Friday, June 30, 2006

Our score on the Dyson: an 8

Well, we used our Dyson last night in our living room and today in our master bedroom. I personally have not used it yet. My husband is convinced that the reason why he is not sleeping well at night is because of the level of dust in our house, and hence, since he is now motivated to clean the house AND the Dyson is new, I have not been permitted to operate the new appliance as of yet.

However, it is pretty darn cool. I tried really hard not to set my expectations too high...I heard varying predictions from, "You won't believe the shit it'll suck out of your carpet" to "It'll actually change the color of your carpet". But I have to admit, I was so hopeful that it would be as awesome as I hoped it would be.

It is as awesome as I hoped it would be.


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Slick, huh?

The reason why we scored it an 8 out of 10 is because, according to my husband, a 9 would be a Dyson Animal that operated itself, and a 10, according to me, is something that makes your carpet SO clean you can actually eat off it. Hey, nothing's perfect in life.

Now I want new carpet. *sigh* Want, want, want. That's all my life is these days.

And now I have a question for tropical fruit eaters everywhere. I bought a papaya on Monday and stuck it immediately in a paper bag for ripening. As soon as it was all yellow and slightly soft to the touch, aka ready to eat according to the baby food Bible, I cut that bad boy open and started scooping out the seeds.

I don't know, maybe I've just bought one too many shampoos with papaya as the main ingredient in it, but it smelled really quite PUNGENT. My question: is that normal?

We both tried it and pronounced that we would not be giving it to her. I have never eaten papaya except in a smoothie. P said he has but can't remember what it tastes like. It tasted just okay...very bland and not the sweet fruit I anticipated. I guess I had something in mind like mango. I don't know. All I know is if I've made it 31 years without tasting it, she won't perish if I don't give it to her either. It's not like papaya is going to be a fruit that we buy on a regular basis in our house.

Anyway, any thoughts or feedback on the papaya issue would be appreciated. Since I had to give her something new as part of her culinary journey towards the magical age of 12 months when she can eat pretty much anything and I had nothing new to give her since we threw the papaya down the Insinkerator, I mixed in a little cinnamon with her pears for dessert. It may have been my imagination, but I think she relished them a bit more. But that's an easy LOVE cinnamon.

Fourth of July plans...well, I've been racking my brain trying to think of stuff to do, and I think we've decided that we are going to take McKenna to the pool at some point this weekend to introduce her to water (maybe) and then Tuesday night our fair city is having a Fourth of July celebration complete with stilt walkers, clowns, symphony, an outdoor concert and fireworks. For free. Can't beat that.

I also made my first card myself today. I signed up for a gift exchange for the Fourth of July on my Trying to Conceive board (don't ask me why, I thought I got those internet gift exchanges and swaps out of my system years ago!) and I really needed a cool July 4th card, so a few pieces of cardstock later and a few minutes with my tools and voila, I had a coolio Fourth of July card! I plan on doing that much more in the future! SO easy and so much cheaper!

Happy Fourth of July to all! Everyone out there, be safe!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I am now the owner of THE ANIMAL

That's code for "I just bought the most expensive vacuum on the market." Well, not really...there are a few others that are more. But considering that all of my vacuums to date have been Dirt Devils from Wal-Mart, this is definitely a step up. In case you are still scratching your head at what I speak of, I'm referring to a Dyson Animal vacuum which is designed specifically to suck up pet hair, which I have in abundance in my humble abode. And if you are still scratching your head, then where have you been? It seems like EVERYONE I know either has a Dyson and proclaims it the most awesome appliance they own or knows someone that has it and is envious. In the words of my bud J, the Animal is "flippin awesome"! Umm. We'll see. I don't want to get my hopes up TOO high for what this vacuum will produce, but everyone has said that our carpet will look dramatically different after we use it.

Considering that McKenna's days of just sitting around are about to come to an end, we decided that it's high time we got a decent vacuum and did something about our dog/cat hair carpet all over our house. Monday we both have the day off from work, and McKenna's school is open, so we are taking her in and WE are spending the day at home. Alone. CLEANING.


-to have all laundry done
-to have all floors washed and/or vacuumed
-to have all loose items put away in their spot
-to have both bathrooms cleaned
-for the house to have a pleasant smell about it
-to actually like being home instead of wanting to run away screaming from it

Okay, so let's see if this thing is as great as it's reputed to be...I'm leaving now and will come back with before and after pictures of the carpet.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The baby food factory will be open only one night a week from now on...

I decided today that making one baby food every other night is just TOO HARD. I feel like I'm cleaning the kitchen constantly and if I ever want a prayer of a chance of getting back to the gym or stitching or scrapping during the week, I have to figure out another plan that doesn't involve buying food in jars.

So, my wonderful husband made a simple yet so ingenious suggestion...only cook once a week.

*gasp* What an astounding idea! Thank you, P!

So tonight I cooked all night...I steamed celery, baked sweet potatoes, boiled pears and peeled peaches, all to be made into puree. And that's it. I'm DONE until next weekend except for her new food this week, which I think is going to be papaya and will be simple since it's not cooked. When she runs out of one type of food, I'm just going to put it on my list and just buy it next weekend. I have plenty of ice cube trays now, so I'm all set for baby food making en masse.

I have a feeling I'm going to be making a schedule for myself from now on for things that I'm going to do only once a week...kind of like a pseudo-rotation, for those of you that remember my insane stitching rotation that I used to have once upon a time pre-children, but for chores. I'm going to think on it for a few more days before I formulate anything concrete, but there's just got to be some changes made around here or I'm going to go insane! My house is threatening to send me to the nuthouse!

Friday, June 23, 2006

The week in review

Okay, some quick updates from the week.

First and farmost, I RETOOK AND PASSED MY TEST!!!!

VERY glad about this. Hopefully becoming a manager won't be too far away. I honestly don't know what the next step the book, I have to wait until August to apply for the training program and then go through six weeks of training here in the office and then two weeks in California, but I'm really hoping if my manager gets desperate they speed that up a bit. I'm approaching massive burnout with field work...I just can't take it anymore!

McKenna had a pediatrician's appointment today. She now weighs 21 lbs, 13 oz, and is above the 95th percentile for weight. Height wasn't taken, but I think she's probably about 27" or 28" long. What can I's not like she comes from petite munchkins. P and I are tall peeps! Her doctor was mighty impressed about the variety of foodies that she's eating, which makes me happy.

And this just in...McKenna is moving to Infants II on July 10, which is Primrose-speak for the more advanced babies, ie the ones that can sit up, crawl and walk. All her girly girlfriends are over there, so I'm excited for her that she gets to go over there soon! Just two more weeks!

Foodie status. My second batch of taters came out MUCH better and McKenna is very lukewarm about them. I think it might be a texture thing. She'll eat them better if I mix in fruit, so today I gave her potatoes and mango mixed together and she was happy. Personally, I think it's a disgusting combination, but whatever!

Last night I went to Kroger VERY late to get food for her and some other stuff, and I bought a butternut squash. I've never made a squash before and I don't recall ever tasting butternut squash before, so this was quite an adventure. At first, I was like, $5 for ONE squash? Then, after I got it home and started peeling and dicing it, I saw where that money went. I now have enough butternut squash to feed to McKenna every day for a full month.

And guess WHAT, she likes it! I can't say I blame's very sweet!

Overall, this week has been hellishly busy. I've been up late almost every night doing stuff like making baby food, working, laundry, cleaning, cooking, whatever. No scrapbooking though. Boo. But tomorrow I'm going to a crop at a friend's house, so that'll be a good time! I'm working on the princess pictures, which is always great fun!

Happy weekend to all!

Monday, June 19, 2006

My cooking tip for the year

Are you ready?

Never ever make mashed potatoes in your blender or food processor.

I have been adhering to my baby food Bible for a few months now and have been consulting it for every single thing that I have made for my sweet baby girl, even before I steamed green beans.

However, I didn't bother to look in it before making mashed potatoes, since, of course, I've made mashed potatoes like a million times. Duh!

So today I stopped at Kroger to exchange some formula that I bought and I picked up some potatoes to make tonight for her and for us for dinner.

By the way, in case anyone is curious about what formula we settled on, we decided to give Nestle Good Start a try after giving her Enfamil Lipil since Day 1 since it's what we got free from the pediatrician. She never really relished it like she did my breast milk, and while I know breast is best, we decided to see if she liked Good Start a little bit better. Oh, yes. She does. Today was the first day since we started weaning that she has drank all of her bottles and eaten all of her solid foodies. As of today, we're down to morning nursing and night nursing only. I'm going to give it until the end of the week and if all is still well, I'm going to pack up my breast pump and all the accessories. I don't miss pumping a bit, and my milk supply adjusted quickly. The first couple of days was the hardest...I was really uncomfortable a couple of times, but it was just for a few days. I have some stash left in the freezer, and as soon as that's gone, I'm going to take out my freezer milk storage boxes and pack those away as well. Yes, it's sad that it's the end of an era, but as one of the posters said, I really want to end nursing on a GOOD note, not a bad one where I'm resentful of my pump. I want to make sure that I feel good about pumping so I can do it for baby #2! And I'm really treasuring the nursing sessions with her when she first wakes and right before she goes to sleep. It's very sweet.

So back to our story...tonight after dinner, I pop the taters in the microwave, scoop out the insides, throw it in the food processor and happily blend away. After about a minute, it started to resemble papier mache. I thought, well, maybe I'll try a little skim milk. Nope. I added some water. Even worse. I finally stopped and decided to try to scoop it into the ice cube trays. Ha! I finally tasted it, since of course that's my rule...and I decided there was no way I was giving this crud to my daughter.

I couldn't figure out what happened. I have made mashed potatoes so many times and they have come out perfect! I've even made them in mass...I boiled and mashed a 10 lb bag last fall when my mother-in-law passed away and they were why did I fail with two little measly spuds?

The answer was in Super Baby Food on page 457.

"You can try using your blender, but it may cause the potatoes to take on a plastic consistency."

Uh huh.

So, here are my top 10 rules for cooking, all learned from experience...and there's a story behind each and every one of these rules:

1. Never use a food processor or blender to make mashed potatoes.
2. Never ever try to bake a cheesecake without milk if the recipe calls for milk.
3. Recipes off the internet are never a good idea unless they come highly recommended by an actual human being.
4. Always make extra meringue if you are entering your key lime pie in a cooking contest, aka taking the pie over to the house of your future in-laws, so that when your meringue shrinks, it doesn't look like a pitiful white island on a smooth green sea.
5. Always let your egg whites come to room temperature before whipping them into meringue if you actually want it to resemble meringue.
6. When cooking anything on the stove with sugar in it and the recipe says stir constantly, it really means it.
7. Buying generic is fine...except for your refrigerated ready-made pie crusts. Pillsbury will win every time and I can't explain it.
8. Cake flour is the best way to make cakes.
9. Every kitchen should have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Period. There is no substitute.

And last but not least...

10. A clove of garlic is never to be confused, ever, with a bulb of garlic, unless you want your house to smell like a garlic farm.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The ultimate scrapbooking comment

Today, I unveiled the piece de resistance at our father's day dinner at my in-law's house...the "piece" being my forty-two page scrapbook of my husband's family photographs that I've been working on since oh, about January, when I first started scanning the photographs. I officially began scrapping them in April, and finished up this past week. I've used three packs of natural Creative Memories 12x12 pages, three packs of page protectors, at least one roll of tape runner adhesive, countless stickers, lots of decorative specialty paper, lots of cardstock, over 175 photographs, and one forest green coverset.

I was very nervous about how everyone would react since I have oodles and oodles of my mother-in-law in the book. I was a little scared that I would get tears. No one cried, but my sister-in-law wouldn't look at it past the first six pages, and my brother-in-law didn't even want to look at any of them. My father-in-law looked at it the longest...which really made me feel great.

I got lots and lots of compliments from those that wanted to look at it. Everyone was really impressed with my creativity, organization, and desire to create something for McKenna and my other child-to-be that they will be able to treasure for years to come.

However, the BEST compliment I got was from my other brother-in-law, R. He said looking through the book was like seeing his life go by in about five minutes.

I think that says it all. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

I just spent a fair amount of time tonight baking a German chocolate cheesecake, brownies, and finishing P's family scrapbook to take over to my father-in-law's house tomorrow. Ah, the things we do for our families.

The family scrapbook has been a labor of love for the last three months. I wish that I could say that I have loved every minute of it, but I'd be lying. McKenna's book was WAY more fun to work on. But, it's done now, it looks good, and now I have a great foundation to add pictures to for P's family events. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same thing with my family photographs once I finish getting them all in order and printed out. But for now, I'm going to get back to McKenna, which is my favorite cropping matter!

And speaking of the little angel, I still have not made a final decision about nursing vs. weaning. I appreciate so much all the comments and feedback. I read and reread every one of them. Truthfully, I did start to wean on Tuesday...I cut out a pumping during the day and nixed my before-bed pumping, so basically I was feeding her in the morning, pumping at lunchtime and then feeding her again at night before she went to bed. It worked great up until today.

Today, she would not take a bottle from me, would not fall asleep unless she was nursing, and in general made it pretty well-known that she is not ready to give up nursing yet. I was only so-so about it earlier this week, but the thing that made me want to start weaning was thinking that it wouldn't matter to her. Even my husband agreed with me after watching us today that I should try to keep it going, at least for a little while longer, since it's obvious that she still really wants to nurse. It would have been so much easier to give it up if she went on a nursing strike. *sigh*

But those days of being attached to my pump are history. Today I bought some new formula (my first EVER since I was living off the free stuff from McKenna's pediatrician up until now) and she's going to get that during the day at school. There's no doubt about it. And I'll continue to put my pumped milk in her bottles. But I'm still going to nurse her in the morning, in the evening and pump when I need to. The good thing is that now that I'm only nursing 1-2 times a day, those nursing sessions are very worthwhile ones...I have lots of milk and we're both really enjoying them. But I don't know how long that'll body could figure it out any day what I'm up to.

So we'll see. I'm going to try my hardest to get back to the gym and start dieting again on Monday. My milk production is definitely down, so I'm hoping that will help with the appetite thing. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. I just really need to start working on some of this baby weight, even though I don't want to work on it.

Not much else going on from my world. I'm scheduled to take that management test AGAIN on Wednesday, and I'm scared to death that I'm going to fail again. Just more pressure that I don't need.

At least McKenna is eating asparagus. That was my big pressure yesterday.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I can't do this anymore

After a VERY rough weekend with my daughter and nursing, I wrestled with the decision today about whether or not I should start the slow process of weaning. I also had a long talk with a pal on the phone about it. (Thanks, E.) She suggested that if I'm this ambivalent about it, I must not be ready to stop nursing yet.

She's right. I'm not ready to stop nursing yet. But I don't want to continue either. Either way, it's sadness for me. And I feel so incredibly selfish and guilty.

Quite simply, I've had enough after nearly eight months. I'm tired of dragging my pump with me to work every day. I'm tired of sitting in my car (especially now that it's 100 degrees out) sweating a storm and pumping. I'm tired of my car smelling like sour milk. I'm tired of not being able to wear my old shirts or bras. I'm tired of not being able to sleep on my stomach. I'm tired of having to ask people to wait on me to go to lunch while I pump furiously. I'm tired of driving down the road with the breastshields attached to me while I try to hide them from truckers and other drivers who are wondering what in the world I'm doing. I'm tired of the long process every morning of thawing milk, figuring out how much milk I have in the fridge, and making formula to compensate. I'm tired of marking the bottles to make sure the witches at school give McKenna the oldest bottles first. I'm tired of bagging up milk for the freezer every Saturday morning. I'm tired of being the last one at family dinners to eat because I have to be relegated to the bedroom upon arrival to nurse. I'm tired, tired, tired. I want to be able to get away for an afternoon or an evening without taking my pump or have more than one cocktail at night without having to time it just right or be able to go to bed after falling asleep on the couch without having to drag myself up to pump. And I really want to get back to the gym and try to diet again without failing miserably because my appetite is out of control.

But at the same time, the thought of not nursing my daughter anymore breaks my heart. We have bonded in ways I never imagined these last eight months, and I know that I've given her a beautiful start in life. She's so healthy and beautiful, and I like to think that my milk had so much to do with that.

But how is this healthy? Basically our routine when we're all home on the weekend is to give her the solid food meal, let her nurse for about the ten minutes or so that I can manage to keep her interested, and then she starts to fuss after about ten minutes until we give her a bottle of formula. And then the situation repeats again in about two hours or so. It's just not a good situation and not healthy for her or for me. I can't measure how much she's getting when she's nursing, but I would venture to guess it's not much. Today when I pumped, I got three ounces max total. She drinks seven ounces at a time.

P is totally on board with me (thank GOD) and even said that he's been waiting for me to say that enough is enough because of this hellish routine I've been keeping up. Maybe if I were a stay-at-home mom...maybe I could keep this going longer. But I just can't. I'm crying uncle! Superwoman's cape is getting heavier by the day!

And so it goes. *sigh* I'll start thinking about how I'm going to do this soon. For now, I think I'm just going to try to cut down to one pumping during the day (right now I'm doing two), and maybe in a few days I'll cut to no pumping during the day and see how that goes. I don't know the best way to do this, I'll be honest, but I want to do it in such a way that my days of misery are at a bare minimum.

Any input or suggestions would be appreciated. I got one suggestion on my TTC board that I should try to nurse more and pump less. Duh, you think? Clearly it's a stay-at-home mom that doesn't know how stressful it is to be a working breastfeeding mom!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Happy seven months to McKenna!

I figured it was long overdue for a McKenna update! Can you believe she's in 12-18 month clothes now?????? And she's sitting up now all by herself!

Oh, yeah, and now she's eating apples and oatmeal. We're adding green beans and carrots this week.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A hot streak!

I am happy to report that I have fourteen completed scrapbook pages for the entire weekend.

I completed four yesterday cropping with my friend J and a whopping TEN tonight.

I really think it was the time I spent last night organizing my papers and about a time-saver when you don't have to search for stuff. Amazing.

I have been working on my husband's family pages for WEEKS now. Just a few more and I'll be done and can get back to my baby's pictures! I can't wait!

Ugh, I do NOT want to go to work tomorrow. Why can't I just have a job where I get paid but don't have to do anything? I don't have my stuff packed up, my clothes ready or anything, and it's almost 1:30 am. I'll be yawning tomorrow, that's for sure!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Extending my online presence a little bit...

It was a HUGE deal for me when I started my web page to show off my cross stitch several years ago. I think it was in 2000 or 2001.

Then, two years ago, I started blogging.

Now I have a space on myspace! Come visit me at my new myspace account!

I wasn't really looking to do this, but one of my friends at work talked me into starting an account, and then after I got the hang of all the html and stuff, I realized that it really is quite interactive compared to blogger.

I haven't quite decided yet if I'm going to permanently switch over there, but I sure am thinking about it. For now, I'm just going to post in both places and link the blogs together and give it a few months before I decide. I have a LONG history in this blog (two years!) so I'm not ready to just rush off yet, but this myspace thingy is VERY cool. And I've found people on there that I had NO idea had web pages! It's managed to consume an entire evening tonight.

But it sure is fun.

If you happen to have a myspace account, send me a friend request so I can link you up to my page...that's part of the community aspect that I sure do like!