Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The wisdom of Seuss

Lately Annika and I have been discovering Dr. Seuss books at the library.  I'm no stranger to Seuss, but up until now it's been more "Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham" or "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish."  We're now getting into some of the other books.  A while ago we took out "The Lorax" and I loved it.  And I loved how Annika talked about "speaking for the trees" for days after we read it.  This past trip to the library we took out "Oh the Places You'll Go!" and it's quickly become another favorite of mine.  I think I liked it more than Annika!  Here's one of my favorite parts (because it's quite relevant to me right now):

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

But there's always hope, according to Seuss.  From the end of the book...

On and on you will hike.
And I know you'll hike far
and face up your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.

Smart man, that Seuss.  And good at rhyming too. ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sewing class #2

Yesterday was my second sewing class and I had so much fun.  Much better than the first class, when we just had to sit and listen to the teacher talk and didn't even get to touch a machine.  First thing we did yesterday was some "paper" sewing (no thread, just practicing sewing along lines on a piece of paper), to get the hang of the sewing machine.  I brought along my mom's machine, which I had used in the past, so this was a little boring for me.  Not to mention that the machine apparently didn't like sewing without thread.  It kept beeping and stopping every few seconds, sort of like how your car beeps at you when you don't put on your seat belt, so that was a little frustrating.

After the paper sewing we started on our first project - a little fabric bag (sort of like a grocery bag).  It was fun to actually start making something, and I got pretty far with my bag, but we didn't have time in class to finish.  So now I have some homework to do.  I told Carey last night that I was going to have a hard time getting anything else done today, because I just wanted to sew!  Also, I want to finish up what she showed us in class before I forget it, because we didn't receive any written instructions - she just demonstrated each step.  Although she didn't have time to demonstrate how to attach the handles, so I guess I won't be able to complete my bag for another 2 weeks (no class next week).  Then it's onto pajama pants! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Emmett's eczema - update

I thought I'd write a little update about Emmett's eczema, because I hadn't written about it lately (this is another one of those posts that is probably more for me to look back on later).  He's actually been doing really well over the summer, and I'm praying that things won't get worse again with the change of weather.  When I first wrote about his eczema, I outlined a "plan of attack", and I've been doing some of those things, and others I have changed.  Here's our current "routine", which seems to be working quite well.  I can't really say if it's one thing in particular, or a combination of all the things, but I barely ever have to use his prescription steroid cream anymore (only about once every 3-4 weeks, when it used to be at least once a week). 
  • Probiotics - I put BioGaia probiotic drops in his cereal every morning
  • Diet - I've found that he's now able to handle wheat, and he has at least one serving of it every day (he just started eating toast and he loves it!).  He also seems to be okay with dairy (eats yogurt and cheese, and he's still on the milk-based formula).  His diet is still pretty restricted, though, mostly due to his age.  He's had egg yolks, but not the whites yet.  He also hasn't had fish yet, or much sugar (other than when he gets to have a little ice cream treat!).  I add a spoonful of ground flaxseed to his cereal every morning, to give him a little extra Omega 3, which is good for the skin.
  • Environmental factors - I use natural products as much as possible (or as much as we can afford - some of them aren't cheap!), and try to put him in only 100% cotton clothes (although his sleep sack for winter is a polyester-blend, so we'll see how that goes).  I haven't been very good at keeping up with the cleaning (I was going to clean his room and bedding once a week), but that doesn't seem to be too much of an issue.  It would be a good habit to get into, though, so perhaps I'll try a bit harder now that summer's over.
  • Personal care - I haven't been putting lotion on him (all over) daily, just after baths.  It seems to be okay, though, because the eczema is really only on his face, and the rest of his skin is perfectly soft and smooth.  For baths, I add my homemade oatmeal bath mixture to the water.  On his face, I wash it twice a day with Rocky Mountain Soap Company pumpkin soap (recommended for dry skin and eczema), and then put on unscented body butter (also from Rocky Mountain).  I put on a thick layer in the morning and before bed, and do a thinner layer several times throughout the day (usually when after I change his diaper, since we're in his room already).  This stuff seems to work really well at keeping his skin soft and moisturized.  And I love Rocky Mountain Soap Company - the stuff is all natural, and it's made in Canmore, AB.  The body butter is made with beeswax, so although it's unscented, he still smells a little sweet, which I like. :)  The body butter is a little tricky to apply to the face, though (it comes in a solid stick, like deodorant), so I used a fine-tooth comb to scrap a little bit off the stick and warm it up in my fingers until it's soft enough to apply to his face (the comb is only used for the body butter, not hair, since it gets all greasy).  Sometimes I'll also warm up the stick on my arm, and then apply directly to his face (gently).  He's not too fond of it, but he'll thank me someday.  I also try to keep his fingernails quite short (another thing he's not fond of), so he doesn't break the skin if he does scratch.
  • Natural necklaces - he wears an amber necklace and a hazelwood necklace (that one I put on his ankle though) every day.  I'm not sure if they really make a difference, but it's worth a shot.

I didn't have a close-up picture from recently (and the June pic is a bit out of focus), but hopefully you can see how much better his skin is looking.  He still has the occasional flare-up, but more often than not it goes away without the prescription cream.

So that's what we've been doing, and it seems to be working.  Hopefully it keeps working for the winter, with the dry indoor air, and cold outdoor temperatures!

Monday, September 19, 2011

1000 gifts: #71-80

Y Neighbours starting up again

homemade pumpkin muffins

a little girl who loves preschool

a quiet house on preschool afternoons (at least when Emmett is napping!)

answered prayer, even though it was just about something small

doing something for myself

eating apple crisp at Boston Pizza and talking about books

finding a second-hand snowsuit for Annika for only $15 (and it's in great condition)

Annika's excitement over her Halloween costume (she told me "it's just what I wanted" about 20 times when I showed it to her) :)

a box full of Norwex goodies

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sewing class

On Wednesday evening I started my "learn to sew" class.  Technically, I know how to sew - I just don't remember. :P  I took sewing in home ec in junior high, and I made a few things - a gym bag, a pair of boxer shorts, and a sweatshirt.  Since then I've also sewn myself a skirt, and the water wrap for Emmett just this past summer.  However, like I said, I don't remember much of what I learned way back in junior high, and I'd really like to feel more comfortable with a sewing machine.  So I decided to take this class (also because I needed to do something for myself!).

It's a 2.5 hour class, one night a week for six weeks.  The first class was a little bit dull - we didn't even get to touch a machine.  It kind of made me think of Phoebe's guitar lessons for Joey (Friends, anyone?).  :)  But we covered the basics of all the equipment we would need (or "notions" if you will), how to take measurements (what fun to have a perfect stranger measure your boobs - at least it was all women), and how to buy a pattern and fabric.  I was hoping that we'd be able to choose our sewing project, but the teacher strongly "recommended" that we all make boxer shorts or pajama pants.  I guess it's easier for her if we're all working on something similar, and those are fairly basic projects.  However, I have no need for either boxer shorts or pajama pants for myself, so I'm going to make a pair of pants for Annika.  We went to Fabricland today and got the pattern and the fabric.  Here's a little sneak peak - isn't it cute?

The pattern I bought also includes patterns for a skirt, jumper, vest and jacket, so hopefully after I master the pants, I'll be able to make a few more things for Annika.  The jumper is next on my list.  Hopefully I can find some more good deals on fabric (my mom had a coupon for 50% off fabric, so this fabric today only cost $4.50 for a meter).  I think sewing your own clothes used to be a lot more economical, but now it seems to be almost as expensive as buying ready-made.  Some of the fabric we saw today was $20 a meter!  And it wasn't really anything fancy - it was flannel (but it was Christmas prints).  However, there's just something about being able to say "I made that" that makes you feel good.  Perhaps I'll have to also take a few lessons from a friend of mine who is quite skilled in "upcycling" old clothing into new creations.

So I'm looking forward to next week - actually using the machine! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First day of preschool

Annika had her first day of preschool today and she did great!  The only tears were when it was time to go home ("I don't want to go home!!!").  Here's a few pics from today:

Her "lunch" bag, reusable snack bags and cup - all labelled and ready to pack her snack!  My moms' group is selling these waterproof labels and tags as a fundraiser - check out this website if you're interested in getting your own (and supporting my group).

All ready to go, with her M&M backpack.

Just outside of her school - very excited!

A little more reserved, now that we're inside.  I couldn't get a picture of her looking at me - she was too busy looking at all the other kids and stuff.

Now I can start writing in my new book for Annika!  It covers nursery school to grade 8.  I picked it up at Costco a while ago, and had the foresight to get 2 right away, so Emmett will have the same one.

I love that it's a 3-ring binder, so you can add in pages of artwork, photos, tests, etc.  I'm not one for scrapbooking, but I really like this book.

As I said, after school there were a few tears when leaving, but so far Annika's handling the change in schedule quite well (especially considering that she has a bit of a cold).  When we got home I let her watch Sesame Street (I PVR it, and she usually watches it after lunch as part of her "quiet time", so she missed that today), and it almost looked like she would fall asleep on the couch, but she didn't.  I think the "down" time was good for her though, because she was a lot more talkative after that.  All through supper we talked about school, and when I stopped asking her questions, she told me to "talk about my school more".  I think she likes it. ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New 'do for school

Annika got her hair cut today, so she's all ready to start preschool tomorrow!

Not sure what's up with the head tilt - she kept doing it every time I tried to take her picture.  Maybe she's been watching me - I often head tilt in pictures. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

1000 gifts: #62-70

I'm not sure why, but I seem to have lost my blogging mojo.  I seem to lack the motivation and the energy to post.  Maybe I'm still feeling a bit overwhelmed from all the posting during August.  Maybe it's just a general reflection of my life right now - I've been sick and tired for a while (physically) and it's also starting to take it's toll on me emotionally.  I know my last post sounded quite upbeat and positive, but to be honest, that's not how I feel most days.  Although I am hoping that the change of season and change of routine will perhaps kick my butt back into gear.  I'm hoping that having so many things to look forward to will be the incentive I need to pull myself out of this funk.  However, I know I am still blessed, even when I'm not feeling it.  This past week's gifts:

plenty of work for Carey at his job (I try to remind myself that this is a blessing, when he has to work late or on Saturdays)

sleeping with the windows open (and actually being able to sleep - often I'm kept awake by the noises outside, but not this week)

"open house" morning at Annika's preschool - she's so excited for school to start

late night cuddles with Emmett (just too bad that they happened because he's sick)

catching up with a good friend who has been away for a while

being able to get Emmett a doctor appointment today, so we didn't have to go to a walk-in

medication for his ear infection

chocolate covered almonds

the God-given strength to go on, even when I think I'm done

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Anyone else ready for fall?  I am.

We've had a wonderful summer, weather-wise, but I think I'm just about ready for some fall weather.  It's hard to believe that we're already one week into September, and the forecast is still for a high of 30C every day this week!  I don't want to complain, but I'm almost done with the heat.  I love the beginning of fall - the cool, crisp weather; the trees start turning colors; new routines start up.  If only fall didn't have to turn into winter - that's the one bad thing about fall!

We have a bunch of exciting things to look forward to this fall:
  • Annika is starting preschool!  She'll be going 2 afternoons a week.  I'm excited to have a little "time off" from her, but I'm also very excited for her and all the new experiences she'll have.  And she's also excited for school - she's been talking about it, playing "school", and counting down the sleeps till she starts.
  • I'm going back to school too!  Okay, well not really, but I am taking a "learn to sew" course.  It's one evening a week for six weeks, and I'm very excited about it.  I think my project might be sewing a Halloween costume for Annika.
  • Y Neighbours is starting next week!  Definitely looking forward to this - I love getting together with these ladies. :)
  • Annika is taking swimming lessons!  I'm looking forward to see how she does this time around (she's repeating the level she did in spring), now that she's had more exposure to the water over the summer.
  • We're going on a vacation!!  Just me and Carey!!!  It's really just an extended long weekend (thursday-sunday), but we're going to Chicago later this month.  We had enough Airmiles to get our plane tickets for free (just had to pay the taxes), and we found a pretty good deal on a hotel on www.hotwire.com.  Now I'm watching the Chicago Groupon and LivingSocial sites to see if I can score some good deals on restaurants or attractions.  We went to a bunch of the museums, etc when we were there 4 years ago, so now we're looking for some different things to do.  But we'll definitely be getting some deep dish pizza, some Garrett's popcorn (caramel-cheese mix, yay!), and going back to a neat little piano bar called "Howl at the Moon."  I'm so excited.  Did I mention that it'll just be me and Carey - no kids?!? ;)
  • I got some new clothes!  I haven't taken much time to buy clothes for myself since having kids, and my wardrobe was in desperate need of some updating (especially after losing weight, getting pregnant, and losing weight again).  I went shopping a little while ago, and I have 4 new tops for fall that I can't wait to wear!  Also, I tried on a pair of pre-Emmett pants the other day (which I wasn't able to zip up in spring), and they now fit again!  Yay. :)
  • Pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks!  These are a favorite of mine.  I was tempted to get one this morning when I was there, but it just didn't seem right yet, so I got a caramel frappuccino instead.
So as you can see, we've got a lot to look forward to! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1000 gifts: #51-60

We were away for the weekend at our church's annual "camp" weekend.  Now, I have to admit, this weekend is not really my most favorite time.  Sure, it's fun to get away, and to be in a different (more relaxed) setting with my church family, but with 2 little kids it's also a LOT of work.  And not just the packing up - just being there takes a lot of effort.  Schedules are disrupted, sleep is cut short, tantrums happen with half the church watching. :P  Add to that the fact that I don't get to do what I want to do anymore.  I don't get to sit around and chat with friends.  I don't get to linger in bed in the morning, or stay up late sitting around the fire or playing games.  My weekend is dictated by what my 2 little people want (or don't want) to do.  So it's a challenging weekend for me, especially when I see everyone else (or almost everyone else, there are a few others in our situation as well) doing whatever they want, whenever they want.  However, I'm going to choose to focus on the positive aspects of the weekend - the blessings, the gifts:

having meals prepared and cleaned up for me (everyone has to pitch in with "chores" but I always do other non-kitchen-related chores, so I can enjoy not having to make meals for a weekend)

watching Annika interact with the other children her age

kids that travelled well (it's about a 3 hour drive to the camp)

only one day of rainy/cool weather

a nice, warm room to sleep in with a semi-private bathroom just down the hall (others had to sleep in cabins and go outside to go to the communal washrooms)

even though Carey and I were battling colds, the kids did not get sick

the one time we went down to the beach (it wasn't the warmest weekend for water activities!), Annika was content with playing in the sand and the shallow water, so I didn't have to put on my bathing suit and go in the water (I didn't really want to go in the cold water with my cold)

swings (Annika practically lived on them all weekend!)

seeing other parents deal with their children and knowing that we aren't alone (misery loves company, right?) ;)

a challenging message from the guest speakers

edited to add #61
can't believe I almost forgot about this one - watching the "dignified" older folks in our church scrambling to pick up candy with the same enthusiasm as the little kids!!  (the Sunday afternoon candy scramble is open for all ages to participate - and all ages do!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...

I made it through the 30 day photo challenge!  Although, as another friend commented, it seems like it should've been 31 days, since August has 31 days.  Oh well. 

I'm also happy to report that my camera has dried out and is still functional!  So there will be more pictures and posts coming, but not for a little while now - I'm a little "burnt out" after doing a picture and a post every day.  It was fun to do, but I prefer posting a few times a week, rather than having the pressure of posting something everyday.