Monday, December 27, 2010

A Favorite Christmas Gift

One of my most favorite gifts I was able to give to my children this Christmas was a set of custom made fabric baby name blocks from a stay at home mommy at Berry Sweet Baby Boutique. They are beautiful, one of a kind, well made, sturdy, artistic blocks. I had my infant's name done, one letter per block. I just told her my favorite fabrics and that I'd like coordinating, but not necessarily matching fabrics on the blocks, but each block quite individual and let her do the rest! She came up with the cutest set! I love the taggies on the blocks and I LOVE how each block is so unique and eclectic! Quite a visual feast for my little man who loves a good pattern.

The blocks are stiff enough to stack and squishy enough for baby's little hands to grab. I just love them!

They'd make a great baby shower or new baby gift! Especially since it is so disappointing to head into the big box stores and see all those plastic, noisy, battery-operated, overwhelming toys on the market.

Oh, and if you want to see blocks with letters on them (mine have letters, but none of them are showing in the picture above), just visit Berry Sweet Baby Boutique and look in the photo album.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Past left a mess!

At least I got most of the pine needles removed!

We had a very nice Christmas here at Taigh Beag. It started Thursday when hubby came home from work and friends came over and ended this evening when I threw the quite dead Christmas tree out the front door in into the front yard.

I know some people hold onto Christmas through the New Year. As for me, Christmas begins December 1st and ends the morning of the 26th. I like having the house back in order by the New Year. In some ways, I'm forced to do this because it involves reorganization to fit the opened gifts in our little cottage.

My 4 year old, standing amid wrapping paper and opened, upended gifts, announced, "This is the best Christmas ever!" I'd have to say that I agree. This has been the best Christmas of his life and the best Christmas I've had in a while! The message at church today was excellent. The friendship and family ties were so warm and loving. There were a few surprises here and there, too.

And for those wondering, hubby and the kiddos got me a digital camera and a box full of tools. Yes, tools, including work gloves and hand sanitizer! Let me put it this way, if we had HGTV, I'd be watching it ALL the time and we'd probably have a hole in a wall somewhere! Hubby knows the kind of crazy woman I am! I do plan on redoing the living room and am thrilled to have my own tools to tackle the project with.

In the meantime, I have a hugely messy house to clean up.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Homespun Christmas

This year, I dabbled in a more homespun Christmas. I made a few of the gifts, but still bought most of them. (It was fun shopping etsy!) I spent a lot of time in the stores browsing, shopping, and going back for forgotten and newly thought of items. I even made our own wrapping paper. Of course, I'm now coming up with loads of ideas for a more homespun Christmas. I've written them down in a 2011 planner.

Some ideas include decorating our bushes out front with pine cones coated in peanut butter and bird seed. Instead of doling out Christmas cookies to neighbors, I'm going to continue with what I started this year, loaves of yummy bread fresh from the oven. For presents, I want to make doll clothes, matching aprons, a barn, a stable, John Deere Pink bedding for my little farm girl, to name a few.

For a lovely vision of a homespun Christmas, visit Aspiring Homemaker. The link is in the left-hand sidebar!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Should I Really Not Have?

Today, I delivered some Christmas gifts. At every stop, I heard the same things:

"Oh, I wish you didn't go through the trouble."
"You didn't have to give us anything!"
"You shouldn't have."

I can't help but think, should I not have?

Would people rather I just not give them anything at Christmastime because:

They then feel the burden of obligation to return the favor, even though I sincerely do not expect a return and in fact the gifts I've given them are ways of saying thank you for what they've done for me throughout the year?

They're overloaded with Christmas cheer already and another tidbit of thanks is just another thing to go stale on the counter?

To be honest, such replies to my Christmas gifts kind of burst my bubble. I was all happy to give and would have been more than happy with a simple, "Thank you."

I do believe that in the area I live, it is considered polite to refuse. Why? I don't know. I always grew up believing that it was better to refuse and muddle through without than to accept graciously and thankfully and be better for it. I remember someone telling me that refusing a blessing is throwing it back in the person's face. That really hit me hard.

I don't get many chances to give. Please, let me give when I can.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

When Mother is Ill

I woke up today feeling tired, thirsty and slightly dizzy, but got up anyway. Some water soothed my thirst. However, exercising failed to fill me with morning energy and only made the dizziness worse. By 6 am I was reeling and could barely move off the bathroom floor. I managed a quick shower, ate a banana and a bit of peanut butter, drank more water, grabbed my infant and curled up in bed. Of course, as it usually happens, my oldest was up early, my infant didn't want to sleep anymore, my daughter's diaper was sopping and hubby was away at work. Everyone simply had to wait until I could move without falling down and feeling like I was going to throw up.

My oldest ran toy trucks up and down my back and declared that I had a fever after feeling my head. He said my head was hot and my arms were cold. Then, he got himself dressed and tried to change his sister's diaper for me. I had to cave and take my anti-vert meds, which is a guarantee that I cannot leave the house. (We had a birthday party to attend 1 1/2 hours away.) They make me too drowsy to drive. But someone has to take care of 3 children 4 and under! Someone has to get up and feed them, give them milk to drink, change diapers, etc.

I admit it. I am just a bit resentful that when everyone else is sick, I take care of them, but when I'm sick, no one takes care of me and I still have to carry on with life's work. I try to balance it in my mind's eye by reminding myself how my dear husband has dragged his tired butt to work with the stomach flu, colds, migraine headaches, etc. At least I'm home and can turn on the electric babysitter and relax on the sofa while the kids watch mindless videos and trash the house.

I admit also that I am NOT a happy sick person. My patience is thin, my temper short. I HATE feeling unwell. It consumes me. How anyone with chronic ailments gets through life is beyond me. My vertigo is chronic, but thankfully it is easily managed and only flares up now and then.

I think I'm going to put my 2 year old to bed and try to catch a few zzzz's with my infant.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 3's of Me

I saw this over at Joyful Chaos and thought it would be fun!

3 Names I go by:
1. Mom
2. Mommy
3. Cait

3 Jobs I've had:
1. Fashion Bug Manager
2. Walmart Cashier
3. Costume Shop Employee

3 Places I've lived:
1. A Big Ol' Farmhouse in New York
2. A single wide mobile home in New York
3. A little cottage in New York

3 Favorite Drinks
1. Water
2. Raw Milk
3. Almond Milk

3 Places I've been:
1. Scotland
2. Williamsburg, VA
3. Howes Caverns, NY

3 Favorite Foods
1. Indian
2. Historical foods with plenty of nutmeg and currants
3. Fruit

3 Things I look forward to:
1. Time with my extended family
2. Having our own farm
3. Spring

3 Pets I've had
1. A cat named Picky
2. A naughty monk parrot named Gordy
3. A big, mean, baby-eating Pitbull (really, she's a medium-sized, excitable, kid-ignoring Amstaff) named Star.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

6 Months and Counting!

We did it! Baby Boy and I made it to 6 months breast feeding! This is such an answer to prayer. Whenever I feed him, I think about my older two and how they were on bottles of formula at this point and all I could get out of myself were a few watery droplets.

I'm happy we've made our goal and we're still breast feeding. He is eating regular foods now, mashed and watered down with water and/or breast milk. He also eats a lot at night. My best let-downs are at night. I don't mind. During the day, breast feeding is more difficult. He's easily distracted and frustrated that my let-downs are often slow in coming and weak. It's hard to just relax and breast feed when I have two older children who seem to suddenly turn into rabid monkeys as soon as baby's to breast. I often breast feed laying down during the day because my let downs seem better if I'm laying down. I'm definitely not as full chested and am in fact down two cup sizes since my milk came in. But, there's still milk there, and with the night time feedings, there's enough to keep him going. We'll see what the pediatrician says on Friday. Baby boy is not a butter ball by any means, but he's not overly thin either.

I'm not sure if we're going to make it to a full year, but we'll take it one day at a time. Thank you, Jesus for answering my prayers for being able to breast feed for 6 months!

Today is my 30th birthday, too!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Did I Really Just Do That?

Did you ever have those moments in motherhood where something flies out of your mouth and you can't believe you just said that!?

As Christmas nears this year, I remember last year's Christmas Eve very well. Pregnant and with two toddlers in tow, I went to Walmart. I can't remember why I had to go, but I know it was a needed trip. I needed some necessity. Well, of course, the store was packed solid with customers. I put my daughter in the seat and I put my son in the basket part of the shopping cart. There was no way he could walk beside me in that crowd without getting bumped around, lost in the shuffle or even kidnapped amid the din. An older woman employee with a think (I think) Polish accent and wearing plush reindeer antlers on her head came up to me and told me that I should not let my son ride in the basket. I ignored her and went on my way. Two more times she came up to me and told me that I should remove him from the basket. By the third time, I exploded.

I yelled, "Leave me alone, the store's crowded, he's fine and if he falls out I'm not going to sue Walmart!"

You know how in movies when someone does something like that, everything freezes, everyone stares and you hear a cricket chirping or a baby crying in the distance? Well, that's almost how it was in that Walmart aisle. I thought sarcastically to myself, "Now THERE'S a good Christian example on Christmas Eve."

To this day, I see that employee and am reminded of my behavior. Some might say it was justified, but I could have handled it better. I simply can't believe I exploded like that!

A more recent episode took place in Target. Just last week, I had all 3 kiddos with me in Target. The older two were strapped into the SUV shopping cart seats while baby boy was in his carseat carrier in the basket part. As I shopped, it was the usual reminders to behave. Admittedly, they were better behaved this trip than they have been in past trips. But, I got up to the checkout line and it was my turn at the register. My kids were tired, hungry and just sat in a doped-up stupor that young children get between activity and over-tired. The cashier says to me, "Wow! They're so well-behaved."

Do you know what I did? I didn't say, "thank you." I didn't smile at my children. I literally threw my head back and laughed out loud one of those sarcastic laughs. The cashier just stared at me. I said, "Did I just do that out loud?" I couldn't believe it! I back peddled with a few compliments about my children and left thinking that I could have been a better example of graceful motherhood.

We're human. We're hormonal. We're stretched to our very human limits with patience. We mess up.

At least they make for funny stories, good lessons learned and something to blog about.

Feel free to share any guffaws you've had!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cozy Up Day

It was one of those hunker down, cozy up days. My eyes usually pop open sometime between 4:30 and 5 am. Today, they amazingly didn't pop open until 8 am and that's only because a little guy with rooting and I noticed that what little December sun we get was up. The older two children were still sound asleep and remained so for another half an hour. Usually, they're up at 7 am. It was obvious that we weren't going to make it to church and the weather didn't look promising for travel either.

It was so gloomy! I kept my living room curtains closed all day. Instead, I switched on the Christmas tree lights, lit a Yankee Candle Autumn Lodge candle and put on some Christmas music. The kiddos played and played and played. We had simple meals and I made cinnamon rolls (from Bettina's Husband-Pleasing book!) I finished a Christmas gift for my baby boy, a textures fabric book made from scrap squares and ribbon bits I had in my stash.

After such a busy week, it was nice to just putter around the house and take it easy.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Please Join Me for A Year With Bettina Beginning in 2011

Beginning in January 2011, I will be spending a year with Bettina. Bettina is a fictional character of 2 antique cookbooks/novellas. I will share some of her fun stories and household hints as well as try out her recipes, reviewing them here. I also hope to feature some giveaways as well. So, please join me by following my blog via Google Friend Connect and let us spend a year with Bettina.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

An historic milestone

He's been breeched!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

One Drawer

My Grandmother is an inspiration in more ways than one, but one of the ways she's an inspiration is with her housework. I blogged about her white socks floors and my subsequent failure in the past. Recently, I've been wanting to simplify again, even farther. My mind once again returned to my dear Grandmother and her simple, uncluttered home. Grandma doesn't have a big desk stuffed with papers. Grandma doesn't have piles and cabinets filled with this and that. So, what does Grandma have for organizing her bills and mailings? I didn't know. Or rather, I didn't remember. I thought, and thought and it came to me. I remember, a summer day at Grandma and Grandpa's needing a pen and Grandma pointing me to a drawer. In that drawer, neat as can be, was Grandpa's "desk."

One Drawer. How simple is that!?

I thought, if I had just one drawer, I'd have extra drawers to better organize in. Maybe I'd even be able to get rid of an entire piece of furniture!

My one drawer quest has begun. Can I pull it off? Or will it be a failure like white socks floors?