Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Though Emma wants to live in the castle.. of course.

We're home from a wonderful trip to Disney. Lot's of catching up to do. I hope to get a full post done soon . But, as of now, I'm finding it quite difficult to write this post with Chloe in my lap as she started with a runny nose and fever just a soon as we got home and wants nothing but for me to hold her. I am thankful that God honored my request that He keep Emma and Chloe well for the trip though next time I'll put in a request for Adam too since he discovered the nearest Quick Care for his case of tonsilitis. Either way, it was a much better trip than what we had last year.. More on that later...

Here are a few pics for the time being. I'm still trying to shuffle through the 500 pictures that I took to see which ones make the blog cut. Some fun stories too.. I took my old camera and the kit lens (which in my opinion is pretty much the equivalent of poo poo) because I didn't want the stress of carrying around expensive camera equipment. Next on my list of camera equipment that I want is a nice telephoto lens but since that would cost more than the whole trip to Disney, that will have to wait until I win the lottery.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Finally, Christmas

Wow, has it really been a whole week since I was last here? Well, I have to admit that our holiday traveling kicked my tail and it has taken me forever to get our lives back in order. Now it's time to start working on our taxes and though they don't have to be done for a couple of months, I know that it will weigh on my mind until I get them done so I might as well get it over with. But I did want to make record of our Christmas before Easter gets here.

I thought I would start by telling you about the philosophying our oldest did about the season:
Emma has really started questioning the Santa thing. The Santa issue has always been something I haven't been completely comfortable with. I've heard stories about children that were furious with their parents when they found out "the truth about Santa". One of our friends son's told a friend, "Santa has to be real because my dad says he is and my dad would never lie to me". I've heard of other's making a connection with God about it. All those stories really make me uneasy. But, we also don't want our kids to be the kids that ruin it all for the other kids. So, our compromise has been to play along with the legend but not really put a lot of emphasis on it. I can't bring myself to out right lie to them so when Emma has asked questions, I always just sort of play it off and ask her what she thinks and let it be whatever she wants to make it. So, she asked the question, point blank, "mom, do you think Santa is real"? In response, I said, "well, what do you think"? She replied, "I think he's real but I don't think I buy the flying reindeer part". I chuckled a little and then we talked a little bit about how there really was a man named St. Nick that took presents to families who couldn't afford them and sometimes when stories get told over and over again, people make up their own versions but even if the story that we've always heard isn't exactly right that it's still okay to believe in the goodness of the story. So, I must admit that I was feeling pretty smooth and thinking that I was about to make it through 2009 still in the running for the Mother of the Year award. I hadn't totally robbed her of childhood fantasy but I didn't lie to her either. I even brought in a lesson about goodness and she was seeming to be putty in my hand. Points for mom! But then, we woke up Christmas morning, did their stockings and then their present and Emma looked at me and said, "I don't think Santa brought the gifts or the stocking". I looked at her and nervsously said, "you don't"? and she said, "no, I think he just came for the cookies"!! GREAT, now I've made Santa a selfish man that comes to take and be a glutten! Is this a product of me overthinking things? I would say so. Will my children need therapy for my tendency to over analyze things? Most likely, yes. Points deducted, trophy denied. Maybe next year.

And since I have the need to try to keeps things as even as possible between them so that one of them won't think that one is more important to me than the other (yes overanalyzing things again). I'm going to tell a not related to Christmas funny from Chloe. She went to Adam with a pack of fruit snacks and said, "Open these". to which Adam replied, "Excuse me? What's the magic word"? Chloe's response, of course was, "Abracadabra". Needless to say, she managed to get the fruit snacks opened without saying please.

I'm going to post my smugmug gallery. Most of the pictures have a description under them and that will save us all some time.

But here was the general plan:
We stayed here for Christmas and then travelled to Alabama on Sunday and were there for New Years. Chloe seems to be taking after me and doesn't do well out of her own bed. She had night terrors 4 out of 6 of the nights we were gone. It has only happened twice while we are at home and it seems to be on days when she doesn't have a good nap so making sure that kid doesn't get over exhausted is now a top priority! Other than the night terrors, it was an absolutely wonderful holiday season. I prepared our meals ahead of time and since Christmas was on Friday, we had three straight days of play. We had puppet shows and scavanger hunts, made a birthday cake for Jesus, made cookies, went and served food at the mission and handed out the cookies. We had a sleepover upstairs and just really soaked each other up. We had a wonderful time visiting our families. And somehow, even with my insistance that we wanted to cut the gift thing down, I'm still trying reorganize and find a home for all the presents we brought home. And, with all the money that we got from Christmas and was saved from birthdays throughout the year, we will be making a trip to Disney World next week and it only costed me $300 out of my pocket! Woo Hoo!

Disclosure: It is very difficult for me to play both the role of photographer and mommy while Christmas presents are being opened. My sister was taking the pictures at my moms and that is why there are a lot more there than there than when we were opening gifts at Adam's parents. Thanks Denise!

We also made a little detour on our way home and saw our friends George, and Jay and Sarah Jane and though I did somehow miss getting a picture of the kids, I never miss the opportunity to get a baby bump. You can see those pictures over at Jay's blog.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Is the Winter inside heat getting to your skin?

As I said in my previous post, my cousin, who is a beautician has started a blog with very useful information about taking care of yourself, beauty tips etc. She recently did a post about taking care of dry, winter skin. It reminded me of some household tips that I've learned to help prevent dry skin and other winter problems. Hopefully, I can combine the two and keep my skin soft, all year long.

When we were in West Virginia, and Chloe was born, and it got cold for the winter, Our heat was running pretty much non stop. She started waking up at night but didn't seem hungry. She would want to nurse for a few minutes and then go back to sleep. Since I was also waking with a parched throat, I determined that the gas heat was drying her out and started running a humidifier in her room. It fixed the problem.

Now my mother-in-law is a sleuth for any obscure product that will result in a better well being. Sometimes, she hits the jackpot. For a couple of years, she has been monitoring the humidity in her home. So while we were there, we got to talking about the humidity issue and she gave me a gauge that measures the humidity in our house.

So, after chatting with Lynn and a little further internet research, this is what I discovered about humidity:

If you are waking up with a dry, parched throat, the humidity in your home is too low. The humidity should be somewhere between 30 and 50%. Anything below thirty is too dry and the ideal environment for sinus trouble and anything above 50% is too high, the ideal environment for mold and dust mite growth, also, causes of sinus problems. Ideal comfort level in the winter is 40-45%.

You can get a tool to measure the humidity in your home for around 5 dollars. Here is a link to ONE at Lowe's. Also, you know how the humidity being up in the summer makes it feel even warmer? The same pricipal applies here too. When I keep our humidity level around 40 percent, I can keep the thermostat set on 65 and we may have to put on a sweat shirt but we're not freezing. When I first started measuring it, the humidity was right at 30% and we were keeping the thermostat on 72.

Not only will upping the humidity in your home during the winter save your skin, it will also save on your utility bills!

Here's an easy little test you can do to see if the humidity in your home is low. Fix a glass of ice water. Let it sit for 5 minutes. If condensation doesn't build up on the glass then it's too dry. Now drink that glass of water to help your dry throat!

So what can you do to up the humidity in your home? The most obvious answer is humidifiers. If you have gas heat, I'm not sure if any other option will be powerful enough. It has been freezing here this week (literally) and even at 65 degrees our heat has been running a lot of the time. I have a humidifier in each of our bedrooms and it's still only been around 36-38%. But, on those milder days, here are some small things you can do..

Think about how moisture leaves your home and think about how you can keep it in.

*When taking a shower, leave the bathroom door open and don't turn on your exhaust fans.
*Turn the drying function off on your dishwasher and open it to let the dishes dry.
*Hang up wet clothes to dry.. The closer to your heating vents the better.
*after baths (if it is safe with children) leave the bathwater sitting in the tub.

I don't recommend you stop flushing the toilet but you get the general idea :).

I'd love to hear if these tips work for you!

And for those of you that could care less about my dry skin and came here for pictures. I'm working on getting all of the Christmas pictures into one gallery. If you were with us on Christmas and have pictures, I would be ever so grateful for your contributions.