Don’t call us, we’ll call you

June 25, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: Someone save me from my inept parents

Filed under: Family, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 6:00 pm

Daddy tries (and fails) to get me in my new dress.

Mommy takes pictures (and laughs).

June 24, 2010

To blog or not to blog

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 9:23 pm

If you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of months, you know that I’ve dramatically increased my posting frequency.  There’s a number of reasons for this; in fact, it was something like a perfect storm of factors that changed my blogging habits:

  1. Little Addison rarely naps unless I am holding her and I found a way to turn nap-time into blog-time in order to save my sanity.
  2. I had been contemplating the blogging style of one of my favorites, Nikki (of Once Womacks fame), and how she manages to write brief, recurring features that are either thought-provoking or funny (or both) without belaboring her point.  She writes simple titles like “memory” or “question” or “think about” [those links are to a few of my favorites] and I know that I’ll be entertained or encouraged in some way.  I wanted to try my hand at some shorter posts in that vein . . . it turns out, it’s harder than it looks [maybe just for people who apparently love to hear themselves speak (or write)!].
  3. On a related note, I was inspired by Sara (who tells firsthand about the Secondhand Life) when she started some weekly features for different days of the week, like Weekend Anthem on Friday and Style Shot on Saturday.  (Computer problems and perhaps her free-spirited nature have since forced her to abandon those regular posts.)  From that impetus, Happiness Project Wednesday, Recommends Thursday, and Pictures for the Weekend were born.
  4. Neal and I started working on a top-secret project (well, project sounds a little too small for what we are working on; more accurately, we are working on a top-secret plan-for-the-rest-of-our-lives) and although this blog isn’t specifically part of it, some aspects of more frequent blogging are preparatory for the other things we’re hatching.

I wasn’t sure if I would like trying to post on my blog five days a week.  But it turns out that I have.  So far. (I mean, it’s only been 6 weeks.)

But this month in California has me at a crossroads.  Do I take a blogging hiatus to really hit my thesis as hard as I possibly can?  Or do I still carve out some personal time to do something I have come to enjoy quite a bit?

If you were me, what would you do?

June 22, 2010

2 parents + 1 infant + 12-hour car trip = minor trauma

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — llcall @ 5:22 pm

Addison’s most traumatic moment: She was just chilling in the back seat with Neal after waking up from her first nap (hallelujah, she napped twice!).  Neal was getting a little restless, making grumbling comments my way after about two hours in the car, until he finally yelled, “I’m BORED!”  That certainly freaked out our poor little girl, who screamed bloody murder for about five minutes.  Needless to say, Neal didn’t yell anything else that day.

Lindsay’s most traumatic moment: We were just 15 minutes from my parents’ house, making good time, trying to get there before an absolute meltdown.  It’s 8:00pm on a Saturday night when traffic slows to a halt on the 91 West.  Our baby girl has had enough and starts with the most pitiful, sorrowful sobbing you’ve ever heard.  She’s crying so hard she can’t catch her breath, and I’m about to lose it myself.  Turns out, it was just a bunch of darn rubberneckers on our side of the freeway.  Curses!

Neal’s most traumatic moment: (And I quote . . . ) I don’t know, it was just hard the whole trip.

But we made it to So Cal!  And the first 6 hours were cake.  Not too shabby.

June 18, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: Off to L.A. for the victory parade

Filed under: Family, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 7:38 pm

He sets . . .

He shoots . . .

He scores!!!

Seriously.  We leave tomorrow morning.

(I mean, it’s not every day your boys bring home a Game 7 win against the Celtics to clinch the NBA Title.)

June 17, 2010

Neal recommends: Landscape paintings. Real ones, fool.

Filed under: Neal's writing, Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 6:00 pm

I’m not sure what format Lindsay is putting these “recommends” posts in, so this probably won’t match any of them.  But she just pulled up wordpress and pushed me into a chair and demanded that I write something.  Or I go to bed without supper.  Which usually involves fighting the rats in the basement for scraps of food.  Also,

I recommend paintings.  But not just paintings.  Paintings with landscapes in them. Here is why:

They are awesome.  And they are awesomer when they are abstract landscapes.

Here’s a few.  Click on them and they’ll get bigger.  The magic of the internet, baby:

These are by a Norwegian painter named Ornulf Opdahl.  I like to spend time on Google image search looking for great landscapes and landscape paintings, and Ornulf is my current obsession.  It sure beats doing homework.

Why are landscapes so great?  Well, here’s a blog I found that talks about how landscape paintings, in particular, have healing qualities that photos or other mediums often do not:

http://www.nancyreyner.com/painting-blog/2007/11/healing-power-of-landscape-paintings.html

You can tell it is legitimate because the blog quotes a doctor who says things like “…Life Energy will be high,” which makes me kind of feel like I’m playing a video game.  Or watching Avatar.

Anyway, I’m a big proponent of authentic, one-of-a-kind paintings rather than prints or reproductions.  Thomas Kinkade, rot in hell.  So if you don’t have the bucks to buy one of these, do your own – just make sure you call it an abstract landscape, and no one can say squat. Below is one I did.  And what is it, exactly?  It don’t matter, fool!  It’s abstract!

June 16, 2010

Happiness Project Wednesday: Identify a quick fix

Every Wednesday I’m recording how The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin has influenced my daily life.  To read my introductory post, click here.

Last night I woke up at 4:00am feeling horribly ill.  It wasn’t just a little nausea . . . I was so sick to my stomach that it made me hurt all over.*  In the hour and a half that I lay awake (thanks, Nikki, for helping me with the lay/lie issue) feeling quite miserable, I thought about quick fixes.  How do I get a quick hit of happiness to help me get through a seemingly unbearable time?

And you know what came to mind?  Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts.  [Does this date me?]  As I ran through some of them in my mind, I really did get a boost of happiness.  I thought of this one first:

To me, it’s always a good idea to carry two sacks of something when you walk around.  That way, if anybody says, ‘Hey, can you give me a hand?’ you can say, ‘Sorry, got these sacks.’

and all the times that Neal and I have quickly picked up sacks when we knew the other was going to ask us for help with something.  Then I laughed out loud when I thought of my favorite:

To me, clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kinda scary. I’ve wondered where this started, and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad.

Never gets old for me.

I sometimes give quick fixes a bad rap because I feel like as a culture we often defer the grander, in-depth changes that would make us better, happier, healthier people.  And I don’t want to defer doing the hard things merely because they’re hard.  But I’m also coming to see the value in these quick fixes, like listening to a favorite song, one of Gretchen’s preferred methods.

I’m starting to get more serious about identifying my quick fixes.  Jack Handey quotes.  “The Office.”  “I Love Lucy.”  And this song, which is one of my all-time favorites (and made all the better by this slightly bizarre, early-90s video, which I had never seen before):

What are your happiness quick fixes?

* I’m feeling much better this afternoon.  I found out that my cousin Emily had the same problem last night/today, which likely means it was food poisoning rather than a bug since we went out for a treat together last night.

June 15, 2010

Adventures in cloth diapering

Filed under: Family, Motherhood — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 6:00 pm

Back in October, I mentioned that I was trying to talk Neal into cloth diapering.  My initial impetus was solely monetary — we were trying to find any way to pare down our budget!  In spite of Neal’s usually frugal nature, he just did not think that the financial savings was worth swishing poopy diapers in the toilet.  But I kept at it, creating cost-comparison spreadsheets (I’m actually even more pleased with the financial aspect than I predicted because psychologically it feels like we’re saving even more money than we are since we don’t have any recurring diaper expenses!) and reading message boards to find out how others convinced their initially-reluctant husbands to get on board.  And as you can see from this post title, it worked!  [Just between you and me, I pretty much always get my way once I’ve made up my mind.  But don’t tell Neal, he doesn’t know yet.]

After spending months trying to talk Neal into going cloth, and then gathering all the supplies we would need once he agreed, the strangest thing happened when we brought Addison home from the hospital.  I thought, what was I thinking?!  I am a total idiot . . . I can’t do this!!

Those first couple of weeks were literally so crazy and disorienting that I couldn’t possibly have added one more chore like cloth diapering.  We were so grateful for the people who had given us disposable diapers!  However, by about her third week of life, I was ready to give the cloth diapers a try — luckily, since with cloth diapering the bulk of the costs are up-front, so I had already made our investment in it.  It took Neal a little longer to come around; he would not deal with the clothies until he was getting good and consistent sleep, which luckily came around the five-week mark.

Although this won’t be a formal how-to post, I’ve had enough people (especially Aunt Robin who gifted us some of our first cloth diapers) ask me how it works for us that I thought I would walk through our process and set-up.

First, we have our changing pad in the bathroom so that we have easy access to the sink.  This is essential for easier diaper cleaning and because I made some cheap cloth wipes ($1/yard for white cotton flannel!) that we wet as needed:

Next, we’ve got a diaper sprayer, which solved Neal’s problem with not wanting to put his hands in the toilet.

Most of the big cloth diapering companies sell a diaper sprayer that hooks up to the toilet plumbing, but these were a little pricey for us ($40 and up).  So I sent my awesomely-handy father to Lowe’s to see what he could do for us.  We ended up with this shower sprayer:

Perfect for spraying dogs, diapers, and Addisons, for only $20.  It has worked really well for us since our toilet is fairly close to our shower head.

Finally, we’ve got our fancy-schmancy diaper pails:

Otherwise known as 50-cent ice cream buckets from the BYU Creamery.  The yellow lid is our wet bucket, for sprayed-down poopy diapers, and the red lid is our dry bucket for just wet diapers (I never noticed that before . . . our dry bucket is for wet diapers).

It took us a while to get a routine going, but now things are basically clicking.  Every night Neal brings the buckets out to the washer around 8:00 so that I can wash them and transfer them to the dryer before bed (although lately I’ve been contemplating using our drying rack instead of the dryer, now that we’ve got a system going).  Having such a convenient washer/dryer set-up has been the real key, and since we have the energy-efficient kind, the washer adjusts to the size of the load.  It has raised our utility bills somewhat (we’re paying about $20 more per month, but that includes other lifestyle adjustments to having a baby — like did you know how much you have to wash your hands with these little critters around?!), but we’re happy with the way it is going.  And we’ve made a deal with the planet, we’ll do this for it, if we can call in a favor later.  Nice.

As to the actual diapers, we have tried four different kinds to date.  As I said yesterday, I sewed some diapers myself from kits that I bought from this website.  I enjoy sewing, so this was basically fun for me, but in my haste to finish the diaper before active labor set in, I made a small mistake.  Let me just tell you, there is no such thing as a small mistake when you’re trying to contain urine and fecal matter.  Words to live by.

But by adding an extra liner from one of the other diapers, we were still able to use my defective diaper (though not at times when leaking would have been a big problem).  Since it was a size 1, it was a bit baggy on her at the beginning:

It is interesting to watch her wear the same diaper day-in and day-out, and see how the fit changes as she grows.  Yesterday we officially retired this size-1 diaper, and rotated in the size-2 homemade diaper, which I hope was sewn more precisely.

As I mentioned Robin and Diane gifted us some little gPants, which are known for being an environmentally-friendly hybrid between cloth and disposable, although we only have the cloth variety.  These had an incredibly awkward fit:

Until I figured out that I was putting them on backwards.  Much better:

They are hands-down the cutest diapers we own, but the outer cover often feels damp to the touch even though the inner liner is supposed to keep it dry.  With these, we often can’t tell if she is really wet or not.  Still, I will be sad for her to outgrow them (which is imminent since they only go up to about 14 pounds) because they’re my go-to diapers when she needs to look extra adorable!

The best diaper we own is a single bumGenius — one of the crème de la crème of clothies.  I can’t get over how well made this diaper is!  It’s super easy to put on since it’s built much like a disposable.  And the cloth layer that touches her skin really wicks away moisture as well or better than a disposable.  Sometimes we can’t tell whether she’s wet or not until we actually pull out the insert (of course, usually she is wet . . . a little pee monkey, remember?).  But the best part is that it is a one-size-fits-all diaper (you adjust a few of snaps as needed to go from 8 pounds to 35 pounds), so we can basically use it from birth until she is potty-trained.  Can you tell that I think this diaper is AMAZING?!  Here’s a shot of our little beauty:

Did you think I meant Addison?

Unfortunately, buying more than one of these little miracle machines wasn’t in the budget (they run about $17 around here, although that includes an extra nighttime liner), so the bulk of our diapers are actually a new, inexpensive variety made by the same company as bumGenius.  Econobums have only been on the market for about 8 months, so it is too soon to say if they will last us through her whole diapering stage, but they are made to be a one-size prefold and one-size diaper cover to take you from 8 to 35 pounds.  For $50, we got 12 prefold inserts and 3 covers and so far we are pleased with how well they work.  We rarely have any leakage with them, even overnight (we only use the econobums or bumGenius overnight since the others don’t fare well for that long a stretch).  Of course, the downside is that they look ridiculous on her.  But that’s also the upside.  I don’t know if the pictures do justice to how funny she looked in them as a newborn, but she was hilariously bottom-heavy:

They still make her look like quite a big-bummed girl (and sometimes cause a little chafing, though she doesn’t seem bothered by it), but at least she is no longer immobile in them:

But frugality over fashion, little one.  It’ll pay dividends later when you get to do things like eat and wear shoes in the winter.  You’ll see.

June 14, 2010

My labor project

Filed under: Personal, Pregnancy — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 6:00 pm

I mentioned before that one of the strategies from Birthing from Within that I really loved was the labor project.  The idea is to plan a project to pass the time during early labor so that you do not obsess over every contraction.  While most of the examples revolved around cooking (like making a birthday cake for your new baby, which sounded awesome until I realized that they meant I would be doing the baking), I knew immediately that I would use this as an opportunity to do some sewing.  Obviously, I went with practical over fun, but it was still enjoyable.

Washable nursing pads

Cloth diapers

(the reason I was so desperate for ball-point needles)

I also started to hem Neal’s new pants, but it turns out that 9-months pregnant + contractions + getting on the floor to measure do not mix!

June 11, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: Can’t a girl get a minute?!

Filed under: Family, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 6:00 pm

“Aaah . . . this is nice.  Lazy Sunday afternoon.”

“Sheesh, Mom.  Not again with the camera.”

“Put the camera away.”

“Fine.  How do you like this picture?”

“Still?  What’s a girl gotta do?!  Threaten . . . “

“Hiiii-ya!”

“Still???  This is getting ridiculous!”

“Oh, I know what’ll get you running . . . POOPY!”

“And more . . . “

“Almost done . . . “

“Aaaaah.”

June 10, 2010

Baby recommends: Keep breathing

Filed under: Family, Music — Tags: , — llcall @ 6:00 pm

I’ve loved Ingrid Michaelson ever since I was a little baby.  First, I thought “Winter Song” was the best, but lately I’m digging when my mom sings of idealism and human frailty in “Keep Breathing.”  The video is boring, but all the better to preserve the quiet angst.

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