Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Go, Jets, go!

So the NHL is officially back in Winnipeg.  I may not be the biggest hockey fan, and I will definitely not be at Portage and Main today partying it up, but I have to say that I'm excited about it.  My dad had season tickets for the Jets when we were growing up, and going to games with him is one of my favorite childhood memories.  I'm not one for watching sports on TV, but going to live games is a different thing, especially for a kid - the excitement of the crowd, the arena food, getting to stay up late.  Plus, it was a special thing to get to have a "date" with my dad.  As a kid, my favorite player was Randy Carlyle, because I could always tell which one he was on the ice (he didn't wear a helmet - can you imagine that now?).  I remember when the Jets left, I donated $15 to the "Save the Jets" cause.  I believe I was in grade 7 at the time, so that was a lot of money!

Anyway, I'm excited that we'll have a team again (I hope they call them the Jets, but I'm not holding my breath).  I doubt that we'll get season tickets, but we'll likely go to a few games.  And perhaps one day Annika will look back and fondly remember going to hockey games with her daddy too. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Healthier eating monday: breakfast and fish

I'm happy to report that this week we accomplished the goals that I set last week.  Annika has not had a juice box all week - just milk, water or watered-down juice at snack time.  I was also able to make not one, but TWO homemade things this week!  I made banana bread on Wednesday and oatmeal raisin cookies on Saturday.  Annika has been inhaling the banana bread at breakfast (doesn't hurt that there's chocolate chips in there!), so I'll have to make it again, since breakfasts can sometimes be tricky for us (more on that further down).  Perhaps with fewer chocolate chips, so it's a bit healthier.  And I was thinking about substituting applesauce for the oil.  Does anyone know how that works - is it an even subsitution?  I guess I could look it up online and find out.  Also, what's the trick to get banana bread baked all the way through without being burnt on the edges?  My banana bread is always a little undercooked in the middle, because I don't want the outside getting too dark.  Advice is welcome.

My goals for this week (in addition to last week's goals) are to limit sugary cereals at breakfast to only twice a week, and to serve fish once a week for supper.

Annika l-o-v-e-s Froot Loops and Corn Pops.  I think she discovered them while we were at the lake, and we had those little cereal boxes.  I then bought those cereals for a "treat" at home, which has escalated to her eating them almost every morning.  I started off with good intentions - she used to only get sugary cereals on Friday mornings, as a treat.  But then with Emmett coming along, I started giving in to her requests to have them more often.  It was something I knew she'd eat without complaint (always a plus, especially on mornings when we were rushing out the door), plus it was an easy breakfast for her to eat by herself (since she eats the cereal dry, milk "on the side").  I didn't have to worry about sticky fingers or a dirty face, if I was busy feeding Emmett and she got up from the table.  However, it's probably not the best thing for her to have everyday.  Although, the other day I did a "nutritional analysis" (aka I looked at the labels) of Froot Loops, Corn Pops and toast with jam, and I was surprised to find that they were actually quite similar in some aspects.  Kelloggs now makes these cereals with added fiber (which is why I'll actually buy brand-name Froot Loops and Corn Pops instead of the no-name versions), so they were pretty close in that regard.  The number of calories was also pretty similar, although the cereals did have more grams of sugar per serving.  So I don't think that having these cereals occasionally is bad for her, but there are probably better options.  We'll start by cutting back to twice a week, and then maybe in the future get back to only once a week.

My other goal for this week is to have fish once a week for supper (and fish sticks don't count!).  The Canada Food Guide actually reccomends eating fish twice a week, but we'll start off with once a week.  I don't have a lot of fish recipes (other than an awesome tuna casserole), so if anyone has some good recipes, please pass them along!

So that's it for this week.  A few more small steps.  Here's a recap of all the goals for the week:
- no juice boxes
- make at least 1 homemade item
- limit sugary cereals at breakfast to twice a week
- have fish for supper once a week

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Emmett's eating

After a not-so-successful first attempt at feeding Emmett cereal, we tried again a few days later and things went much better.  He's been eating rice cereal all week, and oat cereal since Friday.  He still has a little bit of a tendency to push the food out with his tongue, but it's lessened quite a bit and most of it goes down now, instead of out.  He gets cereal at breakfast and supper, which makes those meals take longer, but he does seem to be spitting up less after them.  Next week we'll add in lunch, as well as start on some veggies!  The fun begins. :S

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More food for thought

This is another issue I've been thinking about since the presentation from the dietician at Y Neighbours the other morning...

Supper time can be a challenge around our house (and I'm assuming at most houses that eat with a toddler).  Annika can be a great eater one day, and then super picky the next.  Usually breakfast and lunch aren't too difficult, because most of the time I serve her foods that I know she will like (and she seems to be more consistent with those foods, as opposed to supper foods which can suddenly switch from the "favorite" category to the "yuck" category without warning).  So she eats a lot of the same things for those meals.  Breakfast is usually milk, bananas with peanut butter and cereal or toast.  If we don't have bananas, she'll have applesauce or canned peaches.  There's a little more variety at lunch time (especially if we're eating at my parents' place or my in-laws' place), but it's usually pb&j sandwiches, grilled cheese, or Annika's favorite - cheese, crackers, ham and pickles (we call it a "snack-y" lunch).  Sometimes I'll eat leftovers for lunch, if I can't stand another day of pb&j.  However, when it comes to supper, I like to make a wider variety of meals, as Carey and I would go crazy if we only ate the foods we knew for sure that Annika would eat (we would probably have to rotate between mac n' cheese and perogies).  So that can lead to some conflict at the dinner table.

We have never been the "you must clean your plate" type of parents, but we do want Annika to try some of each thing on the table (even if it's not a favorite - the only exception I'll make is if I know she's tried something several times and really doesn't like it, then she doesn't have to eat it), and to make a decent effort at eating most of her food.  Oh, and what's on the table is what's for supper - I will not make a separate supper for her.  The exception is if I know something is really not going to go down well, I will occasionally put buns on the table, so she can have those as well.  Like I said before, some days she eats really well, and some days - not so much.  On the "not so much" days, Carey and I do what we can to get her to eat more - we threaten to take away toys (and do it, if needed), we set a limit for how much time she has until her plate is taken away (which can sometimes be strangely motivating - she doesn't want to eat the food, but she doesn't want it taken away!), we bribe her with a small treat or juice, we tell her "3 more bites" - we have a bunch of different tactics we pull out when needed.  However, I'm wondering if we're doing the right thing.

One of the things the dietician told us (and I've heard it before) is that parents are resposible for...
choosing the food
making the meals
deciding when to serve snacks/meals
presenting the meals
making meal times pleasant
helping the child to participate in family meals
teaching the child how to behave at the table
...but ultimately it is the child who is responsible for how much is eaten. 
(Seems like a bit of an obvious statement, but I think it's something we often forget).

Here's a few other quotes from the pamphlets we were given that have also made me think:
"Never force a child to eat or punish a child for not eating."
"Do not use dessert as a bribe to get your child to eat the rest of the meal."
"Do not react to how much or how little your child eats."

I'm not quite sure what to make of this.  It seems very different from the general attitude I think most parents take towards food - clean your plate, don't waste food.  While I agree that we shouldn't encourage letting food go to waste, are we perhaps doing our children a disservice by "strongly encouraging" (I won't say "forcing") them to eat?  Is the reason that obesity is so prominent in North America due in part to the fact that generations of children have been taught to clean their plate?  Are we teaching our children to overeat and setting them up for health issues later in life?

In reading the pamphlets we were given, I also learned how many servings a 3 year old child should be getting each day - 4 servings of fruits & veggies, 3 servings of grains, 2 servings of milk products and 1 serving of meat & alternatives.  That's really not that much, and when I think of what Annika eats in an average day, I think she pretty much gets it covered.  Perhaps part of our problem is that we're expecting her to eat more than what she actually needs.

So we're going to try to make a few changes to our supper time routine.  I'm going to start giving Annika smaller portions, so not as much food goes to waste if she doesn't finish.  If she does finish what she's given, then she can always have seconds.  With some foods (like raw veggies which she loves), I'll also let her serve herself.  We're going to try to be more positive during supper times, and encourage her to eat without threatening punishment.  We'll also try to set a good example for her to follow.

I'd like to hear from you, though.  If you have kids, what's supper time like at your place?  Or what was it like for you when you were growing up?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Healthier eating

This morning at Y Neighbours we had a presentation from a dietician from Youville Centre, and it really got me thinking about our eating habits.  I think we do not bad with what we eat, but there are definitely lots of areas where we could improve.  And as the person who does the grocery shopping and meal preparation in this house, it's my responsibility to make the necessary changes.  However, I think if I try to make too many changes at once it will be too hard to stick with, so I'm going to try to make one or two changes a week.

My change for this week is to eliminate juice boxes.  I was actually planning to do this anyways, since they're not really necessary and just create extra garbage.  I usually give Annika some juice with her afternoon snack, and at first I would give it to her in a reusable juice box, mixed with water.  Somewhere along the way, though, she discovered juice boxes (possibly last summer for going to the lake?) and she got hooked.  However, there's really no reason why at home she can't drink juice from a cup or the reusable juice box, and then I could go back to mixing it with water (as long as she's okay with that, now that she's had "full strength" juice). 

My other goal for this week is to start baking one homemade "something" (cookies, muffins, granola bars, etc) each week.  I think it's okay to still have goodies like cookies around, but I'd prefer them to be homemade, rather than store-bought.  It just seems healthier to me, plus it also eliminates the garbage that comes with all those "individually wrapped" treats.  I enjoy baking (and eating freshly baked treats!), but I don't do it very often because I hate cleaning up afterwards.  Also, since Emmett came along, I find that it's harder to find the time to bake (plus do the clean up!).  So I'll have to find a way to get over those hurdles.  The good thing (or perhaps the challenging thing) is that Annika loves to help out in the kitchen, so I'm sure she'd love it if I started to bake on a regular basis.

So those are my goals for this week.  I'll let you know next week how things are going, and what my next changes will be.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I came across this quote on the website Just Lovely Things (surfing random websites this evening while Carey watches hockey) and I love it.

I want to print out the quote and put it in a pretty frame somewhere in my house.  It's a good reminder.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ready or not? Apparently not

I wrote the other day that I thought it was time to start Emmett on solids, even though I wasn't quite ready for it.  Well, we tried some cereal today, and it seems that he's actually not quite ready for it either.  I was pretty surprised - I thought he'd love to eat, but he wasn't overly interested in the spoon (until I let him play with it afterwards) and when I actually got it into his mouth, he pushed out most of the cereal.  We tried for a little while, and he kind of got the hang of it with a few bites, but in general he wasn't gobbling it up like I had expected.  He also made a bit of a face when he tasted the cereal. 

Since I was in no rush to have him eating food anyways, we'll wait for a couple days before trying again.  Maybe in the meantime I'll give him a bowl and spoon to play with during our meal times, just so he gets used to seeing them and using them.

PS. his awesome "upcycled" jean bib was a gift made by a friend and they are for sale here.

Prime real estate

I love where I live.  I love the area, I love our street.  I love our yard and I love our house.  And apparently, I'm not the only one.  We got some little friends who also seem to think we've got a little piece of heaven here.  This past week, I've had the windows open occasionally, and whenever I leave an upstairs window open, a bird starts building a nest there.  It will only be open for a few hours, and there will be evidence of someone trying to move in.  And these are determined little ones - check out their hard work...

Our bedroom

Kids' bathroom

Laundry room
(this is actually a second attempt - I knocked down the first nest yesterday)

So I guess we'll need to keep the windows closed (and turn on the AC!) at least for the next little while, until the birds find a more appropriate place to call home.  This one is taken.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ready or not...

It's soon time to start Emmett on solids.  I had actually thought about starting him with some cereal when he reached 5 months, but I chickened out.  I have no doubt that he would've been ready for it at that point, but I decided that I  wasn't ready for it yet.  I wasn't ready for my little baby to start eating already.  I wouldn't have thought that I would have a problem with it, but it just seems suddenly that he's growing up too fast.  Since he's likely the last baby that we have, I'm finding myself wanting to hang on to these baby moments a little bit longer.  There's also the convenience factor of it.  It's so easy now to just toss a bottle and some formula into the diaper bag and go - things get a lot more complicated when you add food into the equation.  So I've put off starting him on cereal....  until now. 

I think whether I'm ready or not, it's time to start him on some food.  He sits with us, in his high chair, already during meal times, so he's very aware of what's going on.  Annika often leaves food left-over on her plate, and you can almost see him thinking "if she's not going to eat that, I will!"  If we have him on our lap during a meal, he will reach for anything within his arm's length.  The other day, at Y Neighbours, he was trying to get my frappucino (he's got his mommy's good taste - he already knows Starbucks is good). :)  So, I think the time has come.

With Annika, I made almost all of her baby food myself.  I think it was, in part, a way for me to compensate for the fact that I couldn't breastfeed her.  I may not have been able to nourish her in that way, but I could do it by making her baby food.  It was also a huge boost to my mommy-ego when she would actually refuse jarred baby food (she hated those "meal" combinations) and want to eat my homemade food instead. :)  Hopefully I will be able to make most of Emmett's baby food as well.  I found that using my Magic Bullet was a great way to make purees, and then I would freeze them in ice cube trays so I had plenty on hand.  It did take a little more effort, but I think it was worth it, in terms of saving money and reducing waste.  I think (most) jarred baby food has come a long way, in terms of not having a lot of extra preservatives and other stuff in it anymore, but I still think homemade food is the healthier way to go. 

One thing I'm not looking forward to is taking along baby food when we go to the lake or camping this summer.  Because Annika was born in spring, her first summer at the lake she was breastfeeding or taking a bottle, and by the next summer she was already eating mostly table foods.  Emmett will just be eating baby food this summer, so I may end up buying jarred food to take along, just for the convenience of transporting it.  Or I guess I could bring my Magic Bullet along and just puree up whatever we're eating.  I guess we'll see when the time comes.

So, I think that Saturday will be the day to start the cereal (so Carey can be home to see it too).  I'll let you know how it goes, and I'm sure there will be pictures to post!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cleaning up

I've hit a bit of a "wall" with my spring cleaning.  I started off with good intentions, and with a plan, and I did pretty well for the first few days.  I didn't necessarily do the specific cleaning task that was assigned for that day, but I at least did one of the tasks on the list.  I cleaned out my fridge, I cleaned my microwave and oven (although the oven still needs work - I discovered that I need more than just Norwex and elbow grease for the amount of baked-on junk I've got in there.  I'll need some actual oven cleaner). 
I even cleaned out my kitchen drawers.  I didn't think to take a "before" picture, but check out this "after" picture of my Tupperware drawer (you can imagine the before - chaos).  I was pretty proud of my efforts.  However, somewhere between the weather warming up (I guess it's called "spring cleaning" and not "summer cleaning" for a reason!) and the amount of other day-to-day cleaning that needed to happen, I lost my motivation.  I guess I find it hard to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning areas that only I will see (or some even I will never see, like dusting the tops of my kitchen cabinets).  I know these things are important to do every now and then (even if we can't see the dust, I'm sure we still breathe it in), I'm just not sure that now will be the time that they get done.  Or perhaps they will just get done at a much slower rate, or on rainy days.

I have had some cleaning successes, though.  I think I'm doing pretty well with dealing with the amount of paper that's sitting around, and I'm working at being more intentional in getting things in general into their proper place (for example, putting my Sunday shoes away in my closet where they belong, instead of leaving them by the back door all week).  We've also been doing well with getting Annika to clean up her toys each evening.  Sure, we still do most of the work, but I'm sure it won't always be like that.  I'm actually considering going through her toys and getting rid of the ones she doesn't play with much (or moving them down to the basement), so there's not as much toy clutter in the living room (thanks for the inspiration, Mel!).  I may not be dusting the ceilings or organizing the pantry, but I think in general the house is looking a lot tidier, and that's what is more important to me right now.

Even though I haven't been doing the cleaning tasks each day, I've still been reading a chapter of the book (31 Days to Clean) each day, and I'm really enjoying it.  These past few days seem to have been written for me, as they've been about overcoming laziness and getting past the feeling of futility in cleaning ("it's just going to get dirty again, so why bother?").  That's a biggie for me - feeling like it doesn't matter what I do, things will just get messy again.  As soon as the laundry is done, there's another dirty bib.  As soon as I vacuum the floor, there's crumbs under the table again.  As soon as the toys are put away, they're pulled out and strewn all over the house again.  The fact is, though, that that's life - that's our world.  Everything is moving towards a state of disorder and decay, but that doesn't give us the right to just give up and go along with it.  We were given the responsibility of taking care of this world (and our homes are part of that), even though the task is difficult at times.  It's been a good reminder to me to persevere, even when the task seems never-ending.

However, if the weather stays warm like this, I'm going to go outside and play! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


We try to live a "green" lifestyle, as much as possible.  Among other things, we recycle, use cloth diapers (most of the time), wear second-hand clothes (mostly just the kids, though), use reusable shopping bags and we even have dual-flush toilets in our house so we use less water when it's only #1 going down :).  This past weekend, I picked up the final piece to complete another "green" thing for us.  A compost bin. 

I received this pretty, stainless steel kitchen compost bucket and compostable bags for my birthday, but I haven't used it yet, since I didn't have a place to put the compost outside yet.  Last weekend the city had a sale on compost bins and rain barrels, so I went to pick one up (just the compost bin, maybe we'll get the rain barrel next year). 

After waiting in line for about an hour and a half (it's a popular event, which is really cool to see), I was the new proud owner of this baby.  Now we just need to find a place in the yard to put it, and then I can start composting.  I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with the finished compost, since we don't really have a garden or flower beds (my thumb is the least green part of me!), but I'm sure we'll find some use for it.  It just makes me happy to know that we'll have even less garbage sitting out at the end of our driveway each week. :)  I take pride in the fact that we, a family of 4 (with a baby, no less), usually do not throw away more than one regular-size garbage can full of garbage each week.  In fact, often it's not even full.  I think if we can do it, then anyone can.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spit up

Emmett is a spitter, and it drives me crazy.  He spits up ALL THE TIME.  It's not just after a feeding - it can happen at any time, even hours after he's eaten (and it looks and smells really great by that time :P).  It doesn't matter if he's lying down or sitting up, although it does tend to be worse when he's sitting up or lying on his tummy.  I think that's why he's not very good at sitting yet - we just don't put him in that position very much because it means he'll likely spit up (Carey always says I'm tempting fate when I put Emmett in his Bumbo).  Annika did not spit up very much as a baby, and when she was this age she was already sitting with just a pillow for support, but Emmett's nowhere near that point yet.  On some days Emmett will go through 2 or 3 different outfits because he's soaked them with spit up (or drool - he's got that coming out in abundance as well).  He's goes through at least 4 or 5 bibs a day and the house is littered in spit clothes, so there's always one within arm's reach.  Most days I probably stink like spit up by the end of the day too, as it gets on me, on the couch, on the floor... it's everywhere.

I asked the doctor about it at Emmett's 4 month check up, and he wasn't concerned because (obviously) Emmett is growing very well.  There must be enough staying down to nourish him, but it just seems like there's so much coming back up.  I tried using a different bottle (the kind we had used with Annika), but it didn't seem to make much of a difference.  I've read articles online that suggest burping the baby after every 2 ounces, but it makes Emmett very mad when I take away his bottle that often (he arches his back and screams), so that didn't seem to help either.  I'm thinking about trying a different formula - he currently gets the Wal-Mart brand of formula, because it's nice and cheap and I heard that it's just as good as the brand name formulas.  However, when we were at the doctor last week, they gave me a couple sample cans of Nestle Good Start (which is what we used with Annika), and I'm wondering if the different formula would help.  I just don't like the idea of paying that much for formula again!  I'm also thinking about starting him on cereal on the weekend, so maybe that will help.  I don't know what else to do, other than just keep doing laundry.  I know this won't last forever, and I know that it's probably nothing to be worried about, but I can't help it - it bothers me.  Although, as a friend once said, if spitting up is the worst problem that my baby has, then I'm lucky.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Emmett's room: part II

I've come to a decision about what to do with the empty wall in Emmett's room.  I've appreciated all your feedback about the pictures and I've chosen......

Neither of them!  My mom actually gave me an idea that I liked even more - she suggested that I turn the crib quilt (which is currently being used as a play mat on the floor, since Emmett uses a sleep sac instead of a blanket) into a wall hanging.  She's going to help me sew a pocket on the back, and put a rod in and attach a nice cord to hang it up on the wall.  I liked the idea because it will (obviously) match the rest of the decor, and I don't have to buy anything more (other than a rod and the cord).  Also, the crib quilt is a bit of a useless thing anyways (I seem to remember Annika's crib quilt spending most of its time nicely folded up at the end of her crib), so this way it will be put to good use.

The crib quilt on the floor - soon to be reborn as a wall hanging
 PS. For those who were curious which picture I was leaning towards, it was the elephant picture, which also happened to be the one that got the most votes! 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another day at the dentist

So, to finish off my dental "saga," this morning I had my appointment with the specialist to have my root canal completed.  See this post if you don't remember what happened at the first root canal appointment.  After having a less-than-pleasant experience at the dentist's office, I was really dreading this appointment.  And yesterday, I did something that made my anxiety even worse - I checked out the dentist I was going to see on http://www.ratemds.com/, a website where people can post ratings about doctors and dentists.  Some of the comments were not very favourable, which made me feel even worse.  However, everything went really well this morning - a lot better than I was expecting.  The doctor was not overly friendly or talkative, but he worked quickly and seemed to really know his stuff.  He didn't even really say much to his assistant, but she seemed to know what he needed and they passed the tools back and forth so quickly that it was almost like a dance between the two of them.  Other than the occasional "open wide", I think there was one other word that he said during the procedure - "good."  And if you only hear one word during a root canal, that's the one you want to hear!

So I'm glad that that's all over and done with now, and I would gladly recommend this dentist, if anyone needs a root canal.  In fact, I think I'll put my own review up on ratemds, just to balance out some of the negative reviews.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring cleaning - bring it on!

I am not one for cleaning.  Sure, I'd like to have a clean and orderly house, but the effort to get it that way seems to overwhelm me most of the time, so I don't even try.  I'll do the basics - washing dishes, laundry, vacuuming once the layer of dust bunnies gets too thick, cleaning the bathroom when it starts looking really gross - but I don't do much more than that.  At least not on a regular basis.  I think my main problem is that in order to clean things first I need to get rid of the clutter (toys on the floor, piles of papers on the counters, etc), and it's the clutter that's really overwhelming.  As well, the size of the task often seems daunting to me (washing all the windows, cleaning all 3 bathrooms).  However, since it doesn't look like we'll be hiring a maid any time soon, I need to get over all that and make a change.  I have been blessed with a beautiful home, as well as the opportunity to be at home full-time to take care of it and our children, and I need to do my part.  I don't want to neglect my children in order to have a tidy house (I'm reminded of an old poem my mom has - it ends "so quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep"), but I think that it should be possible to find a balance in spending time cleaning and spending time with the kids.

So when I read about an e-book called "31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way" on my friend Tammi's blog, I thought that it might be the kick-in-the-butt that I need to get my house in order.  She's also participating in a blog cleaning challenge, but I'm just going to be doing this on my own (mostly because I'm thinking it will take me more than 31 days to actually get everything done, and I'm a little late starting - the challenge started May 1).  I've only started into the book, but I really like it so far.  Each day there's a "Mary challenge" and a "Martha challenge" (as in the biblical sisters, Mary and Martha).  The Mary challenges are reflective and/or encouraging, and the Martha challenges are specific cleaning tasks.  The Mary challenges make you think about why you want your house to be clean, what your role in the home is (it's more than just "housekeeper"!), and how you can encourage and love your family by taking care of your home.  The Martha challenges split up those huge, daunting cleaning tasks into little bits to do each day.  I like that, because I don't often get hours of uninterrupted time to do anything, much less cleaning, so having the tasks laid out in manageable chunks makes it much more likely that I'll actually do them.  Just from reading through the tasks, there are some that I think I might need more than 1 day to complete (like organizing the closets), but most of them I think even I should be able to do.  I may not do them all on the recommended day, though.  For example, I think the task for day 14 is washing the winter bedding and putting it away.  Well, we took the winter bedding off our bed the other day, so I'll probably give it a wash in the next day or so, rather than leave it lying around for another week.  But I think just getting things done is more important than doing them on the appropriate day.  And probably by the time I get to the end of the list, it will be time to start it all again from the beginning!

I'm also going to try to implement a few of my own "challenges" during this time.  One is to get Annika to help with cleaning up her toys each evening.  We used to do this with her, but it's kind of fallen by the wayside.  Sure, we'd end up doing most of the cleaning, but she would help with a few things, and I think it's important to start teaching her to look after her own things.  The other challenge is for myself - I need to take control of the amount of paper that piles up around here.  I'd like to deal with any piece of paper (whether that means file, recycle or put on the fridge) within 48 hours (or less!) of it coming into the house.  If there's something that can't be dealt with in that time frame, then I want to have a designated spot for those "pending" items.  Hopefully with doing these two things, it will help cut down on the clutter, and make actual cleaning easier to do.

Well, I should get up now - I need to clean my oven and microwave today, and that's a biggie!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Emmett's room

I'm still working on finishing the decorating in Emmett's room (okay, let's be honest - I'm still working at finishing the decorating in most of the house, but Emmett's room is my current project).  Since we didn't know beforehand if it would be a girl or a boy, we didn't do much with the room before he was born.  It was painted green (like Annika's room) when the house was built, and we moved Annika's crib and change table over to the "baby room" when she got her "big girl" furniture.  We bought a new rocker and footstool in a neutral color, and that was about it.  We actually didn't even have blinds up in his room until a few weeks after he was born, as he came a bit earlier than we were expecting!

I've got most of the stuff done in Emmett's room.  We picked out a jungle-themed set of crib bedding, and some matching wall decorations (there's also a window valance to match that I haven't gotten to hanging up yet).  I wasn't planning on having a jungle theme, but I really liked the colors of the set, and I thought it was pretty cute.  I painted the letters of his name to match, as well as some picture frames (which still need to have pictures put in them).  I have one wall left to complete.  It's a big wall, so I was thinking of putting a fairly large something there.  The challenge is deciding what that something is.  I figured if we were going to get a larger picture or poster to put there, I wanted something that wasn't too baby-ish, so he wouldn't outgrow it right away (or when he did want to change it, it would be something I liked and could put somewhere else in the house).  Staying with the jungle/African theme, I found these posters at http://www.artgalore.ca/ and I'm trying to decide between the two.

African Silhouette Art Print by Jim Zuckerman for $11.64 CAD
"African Silhouette"

African Sky II Art Print by Jim Zuckerman for $11.64 CAD
"African Sky"
I'd appreciate your feedback, and let me know which one you'd pick (I won't tell you which one I'm leaning towards).  Also, if anyone has any ideas for a relatively inexpensive way to frame or mount the picture, I'd love to hear those too.  I'd like to do something more than just sticky-tack it to the wall, but I'm not sure what.  Or if you have a completely different idea for what I should do with the space, let me know.  I'm open to whatever right now.

Edited to add:
Vote for your favorite in the poll on my sidebar (at the very top) ---->

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A good book never goes out of style...


... it just gets passed along to the next reader. :)

(Left - Annika, 4 months.  Right - Emmett, 5 months)

Friday, May 6, 2011

To blog or not to blog: part II

Thanks for the feedback on my post about whether I should keep blogging.  I started this blog mostly just to document our life as it is - to share pictures and record the funny little stories and adventures we have that are too quickly forgotten if we're not careful.  I'm a fairly private person, so I didn't really intend for this to be a place for me to spill my deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings, but I guess it could happen from time to time.  Also, I was a little worried that I might not have that many deep thoughts that would be worth sharing, as often my mind is most preoccupied with things like "what's for dinner" or "are there any clean diapers" (sad, but true).  I've tried to write a few posts are about stuff I've been thinking about, but I find they take a lot more time to compose (I've got a few half-written drafts waiting to be finished and posted), as it tends to be more difficult to get those thoughts down into words, at least compared to writing about day-to-day stuff.

I didn't anticipate, though, that in writing this blog I would be "spoiling" my own stories for when I wanted to tell them in person.  However, I'm not going to throw in the towel.  I just may not blog as often, or perhaps only blog about something after I've had a chance to tell the story in person a few times.  I think I was a bit over-zealous at first, trying to blog every day, because I wanted to have lots of interesting stuff on my blog to keep readers coming back (even though I said this was mostly just for me, let's be honest - it's nice to have other people read and comment).  I'm sure though, that people will still come back, even there's only a new post every other day or a few times a week.  I may also try to do different kinds of posts from time to time (about stuff other than the kids!), although I think that will be a bit of a challenge for me.  But it's probably a good challenge - it'll keep my mind from turning into a wad of Play Doh!  And perhaps, over time, I'll become more accustomed to hearing "I read that on your blog" and it won't feel so weird. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Swimming Update

Today was Annika's first time back in the pool since last week's disastrous swimming lesson.  I had hoped to take her to the pool some time during the week, just for fun, but that didn't happen. I was a bit nervous this morning, but she seemed to be looking forward to going swimming.  After breakfast, when she was playing with her Little People, they were at "swimming lessons" and they were playing the "fish-in-the-middle" game that they play in Annika's class (and all the Little People seemed to be having a good time, which I took as a good sign).  After last week, Carey and I had discussed whether I should go in the pool with her, but we decided that it would be best to give her another chance on her own.

When we got to the pool I was a little worried because Annika wouldn't use the bathroom before going in (and she hadn't gone before we left home).  I didn't push it, though, because I figured there was no point in getting her all upset before she even got in the pool.  She was okay, though.  She actually did great in the water this week.  There was a different teacher this week, and I mentioned to her that Annika had some troubles last week, but she was much better this time.  She even swam across the pool and back, with the help of the floaties (I'm amazed by all the different ways they think of to use a pool noodle!).  She even smiled at me from time to time (I stayed by the side of the pool this time). 

Everything went really well until it was time for going down the slide.  She was a bit hesitant, but went down with a little help the first time.  Then they were supposed to go down again, and she got upset and starting crying and ran to me (we definitely need to talk more about pool-side safety!).  Incidentally, she also said she "had to go pee", which I'm beginning to think is her way of trying to get out of doing something she doesn't want to do.  I told her she could go pee after she went down the slide, and walked with her back to the slide.  She did end up going down again, but then cried again when she got out of the pool.  The class was over by then, so we went to go change (and of course by then she no longer had to pee) and I told her that I was so proud of her.

So it wasn't a perfect lesson, but it was a whole lot better than last week.  Next week she'll probably have to miss her class, though, because next Thursday morning is when I'm finally having my root canal done (boo).  Hopefully things just keep getting better and better after that.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To blog or not to blog?

I haven't posted anything for a few days now because I'm actually considering stopping my blog.  I'm on the fence about it still.  I enjoy blogging and sharing pictures and stories with everyone (and having a record of our life "as it is" to look back on), but I've found that it creates a bit of a problem - when I actually talk to people in real life, they've already heard all my stories.  I start to tell someone about something that happened about me and they reply, "oh yeah, I read about it on your blog."  Then I don't know if I should continue talking about it, or if that would just be redundant.  Like I said, I enjoy blogging, but I don't want it to take away from my real-life interactions, which I think are far more important.  Any thoughts or advice?