Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
My sweet mom got me just what I wanted for Christmas: this pretty little green iPod. When these things originally came out, what, six or seven years ago? I scoffed at them. No way would I ever buy something so expensive and frivolous. I was totally cool with my portable CD player. But over the years I warmed up to the idea of having an iPod, and their prices cooled down, and now I have one. I'd never actually held one, so when I got it and removed it from the packaging, it scared me how small it was. So thin! It was like holding a new baby. I carefully placed it back in the box and Jordan said oh, don't worry, you won't hurt it. (He has an iPod Touch for work, which he uses for email and stuff.) He kept trying to get me to put it in my pocket but I wouldn't until I had a case for it. Even now I don't like doing that for fear I'll forget it's in there and wash it.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Pegie thought it would be a good idea to make this a parent-child nativity, which was smart because the only way Suzi ever would've walked down the aisle all costumed and in front of everyone like that is with her dad. I threw together a quick costume for her: simple long dress we already had, blue piece of fabric for her head, baby doll wrapped in a neutral piece of fabric. Jordan already had a costume because we were Mary and Joseph and Suzi was Jesus this time two years ago.
We didn't know exactly what would happen, but we were pretty sure it would be a mess. Luckily, that is what most everyone expects when you have a two-year-old in a Christmas pageant. We were happy, once the moment came, that she consented to be in it at all. We didn't want Mary to take off running up the aisle and jump into Grandma's lap, leaving Joseph sitting uncomfortably in the micro-stable. In the end, though, it went okay. Suzi had to be carried, refused to wear anything on her head, and unswaddled the Baby Jesus, but everyone enjoyed it and Suzi is so happy and proud that she got to be Mary. I made a little Holy Family out of clay for a Christmas gift and when Suzi saw it she smiled and said "that's me when I was Mary!" I think one of the best ways to get a child to understand something is to have them act it out. It's important to me that Suzi understand the Christmas story, so I'm glad she did it. It was meaningful, even if at the end of the service one of our friends was jokingly singing "away in a manger, no crib for His bed, the little Lord Jesus had a cup on his head." (Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.)
Here's the video I managed to get before my Flip camera died...
Monday, December 21, 2009
Growing up and in college, I was spoiled by long, lazy Christmas breaks. Mama was a schoolteacher and Daddy worked at a university, so we had days and days off at Christmas together. I myself had 2-3 weeks off for the holidays, at least. Then I got a job, and learned that when you work retail you don't have this luxury. The past three Christmases I worked at Jennie G's and had to work either Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas. I don't think I ever did work Christmas Eve, but working the day after required rushing back from our out-of-town families to be in the shop by 9:00 am. And I certainly worked the week or two before Christmas and directly after. Jordan would be off work and while he was home playing with Suzi, I'd be stuck in the shop. I know it wasn't that big of a deal. There are people who are forced to work all holidays, even on Christmas Day. We were lucky to have our jobs, but like I said, I was spoiled.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Ah, 20-year-old Jenny. There are so many things I could tell her. To spend less money and more time, to complain less and forgive more, to realize that she is really skinny and enjoy it because it won't last much longer. And then of course, you're going to have a daughter in a couple of years! Try home birth. It's not crazy, you'll like it! Don't get me started on that. We both had a lot to learn and still do. I guess I should just be happy we are figuring it out now, year by year. I wonder what we'll be thinking when we've been married ten years...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I wanted a Puj Tub when Ivey was smaller but we never got one, so I was excited when I got an email saying I'd been chosen as a product tester and would be getting one to try out!
There are only so many ways you can bathe a little baby, and they are nearly all aggravating. The first thing we tried (with Suzi) was a big oval tub, which was extremely heavy when full, nearly impossible to drain, and took up a bunch of space.
Our old standby is this mesh "bath sling" in our kitchen sink. It works okay, but Ivey slips and slides around on it. I also have to leave it out to dry for a couple of hours after a bath before I can put it back in the closet.
For all these reasons, I eagerly awaited the arrival of our Puj Tub. When I came home to find it on our doorstep a few days ago, I quickly unwrapped it and put it in the sink--and that brings me to the main issue we had with it. I thought we had standard sinks. They have always worked fine for us, so I never gave it a second thought, but apparently they are much larger and shallower than most. All three of our bathroom sinks are similar in size, and here is the fit:
I still bathed Ivey in it (with the tub leaned back) and it did work, but it wasn't ideal. It worked better with a folded hand towel placed under the foot of the tub. To be sure it was just our sink, I took the tub over to my parents' house and tried out theirs. Sure enough, it fit like a glove.
I gave Ivey a bath in it at my parents' house, and it went pretty well. Here are my favorite things about the Puj Tub:
1) Perfect for travel. We are visiting our in-laws over Christmas, and our Puj Tub will be going with us. It's so lightweight, easy to clean and dry, and hardly takes up any room in the car! Just throw it in on top of your luggage.
2) Snaps together with magnets. This is one of the first things I noticed. You don't have to line it up just right; it falls into place easily. You can set up the tub while holding baby in your other arm.
3) Doesn't take much water. Other tubs take a lot more water than this one. It gets the bath underway faster and saves a little water, too.
4) Baby doesn't slide. This was a problem with our bath sling, but the Puj Tub cradles Ivey perfectly.
5) No need to lift a heavy, water-filled tub. You just take baby out, then tilt the tub forward so the water runs out the hole. Then it's ready to unfold.
6) Doesn't get mildewy. I hate mildew! Because this tub hangs flat against a door or wall, water won't pool in it. It's also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
7) Soft for baby. The material is not only smooth, it also has a little squish. It cushions baby and retains warmth far better than any other bathing item we've tried.
8) One-handed cleanup. Don't you hate reaching down into cold, forgotten bath water to pull the plug? I do. Cleanup only takes a few seconds with the Puj Tub, and you can do it while holding your baby.
9) It's simple. A simple design is almost always the best way to go. With a simple product, there are fewer things that can go wrong! The Puj Tub is a simple (but great) idea.
There are also a couple of things I think could be improved upon:
1) I wish it fit our sinks. It'd be nice if there were a Puj 2 for bigger sinks or kitchen sinks. However, we can still use this one during travel and, as I said before, with a folded towel to improve the fit.
2) If it held just a bit more water, rinsing would be easier. I seriously doubt this would be an issue with a newborn, but Ivey is a chubby little 4-month-old and when I put her in the tub, a lot of the water came out :-)
Ivey loved the Puj Tub, though. I could tell she was comfortable in it. See?
I think this is a cool product and I would recommend it, but it'd be best to get it while you're still pregnant or right after your baby's birth so you'll have it for the brand-new baby days. Once Ivey can sit up for a bath, we'll be tucking our Puj Tub away for our next baby. I bet it'll make newborn bathing a ton easier!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Kicking, screaming, crying, gagging... It was so bad, and people were staring. The place was crowded with children and irritated parents waiting their turn and I know half the problem was that Suzi felt pressured to perform. I shrugged and explained to the photographer that she's two, and it happens sometimes. It was so horribly frustrating, but once it was over, we laughed and bought a bunch of pictures with Suzi whining in her Nana's lap. We realized we loved these pictures. Especially as we have more kids, there may never come a time when all of my children are smiling at once. But pictures like these are real, at least. I asked Suzi why she wouldn't have her picture made (later in the van, when she was calm) and she said "'cause I pitchin' a fit." It's really cool that we have a picture of Jordan's mom with all her grandkids, and this is the only way we would've gotten it, because she just wanted one of the children.
I said before we left that we would never do this again, but I know good and well we'll have them all dressed up again next year, hoping things go better. Sigh. When we finish it'll be an ice cream cone for the kids and a glass of wine for me.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I have sold eight items so far, and I just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has bought things and complimented my work. After my first two sales, I went and bought a little pasta machine. I used to have all kinds of trouble getting a thin enough piece of clay for making hair. I used a rolling pin, but the clay would stick to the pin and then I'd push it down and it wouldn't come off the table. It was such a waste of time! Now I just stick a piece of clay in the machine, turn the handle, and it comes out perfectly flat in seconds.
Some ideas I'd like to try, if I ever get the time:
tiny mama pendants/charms
"it's a boy/girl" ornaments
"we (heart) nursing moms" sign for restaurants/businesses
Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus (this is coming, I just need to paint it! Joseph too.)
picking up a book about polymer clay to see what I can learn
It may seem like I'm a little too excited, but it doesn't normally take a person 25 years to nail down a hobby, now does it?
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Since Jordan and I were already planning to open an Etsy shop to sell some things we'd been making together, I decided it'd be a good idea to list some of my breastfeeding ornaments now. It is, after all, getting close to Christmas. I have many other ideas of things I'd like to make; motherhood has really inspired me to get crafty. The ironic thing is, now that I'm a mother (of two!) I hardly have time to make anything. I stayed up super late making these ladies.
In case you're wondering about the name, we have been making little oil lamps and plan to list some of them as soon as possible. It's also named after one of my favorite Sunday School songs from when I was a little kid. (It looks like it might be "oilin' my lamp" but it's not. Jordan put it in all lowercase.)
So anyway, you can find most of the mamas pictured above here in our shop. And now I am a little nervous.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Babywearing Daddy came along for moral support (and beside him, Mary is nursing baby Jesus, because as Julie pointed out some time ago, Jesus was breastfed). The Daddy ornament is for Jordan, and that's our Storchenwiege he's wearing, which is his favorite carrier at the moment. Recently we went to see New Moon and he wore (sleeping) Ivey in the wrap the entire time. It was so awesome.
I've made a couple of other things too, but I'll save them for another post.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
She's not perfect, but she was only my second try. I made some other simpler, smaller ornaments too. I don't know why I made so many. I kept thinking of ways to improve the first one, and it seemed a shame to heat the oven up for just a couple of little clay mamas, and I had a big chunk of Sculpey left. Now I have an array of breastfeeding ornaments. If I hung them all on my tree it would look like a nurse-in.
While making these I discovered that I really, really like making stuff with clay. And then painting it. I even thought of some things I could make as gifts (for those friends and family who aren't as wild about lactation as I am), and maybe even sell.
I'll post pictures of my other ornaments later, when I'm done painting them all.
Jordan made this one for me. It's always so exciting to see what he'll come up with when we make ornaments, because he doesn't draw or paint or sew, or do much of anything artistic, but he is pretty creative. He made this one with pipe cleaners, golf tees, and white marine epoxy. We had the same initials after we got married, if you hadn't guessed. It's so deliciously geeky.
This is what I made for Jordan that same year. Actually, I made a bunch of picture ornaments as gifts. My mom taught me how.
This one was a gift from someone in Jordan's family, and it's so pretty. I also love our red wooden beads. Our very small tree needed a little something, and they were it. I think we bought them at a yard sale.
We call these our Unity Santas. German for Jordan and Scottish for me (even though together we are a mix of German, English, Scottish, French, and I can't remember what else). My mom bought them for us. The one in the middle is a Clemson Santa, so he represents us both, and he was a gift from Jordan's parents.
My brother Paul carved me this Santa years ago. He said it was Santa after he just got back from delivering all those toys.
There are some more good ornaments at my parents' house, like the little dough "bell" I made for my mom one year when I was about five. I painted it brown to give it a copper-like color, and instead it ended up looking like a piece of poop on a string. I always hang it right on the front of their tree. Also, with that same batch of dough I made my brother Paul an ornament that ended up looking sort of like a small sugar cookie. It about broke his teeth out before he realized what it really was.
What are your favorite things and memories during the holidays?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Suzi was playing when she got to the point where nothing was going to make her happy. For example, although she has her own little nativity set to play with, she was infuriated that I wouldn't let her play with our big one. We let her play with it last year and I spent hours searching for all the people and animals she'd squirreled away in various places around the house. This year she is allowed to play with hers, but only on the front table, and isn't allowed to touch the big Fontanini one. Anyway, she had a fit and started crying over not being allowed to hold the goat. Normally she would not throw a fit over something so small, so I knew she was tired.
"It's time for a nap," I said. A few weeks ago we would have gone upstairs to her bed at this point, and I would've tucked her in and kissed her. Much stomping and screaming would have followed. But now we've gotten a little smarter.
"Do you want to take a nap on the couch, or go upstairs to your bed?" I ask.
"Couch." Of course. And she goes right to sleep. We both get what we need, and without the power struggle which no one enjoys. It doesn't only work at naptime, though. If she is screaming for something she can't have, something dangerous like a pair of sharp scissors, I can usually say no and offer her a choice between two other fun things and she'll stop crying and pick one. If there's a food she won't eat, she'll frequently choose another healthy one if given a reasonable option.
Ahhh. It's so much easier to parent a kid you can reason with.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Why does this baby bear need a bottle and a pacifier at once? I know bottles and pacifiers have become cultural symbols of babyhood, but both of them? Really? I mentioned this to Jordan and he said "You're right. They should've put a breast on the ornament instead." Okay, point taken. But still.
Maybe I will make my own breastfeeding-friendly baby's first Christmas ornament. For us, breastfeeding has been an important part of Christmas in years past. It helps to calm babies and toddlers during an overwhelming and stressful day. Will post photos of the ornament if I am successful (and maybe even if I'm not).
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I finally figured out how to make pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin. We had one for the cornucopia anyway, and I'm not into buying the Libby canned pumpkin ever since I heard it was part of the Nestle boycott. The pie was pretty good, especially for a first try, and it was so much fun to make. Toasted pumpkin seeds = nice bonus.
Suzi had a good time with Uncle Paul (pictured above) and Uncle Bit and Mama Susie (my grandma) who were visiting.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A perfectly round head that looks good in any hat
(even when the hat isn't really a hat).
Bouncy little curls that always look good
(even though I can't do hair).
A big sister, helper, cuddle buddy
(even when her feet are cold and she warms them up on my leg).
I love Suzi.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I had learned my lesson and wanted things to be different this time. Instead of going back to the obstetrician who had delivered Suzi, I decided to go with a midwife. The one I chose had a deeper than usual respect for nature and the importance of allowing a woman to birth unobstructed. Ivey’s birth was a testament to the value of simplicity and trust in oneself. She was born in our bathtub on a rainy day in August. We climbed into bed and had our first blessedly uneventful nursing session—one of many. Her birth was the final deciding factor in exactly how I would breastfeed: Ivey has never used a pacifier or a bottle. This is a luxury to me, because I am now a stay-at-home mom. The difference it makes is astounding. My milk supply has been perfect—never too much or too little. I drank one cup of mother’s milk tea before I realized I didn’t need it.
We’ve found many benefits to going without the pacifier and bottle. We don’t have to worry, particularly during cold and flu season, whether or not the paci is clean. It’s less likely that we’ll contract thrush, which can be painful for moms. There are no bottles to sterilize either, and I am hoping to ward off ovulation for a few more months. We’ll never have to buy ten different bottles because she refused the first nine, nor will we have to go through the turmoil of taking the paci away when she is too old for it. I never have to wonder if Ivey is hungry or just wanting to suck; both scenarios end with her happily at my breast.
Of course, snubbing modern conveniences is always going to be met with a little resistance. We’ve heard from several relatives why it would be a good idea to give Ivey a paci. When she had her first portraits made, she cried a little and the photographer asked if she had a paci. “No,” my mother-in-law answered a little sadly. The pictures were adorable anyway; the photographer just had to get a little creative. Right now I am making a teensy sacrifice for her to remain a breast-only baby. My husband and I wanted to go to the midnight showing of
The only drawback of our situation is that I must take Ivey everywhere I go. However, the greatest benefit is that I get to take Ivey everywhere I go! Everyone knows Ivey is coming too if they invite me somewhere. After my too-early separation from Suzi, every moment I spend with my girls is precious. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from birthing and nursing these two girls, it’s to not mess with perfection.