A New Year's Wish

"May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions."
~ Joey Adams

Seriously, though, I wish everyone health and happiness in 2009.


Thank You

Anita and Lauren, you have outdone yourselves. A package full of goodies just in time for Christmas (and my B-day). And not just for Mollie and Lucy, but for me too! I love it all. The handmade (cable-knit even) hat! The Listology book. Journal. Chocolate. Soap.

Mollie was overjoyed at the buttons, shells, and bath toys. And Lucy loved the wrapping paper and bows.

You're the bestest!



I hate that Mollie has a life threatening disease.
I hate that she has been in the hospital for nearly a week and can't even leave the room.
I hate that Matt and I haven't had a moment alone in over a week.
I hate that I am missing out on this fun stage in Lucy's life.

Sometimes it all seems surreal, like I will wake up tomorrow and everything will be back to normal. No clinic, no hospitals, no cancer. It breaks my heart to see everything that Mollie has to endure. That our family has to endure.

Right now I feel like breaking every window in the house. Instead, I will try to sleep. To rest and get ready to entertain, console, monitor, and love Mollie in the hospital tomorrow.



The cute little hats were made by RGW! And out of yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, no less.

Now that Lucy is on the move, she's also more interactive. Mollie is really enjoying this. She can always get Lucy to laugh by surprising her. She loves to "read" to her. She loves to bring Lucy new toys and show her how to use them. She always checks with me to make sure they are not too small. Every once in a while I hear, "Mama, Lucy is boddering me!" Most of the time, they play together very well. Tonight, Mollie was gathering all the ingredients (link-a-dos and teething rings) to make donut soup while Lucy kept trying to pull electrical cords out of their sockets. Mollie would make sure to let me know that Lucy was going for the cords (even though I was right there) and would try to block access.

Yup, got to "baby proof". Mollie was never interested in all those forbidden-to-babies things like cords, sockets, cabinets, bookshelves, drawers. Lucy is interested in all those things.

Mollie still likes to participate in caring for Lucy- picking out her clothes and shoes, washing her face, feeding her. She even wanted to decorate Lucy's bedroom for Christmas. It is so sweet. In return, Lucy is very sensitive to Mollie's emotions. She laughs when Mollie laughs. She cries when Mollie cries. The last two weeks she's been in the room when Mollie was getting her chemo shots, and as soon as Mollie started crying, Lucy would too.

I am sure they will have their share of fights, but for now I'm savoring the sweetness.


She can crawl, she can crawl, she can crawl!

Got to go catch her so more later.....


Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas. Mollie put all of our shoes out last night to see if St. Nick would stop by. Sure enough, he did. He filled them with fruit and candy, stickers and a snowglobe (and Matt was lucky enough to get a bottle of Sierra Nevada).

The St. Nicholas Center has a good website with a lot of information about the feast day and how it is celebrated around the world.

Every year, the commercials and store decorations make me start to have Christmas anxiety and stress. After reading a little more about Advent, I am feeling more relaxed (about the holidays, not in general though). We have our Advent calendars up and Mollie takes great joy in opening a door each day.

My goal for the weekend is to get out outdoor lights up because Christmas lights are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Our neighborhood is very dark (as in, there are not a lot of street lights) so the lights just give it a more cozy feeling.


Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

I feel like I've been on it and can't get off! The last few days have been full of ups and downs. Nothing particularly major, or surprising. I think I'm just tired. I have a to do list a mile long. The holidays are coming up. I fear Mollie will have to be in the hospital on or around Christmas (that is when her blood counts are expected to be the lowest).

I'm just going to leave it at that. Oh, and I made sure to vote today, after spending 8 hours in clinic with Mollie, and Martin lost the Senate race! (In a runoff to GOP candidate Saxby Chambliss).

I'm feeling so "bleh" right now, it's hard to write.

But, Thanksgiving was wonderful (even though the "button" in our turkey didn't pop for the second year in a row). We enjoyed eating in our dining room for the first time ever! It was great to have my parents visiting and helping out with Mollie and Lucy (and dishes and cooking, shopping, electrical updating, etc).



I am thankful for so many things this year, but mostly I am thankful that we are here, celebrating Thanksgiving.

This year has been incredible and crazy. When Mollie was diagnosed with leukemia, my top 5 priorities pulled way ahead of the other priorities on the list. I am so thankful to my friends and family for recognizing this and not putting pressure on us.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I like the food and flavors, the decorations, the warmth. But mostly I just enjoy spending time with family and having no agenda. We don't have to go anywhere. We are just going to enjoy the day.


10 Month Old Lucy

And Happy Birthday to Lauren!

Wow! 10 months has gone by in the blink of an eye!

Lucy has a great personality. She is not quite crawling, but manages to get around by rolling or scooting (Mollie says she slithers). Peek-a-boo is her favorite game followed by pat-a-cake and "this little piggy went to market". She can sense the energy level in the room and gets really excited when everyone else is singing/laughing/dancing. She can clap and sometimes waves "bye- bye".

Lucy has four teeth now. She has always loved to eat and last week she developed the skill of feeding herself, so now we just put food on her high chair tray and watch it disappear: pears, grapes, pancakes, crackers, meatloaf, chicken, pasta, peas. You name it, Lucy will eat it.


Lucy's Crib

Sorry for the blurry picture- Lucy's room is tiny and it was hard to focus.
And yes, those are Lu's chubby little legs in the lower left corner.

Nea posted about some of her collections-vintage/embroidered linens in particular. That's also a love of mine and I mentioned that I had made a "crib skirt" for Lucy's crib out of some old linens.

I had this blue gingham fabric shower curtain from when we lived in Boston and I simply laid it out on the mattress support. Then, to cover the short end, I pinned two embroidered hand towels (the pins are way under the mattress so not accessible to little hands) to the shower curtain. It has a vintage "feel" event though it's not vintage. It would be really cute to do something similar with a bunch of vintage towels sewn to a piece of muslin. Katie, watch out- I might get crafty before that baby is born!!!!



Grandmother gives birth to daughter's triplets

Story Highlights
  • Jaci Dalenberg, 56, offered herself as a surrogate as her daughter waited to adopt
  • Dalenberg said she wasn't frightened to be pregnant at her age
  • The triplets were born Oct. 11 -- more than two months premature
I understand a mother's love runs deep, but this is strange. Surrogacy and IVF kind of bother me in general though.


Sewing Tip

For those of you who sew, I found this great video about applying bias binding. For some reason, I have never done it this way and I usually end up cursing.

So, without further ado, here is the link to the no swearing bias tape method.


Doing the Right Thing

I get frustrated with the various religious institutions in this part of the world because they seem like they are mostly about showmanship: beautiful families dressing their kids in matching, clothes (a post in and of itself) and showing them off every Sunday. They support vacation Bible school, anti-abortion activities, and other events that promote very conservative values. It often seems like these churches lack charity, understanding, and acceptance of those who don't fit the mold.

But today I saw something a little different. One of the biggest (and probably richest) Baptist churches in town was offering free oil changes and car washes to single mothers only! Very commendable.


New China Cabinet Brings New Problems

I love our new dining room set (pictures coming soon), but since unpacking all of our china and glassware, I have discovered a new problem: our china pattern has been discontinued!

If you see any pieces at second-hand shops, antique shops, craigslist, etc., let me know! I have five place settings (enough for Thanksgiving this year), but I would love to get a few more.

The pattern (pictured above) is Westport by Waterford. Expensive, I know- that's why we only have 5 place settings. But I really love it!



Today's historic election brings hope on so many levels.

I am concerned about the huge task Obama has ahead of him, but I am happy.

America has spoken and I have hope!

As I write this, McCain is congratulating Obama and his supporters are booing. I feel sorry for McCain. I think he wanted to take the high road with his campaign, but ended up cowing to the RNC.


happy list

Nicola and Anita will appreciate this (if they haven't discovered it already):

the Things to Be Happy About website.

Anita introduced me to the book, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, and it inspired Nicola and I to start our own happy list that has continued to be updated for 10+ years .

I've posted about the happy list before, but it is so great it is worth mentioning again and again. It is very therapeutic. It is simple to write in and fun to look back on. It's a diary of sorts, but there is no need for context.

My additions for today:

the local library
mint chocolate chip ice cream
a good lecture
being cozy inside on a rainy day
friends who bring you food
people who are "handy"
the BBC

I have had the "real" happy list for quite a while now... guess it's time to send it back to Nicola. It will be on it's way soon!


Getting Things Done Weekend

We have had a fun and productive weekend. We've celebrated my dad's birthday, trick or treated for Halloween, barbecued, had our first fire in the fireplace of the season, and had a nice dinner out. Mollie and I also had our German lesson and Mollie went to a play with her friend Bella.

My dad has been here visiting since Tuesday and he has been a fabulous help. In addition to reading to, playing with, and being "entertained" by Mollie and Lucy, he also helped rearrange our storage room (no small feat), replaced some 70's brown shutters with light-filtering shades, hung a bed canopy in Mollie's room, and uncovered at least several square feet of concrete by clearing the leaves off the driveway and trimming some bushes! Wow, I'm tired just writing that.

We also purchased a beautiful new (to us) dining room set from an estate sale- table, chairs, and china cabinet. This is our first dining set ever, so I'm in the process of unpacking dishes that we had stored away. Mollie can't wait to have a fancy dinner in our dining room sometime soon.

Matt did some major trimming, wood cutting, and cleaned off the deck. You would think with all the recent yard work that our yard would look fabulous, but I think it would take a crew of 6 two days to really clear out all the weeds, ivy, dead trees, etc. Right now it can only be described as a "natural" setting.

I am trying to declutter- I have a pile of baby gear ready to be shipped off to Katie and Blake and have designated a few things as attic-bound.

So, most of these things are still works in progress, but at least they are in mid-late stages, rather than stuck at the beginning, or worse, not even started.


Tag, You're It

I got tagged by bookyg to write 7 things you don't know about me. Since I don't know who's reading this, I don't know what you don't know. But, here goes.

1. I didn't vote in the last presidential election. (I had to travel at the last minute- too late for absentee voting. I don't feel that bad since I lived in MA, which went blue (of course) anyway.)
2. I haven't slept uninterrupted for more than a 6 hour stretch in over a year.
3. I never wear a watch.
4. I wish I had gone to law school. I guess I still could, but I've got some other things I would rather do.
5. I hate wearing shoes. Flip flops all year long baby! (or birks)
6. I still don't know what I want to be when I "grow up".
7. I smoke. Gotcha! I'm just kidding. But, in college, Alex, Kelsey, and I used to roll our own cigarettes at parties because we thought it made us look cool. It totally did. But seriously, I think I have smoked about 22 cigarettes in my life.

I am tagging Anita, Justin, and Amy. I don't think I know 7 bloggers but I will add more if I think of it.


The steam roller

At nine months old, Lucy is in the 75th %-ile for weight and height. No surprise, since she eats everything in sight. She can't quite feed herself yet, but she grunts to let us know when she's hungry or wants more. Her favorite food seems to be ravioli with tomato sauce, but she also puts her 3 teeth to good use eating Cheerios, goldfish, and graham crackers.

She can pull herself up to standing with a little help and loves it once she's up. She's still not crawling and gets around by rolling, like a steam roller, across the floor. It's time to babyproof because she is curious and has long arms that can reach!

She is very much downward oriented- she likes to sit in her highchair and drop things off the side. She then looks at what she dropped, looks at me, and bursts into tears. Ah, gravity.

Lucy is easily entertained by peek-a-boo, the itsy bitsy spider, and Mollie. She says mama, dada, and squeals with delight at the sight of dogs. She really loves dogs. We have no idea why.

So, she's perfectly normal if a little on the large side (I can barely squeeze her into size 12 months clothes).

Papa George

Mollie called Papa her “grandpa who lived in a hotel” because her only memories of him were when he was at Mercy.

I wish she and Lucy could have known Papa in the prime of his life- when I knew him as a child. I have so many memories of working in the yard with him, digging, pulling weeds, planting bulbs, raking the sand around the big Maple tree. He always took an afternoon nap. And made the best banana milkshakes.

He wasn’t very good at telling jokes, but he had a good sense of humor. He used to tell Matt that he was like “a bad penny that always returns” and he had that little glimmer in his eyes while saying it. And I think we all know better than to take any wooden nickels.

He taught me how to do handstands underwater in the Russian river. He taught me how to paint a room. To plant seeds. To make paper hats and paper airplanes. To care for plants. To look things up in a book if I didn’t know the answer.

He was so good at working with his hands . He was proud of his heritage and proud of his family. He was trustworthy and reliable. He was respectful of others and in turn was well-respected. I learned the value of these traits just by spending time with him, usually afterschool, and watching how he worked and interacted with people.

He was confident. He always did things how he thought they should be done. Most of the time he was right, and he wouldn’t necessarily admit it if he wasn’t. He was a bone fide pessimist, but that was always balanced out by grandma’s optimism. He loved her so much.

Because they lived right around the corner, I got to spend a lot of time with him- carefree afternoons just doing stuff- riding around in the truck, picking boysenberries, playing in the playhouse. Most of my memories of him are tied to 3040 Arizona Street.

But after they sold the house and moved into Mercy, he had new lessons to teach. He retained his sense of humor and was always a graceful host. I think he taught us all how to age gracefully and to try to accept things the way they are.

Papa George made the most of his time on this planet. I know that we are all proud of the life he lived; his strength and determination will live on through his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.


Gasoline worries

This summer, I was pleased to see that the skyrocketing gas prices finally had some effect on Americans. A Wall Street Journal report stated that 2008 was the first year ever that gas usage in the U.S. had actually declined.

Those of us who live in the South also experienced a shortage after the hurricanes, forcing people to come up with alternatives and conserve their fuel.

But now gasoline prices are plummeting and the pump isn't so painful. What effect will this have? Has the mentality changed at all? Or will people gradually slip back into their old ways and the conservation trend reverse?


Easy Peasy Dinner

Need a quick, tasty dinner?

Here's my "recipe" for breaded chicken:

1 pkg. (about 8) chicken cutlets
about 1 cups of bread crumbs (crushed cornflakes work well too)
about 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (anything wet will work here- eggs, pinapple juice, any salad dressing, etc).

Dip the chicken cutlets into the dressing and then dredge in the breadcrumbs. Bake in a preheated 350-400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

You can serve these with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables. Or on top of a salad. Or wrap them in a pita. The same concept works well with turkey cutlets, zucchini slices, eggplant slices, summer squash... you get the idea.

Easy. Flexible. Dinner.


Beyond Ridiculous

Apparently I've been in the dark about something: J.Crew now has a line of clothes for children ages 2-10 (crewcuts) and a line of clothes for dogs (crew mutts).

The prices are unbelievable. What child needs a cashmere "everyday" dress?

And dog clothes? Seriously, I hate clothes for pets. That's what they have fur for people! But, I guess if you're crazy enough to buy clothes for your dog, why not spend $128 for a cashmere dog sweater.


One of my new favorite websites:

Whip Up

It's full of wonderful, creative projects, patterns, and tutorials on how to do it yourself!


Last post on cloth diapers, I promise

(well, for this week anyway).

I forgot to mention wipes. I really hate baby wipes. I don't like how they smell and they don't really do the job on big messes. Baby washcloths are much more effective. The terry cloth helps to grab the poo (sorry for the visual) and you can just use plain water. I have a stack of baby washcloths and keep a peri bottle filled with water to wet them. With Mollie, we used a wipes warmer filled with moist washcloths. Both systems work well and are way better than commercial wipes. Plus, you can just throw the wipes into the diaper pail with the diapers. Bonus: you can also give a quick sponge bath after the diaper change.

Just for laughs

My friend sent this to me in an e mail and I couldn't resist.


The Cloth-diapered Behind- Part 2

This is our system. The diapers have been very durable and continue to work well. I like to buy them from Wildflower Diapers or Diaperware.
So, here goes.


I think disposables are the easiest for the first few weeks because the babies are so small. Even the trimmest cloth diaper seems huge on a newborn.

Pocket cloth diapers can be costly to buy upfront ($10-25 each!). You might not want to buy the super fancy diapers in the smallest sizes because 1) they grow out of them so quickly and 2) they need 8-12 diapers per day.

For the first few months, we used cotton prefolds (4x8x4 ply, unbleached Chinese prefolds in the infant size) with diaper covers (Either Bummis or ProWraps). I think we had about 18-20 prefolds and 6-8 covers. We washed these every other day. If you have diaper rash problems, you can lay a piece of fleece over the prefold in the diaper and that keeps the baby's skin drier. I actually like diaper pins because I think they make the diaper fit and stay in place better. Matt was not a fan of pins, so he just put the diaper in the cover and fastened the cover. Didn't use the Snappi, although some people love it.

Older Infants through Potty Training:

Once the babe can fit in size mediums (for Mollie this was about 6 months, for Lucy this was about 3-4 months), we started using Fuzzi Bunz as our main diapers. I have 16-18 of these in size medium and wash every other day. The mediums fit Mollie for a very long time (until 18 months) and then we switched to size larges and didn't need nearly as many (10-12). These lasted Mollie through potty training (she was ~2.5 yrs); we have yet to see how long they will fit Lucy.

Fuzzi Bunz are pocket diapers, so you can stuff anything inside the pocket to increase the absorbency. I use an infant prefold and a doubler or piece of terry cloth. Microfiber inserts work well as doublers, but do NOT work well by themselves. I made a few hemp jersey inserts that are very trim and absorbent. These are my favorite inserts, but since we already had all the prefolds from the infant stage...

When the baby starts solid foods, we start using diaper liners. Ours are from Imse Vimse. It says they are flushable, but I routinely throw the pee-only ones in the wash with the diapers and they last through 3-4 washes!! I don't flush them!! If the poop is solid, you can just shake it off into the toilet. If it's not, sorry to say, I throw it in the trash. (Yes, I know you're not supposed to do this but at least I'm not throwing like 8000 disposable diapers in there too!)

Laundering and other info
We use a regular trashcan with a pail liner and put the dirties in there. I just dump the whole thing in the washer. First, I do a cold rinse/spin. Then I do a hot wash/cold rinse using Planet detergent and a little added washing soda. If there are still visible bubbles after this cycle, I do one extra rinse. I always line dry the covers and usually throw the inserts in the dryer (because it's so darn humid here).

I like diapers with snap closures (Fuzzi bunz) because velcro tends to snag on everything in the laundry. But, the velcro are a little easier to use, so it's a toss up. The velcro pocket style diapers are newer and I only have tried two. I have one bumGenius adjustable one-size. Lucy is on the largest setting right now, so unless she miraculously starts potty training at 9 months old, I think the one-size diaper will not fit her all the way through potty training. The other velcro diaper that I like is a Dry-bees. The sizing is very generous so I think a size medium will fit for a long time.

I don't recommend All-in-one diapers (AIOs). They take FOREVER to dry and I never felt like they were getting thoroughly cleaned.


Happy Birthday, Liv!

Delicious White Cake (from my grandma's 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook):

Lovely to look at . . . luscious to eat

Grease generously and flour . . . . . . . . . . . .
2 9" layer pans or a 13x9" oblong pan
Cream together until fluffy . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2/3 cup soft shortening (at least half butter)
3/4 cup sugar
Sift together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2 2/3 cups sifted Gold Medal flour (or 3 cups Softasilk)
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
Stir in alternately with . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1 1/3 cups thin milk (I just used non-fat)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond flavoring
Fold in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4 egg whites (1/2 cup), stiffly beaten (I used powdered)

Oven Temp: 350 degrees
Time: Bake layers 30-35 min., square or oblong 35-45 min.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake until cake tests done. Cool. Finish with desired filling and frosting.

I use raspberry preserves for the filling between the layers.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 package (8 ounces)cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1. Place the white chocolate in a small glass bowl in the microwave oven on high power for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the oven and stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until it is smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.

2. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the milk, vanilla, and melted white chocolate, and blend on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds. Add the confectioners' sugar and blend on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, 1 minute or more.

This makes plenty of frosting for the entire cake!


I want to live here

I can't remember how I linked to this website, but I'm ready to move in to one of these cute houses. And if you click on "similar buildings," you can see how many other quaint woodland cottages there are. I think they are all in the U.K. and they definitely have a British feel. Maybe that's why I like them. They look like they are straight out of a fairy tale. They remind me of the Cotswolds. They also kind of remind me of Baggins End- the domes at UC Davis.

Photo courtesy of http://www.simondale.net/house/index.htm.

Just in time for Halloween

So, here's the latest on tainted/dangerous products coming from China: chocolate! Apparently, Cadbury pulled 11 of its Chinese-made chocolates (reportedly none were sold in the U.S.) because they were made with melamine-laced milk. For the full story, click here.

I've always been leery of candy that's not either boutique/homemade or a major brand (such as Hershey's), but Cadbury is a major brand. And those little Halloween treats that are "Not packaged for individual resale" also don't have the "Made in _______" label on them. And the larger candy bars don't necessarily have that either. Often they just have the name of the distributor. So, they could be made in China, Switzerland, or just about anywhere.

I admit that chocolate constitutes a large part of our diet, but we do eat other food items. This article got me thinking about where our other food comes from. I try to make as much food from "scratch" as possible. Very few of us can grow all our own food. Just about everyone has to purchase staples like sugar, flour, butter, milk. Most of us also purchase pasta, breakfast cereal, nuts, beans, etc. I just looked in my pantry and most of the items I looked at had no information about where the ingredients came from. Some were "certified organic" and were "grown in the USA" or "made from products grown in the USA," but most items simply had the distributor's information on the package. And, man, that's kinda scary. I can't believe I never noticed that before.

So, what to do? I think buy local is still the best bet. But sometimes it's a lot more expensive or impossible. For example, I've never seen any "locally grown" sugar in the market. Around here, there is only one farm share available and I don't think it would be very economical for us at the moment. So, organic is probably the second best choice.

Any thoughts?



Every station I saw today was out of gas. Last night there were long lines at all the stations, but we had no problem filling up in the afternoon.

At least the only place I have to go tomorrow is the Y. We could skip it if we needed to, but I am hoping this "shortage" is temporary.

Obviously, the world is going to run out of gas someday. I wonder if it's going to be like this? Or will there be a better solution?

Sorry to get all doom and gloom. This shortage just emphasizes the reality of global warming and the energy crisis.


Happy Birthday Matt!

I bet cleaning up cat puke at 6 a.m. was a lovely birthday treat!



Look closely at the sign.
Spotted by Matt. Picture by me.


The Cloth-diapered Behind- Part 1

I've been thinking about this post for a long time. When I tell people that we use cloth diapers, I get reactions ranging from "Cool! Tell me about it..." to "What!!? Why?". Most people are somewhat interested in how it's done and have no idea how far cloth diapers have come in the last 20+ years. A few friends have asked about my favorite cloth diapers, my washing routines, etc. recently, so I thought this was a good time to post.

We use cloth about 80% of the time. Lucy's diapers are mainly the same ones we used with Mollie, making it very economical. I prefer "pocket" style diapers. Basically these are a waterproof outler layer (PUL) and a fleece inner layer. There is an opening in the back where you put the soaker- a regular prefold cotton diaper or any other absorbent material.

Why do I like the pocket diapers?
1)Easy to use- you can put the parts together when you take them out of the laundry and they are as convenient to use as disposables
2)Adjustibility- you can stuff these things with just about anything, making them very trim or super absorbent depending on needs

A note on washing.... the new water-saving HE machines are definitely not as good for diapers as the older water hogs. You have to run extra rinses to get out the soap (using more electricity) because of the low water usage. But I am guessing it is still more economical and environmentally-friendly than disposables, especially when you consider the raw materials, transportation costs, and manufacturing waste/by-products associated with disposables. I certainly appreciate not spending $40+ per month on diapers.

Why do we use cloth? I decided to do it for environmental reasons and to reduce Mollie's exposure to the nasty chemicals in disposables. Have you ever used disposable diapers and seen the little crystal/gel-like things they can leave behind (pun intended) on baby's skin? There are some other added benefits.... earlier potty training in some kids, they are not as stinky as disposable diapers (some people are surprised by this one, but it's just that they don't have a chemical-y smell), and they are cute.

Next time... my cloth-diapering routine and recommendations



It started off good. Woke up. Mollie dressed herself for ballet. We headed for the gym. I fed Lucy during the ballet class. After class, I took both girls to the child watch and worked out for an hour (swimming).

Then we went to lunch and ran a few errands. We got home and that's when things started going down hill. Lucy wouldn't nap, and Mollie wanted me to help her with art projects (Lucy and art projects do not mix). She finally got a late nap but then (duh!) wouldn't go to sleep at her usual bed time. Mollie and I had started baking cookies so between batches of cookies (listening to Lucy scream upstairs) and running upstairs to try to sooth her, I was exhausted. And Matt couldn't even come to the rescue because he was out of town for work.

Number of wardrobe changes for Mollie: 6

Number of band-aid changes for Mollie's tiny finger prick: 6 (at least)

Number of consecutive minutes of quiet (nobody crying, whining, or chattering): 7.5

Number of times I went upstairs to rock Lucy: a lot

Knowing that they are both asleep right at this very moment:


Happy Birthday Lala!!

4 years old- Wow!


In Remembrance


Two headlights. Two teeth.

The headlight on the Honda burned out on Wednesday, so I had it replaced. On Saturday, Matt said, "You know you've got a headlight out?" Yes, it was the other one.

Tooth #2 erupted in Lucy's mouth sometime between last night and this morning. Those two little teeth are every bit as sharp as her finger nails!

Here, she's putting those teeth to good use!


My little scientist

This afternoon we were sitting on the deck by the pool (wow, that sounds much more glamorous than our old deck and old Nemo plastic pool).

I was trying to gather my thoughts for class tonight and Mollie was splashing around in the pool. I was listening to her talk to herself. She was saying, "Shells sink. Acorns float. Feathers float. Rocks sink." I looked over and realized she was "testing" each item as she said it. Now if only I could get my students to do that in lab tonight...



Lucy's been cutting a tooth and it finally came in today!

I'm sure she was ready for a yummy sausage dinner since we went up to the lake for a barbecue. Unfortunately, we forgot the sausages so we just had side dishes and appetizers. Good though.


Mixed Bag

My mom is here visiting so I'm not spending much time on the blog, but I am working on a cloth diaper post for next week. These are just a few thoughts from the last few days...

Can you believe McCain's choice of running mate? I really, really, really hope they don't get elected. Matt thinks it's in the bag for Obama, but Bush got elected twice so I'm not so confident.

Was it just me, or did it seem like the media were just praying for Hurricane Gustav to bring death and destruction? They actually seemed disappointed that it was downgraded to a Cat. 2 storm that didn't destroy New Orleans.

2009 is the year of babies! I have 5 friends who are due in early '09 (and one in Dec. '08). I better get sewing!


In our own backyard

Well, not exactly. But this beautiful park is just a mile or two up the road from our house. We spent the afternoon there walking, dropping rocks from the bridge, and playing at the playground. Mollie is frowning because she's carrying a bucket full of rocks (her choice).

I decided we needed to just get out of the house and it ended up turning into the most enjoyable afternoon. Funny how that works! I didn't prepare or plan at all- just grabbed the diaper bag and went out the door. We met a woman whose son had a brain tumor when he was little and is now in his 30's. Always good to hear those kind of stories. And Mollie played with a new friend, Mariah, at the playground. Mariah's mom and I had a good conversation too.

The Big List

The major things we need to do around our house.... mostly for my own planning:

Dining room set
Replace upstairs bathtub/sink
Replace carpet downstairs (or clean as a temporary fix)
Replace/reupholster sofa
Clean up/organize the storage room
Deal with the yard (maybe hire someone to do this?)
Resurface the driveway
Think about replacing/repairing the storm windows/screens
Termite prevention
Master bathroom
Paint (inside)

Smaller (or less urgent) stuff....
kitchen curtains
shelves for Mollie's room
living room shades/blinds
move Lu's dresser upstairs
organize the office


A Birthday!

Happy Birthday T!

If I were there, I would bake you a cake. But a picture will have to do for the moment.

Hope you enjoyed your day!

This cake can also be ordered from:



I made this skirt for Mollie a few weeks ago and forgot to post the pictures.

The weekend

The dryer was down all weekend. And it rained all weekend, so we couldn't hang clothes outdoors either. Thank you Michelle for letting me dry my laundry at your house Friday night! You saved me from the laundromat!

Still, Saturday went like this:

Matt and Mollie went fishing; Lucy had a poop-splosion. We went out and had a very nice dinner; Mollie at a lot; Mollie barfed when we got home. We cleaned up (threw away a hopeless rug) and went to bed; several hours later, Otis (the cat) puked.

Then Sunday we went into the hospital so I couldn't do anything about the laundry anyway.

At the moment, I am *enjoying* doing laundry!

Even with all that went on, it wasn't a BAD weekend. Everyone was in a good mood. We (almost) accomplished one of our goals for the weekend- getting Lucy a dresser. I've been looking around for a used one but I haven't had any luck. I walked into Babies R' Us on Saturday and there was a perfect sized chifferobe marked down about 50%! We picked it up (it actually fit in the Volvo- phew!) before going out to dinner. We managed to get it out of the car and into the house on Sunday morning and that's where we stopped. It is really heavy and we didn't want to kill ourselves trying to get it upstairs with no help. It is currently filled with Lucy's clothes, but.... it's in our living room!


I'm starting to think we just have bad luck.

Seriously. This week, it's ants (constantly). Then the internet stops working. Now our dryer won't heat. We NEED our dryer. It's not even 2 years old. After reading about other people's problems with this particular model, I think it's probably the control board (something that will have to be "ordered"). Ugh.

We were just discussing what we might do this weekend- one of the few in recent memory where:
- it's not supposed to be blazing hot outside
- our daughter's chemotherapy is not making her feel sick
- we don't have visitors or other obligations

Well, I guess I have a date with the laundromat.

Can't life just give us a break??


Good news!

Good news from Katie and Blake!
Sending you lots of hugs from across the USA!

Picture courtesy of Webweaver


Cheap thrills

Do you feel obligated to buy something if you shop at a local shop?

We discovered a local nursery (Green Thumb West, for the locals) that has beautiful greenhouses, a few fish ponds, pottery, fountains, and wonderful plant displays. Mollie loves it. For her, it's almost as good as going to the botanical gardens (she loves gardens of all sorts).

We went the other day an she was pretending we were in the Hundred Acre Wood. I had no intention of purchasing anything, but I do like to look. So we just browsed around for an hour or so. And I left feeling kind of bad that I didn't make a purchase.

I like shopping browsing. I am pretty good at resisting the temptation to buy. However, usually I'm at larger stores that provide more anonymity.


Should I see a doctor?

I have been feeling like I have no energy, since about March really. I wake up tired, even after getting a full night's sleep.

Any ideas? I think my iron is okay (I'm taking a multi-vitamin). It could be stress related, with everything that's been going on with Mollie, but this started before Mollie was diagnosed with leukemia. I haven't been getting regular exercise (chasing kids around and running up and down the stairs, yes. jogging, swimming, elliptical, no.)

I am due for a regular physical anyway, so I guess I will discuss it with my doctor at that time.

I am enjoying watching the Olympic athletes, full of exuberant energy. It's inspiring.


Much needed break

This weekend we went to Harbor Island, SC for a mini-vacation with Matt's mom. It was very nice. Relaxing is the word. There was no pressure to do anything. We threw the trip together at the last minute and it worked. Great weather. Great beach. Great condo. Great company. I didn't get much more sleep than usual due to baby Lucy, but Matt and I got a dinner out (alone!) and Mollie had a great time with Grandma.

We definitely want to go back. I never planned to live in the South, but since we're here, we might as well take advantage of the beaches. The sand is gorgeous, the water is warm (but full of sharks and jellyfish- aack!). Mollie has been wanting to go camping so we're thinking of heading to Hunting Island State Park sometime in the fall to camp on the beach. It really looks beautiful.

I am always torn when we head to Charleston, Savannah, or other seacoast towns. I want to explore all the good shopping, restaurants, historic sites, etc. in town, but I also want to spend my time on the beach, relaxing, taking pictures, looking for shells. I guess that's a good problem to have though, so I'm not spending too much time worrying about it.


Just a minute!

Sometimes I feel like this is all I ever say to my kids. Whether I'm trying to fold laundry, make dinner, send an e mail, go to the bathroom, etc. I'm always saying (or in some cases shouting) "Just a minute" or "Be patient" or some variation. I think I must say "Just a minute" at least 40 times a day; sometimes it feels like 40 times an hour. Rarely do I have more than 5 minutes to do anything without an interruption from one of the two kids (or Matt).

And I have discovered that fussy babies really raise my stress levels. Crying doesn't do it nearly as much as fussing. Yes, I think fussing is the infant-equivalent of whining.

All of the fussing, whining, and attention-needing gets me flustered. And usually, just when I'm feeling like I'm about to lose it, the phone rings!! So I end up cussing out the phone and feeling much better afterward. At least I don't have to ANSWER the phone!

By the way, I have said "Just a minute" three times while writing this post!!

And I'm not blaming the callers... I just may not answer at that particular moment because I'm feeling overwhelmed and you wouldn't want to talk to me anyway.



Does anyone else secretly like Shark Week on the Discovery Channel? Not so such a secret any more!

And, wow!, what a response to the Terro post. So far, so good. No new ant invasions at our house!



The trail leads down from the roof, along the deck, up the siding, in through a tiny opening in the storm window, under the window sash, up the framing, onto a chair pushed up against the shutters..... ANTS!

We got a package of terro baits in the mail (thanks Charlie). I stuck one on the sill, in between the window sash and the storm window. The ants drained it and now there are one or two scavenging about, but the big trail is gone. We are waiting for it to work it's magic and destroy the colony. Keeping fingers crossed.

What do you think... set out another bait? They supposedly sell this stuff at Walgreens, Home Depot, and (gulp!) Walmart, so I'll have to check that out.


The pictures of Lucy blog?

That's kind of what this has turned into lately. The reasons?

The chemo has Mollie feeling crappy (and not up for doing anything or taking pictures)
We haven't really been out doing anything except going to the clinic or the hospital.
If we are doing anything, it's usually just me with the baby and Mollie so managing the camera is difficult.

Anyway, Lucy is pretty photogenic so it's not a bad thing.... I just noticed all of the pictures are of her.

Oh, and I keep meaning to bring the camera to the hospital or clinic to get some action shots but I always forget it!


I want...

a Nintendo Wii. Not like I have a bunch of extra time to sit around playing video games, but they have one at the hospital and the oncology clinic and... it's fun!

OK, I know it doesn't exactly fit in with the other stuff on my wish list... a new carpet, dining room furniture, an external hard drive, a bias tape maker, but we just might make it our fall family entertainment purchase.

Anyone have one and love it? Or not?

Time Flies

Happy Half- birthday to Lucy! She is 6 months old today.

She such a happy baby! She's very curious and social. And she really charms everyone she sees. I almost feel like we're doing a public service when we walk through the hospital because everyone stops and smiles and talks to her!



My back has been sore from carrying the kids around and not getting enough sleep/exercise, so I have been thinking I about getting a massage. And we've also been talking about going to the coast for a mini-vacation. We were chatting about this last night and I said, "Maybe we can find a resort with a spa that will do a couples massage." Matt said, "So... you get a couple to give you a massage and I get to go fishing?????"

I am still laughing about it!


Second time in the swing at the park

Lucy enjoyed the swing, as you can tell! At the bottom is a picture of Mollie at a park in Boston at almost exactly the same age Lucy is now (4 days older actually).


Happy Birthday Mom and Sal!

image © copyright 2008 VintageHolidayCrafts.com


What can Lucy do?

Since I've been focused so much on Mollie lately, I think I'll dedicate this post to Lucy. We've been sticking together like glue because she is breastfeeding and I haven't been pumping... so no bottles.

She's now eating solids at least twice a day and loves every bite! On the ever-expanding menu are: oatmeal, rice cereal, applesauce, pears, carrots, and sweet potatoes. I think Lucy would like the menu to include cheeseburgers, macaroni, chocolate cake... the girl watches every bite when anyone is eating and she takes meal time very seriously.

Lucy is also rolling over in both directions and can spin herself around 360 degrees. She can sit for about 30 seconds with no support. She is really interested in everything that's going on and always wants to be involved. She loves the cat and starts breathing hard when he comes into view. And everything she can get her hands on is going straight into her mouth so we have to be really careful about the Polly Pocket-sized toys that Mollie has.

I'm hoping she won't crawl for a while, but she can get her legs under her when she's on her tummy. So far she doesn't quit have the upper body strength to get her (big) belly off the ground.

Lucy brings us a lot of joy. She is happy, chubby, and easy to please. Hurray for Lu!



Okay, I got the ants under control (knocking on wood), but then s___ happened.

Quote from an e mail I received from my friend Nicole yesterday:

every time I get stressed that the dumb dog is eating Diego's toy or I get poop all over me, or other simple dumb stuff, I think of you, dealing with so much more

Quote from my reply:

getting poop on you still sucks,even if you have a kid with leukemia

As if to prove my point, Lucy had a MAJOR poop-splosion this A.M.
It was everywhere- luckily she was in her exersaucer so most of the poop was contained.

So just to reiterate, it DOES suck to get poop on you!!


I value them as decomposers in our ecosystem, but not in my kitchen!! Off to exterminate them...


Difficult road

So, as most of you know, my sweet little girl, Mollie, was diagnosed with leukemia last week. Without a doubt it was the worst week of my life. But, life goes on and we're already one week into chemotherapy and we're ready to fight the cancer with all we've got. I'll be blogging about it here.

Hopefully I'll be back to posting on this blog once in a while. It's kind of hard to have two blogs, but this one is just my own thoughts and experiences with no particular theme/topic.

Tonight I taught my biology lab. A bunch of students (the ones who get good grades) had the giggles all night and I couldn't figure out why until after class. Turns out someone (and I don't know who or WHY) left some porn and "personal lubricant" in one of the drawers at the lab table. EEEWWWWWW!!

And now, I am trying to keep from laughing out loud because my lazy cat, Otis, keeps slipping off the leather ottoman that he's sleeping on. Then he jumps back up and curls up right on the edge, only to slip off again. I think Garrison Keillor said it best, "Cats are intended to show us that not everything in nature has a function."


Happy Father's Day!

We had a little photo shoot in our front yard today and this is one of my favorites! I just LOVE how Lucy is looking at Mollie! Mollie wasn't feeling very good so I had to retouch (snot removal) some of the pictures but we sure hope Daddy likes them!


I'm back... sort of.

I haven't posted because I've been in the hospital getting re-hydrated after a bout with the worst gastrointestinal illness I've ever had. I don't want to be gross here, but at first it just seemed like run of the mill stomach flu. When I started to take in tiny amounts of fluid, I would immediately throw up (or otherwise void) at least 10 times the volume of what I put in. I kept thinking it would get better soon, but it just didn't. When I got to the ER, the doc told me my vitals were terrible (hypertensive, tachycardia) and pumped me up with 2 liters of saline. I felt better after the first 500 mL. Now that I'm home, my stomach is still churning, but I'm keeping fluids down much better and my anti-nausea medication is helping.

What I learned from this incident: Don't underestimate the danger of dehydration. Listen to your instincts. Be thankful for health insurance.

And, no, I didn't eat any tomatoes!


Funny shirt sighting

At the Jackets game Friday night I saw a kid wearing a shirt that said, "I put the stud in study hall!" I like it...

Summer's here

I already mentioned fireflies and super-high temps. So... this weekend we decided to admit that summer is in full swing. To celebrate, we went to a minor league baseball game, pulled out the kiddie pool, drank some beers on the deck, and gave in to the heat.

My mom always says she likes the heat and wishes she lived somewhere hot. I am here to say that hot might be good if you're on vacation, but it is not good for every day living!! On the list of things I wouldn't recommend doing in 90ยบ+ heat:
grocery shopping
doing laundry (line drying is impossible due to humidity and the dryer makes the house hotter)
going to work (you will want to change clothes as soon as you get there)
cooking (hot, hot, hot)
nursing a baby
yard work (heat stroke risk)


What do you think of coupons?

With food prices rising so quickly, I thought I would look into using grocery coupons more often. I usually print out coupons for a few items (7th generation products, for example) and peruse the market's advertisements before making my grocery list/weekly menu. This usually saves me a few bucks on groceries. Some people save a LOT of money (or even get free groceries) by using coupons at different stores.

The more I read about these coupon divas, the more I realize it's not for me. It seems like a full time job: hunting for all the coupons, figuring out which products you need, which stores accept competitors' coupons or have double coupons, driving around to different stores, etc. And honestly, it seems like most of the coupons are for processed foods, paper products, and toiletries.

For now, I'm sticking to my regular plan- coupons that I come across without much searching, shopping the sale items or store brands, and sticking to my list (the biggest money saver!). If anyone has tried heavy coupon use and found that it really is worth the trouble, do tell!

Hotter than...

You KNOW it's not going to be a good day when you walk out of the house in the morning and it's already 85 degrees! Ouch! It's an absolute inferno here today (albeit humid), topping 102.

My SIL, Liv, just sent me these great tips for saving money on air conditioning (so timely). It's always good to re-assess the energy efficiency of your house. Unfortunately, when it's over 100 degrees, ceiling fans just don't cut it. I am absolutely worshipping our air conditioner (and power company) at the moment.



Mollie and Matt have become good fishing buddies. Mollie is not scared of the flopping fish anymore because she's four (her reasoning). They landed this 3 lb. catfish over the weekend and it almost pulled Mollie into the lake!


Just a thought...

How do telemarketers respond when telemarketers call them at home?

It seems like the "Do Not Call" list has not been working too well for us lately.



Mollie and I went for a walk after dinner tonight. On our way around the block, we noticed Bella was back from her trip. While Bella's mom and I talked, the girls ran around the front yard chasing fireflies- the first of the season!

Perfect evening. Well, it was perfect for me. Matt stayed home with Lucy and she screamed the whole time.

For those who care: Lucy had her first "solid" food tonight- Beechnut Oatmeal with a dash of breastmilk. She devoured it.


Weekend in pictures

Great weekend! Here are the highlights:
- Mollie and I made Mexican wedding cookies and then had a lovely tea party (complete with Mr. Bear and a few dolls).
-After Matt did battle with the yard, we had a barbecue.
-We found a cardinal's nest with 3 eggs in it by our back deck.
-Lucy helped me correct quizzes.
-Mollie made a "fairy" garden.

There were a few "lowlights" too- Lucy had a red puffy eye so I spent a few hours going to the after hours clinic and waiting for a prescription. And we had a few issues with sleeping- both kids. So it wasn't a "restful" weekend, but it was truly enjoyable.