Thursday, December 31, 2009


I know people may judge me for this entry, but I am just going to say it anyway. This is the poorest I have ever been and I could not be happier. Having entered the work field right after college I was always making average income. Now (since May) I work on my own schedule for various sources and I am below middle income. I am happier now because I get to spend more time with my family, I don't stress about who I work with, and I get to choose when, how, and what to work on.
BUT, I am also happy because of my low income. Prior to being at this income level I never set a budget, I never thought about passing on something I wanted, I never limited when I ate out or other various things. I think it would be an insult to those with less than me to call myself poor, just as I am insulted when those with more than me think they are poor, but at this income level I am able to recognize what basic needs are and meet them. I have always been a stuff person and now I able to let things go, sell things, return things. This might be weird to say, but prior to this year I never even looked at the price tags in grocery stores or large chain department stores because I knew whatever was in the basket I could afford. Prior to this year I did not wait to save up for a piece of furniture, I just bought one when I found one I liked. I like that I am now thrifty and a great shopper. Making money is fun. I didn't realize I had to be limited to find this out. When and if I start to make more income I truly hope I don't lose my mentality that I have now. I hope I just put the extra into saving (because that is something I never did before and can't do much of now). In the end I am making more than I or my family needs to survive. Everyone reading this blog entry could say the same thing.
P.S.- I'm reading "The Life You Can Save," by Peter Singer and it may have some influence on what I just wrote.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Link at 5 months

Link at 5 months has excellent sitting and picking up and switching hands skills.
Link is as close to rolling over as he is to getting his toes in his mouth (he can stick his tongue out and touch.
Link eats a few teaspoons of these foods: apple, banana, mango, strawberry, vegetable soup, mashed potatoes and thanks to my sister, frosting.
Still only two bottom teeth. Which match the two cuts on the bottom of my nips.
His hair is coming in strong all over. His 6 months clothes are finally to small.
He loves toys.

Sicky, Sicko, and Sickish

The Durbin three have yet to shake this virus, although symptoms have lessened. To show you how extreme this cold is, Bryce got a Wii for Christmas and it hasn't even come out of the box yet.

My favorite gift, thus far, was the gps from my parents. The Durbin's also rocked with very thoughtful gifts like knitting needles and a book on socks. It was a super Christmas with great interactions with my family and Bryce's.

Linda, the notorious bad gift giver, didn't do so bad. She gave me a Hallmark Rockin Rover which I already sold on e-bay for $17. I'm sure she got it for free.

Link got SO much stuff. I took a picture, but our card reader is not working at the moment. I think with the stuff we return (just a couple of items that require batteries) we will purchase Link a small toy box. Then maybe we can have our living room back.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Crusties in Kentucky: Adventures with Lincoln

When Link sneezed two snot globs across the room at Uncle Ken's home in Kentucky, I knew we were in for a long vacation. The next morning Link's eyes were matted shut and nose crusted over. Traveling with a kid provides some challenges, traveling with a sick kid provides a few more. Here are some things I learned.

1. Contact solution breaks down proteins and thus eye boogers and nose boogers. A squirt up the nose and a finger smear on the eyes does wonders. I worked out the goo in the eyelashes as we nursed. A suction ball took care of the nose.

2. Car seats are great for upright sleep and a clearing of the sinuses. We bypassed the co-sleeping for the car seat. A lot of sleep is done for the body to recover. It seemed like Link was up only about 3 hours a day. It would have been great for travel days of rest and relaxing. Not great days for sightseeing. We bypassed any activities outside of Papa's house so Link could get all the rest he could.

3. If you were not sick before baby got sick, you will be after.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

advent calendar recap

We very much enjoyed some new traditions such as the Holiday Train, eating gingerbread men from Pedretti's, playing dreidel, etc.

Things we didn't do that we missed was singing Handel's messiah, attending a Christmas service, sledding, decorating cookies.

Things that came prior to advent, but could have been included were making a gingerbread house and putting up the Christmas tree.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Advent Calendar day 25

Spend Christmas with the family (Durbin side).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A toast to Mary

To a women who had the pressure of going through labor and delivery of GOD! Who did a home birth without a midwife. Who did attachment with parenting with GOD. Who restrained GOD in swaddling clothes. Who fed GOD with her milk. Who co-sleep with God. You Go"ed" woman.

Advent Calendar day 24

Open book gift at Papas.

advent calendar day 23

open stockings. catch a cold. travel far.

advent calendar day 22

celebrate christmas with the dallenbachs.

memorable moments:

Vahida happy with Diana in one hand and a pistol in the other "I got gun!" (gift from Dustin)

Conversation between Bryce and Dustin. "Bryce, do you want to switch you blue snuggie for my cheetah print." "Hell yes. It will match my underwear."

Amber left out of the Christmas letter, not given a gps like everyone else, given $100 from Grandma and a note telling her to break up with Paul and get on bc. I told her to write a thank you saying "Thanks for the $100, I bought myself some birth control and now am dating 5 men."

Diana saying Pad De Cay while clapping hands.

I now know what to make for holidays. Thanksgiving I will do mashed potatoes. Christmas, oyster crackers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

advent calendar day 21

Celebrated solstice with black clothing and dark food (aka chocolate orange). (check)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

advent calendar day 20

play dreidel (the day after chanukah) with Jewish children. (check)

advent calendar day 19

cut a paper snowflake. (check)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


so far, i have been mildly dissappointed with all the toys which i have bought for link. mostly because link is not excited about them. i think almost all babies are the lovers of packaging and not the package. link's favorite thing is newspaper, but he has to be carefully watched or he will try to eat it after he has shaken it to death. he has liked other gifts that people have given him, krinkly red flower, mason's old play gym, especially the one eyed butterfly, and the toys that betsy got him, car seat swirly thing and activity ball. anyway, my heart was set on getting him this waldorf wood teether, but then i realized, he really doesn't like the circular teethers he already has, so instead i took a wood spoon out of the drawer and he loves it. i don't think link will need anymore toys from me until he is old enough to realize he is playing with kitchen bowls and cardboard boxes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

eating with a spoon

foods link has eaten: applesauce, banana puree, and vegetable noodle soup puree.
all have gotten the disgusting look. all have gotten the give me more look.
link likes to bring his own spoon into his mouth. we usually hold on for less mess.
because he has no front teeth to scrape off the spoon and has yet to figure out the upper lip, he likes to use his finger to shovel more of what is on the spoon in his mouth. because he has one hand on the spoon handle and the other hands finger on the spoon top this can sometimes create a catapult.

advent calendar day 18

fill stockings. (check)

adventures with lincoln

Bryce and I are hoping to complete our world tour this next year and we need your help. Go to and subscribe to our feed. We need 50 followers to get the wheels turning.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

three things link has done since day 1

1. sucked on his bottom lip. this gave him the nickname of turtle instantly. i never even knew what his bottom lip looked like until day 3.

2. spit up out of his nose, sometimes with sometimes without his mouth. as one friend commented. he will be a hit at the lunch table.

3. slept 6-7 hours every night. thank you Creator.

advent calendar day 17

hang a wreath. (check)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

advent calendar day 16

put up the nativity scene. (check)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

advent calendar day 15

Sip egg nog. (check, in frozen custard style).

Money Crunch Update

Due to a lot of great advice from people who saw the first post, I called the bank. Becuase I didn't have a history of overdraft they forgave 1/2 of my overdrafts. Yippee! Then, just to make myself feel even better, I took my piggy bank in and it had $80 worth of coinage. So I'm doing much better.

Monday, December 14, 2009

advent calendar day 14

take my parents to the free movie at the theater. (check)
Christmas Carol in 3D at NEIA's first digital theater. Go Elkader Cinema!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

advent calendar number 13

Christmas cards. (check)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 12

watch a Christmas movie. (Check)
Charlie Brown and Prep and Landing.

A word

Today we were sitting on the couch, and Link said his first word. The word was "gulp".

Okay, he didn't mean to say "gulp", but it was a funny combination of the sounds he's able to make, and that's all he said. We cracked up.

Wear or Stroll

Now that the sidewalks and pathways are icy on these hilly streets I am facing a dilema. Despite the fact that I wear grips on my shoes I almost always slip at least twice. So, do I carry Lincoln with the possibility of falling forward on him or having a bone breaking experience in trying to protect him instead of myself or do I travel with him in the stroller. If I slip he would be fine. That is of course if I wasn't on a hill. Our stroller has no hand breaks, just a foot break. There is no way I can manipulate a foot brake while my feet are flying in the air. And I would not like seeing my son fly down a hill and possibly into traffic or into an ice cold river. Just as worse case scenerios play out in my head every time I fasten the seat belt in my car, so to am I now concerned about walking.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 11

Wrap christmas presents. (check)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 10

Visit the Canadian Pacific holiday train when it rolls into town. (check)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 9

First Snowfall, originally uploaded by Shannon Marye.

Play in the snow. (check)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 8

Drink hot chocolate with a peppermint stick in it. (check)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 7

Drive by homes with Christmas lights. (check)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 6

Give to the giving tree. (check)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 5

Wrap a Secret Santa gift (check).

Our little expirement

Linka Durbin, originally uploaded by Shannon Marye.

So I am trying to be non gender specific in dressing Link, but the other day I decided to just dress him up like a girl since I have some clothes. Here is what I found out:

1. It is not just pink, it is the cut of the clothing that makes gender specific. Even when he just had on the green dress and brown flower in his hair he was totally girl.

2. As soon as a baby is dressed like a girl it is very hard to not call the baby a she. Even if you are the parent.

3. If we took Link out like this we assume people would be a little up in arms and be mad at us for making him cross dress, but of course Link didn't care one bit. He rather liked the dress. His first piece of clothing he could easily lift and put in his mouth.

4. Besides suits, most male clothing is pretty gender free. Women could wear the same thing if they wanted, but in the end I think most women prefer to wear cuts and colors that express their femininity more.

5. Like Manny on Modern Family (TV) we could just tell Link this is a twin sister of his that died.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 4

Hang Christmas Stockings. (Check)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 3

Watch the first snow fall. (Check)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 2

Listen to Christmas songs on the radio. (check)

Social Justice for all, and to all a good night

My parents are a little too young to have taken me on bus rides for civil rights with Martin Luther King, but my spirit would have loved it if they did. Link has been to several social justice meetings in his young life. Last night was our second One Iowa meeting to help keep homosexual marriage in Iowa. There wa great panel with our pastor, Andrea Mericle, our friend and employeer Brian Bruening of Schera's, a lawyer who I was unaware of before, Kathy Neilan (I think) and then married couple Raymond and Julian, who were finally able to have a civil marriage after 42 years of a committed relationship.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 1

Eat a gingerbread man from Pedrettis (check)

Money Crunching

So, I stupidly lost almost $200 the other day when I forgot to make a transfer and then used my debit card 6 times without anything in my account. Even though I made small purchases, every swipe was $30 down the hole in overdraft fees. I've been kicking myself about it like crazy, but Bryce reminds me we all make a few money mistakes in our lives. So to make myself feel better I have been paying attention to my savings and extra earnings. For example I won $50 in the gingerbread house contest, so that is taking me to $150. I recycled cans and bottles for redemption money and pulled out $5. So now $145. I realize there is a cost spent in purchasing materials for these things, but I could have received nothing and still spent so thus a savings. Yesterday I wanted to purchase a cool plaid shirt at Hot Topic for $44. I had it in my cart and everything and then realized I shouldn't because of my stupidity beforehand. So I decided to make a a quick trip to Goodwill to see if they had anything and I found an almost identical shirt for $3, plus two other shirts from brands I like that were also $3. So now I am at $101 loss. I will keep playing this game in my head till I reach 0, but doing this I am realizing it is not such a bad way to go. Saving money is almost as fun as shopping in general. Hopefully I don't turn into my mother who buys all this not needed stuff on sale because it is on sale and in the end can spend the same amount at the check out line with me, but I don't have extra garbage in my cart and I have bought a longer lasting product.