Monday, January 31, 2011

Cloth diapers and clothes to fit

As anyone to reads my blog knows, baby boy Samuel is due May 12 of this year. I've already started researching cloth diapers and plan to use them with my babies.

One very useful site is http://allaboutclothdiapers.com, where I've learned more than I thought there was to know about cloth diapering and what's out there to use. There are so many options, its a bit overwhelming at times.

Currently, Autumn of allaboutclothdiapers.com is sponsoring a give away for blue jeans that are designed to fit over cloth diapers. I love the idea of cute jeans for my little boy and a chance to try some without needing to buy would be beautiful. So, this blog entry is an entry for a pair!

So, those of you who have little ones, check out this giveaway: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/cloth-diaper-friendly-organic-jeans-review-and-giveaway/

Saturday, January 29, 2011

February Goals

Since we are only 2 (3?) days from February, I figure its about time to start thinking about next month's goals.  Its too early to put out anything but winter veggies, so no garden goals yet. Those will come in March. However, I do have some yard ideas.  Okay, here goes!

(a) Finish the Crazy Colored Dr. Who Scarf (no choice, really, the Gala is Feb 26)
(b) Finish Feb Lady Sweater
(c) Plan/start baby sewing and knitting (with some specific goals for what to finish and win)
(c) Maintain a semblance of kitchen care routine
(d) Add routines for the bathrooms:
            Swish and Swipe regularly (every other day?)
            Twice a month (once a month?) deeper cleaning -- floors, bath tube, and shower curtain
(e) Start a yard-care routine
            Pull weeds 20 minutes a week (I need to get outside more, anyways)
            Plan spring plantings, herbs, flowers
            Clean up perennials (cut back, etc)

More than Jan, but I found it pretty easy to work on Jan's goals and am ready for a bit more. I'm getting the hang of full time teaching and getting some routines established for school (or semblance of routines!).  And now I'm off to finish my various Saturday tasks!

crazy weeks

This last week was crazy, but in a fun-sort-of way. It was the local Mock Trial competition. This is a competition for high schoolers that is a sort-of trial where each team provides advocates and witnesses and lots of direct examination and cross examination goes on. I agreed to be faculty sponsor, as it sounded interesting and something I might enjoy doing. But, as the semester advanced, I struggled to get my mind around what the trial looked like and how I could help the students prepare. I did a lot of making copies, checking grammar and encouraging the students, but little direct involvement.

But now I have seen it in action. On Monday, we had 2 rounds: 415 pm and 615 pm. It was a looooooonnnnnnng day, with a normal school day topped with adrenaline filled competition. But for our first ever time to compete, we did pretty good. We certainly gave the first team, Midway, a run for their money and made them work. The second round wasn't as much fun, but we did well.  (BTW, I don't know what rounds we won and what we lost, though I hope to find out at some point). Tuesday was less busy with only 1 round at 615, and Wednesday had only 1 round at 6 pm. There was a pizza party Wednesday evening at 8 pm where they announced the finalists who competed Thursday evening.  The two schools who advanced, Midway and Waco High, we excellent teams and certainly deserved the chance to go to the state competition. But, in getting to compete with both at some point, I have a much better idea of how to help our students become even better. I had a ton of fun and am totally on fire to do this again next year if I can (schedule wise, etc). Add to a good performance that two of our students were nominated for "Best Witness" and another received "Best Advocate", and we feel we did the best we could of done.

However, it meant late nights (for me) each of three nights. For the students, as teenagers, it wasn't so bad, but poor preggy teacher was struggling. It was 1030 Monday night before I got to bed, 10 on Tuesday and 1030 or 11 on Wednesday. Compare that to my more normal 930 bed time! No dinners were made this week, I ate tons of junk food for dinner (pizza, chick-fil-a, granola bars -- none too bad in themselves, but not that good when that's all you're getting). And I was hardly ever home (or so it felt) this week. Its all done now, which a part of me quite glad of, and I was out cold by 9 pm last night and slept a good 10 - 10 1/2 hours.

And now that its back to a more normal schedule for me (but not Hubby, he's at a Philosophy of Religion conference for most of today), I will make my list for Saturday/Sunday and see what I can get done! Also, I hope to think about what I want to work towards in Feb (goals and sorts) and get a post up about that, but we will see.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January Goal Updates

From a previous post:

So, for January 2011... my goals are:
(a) Finish the "February Lady Sweater". I've only got the sleeves left, even if I am feeling frustrated with them.
(b) figure out or develop and establish good kitchen habits, including sorting out the pantry regularly, cleaning out the fridge regularly, and do a menu weekly (with shopping list). I am not too far from the weekly menu and shopping list (it happens on most weeks), but the other two need work. My pantry is scary to look in right now and the fridge needs some wiping down.
 Its well past the half way point in Jan, and I think can give a reasonable update. The "February Lady Sweater" isn't going to get finished, though it is close to done.

For school, there is an auction in mid-February and teachers are asked to supply a teacher-treat for the auction. I quickly got started and planned out a "Crazy Colored Dr. Who Scarf". Its well on its way and I should have a nice, long scarf by auction time.

As for kitchen habits and routines.... well.... I flaked on the weekly menu this last week, but I never had to scrounch for a last minute meal. The fridge still needs to be wiped down, but I got the pantry nicely organized and sorted. In the process, I found I had 2 extra jugs of soy sauce, 3 unopened mustards, 2 extra jars of mayo, and a slew of other extra items. I aim to keep on extra on hand, but I definitely over-purchased. Luckily, none of it will spoil, and now its organized so I know where everything is at.

Today, I spend time in the master bed room. There were several stacks (hot spots) and hand-me-down baby items stacked around the room that had no home. With my new pillow, there was a stack of pillows in one corner and a end table that had been moved to make room for my new table and workspace (ooo, need a picture of that!). I organized a bit of the closet shelves and made room and put many of the items in the newly created space in the closet. I put clothes away (Hubby did laundry yesterday, Thank you Hubby!), and changed the bed sheets. I also used my flylady feather duster and brushed down the walls and corners (where I can reach). Got a good number of spider webs that had grown.

I like the flylady zones for cleaning your house, I just need to personalize them. Its hard to find time to get all done that I want to get done... the knitting, sewing, planning, etc. Ah, well, all in good time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Belly Update

Okay, trying out video (since we got a video camera for Christmas) and a belly update:

video

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

School back in session

Well, school starts back tomorrow. I really don't feel prepared, and I'm already feeling behind. But, I must remember that I can keep up. I did while being so tired from first trimester fatigue and that has passed. I'm feeling much more energetic, even with a shorter night's sleep. A good friend is in town, staying with us, and we were up late talking. She is a night owl, big time, and I love a good conversation. Bad combination when I've got to get up early.

I've been keeping my sink shiny for 2 nights now. I know this isn't much of a habit yet, but its a start. I had my week's menu done by Sunday, grocery run done on Monday and I've done well with dinner's this week so far. A good start, I think!

Not much done on the sweater, though. Gonna have to get started, and soon, if I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the month. It odd how intertwined all of life is. To have more time to knit, I've got to use my time at school well and get school tasks done there. Oh, the discipline required!

In other news, I got a new pillow! Its huge! I'll get a picture up soon, I promise.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Hopes and Dreams for 2011

Part 2 -- The fun part!

Reminiscing about the past is always good and profitable, but dreaming about the future is fun. It is, I think, profitable, as it gives a person something to aim and work towards, but it is also and enjoyable endeavor.

I foresee the spring staying busy. I'm teaching full time through May, when Samuel is due. But I hope to develop and maintain some good housekeeping routines. Other things I want to do more of include baking bread, knitting, and crocheting.

This summer will also be busy. Samuel is due May 12, just as Hubby is starting to read for his second, and last, round of comprehensive exams. There will be lots of adjusting and learning, I'm sure, for both of us. With a new baby, I'm not sure what new things I'll be able to add in, so all of this is held lightly. I'd like to hang out our laundry and see how much it saves us on electricity. I'd like to do more around the house, in the garden, sewing and do-it-yourself projects.

Next fall, I'm planning a garden. I learned a lot about timing this year, and plan to have the tomatoes in the ground by the beginning of July. I decided to not do a spring garden, as full time teaching and a coming baby might be too much; I just don't know. I am going to/hoping to have a small herb garden going by summer, though.

I want to really get our possessions down to what we use and need, and declutter the rest. Both Hubby and I are pack rats, and this will be difficult, but a necessary good.

I want to work in the yard more, making it a place where Samuel can run and play. I'd like to get the back porch such that its a comfortable place to sit and drink a hot mug of coffee or hot chocolate or tea and chat or just think or just enjoy the outdoors.

All of this points to my desire to make my home a warm and comfortable place of rest and refreshment. I want our home to be a place where Samuel wants to bring his friends and we can have friends over for a bit of fellowship occasionally.  All this means having good routines and not procrastinating about getting things done. I hope this year will result in a few baby steps towards this goal.

And you? Do you have hopes for 2011? Not just resolutions, but dreams?

Looking Back at 2010

I love the chance to sit down and ponder what has happened, to reminisce and to plan out and dream of the future. The new year is a good time to do that, I think, though it should, perhaps, happen more often.

2010 started out with us adopting Hank. We actually brought him home the afternoon of Dec 31, 2009, but that's close enough. Jan and Feb brought one of the coldest winters I've experienced in a long time (I don't think visiting in-laws in Wisconsin really counts... its only visiting), and one of the coldest winters Waco has had in many years. In the midst of the snow, Hubby drove to DFW (2 hrs in normal conditions!) to fly to Wisconsin for Grampa's funeral. We tried out grass-fed beef about that time and raw milk. I made yogurt that was quite good even plain and we found grass-fed beef was very yummy.

That spring brought the in-laws down with furniture and help for insulating the attic, which was sorely needed. And I got my garden really going. I did lots of digging in the mud that winter and early spring, as I put out lettuce, onions and carrots. The lettuce is what did really well. When it warmed up, I put out huckleberries (big bomb), tomatoes and peppers. I learned that the sun comes from the south and to not put the tomatoes south of the sweet peppers (shade and such).

I finished my first year of teaching in May and Hubby started reading for his first round of comprehensive exams. Summer was stressful for him, but he finished very successfully (good grades!). I worked on the garden, knitted (which I learned over spring break of 2010), and .... well, I'm sure I did more to fill my time but I can't think of it now. June was our 4 year anniversary (gosh, really 4 years? seems like 1 or 2). And July was our one year anniversary of living in Waco in our very own house, that was fun to ponder and think on.

I started teaching full time in August and we got pregnant in August. Two BIG whammies at once, both good, but lots of adjustment. Of course, the big benefit of working full time is the full time salary.

I got the fall garden going at the end of August, which did wonderfully, but was lost at the Thanksgiving freeze. My timing will change for next fall.

In September, we purchased the Land Shark (car), which transformed us into a 2 car family. Even now, we still live like a 1 car family, but the second car is there if we need it. October brought Huck along, the nephew, and November brought an awesome Thanksgiving. Of course, much of late October and November are tainted by the sinus infection, but even that negative is overshadowed by the positive blessings.

The first big of December was mostly surviving till the Christmas holiday, honestly. I think this is recent enough that it is still strong in my mind. And I made it, I survived. Not totally sure how, but I did! December brought the news that the baby was a boy and thus a name: Samuel*. We drove the Land Shark up to Wisconsin for Christmas, which was nearly unbelievable more comfortable than driving the Anaconda. We really  had no idea what we were missing.... but now we do. Christmas was cold, which I believe is quite normal that far north :P, and a good time. We saw Hubby's grandparents, many aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins and his parents (of course, we did stay with them!). I started feeling Samuel really move and some very distinct kicks and/or punches. We stayed with my grandparents on the drive up and which meant we saw all 4 living grandparents. We are so very thankful for this, as Hubby's grandfather passed away the other night; it was not too very unexpected, but brings such sadness nonetheless.

New Year's eve had me in bed asleep by 10 pm; staying up just doesn't appeal to me any more. Hubby came in much later and said "Happy New Year!". I replied in my sleepy voice, "is it after midnight?" He had been enraptured by an audio book (the first in the Wheel of Time series) and had stayed up to finish it.

2011 has brought a bright sunny morning for me, a cup of hot chocolate and a desire to ponder. In all, 2010 was full of blessings -- more than we could have ever asked for in a single year. In fact, 2009 and 2010 brought blessings and opportunities that we'd been praying for since 2006, and its been overwhelming to consider them all. But consider them, I will! Sadly, 2010 brought the passing of 2 grandparents, both on Hubby's side. We both know this is the way of life and we will say goodbye to the remaining grandparents, our parents and each other some day, but it is always sad to think of such things.

The hopes and dreams of 2011 will come in a second post after breakfast, getting dressed for the day and playing with the kitty some.

If you have 2010 reminisces, I'd love to read them, please put a link in a comment. I consider this a worthy activity, and I'd encourage you to think back through the year. You will likely find things you need to change, things you need to mourn and things to rejoice in. All are good things to find.

*His name is Samuel because he was asked of from the Lord. (1 Sam 1:20)