Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh, These Girls of Mine

My girls are crazy!  They're fun, they're silly, they're sweet, they're emotional, they're OPINIONATED!  I'm trying to look at that last one as a good thing...

I'll start with Sadie.  Sadie has the craziest personality ever.  She seems to change her mood depending on the weather.  Some days she'll wake up from her nap asking for Daddy, looking out the window for him and everything and sad when he's not there.  But then when he gets home from work she runs away from him screaming and I have to hold her.  She won't go to him and holds on to me so tightly refusing to let him hold her.  All Daddy has to say is, "Sadie, want to go outside and see if we can find the lizard?".  Then she goes to him, goes outside and all is forgiven.  Silly girl!

Sadie is usually a lot of fun to be around.  She's figuring out the world and figuring out her own sense of humor. She knows when she's doing something silly.  She's recently started making silly faces and laughing at herself, even when she can't see her own face!  She just knows she's being silly and we should be laughing at her.

Along with Sadie's sense of humor comes her temper.  She has a tendency to get a little (or a lot) angry.  Of course it's all over typical toddler stuff...Mommy takes her out of the swing at the park and she has a meltdown.  She drops a toy or snack and she has a meltdown.  She wants to wear a particular pair of shoes and Mommy puts other ones on her (or attempts to put other ones on her) and she has a meltdown.  She wants a particular drink or snack and we bring her something different...she will HIT the unwanted item out of our hands.  Ahhhh...I didn't go through this kind of stuff with Maddie because she was talking in sentences by this age.  Sadie's talking in sentences too, just in her own little language that I can't understand :)

Some things Sadie says:  Teet Teet (bird), boo boo, pee pee (anytime someone goes into the bathroom), milk, again, more, Mmm hmm (yes), no, eat, ball, Murph, outside, play, book, cheeks, brush (brush teeth), bath (this means bath as well as swim), toes, mama, daddy, Maddie, bear, mine (lovey), bed.  She's said a few phrases too.  She's said "Did you see that?", "I got it", "I got you", "who is it?"  I know there are more words and phrases she says but my mind isn't letting me remember them right now :)

And then there's sweet little 4 going on 14-year old.  Maddie has become very particular about what she wears these days.  I've always liked giving her a choice in what she wants to wear (a choice between two things usually).  Well, now she insists on wearing a skirt or dress every day.  Princesses don't wear shorts or pants, didn't you know??  We've gotten used to letting her wear whatever she wants.  I mean, we bought her the clothes she has so we know it's all appropriate to be wearing out.  So what if she wants to wear a church dress to school...but now she's started getting more particular with her hair too!  This one's driving me crazy.  I wonder what age I can start letting her fix her own hair.  She's so indecisive about the way she wants to wear her hair.  This morning she's wearing a super cute outfit (skirt, of course) but she doesn't have any headbands that match it.  Headbands are her hair accessory of choice!  She threw down her purple headband, stomped out of the bathroom as she's pouting about not having ANY HEADBANDS THAT MATCH and slams the door on her way out.  Wow!!  I didn't even know what to say about that one.  I just let her go. When she didn't get any attention about it, she came back in and decided she wanted to pony tails.  Then she told me exactly where she wanted them on her head.  The pony tails had to be up high and out to the sides so she can see her pony tails.  The funny thing is that she doesn't seem to mind that her purple hair bands don't match her teal outfit.  And, yes, she picked those out herself too!

The other thing Maddie's really indecisive about is what to eat for breakfast.  Every morning we go through the full list of her options for breakfast.  She regularly tells me she doesn't know why she can't decide what she wants for breakfast.  "That's just the way God made me," she tells me.  I just smile and let her take her time deciding.  Usually once she gets started with one thing, she'll keep asking for more and more for breakfast.  So I know she's hungry, she just really doesn't know what she wants.

Maddie is really sweet and thoughtful most of the time.  Every Friday at school they get to check out a library book.  Last Friday she came home with Brown Bear, Brown Bear because she knows that's Sadie's favorite book.  She thinks about what her friends like and offers help if someone needs help.  She just seems so much older than a 3 3/4 year old in this aspect.  I mean, she's still selfish and doesn't want to share her toys most of the time, but to think of others the way she does makes her seem so much older and more mature to me.

I love my girls and their crazy personalities!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Five Years

Isn't it amazing how fast time goes by?  Five years ago I was a soldier serving in Iraq.  Now I'm a stay at home mom of two sweet little girls.  Some days it feels like I just had drill weekend last weekend.  Other days it feels like my time in the Army was a lifetime ago.  It's so strange how our minds and our memories work like that.

Two years ago I posted about the death of a friend.  I won't rehash it, but if you'd like to take a look back at that post, you can go here.  I just wanted to take a few minutes to remember Sean today.  His life meant something to me. His death meant something to all of us.  I have a magnet with his name on it that says, "All gave some, some gave all."  That sums it up.  We will never forget him and what his sacrifice means.

Today I remember Sean and I miss him terribly.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Some Pictures

I've been slacking on pictures lately.  So here are some to make Grandparents and aunts/uncles happy :)

Maddie making a "corn angel" at the livestock show.

Daddy and his girls at the livestock show.  The girls were too interested in their snacks to look at the camera!

Maddie's pony ride.

Sadie's first pony ride!

Maddie got to be the train conductor. She was so proud of herself!

Flat Stanley came to visit us from PA!  We've taken him to lots of places, including this BBQ restaurant.

Maddie leaned over to Sadie and said, "mommy, take a picture of us!"

My swimming beauties.

An after swimming popsicle treat.

Sadie in the bluebonnets.  I took one picture of Maddie in the she was standing up to get away from a bee.  Oh well.

Sadie at the park this morning.  She's getting so big!

Loving the swing!


We LOVE the park!

 This look says, "Aw, geez, mom.  You're going to post this picture, aren't you?"

Maddie's REALLY into wearing her boots with dresses and skirts lately :)

My sweet girls!

Colored Rice

Linking up with Leighann @ Living with 3 Hobbits and a Giant.  Feel free to join her Pinterest party to share what you've been up to!

So, I've kind of gotten addicted to Pinterest in the past month or so.  I gave up Facebook for Lent so I replaced my homepage with Pinterest...bad idea.  I think I waste even more time on Pinterest than I did on Facebook!  I mean, there's only so much you can do on Facebook, but on Pinterest you can go on for HOURS.

Anyway, I've found a lot of fun kid ideas and one of them was colored rice.  I thought it looked like a fun thing to do to give my girls something different to do.  I had considered a sand box in the past but seriously don't want the sand throughout my house so I thought the rice box idea might work out a little better.

So, I headed out to Walmart one day to buy my supplies.  You'll need rice (duh), food coloring and rubbing alcohol.  Apparently you can do this with water instead of rubbing alcohol, it'll just take longer to dry.  I bought the Walmart brand of cheap white rice (hint:  check the per unit pricing.  It was cheaper to buy the rice in 5lb bags vs 10lb bags!)

The original post I had saved on Pinterest said to use 2 Tbsp of food coloring for every 4 cups of rice.  That was WAY too much.  I ended up doing 8 cups of red rice because I realized the amount of food coloring/alcohol I had put it the bag was enough for double the amount of rice.  I ended up doing 1 little container of food coloring and 2 Tbsp of rubbing alcohol for every 4 cups of rice.

Here are the steps:

1.  Put the food coloring and rubbing alcohol in a zip top bag.

2.  Add the 4 cups of rice (be sure the bag is SECURELY sealed before mixing it up!!) and mix it around to evenly distribute the color.  Try not to be too rough with it.  One of my bags, a Ziploc brand, actually tore open on the side of the bag.  I didn't think I was being too rough but maybe I was...

3.  Spread the colored rice out on a cookie sheet or other flat surface to dry.  It will dry within 10 minutes, maybe even less.

4.  Line your colors up into a pretty rainbow.  Ok, maybe that's just the OCD in me...But don't get used to it, as soon as the kids get their hands on it, it's all over!  :)

5.  Let your little princesses (or princes) play with it!  Be warned:  They will definitely get it all over the place.  I kept the bin outside for my girls to play with but was still annoyed with all the rice all over the place.  Oh well, they're kids and they're enjoying life!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cloth Diapering

I've had a lot of questions from friends lately about cloth diapering.  What made me decide to do it?  Am I glad I do it?  Does it really save me money?  Is it really better for the environment?  Isn't it gross handling your kid's poo?  Why do you want to put so much extra work on yourself?  What if you forget to wash the diapers?  Do you use a diaper service?  How do I know which cloth diaper is best for me/my kid?  What about when you travel?  Don't the diapers leak a lot?  I could go on and on with these questions...So I decided to go ahead and work on a blog post detailing our life with cloth diapers. 

Before you go on, be warned that this is a rather lengthy post...if you aren't interested in the subject of cloth diapers, you may want to stop reading now :)

First of all, I'll tell you what made me decide to cloth diaper.  Sadie has some pretty sensitive skin.  She actually had chemical burns from Pampers Swaddlers with Dry Max.  I didn't know why we couldn't get her terrible rash to clear up for literally months...the burns would explain why.  It just made me really question what I was putting against my baby's bum.  Why would diaper manufacturers think it's ok to put chemicals in diapers that could harm baby's sensitive skin?  That's just terrible to me.  Also, I was under some crazy misconception that if I used cloth diapers Sadie would never have another rash again (I was WRONG). *Note:  Pampers has since stopped manufacturing the diapers with "Dry Max", which was causing chemical burns on the sensitive tushies of babies across the country.  YAY!!  I'm so glad they got rid of that so more babies (and parents) won't have to go through what we did.

Before I bought the cloth diapers and all the necessities that go along with them, I sat down and did some serious research.  I found that by using cloth diapers I would save just over $1,000 over the course of 2 years (assuming Sadie actually potty trains at 2).  I took into consideration an increase in our water bill, additional detergent, saving money by not buying baby wipes, not buying diapers, etc.  I put A LOT of thought into it.  It turns out we won't be saving as much as I thought because we're still buying disposable diapers and wipes...but we'll get to that later.

There are arguments as to whether or not cloth diapering is better for the environment.  It is in the sense that we're not throwing human feces into the landfill.  (In fact, did you know that disposable diaper manufacturers actually ask consumers to flush feces and NOT throw it away?  Little known fact...)  Cloth diapering is NOT so environmentally friendly when you consider the extra water and electricity you have to use to wash and dry these babies.  My wash cycles take about 6 hours to complete.  That's a whole lotta water, even with my HE machine (which is actually why it takes so long to wash them!!).

Am I glad I cloth diaper?  Absolutely!  Making the decision to cloth diaper has definitely been a good one.  I'm not a crunchy granola mom who plans to save the earth one cloth diapered baby at a time or fact, it wasn't the environmental factors that made me want to use them so it wasn't an issue to me.  If I had known how much I was going to love cloth diapering, I definitely would've done it for my first baby as well as my second. 

Yes, diapers leak.  But, can't tell me your kid has never leaked out of a disposable, either.  Right?  I find that I have to change Sadie every three hours at a minimum.  Any longer than that and we risk a leak.  But with her sensitive skin she needs to be changed that frequently anyway.  I can honestly tell you we have NEVER, seriously, not once, had a poop blow out.  You know how babies get to that age where they start pooping all the way up their back into their hair line?  Yup...Sadie never had to experience that.  Amazing!!  That's my best "selling point" for cloth diapers.  It's totally worth all the money and all the washing JUST for that!

Yes, cloth diapering is a lot of work.  I wash diapers about every 3-4 days.  I only have 18 diapers (actually 16 because two of them need the elastic repaired and I haven't gotten around to that yet) so it's best to wash them every 3 days so we don't risk running out.  I always spray out the diapers with our diaper sprayer as we take them off of Sadie.  This gets most of the pee/poo out before the go in the wash.  I put them through several wash/rinse cycles in the washer to get them super-duper clean then I like to dry them in the sun (a GREAT reason to live in Houston!!).  If it happens to be a rainy day, I just dry the diaper covers on the drying rack under a ceiling fan and put the inserts in the dryer.  No big deal, just doesn't get them sun bleached, with is always a great way to keep them smelling their freshest!

I'll admit, sometimes I lose track of how many diapers we have left and we end up running out before they're washed and/or dry.  This is a good reason to keep a back up of disposables on hand!  Other good reasons to keep disposables on hand?  Sadie still gets diaper rashes.  When she has a rash we have to use diaper cream (of course) and you can't use any kind of creams or lotions with cloth diapers.  These creams will build up in the inserts/liners and will cause the diapers to repell instead of absorb...something no one wants!  We also put a disposable diaper on Sadie at bedtime.  She leaked out of a few of her diapers overnight (even with extra inserts) and then her overnight diapers started smelling like a barnyard.  NASTY.  They didn't even seem to smell fresh after we washed them.  I didn't like feeling like I needed a gas mask to enter her room in the mornings so we figured one disposable diaper a day was a fair trade-off!  Also, I haven't used cloth diapers when we've traveled.  I know a lot of people do, but when I'm on vacation I want a vacation from washing diapers, too!  Also, it might make some people feel weird to have me washing poo diapers in the same machine they're going to wash their clothes in.  Of course, no one else I visit has a diaper sprayer either, and that's kind of essential for getting the poo out BEFORE it goes in the wash!

Have I forgotten anything?

A few things I've learned along the way:
1) a diaper sprayer is a MUST
2) the right detergent makes all the difference.  I use Rockin' Green detergent.  It's the first detergent I tried and it worked so I stuck with it.  I've heard horror stories of moms going through detergent after detergent finding one that works.  I'm so happy I found Rockin' Green when I did.  It's a little pricey, but it's definitely a fair trade off!
3) buy all you need up front and it helps to have all the same type of diaper.  There are SO MANY options out there.  At first I thought I would try several different types of diapers and see which worked for me.  Then I came across a 50% off sale and ended up buying 18 of the same diaper and inserts.  These diapers work for me, but I don't know if there's something "better" out there.  I like that all the inserts and liners go to the same diapers.  There's not sorting out what goes with which so that makes the washing process easier.
4) put all the diapers together before you need them.  There's nothing worse than having a wiggly baby on the changing table while you're trying to stuff inserts into the diaper!  We try to get all the diapers put together and put in the top drawer of the changing table so they're ready to go.  Of course this doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's so nice!!
5) clothes will not fit your baby like they do with disposable diapers.  I haven't found "the brand" that fits over fluffy baby bums.  We usually go a size up or just buy Carter's cotton pants since they always seem to fit well.  Also, Sadie wears a lot of dresses :)  However, the cute little diaper covers that come along with dresses don't usually fit.  If you try to force those tiny things over a fluffy cloth diaper, you tend to get leakage from the diaper cover creeping in too tight on the edges of the diaper.

Ok, I think that's it for now (I've been working on this post for WEEKS trying to get it all covered).  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  Again, I'm by no means an expert, just a mom who chose to cloth diaper.  I'll tell you anything I know.  If I don't know, I'll tell you that, too!

If you're still with me at this point...thanks for hanging on and reading all this info!  I hope it helped!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fun in the Sun

About two weeks ago we had the sunniest, most summer-like weather we've had in a while (ok...since October I guess).  I believe the high for the day reached 85 and it was sunny with a slight breeze all day.  It really had me wishing for summer weather full-time again!  (But ask me in July how I'm enjoying the weather...). 

Anyway, I decided to staple some pictures and plain paper to the back fence for the girls to do some painting.  Sadie had never done any painting before so I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  Maddie has been painting for some time and still has trouble remembering to only pull the brush down and not to push it up.  She's still working on it and getting better.  The more we paint, the better she'll get!

I had read somewhere (probably pinterest) that if you add a few drops of dish detergent to non-washable paint, that it will become washable.  I don't know who ever came up with such a girls have blue stains all over their clothes to prove that's not true!  And just so you know, I always pretreat, even when things claim to be washable...learned my lesson from "washable" sidewalk chalk.

So, here are a few pictures of the girls from the day.  They had a great time and started working on their summer tans already!  Enjoy :)

 Stylin' in her shades

Maddie doing one of her dance moves

And the painting begins

25-30 minutes later they had had enough and this is what we were left with

After they lost interest in painting, they started doing "gymnastics".  Apparently gymnastics is jumping off of lawn chairs.

Cutie pie!

This picture was taken the next day at the park...I don't plan on posting about that, so I thought I'd sneak this picture in here. Love her in pigtails!!