Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Was busy taking some photos of frames for my mom's upcoming website, and Tommy desperately wanted me to take his picture. "Cheese, Mommy!" he kept saying over and over while tugging on the camera strap. "Do you want me to take your picture?" "Yeah."

While he posed and played I snapped a few shots - capturing a mischievous grin...

A budding driver...

A wistful 'cheese?'

I am constantly amazed at how he grows - not just in size but in personality and ability. I perpetually have to remind myself that 'he's only two'. (well, 27 months last Sunday, but who's counting?) I've lost count of his vocabulary, he strings sentences together like a pro. It's like having a conversation with a short adult who's apt to burst into tears of frustration at any given moment. Then I again have my little boy, needful of hugs and kisses and bedtime stories.

We've definitely entered the 'I do it myself' stage of toddlerhood. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, carrying his bag of water clothes for daycare - everything is a challenge to be surmounted. At least he hasn't fought me for the steering wheel yet! Up and down the stairs - refusing to crawl or scoot - walking up AND down just like a big kid (scaring the daylights out of the rest of us) he just has to do it himself. It's nice to know that he has a good, strong independent streak, but I feel twinges of sadness that it's just a hint of the day when he can do everything himself, and won't need Mommy or Daddy to do it for him. Long way in the future I hope!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sleep Deprived

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with my toddler. Well, mostly.

I FALL asleep with no problems most nights. I just can't seem to STAY asleep. Sometimes I'm too warm, but mostly I just can't quiet my brain.

I'm sure it's primarily because I have so many things going on, and I always seem to get ideas in the middle of the night. I've tried writing these ideas down and going back to sleep, but sleep still doesn't come. So I get up and work out the ideas. Or play on the computer in the hopes that the glowing screen will tire me out and I'll be able to get some sleep before sunrise. Or blog at 2:30 am. I'm hoping this means I'm in a very creative phase of my life right now, I just wish I could be creative during daylight hours.

Tonight started badly for sleeping because Tommy wasn't feeling well when he went to bed. In the interests of trying to keep him comfortable and quiet, we brought him into our bed. It seemed like it would work, but every time he almost drifted off, he would start to talk or sing or toss around - trying to wind down I'm sure, but getting himself uncomfortable and waking up. The ibuprofen seemed to have kicked in by then, but he really wanted to "sleep in Mommy's bed." We actually gave him three warnings and chances to settle down, but at 11 p.m. he HAD to go back to his own bed. Thank goodness he gave up after 15 minutes of trying to convince us he needed to sleep in our bed. So you'd think I'd be tired enough right now to be sleeping. Nope.

I have been trying to get our budget in order. I know we're just starting out with actually writing down things, and that it takes some time to get it all straightened out, but I wake up thinking of things I missed, or ways to cut corners, and I can't let them rest until morning for fear I'll forget.

I have been working on designing the website for my mom's business. I get ideas for design and layout, as well as having flashes of understanding (I'm learning the process as I go) at crazy hours and MUST try them out.

I have finally been cross-stitching again, and want to stitch in the middle of the night!?! Getting ideas for designs too.

Not that these episodes of sleeplessness have never happened to me before, but not with such intensity and certainly not for an extended amount of time. I'm going on most nights out of the past two weeks, with a little break yesterday because I was sick. Ok, I was still up early, but it was because I couldn't breathe and wanted to take a steamy shower. It was still nice to not be driven awake by dreams of things I wanted to try or design or write.

I try to refrain from taking medicines to help with sleep, but I'm about ready to give in and take a Unisom for a couple of days just so I can sleep through the night. How is it that we finally got the baby sleeping through the night and now I can't take advantage of it?!

I'm finally feeling tired, maybe because I've gotten some of what's on my mind out and acted upon, maybe because I'm actually nearing the point of total collapse. I think I'll go to bed again and see how it goes.

Good (night?)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's Up?

Wow. What a crazy past few days - it's all gone past in a blur and I can't believe it's Wednesday already!

Tommy was on a 'two-year-old hunger strike' for a good part of last week, refusing just about everything we'd put in front of him to eat. Forget 'he'll eat when he's hungry' - he was so hungry he wouldn't stop whining and crying, but if it wasn't what he wanted to eat, it wasn't going in! It's really frustrating to know he's hungry, but have him refuse everything including things he usually begs for. He went so far on Sunday as to tell us "I don't like pizza." He LOVES pizza, it's the food he mentions first whenever we ask what he wants. So we didn't eat much for several days there. I've been watching for his upper molars, thinking this might be part of the problem, but can't feel or see anything. He's notorious for feeling his teeth a long time before they actually cut through, so we've been using the homeopathic teething remedy when he's crabby hoping it'll help. Seems to, but still no eating.

The fallout from all of this wanting to live on bread, milk, and cheese (basically) was a good case (his first ever!) of constipation on Monday. Talk about crabby and miserable! I finally called my brother-in-law for advice - their son had some issues like this for a while and they had pretty much gotten it solved. "Pear juice", he tells me. Apparently pear juice is even better than good old prune juice. So I took a trip over to our local Sprouts to pick up some pear juice. As soon as Tommy got up from his nap we started giving him a cupful. He actually ate pretty well at dinner - we grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and he ate a hotdog and bun, and had a couple whole-grain cookies. All I can say is that fortunately my husband happened to be getting Tommy ready for bed when the pear juice finally took effect. Thankfully, it happened before bed!

So the constipation is solved, but he still has been cranky and whiny. It's actually very frustrating. He goes to daycare Tuesday through Thursday, and has a fantastic time there, then comes home and as soon as he walks through the door the whining starts. We figure he's hungry, since it's close to supper time, but even a snack doesn't help. He just whines and whines, and of course, we're in the middle of getting supper so we don't have time to pay 100% attention to him (and when we do, it has to be the whole time, not just for 15 minutes and then he's ok, like some of what I've read says). Basically, tempers wear thin, nerves fray, and everyone is exhausted by the time we eat. No matter how hard you try to tune out a whiny toddler, there is only so much you can handle before your brain implodes :-) Eating while we prepare food seems to help sometimes, but not lately. Last night was a minor victory with several fishsticks being ingested, but it seems completely random.

Then bedtime battles ensue. The books are right on this one - he has a horrible time sleeping on the days he doesn't nap at daycare. We're trying earlier bedtimes and a change to bedtime routine that seems to help keep him from getting re-wound up after teeth brushing. Basically, we were brushing teeth, reading stories, saying goodnight to Nana and Papa, and then bed. He always seems to get worked up during the goodnights, so we switched them to before reading stories, and that really seems to have helped. Now we read and then are whisked off to bed. Last night was only a couple of minutes of crying (complaining really) before he was out. Some nights he'll scream for 15 before settling down - and this is still an improvement over the first 16 months of not sleeping - at least now once he's out he sleeps through the night! So anyone out there who is struggling with sleep issues - I feel your pain. We've tried the methods and have just come to the conclusion that he is one of those kids who needs to yell for a few minutes to settle down. Makes you feel terrible, but it's worse if we sit longer with him. He'll just keep pushing for more until you're in there all night.

So much for my toddler rearing troubles. I've also had so many other balls in the air I'm not sure how I'm tracking them all! I've been on unemployment for about a month now, and last week I got a letter to appear at an orientation workshop at the local job service office. It ended up being more helpful than I thought it might be, and gave me some ideas to pursue. I'm considering looking into grants for returning to school, but can't decide whether I would like to use this opportunity to change careers, or just get some advanced training and certifications in what I'm currently trained for. I like lab work, but have found that maybe I'd like to be more involved with people - directly interacting and the like. I'm also interested in web design and e-commerce, so that might be an option. Lastly, I had put some serious thought into Dental Hygiene a few years back but lacked the funds so I'd like to consider that too. I need to take some assessments and get a good idea what my skill set is, and then go from there, I guess.

My sister-in-law was kind enough to lend us her copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Revisited and I'm about halfway through reading it. I'm hoping to get our financial house in order, and I think his methods will be ones we can work with and stick to. I'm happy to say that we had been taking some of the right steps on our own, but have been shying away from budgeting because it's sure to dig up some discomfort. I think we're at that stage now, but we realize how important it is to take this step before we can completely reach our goals. Big plans for the weekend - budgeting!

We also have started attending church. My sister-in-law and her husband introduced us to their church a couple of weekends ago because they are starting the Fireproof (Love Dare) series about improving and strengthening your marriage. We met with our small group last Sunday night and were pleasantly surprised. If you had told me last year that I'd be doing this, I'd have laughed, but I think I'm just at that point in my life now where I'm looking to make some changes. I've always had faith that there was more out there than just chance - too many times I've been faced with a choice or a challenge, and I've found that when I open myself to these changes, it's always worked out for the best. I have a lot of questions, and a lot of doubts, but I feel that I'm in a place where I'm more open to exploring these questions and finding some answers.

I'm hoping that I can keep juggling everything until things begin to settle, but I know that once I get one thing taken care of something else will come up! I'm hoping that we can help Tommy through some of his frustration at being unable to do the things he wants, and thereby alleviate some of his crabbiness. Hopefully.

John and Tommy

Just wanted to share a couple of photos of my two favorite guys!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Comment Form

I've started using Disqus as a comment system - I like that it allows me to reply to your comments in a better fashion than with the Blogger system. We'll see how it works!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stitching again

It's been a long time since I've had any time to do needlework, but now that Mom's web site is close to launch, I'm allowing myself to set aside time to stitch. I might do a few temari here and there (especially if the class I want to teach actually happens) but my main focus right now is cross-stitching a couple of samplers.

The first project I've chosen is Be My Love from Carriage House Samplings. My mom stitched it a few years ago and a photo appears at Priscilla's Pocket. I'm changing the colors a bit - the reds on hers will be blues on mine. I'll be stitching it in Needlepoint Inc. silks on 40 ct. Vintage Pear from Lakeside Linens. I'm pondering which of our frames I'd like make for it, but will decide when I have it finished. I think it will be neat to see the two together when it's done.

The other design I've picked (I know - it's weird to have so many projects at the same time, but I find that I like to work one pattern until I get a bit bored with it, then put it down while I work on the other. Keeps me interested in the work.) is a Christmas pattern from Notforgotten Farm called Christmas Cat! I'm playing with colors for this as well - using Belle Soie silks and making the cat black instead of tawny - I lost my black cat Bermuda right after Christmas last year and this pattern reminds me of him. I haven't chosen a fabric for this but will probably be using something from Lakeside Linens - their fabrics are so lovely. (Update: I've chosen to do this piece on 40 ct. Pearled Barley from Lakeside Linens.)

I'll be posting work-in-progress photos as I go - this will also keep me working on them! Maybe I'll actually finish the Christmas sampler by Christmas !?!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blog Hop - Encouragement

This week's theme is ENCOURAGEMENT - I chose the lyrics to a song by Rush from the Test for Echo album


I can learn to resist
Anything but temptation
I can learn to coexist
With anything but pain

I can learn to compromise
Anything but my desires
I can learn to get along
With all the things I can't explain

I can learn to resist
Anything but frustration
I can learn to persist
With anything but aiming low

I can learn to close my eyes
To anything but injustice
I can learn to get along
With all the things I don't know

You can surrender
Without a prayer
But never really pray
Pray without surrender

You can fight
Fight without ever winning
But never ever win
Win without a fight

I can learn to resist
Anything but temptation
I can learn to coexist
With anything but pain

I can learn to compromise
Anything but my desires
I can learn to get along
With all the things I can't explain

Words by Neil Peart, music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

I find this song encouraging (and inspiring) because it reminds me that I can learn to survive anything but can never compromise those things that are central to my being - I can never sacrifice what makes me... me. I am always moved when I listen to this song, I listen to it when I am feeling down and frustrated and it never fails to lift my mood. The bridge - you can surrender without prayer but never pray without surrender... this encourages me to keep trying and to keep doing my best. Something in this song has always spoken to me on a deeper level.

MckLinky Blog Hop