Sunday, January 31, 2010

life

Life is so fragile. Our friends lost their little boy this past week. My heart aches for them. I wish I could help. I wish I could make it all better. We all do. And so I send them my thoughts. I send them my prayers. I like to think that we are all connected. That we can feel when others are thinking about us. I like to think that if I sit quietly and send them a part of me, they can feel it.

I woke up grumpy today. No reason. Just did. And partway through church I thought of our friends. I decided to send them my comfort and calm. I obviously wasn't using either as I had resolved to have a grumpy day. Someone might as well benefit from the comfort I wasn't using. So I sent it to them. I like to think they got it. Or at least I hope they did.

You should send them your comfort and calm, too. They could probably use it.

back to work

The time has come. I am back at work. How am I doing, you ask? Surprisingly, just fine.

I was a little apprehensive about returning to work (in other words, dreading it with every ounce of my being). I love being at home. I was on maternity leave for 4 months (including the entire month before Graham was born) and the word "bored" didn't cross my lips once. Not once.

Fortunately, my first day back at work was a pleasant surprise. I found myself in high spirits on the drive there, listening to my music and singing at the top of my lungs. It was perhaps the stormiest day of the year and I was driving our old Acura (whoever has the baby for the day gets the good car), which meant I even got to enjoy some of the rain inside the car. Lovely. Even so, I was met by smiles and hugs from my wonderful coworkers. I really do like everyone at my work. I'm a lucky gal.

I am back at work part time for the first couple of months which means that I watch Graham some days and Christian watches him the other days. I love that the two of them get to hang out. Perhaps this is why it's not hard for me to be at work.

AND I have found that I'm quite productive at work. Perhaps I just needed a 4-month break. Wouldn't it be great if we could all take 4-month breaks from our jobs when we were feeling burnt out? I highly recommend it.

In conclusion, I'd love to be home with Graham every day, but going to work isn't so bad. I'm tired, but it's a good job and I'm surrounded by good people. So I'm grateful.

{Ask me again in a couple months when I'm working full time again. I can't guarantee I'll be this upbeat about it...}

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

like torturing a giant rat

You know old crappy cars that make that super high-pitched squeal when they accelerate? You know--it sounds like someone is torturing a giant rat?

Yeah. Turns out that's our car now.

We're the ones torturing the giant rat.

It's embarrassing.

pssst... it's me...

Shhhh. I'm at work today, so keep it on the down low.

Speaking of self reliance and the fact that I'm just now checking my work email, Stanford sent out an email after the Haiti earthquake reminding employees of the need to be prepared for an emergency. In fact, the exact words were "It is particularly important for all Bay Area residents to have the capacity to be self reliant for a minimum of 72 hours after a major disaster." There are those words again. Self reliant.

One of the tips they gave was to program your car radio buttons to KZSU (90.1 FM) and KCBS (740 AM) for emergency information. I didn't know this. Thought there might be others out there who were also clueless. For those of you who don't live in the bay area, look up what stations in your area are designated for emergency information.

Over and out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

on being self reliant

Just a little background: In our church we have a program called Visiting Teaching. Each woman visits and is also visited by other women in the ward (congregation) to share spiritual messages, be a friend, and provide help when needed. Each month we share a different message. Because you get to "teach" the message as well as "be taught" the message, you get many different perspectives on it.

This month's message is about becoming self reliant. I liked this quote from the Relief Society president, Julie Beck:

“How do we become self-reliant? We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.”


I was recently chatting with my friend (and visiting teacher--lucky me!), April, and we were talking about our desires to become self reliant. So I am going to break down the categories here and share my goals with you all. After all, we can't very well take care of others very well if our lives aren't in order. We are responsible for

Education:

In terms of being prepared to support myself, I can be financially self reliant if need be. I have 5 years of administrative experience, have a Master's degree to teach English, and am certified and have experience as a substitute teacher. It puts my mind at ease. If I ever go back to school, it will be for nutrition. Some day. Since I don't have time to go to school right now, I will read more.

Economic:

This is my area of focus right now. It has to be. We are short money because I am only going back to work part time for a couple of months. For me it's worth giving up the money to be home with Graham a little bit more (we'll talk about that later). So I am slowly improving my budgeting skills, making meals instead of eating out, and spending much less on frivolous things.

Spiritual:

I'm certainly lacking here. Let me tell you: At church I have been in primary (the organization for kids) for about 5 years. I played the piano for the kids for almost 5 years and now I am in the presidency. The problem is that I never paid much attention--I just played whatever song they told me to. So now that I'm in the presidency, I'm still absolutely clueless about how primary works. I am finally figuring things out and not relying on other people to tell me what to do. It feels good to contribute. I get way more out of church now.

I have also shirked my responsibilities by depending on Christian for my spiritual well being. I use the excuse that he's the priesthood holder in the home and should therefore be the spiritual leader in our home. This is the most ridiculously lame excuse for my laziness. A priesthood holder is no closer to Heavenly Father than I am. It doesn't work that way. My spirituality is my own and I am just as responsible as him for the well-being of our family and the state of our home. I will be self-reliant when it comes to my spirituality.

Emergency Preparedness

Hmmmm. More or less failing at this one. I will make myself small monthly goals to improve our food storage and emergency preparedness.

Physical:

Being physically well enables us to take care of others. I feel I have this under control. I exercise regularly. I am not overweight. I eat relatively healthy, but would like to eat more fruits and vegetables and less animal products. Furthermore, I have finally been planning and making meals on a regular basis--healthy ones. I believe in proactive health.


Social:


I have lots of friends. Lots of friends whom I don't see. I will try to take it upon myself to invite people over for dinner more often. To schedule time into my week to see my friends. To manage my time better and show up to things on time!

Emotional:

I feel I am doing quite well emotionally. I am generally a very happy person with a very positive outlook on life. Throughout my marriage I have watched myself carefully and discovered that the times I am most upset, I am really just too tired. When I get enough sleep and don't stay up too late, I am less irritable. I will take a personal inventory of my mental and physical state when I start to get upset and figure out what the real cause of my emotions is. I will go to bed early.

Speaking of going to bed early...crap. I stayed up too late writing this. Good night!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

for nineteen dollars


I know I always vowed not to wear skinny jeans until my legs were indeed skinny, but considering I'm 2 (close to 3) pant sizes smaller than when I had Graham, I'm feeling pretty darn skinny by comparison. So Christian surprised me by buying these jeans at Banana Republic today. They were originally $98. He paid $19. Not bad, husband of mine. Not bad at all. This is the second pair of jeans Christian has ever bought for me. Both have fit like a glove. Why is it that when I go jeans shopping I have to try on 10 pair to find one that even remotely fits, but when Christian buys them they are perfect? What can I say? I have the best husband.

{No, these aren't the $160 boots I posted about. I found a "close enough" pair for $50. That I can live with.}

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Graham's baby blessing



What a wonderful day. After a somewhat hectic week of getting ready for Dianna's wedding (post coming as soon as I get pictures from Veronica's camera--mine was dead...), we topped it off with another day of family for Graham's baby blessing.

Our family and friends came and filled up multiple pews in the church. I love our family and it was special for me to see everyone sitting there together. Charlie announcing "I've been crying all morning!" as he got out of the car. Diego exclaiming "Charlie! Charlie!" the minute he saw Charlie walk into the chapel. Grandkids climbing all over Grandma Chris. Taitum recognizing Richard up on the stand blessing the sacrament. My dad goofing around while singing hymns. Kitty discovering that Sutton was wearing a pair of Quincee's underwear around her waist like a belt. Serious entertainment.

And of course, Christian had the wonderful opportunity to bless Graham. A baby blessing in our church is a special occasion when a priesthood holder gives a new baby a name and a blessing. When the child is blessed, his name is added to the official records of the church and he is given a blessing to prepare him for a happy and healthy life. It was special to see Christian blessing our baby surrounded by loved ones. I am grateful for them and for the gospel.

A special thanks to our family and friends who shared this day with us.

We love our little Graham and we're grateful to have him as a part of our family.







Monday, January 4, 2010

highlights of Christmas

1. Making gingerbread houses at Tyler and Ashley's house! I was going for Frank Lloyd Wright and it just ended up looking pueblo style...



2. This is more of a "lowlight." Christmas was a little overwhelming this year. I had way too much on my to-do list. Graham got sick two days before Christmas. I completely forgot that Graham and his cousin Luca were doing a gift exchange. And I left a gift for my mom at my house. Oops. A little hectic. I just wanted to sleep through Christmas.

3. Regardless, it was so much fun. We spent a few days at my parents' house and everyone slept over (including GG, who refused to go home). GG, Grandma and Panda, 5 kids, 5 significant others, 9 grandkids, one dog, and one cat. In his prayer to bless the dinner, Tyler mentioned being grateful for the having all the family there amidst the chaos. What? Chaos? Really? :) Speaking of Tyler, he got some really fun Christmas pictures and posted them on his blog.


4. Sibling "white elephant" gift exchange. This was really fun. I was worried no one would want my gift, but it ended up being so popular that wives were convincing husbands to steal it for them. I felt special. I think the $10 gift card to Therapy had something to do with it...


5. Seeing my friends Jenn, Julie, Ryan, and Kim. I have some great friends, even when we only see each other once a year. (Sorry. No pictures.)

6. Watching all my nieces and nephews run around Grandma and Panda's house taking every toy out of every closet. Poor Mom.

7. Playing on the blow up mattress. Too funny.


8. Graham and Luca.


9. Pretty much everything.


The rest of the Christmas photos can be found on our Smugmug.

nothing wrong with that

There is nothing wrong with sending Christmas cards on January 4th.

cloth diapers: #2

Let's talk about the types of pocket diapers we're using right now. Everyone has their own favorite type, so I'm not saying you should use one kind or the other. You just have to try things to figure out what you like. Keep in mind these diapers do come in fitted sizes, but we opted to try the one-size versions (snaps smaller and larger to grow with your baby) so that we would only have to invest in one set.

BumJoy (can be purchased through Etsy; we have 6 of these)

I mentioned in the past that we liked the BumJoy diapers best since they fit Graham even from the time he was tiny. The BumJoy inserts are a bit slimmer, so they aren't as bulky. Unfortunately we've found that the BumJoys have been leaking around the legs. Not out the leg openings, but literally leaking through the waterproof outer layer. My only explanation for this is that perhaps the pee is pooling to the sides of the insert since it is so narrow and then leaking through. I'm not sure. I need to email the person who makes them and find out if this is a common problem. Or I'll stuff them with a thicket insert by a different brand and see if that fixes the problem. In my opinion, the outer "waterproof" layer should not leak through. So BumJoy is no longer on the top of my list. Except that they are ADORABLE.

FuzziBunz (we have 4)

I know people who LOVE FuzziBunz diapers. I like them, but I'm not in love with them. They are still quite bulky on him. We like to put them on him at night with a doubler (a second absorbent insert) so that we don't have to change him in the middle of the night. They are good for that. But we have to be sure he has a onesie on so that the diaper is held up. He is such a wiggler that he wiggles his little bum right out of them while he's sleeping. I think we'll like these even more when he gets bigger and they don't seem quite so big. Overall they work well.

BumGenius (we have 7)

These are my latest favorites. We just bought 6 more. They aren't too bulky now, and I think I like the velcro tabs in the front a little better than the snaps. I often worry if a snaps setting is too tight or too loose. With the velcro you don't have to pick between already-spaced snaps. You just velcro however tight you want it. (I have heard that the velcro stops gripping after a gazillion uses, so we'll see if that's a problem.) Plus the colors are super cute.

Wahmies (we have 1)

These work just fine. Nothing special. They seem to be fitting better now that he's a bit bigger. Not a big fan of the washed-out pastel colors, but it doesn't really matter when they're under clothes. I have the ones with snaps, but I'd like to try the ones with hooks. And perhaps a non-pastel color.

HappyHeiny (we have 1)

These work just fine. They come in cool colors, but most were sold out and we ended up with a pastel. Bleh. I'd like to try more of these. I also noticed they come with velcro closures, so perhaps I'd like those better than the snap closures.

RockyMountain (we have 1)

We've had problems with these leaking through the waterproof outer layer. Not sure if I did something during the washing process to damage the fabric, but I use them as a last resort now. Perhaps I should find out why it's happening. They also have some super cute color combinations.

So there you have it. A quick run down of the types of one-size pocket diapers we have been using. Next I'll talk about stripping them. It's annoying but a necessary evil. That's what I'll be doing today, because they stink of pee, and Graham says No to stinking of pee.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

cloth diapers: #1

{Photos of Christmas coming. I promise. It takes a long time to fix the red-eye in every picture because of Graham's deer-in-the-headlight eyes.}

So I think people think I'm opinionated. Oh, if they only knew. Truth is I am opinionated (Isn't everyone?), but the difference is that I don't really care that much what other people do. There are exceptions to that statement, but when it comes to diapers I don't really have an opinion about what you put on your kids' butts. I just don't.

Yes, I use cloth diapers. Why? Because I want to. And that's reason enough for me. Is it better for the environment? People argue both sides. Landfills, chemicals, growing cotton, water to wash the diapers. Blah blah blah.

I like cloth diapers because I like them. That's all. I don't hate disposables. There you have it. So don't look at me like I'm a hypocrite if my kid has a disposable diaper on his rear end. :)

So on to the cloth diaper update: I love them! We haven't used a disposable diaper in weeks, and I'm really excited about that. Here is the latest on the diapers for anyone who's interested:

Let's talk types of diapers. Graham is asleep, so Mr. Moose is going to model for us.

Prefolds


First we have the traditional prefold diaper with a cover. A prefold is what people use for birth cloths now. The middle strip of the fabric is thicker and more absorbant. I like to use these nifty little "snappi" fasteners to keep the diaper on. Then you cover everything with the waterproof cover. Voila.

Pros: Easier to wash. Can just keep a pile handy and use for diapers or burp cloths--whichever is needed at the time. Compared to the pocket diapers, they take up much less room in your diaper bag when out and about. They are inexpensive--you buy lots of diapers ($1-2 per diaper) and only a few covers ($11-13 per cover).

Cons: Takes a bit to learn how to successfully put one on. Takes a little bit longer to change a diaper. Poop can escape and get on the cover. (Although I've been told that as we get better at securing the diapers, these sometimes occurrences will become rare occurrences.) A wet diaper is very wet and the baby can feel it (which I've heard is a 'pro' when it comes to potty training).

Pocket Diapers


Then we have one-size pocket diapers. They are shaped like disposables but are made with waterproof fabric and absorbent inner liners. These have snaps or adjustable elastic to fit as your child grows from newborn to toddler. They have a "pocket" into which you stuff an absorbent cloth insert.

Pros: Faster to change. Not complicated to put on baby. Super cute. They wick most moisture away like disposables, so your baby doesn't feel a big wet diaper (although this can be a 'con' when it comes to potty training).

Cons: More complicated washing instructions. Can get detergent build-up and start leaking, require regular "stripping" of the wicking material. Expensive ($11-20 per diaper).

Stay tuned for more cloth diaper info...

Friday, January 1, 2010

new year's eve 2010 according to graham

Graham's own words. I typed for him:

Well first we went to this wedding in Castro Valley. Dad says it's his dad's brother. I guess that makes him my great uncle. He's a funny guy. I partied so hard at the wedding that I passed out on the floor. My parents left me there for like an hour.


Then we came home and my folks decided we should all go to bed at 9pm. Seriously? Lame! We were all snoring by 9:30. I guess it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Since they were drooling away, I decided I wanted to celebrate the new year and woke them up at 12:30am. Happy New Year! Aaaaand back to sleep. Zzzzzzz.

Then the night got real fun. I woke up again at 4 (my mom practically smothered me in kisses to thank me for not waking up sooner). But because of my congestion and nasty sounding cough, she got this great idea to take my temperature...you know where...

So I lay there smiling at my dad, and BAM! Ha! I pooped all over her hand! Take that, sucka'! And then I peed all down her leg! And then I laughed. Muahaha...

That'll teach them to mess with me.

So we all stayed up for another half hour laughing, and zzzzzz...we slept 'til 8.

'Twas a good night.

Happy New Year, everyone! May your year be full of eating, pooping, peeing, and sleeping.