Sunday, June 28, 2009

Book review and a GIVEAWAY!!

I was given the book One Tuesday Morning a few weeks ago by a woman who I only met once before her family moved out of the house next door. It only took a few pages of reading before I nearly marched over there and told her what she could do with her book that I couldn't possibly read this book. You see, this is a story of a 9-11 widow, but not just any 9-11 widow -- a firefighter's widow. I won't even watch firefighter movies anymore, so I didn't think I would be able to read this book.

Well, something made me keep the book and read on. I think God was telling me to trust him and not live in fear of what could happen. So, I read.

I do not usually care for Christian fiction. It's often too phony. However, this is the story of a man who is completely given over to God, and how the way he lived caused others to find God's truth after his death. I felt while reading God telling me that there is no sense living in fear of what could happen while Jeff is on the job. That can be the only reason why I refuse to watch those movies or read those books. I still do not plan on doing so, but the root of this is not fear. It is preventing that fear from creeping up.

As the story opens, we see how the fireman's wife, Jamie is completely resistant to God and lives in constant fear of her husband losing his life in the line of duty.

When Jamie's worst fears are realized during the 9-11 terrorist attacks, she doesn't even know it because an survivor with a head injury induced amnesia is mistakenly identified as her husband. For nearly three months, they live under the assumption that this man is her husband. It is not until the man has his first few flashbacks that this world starts to unravel.

I do not want to give to much away about this book, but I will say that the ending is bitter and sweet at the same time. Also, I don't recommend this book if you are faint of heart. I had an extremely difficult time reading the chapters that took place during the time frame of the terrorist attacks. I didn't realize how raw that wound still was.

In any case, here's your chance to win your copy. I bought my own copy because it was taking me soooo long to read it due to the whole can't-read-while-the-baby-is-awake thing. Then the family moved away before I could give her back her copy of the book (maybe two weeks after she gave it to me). So, rather than keep two copies, I thought I'd give away the newer one. You have until July 3 to get your entry in. I will announce the winner on July 4. Just leave a comment here, perhaps telling where you were on the day of the 9-11 attacks. (Only if you want.)

Happy entering. I'm off to start on the sequel: Beyond Tuesday Morning. You know, since the baby is in bed;-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

"My Husband Rocks!" Friday

****Don't forget! It is FREE CHOCOLATE FRIDAY!****

Jeff REALLY rocks this Friday. Why? Well I am glad that you asked!

You see, Jeff has been studying and getting ready to enter the class for Relief Driver in August. And who ever knew all the work it is to drive a fire truck?! You have to know more than just how to go forwards and backwards and how to turn corners. Did you know that one needs to know MATH to drive a fire truck?

And how many of you out there know Jeff? Well, if you do, you know that one of his biggest struggles in life has been related to math. I'm not much help in this department because while I can do math, I can not quite explain it and I am a bit sloppy about it, so sometimes while I do the right thing, I come out with the wrong answer.

So, Jeff has been plugging away learning the formulas that he needs to know to operate the fire engine. He called me yesterday to tell me that the lieutenant had put up 20 problems on the white board for him to work through after a call. It made me chuckle that he was working problems on the board at work.

Way to tackle your struggle, dear husband!

Things I have learned. . .

Jude is constantly teaching me new things!
  1. This week, I learned that Jude likes to sleep on his side. Who knew that preference would ingrain itself so early? Every time I lay him down for bed, he rolls up on his side, and out he goes.
  2. Last week I learned that if I leave the wash cloth in the tub within his reach, he will suck on it and dip it back in the tub, and suck on it, maybe forever until the tub is empty?
  3. Tonight I learned not to expect Jude to willingly eat his pureed peas if I am eating grilled cheese while feeding him. However, if I held the spoon there long enough, eventually he'd smile at me and open his mouth like a baby bird for those same peas.
  4. This morning I learned that I can not walk away and leave my glass of water on the floor anywhere with in a 5 foot radius of the boy.
  5. This week, I learned that Jude will eat almost anything as long as I mix it with pureed fruit.
  6. Yesterday I learned that my keys are Jude's prized possession. Any time they are within 50 feet of him, he almost frantically scrambles to get them.
  7. This afternoon I learned that if I put 12 cherrios in front of Jude and walk away, when I come back, all 12 will be in his mouth. Here is a before and after shot: Before I walked in the kitchen to fill my water glass, and after I got back 22 seconds later. Notice how many cheerios are on the tray before and after.

Notice also the face he made when I came out and said, "Jude! Where did all your cheerios go?!" So, putting extra cheerios down on the tray does not buy me any extra time to get something done in the kitchen. It just raises my child's choking hazard!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Relatives Came

Jude had a nice visit with Grandma Karen and Grandpa Phil on Father's Day. I cannot believe that I am such a bum that I have never gotten any good pics of him with them. Well, better late than never. . .

P.S. Isn't this one of the best books ever?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

9 month photo shoot

We had another photo shoot with THE PLANET'S MOST WONDERFUL PHOTOGRAPHER, Michelle, this morning. We went up the street to The Marsh House, and the little man was super cooperative the entire time. Secretly, I think he is a camera ham;-) Jeff and I even got a few long over due shots together. Here are some of my favorites from today. (But it was so hard to narrow it down to less than 30!)


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mmmmm. . . Chocolate. . .

You know me. I LOVE anything that's free. Well, I love chocolate even if it isn't free, but today, you can get some free chocolate. Well, you have to wait 6 weeks for your voucher, but chocolate is well worth the wait.

Go to The Chocolate Relief Act on Friday to get your free chocolate! Then comment here and tell me thanks for pointing out one of the best deals of the decade;-)

The best part: you can get free chocolate EVERY Friday through September! Now that's what I call a stimulus package!

Friday, June 19, 2009

"My Husband Rocks!" Friday

In case you don't remember, MHR (My Husband Rocks) is the blog carnival hosted by Katy Lin at The Great Adventure.

This week, Jeff rocks because of how intentional he is with his family. He tries to talk with someone from his family every week. Whenever we get out near Hamilton Place, he always asks Jude if we should check to see if Aunt Heather's at work. He calls his parents and makes arrangements to visit with them at least twice a month. He calls and e-mails with his brothers.

I, on the other hand, and very lackadaisical when it come to calling people in my family and returning e-mails. Not because I don't love them or don't want to hear from them, but simply because I am bad about letting all kinds of other things get in the way.

I really need to take a page from my husband's book here and learn from him in this area. He is going to be a great example to Jude of how to interact with family once Jude is old enough to notice!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Please continue praying for Veiyah and Stellan

Both of these sweet babies are back in the hospital tonight as I type.
Veiyah went in yesterday to get a feeding tubs that goes directly through her belly into her stomach. They expected her to be released today, but the doctor decided he wanted to watch her another day. Please pray that all goes as needed for her to go home with her parents and sisters tomorrow. Also, pray for her mom, Ani, who misses Veiyah's twin, Aderah, so badly. Aderah was born to Jesus.
Stellan has been experiencing SVT (a really, really fast heart beat) again lately. The new medication that they found to work before he left the hospital last time has stopped working and the new medicine will not be in until tomorrow. He still has about 19 pounds to gain before the doctor feels good about doing the ablation which will almost certainly lead to the requirement of a pacemaker. Please pray that they will find something that will work until that time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm a Planner!

Made that trip to the Goodwill again. This time I found 12 books that I am super eager to use in the future (all for only $3.18). If you know anything about me, you know that I'm a planner. I don't do anything with out researching and planning for about 3 years;-) It was that way with our truck, our house, our child. . .

These are the books:

(That one on the front right is My Teacher Sleeps At School. It was probably my FAVORITE book when I was in kindergarten. I know I brought it home from the library several times.)
With each step closer to school age, I get so much more excited about homeschooling Jude. I've got all kinds of web pages cached in my computer. I read the blogs of home schooling moms. I have been storing away resources since before Jude was even born. Planning in my head the different learning adventures we can go on. Thinking about job shadowing opportunities (in the farther away future). Looking into rec. sports leagues since he won't have school sports to try out for.

I am SO ready for this! Now it's time to slow my brain down and finish enjoying this baby time;-)

And solely for your viewing pleasure, here are some better pool pics and one of Jude in his great new shirt, my Walmart clearance find ($3!), and posing with his daddy.

The New Look

Well, I finally figured it out. Do you like the new look? This is one of the free LeeLou Blogs. I really like her stuff because I can change the colors and fonts how ever I want. I tried to change the background to black with white polka dots, but as I was reading the text in the middle, it was making my eyes go buggy. So I left it red with white polka dots. I COULD have made it pink, since that's my favorite color and all, but since my home is two thirds male, I decided to leave it red.

Woo hoo. Now it's off to Goodwill to see if there are any more books I want to buy. At 4 for 99cents, I just can not resist going back. No wonder there are 700 books in this house;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big boys and big deals!

This has shaped up to be one completely random post. The first thing in today's randomness is this shot that Jeff took of Jude. Doesn't this picture make him look HUGE?! I think he loos more like a toddler here than and 8 & 1/2 month old baby. As usual, he is completely happy. He is the happiest kid I have ever met, even at 2 in the morning, when he's supposed to be sleeping (and 5, and 7. . .)

Here's Jude wearing the bib that sweet Grandma Susan made for him and attempting (pretending?) to feed himself. At least he doesn't gag himself with that spoon any more, but he usually grabs it right by the bowl, so any food that was in there ends up smashed over his palm.

Here we have Jude and Daddy. Jude is wearing one of Daddy's undershirts because we are working on a messy project for his grandpas for Father's Day.

And here is the boy enjoying the papasan chair I got for him at our Goodwill for $4. Score!

Enjoying the papasan AND one of the books I bought him. (We were getting ready to go in the pool.)

Lasty, here are the books I bought at Goodwill today. They had a special: 4 books for 99 cents. I checked on line and if I had bought these 4 books retail, after tax I would have spent more than $50.00! And again, I say: SCORE!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blog Ettiquette

Here's another informal survey but this one is open to anyone.

When someone comments on your blog, what is the proper protocol for responding? Is it:

1. Respond to the comment in your own comment section.

2. Go to the person's blog you are responding to and leave the response in their comments.

3. Both?

I have done both of these things on different occasions (not both for the same response) but it has always been floating around in my brain that maybe I am "doing it wrong." It seems like if you respond in your own comments, the person may never see the reply, but if you respond in theirs, it is kind of out of place. Just wondering what the masses do;-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Questions for all the moms reading

I am struggling. If you read my MHR post yesterday, you know that Jude has beenhaving some sleep issues as of late. I just can not figure out what the difference is between the last three weeks when the boy has been waking two to four times a night and the previous two when he slept all night until 5:30am.

Jude used to be a really heavy sleeper until the acid reflux became bad and we didn't figure that out. Then he became a light sleeper. We still cosleep, with him in the cosleeper beside the bed. He also takes naps in there. He's actually a pretty good napper. But I just don't know what is going on with this night time business.

So, I've decided to conduct a little informal poll of any moms who might happen to read this post. I find that there is a lot of wisdom out there from people who have "been there."

I do want to preface this by saying that I am not a fan of the cry-it-out method because of a recent study that shows the cortisol levels in a baby who has cried it out get as high as a person who has lost their spouse. So, here are my questions. Answer any or all. And thank you in advance! (I'll be using "his" and "him" in the gender neutral role.)

1. How old was your baby when you put him in his own room? Was he sleeping through the night at that time?

2. If your baby was not sleeping through the night when you put him in his own room, how long did it take for him to get there?

3. How did you transition your baby from your room to the crib in his own room?

4. If your baby starts crying in his room in the middle of the night, how long do you let it go before you go to him? What do you do when you go to him?

5. The boy wakes himself up sometimes when he looses his pacifier at night. If yours did this, how did you handle it?

6. Any other pearls of wisdom are appreciated.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"My Husband Rocks!" Friday and the pool!

It's Friday again, so let me tell you how Jeff rocks this week!

First, let me just say that I am tired. Plain old wiped out. I don't why I did not struggle with this too much in the beginning, but something about the boy sleeping through the night for two solid weeks and then deciding it just wasn't for him so not doing so in the past three weeks is kicking my beehiney. Therefore, all things domestic have been suffering. There has been a lot of pizza ordering and fast food getting and not a lot of cooking, dish washing, clothes laundering, grocery shopping going on here in at least the past two weeks.

Three times in the last two weeks, Jeff has taken Jude out with him when he got up and left me sleep. This is a major deal because it is not exactly like he gets tons of sleep either. Here's his week in a nut shell: Day 1 wake up at 4 am to drive to the fire department. Day 2 wake up at 6:30 to drive home from the fire department (maybe he got to sleep all night or maybe he had calls all during the night). Day 3 Wake whenever Jude does. Day 4-6 Repeat days 1-3 infinitely forever and ever.

Then this morning, when I finally got out of bed (glorious 8am!) and was eating my breakfast and entertaining the boy in his saucer, I heard a bunch of clanking in the kitchen, and there was my dear husband doing the dishes. Whatta guy!

We've actually had quite an adventurous day today. One of the things that I love about LaFayette is that there is a public pool where people can go and pay by the swim or buy a family plan for a pretty good price. However, if you have an infant or toddler, you can take them into the kiddie pool for FREE. I sure love free:-) It's a nice little pool, too. Probably 2 feet deep. I don't think it is 3 feet because Jude was standing with his feet flat on the bottom and there was still some of his chest above the water.

It took Jude a little time to warm up to being in more than six inches of water, but once he did, he seemed to enjoy himself. I am sure he would have enjoyed it quicker if it were not so close to nap time, but what are you going to do when the kid goes down for naps every two hours and the kiddie swim hours are only from noon - 1:00 on weekdays?

Here are some shots of Jude getting acquainted with the pool.

And this one is Jude letting us know how much he enjoys eating the baby food I make for him.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Using one's popularity to take advantage of others

I quit watching Dr. Phil a long time ago. I couldn't justify using my time to watch other people hash out their problems in front of a live audience on national television. I was also bothered by his complete disregard for confidentiality back when Brittney Spears was getting herself into trouble. Not that I am a fan there, either. But I didn't think that she deserved to have her personal struggle splashed all over t.v. and tabloid media. Then there was the question of his licensure. It seemed to me that there was no way a real, licensed psychologist would let people who were struggling so deeply suffer so on television. The way things were going on the show, it seemed to me that some people were leaving more hurt than before.

Well, my venture beyond mommy blogging has confirmed in my mind, that I have made the right decision. Oddly, it was through a hate site against a blogger whom I really enjoy reading that I came to begin reading WON's blog. WON is a single mom with a very hurtful past when it comes to the fathers of her two children. To add insult to injury, her older child had cancer and went to be with Jesus when she was only 11.

During her daughter's battle with cancer, her son began to struggle behaviorally and after the death of his sister, it became apparent to WON that the boy needed more help than she could give him. Enter "Dr." Phil. Here is an excerpt from WON and her son's time on his show:
"In the end, after so many conversations and such with all those people living the Hollywood existence all they chose to air last week was the infamous "slap seen 'round the world" and a complete untruth. Well, likely an untruth. How could they have said I reported to them that my son had not gotten a behavior write up at school all year? I only temper my certainty that they said that to fit their own agenda with the possibility they may have taken that information from a conversation I had with them during the first week of September 2008. That is possible.
Otherwise, no one would ever proclaim such things about my son. Come a long way? Hell yes! There? Hell no! Only suspended once this year so far. Progress.

Anyhow, it pissed me off that they would initiate so many conversations with me, ask me to send them detailed emails that took a long time to write, overnight me a video camera with an almost desperate sounding plea to tape a piece for them (even calling the very next morning to make sure I taped and sent the piece) and so on....only when it was all said and done, to air untruths and that slap heard 'round the world.

You can go to WON's blog to read more about the experience. Send her some love if you do. ANd I highly recomment reading all four posts about the experience in chronological order. That means you have to start with the bottom post and work your way up.

I just do not understand how someone can use a struggling family to further their own agenda and make a buck. Especially someone who claims he is there to help people heal. I remember when watching he would often say, "I'll do anything necessary to help so-and-so." Sadly, this help seems to come at a cost. I do not feel good about being right in this circumstance:-(

And WON, if you read this, I want you to know that I have begun to include you and N in my prayers daily as my husband, son, and I come together in the evenings for prayer time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby food

Surprisingly, I have really enjoyed making baby food for Jude. It doesn't take nearly as long as I thought it would since I found the information about using the slow cooker to cook the food. I just put it n and forget about it for three hours (4-5 for beans). The only things I do not make in the slow cooker are chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, and avocados (which do not require cooking). I probably spend an hour or two every couple of weeks on this. My poor little GE immersion blender is sure getting a work out. I noticed yesterday that the rubber covering over the "low" setting button is getting a tear in it.

An added benefit: I LOVE knowing where the food came from. I love knowing that the foods do not have preservatives or food coloring. I love knowing that I will never have to worry about recalls because glass was found in a batch of carrots at the factory.

I've learned one important thing while making Jude's baby food: If you are using the plastic Gerber cube containers that a friend (2 friends - thanks Cathy D. & Sarak R!) gave you, make sure that ALL of the safety seal remnants are off the container or you will have lightning in your microwave! There is aluminum under that plastic!

I've also learned that it is helpful to keep separate columns in the freezer to separate the veggies, fruits, beans, and meats.

Also, that pureed chicken is really gross and messy. But this revelation helped me come to the idea of mixing the meats with a veggie or the avocado because if it looked yucky to me, why would I expect my kid to eat it. It took a few days of false starts for Jude to come into liking the fish, but he gobbled the chicken all up on the first try because I mixed it with the carrots. The fish goes a lot better when I mix it with the avocado.

So, while I look forward to the day when the boy is eating chunked up bits of food that we eat rather than pureed, I will keep on until he's there. He's eating Cheerios, so we're marching in the right direction!
(This was taken BEFORE I figured that bit out about keeping the stuff sorted, and back when the only thing he was eating was sweet potato, avocado, and green peas. Since then we've added green beans, yellow squash, broccoli, apples, pears, peaches, black beans, navy beans, talapia, and chicken. He still will NOT touch zucchini.)

Lesser known sadistic side

It appears that my son has a hidden dark side; a bit of a sadistic side, if you will. I kind of noticed it when we were baby sitting Ellie, and she was crying and he was laughing, but I brushed it off as he was just tickled to see someone his size in the house.

But then today, there was a woman on T.V. who was crying. It was a close up of her face and he was glued, and laughing! Then later in the same show, another lady was crying, and he just sat there grinning from ear to ear.

No, I don't suppose it has anything to do with the fact that babies like faces at this age and both times the camera was panned in to the women's faces. I have to automatically assume the worst;-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Her parents are in for it!

Heave help us if Jude picks up on this. However, studies show that males have only half the daily word allowance as girls, so maybe we're safe! Maybe.

My Husband Rocks, Extended

Yep, I know I posted yesterday about my totally rocking husband, but something happened last night that made me want to add to it.

I was FINE all day, so I have no idea where this came from, but I was hit from the migraine from HELL just around bed time. Not only did my Imitrex not make it go away, but it felt like it was making it WORSE! Any time I moved, the pain seemed to flare out angrily in all directions. It felt like a steam roller was rolling over my head. Unlike my usual migraines, this one was not just localized behind one of my eyes, but the pain went down into my shoulders and back, up the back of my head, and around the front.

I have never had one that kept me awake, but this was the one. After I lay Jude back down from his one night nuring session, the pain was becoming excruciating. I must have had labored breathing because Jeff woke up and asked me if I had a headache. After I explained, he got up and said to switch sides of the bed. Then he came back in and put a heating pad across my shoulders and an ice pack over my eyes. An odd combination, I know, but for some reason, I was finally able to sleep after this.

Oh, Jude rocks, too because he did not do his sometimes stunt of whining several times in the night because he couldn't find his paci. He slept solid until his 1:30 nursing, and then again until his 5:30 nursing. Then he slept solid until 7:30 which is half an hour after he usually wakes up for the day. At this point Jeff took him out and I was able to sleep until 8:30! That in itself is a miracle!

Once again, I felt totally taken care of. My guys rock!

Friday, June 5, 2009

"My Husband Rocks!" Friday

Why does Jeff rock this week?

Hmmmm, where to start? Well, first he does ALL of our yard work. In the household I grew up in yard work (i.e. lawn mowing) was considered "man work" (grunt, grunt, scratch, scratch). Now, I know that in the 21st century, this doesn't hold true, but I am not all that opposed to allowing that outdated assumption to continue.

In addition to doing our yard work, Jeff also mows and does various other yard related things for a dear older friend of ours who is a widow. He knows that if he doesn't do it, our very stubborn friend will get out on that mower herself and she is prone to sever asthma attacks, random fits of passing out, and a host of other illnesses that she has acquired from her years of tireless service in third world countries.

And, as if that was not enough, Jeff has now taken on mowing his dad's yard, too.

So, in the midst of all this mowing, I have no idea when I am actually going to SEE my husband, but he rocks for his attitude of complete selflessness.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby Sling Giveaway!

If you spend any time around me, you know that I am a baby wearer. I love my ring sling and my mei tai (mai tei?). Not only do my slings help me to have free hands when I need them and prevent my arms from getting sore, but also, it keeps strangers from poking around at the baby when I am out in public.

So, I am really excited to announce that the people at This Mom Can Shop are hosting a give away contest. The prize is this reversable cotton sling. Click on the link for This Mom to find out how you can win it!

What a Waste!

The cookbook came today. I mean THE cookbook. I am totally in love with this cookbook. Since the day Jude started eating solid foods, I have been making them, so when someone in my Babyfit group told me about So Easy Baby Food, I had to have it.

I love this book because it tells you exactly how to make the best selection so that you know what you are getting is ripe, and step by step how to prepare and store it. What drove me to this was the process of making black beans for Jude this week. They were so bland and I can tell they are not his favorite (but he IS eating them, which is more than I can say for the zucchini that I tried).
**On a side note, do you know how messy it is when he refluxes and it was black beans? Eew!**

So life is grand, but I am bothered by just one thing. Here's the box it came in(Jude is in the pic for size perspective - and because he's cute):

(Please excuse my basket of clean laundry in the background!)
And here is the cookbook:

Do you think the company could have come up with a more appropriate shipping method? I do. And I let them know that, too. Don't worry. I was nice. I told them how much I liked their product, but in the future could they please select a more size appropriate shipping package. Not that I think that my request will make a difference. Bad habits die hard.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm The Letter T/Plain White Ts

Oh, that Sesame Street! Sure is a different show than the one I grew up on, but Jude seems to get a kick out of parts of it, so o.k. (Yes, we let Jude watch Sesame Street. Call the parent police.) I wonder what The Plain White Ts think of this clip. And, isn't it great that the song is about the letter T? I know that was intentional, but I still think it is cute!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mommy and Me Happy Hour?

I was watching the TV show THE DOCTORS this morning and they had two women (Heather & Erica) who created a "Mommy & Me" Happy Hour Club, where they take turns going to each other's houses to have a glass of wine & socialize while the kids play and have juice.

I am not sure what I think of this. I am in no way against alcohol in general. We grew up with the adults around us drinking alcohol. I am against over consumption and a little worried about this trend because every mom in the room was drinking.

I think this could be o.k. if everyone limited them self to only one glass. I mean, come on. You have to then get in your car and drive your kids home.

Which reminds me, the town I am living in is voting on alcohol by the drink in November. IT was just a few years ago that our Wal-mart just began to sell beer and wine. I am torn on this vote, because I do think it would be nice to go to Don Lolo and have a beer with my fajitas, but I worry again about over consumption and then people having to go out and drive home.

I am glad that the vote is not until November because I really need time to think about this. It could be nice revenue for the town if people don't have to drive all the way to Ft. O to have a beer with their meal. I suppose there will be some kind of drink limit. The restaurant owners here in LaF are pretty wise business men, but I don't think that they'd allow people to do harm just to make money.

The count down begins.