Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cloth Diapers #3

Several of my blogging buddies have been posting on their cloth diaper experiences, lately. Maybe it has something to do with Earth Day, but it kinda feels like National Cloth Diaper Month. So with baby #4 on the way, I'm just going to invite myself to the party and re-cap some of our experiences with cloth diapers.

You no longer have to try very hard to convince anyone to go to cloth. Cloth diapers are the "in" thing for all of the health and environmental benefits. Mainstream parents are doing it without a second thought and did you know that hospitals are slowly migrating back to cloth diapers?! Eager businesses have also jumped on the cloth bandwagon so that you can now find virtually anything and everything from your basic DSQ pre-fold to some serious designer diapers that practically promise to change the baby by themselves. With this in mind, I should say up front that if you're looking for information about pretty designs or a just-like-disposable-diapers experience, you can stop reading this post right now. I'm not one of those moms. My experience is extremely unglamorous, simpler than simple, and yet fantastically inexpensive. In retrospect, I suppose my cloth diapering experience ended up being nearly identical to my mother's and her mother's before her.

In the beginning, I spent a lot of time looking at the pricey $10-$20 per diaper options, thinking the benefits might eventually justify the costs. I read all the reviews, narrowed down on my choices several times, but just as I tallied up the total I couldn't bring myself to finalize such a costly purchase. I was so torn on making the "right" decision during those weeks. Everyone wrote such lovely reviews on these gorgeous diapers, but we simply didn't have the money to purchase more than maybe 5 to 10 of the really nice cloth diapers. Then one day my perspective totally changed when a friend interjected, "Remember, Shaye, you're basically looking for a pee catcher. That's all it really is." I totally laughed out LOUD! And I stopped worrying and just started looking at some basic diapers. I was ecstatic to discover a company that regularly offers brand new high-quality DSQ "seconds" for roughly $1.00 per diaper -- we were sold!

My first diaper purchase was two dozen unbleached premium 4X8X4 Indian pre-folds. I added to my order eight colorful Snappis (these have effectively replaced diaper pins) and 6-8 nylon diaper cover pants. Including all the shipping and handling charges (gotta hate those!) my total came to just under $60. As a matter of fact, though I purchased another two dozen pre-folds one year later (to make 4 dozen total), I'm still happily using that original purchase after about two years of continued usage.

I learned a lot of do's and don'ts the HARD way which meant destroying a number of diapers along the way. For example:
(1) Don't set your wash on the fastest setting or else you'll literally beat the threads out of your diapers in just a few months.
(2) Pre-folds are not meant to be soaked. I can't tell you how many times I soaked my diapers for a few hours or even overnight only to learn, later, that it lowers the quality of the fabric over time.
(3) 99% of the diaper creams or ointments on the market are NOT meant to be used with cloth diapers. Unless it says it is specifically made for cloth diaper users, don't risk using something that will destroy and eat your fabric over time.
(4) Never EVER use bleach in a wash of diaper COVERS. It destroys the elasticity in the cover. Ugh!
After learning a number of these lessons, I am pretty happy with our routine today. A couple times a week I wash our dirty diapers in a cold water wash with a cup or two of vinegar and hang them on the clothes line to bleach out any poop stains (summers are great, but in the winter I have to use the dryer). This washing process is SUPER easy when baby is only on breast milk because the sun keeps your diapers brilliantly white and sterilized. But when my punkins start on solid foods around 1 year old, I choose to briefly rinse both the baby and the diaper in the bathtub after each poopy. It's an extra step, but one that I'm perfectly content in doing a couple times a day.

I guess that's the long and short of it. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions. If you're living on a very modest income and want to know more about the type of inexpensive diapers and accessories I found, check out some of the links listed below. They're not fancy, but they work just fine. And if you know of any blog posts on CLOTH DIAPERS, please add a link in the Mister Linky widget below the links. This will help provide a broader perspective than I've shared. Oh, and come back NEXT week when I'll share a little of our experience with Elimination Communication (also known as EC).

The factory "seconds" I referred to can be found HERE. If the link doesn't work for you, try going to and click on their "specials." Today the Premium 4X8X4 unbleached diapers are listed at $12.96 per dozen if you purchase 4 dozen. And they offer FREE shipping for orders of $79 or more!! If their deal isn't on right now, try back in a couple weeks. FYI: If you purchase 4 dozen of their "seconds" cloth diapers and 5 packs of snappis (which means you have 10 snappis), your total comes to exactly $80.59. :) I've also purchased from Green Mountain Diapers and was pleased with their prefolds, too (even if they were a little more costly)!

As I mentioned above, also sells Snappis in 2-packs. If you're already doing their pre-fold "seconds" special then you might want to get your snappis there (they're about $2.88 a piece depending on which ones and how many you purchase). This Ebay seller also sells them pretty cheaply and the more you purchase, the cheaper they are (and no shipping costs!). They're $2.22 a piece if you purchase her 9 pack. Amazon also sells a 3-pack for $7.25 which is $2.42 a piece but you also pay shipping unless you purchase enough to qualify for one of their free shipping deals. The Snappi page says to not use them longer than 6 months, but I still have my original snappis from almost two years ago. I think if you're using several then you switch them out enough that they don't get over-stretched too quickly. I like to keep 8-10 of these in case I lose a few. You only need one at a time.

Again, there are TONS of these ranging from cheapo to mega expensive. As you would expect, I've tried the most inexpensive options of around $.75-$2.50 a piece and I just keep about 10 of these because I can re-use just one or two all day if they don't get poopy on them (or get too soaked). I've been very pleased with the Nylon Diaper Pants from Dappi by TL Care (not the vinyl pants!). They are waterproof and rip-proof -- holding up wonderfully through hundreds of machine washes (and unintended dryer runs). Baby Best Buy has them in a 2-pack for $3.99. Amazon has a 2-pack for $5.99. Integrity Diaper Company has a 2-pack for $4.00. Cotton Babies has them in a 2-pack for $5.00. Simply Soft Diapers has the 2-pack for $4.59. WARNING: DO NOT buy the Dappi "Vinyl Pants." EVER. Trust me. Just like the cheapo Gerber pants, you can stick your finger right through the vinyl.

If you do a google search, you'll find there are all sorts of sites that explain diaper oragami, like HERE or HERE. I really wouldn't stress over folding. Eventually you'll find what works best for YOU (and it's likely that no one's going to be checking your work).

Don't forget to add any blog posts you found or wrote on cloth diapering, below:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brighton's 2nd Birthday

It's been a very enjoyable week...passing my oral exams, attending Brayla's first dance recital, celebrating Brighton's 2nd birthday, and doing my first giveaway (packages are on their way, girls!). But I just couldn't let the month slip away before sharing a few pix of our little birthday celebration. You can click the collage above to see the pictures MUCH bigger.

I thought I'd go ahead and add my Facebook status from Friday: "Exactly two years ago this minute (8:52am MT), I had the immense pleasure of pushing Brighton Lee Miller into this world in a peaceful home birth. This beautiful over 9lbs. boy has been such a delight to our entire family. We are humbled and continually thankful for his presence! Psalm 127:3." And for anyone who is interested in reading (or re-reading) his birth story, it can be found HERE (it will open in a new window) or Lee's much shorter version of our birth experience is HERE. Also, thanks to my mom (Boomer Baby Bliss) for THIS sweet Sunday Citar!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Giveaway WINNERS!!

First, I wanted to thank everyone for playing along. I was so delighted to see this mentioned all over Facebook, too. You all are I just wish I had a whole bunch of these to give out to every one of you!! *IF* you didn't win and you're still interested in seeing this flick, Netflix still has it available for instant view on your computer. If you've never used Netflix before, they usually have a free trial membership for two weeks if you just want to see this one movie.

Okay, onto business. I'm sorry this is so late. All things Google have been acting up, including blogger and picasa. Ugh. So if you can see the images below, maybe things are finally starting to work again.

And the winners are... (via my HBA2C baby's dirty little fingers)


I'll run over and email you both through disqus in case you aren't checking back today. Just send me your mailing address via email (teachertools at gmail dot com) and I'll get these off by the 31st. If I don't hear back by noon on the 31st, I'll draw again.

Thanks again to everyone. This was FUN!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Dance Recital

Oh what fun we had last weekend! This year, Brayla started taking dance in November and her very first recital (ever) was this Saturday. All the girls were SO cute and you could sure feel the energy and excitement throughout the show. I thought I'd include a few videos I shot during the production (particularly for all of our family). Our daughter is the tall one (with an enormous hair bun) on the front row.

Tap Dance Portion

Final Bow: She is the last girl on the front row and her hair is now down in a long, thick braid. She got in several bows as you can see. LOL

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A "Birth"day Giveaway

This coming weekend is pretty HUGE for the Millers. First, my oral comprehensive exams are this Friday afternoon. Second, this Saturday my daughter has her very first dance recital. And third, I am thrilled to announce that my HBA2C baby's birthday (and my first "birth"day) is this weekend. With all this big stuff happening, I figured it's a great time to do a fun lil' giveaway.

As our punkin is turning two this weekend, in honor of his amazing home birth we're giving away TWO brand new copies of the documentary The Business of Being Born on DVD. If you've already seen this documentary, then maybe you happen to know someone who is planning to have children on down the road. If so, this will make a wonderful gift for any future parents or maybe even a great addition to a library in your area.

I've been away from blogging for a while, so please help me get this party started. You can get more than one entry based on whatever you'd prefer to do, below:
  1. Leave a comment to enter the giveaway. If you're registered with Disqus (the comment system, below), then I should be able to contact you easily enough through email when you WIN (if not, you'll need to leave me an email address). Signing up takes less than a minute, so don't let that keep you from entering.
  2. For another entry you may advertise this giveaway by blogging it, tweeting it, or by posting a link to this giveaway on Facebook. Just leave me a link to where you announced it and leave an additional comment for each place you advertised it (please do any advertising before Sunday at noon).
  3. If you're a follower in my sidebar (or if you decide to become a follower of my blog) and you have entered this giveaway, you'll get an additional THREE entries to this giveaway.
This giveaway ends at 11:59pm CST on Sunday, March 28th (just before midnight). I plan to announce the winner by noon on Monday, March 29th and then ship by Wednesday, March 31st. I pay all shipping to anywhere in the USA or Canada.

If your comments do not show up right away, it's just stuck in moderation while I'm away from the computer. Good luck and thanks for playing along, everyone!

Monday, March 1, 2010

So... You Mean I'm NOT Menopausal?!?! (an ANNOUNCEMENT)

I’ve been coming to grips with the fact that I am getting older...that my body cannot do the beautiful things it did in my younger years…and that perhaps I’m moving into a new phase of life. Honestly, none of these things bother me all that much, except for the fact that I’ve loved being pregnant and raising babies.

I've been gifted with an amazing body –- I’ve had the pleasure of using it to love my husband and to grow and nurture my three babies -- rocking warm bodies to sleep at night and breastfeeding each of them as they snuggled contently in my arms. We do tend to forget just how wonderful this period of life is until it's slipping from our fingers. And it was about six months ago that we learned I was entering into the inevitable transition period. You know the one:
Symptoms of Menopause: breast tenderness, mood swings, tearfulness, irritability, bloating, weight gain, indigestion, gas, nausea, skipped periods, headaches, faintness, fatigue, hot flashes…
It made sense. I’m in my 38th year of life. I knew that one day the enchanted days of youth would wear off and that I’d carry only the memories of these miraculous experiences into my future. But I cried out to my husband about how unfair the finality of menopause was to someone who had adored these precious days. It didn't matter that we weren’t officially planning to have more babies. I wanted the CHOICE to change my mind. So in rebellion, for the last few months I've yelled at inopportune times. I've stomped around my house more than I care to admit. I've even purposefully thrown silverware into the kitchen sink because it made a loud clackety-clank that echoed the metallic-sharp anger in my heart.

When I calmed down, I proclaimed my thankfulness for all three of my beautiful babies and remembered my friends who haven't been nearly as fortunate in their fertility. And I pretty much forgot that I was rarely ovulating and that my cycles were totally unpredictable. I learned how to handle the hot flashes and to calm my mood swings when they hit. But some symptoms were still puzzling. Until...
Symptoms of Pregnancy: breast tenderness, mood swings, tearfulness, irritability, bloating, weight gain, indigestion, gas, nausea, skipped periods, headaches, faintness, fatigue...
There's no way, I thought. But I found one remaining pregnancy test hidden in our downstairs medicine cabinet. I was so confident this was menopause that I barely glanced over my shoulder on the way out the door. Then my heart skipped a beat when I IMMEDIATELY did a double-take.

And, well, I'm SHOCKED and yet completely thrilled to announce that I’m most definitely NOT menopausal. My body just so happens to be growing a new little Miller. How funny (for lack of a better word) that the symptoms of menopause and pregnancy line up so closely!!

There are no words to describe how joy-filled we are about this unexpected child. I think about my last blog post and how I felt sitting before those warm windows, pouring out my heart to the Father. I was feeling a little ashamed of my own silly complaints and it didn’t feel like the right time to pray for myself. In retrospect, I like to imagine Him smiling down in love, listening to my requests, and yet nearly bursting with the secret of this tiny human being he was already tediously knitting together in my womb.

By the way, this is the latest I’ve ever found out I was pregnant. We’re looking forward to an early Fall harvest.

Yet...we're already a family of six in our hearts.


PLEASE leave a comment for our family (below). We really love hearing from you all. You can comment as a guest or you can log in if you own a Disqus account. Thanks!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Prayers in the Sun

There's an amazing room in our home with a section of wall running along the south edge of our property. It spans from east to west and is outfitted with six windows where I grow our plants and garden starters each spring. During this time of winter, when our outside temperatures regularly sink to the single digits, the sun falls far south in our sky and we are rarely dazzled with its brilliance. Nevertheless, there are days, like today, when the heavens open and the entire room is engulfed in light and warmth.

Feeling a bit under the weather this morning, I arranged my chair so that I sat directly facing these windows, allowing the sun to beat down against my pale skin. The rays soaked into my face and I lost all my concerns, momentarily. Such bliss.

Then, quite suddenly, the unexpected happened within my spirit. And before I could stop it...

I wept.

And I prayed for...
  • A friend and classmate from our old church and university in Texas, Jenny Bizaillion, who contracted pneumonia not even two weeks ago and is now in ICU on a ventilator. Her family was notified this morning that they must amputate her legs this afternoon at 3pm.

  • My cousin, who is now on his way to Iraq (after the Fort Hood incident in November where he was stationed).

  • My uncle who has had 14 back surgeries and who lives in unimaginable pain every day of his life.

  • Our friends, Matt and Shelly -- Matt is heading to Haiti tomorrow. Enough said.

  • Stephanie Nielsen who (with her husband) endured a horrific plane crash and still faces a long road of pain and healing.

  • My dear friend who is recovering from the shocking loss of her husband which left her the single mom of four children.

  • Many friends who are currently job-searching and in need of immediate income to help sustain their families.
The longer I sat in front of those windows, the more prayer requests flooded from my heart. And while uttering each name before the Creator, such an emotional weight was petitions were heard.

I traded my sorrows for joy today.

And I am grateful and humbled for the light and warmth and love I experienced as I whispered my prayers in the light of the sun.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nebraska Friends of Midwives 2010 Video

Nebraska Friends of Midwives (NFOM) is a consumer-based organization working to educate women in an attempt to better our prenatal care and birthing outcomes. We're currently lobbying for three proposed bills that would allow more options and greater safety measures in our state. Niecey of The Monkeys and Me created the following video for our group, leaving us breathless in her wake. As you'll see in the 8-minute video, there's an overwhelming amount of research and statistical data which show Nebraska (and our country) to be in a serious state of crisis when it comes to achieving a safe, normal birth. So take just a few minutes to watch the video, contemplate our current statistics, and meet me on the other side to learn of ways you can help out this month!!

Today, February 11th, NFOM is hosting a luncheon at the capitol to meet with our legislators regarding LB 406, LB 457, and LB 481 (you may click on each one to go directly to the official bill in PDF format). These bills are only the first steps needed to help catch us up to most other states. Here's how YOU can help:
  • Read and sign our brand new online petition HERE (best viewed with Explorer or Chrome).
  • Find your senator HERE and call to ask where they stand on "the midwife bills." Sometimes that's all it takes to pique their interest (and get their vote).
  • To stay in the loop, join the Nebraska Friends of Midwives FREE e-list HERE or our FREE discussion board HERE.
  • If you feel inclined, we could sure use a few new members. It's only $10 for a year, but it increases our numbers and power exponentially. It doesn't matter your gender, age, experience, etc.
There are many more things I could tell you to do, but these really are the best steps to take in order to get involved in bettering our birth climate. Currently, Nebraska and Alabama are at the bottom of the barrel on these liberties. We'll soon see which state is the last to get this liberating legislation passed. We're so close, people.

If you live here, please lend a hand (or if you know someone who lives here, please send them a link to this post!). I'll beg if I have to.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Those pesky telemarketers: Here's an idea!

The Federal Do Not Call list once worked very well. I rarely received phone calls from people or companies I didn't already have a working relationship with. But lately, our phone rings off the hook with unsolicited callers. When I tell callers that we're on the Do Not Call list, I get a variety of reactions: (1) they may say their business is exempt because they are non-profit or (2) they're exempt because they are affiliated with a participating group that I'm a registered member of or (3) they're not selling anything, they just want my responses to their survey or (4) the jerks just flat out HANG UP at the mention of any list!!


So here's what I've started doing to combat the unwanted calls issue (it's only getting worse). First, Caller ID is totally worth the $2-3 per month and it allows me to see the phone number most of the time. If the name of the company doesn't show up (BLOCKED or UNKNOWN) or if I don't recognize the number, I now have a reason to go ahead and answer it. No really, I do. Because, instantly, I turn into a cooperative (undercover super sleuth) listener -- gathering as much information as I can in the next 60 seconds. I ask for the name of the company, how they got my number, and then listen for whatever other information they happen to offer. When I'm done playing the listening game, I tell the caller I'm not interested, ask to be put on their company "do not call" list, and hang up. Next, I run the phone number through 800 Notes. This online community tracks all telemarketing (or other "unavailable") calls in one location, providing you with notes on who the caller is and what they might want. Furthermore, this website asks YOU to contribute by reporting unsolicited calls to your home or cell phone.

This is how it works:
1) Just go to and do a search for the number that popped up on your caller ID.

2) Sometimes you'll find a whole mess of other notes on the same phone number (that other people were kind enough to leave). Their notes may help you figure out who is calling and what they want. Other times you may not find any reported notes, yet.

3) PLEASE be sure to leave a note that you received a call from the number. You don't have to enter your real name or location. However, this website only works because people take just a few seconds to enter some relevant information. EVEN IF you don't know any information (and even if you didn't pick up the phone), just listing the number as having called your home is helpful in identifying a telemarketing pattern.

The comment form looks like this:

I like that it's very straight forward and you don't have to leave any personal information. Here are a few call details you might include in your report:

* What date and time did you receive the call?
* How many times did that number call your phone in the last 24 hours (or few days)?
* What did they want? (if you answered) Believe it or not, some phone numbers are widely used for many different types of telemarketing calls. While they may call someone else to sell vacuums, they may be calling you asking for donations for a medical issue.
* Did the caller give you their name?
* What's your general location? Remember, you aren't leaving a real name, so you should feel free to provide a little regional information. I'll type in Western Nebraska or Nebraska Panhandle or even Northwestern Nebraska just to mix it up. Sometimes this is valuable information when they discover the telemarketer is only calling numbers in your area.
* Was it a man or woman?
* Did the call start out as an automated caller and ask you to press buttons to speak to a real person?
* Could you understand the caller?
* Did they identify a company they were affiliated with?
* How did they react to your questions?
* Was there a lot of background noise from the other end of the line?
* If you asked them to place you on their "Do Not Call" list, how did they respond?

See, easy.

Please report your next unsolicited phone call to 800 Notes. I know it's not the only website that does this, so feel free to add other similar websites in the comments, below. I bet if we all went to look at our caller ID list we'd have a handful of numbers we could go look up right this instant, so check it out when you have a moment!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Giving Birth: Why Choose a Midwife?

My long-term readers, friends, and family are already aware of my experience-based stance on labor inductions and augmentations. Lately we're (finally) seeing an influx of doctors and researchers openly discussing the serious risks that these types of interventions impose on both mother and baby, despite their generally accepted usage. The effects might be something as common as fetal decelerations of the heart or, occasionally, something far more dangerous and life-threatening like placenta abruption as an unfortunate result of uterine hyperstimulation.

These types of conditions are now occurring at an alarming rate as we continue to mess with the nature of birth, leading more mothers on a straight path to unnecessary, intervention-created (iatrogenic) cesarean section. We hear, quite often, "Thank God they were able to save me and my baby" or similarly "I'm sure glad I was in the hospital when this happened!" However, peer-reviewed studies now provide compelling evidence that typical hospital interventions, like induction, are most often the cause of an emergency c-section to begin with. Who knew?!

People wonder how my home birth, with a rockin' midwife, after two prior cesareans could have possibly been so easy and perfect. I think I'll add this short video to my growing repertoire of evidence on why. This brief report, filled with compelling testimony from several OB/GYNs, a medical director, OB/GYN residents, a cardiologist, ER doctors, an anesthesiologist, nurse practitioner, PhD professor/childbirth researcher, and various other participants, presents the data in a summarized, easy-to-understand manner. Enjoy!

FOLLOW-UP: While this film mentions (at the end) passing a Massachusetts bill for Certified Nurse Midwives, don't forget that Nebraska is currently attempting to pass similar legislation. Visit Nebraska Friends of Midwives today to find out how you can help facilitate a wider variety of safe birthing options for the women and mothers of our state!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tot Talk Tuesdays {10}

I'm a continuing participant in Tot Talk Tuesdays started by Niecey of The Monkeys and Me. This week I shot a quick video that was just too cute. This is my 21 month old "reading" with daddy. So sweet!

Please save up your weekly quotes and join in the fun next week HERE.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

BACKPOST: Christmas 2009

I wanted to make sure I preserved some of our family memories from Christmas 2009. This year we had three separate celebrations:

The first was spent with my parents from Texas. Since they were already here for Thanksgiving, we opened many of the gifts they brought from Texas just the weekend after Thanksgiving. Here's a collage of some of those memories (you can click on ANY of the pictures or collages to see them bigger):

On December 12th a package arrived from Nana and Pappaw. They told us to open one box in the package to use it right away, so we did. This video was the result of that. The kids really enjoyed making it and EATING it.

The second Christmas was on Christmas morning here with just the five of us. On a very snowy and cold Christmas Eve we stayed up late sneaking around to wrap presents and also setting up the train set that was passed down to us this year by my Dana. It's a special set that can be set on a variety of speeds, it can move forward or backward, it makes noise, and it even blows puffs of smoke (if you get some smoking oil). I'm placing both a photo and video clip of it in action. We'll be setting it up every year just for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

Aaaaaaand after that video you'll be humming "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" all day long. You're welcome. :WINK:

The following morning we couldn't wait to see the kids faces as they came down the stairs. They were absolutely shocked at the presents under the tree and the train set.

We started the morning off with opening stockings before breakfast. Oh what fun!!

We ate biscuits, gravy, eggs, and SAUSAGE. After breakfast, and still in our pajamas, we set up the camera to take a quick family snapshot before opening presents (don't mind our unfinished walls).

Then the opening began. And the kids were just tickled. They received beautiful clothing, jewelry, a watch, bath toys, a train set, a Buzz doll, a Woody doll, a Karaoke machine, and much more... We are so grateful!

Finally, our last Christmas was in January after a surprise package arrived from my grandfather and his wife. I'm so thankful that I caught most of it on video. Check it out below:

And one last video clip...this is of the kids using their new sleds from their cousins in Texas. I just love how she says, "...and we got them from someone." Bwahaha! They really had a BLAST, though!!

Thank you, again, to all of our beautiful friends and family. It means so much that you would think of our children and take the time to send them such lovely presents. We had an amazing holiday. We enjoyed the snow, the snuggles, and the time spent together making new family memories. And, even though I've said it before, Happy New Year everyone! (Now that I finished this post, I suppose it's time to finally get my Christmas cards mailed out. They're written, sealed, addressed, and even stamped. WHY is it so hard to just get them to the post office??)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tot Talk Tuesdays {9}

It's been a long while since I've posted one, but... Believe it or not, I AM still a participant in Tot Talk Tuesdays started by Niecey of The Monkeys and Me. I've gathered up a few from the last month or two.

Scenario #1:
My son and I were hanging out one day and he said to me:
Brandon: "Mommy, I want a kiss."
So I leaned forward and gave him a peck on his lips. But he didn't seem very happy about it. He got a very serious face and said:
"No mommy. I wanna fall in LUB!"
Apparently, falling in love means you close your eyes and hold your lips together for a very long time. So we did, in fact, proceed to fall in lub. And I had the slobber to prove it.

Scenario #2:

One recent day it was snowing very heavily and we were out and about running errands, so we swung by hubby's work place to pick him up. When we arrived he was standing out in on the sidewalk, bundled up tightly, and chatting with a female student who looked to be waiting for her ride, too. At that very moment...

Brayla: "Let me guess, THAT'S the girl that daddy likes??"
Me: "Um, no. Your daddy and mommy are married. That means Daddy doesn't like other girls anymore."
Brayla: Oh.
Of course he climbs into the car and busts out laughing when we told him what happened.

Scenario #3:
We were getting the kids ready to go outside. For those who live in freezing areas of the country, you'll understand when I say that often times it takes longer to bundle up to go outside than it does to actually PLAY outside. So I'm trying to get my youngest ready. He's very excited about his new mittens and he keeps holding them up to me before I can get his snow pants and jacket on him. I tell him firmly:

Me: "Brighton, we have to put your coat on before we can get your mittens on."
Then a very frustrated 1 year old YELLS, with all of his might, to his daddy up the stairs:
Brighton: Daaaaddddddddyyyyyyy!
(he's learning to appeal to the other parent when he doesn't get what he wants right away)

Scenario #4:
The last month, my middle child has started using a new tactic to get his way. Whenever something happens that he doesn't like or if anyone says something to him that hurts his feelings, he gets a very sad look on his face and says:
"Mommy, you broke my heart!"

Scenario #5:
Brayla: Mommy, you know what I've always wanted?
Me: What's that?
Brayla: A box-in-the-jack.

Please join in the fun each week HERE.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009: A Year in Review

January: In early January we were finishing up our holiday trip to Texas. While there, we spent time with our families and with our friends Marc and Christy (a college roomie and dear friend). We also made the decision to become a TV-free family by selling our two TVs and canceling our service (we now only do Netflix or Hulu, which is FREE). It was a really wonderful way to start off our year and realign our priorities.

February: I sorted and gave away several boxes of maternity clothing to Birthright (Pssst...they also take baby items). Brighton took his first steps and I wrote my first letter to the Nebraska Health and Human Services Committee regarding the oppressive birthing laws in our state. This is the month where Brayla really began getting into serious art (thank you to her two uncles who went in on a marvelous beginning art set for her).

March: We drove to Texas in the middle of a BLIZZARD! Lee completed his dissertation defense. We celebrated Brighton’s first birthday. I attended the first couple sessions of the Controversies in Childbirth conference and also met my friends Laureen & Lisa! We received some disturbing news about a few of Brandon’s blood tests which our doctor said raised concerns of possibly Leukemia (which turned out much better than we though). On the upside, we also had a mini-vacation to the Watiki Water Park. Oh and I blogged about sex (just seeing if you’re awake).

April: We had a very shocking snow this month. I finished teaching three sections of Information Literacy courses at the local college (lots of grading and personal comments there…whew!) and began ordering gardening supplies.

May: We drove to Texas (AGAIN!!!). We attended my brother's graduation and Lee’s doctoral graduation (during a very quiet moment in the ceremony, Brayla yelled across the auditorium “I love you, Daddy!” which made everyone laugh). We got to spend an evening with some old high school friends (I hadn’t seen them since the early 90s!) which was SO awesome (great cooking and conversation) and we also spent the night with Kathryn (my old college roomie who’s been a friend since elementary school) & DeWayne while in Texas (why do we do this only every several years?). After arriving home, we spent two nights in a cabin at Chadron State Park for our summer vacation. And finally, Brayla lost her first two teeth (the first while we were at Storybook Island in South Dakota).

June: We planted our first raised Square Foot Garden, took many trips to the swimming pool, and Brayla began dance lessons and art lessons. I sprained my foot while running (which, incidentally, took about 4 months to heal). Brayla and Brandon both started swim lessons. Brandon had his first trip to the dentist. Brayla had her very first bicycle ride without training wheels! And we sadly said goodbye to our dear Chadron friends (who moved to Texas -- :sniff, sniff:).

July: We attended our first homeschoolers get-together. Lee flew to Boston for the SAKAI conference and had to sleep on the airport floor due to a delayed flight. Brayla had her first eye appointment and Brandon had his first dentist appointment.

August: Celebrated our 14th anniversary. WOOHOO! We also celebrated Brandon’s 4th birthday and Brayla's 6th birthday.

September: I took a (much needed) break from blogging. We harvested the remainder of our garden and hung any green tomatoes in our garage while they ripened. We celebrated my birthday and I was invited as a guest speaker to the Mountain Midwives conference in Spearfish (where I met some amazing people). Brayla began taking gymnastics (which she LOVES). We also attended a conference in Kearney and I got to meet my precious online buddy, Lenetta from Nettacow!

October: We celebrated Lee’s birthday and prepared for our fabulous fall weather. I became the new Education Chair for the Nebraska Friends of Midwives and published my first global article as a syndicated Google author (which received numerous hits world-wide and sent thousands of viewers to our website).

November: November was really all about preparing for Thanksgiving. We rented two cabins in the woods for 3 nights and had a rustic Thanksgiving with family from Texas.

December: I finished the last of my coursework for my 2nd master’s degree (specializing in Educational Technology) which I started August of last year. Then we had a fantabulous and quiet, but very white and snuggly, Christmas here in the Nebraska Panhandle. Roads and businesses were closed down for a couple days, but the kids had a great time building snow forts and sledding down huge mountains of shoveled snow!

In a nutshell, we've been blessed this year. Through good days and even the roughest of days we've learned a great deal about love and grace. We appreciate, so much, you having kept up with us through the year and THANK YOU for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Now we'll see about posting some New Year's Resolutions (if I'm brave!).

Happy New Year!!!

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