Monday, March 31

Mopping dilemma

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So while I have found the secret to keeping a clean house, I have yet to find the secret to mopping floors. I currently use the Swiffer WetJet. But I hate the way the solution leaves the floors sticky. I have tried using the mop with the sponge head, but once it gets dirty it just tracks more dirt around the kitchen. I have wanted a Hoover Floormate for a while now. Anyone out there own one? What do you think? If not, what do you use to mop vinyl? What about hardwood?

Chore Organization

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I finally found it! I know, I know, I have said it before. This time I really think I have figured it out.

I don't know too many people who enjoy housecleaning. I certainly don't. I have tried various methods to help me keep track of chores and keep me from slacking. My old chore chart was a list of what to do daily, weekly, and monthly. But I would put off weekly and monthly chores until the last minute and have a pile of things to do at the end. That wasn't so pleasant.

But I finally came up with a new chore chart that I have kept up with for the last two months. Here it is for April and May...


I know it's hard to read and you may not be interested in what it says.

For some reason, assigning chores to certain days has really been what I needed. Now I have no excuses or reasons to put off chores. Although I do occasionally do something the next day instead of its assigned day, it is rare. So there you have it, the secret to my success. :) Mike and I agree that the house has been cleaner and nicer to be in since I started it.

Roasted Chicken

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I promised Mama Konicki I would post this recipe. Here we go...

Roasted Chicken

2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 lb whole chicken

Mix all spices together and rub chicken all over. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (better overnight). Preheat oven to 500. Stuff crushed garlic into chicken cavity (I added some cut up onion too). Put in a roasting pan BREAST SIDE DOWN! (Important for juiciness.)

Here's the breakdown:
15 minutes at 500
15 minutes at 450
15 minutes at 425
Flip chicken over to breast side up for last 15-20 minutes to brown and crisp skin.

Internal temp should be 180. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.

You should have a delicious moist chicken that has a hint of sweetness.

Date night!

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Friday night Mike & I got to go on a real date. During the day I went to New York & Co and bought a new outfit to wear. I got a pair of those crop pants. I guess they are kinda like capris except shorter. I was worried that it would be too cool to wear them, but it wasn't!

So I drove to the city and met Mike after work. We parked and walked to Arpa's Tapas Wine Bar & Grill. It was fabulous! I have always wanted to go to a tapas restaurant. We sat outside on the patio because it was a beautiful evening. We ordered things like meaty mushrooms with sherry and truffle oil, Spanish ham croquettes, and chicken confit with apricots and almonds. Delicious! Then we got a trio of desserts too! It was one of the best meal experiences I have ever had.

Earlier in the week, Mike had heard about a play from the radio. It is called The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? and it was playing while my parents were visiting. He thought it sounded funny so we decided to make it a date. So after dinner we made our way over to the Boothe Playhouse. It was a smallish theater, seated about 200-300. The play was really funny! It was about a guy who was dumped, but he wanted to get her back, so he had to figure out what women want. I was amazed because it was 90 minutes and it was a one-man show. He kept everyone entertained for that long all by himself. If you get a chance to see his show, I highly recommend it.

A quick Leahism before I sign off. I have this purse that is black with a pink G on it that I don't use much anymore (let's face it, my purse is a diaper bag). So I put it in Leah's playroom for her to play with. She had been using it that day as a diaper bag, but was long since done playing with it. So I found it and put my stuff in it because it matched my outfit. She pitched a fit! She told me, Mama, if you don't wear pink, you don't have to use my bag. She wanted me to change my clothes! So I declined and told her it was my purse to begin with and I was only letting her borrow it to play with. Kids!

Saturday, March 29

A freezer full...

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of seafood gumbo, red gravy (spaghetti sauce) with meatballs and sausage, shrimp, fish, barbequed brisket, split pea soup...

I think that is all. YUM! Thanks, Dad, for filling it up!

Two new Leahisms

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With a play camera:
Put your heads together and smile. Holds camera up to her eye backwards. Looks at the camera. Cute!

After using the bathroom:
I don't want to wash my hands. I want to use sanitizer.

Also, she was in the playroom playing with her dollhouse. She took each doll and put it on the potty. Then she pretended to wipe all of their tushes and flushed the little play toilet.

She kept calling our movie Horton hears da Hoot today. She was pretty squirmy. Every time Mike & I laughed she asked What? very loudly. Of course they were jokes she didn't get and it was too complicated to explain, so we kept saying Shhhh, nothing, just watch.

Friday, March 28

Laptop MIA

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Our laptop has decided to bite the dust and for a variety of reasons I can't put pictures on our website at the present time. So I will post Erin's 7 month portraits here. The girls looked so adorable together and Leah was so well-behaved that I got some of them together too.




Thursday, March 27

Testing out Picasa albums

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Easter

New Leahisms

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On the way home from dinner the other night:
When we get home, I wanna chill out and watch a show.

After being in the bathroom by herself for a few minutes:
Mama, I need new undies.
Why, Leah, did you have an accident?
I don't want to tell you.

While on her Kangaroo Climber:
Ian is the prince and I am the princess.

Things to do in NC

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Whenever my dad visits us, we are always looking for things to do within a 3 hr or so driving distance. Last 4th of July we went to Chimney Rock for a quick overnight to explore. He also came to visit when Erin was born but we didn't really go anywhere then. This time, we decided to check out Linville Caverns.

I am always the hotel chooser and booker when we go on trips. I have a pretty good track record at finding unusual places to stay that are picturesque. When we went to Chimney Rock, it was my first failure. Our hotel was old, dirty and tiny. I was disappointed in myself. So this time around, I was a little apprehensive about being the hotel picker. I found Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages without looking too hard and it looked awesome on the pictures. I made everyone else look at them and read about it before I would book it. We got a 2 bedroom cottage with a little kitchen so that we could spread out, even though we were only going overnight.

This was our cottage:


It turned out to be nice, clean, and of course pretty small. There was no central heat, only a gas fireplace to heat the entire cottage! We had to leave the bedroom doors open to stay warm.

When we got there it was about 6:45pm. I had expected Erin to nap in the car on the way (we left home at 2:45, stopped at Barnes & Noble for about half an hour, and picked up Mike in the city before heading out). She slept about ONE wink the entire drive. So she was ready for bed. But we had to eat dinner. The plan was to eat at the restaurant on site, but when we got there the owner told us they only open on weekends in the winter. The closest eating place was 5 miles away on mountain roads. I got us lost on the way there. It's a pizza place that was PACKED and we waited a good 30-40 minutes for our pizza. By then the meltdowns were all around. We got the pizza to go and went home to put the girls to bed.

Finally at like 9pm both kids were asleep. Everyone else was exhausted so we all piled into bed too. Have to open all the doors because of the heat. At 1am, Leah woke up crying. She was in Mimi and PawPaw's room but would not be consoled, so Mike got up to get her. On the way to the door, he kicked Erin's pack-n-play, which woke her up and she started to cry too. I fixed her a bottle while Mike took Leah to the potty. She stood in front of the toilet and peed in the only pair of jammies I brought her. Oh and I forgot to say that she had peed her pants at Barnes & Noble earlier that day too. We were lucky there were no more accidents because I was out of clothes for her. Everyone eventually went back to sleep. Erin woke up again at 4am but fell asleep again fairly quickly with me in my bed. When the girls go to bed late, expect a rough night, I have learned.

In the AM, things were MUCH better. We had a great day exploring the area. First we had breakfast at Famous Louise's Rock House, which is situated on the boundary of three counties. Then we went back to the cottage to let Erin nap. She only slept about an hour. After we packed up, we were off to the caverns. It was really neat.

Doesn't this picture look like Squidward from SpongeBob?


Leah was a bit fussy in the cavern because she claimed to be scared of bats, but they were all hibernating.

We played around in the gift shop, then explored the creek a little. I love this picture of the girls, me and my dad.


Then we needed a place to have our picnic lunch. We drove a bit aimlessly and randomly came across the entrance to Linville Falls and Gorge. It was a 0.4 mile walk to the falls and they were BEAUTIFUL!!! I don't have any good pictures of them because I loved them so much, I couldn't stop looking to take too many pictures. But I did get one of Mike and Leah sharing a stick of antelope jerky.


After our little "hike" we ate our picnic lunch of roasted chicken (we had roasted it before we left and packed it in a Ziploc bag) chips, guacamole, and fruit. Then we headed home. Both girls slept on the way home. When we got home at 4pm, we had plenty of daylight left to play outside. The Maddex boys came over for dinner and Ian & Leah played so nicely together.

Thanks to Dad & Myrn for coming to visit so we could take a fun trip together!

Sunday, March 23

I'm scared of that Easter bunny

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This is what Leah told us when this bunny visited our cul-de-sac. Even though the bunny was not her favorite, we had a very good Easter over here. It actually began yesterday with the dying of the eggs. Leah did not get nearly as messy as Ty, Annabelle, and Halle but she enjoyed herself just the same. Here is my artsy picture of the completed eggs. I think it came out a little blurry, but I like my food mode.



The morning began at 6:30am with Leah entering each bedroom saying "The Easter bunny came!" We all trooped downstairs to find our baskets.


The bright pink basket held community treats. Guess who belongs to the Spiderman basket? :) Many a Pez, Reese's bunny and mini-Cadbury egg were consumed. I went back to bed for an hour. When I woke up, Leah helped me make these biscuits.


We nibbled and played and Erin napped and Mimi and PawPaw and Aunt B went to church. When they got back, we all played outside for a while. Leah came in to rest a half hour before our outdoor egg hunt and fell asleep watching Dora Egg Hunt. We had to wake her up to go outside. She and Ian hunted along with our neighbors and their family. Here is the best shot of them chowing down we could get. Also, one of Erin meeting the Easter bunny.



We came in and ate fried fish and potato salad for dinner. Ahhhhh! Now relaxation... well, at least after the kids go to bed.

Saturday, March 22

Getting back to good

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Leah has been fever free for 36 hours now. Sh ehas a TINY rash the size of a half dollar on her lower back and that's it. Erin has had a periodic fever, lower grade than Leah, for the past 2 or so days. Not too serious and she is absolutely fine in between times. So we are happily returning to normal.

Dad & Myrn & Brittany arrived yesterday and have been totally entertaining the kids. I don't know what to do with myself half the time because I am so used to always doing something for someone. Myrn cooked shrimp alfredo last night (YUM!) and we are going to Maggiano's tonight for dinner!!! My favorite restaurant of all time! So I am super excited. We had sweet potato pancake for breakfast and they were delicious. Eating is so good when Dad comes to visit. We have crab legs in the freezer to eat this week too. I can't wait!

Thursday, March 20

Dr appt

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So...

It's not the flu or strep throat, even though Leah's throat did look a little red. When we took her temp at the dr's office, it read 99.4 under her arm. The nurse said we could take it rectally if I wanted to check, because I was certain it was higher than that. I hated making Leah do it, but I was right again, 103 this time. It could be roseola, which does not really have any symptoms except fever until the rash breaks out. Fortunately once the rash appears, about three days after the fever begins, the fever disappears and there is no discomfort. UNfortunately, it is contagious. And Erin has a fever of 102.3 currently.

I am so hoping it is roseola right now. Because the dr said the next step, if the fever doesn't go away or if other symptoms manifest, is bloodwork, urinalysis, and x-rays. Yikes!

Anyway, nothing else we can do but wait...

I got the fever

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Well, Leah's got it, anyway. She was at 103.7 under her arm at 4pm. I called the triage nurse and of course she doesn't call me back until AFTER the office is closed. AND she recommends that the doctor see Leah. So I have to call first thing this AM. Anyway, Tylenol did bring that fever down by bedtime. But it was up again at 10:45 and stayed flaming until about 12:30. I laid with Leah in the guest room bed while she thrashed about and I listened to her rapid breathing and her heart hammering. I hate those symptoms of high fever. I did learn that there is no reason to treat a fever of less than 102 unless the child is complaining of discomfort. From 102-104, you treat with Tylenol or Motrin and you can sponge bathe IF the medicine doesn't bring the fever down. But don't sponge bathe until about an hour after you administer the meds, because both together can make the fever come down too fast. Over 104 gets serious, but still not a whole lot you can do during the night except medicate and bathe. I will keep you updated on the dr appt later today.

PS Erin slept from 7pm until 6:15am!

Wednesday, March 19

My poor babies

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Well, it turns out Erin had an ear infection. I took her to the dr on Monday because I had suspicions, and sure enough I was right. There weren't really any symptoms though, just Mommy's intuition. Since she has been taking medicine, she has been napping 2-3 good naps a day and going to bed between 6:30 and 7 as usual. Still waking up with the birds? sun? Nope, before either of them. But today she woke up at 4:30, took a bottle and went back to sleep until 6:45. That would be perfectly fine with me for the time being. We will work on eliminating that feed later. She is not taking enough formula before bed because her dinner is too late. Some adjustments need to be made.

Leah has had a mid-grade fever since last night. I gave her Tylenol before bed and hoped she would sleep it off. She woke up at 10:30 and 4:30, happy and alert, but still feverish. So I dosed her with more Tylenol each time (I had no Motrin). This morning, with the fever still around, I discovered that I had been underdosing her the whole time. So we went to the store to get Motrin and children's Tylenol (instead of using up all of the infant one, she gets 2 1/2 droppers full now!). Leah also got a special McD's lunch of chicken nuggets since she was a sick girl (as she told me every five seconds). During all this, she acted mostly like her normal self, maybe a touch less energetic. I would have been concerned if she has been quiet, but that did not happen. :) So we got home, I gave her the correct dose of Motrin and she has been asleep since about 1pm.

My babies need to get well, their PawPaw and Mimi are coming in 2 days!!!

Saturday, March 15

Update on last night's sleep

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So Erin slept from 5pm until 4:30am, when she guzzled down a 6oz bottle in no time flat. I put her back in bed and she talked to herself for a bit. I don't know when exactly she fell asleep again because I turned her monitor down to where I could barely hear her and dozed off. I woke up to her talking again at 7am. It was very pleasant. Today though she may have dozed 20 min for her first nap. We kept her in her bed a solid hour. I just put her down 20 min ago and I just stopped hearing from her. Hopefully we get a good nap in this afternoon and we will have a bedtime of between 5:30 and 6.

UPDATE: Erin dozed for another 20 min for her second nap and went to bed, no problem, at 5:30.

Friday, March 14

Yet another LONG sleep post

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I have a dilemma. Erin will not sleep past 6am. Most days she wakes up between 5:30 and 5:45, which is not acceptable in this house (especially now that Leah is not napping).

Here is what my idol says about wake-up time:
"Some babies tend to wake up early, 5:00am or 6:00am, and return to sleep after a brief feeding or diaper change. This is a true continuation of night sleep and not a nap. Other babies wake up later but start the day then. Most children will awaken to start the day about 7:00am, but there is a wide range (between 6 and 8). In general, it is not a good idea to go to your child before 6am, even if he is crying, because if you do, he will begin to force himself to wake up earlier and earlier in order to enjoy your company. The natural wake-up time seems to be an independent, neurological alarm clock in these young infants that is somewhat independent of the part of the brain that puts them asleep or keeps them asleep. In fact, despite what is commonly believed, you cannot change the wake-up time be keeping your baby up later, feeding solids before bedtime, or awakening your baby for a feeding before you go to sleep." p.247

In another part of the book, he says earlier bedtime (of course, that's the answer to everything). Two nights ago, I put her down at 6:15 and she woke up at 7:15 with poop. And last night I put her to bed at 6:15 and she talked to herself until almost 7 before falling asleep. She may be waking up because she is hungry, but if I go in to give her a bottle, it stimulates her and she is up for the day.

Do I need to temporarily go SUPER early? Like say 5 or 5:30? That cramps our life a bit obviously and that means Mike would not see her. But I guess if I start tonight, it's okay because it is weekend tomorrow. Today she has slept a total of 45 minutes. That's not a typo. A 25 min nap this AM and a 20 min nap in the car on the way home from the mall. She is currently in her bed talking to herself.

So we all agree? 5:15 bedtime tonight?

Thanks for your input. :)

Thursday, March 13

Six Word Memoir

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I got tagged by long-time bud at Awesome Ave.

This meme is about writing your memoir in six words. Here are the guidelines:
1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post.
4. Tag other blogs with links.
5. Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Emily tagged me forever ago and I have been putting this one off because I HAVE NO IDEA what to say!

So here goes...

Always looking for a better way

I'm not going to tag anyone, but whoever whats to play is invited. Leave me a comment here if you do participate so I can check it out.

Wednesday, March 12

Leah feeds Erin

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Someone asked for a video of this so here it is:
video
I love when Leah says, "Ahhhh" to get Erin to open her mouth!

I just realized that it totally sounds insincere when I congratulate Annabelle at the end, but I really do mean it. I am SO impressed at Annabelle's letter recognition skills. Great teaching, Keri!

Tuesday, March 11

Squeezers

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I noticed this afternoon that Leah had several splinters in her hand, one of which was starting to get infected. So I told her I had to get the tweezers and take it out. She said, "I don't like the squeezers." :)

After we got her ready for bed, I sat down on our bathroom floor with her in my lap and read the The Lorax in her ear while Mike did his magic on her hand. She cried the entire time and tried to jump out of my lap 3 times. It is SO hard to hurt your child even when you know it is good for them. She kept saying, "I want to go straight to bed." You know when that child is asking for bed she is traumatized. She is usually exclaiming, "I'm not tired," right up to the second she falls asleep.

In addition, I was flashing back to when I was a kid and my step-dad used to get my splinters out. I HATED it! I could almost still feel the tweezers.

So when she was finished, we made a big deal about how brave she was. She got 3 mini-M&Ms and 3 stories because she is going to be 3 soon. She has been talking (and shouting) to herself in bed for a good 45 minutes now. I guess the straight to bed thing was just a ploy...

Friday, March 7

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

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Leah actually took a picture with the Easter Bunny! I think this came out great. I had to bribe her with a treat o get her to smile, but it was worth it. Of course I spent too much on 1 5x7 and 4 wallets but I have never done this before so I feel justified in doing it every now and then. So Happy early Easter!

Wednesday, March 5

Book Tag

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1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages).
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth

2. Turn to page 123


3. Find the 5th sentence


4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog:
The afternoon nap usually lasts until about three years of age and gradually disappears after the third birthday.

It is so ironic that this is the 5th sentence because my almost three year old has been done with naps for the last 2 months. This book has been really good to me in everything but this...

Tuesday, March 4

A little mother

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This morning Leah was eating breakfast and Erin was sitting in her high chair. I had been feeding Erin cereal and fruit, but she started blowing raspberries with the food so I stopped. There was only a few bites left in the bowl. I put Cheerios on Erin's tray for her to play with. (She can pick them up now! But she doesn't put them in her mouth yet.) I ran upstairs to scoop kitty litter. When I came back Leah was feeding Erin a Cheerio. I said "Aww, what a good big sister, feeding Erin." Leah said " Yeah, I feeded her it all." I looked at the bowl and it was EMPTY! Leah had given Erin the last few bites of food!!! Leah said "She didn't spit it out!" She was so excited to feed Erin. It was adorable!

Monday, March 3

Stolen from Keri

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If you are out there, leave me a comment with your answers to these questions. Even lurkers can take a stab at it. If you are a regular reader, you probably have a guess at some of these.

1. Where did we meet?
2. Take a stab at my middle name.
3. What is my favorite color?
4. Color of my eyes?
5. Do I have any siblings?
6. What's one of my favorite things to do?
7. What's my favorite type of music?
8. What sport do I like to watch?
9. What is my favorite drink?
10. Do I have any special talents?
11. What am I most adamant about?
12. How many children do I have?
13. Your thought or memory when hearing my name.
14. If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing that I would bring?

Saturday, March 1

New pictures

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For those of you that look at my page in an RSS reader, I posted Erin's 6 month portrait from Penney's in the sidebar. I think the girls really look alike in these pictures. Erin's head is more round like Leah's than it has been but they still have different complexions. Erin is more olive like me and Leah is more fair like Mike. Although Leah is kinda shiny in her picture so it's hard to tell.

There are two other shots of Erin up at G-Rated Life in the Portraits album for anyone who would like to see the rest of the photo session. For some reason our SUPER smiley Erin was dead-pan the entire time. We worked SO hard for the few smirks you see. I had a hard time picking pictures to order because none of them were really all that good. The one on this page is my favorite.