giveaway and also Home Talk for providing the winnings. If you haven't heard of Home Talk, I really encourage you to check it out. Their website is a cool place where you can connect with different panelists and get answers to all of your home improvement questions. It's 100% free, with no advertisements. They even have a green living category. And in addition to the giveaway they sponsored on UCreate, they have weekly $250 gift card giveaways to places like Pottery Barn, Home Depot, Crate & Barrel, and more.
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