Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Target; Walgreens; Donating Stuff

Well, after I learned my lesson from my last grocery store trips, I waited to do my major coupon shopping until Caleb was in preschool. Shopping with only one kiddo is infinitely easier.

So today I went to Target and spent $66.26. A big chunk of that was some summer clothes for Isaac and Caleb--I bought 5 pairs of cute shorts at $4 each (good deal!). I also splurged on some new cups for Caleb, since he's chewed on the tops of his other cups (that he's had for a couple of years), and he still needs sippies for his preschool lunches, car trips, etc. But here are the highlights of the other things I got:
  • Mega pack (184 count) of Huggies wipes--$.49
  • 8 Johnson's Buddies soaps--FREE
  • Pledge multi-surface spray--$.74
  • Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner--$1.75
  • 2 Barilla Whole Grain pasta--$.74 each
  • 2 Musselman applesauce 4-packs--$1.00 each
  • Jello pudding 6-pack--$1.44
  • Diet Dr. Pepper 2-liter--FREE
  • 2 Steamfresh Veggies--$.65 each
All in all, I saved $20.99 just from coupons. If you shop at Target, go here to print out coupons before you go. These are store coupons, so you can combine them with manufacturer coupons if you have them!

I also stopped by Walgreens today for my first foray into couponing there. It was actually a bit intimidating! You have to really know what you are looking for. I ended up getting only one item: Skintimate shaving cream. I paid $2.49 and I got $3 in Register Rewards, which I can use as a credit on my next purchase. The plan is to keep using those Register Rewards to buy more stuff, get more Register Rewards, etc. In the end, Walgreens should be paying me to shop there. We'll see. I'm starting small!


Now, some of the stuff that I get from couponing is stuff that I don't normally use. My plan with couponing is to use it as a tool to not only help my budget, but to help others as well. I took the boys with me a couple of weeks ago to donate some food to our city's Family Services Center. I expected to just drop off some stuff and go, but I actually had a man strike up a conversation with me while I was there. He wanted to thank me for donating items, and he told me his story of how he got there. Just a few months ago, he was employed and making over $80K per year. But then he got laid off--out of the blue--and he didn't have much savings to fall back on. So now he's gone from living comfortably to depending on the generosity of others to make it. He has two children.

This really made an impact on me. All I had donated that day was some baby food jars that we'd had left from Caleb (that stuff has a really long shelf life!!), some disposable diapers that Isaac was too big to wear, and some other miscellaneous stuff like that. Nothing huge. And I thought, "How can I do more?"

So while I research all this couponing stuff, I keep that man in my mind. Every time I see a coupon for something that I don't think I'll use, I think, "Could the food bank use that product?" If the answer is yes, then I go ahead and clip the coupon. If I come across a deal where I can get it for free or dirt cheap, I'll pick it up so I can donate it.

Yes, it takes extra time. Yes, it actually ends up costing me a little money (although I do get tax benefits from the donations). But I feel that it's the right thing for me to do.

All that said, if you see weird stuff on my shopping trip posts and start wondering why I would buy that, more than likely it's because I'm going to donate it.

And yes, this hits on another subject that is dear to me: the environment. I always feel a tinge of guilt when I buy things that are in small packages just to get a deal, or when I buy cleaning supplies at a great price when normally I wouldn't allow them in my home (many of those cleaning supplies are just toxic, and we try to use all natural stuff here). But ultimately I had to decide that people come first, and if I can help people, then I will do that before I help the environment. That's just my conviction right now. Of course, I do try to limit my purchases of those types of things anyway.

I'm just a walking conundrum, I know. But who isn't?

Monday, March 30, 2009

FICO Deal Ending Tuesday

Knowing your FICO score is important if you are looking to get a new home, apartment, job, car, etc. We are looking to refinance in the near future, so we wanted to check our scores.

I had never heard of a sale on FICO scores before, but sure enough, there's one going on now! The problem is that it ends on March 31. So if you don't know your FICO score and think you might need it, I suggest you take advantage of the deal now!

Just go to www.myfico.com and you'll see instructions at the top of the screen on how to get 30% off any product there. This is the official site for FICO scores, so don't worry about scams.

You can get free credit reports each year from the three major credit bureaus by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. Everyone should take advantage of this yearly so you can make sure there are no mistakes on your credit. Please note that this site does not give you free FICO scores--just the credit reports.

Homemade Bread Recipe

I have started making this wheat bread about 2 times per week. It's been a few weeks since I've bought any bread from the store! When I started reading the ingredients on the 100% whole wheat bread that I normally buy, I decided that I could do it at home and make it healthier and yummier.

I based my recipe on this one, with only a couple of changes. You can use oil in place of the applesauce if you don't have any, but I always keep unsweetened, natural applesauce on hand for baking. I never use oil in baked goods if I can help it--applesauce is healthier and tastes better! You can also experiment with different additives--in today's loaf I'm adding some wheat germ to help balance out the white flour!


1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons applesauce
4 tablespoons honey (local, if possible)
1 teaspoon (kosher) salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground flax meal (optional)
1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast


1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Before adding the yeast, make a little "well" in the flour to put the yeast in. Yeast shouldn't touch the wet ingredients.

2. Set on dough cycle (takes about 90 minutes).

3. When the dough cycle is finished, take it out and press it into a very lightly greased loaf pan (I use a little Pam olive oil or canola oil spray).

4. Cover the pan and let the dough rise in a warm place for 20-45 minutes (until it has doubled in size).

5. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crazy Parents

Last year, our city had a huge Easter egg hunt. It was the biggest hunt in North Texas, actually. We were so excited to take Caleb, who was two and half, and join in the festivities. We got Caleb and Isaac (just a few months old at the time) loaded into the car and headed toward the site. We were about a mile away when we got stopped in traffic. Uh oh. We ended up parking several hundred yards away from the hunt and hiking over to the fields. We were almost there when we heard the horn go off to announce the beginning of the egg hunt. Aaaah!! By the time we hustled to the field, there were no eggs left. Caleb didn't care very much, since he didn't really get what was going on anyway, but Scott and I vowed then and there that next year, we'd be on time!

Well, we kept that determination. This morning was the city's Easter egg hunt. It was now being touted as the largest in all of Texas! We were going to be there--on time--this year. Now, the weather here in Texas has been a little...unpredictable (which is actually predictable). A few days ago is was high 70's, but by this morning it was 37 degrees. But hey, the city hadn't postponed the egg hunt, so we still planned on being there.

We got there early this year, just like we'd planned. But that meant that we stood outside for 30 minutes in the cold. And it wasn't just cold...it was windy. Very windy. I took Isaac to the 2 and under field, and Scott took Caleb to the 3-and4-year-old field.

Here's Caleb before the hunt:

Poor little Isaac. He was so cold. I had him wrapped up in his jacket, inside my jacket, and under a blanket, but he was still miserable. I kept telling him that we were having fun. :) I was looking around at all the other parents who were trying to keep their kids warm, and I know we were all thinking the same thing--"What are we doing here? We are all crazy!"

One thing that keeps Isaac occupied is to take pictures of him and show them to him on the digital camera. So we did a lot of that.

Finally, after waiting for 30 minutes for the hunt to start, the announcement came and we were off. On the 2 and under field, they didn't have eggs--just boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, animal crackers, and Goldfish (none of which I allow Isaac to have, but that's beside the point!).

The wind was actually so strong that Isaac had a hard time walking, and he fell down a lot.

He started getting into it, though, and was sad when I scooped him up after about 3 minutes and led him off the field. It was just too cold to stick around. We found Caleb and Scott, who had also called it quits, and headed to the car. At that point, Isaac just lost it. He was miserable. Here are the thawing children in their car seats:

Isaac fell asleep about 5 minutes later.

Here's hoping for better weather next year!

There was a bunch of junkie stuff (mostly tatoos!) in the eggs that Caleb got, so we took all of that out. But the kids had a wonderful time at home hiding the eggs in the house. We must have hidden those eggs about 20 times! Isaac would walk around and call out, "Ball!" with his palms up, searching for the eggs. So cute.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

'ove 'ou!

Tonight before Scott put Isaac to bed, he brought him into Caleb's room where I was getting Caleb ready for bed.

Scott: Tell Mommy "night-night!"
Isaac: Bye!
Scott: No, say "night-night!"
Isaac (smiling and waving): Bye-bye!
Scott (sighing): Oh, well.
Me: I love you, Isaac!
Isaac: 'Ove 'Ou!
Scott and I exchange glances, dumbfounded. Did he really just say that? We try to get him to say it again, but Isaac is just grinning goofily and being silent. Scott heads on into Isaac's room to put him to bed. A few minutes later....

Scott: He said it again!!


I listed most of the words Isaac can say in a post about a month ago. Here are some more words he's picked up and uses regularly:
  • Down (when he wants us to put him down, or when he's climbing on something and knows he needs to get down!)
  • Done (accompanied by the sign for "finished"--also says "all done")
  • Dog (enunciated very well, with the "g" on the end and everything!)
  • Bama (for banana--his favorite food)
  • O's (for Oatios or whatever O-shaped cereal we have)
  • Puh (still emerging--but he uses this sound consistently to ask for his organic puff snacks)
  • 'elcome (when he gives us some minutiae off the floor and we say "thank you" he replies with this)
  • 'ilk (for milk)
  • Eat (he's done this one for awhile, but I forgot to list it last month)
  • There (when he gives you something)
  • Put-tuh (potty; he'll escort you to the restroom if you tell him you need to go!)
That brings his word count up to over 20. He is almost 14 months old.

It's just striking to me how different Caleb and Isaac are. Caleb could say about 10 words at 18 months, I believe. (But he's turned into quite a talker now, trust me!)

Couponing: Lesson Learned!

I posted last week about how I'm trying to use coupons to cut back on our grocery expenses. I have learned that there is a whole science behind organizing coupons, saving them to match them up with sales and/or store coupons, finding internet coupons, and knowing the coupon policies of the stores in your area.

I still have a lot to learn.

But I did learn one valuable lesson during the past week: if you really want to maximize your savings, don't shop with a preschooler and a toddler!

I went to WalMart a few days ago to take advantage of a few deals and to get a few things. I had coupons to get all of this for free:

That's two boxes of Artisan Wheat Thins, 2 packs of gum, and 6 bars of Johnson's Buddies soap. For the Wheat Thins, they were actually on sale for $2 each, and I had 2 BOGO coupons from the Sunday paper (so I guess they technically were $1 a box). I got the gum for free because there were coupons in the paper for free gum. And Johnson's has coupons for $1 off these Buddies soaps, and they are priced at $.97 at WalMart! I've copied the links for those coupons below.

Ok, so I should have gotten all of that stuff for free, but somehow, I didn't! I got to the car and looked over my receipt and noticed that I ended up spending $3 for those 6 buddies soaps. My $2 off coupon and $1 off coupon didn't go through! Why didn't I notice this at the register, you ask? Why wasn't I watching the cashier to make sure everything scanned appropriately? Because I had a little 3-year-old who was choosing to be very restless and disruptive, and a toddler who was tired of being the cart but wanted to squirm all over the place when I held him.

I had a similar issue at Kroger yesterday. I have been taking great advantage of their Mega Deals where you buy 10 participating items and get $5 off. I brought my list of items to get, and I had more coupons so I could get the following, among other things:
  • Irish Spring 3-pack $.09
  • Soft Soap pump FREE
  • Stayfree packages $.99 each
  • Colgate toothbrush $.24
Well, you have to be really careful that you get exactly 10 participating items, or in multiples of 10. I messed up and ended up with only 19, so I missed out on $5!! I was so upset. I figured out what I did wrong, though--something I thought was a participating item ended up not being a participating item. Pbbbbt. If I hadn't been distracted by my squabbling kids sitting side-by-side in the car-shaped cart, this probably wouldn't have happened. So, it is now my resolve to do my coupon shopping while Caleb is at preschool so I can concentrate a little better!!

If you are interested in couponing or want to see more on how to get free stuff, take the time to check out Money Saving Mom.

Another tip: I have gotten lots of coupons by telling companies what I think of their products (both good things and bad). Like my complaints to Palmolive about their terrible Eco+ stuff scored me a slew of coupons for Colgate, Soft Soap, Irish Spring, and other stuff that has come in handy at Kroger lately!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayers for Stellan

I have mentioned MckMama many times on this blog, as she is a source of inspiration for me. She is a mom of four young kids ages four and under, and her youngest is having heart problems and is in the PICU. Please take a moment and join with me and countless others from the blogosphere and lift up baby Stellan in prayer.

Conversations with Mimme

I went to visit my grandmother (my Mom's mom, whom I call Mimme) on Saturday. She turned 89 years old last week, and she lives in an assisted living home about 45 minutes from me. She lived in another state her entire life until just a few months ago, when my parents brought her here to Texas to be closer to them.

Her health has taken a turn for the worse lately (COPD, pneumonia, congestive heart failure), so I really want to make sure I take time to visit her. It's sad, but I feel like I don't know her very well. I am the youngest grandkid, so I probably didn't spend as much time with her as my siblings and cousins did growing up.

It was hard getting her to talk at first, but once she did, I loved to hear her stories. My mom was there, too, and she was able to fill in details as well. I learned that Mimme got married in 1937, when unemployment was still high from the Great Depression and life in America was just tough. I asked her if she and Granddaddy went on a honeymoon, and she laughed. She said that their "honeymoon" was a trip to Chicago--in a big truck full of furniture for a friend who was moving there. Once they got to Chicago, they stayed with the friend's aunt for a few days. As if that weren't romantic enough, it was also in the freezing cold of December!

My granddaddy took the work he could find and helped out on a rice farm for a year. In 1939, he started working at a gas station (which he would eventually run). Mimme said he worked 84 hours a week. WOW! That really puts things into perspective. He earned $10 a week.

I hope to have her tell me more stories each time I visit. I would love to hear more about how life was for her growing up. I think we have so much to learn from our elders.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baking Day; The Climber

Today I was feeling domestic, so I did a bunch of cleaning and baking. I made homemade wheat bread, which made the house smell fantastic. This is the second time I've used this recipe, and it is yummy!! It's really easy if you have a bread machine or a Kitchen Aid mixer.

I also made some banana bread. This is a different recipe than I'm used to using, and I made it with whole wheat flour rather than regular and applesauce in place of the oil. Tasty!


Isaac is our climber. Can you tell?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taking Stock; Couponing

Periodically I like to take stock of how things are going in my life and what I can do to make myself better. It's similar to when I worked full-time and we would have quarterly reviews. Am I on track to achieve the goals I set? What areas can I change? Where am I doing well?

There are many facets of my life, of course, which can easily be broken down into roles: Christian, wife, mother, teacher, home manager, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, etc. If I think through each of those roles, I can identify places where I can improve myself.

One of the facets I am currently focusing on is my role as home manager. I know that kinda sounds silly, but as a stay-at-home mom it is my job to manage the home. That means I take care of the bills, the groceries, the meals, the house cleaning, the doctor visits, etc. (Of course, like any good manager, I do delegate tasks to my wonderful husband, who helps SO much! :) )

I am responsible for managing our finances, and this is the specific area I've been working on. In this economy, we have to be extra diligent about not spending more than we need to. You never know when life will throw you a curve ball (my brother, for example, just lost his job), and you need to be prepared. So I am looking through our expenses and seeing where we can trim.

I posted a few weeks ago about a terrific blog I found called Money Saving Mom. I have learned so much from there! She shows you how to make coupons really work for you. I don't think I ever even thought about combining store coupons with manufacturer coupons. But those two things plus a sale mean big, big savings!

I've been educating myself from her blog and others (like Life as Mom), and I was ready to take the next step. Last night after the kids went to bed, I worked on this:

This is my new coupon binder! It's kind of a first start and may morph into something better, but for now it seems to work. It's a floppy 1" binder (I repurposed one that Scott had used at kids' camp last year) with sports card pages in it to hold my coupons. Each sports card page has 9 little pockets, perfect for holding coupons so that you can see what you have! I took the idea from Laura Williams' blog. I just cut up index cards to make the tabs, and I have sections like baby, baking, bread, candy, canned, cereal, etc. In the front of my binder is a zipper pouch with a pen and sticky notes. I plan on putting a little calculator in there, too. (Right now I use the one on my phone, but it's a bit cumbersome.)

I used the binder yesterday at Kroger, and I must say it worked out quite well! Kroger had their Mega Deals going--if you buy 10 participating items, you get $5 off. So here's what I bought yesterday:

I spent $34.63. Here is what I got:
  • 2 Irish Spring 3-packs of soap FREE
  • 1 box of Fiber One bars $.99
  • 2 Buttoni whole wheat tortellinis $1.99 each
  • 7 Lean Cuisine meals $1.49 each
  • 1 Soft Soap hand soap $.19
  • 1 Soft Soap body wash $1.74
  • 3 Classico pasta sauces $1.79 each
  • 2 Colgate toothpastes $.24 each
  • 4 boxes Raisin Bran $1.95 each plus coupon back for $1.50 off next purchase
  • 1 box Nature Valley bars $1.99
  • 1 gallon skim milk $1.99
Not too shabby! I have a lot to learn, but it's a good start! (And hey, to those of you I know in real life, if you have coupons you don't want, send them my way!) :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Review: Super Baby Food; A Day's Worth of Food for Isaac

I have been trying to educate myself as much as I can on nutrition so I can improve our eating habits and raise Isaac to be a healthy eater. One of my favorite bloggers, MckMama, is an inspiration in the area of childhood nutrition. She feeds her kids all sorts of healthy fare (and they gobble it up gleefully), so I snatched up her suggestion and bought the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.

Overall, the book has helped me a great deal. It has a section on making your own baby cereal (she calls it Super Porridge, which I'll get into later) that I have put to daily use in our house. She tells you how to incorporate stuff into your baby's diet that I wouldn't have known what to do with--lentils, dried beans, flax meal, wheat germ, kale, tofu, etc. On top of that, it's actually pretty easy, too! It's worth the time to read and learn how to make your own homemade "Super Baby Food." It's tons cheaper and healthier than that jarred stuff.

I can't recommend the book without a few caveats:
  • She recommends giving babies and toddlers nuts and seeds. In most pediatricians' eyes, this is a big no-no! She does encourage you to get your pedi's advice before starting any meal plan, but I wish she'd left out the nuts and seeds. When I asked my pedi about the book and whether I could give those things to Isaac after he turned a year, she looked at me like I was crazy. The only seed she approved was flax seed.
  • The book is not well-organized and is very wordy. She incoporates lots of "tips" which largely just take up space.
  • Sometimes she makes things sound overly complicated. She'll go on for a couple of pages about how to do something, when basically it can be summed up with, "Put the whole oats in the blender. Blend for 2 minutes. Voila! You have ground oatmeal! "
She advocates feeding the baby "Super Porridge" in the morning, which is the main meal. It's just cooked oatmeal, rice, or some other grain mixed with fruit, veggies, and/or other nutritional stuff. Here's what mine looks like that I make for Isaac:

He LOVES this. It's ground oatmeal, organic cherry applesauce, flax meal, and wheat germ. I change it up and use different fruits or grains, but this is the crux of it. (If you're interested, the oatmeal part is easy, but it does take a few minutes. Boil 1 cup of water in a small pot. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of ground oatmeal in the water. Stir. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.) You can't tell in the pic, but that's a big adult-sized cereal bowl. He eats the whole thing!!

Yaron recommends having a second meal based on yogurt, and we typically do that. I buy organic whole milk yogurt (whatever is on sale at Sprouts!) and mix it with whatever fruit I have on hand--some combination of peaches, bananas, strawberries, kiwi, or blueberries. I load it all in my trust mini food processor (this thing is the workhorse of my kitchen and gets used at least once a day!) and blend away.

It winds up looking something like this:

Making this for Isaac's lunch is good for me, too. After I make his, I make some for myself (with nonfat vanilla yogurt, fruit, wheat germ, flax, and sunflower seeds). Yum!!

Once your baby can handle a little bit chunkier food, you can just buy bags of frozen fruit (with no icky preservatives!) and keep them in the freezer. When it's time to make the yogurt smoothie, grab your frozen fruit, add a fresh banana or whatever you have on hand, and blend!

I also make my own veggie and fruit cubes. This is the part that saves me some serious money. For example, I spent about $4 on one big organic butternut squash, and I got this gallon-sized bag of baby food out of it. It's the equivalent of at least a dozen of those level 2 baby food jars.

Yaron covers pretty much every type of veggie and fruit puree in her book, or you can go here to learn how to make several of them. The easiest ones to me (and the ones that are almost always in my freezer) are squash, sweet potatoes, blueberries, peas, and carrots. I use these ice cube trays (I actually verified with the company that they contain no BPA) that have covers on them to freeze my purees, then I just store the cubes in freezer bags.

Isaac normally eats about 6 cubes of veggies at dinner, then finishes the meal off with some Cascadian Farms Purely O's (the best organic O-shaped cereal, with no sugar added). He has some of those or some other finger food at lunch, too. We'll be working in some more beans and tofu soon. He also has a scrambled or hard-boiled egg a couple of times a week.

Well, there you have it! That's what Isaac eats in a day, influenced greatly by Ruth Yaron's book Super Baby Food.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The "S" Word

I never thought I would say this. In fact, I'm not sure I can say it. I'll just type it. Please don't judge me too harshly.

I am now... a child spanker.

There. It's out. Phew. That feels better.

I never thought I would need to spank my kids. I thought that if I used the time-out method, my kids would cry and repent and never do wrong again. Well, sort of. But I did think that time-out would work for Caleb. But alas, as you can tell from my last post in which my son was screaming at the dinner table, it has not worked.

So, after some great advice from my friend Linda (who has 6 young kids and knows a thing or two about parenting!) and some soul-searching, I am now a spanker. And so far it's working! Caleb still has his defiant moments, but now all I need to do is remind him what the punishment is for misbehaving. He doesn't like being spanked, so usually the threat works. Usually.

Linda suggested disciplining right at the moment of misbehavior, and that's working for us. If Caleb acts up at the dinner table, he has to get down and get a spanking, then he can return to the table and eat.

I had reservations about spanking because in my mind I link spanking with violence. Will spanking him now lead him to be more violent in the future? My fears have been somewhat realized: since we started spanking, he has become more physical with his brother. He wants to discipline Isaac, and I saw him trying to spank Isaac the other day. But I think if he grows up knowing that spanking follows bad behavior and that he knows that we spank him out of love (and never in anger), he'll be okay. At least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

No one said parenting was easy! I'd love to hear comments from you guys about how you handle discipline in your house.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Walkin' on Sunshine

It's funny the way kids think. Caleb, on the way out of the church tonight after Awana, said, "The sun's gone down! It went down into the ground. Now we're walking on the sun." Immediately I start humming, I'm walkin' on sunshine...

Then we went to "Taco Banana," as Caleb likes to call it. (Man, Cabana has gotten a ton of our money since they opened here in January!) Caleb has this thing lately with drive-thrus. He asks me to roll down his window in the back so that he can "talk to the lady" too. He's so dang cute. He'll sit back there quietly until the person at the window starts talking to me, then he'll yell out, "HI!!" It almost always takes the drive-thru person off-guard, and they almost always start laughing. It is actually a great way to get free stuff! So far he's gotten a free milk and several kids' toys.

When we got home, we ate dinner. (I know, I'm a bad mommy. Here we were eating dinner at 8:45 at night. But that's just what happens on Awana nights.) Caleb has a methodology about eating his meals. He will eat all of the "good" stuff--cheese, bread, crackers, ham--and when he gets down to just the fruit or veggies on his plate, he'll announce that he's either tired and wants to go to sleep or he has to potty. Tonight was no exception. When the only thing left on his plate was his banana, he announced, "I'm so tired. I want to go to bed."

Not this time, mister! He'd already pulled the I-have-to-potty trick at lunch to get out of eating his banana, so I decided that this time I was sticking to my guns. I calmly said, "You're not getting up until you eat a bite of banana."

Well, I might as well have told him I was going to cut his right arm off. "Noooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!" He yelled, he pushed away his food, he whined, he complained, he appealed to Scott. He had all this energy left to throw a hissy fit, but according to him he had no energy to eat one measly bite of banana. I reiterated. "You will not leave this table until you have a bite of banana."

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!" This time he pushed his chair back from the table so that he was about 2 feet away from it. I just turned my back to him and started doing other things while he pouted. I wasn't going to play that game. A couple of minutes later, I turned around and looked at Caleb. He was asleep, sitting up in his chair.

You win. I carried him to bed.


Earlier today we went to the pediatrician for Caleb's 2-week follow-up from his ear infection. I told her more about the "flu" that Caleb ended up catching on top of his ear infection, which Scott later got, then I got. She said it sounded more like rotavirus. Seriously? Once when Caleb was about 13 months old, Scott, Caleb, and I all got rotavirus at the same time. That was the most miserable I've ever been! That includes childbirth and gall bladder disease. I remember not being able to walk from one room to the other without stopping to rest. It really was that bad.

But this round of rota was much lighter--evidently after you've had it once, it doesn't get as bad the second time around. Lucky us, huh? Isaac didn't get it because these days there's a vaccine for it, praise God!

One more note from the pedi's visit: Caleb's ear hasn't completely healed. So, he is supposed to take Allegra twice a day for the next 2 weeks to see if that will help clear it up.

Phew. Enough with all this sick stuff! I truly hope this is the last post for a long time that I tag with "illness!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Byproducts of the Flu

Having the flu was not fun, but at least a few good things came out of it.

On Saturday night, Caleb was in another room and started calling for me. Scott knew I wasn't feeling well, so he went in there to help. Caleb told Scott, "But I want Mommy!"

Scott left the room for a few seconds, then came back in and announced in his highest falsetto, "Hi! I'm Mommy! How can I help you, honey?" Well, that launched Caleb into a giggle fit and Scott into a whole 5-minute "Mommy" show. Then Caleb announced, "I want Daddy!" So Scott left the room and came back with his deepest, booming voice, "What's going on in here?" I could hear all of this from the kitchen, and I collapsed in laughter right along with Caleb.


Isaac is now weaned. I didn't really mean to wean him completely by this point, but it works out. He was down to just one nursing a day anyway. Strangely enough, everyone says that the nighttime feeding is the hardest one to cut out. But for us, that was the first one to go, soon after he turned 12 months. Scott, for the last few months, has had the magic touch as far as getting Isaac to go to sleep in his crib, so I was happy to let him just feed Isaac a cup of milk at night and get him to bed rather than me nursing him.

The next feeding I cut out was the morning one. Isaac wakes up every morning hungry, and the first thing he used to say was, "Bah-puh!" for Boppy, the nursing pillow we use. (Which is FABULOUS, btw, and well worth the money.) I got really tired of nursing him first thing in the morning, so we switched to milk a week or so ago for that feeding.

All that was left was an afternoon feeding. Now that one I wanted to keep for awhile. Honestly, it was the only way I could get him to take a nap during the day! But when I got the flu, I was too sick and had to miss that afternoon feeding, so he went a whole day without me. And so I decided that he didn't really need to nurse anymore.

He didn't like that decision yesterday. He cried and cried and called out "Bah-puh!" when I tried to put him down for a nap, but he eventually went to sleep. Today he still cried quite a bit when it was time for a nap, but I finally got him down. It should get easier from here....


I've been trying to teach Caleb what "germs" are. Just this week he's hit that infamous 3-year-old stage in which his favorite word is "Why?" So when he asked questions about why I was sick, I tried to explain that you get sick because of germs.

On Saturday I was reading to Caleb, and he says, "Don't get my book sick, Mommy."

On Sunday, Caleb took Isaac's cup and drank out of it. I told him that he can't drink out of anyone else's cup or he might get sick. "I might get worms, Mommy?" Uh, that's germs, dear.