Monday, October 12, 2009

Four Months

It's been a little more than four months since we moved into our new house. Typing that I can hardly believe it--it feels both like yesterday and like it was years ago all at once. But, four months it has been and we've been busy trying to put our touch on the house. I think we've succeeded, I think we've completed most of our short-term projects, although there is always a seemingly endless list of things we'd like to do "someday."
Somewhat surprisingly, given how clueless we felt when we first become homeowners four years ago, we've found we really enjoy doing a lot of do-it-yourself improvements and doing them together.

We're also still right on the fence between the hand-me-down/early-garage-sale-era styles of furnishing and starting to buy pieces that we hope to have long term and which represent our own style and preferences.
All in good time, but for now we're doing the best we can with what we have and trying to make responsible, economical, and resource-conscious decisions about what to keep, what to replace, and what we can "remake" in order to use things we already have, but love them more. (For example, we just got new slipcovers for our living room couches, since they're both still comfortable, usable couches, but the upholstery has seen better days...)

I was going to post before and after photos here, but blogger isn't cooperating with me and photos recently and I'm running out of time, so for now I'll post links to online photo albums, both before and after. Check them out!

And, just because she's too cute, and I really like how this picture turned out, here's Lydia while she was playing in the leaves yesterday...

Friday, October 9, 2009


We were part of a community supported agriculture (CSA) program again this year (our 2nd year, but with a new provider) at a local farm and we've just loved it. Our kids are so excited to get our box every week and see what's in it, and Joshua's been looking forward to the pumpkin party the farm was hosting for weeks.Last Sunday was the appointed day, so we headed off to Evansville to get our pumpkins and show the kids the farm. As an added bonus, the farm owners had decided to open the farm up for a gleaning as well. Basically, all of the crops that were finished with harvest for the year (and a couple that weren't) were opened up to the CSA members and your family could take home what you'd like to use/freeze or otherwise enjoy. So much fun! We picked cucumbers, red peppers, green beans, watermelon, tomatoes, carrots and broccoli in addition to our pumpkins. We could have picked a couple others, but somehow summer squash and zucchini just have never charmed any of us so extras weren't desired.

I guess this cool, moist, but not overly-wet summer was great for production and since it hasn't yet frosted in most of southern wisconsin the produce was still good for the taking. An overabundance, what a blessing--so different from our experience with CSA last year where crops were scarce. The frost is supposed to come tonight and with it the official end of the 2009 harvest season here in Wisconsin, but one we've truly enjoyed!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Just wanted to say a quick welcome to this guy:

Pipp joined our family about two months ago and he's been a great source of entertainment for the kiddos. Joshua very carefully monitors all things he does because "otherwise he might DIE."

After the tragic suicide of Michael we also invested in a new (to us) mini-acquarium with a COVER, hopefully preventing the same fate from meeting Mr. Pipp.

Welcome, little blue Pipp, we hope you'll stay with us for a very long fishy life!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No More Diapers! (Sort-of)

**Edited to add, I've known for a while that I've lost much of my mental accuity with the arrival of kids, but this is a new low. I realized while talking to someone this morning that Lydia is 21 months old today, not 22, like my original post indicated. Watch out, next thing you know I'll refer to them by each other's names...**

Without further ado I'll take this opportunity to make an announcement I hope I don't regret and have to take back soon: Lydia is potty-trained! She's been in underwear for probably 6 weeks or so now, but I've been hesitating to make it "official" since I've been sure the moment I did she would regress and refuse to use the toilet for the next year or so. But, she's even gotten to the point where she'll take herself to the bathroom and do her business when she feels the call, so I think we've reached the point of no return. *Fingers-crossed*

We're not really even close to being dry overnight most nights and I still put her in a pull-up at naptime because she tends to wake up and play quietly and happily in her bed for upwards of half and hour before I hear her. Since she's in a crib, unless I hear her right away, she can't get out so she has an accident if nature calls during her playtime. So, we're probably 50-50% as far as dryness until I get her up from her nap. She'll still only be 21 months-old on Thursday, so she's now greatly exceeded my wildest imaginations for when she'd be potty-trained so I can take months (years) of only diapering at night at this point!

She's going to kill me for this at some point, but it's just too funny not to share...she begged for a "bwa" to go with her undies!
21 months going on 21 years?
So, during the daytime at least, we're done with diapers until we decide to take the plunge and start trying for #3!

It's one of those moments where it would be really nice to pat yourself on the back and pride yourself on your great parenting training/techniques, but looking back at PTing both kids I realize that it's totally and completely not about me. No matter how much I wanted, planned, or was indifferent to potty-training when they were ready they "got it". I'll be honest, I was actually quite hesitant and even almost resistant to starting with Lydia when began asking/wanting to use the potty a couple of months ago. I figured it would just mean more work for me and that she had at least another 6-18 months before she'd really put all the pieces together. I mean, I thought Joshua was pretty early and he was 2 1/2. We'd started at the same age with Joshua and it was months-and-months of up and down, excitement and misery, success and failure, and in the end, once I'd pretty much decided to stop trying, it suddenly just clicked and he was doing it. So, I'd told myself I wasn't even going to try this time around, I'd just wait for her to do it on her own. And now she has, and I'm shaking my head, feeling even less like I have any sort of "formula" for potty training a child.

Lastly, I know there are many of you, my mommy-friends, out there who have kids that are still working on (or not even interested in) the potty training thing and they're the same age as mine. I've actually hesitated to write this post for that reason too, I really, really don't want this to sound like "my kids are so advanced and talented" or make you feel any more pressure than I know we moms already put on ourselves when we want something really badly.

Know that I feel the same pressure, not in our family's case with potty training, but with so many other things in regards to being a "good" mom. I've decided to just put the "she's potty-trained story" out there because I'm really proud of Lydia and I'm really happy with how this aspect of our family is going right now, but it's not in any way intended to be a "I'm really good at this" type of post.

If there's one thing I've learned and re-learned, and will definitely still be learning years from now, it's that I don't have all the answers or any sort of fool-proof plan for parenting my kids and I probably never will. I'm just doing the best I can with the kids I have and sometimes that exceeds my expectations and sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing is working at all. I'm happy to share what's worked for us, but it's just that, what worked for us and it may or may not be the same in your family... I love this bond of motherhood, but I hate that I so easily and quickly compare myself to others and feel badly about myself and my parenting if someone else is having a seemingly easier time than I or not struggling with something that has me repeatedly in tears. I know that "having it all together" is usually a facade and yet I fall for it nearly every time.

Basically this has been a really long and rambling way of saying, I want to strive for greater openness and honestly about both my successes and struggles. I so greatly admire people who are "real" and yet I struggle with wanting to try to look good, because maybe then others will buy it and then so can I. I don't want to feel that way, I want to share the experiences that make me joyful without having to apologize in case they might make you feel badly and I want to be open about the things that frustrate me without trying so hard to maintain an image, knowing that my friends will be there to empathize and support me. So this is me, calling all of us to a greater community--one where we know we don't have it all together and we give grace to others knowing that they don't either--anyone care to join me?