Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

1. Back in January, we were out of laundry detergent.  I picked up a MEGAhuge container of generic brand detergent at Family Dollar for $6 [as an aside, what's the deal with all these places that call themselves "dollar stores", but sell most items for more than that?  One of the only true dollar stores left is Dollar Tree.]  Seven months later, and I still have about a third of the container left.

Anyways, I've been noticing recently that so much of our clothing is just....dingy.  Stains aren't coming out the way I expect.  And things never smell truly "clean" upon coming out of the wash.  I didn't really think much about it.  I guess I assumed that this is the way it goes when you haven't been able to afford any new clothes for several years (a situation I had never had the experience of before).  But I finally made the connection:  It was that cheap-o detergent!

So I checked the circulars on Sunday, and found a sale on Tide.  And oh my.  What a difference already!  Things smell so much better (and it's not just the scent of the Tide.  Like, they actually smell "clean" for the first time in months), and have been coming out looking a lot brighter.  Man.  Tide's not cheap, though.  So if anyone has recommendations for another good laundry detergent (and I might be willing to make it myself, too), please comment!

2.  The other day, I stupidly left out my shoebox full of nail polishes (I had been making my toes pretty and beach-ready!).  Sly found it.  Of course.  Inside was a long-forgotton little bottle of "pixie sparkles."  This picture shows only the concentrated area of the mess.  The rest of it is now ingrained into the carpet all up and down the stairs, and I've been finding little particles of it on everything in the house.

3. Our health insurance company has a special maternity program you can enroll in.  If you meet the criteria for going to your pre-natal appointments, etc., you get a free gift.  We had our choice of either an infant car seat or a Pack n' Play.  Since we already have both those things, I figured I'd just pick one and we could sell it on Craigslist for a bit of cash.  I thought the Pack n' Play (since it was a known brandname) would have the best resale value.  Well, I'm kinda regretting it now.  I've had the post up for over a week now, and have slowly dropped the price...but no true bites yet.  I guess Pack n' Plays must just be a dime a dozen.  There are so many of them on there for sale.  I thought the fact that ours is brand-new in the box might make it more attractive, but apparently not.  A couple people have offered to pay $35 or $40 for it.  But at that price, I think we might be best off just hanging onto it, and giving some friend a really nice baby shower gift someday...

4.  Sorry to talk about sports, because I mostly think they're a big yawn.  But um, have you seen how the Pirates are doing lately?!  It's pretty awesome.  They went from being basically the worst team in the league for years to being number one.  Unfortunately, Tom and I haven't been able to make it to a game since this winning streak started.  We've had a lot going on, but also, tickets keep selling out for all the games (which is really rare for the Pirates).  It makes me pretty mad, sometimes...thinking about all those fair-weather fans  stopping us from seeing a team that we have legitimately supported through thick and thin!  I'm someone who really doesn't care about sports at all, but the Pirates have always had my support.  Baseball is the one sport for which I actually understand *most* of the rules (having played softball for a number of years in my youth).  And baseball games are just so chill and low-key.  You can't beat the experience of sitting back in the beautiful park, munching peanuts and licking ice cream, and just having nice casual conversation with friends!

5.  Sly's not quite two now, and I know I probably have no business letting him watch tv...but about once or twice a week, I put on Sesame Street for him.  As far as I can tell, it's the only children's show these days that isn't completely inane and painful to watch.  And it's nice, because it affords me some time to get in some mid-morning cleaning or laundry without distraction.  Like all kids these days, Sly has become obsessed with Elmo.  I don't know what it is.  I can't even remember Elmo being on the show in my early Sesame Street-watching days (though according to Wikipedia, he's been around since the early 70's - who knew??).

Anyways, the other day, I decided to give Sly a treat (and myself a needed respite from a whiny and clingy toddler...don't judge!), and put on the classic movie Follow That Bird.  This was made in the pre-Elmo days.  The ENTIRE movie, all Sly did was ask for Elmo.  I felt a little bad.  I tried to explain that Elmo "wasn't born yet", but I don't think he quite grasped the concept...

6.  Speaking of the unborn...I'm 36 weeks pregnant now.  Amazingly, still no swelling in my feet!!  I can't believe it.  It's been so hot.  With my first pregnancy, they were ridiculously huge well before this time. tells me baby is the size of a honeydew melon.  I like having something to compare the size to.  But I definitely have a beef with their size comparison chart.  For example, just last week, it said baby was the size of a coconut.  Coconuts aren't really that large.  And I KNOW there is something bigger than a coconut inside of me!  Week 31 is "pineapple."  Week 24 is "cantaloupe."  Those fruits are both definitely bigger than coconuts!

7. We're heading off this weekend for what is always my favorite week of the whole year - "Family Week" up at our cottage on Lake Erie.  My large extended family will all be up there.  We will actually have to squeeze ourselves into four separate cottages, because there's no way in heck for us to all fit in the main one (pictured below).  It's just a lovely time - so peaceful and relaxing...catching up with family, swimming in the Lake, bonfires at night, sharing our traditions with the next generation...

I'm just praying that the baby does NOT decide to come until we get back to Pittsburgh!!!  The midwives gave me a copy of my pre-natal records, and told me to map out all the hospitals along the way....yikes!

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ring Bearing

I mentioned that one of my brothers is getting married next month.  He asked us recently if Sly could be a "ring bearer."  Now, usually, I think flower girls and ring bearers are kinda silly and unnecessary.  And it's not a traditional part of a Catholic wedding. 

That being said...when it's my own little man doing the job...I find myself much more supportive of the idea!  And I think it has the potential to be SUPER adorable.  Maybe.  Assuming he's not in a bad mood or acting too willful.  Which, at two years old, is pretty common these days.

My mom will be escorting him, and he will not be trusted with the actual rings.  We'll see how it goes..

Monday, July 16, 2012

Making Room for Baby

Earlier in the summer (before the heat wave kicked in, and we still had the motivation for doing projects), Tom and I started getting Sly's room ready for the new baby.  While our house technically has four bedrooms, it really makes the most sense to just put the two kids (whoa!  We're gonna have two kids!) in the same room.  For one, it's the largest room in the house.  Also, it's connected to our bedroom, which is convenient for meeting any nighttime needs.  The other two bedrooms are one floor below, and Sly's still too young to be sleeping on a different floor at night.  Plus - and maybe this is a bigger factor than I'm willing to admit - we just aren't ready to sacrifice the luxury of being able to use those rooms as an "office" and a "library" yet!

 The first step was freeing up the crib.  We found a toddler bed on Craig's List for $30.  Sly does really well with it, and the transition was not difficult at all (don't be jealous!).  Next to the bed is a hamper my mom picked up at Burlington Coat Factory.  We spray-painted it green, and use it for extra toy storage.

 The bookshelf was moved to the corner with the rocking chair to make a cozy little reading nook.

 We picked up this bookshelf at Goodwill for $10.  It was pretty ugly, so we painted it white with green at the backs of the shelves.  Too bad all the toys mostly disguise our effort at making it a little fancier!

 The crib, waiting for the baby to come (a little more patiently than we are, I'm sure).

I spotted this dresser sitting out on the curb as trash, and snagged it right away.  It's obviously very old, and had been sitting in a garage or basement for years.  It's had at least three prior coats of paint, but we gave it one more - white with blue for the drawers.  And we moved the cute ceramic Peter Rabbit knobs from Sly's dresser.  The painting hanging above of the girl feeding bunnies used to be over my bed when I was a little girl.

Sorry - neither me nor my camera are great at taking clear or artsy photos of things.  Here's a close-up of the knobs, though, and the details on the dresser.  I'd say it was a good find!

The best part is, the drawers are already stocked with little girl clothes!  Newborn size in the top, 0-3 months in the middle, and 3-6 months in the bottom.  This is thanks to the generosity of two ladies who each offered us a box of hand-me-down girl clothes.  A little too much pink in there for my taste (if I was buying things new, I'd avoid as much pink as possible), but hey, they were free!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sharing a Bed

I found this graphic pretty amusing.  I thought Tom might agree, so sent him the picture.

Here's his response:
"Dude, it really wasn’t bad at all until the baby belly came along.  Since you’ve been sleeping on your side, the horizontal space you take up has been enormous, though mostly due to limbs outstretched onto my side.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve come to bed to find you sleeping right down the middle with your limbs all splayed out on my side… a few times, I’ve actually contemplated getting into bed on your side because there’s often enough empty real estate over there to build a strip mall ; )"

I guess at least I have my pregnancy as an excuse for now.  But I've definitely heard Tom complain about this exact situation before (I usually blame the cat, who likes to sleep beside me in that "uncharted territory" labeled above).  Regardless, the gradual transition in our approach to sharing a bed has been interesting.

I remember those blissful early days of marriage, where we just couldn't snuggle close enough to each other all night.  We had a full-size bed for the first few weeks, too, and it seemed like plenty of room.  We were just wrapped around one another completely.  One time we even decided to "fall asleep kissing" (?).  And we did....don't ask me how we managed to breathe all night...oh, silly newlyweds, we were.

Now, in our upgraded queen-size bed, we feel a bit cramped.  There's more bickering over "whose side" we're each on, and definitely less frequent snuggling.  Eh, that's just how it goes, I guess.  We'd rather be able to sleep comfortably than be clung to all night.

On a few happy occasions, we've stayed in hotels with king-size beds.  It feels like heaven not to "have" to touch each other!

And this is one of many reasons why we could never ever be a "co-sleeping" family.  Adding a kicking, tossy-turny baby/toddler into the mix would just make Mommy really cranky.  It's one thing to lay with the baby in the bed when you're nursing in the middle of the night, and just let the baby and yourself fall asleep (the only way to ever get enough sleep, in my opinion)...but as soon as that little person starts moving around more and demanding their own fair share of bed, it's time for them to go back to their own, I say!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Children's Books That I Can't Read Without Crying

I Love You Forever

I remembered this story, vaguely, from childhood.  It didn't really mean much to me then.  But when I was pregnant with Sly, my mother-in-law gave me a copy of the book, and it instantly turned me into a weeping mess.  Even before my boy was born, I was already sad about the day when he would grow up and leave home...

The Runaway Bunny

 Another classic about a mother's love for her little boy.

Home For A Bunny

Written by the same author as the Runaway Bunny.  This is an exceptionally well-illustrated story about a little bunny looking for a home.  All the creatures he meets refuse to let him live with them, until the end when he meets another (presumably female) bunny...and I don't know why, but I can't read that part without getting choked up.

The Giving Tree

The Boy just takes and takes.  And the Tree never stops - joyfully - giving.  I cry over the complete love of the tree for the Boy, even as it destroys her.  A true Christ figure, in that regard.

What stories bring on the tears for you?