Friday, December 31, 2010

Here you go

So I was wrong about "no" being the most hated word Link has learned. It is "tv", especially when "tv" means only one video that he wants on continually just for background noise. I don't delik it though. It plays classical music and has taught link how to pat his tummy and head and march in place. Link loves to have music on and dance. Along those lines we also introduced Link to a computer game he loves.

Other words he has picked up recently include adding words to his signs such as "more" and "up". He says "Op" for open and "Doh" for down. He also has his first sentence. He loves to say "Here you go." It sounds a lot like "Thank you" which is his favorite thing to say. He also has learned to sign "sorry", possibly from all the time on the time out chair recently. Others used more correctly are baby, mama, dada.

We are working hard at scheduling meals and eating good food. He did terrible at lunch and then excellent at dinner. I think he was really hungry since he refused lunch. (Same food even.)

New skills that he has learned that we have to keep an eye on is opening dresser drawers and flushing the toilet. He also like to wipe things up with a rag. He loves sledding and we use a pull along sled to go down town now instead of the stroller. We have to take the alleys because they are not shoveled.

What keeps up going- Link is almost all smiles and laughter.
What brings us down- The past two nights he has been up screaming from 3-6 am.

I have been busy with some new things. I have begun work as a midwife assistant and will attend my first birth in January for an Amish couple nearby. I got a small job as a paid blogger for a company that will launch end of January. And I have been organizing and cleaning our entire attic. A new roof goes on this year and I'm assuming a clean attic would be helpful in that situation.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Goals

Body Goals

1. Be able to buy a pair of pants at Target that fit.
2. Be able to wrap a towel all the way around me after a shower.
3. Be able to meet the requirements for surrogate motherhood.
4. Win the $300 from our family challenge.

House Goals (Focus Outside)

1. Get a new roof
2. Put up shutters
3. Fix front porch floor
4. Clean the siding

Spiritual Goals

1. Complete The Artist Way
2. Spend time with God consistently (meditate, pray, art, etc)
3. Visit a Quaker Gathering in Decorah
4. Visit Laura's church in Lansing

Financial Goals

1. Pay off Firstmark Loan
2. Get my credit card to $5,000 or less
3. Start a Roth IRA
4. Create another income source of my own

Work Goals
1. Complete a website for artpunks
2. Complete 4 issues of publication
3. Start a bookkeeping program for taxes

Experiences Goals

1. Visit four or five more states
2. Plant a garden
3. Learn to can
4. Welcome my third decade with something big

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vegetable Trials

The one food group Link avoids is vegetables.
So here is what we have tried:
1. Preparing different ways (steam, saute, boiled)- fail
2. Hiding behind meat on a fork and feeding him ourselves- moderate
3. Chopping very very small- moderate
4. Dipping in sauces- fail
5. Vegetable juice- fail
6. Wrapping chopped veggies in a tortilla shell with hummus- moderate
7. Dried veggie chips- moderate
8. Putting half a corn on the cob on a pick and letting him eat it like a Popsicle- success
9. Putting in soup- moderate
10. Bribing with dessert- fail
11. Cooking in lots of butter- fail

I wasn't surprised by the corn, it is more the green vegetables he has a problem with. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Christmas with my mom's family this past weekend was pleasant. My favorite gift for Link was a wood pounding bench. Gifts have been pouring in through the mail this week. Which has been fun. Bryce got a much desired coffee pot from his parents (thanks a bunch) and Link looks adorable in a new hat from Phil and Teresa and family. Take off the hat and you will also see a newly shorn head. Link's curly locks are chopped. My friend Bobbi is a hairstylist and helped me through the process. On the way to the house I had to drive through an unplowed gravel road with no trees or road markers to guide me. It was seriously like driving on a piece of white paper and hoping you were on a path. Link played with her sons Jarret and Maddox. Jarret is a couple years older than Link. When Bobbi asked him if he remembered Link's name he said yes, it was "Bacon." They played with the kitchen and read books together. Maddox is a year younger and is exploring his world, trying to be as mobile as possible. We had a cookie swap this year with mom's group this year. I think we will try again next year to with a bit more awareness. I think we were all doing something original and made peppermint cookies. Sadie informed us she was with child #2. (Stella is Link's best bud.) Paula is only days away from having her new one. I am sending energy and light her way as she is attempting a VBAC with a new doctor, my doc, Dr. Schwartz. I recommended him and she really likes him. Here is a beautiful birth experience.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Losing it

I'm starting to loose that frugal edge. Maybe it is the Christmas season where there are just too many deals to pay attention to or maybe the triple coupon deal was so good nothing can compare anymore. Or maybe my brain just taking a break.

I have been super busy this month. Musical Auditions (I'm directing Footloose again), currently working with 5 design clients, taking photos, Schera's gift shop, shoveling snow, etc. The nice thing in the paychecks. After finding out how much I would make with the Musical I decided I would put the entire thing toward one of my student loans that is almost finished. However, I have been so motivated I've been putting all my earnings into it and it will actually be all paid off before play practice even begins. So Musical money can go toward my credit card.

My credit card makes me sad. Two months before Link was born I had paid off my entire bill (which had wedding expenses as well as a couple trips to Europe). Then I quit the newspaper and didn't adjust to having a couple thousand less a month right away. In fact, I didn't adjust for about 7 months. So 7 months with a couple thousand on credit added up reaaaaaly fast. Fortunately I am still in the single digits.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Noise and No

Link is loving noise. He hits three noise making toys all at the same time whenever he is watching a tv show with music. He also loves to turn the music off and on and watch us freeze motion.
He laughs all the time. Which is so funny.
He is really into saying "No" right now. A little unsettling, but we are glad he is able to tell us what he wants and doesn't. His biggest "No" is to diaper changes and bed time. No news there. He use to cry and now he just says no. Oh and throws a fit. Were working on that.
Still working on naps and veggies. Our two biggest challenges.
Currently 10 pm and Link is spinning in circles and laughing. He is also putting his head down to sleep but saying no to offers. He is starting to say no to the tempting "nurse" too. This is sad for me, but happy for my nipples.
Now he just grabbed a favorite book and is saying to Bryce "Uh Oh Day Day" which is exactly the book he is picking up "Uh Oh David." He is one smart cookie.

Friday, December 10, 2010


We won second which was the prize I was hoping for. $100 Savings Bond. First place was a family pass to the water park in Monona which I never go to, so it was nice to get the money.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Click for a tour of our day

Gingerbread church (front), originally uploaded by Shannon Marye.

Words, Lights, Snowy Nights

Link has a huge vocabulary now. I can't even begin to write all the words he knows. I'll try to name a few now: shoe, sock, hat, up, play (+ sign), eat (+ sign), drink (+ sign), yogurt, apple, banana, orange, yellow, red, green, toast, hot (+ sign), done (+ sign), please, thank you (+ sign), again (+ sign), nose, eye, teeth, ear, etc. He also know the animal sounds for elephant, monkey, dog, alligator, cat, horse, cow, pig, lion, bird. He amazes us daily with all the words he is learning.

Today was the first big snow. Not sure how much, but I (plus Bryce) took a job shoveling the church sidewalks and it took us 7 hours total. Two last night after about 3-4 inches, 3 this morning with another 2-3 inches, and then in the mid afternoon we got a call to go and clear the 1 inch that accumulated after we were done in the morning. The guy who has put himself in charge of church maintenance is a pain in the ass, but so far he has been good for us because he doesn't want to be doing the work himself. If he calls us all hours of the day though, I don't know how long we will last.

My mom and I brought Link up to Monona tonight for an evening holiday parade. It was nothing like the ones I use to go to in Minneapolis, but it was nice. There were floats with the Grinch, Snoopy, and lots of lights. Our mom's group got together. We also went to visit the gingerbread house display. I made another one this year. A church. I think I will probably get second. There were some really good ones. This barn was absolutely amazing. If they don't get first I will be surprised.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I'm having one of those days where I am realizing that everything I do someone does better than me. Maybe I am just learning to be a perfectionist. I have not been satisfied with any of my portraits lately nor confident in my photography skills. In fact I feel like the earlier stuff I did, when I knew less, was better. I also feel really limited in my design work. I feel like I am so far removed from what I first learned that I need to go back to school, but I also feel like I will be needing to go back about every 5 years for the careers I have chosen and the advancement that takes place within them. Bah humbug, I was to crawl under a rug. There is no place for me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happiness Project Month 2

This month's happiness project was focused on marriage.
I chose to go to bed at the same time as Bryce which happened maybe half the time. The other half of the time I just couldn't stay up as long. It was great to have a warm body to cuddle up to and we got to talk a little bit but not much with Link sleeping in the same room.
I also chose to do nice things for him like give him little treats and signs of affection. Neck rubs, notes, texts, chocolate, etc. He didn't really notice many of them, but I tried as hard as I could.
I also chose to spend the month letting things go. Not complain when I saw his clothes on the bathroom floor or see him not give Link a nap because he didn't want to deal with him crying. I think I succeeded about half the time. I'm going to keep working on this next month too.
We also decided to have a date night. We went out to dinner while Trish and Richard and Sam watched Lincoln. He was great for them and they can't wait to do it again, which was encouraging. We had an ok time. We go into it late because I had bell choir practice and Bryce went to get his hair cut. Then the weather was bad, the gps couldn't fidn the restaurant, etc, but we appreciated our time together. Conversation was a little slow. When you are alone together most of the day there are less people to talk about, no work to complain about, etc. But we are just getting started and maybe we will be able to keep doing it and have more to talk about later.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Diva Cup

When I first got my period my mom showed me how to use a tampon and I walked bent over half the day because it hurt so bad. I didn't even change it until I got home. Toxic Shock anyone. After that I was always pads, even if it meant s0me very visible accidents. When I got into college I learned about diva cups so I bought one. Having no experience with tampons and not being sexually active I could barely get it in and that hurt so I put it to the side and bought some cloth pads from luna pad instead. After college I went on birth control to try to get a regular cycle. That was a big mistake. It made me regular for about two months and then totally turned my cycle off. I went off the pill and didn't menstruate for years so I didn't have to use anything. I started up again with the help of drugs when we were try to conceive and then have a had a few light cycles this year but yesterday and today have been horrible. I have used up every pad I have, plus all Link's diaper inserts (basically the same thing). So I decided to pull out the old diva cup and after having a baby I can say it went in much easier and I am not doubled over in pain. it is made out of rubber so it bends with you and I can hardly feel it. You pull it out and rinse it when you go to the restroom and reuse it. I really like it. I do notice it when I am stepping over something big or something like that , but otherwise it is great. I am glad I held on to it. There is a large size for women that have had babies, but I think this one is perfect for me right now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Thanksgiving

This year my family spent Thanksgiving with many new people. My cousin Monet brought her boyfriend, Mac, along. My cousin Sierra's also brought her boyfriend, Zach. Both boys were way sweet. Tyler's old roommate came with his girlfriend and she was super nice and had two adorable kids (divorced). Lee and Randy made it and they brought a friend of their along too. So I made like 4 new facebook friends this holiday season. ;)
Bryce made his mom's mashed potato recipe after finding out that once again we would only be having cheesy potatoes and not mashed. I practiced with my photography lights. We played Beatles rock band and ended up playing Pictionary and Apples to Apples until 1 in the morning.

Now that's what we call Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Juno Baby and Paperback Swap

Some of you may know that I review products for companies as a side job. One of the latest freebies we got was a kids video called Juno Baby: Rhythm. While my review was not 100% positive, the characters faces are below the middle of the screen and the cat says he doesn't run because "it calls for far too much energy", Link LOVES it. He brings us the case, he points at the tv, he claps along. At least it is maybe a 7 out of 10 rather than a 5 or lower. Bryce and I, however, are going crazy singing lyrics in our head over and over like "Floating on a milk shake" and "Cheeseburger or pizza, something to munch." I wasn't planning on having Link watch much tv but it is super helpful when we want him to stay in one spot for a little while. We are also watching youtube Sesame Street clips. My favorite are and Jason Mraz.

Something I am loving 100% is The website basically trades books one for one. I thought I wouldn't be that into it because my books would sit on the shelf a long time and there wouldn't be books that I like, but in actuality I have replaced about 13 books already and it is so much fun. It is better than Amazon because you don't have to think about a price to sell your stuff at or finding the lowest prices for books you want. It's a simple swap for swap. I am thinking about doing it for dvds and cds too, but I don't really want to have a lot more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yeah, Yeah, Lincoln and Saving Money, Anything Else?


I know that is about all I write about recently, but it is the majority of my life currently so there we be.

I don't think I ever really said that Link was walking. It was so gradual there really wasn't a day like with crawling. But he is a walker and his new favorite things are "Ring around the Rosie" and having Bryce and I swing him while walking. Language is developing into knowing words for different drinks (juice, milk, and water) and for different foods (yogurt).

Sunday I was planning on going shopping by myself but it didn't happen. Bryce wanted a personal day today so I decided to give it a try with the little monster again. He didn't do so well the last time we went so I was somewhat dreading it, but hoping it would be different. It wasn't. We didn't even make it to Dubuque. We made it to Dyersville and to only one store, Pamida. I never shop at Pamida but I had a coupon from entering the cute baby contest to this particular Pamida so I thought I would stop.

Starting with the bad, Link. He was just as bad as last time. Not wanting to sit, walk, be carried, anything. He also had a hell of the time in the grocery isle. He signed "eat" and screamed that I was not giving him pretzels, cereal, laundry detergent. I thought I would be prepared for this moment by whipping out a bag of cereal I brought along, but he would have nothing to do with it. Even pretending to open the Cheerio box and giving him the Cheerios I brought was not good enough. So meltdowns ensued and that was the first and last shop I went to. (Also note he had just woken up from a 3 hour nap, was fresh and clean, and had eaten a hearty lunch.)

The good. Much to my surprise Pamida had a banner outside the shop saying "Triple Coupon Day." I asked the clerk what that meant. She said they would triple any coupon I had that was $1 off or less. YIPPEE! I ran to the car and got my trapper (yes, I have begun a file system of my coupons) and went to town. The majority of my coupons don't get used because they are $.25 to $1 off a name brand when the generic is sitting right there beside it already $1.50 less. But $3 off was awesome. I used almost every coupon I had. In the end my total bill was $96. My actual purchase price was $52. Being that it was the last day for the event I was not about to leave, despite a screaming child. The winning item was a box of cat litter that Link was able to say "Meow" to continually until we were finally finished. This is probably my biggest saving yet during my first year of using coupons. If I ever see a triple coupon event again I am there in a heartbeat.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Uncle John

My grandmother's brother, John Thyne, passed away today. He and his wife were a big part of our lives growing up as they were not able to have any children. They lived in Kansas City but came up regularly to Iowa every holiday until about six years ago. This year has been a year of hospitals and nursing homes and then back home again for both of them. This last month John had been feeling great to the point the hospital took him out of Hospice and off oxygen and sent him home to be happy and up and about.

We visited him this year when we were in Missouri.

Toys are us

Link is always so happy playing with the most regular things, but for some reason once he finds interest in something I feel the need to get the same thing in toy form rather than let him play with the original, which is what he wants to do anyway. Sure a toy stove is one thing but why do I feel the need to get him stacking cups when he is doing the same thing with measuring cups that I don't use anymore? Why do I feel the need to get him magnets when he is having a blast with a Pizza Luce and Chino Latino complimentary magnet? He certainly has more toys than I had envisioned him having. Even Naomi thinks so. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I didn't know then

This weekend we hung out with Naomi and Casey, who we haven't seen for nearly a year since they moved to Cedar Rapids. We had a lot of fun and Casey taught Link how to "pound it."
We played video games at the movie theater and had dinner with them at their parents house. Naomi's mom bought Link a Sing a ma jing which is weird but oddly addicting.
All in all it was a blast and I hope we do more.

One odd thing was Naomi talking about her new job and quitting daycare. Off the cuff she mentioned how some toddlers she was caring for were still nursing which grossed her out. I didn't say anything, it didn't bother me, but I felt bad because I thought she might not be comfortable nursing her own kid one day if it grosses her out. Then I realized something else. Before I had Link, even just one year before, I thought people who slept with their kids might crush them. I thought that kids who were worn in a sling or held would have trouble learning to walk. I thought cloth diapers made kids butts look too big and were probably gross to deal with. I thought that people who had babies at home were taking a very big risk. AND I thought that people nursing toddlers were weird. Becoming a parent changes a lot of things.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The title has nothing to do with the post. It's just the first word I thought of.

Lately Link seems to be making leaps and bounds, BACKWARDS. His "uh-oh" has become "uh." He signs "tired" by rubbing his ear, "book" looks like how a baseball player turns his fist in a glove. "Hot" and "Ding" have replaced almost all the words in his vocabulary. Ahhh.

I'm on month two of the happiness project.
Things that have continued from month 1 include getting one box from the attic each week and going through it. The attic is becoming more and more spacious. The living room is not. ;)
I stopped running because I only really liked doing it with Link in the stroller and now he is not enjoying the cold wind. However, volleyball starts next week. But it is only once a week so I need two more activities a week to do.
I am trying to keep my 11 pm bedtime, however a goal this month is to go to bed at the same time as Bryce so sometimes it is later. He is doing good about not making it too late.
While energy was the first months goal, Bryce is the second. We are going to have a date night this month. I am also taking into account tasks at home and doing the things that are bothering me rather than asking for them to get done. Biting my tongue when things don't need to be said want to be said and making sure I communicate what does need to be said. I think it is true of most of us that we treat the people we love with the least respect. Probably because we know they are the most forgiving. But who wants to grow old like that.

I recently have gotten really into Already I have traded six books we aren't reading or have duplicates of for books we want. Bye bye "The Good Earth." Hello "Is your Mama a Llama?" They have dvds and cds too but I haven't gotten that far yet. I am assuming I may get held up with wanting books that people just don't have or there is too many on the wishlist for.
I am also still doing with baby clothes (thanks Blogger Jen for the suggestion). Link was blessed with loads of 3-6 month clothing but, probably like most new parents find, it dwindles as they get older. We are trying to swap for more 12-18 month clothes. We already got one box of 12-18 month clothing and it was awesome. It had a lot of warm two piece outfits so I am sure I will have pictures this winter. The smaller sizes are a little bit harder to get out because there are so many people with these size boxes. You don't get to pick another box until your stuff goes so if you know a little boy 3-6 months my box numbers are #19666 and #19660.

I love doing month challenges. We did awesome with the pantry challenge. Never really got down to the very bottom. However, what we have a lot of and are not using became more apparent. One thing we have loads of are beans. So this month I challenged Bryce to make a meal with beans each month. If you have any good recipes we would love to hear them. Beans don't have to be the main ingredient, but they have to be included.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Mount Rushmore, originally uploaded by Shannon Marye.

I've decided to claim Halloween as my holiday. Taking the pressure off of making stellar Christmases and all the other.
Our family traditions since Link has been born include:
Watching the Great Pumpkin (on Hulu)
Dressing up in themed costumes. This year we went as Mount Rushmore.
Going to Pedretti's for a Halloween treat.
Going to a baby Halloween Party in Decorah.
Having an adult party with Dani and Todd.
We even worked in one game at the Library Halloween Party in Elkader this year. Duck Pond. Link picked out a blue heart bracelet for a prize.
Someday we will work on actually going trick or treating.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Play and Puke

My brother Dustin and his wife Vahida have been in Vegas all week. My mom had volunteered to baby sit months ago and then things came up that all landed on this week for her. So I stepped in. It was super fun to see Diana and Link getting along so well. Diana is very talkative and can say several things. She loves picking up the phone and saying "Hi. Ok. Tonight? Ok. Ok. What'd you say?" Lincoln picked up lots of words from her including his favorite, uh-oh. I wasn't crazy for some of the scoldings she gave Link, shaking her finger and saying "No!" but I totally understand. That and her not wanting to eat anything were the only negatives. I finally got her to eat when I brought over one of my once a month cooking casseroles which she gobbled up. The positives far outweigh any complaints. She is a cuddler. She can very well entertain herself. She sits still for diaper changes and tells me when she needs one. She lays right down for a nap and goes to sleep.

I think she may have brought Link a little bug though. Vahida said she was having some stomach problems and this morning when I woke up, Link had vomited all over the crib. I had been sleeping in the same room as him, heard him hiccup, heard him give what I thought was either a very juicy burp or vomit. He didn't cry so I thought burp and didn't check. I felt like a complete parent failure the next morning when his hair was sticking to the pillow. I thought it might have been an allergic reaction to strawberries, which are high on the list for babies and what my mom had feed him the day before, but as the day progressed and he threw up a few more times, he also developed a slight fever. He is resting now. His body is so good at sleeping when he is a sick little on. The last time he had the flu was his first Christmas. That was disappointing as everyone wanted to meet him and he was sleeping most of the holiday away. Now he is sick on his second Halloween. This holiday is the worse to be sick on. All the money and preparation for the holiday goes out the window if you are not present. There are no left overs and gifts to open at a latter date. It is here and now. That being said, I am not going to force him to get in costume and go trick or treating, but I am also not telling anyone at the baby Halloween Party on Sunday that he is sick. If he gets better before then, I don't want to freak out anyone that is there. Plus, aren't viruses spread in the first few days anyway?

Christmas was in Kentucky last year and we were planning on going again this year, but were still on the fence. We for sure are not going now. Even though I will miss seeing everyone, we did make our way to every immediate family member this summer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


There is a book on our shelf that keeps staring at me which really bothers me. It is called something like "How to be a practicing Catholic without truly believing" or something along those lines. I think a lot of people might be offended by this, but I know so many people that are like this it irks me. The funniest this is I am the complete opposite of this title "How to not practice being a Catholic while truly believing." The word believing I am taking as not meaning believing in Christ, but believing in the Eucharist. From my experience I am one of the few people, including Catholics I know, that believes that Eucharist transfigures.
So why am I not sitting in the front pew daily waiting for my taste of Jesus. For several reasons. The first being that even though I think it is utterly amazing that Christ comes to us every day all over the world in flesh and blood, I don't think it is necessary to take as much as it is to give. And to give is to practice showing love to all of God's creation. Also, it makes those times when you do get to partake in true communion even that more special.
Second, Catholicism in general makes me frustrated and therefore I find myself less loving and more enraged.
Why does Catholicism frustrate me:
1. I have only met one person whose Catholic faith has impressed me. That would be my conformation sponsor, Jackie Jessen. Mother Teresa also is very impressive, but we never met.
2. I have met to many Catholics who ramble through prayers before meals, attend church without listening to a single word the priest says no what is coming out of their own mouths during group readings, and way too many who use the word "counts" when attending church, such as "the wedding last night had communion so that counts." Excuse me but what are you counting? and for what?
3. When your religion becomes a club and you would hardly have a relationship with the Creator without it, there is something wrong with your faith.
4. I think Christians should be Christ like and Catholics throughout history and today ignore this key element. In my opinion Christ would have never conquered land and tortured, he would have never set up a system with rules (his one rule was love), he would have never listened to a Pope, he would have never built lavish churches, the list continues. In Catholics defense there are a lot of monks and nuns who live closer to this way of life than a lot of Protestants, especially those who think God wants them to be rich.
5. I have never felt authentically welcomed in a Catholic church, ever. I have always felt judged on how well I did this or that. I have never been greeted lovingly or asked to join in community following the service. I have never been included the way other churches have instantly done.

Stepping off my soap box there are a few things that make me not reject my Catholic faith and completely assume Protestantism.
1. Of course the Eucharist.
2. The core call to Social Justice in the Catholic faith was one I was not aware of until I was in college. I just wish I saw more people doing this.
3. I don't feel confession is necessary, but I feel it is a great outlet for those in need of someone to listen to what is on their chest.

If there is one thing I would change in the Catholic church to see it continue instead of die, like it is in our area where one priest is serving all of Clayton County, it would be:
Encourage the priests to take a 7 year at a time vow of chastity. This way they would be "emulating Christ" in their sexuality, but are not making a lifelong commitment. They could renew it each 7 years without having divorce themselves from the church. And let the Sisters be Priests too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life with Alex

So Alex has been here a month now and we have had our ups and downs. The first Saturday when Alex no longer had play practice he came down to "hang out," which involved telling us it was to early for Halloween decorations (first Sat in October) and then telling us every item we had in our candy cauldron. Fortunately Bryce let him know that he is renting a room and not the house and we would like him to stay in his room. I slightly feel like I am keeping him prisoner in the room, but it is also a big room and he hardly uses all of it, so I shant worry much.
He still like to have small talk of at least a sentence or two when leaving and returning and will look to see if anyone is home if he is not greeted with this. If we are mid conversation when he comes in he immediately thinks we are talking to him. If you can't tell from these stories, he is a little socially awkward.
I can't complain too much though. He doesn't play loud music or have people over. He doesn't smoke and even sexual innuendos in the play he was in made him uncomfortable so we don't have to worry about things like this. I could complain about his alarm clock that goes off at 7:30 and continually until he gets up (today was 1:30pm) and his heavy steps which has woken up Link a few times, but he has put up with Link's crying and hollering in the middle of the night and morning and night. Only once did he come downstairs and say something when Link was having a particularly bad day.
For the most part Alex has handled living with a baby well for not knowing the first thing about them. I may share some funny baby/Alex stories at a later date.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Laughing Fits

We are sharing a room with Link and it has been very fun to watch him in his bed at night from our bed. He has little fits when it is time to go to bed, but during those fits he starts laughing. Either his voice shakes which he finds funny so he will continue to cry but stop every time there is a quiver or he realize how fun it actually is to throw his head down into the bed and do it repeatedly laughing and crying.

For those of you who do not realize how easy it is to share a room with Link let me explain, we have a HUGE bedroom. This thing holds our king bed, Link's full bed, three dressers, a vanity, a diaper changing table, rocking chair, clothes hamper and we even brought his alphabet mat up to set in the middle of the room so he can play with his toys in the morning. So sharing a room is basically like sharing an apartment without any walls.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lincoln Loud

Link loves being loud. I finally realized several things about his personality that all relate to this one key thing. For example, I noticed he kept sticking his finger in a whole in a necklace where it was kind of stuck, but not really. Then he kept getting his legs stuck in a crack in the furniture, but not really. All this was to yell like he was stuck. His excuse to be loud.
Then I realized he favors the Mo Willems' Pigeon books. I was unsure why these were a favorite then I realized there is one page he turns to in each book. A peach page in which the Pigeon screams. "Let me drive the bus!" or "I'm not tired!" Another excuse to be loud. It is fun to see that he can barely say any words, but he already has pages in a book memorized. Including the page that says "Bye" and "Hey." He even knows what pages they are said on.
Link also loves to be tickled and regularly asks for it. He loves to tickle us to. Today he surprised me and I laughed high pitch. He loved hearing this and tried to tickle me all day so he could laugh loud and high pitch with me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unscheduling the Unschedules

My family does not live by the clock. We get up, in the morning. We go to bed, at night. But so many things are changing it feels like we are becoming unscheduled. Link can't decided if he wants a nap before lunch or after lunch, nor when to go to bed. The cold weather is damaging my jogging streak be it daily, every other day, or whatever. Bah.
It is getting better though.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is it only Tuesday

This week our easy going, world's best sleeper, little boy did a 180. Tantrums. No sleep during the day or night. I was fearing the wost, which would be that I am just such a crappy parent that it is now coming back at me. Drool today confirmed it is teething. He is getting in his canines which is heard to chew with since the other teeth surrounding are up. After tearing me up during nursing I finally found a good replacement, the top of a medical dropper. It may look funny but it slides right down between the teeth and is big enough for gnawing on.
Another side effect of teething which Link has never experienced is loose stool. So explosive and stinky and creating some major rash. No wonder each dump brings tears.
Naps are being skipped. Today I finally got him down by reverting to my old standard, nursing to sleep. So hard to go back when it use to take 5 min and now goes back to 40 min. If you just leave him he flips over and kicks like a bucking branco while screaming until someone comes and gets him. And judge me if you will, but we left his to this behavior for two hours and he never tired of it. And this was after rubbing his eyes and yawning for a long time so yes he was tired. His sleeping through the night has been ending at 3 -4 am. So we have been putting to bed really late now which lessens it just a little bit. Let's get those teeth in soon.
On the bright side he is starting to take steps every day and he is showing an awesome respect when we say no. Stopping immediately no matter what.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some Good

It's been a hard week with Lincoln. Refusing to lay down at naps despite obvious shows of tiredness. Waking up in the middle of the night to scream for an hour or two. BUT, in other news. He took his first two steps today. I wish it was to me, but instead it was to Burt addressing the viewer (camera) within the first few minutes of Mary Poppins.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wisconsin Artists I Adore

Beth Bird

I bought a Jamie Heiden
Jamie Heiden

Carmen Haase

Check out her images.
Karen Reppen

Featured in "Cloth Paper Scissors" for her Earth Dolls
Sharon Stauffer

Friday, October 15, 2010

August/September photos are up on Flickr

Good shot, originally uploaded by Shannon Marye.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

5 year anniversary

Well, as I already said, the first few hours of our anniversary was me trying to battle PMDD and failing miserably. However at around noon things turned around. We got moving. We took Link to my parents house where he would be staying the night for the first time without us. We had thought about going on a big trip but we decided over 20 states in a year had already been a big trip so we went to a favorite town of ours, Cedar Falls and did things we always thought of doing but never got around to. We stayed at the Black Hawk Hotel. Ate at Galleria de Paco, where the Sistine Chapel is replicated entirely in spray paint. We took in a show at the Oster Regent Theater. They were showing Sleepy Hollow. Then we went bar hopping our style. We had Martinis at the Stuffed Olive, Specialty Drinks at Montage and Cocktails at Lava Lounge. I was really hoping on going dancing, but the club I had been to only once before (and really liked) had been turned into a live band facility with hard rock music. So we went back to the hotel. We planned on having one of the remaining bottles of wine from our wedding, but felt like we had enough by this point. As is tradition we shared our apple pie dessert at Galleria de Paco in turnover form. We also got a flower bouquet from the same florist who did our wedding. When she was putting it together she hinted "I seem to remember a wedding around this time of year that had these same type of flowers." She was surprised to learn it was today. I would like to review all these places on Adventures with Lincoln, but am slightly overwhelmed with the task right now.
In the morning we ate a Java John's which is much cooler inside then I had ever imagined. We went to Goodwill and bought more items for our Halloween costumes and to Menards where we bought some wood shelves. This was what we considered our traditional wood gift to one another. This was another thing that we decided to skip this year. Bryce was going to get me a kindle but I told him not to right before he hit order. I think they are cool, but I really like listening to audio books more. I think an ipad would be cooler, but I am definitely not getting one without a usb port. I had a computer without a cd drive once and I hated the thing. If it can't easily transfer and save it is not ready for the public.
When we got back on Saturday we were really excited to see Lincoln. Bryce went to work. Link and I went to Brandi and Dale's wedding in Monona. I loved their bouquets which were all feathers. I got to talk just briefly to my friends from mom's group then I had to fly to drop off Link and meet Dani for karaoke. Busy day.
The next day we went to Heritage Days in Osborne. The weather was beautiful. Link and I entered pumpkins again. He got third place in kids, which I was really proud of. My awesome butterfly pumpkin got nothing. Seriously, I feel like I am passed over every time. The judges just don't go for my classy style of carving. Instead they pick a witch with a corn cob nose that has been hacked into place. I know it is silly to rant about, but I am a competitive person.
I have pictures of the weekend and my gorgeous pumpkin but we can't find the card reader so they are patiently waiting in the camera.

Monday, October 11, 2010


When I was a teenager I had severe depression. A lot of teens do. Overtime I thought I got a handle on it. A year after Link was born I thought I was starting to have Postpartum Depression. However, it came and went, came and went. I thought maybe I had some weird kind of Bipolar Disorder where you get severely depressed without having the extreme highs.
I just recently noticed that this coming and going is just once a month. Premenstrual time.
There is just something about my hormones that can't let my brain function normally for a 1-2 days each month. Fortunately I know that it passes. So that urge to end it all or become an escape artist and high tale it out of here goes away. Unfortunately my beautiful family has to deal with it 12 times a year. Bryce and I started our 5th anniversary with me in the throws of it.
I did some research to see if there is a type of depression linked with menstruation and there is. It is called PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). It is not PMS, way too severe for that.
For about 3 years before I was pregnant I wasn't having a cycle at all and I never had a single depressed thought. I really wanted to menstruate and reclaim my fertility, but now that it is back I remember why I hated it sooo much.
Of course I am self-diagnosing myself and not going to a doctor for it. I really don't want to have to rely on drugs for anything, especially when the side effects of these drugs are sometimes suicide. Weird. Instead we are working out ways for my family to deal with it while I hide in the bedroom or closet all day and cry. I am fortunate to have such a loving husband who understands this. He made the bed (which never gets done) during my last episode and just that little unasked for task made a world of difference.
When I was a teenager I had a horrible relationship with my mother and I am sure this had something to do with it. She is very much a "tough it out" kind of person and she couldn't understand this behavior in me at all. I am this way with other illnesses, but I have a soft place for suffers of depression. I understand how much you do not want to feel this way, but the harder you try the worse it gets.
Part of this "tough it out" behavior is also what keeps me away from a doctor. That and the fact that a lot of applications I have filled out in my life (Peace Corps, Surrogacy, etc) have asked the questions "Have you ever been treated for depression?" with the follow up "If so you are disqualified."
So now that the breast feeding is less and the cycle is back, you may see me missing for a week each month or see a hate-filled rant that need not be paid much attention to. It's just the PMDD talking.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I started doing "The Happiness Project" this month. I am doing month one the same as the author, focusing on energy. I have been going to bed before 11 each night. Funny thing is, when I have a set bedtime I tend to do more of a bedtime routine, brushing teeth and so forth.
I also am making sure I get exercise 20 min, 3 times a week. I decided to do the couch to 5K running program as my 20 minutes. I have been taking Link with me in the stroller. I also am running in the flooded distract where no one is. this allows me to run in my jeans and not have to change clothes. If people were around I am sure they would check to see what I am running from.
The next thing is to organize the house. This one is a little hard right now as I am stripping the wood and it is interrupting everything in the house. However, I am taking one box down from the attic each week and going through it. Nothing will go back up unless it is in a properly marked storage, such as "Halloween Decorations."
So far it is working. I have not felt tired all month and don't remember yawning hardly at all. It is getting darker earlier and I am not feeling to bad about it yet because I am going to bed a little earlier and getting up earlier.
Link is starting to go from two naps to one HUGE one. By huge I mean 3-4 hours. This makes me really nervous that he has suffocated or something. He is also loving making horse noises, especially when seeing them out the window. Cows count as horses too. And since Jim and Betsy's visit he has been copying the turn signal sounds in a car with a clicking off his tongue.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grinding Little Pistol

Link and I went shopping yesterday in Dubuque. It takes 1.5 hours to get there and Link slept the whole way. He was well rested to have a lot of spitfire energy. He wouldn't sit in the cart seat area so I put him in the bigger section. Here he proceeded to throw out everything I put in the cart and reach out to knock stuff off shelves. I basically had to carry the big lug everywhere and if his butt even touched the handle bar of the cart I was pushing at the same time all hell broke loose. He caused such a fuss at all four locations we went to. I have read if kids do this the best thing to do is just leave the store, full cart or not. But when you drive that long to get there, no way. Lesson learned= Go alone. I gave him some vanilla wafers to much on to calm him, but soon they were being thrown all around the store.

To add to my frustration Link has picked up an annoying habit (not from any of us). He only has 4 mollers but he is already grinding them together. It sounds like he has hard candy in his mouth and it shivers my spine every time I hear it.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today Link learned the sounds a horse makes and how to give a hug (he says squeeze).
I was inspired by the artist studio tour and am ready to make more art.
I feel like I have been a supporter and not an active member of the art community for 5 years now.

Taking advantage

I don't consider myself passive, but I am probably on the lower end of assertiveness. I am looking for people who are on the upper end of assertiveness, almost aggressive, for some advice.
I hate that people take advantage of me.
Examples: I volunteer to be in charge of the fall festival. A neighbor says they would like to do an Avon table. I say that is an interesting idea. Neighbor tells everyone I "approved" the table and they all get mad at me.
I volunteer to call the winners of the raffle prizes for the same event. Older lady calls me wondering why I didn't call people. I tell her I did and I have a detailed account of who I left answering machine messages and who I spoke to personally. She mentions a person name, I look it up and see I left a message with them. She ends the phone call with "Well, she never got called."
I have someone I know going to photography school take our family photos. She sends them with a contract saying we can't edit them and we must order them from her. We had agreed otherwise prior to this, but whatever, I'll take it, she's probably taking what she is learning in school. I e-mail her back suggesting an order form and to think about a price for right to the photos. She comes back at me with the nastiest e-mail and I'm a paying customer.
I don't feel like I can't teach well because I get no respect from my students or other teachers. I feel like I can't work well with others because of the same thing. I once confronted someone below my position with "How about a little respect here?" His response, "Respect is earned, not given." WTF! Not in my book. And if that was the case, he did nothing to earn the respect I was giving him.
Is it the way I look, my body language, what?!?!
I'm getting super tired of having to be treated this way. At first I thought it was my age, but it's not. Is it that everyone is treated this way and I just don't have thick enough skin? So seriously, if you are out there and you have maybe been called a bitch a time or two or if you know people fear you just a little, please give me some tips.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Limits and sounds

Lincoln has been exploring his limits these past weeks. How hard can you bang a glass before it breaks? How far can you slide in your seat before you fall out? What happens when you don't stop at the edge? How far can mom's glasses bend before they break? What happens when I write with candles on the tv screen.

He is showing no more signs of penis problems so we are back to cloth, but using disposables at night, which is the longest he goes without being changed. we never did get him fully potty trained, but he sure likes being naked now.

He also knows the sign for music which he uses when he wants the radio on or when he wants to dance or sing. Link is also a fabulous musician. His favorite things to do are play piano, strum guitar, and play the xylophone. He will often match the tones with his voice after strumming the guitar which totally amazes me. He loves picking up sounds though. Before we did animal sounds with him he was already imitating the cats almost exactly. So the traditional "meow" doesn't cut it.

His latest signs are hot and book. He loves to say the word hot too. We think he has it mixed up with food or else everything is too hot, including ice cubes. He also likes to do sounds for elephant, lion, alligator, monkey, cat, and dog.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Multiple Places

This morning I realized I was need to be at three places all at the same time. Artist group, setting up for tomorrow's Fall Festival at church and my shift at the garage sale with Sadie in Guttenberg. I decided to do the garage sale since there were only two of us doing it. I sent Bryce in my place to the Fall Festival, since I am in charge of it I felt there need to be some sort of representation. I skipped artists group, as I have most of the year because I don't enjoy it anymore. Setting up the garage sale was easy since I didn't take off the tags from my last sale and just stored everything in a box marked garage sale. I took home another $40 and only two boxes, rather than 6 when I started.

Tomorrow is the Fall Festival at church. After that I am thinking bell choir and church council until my term is served and I may be done with organized religion. I would like to do an 8 times a year spirituality group. I am not sure how to get this started but I already know of 3 other families that would be great church for us.

Tomorrow we also have to clear out Link's bedroom for our new renter. Alex is moving in on Monday. He is 19 and a little awkward, but very nice. We had thought of having a renter before but we never mentioned it to anyone or advertised. He simply found us through his boss (a townie who knows us and thought of us). He will rent month by month. It's hard to say goodbye to having the whole house to ourselves, but his room will basically be like a studio apartment so he won't be too much a part of the family. It will be nice to say hello to some extra cash coming in to actually put in savings. Even if he is just here until February I will have one college loan paid off. We also feel good to share our space with someone who really needs a place to stay.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jim and Betsy make a stop

Bryce's parents Jim and Betsy are just pulling out the driveway. They have been here all week visiting. Usually they stay with my parents but because we have the room and my parents are harvesting they stayed with us. We were happy to have them. (I always tell Bryce how nice it would be to live near them and have Betsy as a mentor to learn some skills I don't yet have.)
We had a great time with them, of course we also had a few obstacles.
The first being that I was told they would be here all day Monday and Tuesday, but then found out the day before they would be here Monday night through Friday morning. I think this miscommunication lies in the hands of my husband who doesn't remember to tell me anything. (I admit this miscommunication was my fault. - Bryce)
Obstacle two was weather. We had several patchy rainy days. The in-laws mentioned they didn't want to go bowling or see a movie so we had to think of other things to do. Fortunately the rain kept my parents out of the fields on Tuesday and allowed Jim and Betsy to have some time with my parents as well as see progress on my parents' house. On Wednesday Bryce and I had a reunion of our baby group in Decorah so we brought them with us to check out our second favorite place. While Bryce, Link, and I shared a meal with the baby group and talked about our year with the others, Jim and Betsy checked out the co-op and shops along the main drag. After our gathering we joined them for a tour at the Vesterheim Norwegian Museum and Seed Savers. None of us had been to the Vesterheim and I was very impressed with the gorgeous craft work. Embroidery, wood carving, painting, and quilting were all very impressive. Thursday we shared a meal at Schera's and walked Pony Hallow Trail. Then Jim and Betsy watched Link while Bryce worked and I went to a women's spirituality group, back up in Decorah. The rain kept us off the patio at Schera's and out of the woods at my spirituality group. The grnadparents seemed to enjoy watching Link which was good. Sometimes it is hard to enjoy the area in the rain and while others are working, so I am happy they had a good time.
Obstacle three was melding our lifestyles together for the week. We are going pretty strong in the pantry challenge, not just because it saves money, but because it helps us use things that we would never get around to using otherwise. I was really looking forward to cooking for them with what we had, but they were ready to go to the grocery store on day 1. Fortunately they didn't get too many things to distract us from what we already have, a few perishables and cereal (which was nice for Link). I felt slightly mistrusted on my abilities to cook and provide, but I hope by the end of the week they realized the pantry challenge means anything but starving, it is just more creative cooking and correct proportions.
Before Jim and Betsy got here I had checked out 1940s House from the library. It is a PBS show about a modern family in London who is challenged to live the way they would during WWII. We watched a part of it together. In the section on cooking with rations they talked about making honey from parsley. I was super excited to hear that since I had fresh parsley in my fridge for weeks and it needed to be used somehow. I made a batch which looks pretty good. We shall see how it tastes soon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Anniversary Gift

I usually am pretty good about dropping some dough on anniversary gifts, especially if the item is made out of material that is traditional for that anniversary. I have given a paper printing press on paper, a leather recliner on leather, etc. This year is wood. Right away I found a perfect gift, but for some reason this year I am holding back. It is a pac man cutting board, perfect for Bryce's gaming side and he always comments how much he loves wood glued cutting boards and he is a chef. It $125 and it's handmade so I would be supporting an artist. But, because it is going to get somewhat destroyed, doesn't necessarily fit the theme of our kitchen, and not something we need, I just can't get myself to get it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jobs and Deals

I've continued doing yogurt smoothies for breakfast. Still trying to do the pantry challenge as much as possible, I have come up with some interesting fruit combinations which has been half the fun. Yesterday I threw in frozen strawberries and then added some lime juice. Ohh my God, yum! It reminded me of the strawberry limeaide from Sonic that I almost married two months ago.

I interviewed for a part time job yesterday. It is basically design work with the Clayton County Economic Development Office. 19 applicants make me worried, but even if they don't see it, I would be perfect for the job. Two of me passions in life are Design and Community Growth. It is also one of those jobs where you get to dabble in everything (kind of like marketing) and I really like that.

After the interview I scored some awesome deals.

1. I bought 2 bras at Layne Bryant online. They always have buy one get one 1/2 off, but they also had a code that day for an extra $25 off an order of $50 or more. Since bras are around $40 there I basically got one for free and then a little off the other. I had them delivered to the store to avoid shipping cost. (Jumping ahead to later that day). When I picked them up at the store they let me try them on and they were way too big. I seem to have gone down a cup size since nursing. They allowed me to do an even exchange with the bras I like in my size.

2. Office Max had an online deal going that if you spend $150 you could get a free companion airline ticket. Having to pay for just one ticket for the whole family sounds like a great deal. Since we need to replace the Cannon Powershot camera that I had stolen at the wedding last month, we purchased that for almost exactly $150. (Amazon was the same price.)

3. Link and I went with my mom to Cedar Rapids to pick up my order at Layne Bryant and also saw that in the store they were having a pants sale. $30 a pair (usually $50). So I got a pair.

4. Mom and I also picked up two very old and decrepit car seats from one of those "FREE for the taking" giveaways on the side of the road and brought them to Toys R Us. Until Sunday they are having a nationwide Great Trade In event where if you bring in a car seat, high chair, stroller, etc, you get 25% off a new one of something in those categories. They don't care if it is trash, at least it is out of circulation. Mom got herself a new booster car seat for $30. I got a jogging stroller!!! I had wanted a B.O.B. but they were not included in the deal and in fact there was only one jogging stroller there, so it made picking one out really easy. I ended up paying $100 for it. Straight cash from the garage sale money I made. And in the end, I really don't care what brand it is. It has inflatable wheels and glides just as easily as the more expensive ones I tried out in Boston. I love it!!! Add to that stop a $5 off $25 coupon I had and a boy's clothes sales rack where almost everything was a dollar and I super scored!

5. After a great meal at Olive Garden where we had the soup, salad, and bread sticks, we finished our day at Walmart. This time I couldn't find all the brands I had coupons for but I did find a majority. I ended up saving $12 and paying $18 for all the stuff in my cart. So almost half off everything.

6. Back home, online again, I noticed was giving away a free audiobook for signing up, no purchase necessary. I went to my Amazon wish list and looked at the books I wouldn't mind listening to instead of paging through and signed up with 5 different e-mail addresses. So I have 5 free books. They also have a pretty easy cancel to the membership, so I canceled all my memberships after getting the books to avoid any fees in the future. This is right at the line for ethical frugalness for me. (I am not illegally downloading the books.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Goals In the Attic

Cleaning out the attic for the garage sale this weekend I went through some old high school stuff and found a list of goals I had made for myself. Needless to say many I still want to accomplish, some I already have accomplished, some I am unsure about and others I do not want to do anymore at all. The most awesome part is that the stuff I have already accomplished is the largest list.

Here are the list of things I still want to accomplish:
1. Preform music in a concert (although now my wish is in a small park rather than a large stage)
2. Record an album (although now my goal is not for sale, but for my children)
3. Make my own set of stationary/greeting cards
4. Sell artwork
5. Go to Africa
6. Publish a Book
7. Create an Art, Music, Cooking, Writing, or Theater Event
8. Home school
9. Break dance

Here is what I am on the fence about wanting to do:
1. Be a clothing designer
2. Produce a film
3. Adopt a child
4. Live in a commune (Now that I've visited one, I have more appreciation for small towns communities.)
5. Be an EMT
6. Be in mentor at school
7. Own a horse

Here is what I have already accomplished:
1. Design cd covers
2. Design t-shirts
3. Live in an apartment
4. Road trip
5. Be in a community theater
6. Go to Seattle
7. Write Short Stories and Poems
8. Go to a Broadway production
9. Be a mother
10. Be a religion teacher
11. Visit famous museums all over the world (a bit broad, but I've done some)
12. Run for office (I'm sure I was thinking bigger, but hey City Council is as big as I would go now.)
13. Be a photographer

Things I no longer want to do at all:
1. Write songs (toooo hard, I'll watch my friends instead.)
2. Be homeless for a month or more and chronicle experience (I think my time has passed for this, but I went to see a speaker who did this.)
3. Marry Gary (that one went back to sea, but I got myself an even better catch in my eyes.)
4. Protest at an abortion clinic (my view have changed a little, I'm not pro choice, but today I would not be caught dead doing this.)
5. Be a councilor at jail (I am still an advocate for no death penalty, but my desire to be involved in prisons is not as much anymore.)
6. Be a nun if I survive my husband (organized religion no longer appeals to me.)
7. Be a sign language interpreter (tooooo hard, I'll watch my friends instead.)
8. Own a restaurant or coffee shop (tooooo hard, I'll watch my friends instead.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Self Made Man

Lincoln met another Lincoln this month. This man is in his 30s, maybe 40s, and bought a restaurant nearby, which he will be running from his home in South East New Hampshire. This man confirmed the reason why we use Lincoln and Link interchangeably. "When you introduce yourself as Link, people just don't hear it or can't comprehend it the first time, so you say Lincoln and they get it. After that you use Link."

More updates since our return: I was worried about Lincoln's cup grasping skills since he never tips and rarely wants to hold onto a cup, due to very few bottles (I think). My sister found the solution. She bought him some sippy cups with straws built in the lid that don't leak. Link now grabs his cup all the time. We will work on tipping later. Although he loves to pretend he is tipping all the way back when he sees someone finish a canned beverage.

Link also likes to stand on his own a lot. Before he would laugh and fall forward like it is a game. Now he stands stationary for almost a minute at a time. When he wants to take a step he puts his hand on the ground and does a bear crawl.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept 11, A Great Day

For as much as August nearly killed me, September has been going extremely well. Cross my fingers as we are not even half way through yet. Yesterday was the best so far. My mom woke me up bright and early for a garage sale we had at my house. By the end of the day I had made $150 and reduced a lot of clutter. The remaining quality clothes I had went into boxes for Thread Up. Link was great all day and every nap he went to sleep right away without crying. We found a battery for the scale in all our junk and when I weighed myself I was 5 lbs less than last time. At noon Sister Cities had a concert in the park and Maritza, a band from Decorah, played. The group was awesome. The played traditional Jewish and Balkan music on accordion, violin and upright bass. Bryce and I enjoyed the concert while eating a meal of 2 Mit Burgers from the local stand that closes up shop this week until next summer. After Bryce went to work, Link and I went on a date and saw Ramona and Beezus at the local theater. I would highly recommend taking anyone of any age. It was really great. When we got home, Link once again fell right asleep. With Bryce home I was able to go out with my friend Dani to sing karaoke. We had gone to the event two weeks ago and been blown away by the amazing singers. We were so nervous we were practicing for weeks. I was scared to death because I have always sang karaoke in groups, never solo. However, when we walked into the place it was nearly empty. We competed with 5 people tops and were able to sing as many songs as we wanted, allowing us a great time to see what songs worked for us and which did not. By the end of the night Dani and I both won t-shirts from the drawing and Dani won 1st place $35 and I won $15.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My body is telling me, but I'm scared

I recently read something that said if you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome you are at greater risk for heart attack. This if the first time I read something that actually made me do a double take and think about my health, especially my weight. I have PCOS, which is the reason I had a hard time getting pregnant. The doctors gave me drugs, but also said that if I lost some weight I might increase my chances of conceiving without drugs. I didn't lose a thing. I did get pregnant however and I loved it. I loved it so much, I am looking into being a surrogate for women who cannot carry. I have interviewed two women who have been surrogates that I know personally. After researching I found that you have to be under 36, so my time is a little limited, and you have to be under 190 lbs. To my knowledge I am 35 pounds over that. (I haven't weighed myself in 5 months). So thus provides another reason to lose weight. Then there are the hip pops, the feeling in my knees that I need to be oiled like the tin man, the psoriasis on my elbows which can lead to arthritis, the nerves in my back pinching to point where I feel like I need to throw up, all of these problems list excess weight as a negative factor. When you're young you don't think about it too much, but at some point you hit a wall where you start listening to your body and it scares you a little. So infertility, heart attack, arthritis, knee surgery, hip surgery, back surgery, seeing a dream pass away. Everything is telling me to lose weight.
So what is stopping me? Fear. After struggling for years to overcome anorexia, gain back the 70 lbs I starved off me, love my body and see it as beautiful in all forms, I am afraid of losing weight. Just like alcoholic anonymous, I feel like I will instantly start being preoccupied with food, grams of fat and calories, number, jean sizes, how many days it will take. I am afraid that I will start hating the body I love so much now. I am afraid because there is no support network out there where women are not complaining about flabby rolls they hate or other negative talk. Why is there nothing out there about how women with eating disorders can effectively lose weight without having to enter themselves back into the scary world of weight loss.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Diaper Free is getting better. Lincoln knows the signs for peeing and pooping and the sounds we put with them. He says them when he is going doing them and he signs them when he sees the bathroom. He does not however join them together, as in going to the bathroom in the potty and signing them. We got him a seat insert which seems to help tremendously. He doesn't like the potty seat and he is terrified of being held above the toilet. He has peed 3 times in the toilet and today when #2 for the first time. We started using disposable diapers at night as the morning seems to be the most sore part of the day. The disposables wick moisture away which helps. It is hard admitting that the results of two decisions we made, not circumcising and using cloth diapers, is most likely the cause of his pain. It seems like just another thing to add to the list of failures right alongside having a successful home birth and having confidence in nursing.

Since our return of the long trip Link has been getting up earlier. He used to be content with playing in bed while we finished sleeping but now that he is mobile not so much. We also use to put him to bed later and he woke up later. When my sister-in-law told me that it didn't matter what time she put my nephew to bed he still woke up at the same time, I didn't quite buy it, but now I see what she means. If Link goes to sleep at 7 pm or 12 pm he is up between 7-8 everyday. Not early for you 9-5ers, but we spend most of our working time from 9-12pm.

My friend Sadie has been watching Link once a week. In turn I am suppose to watch her Stella, but so far my only trade has been print products as Stella's grandma is right around the corner and loves having her over. To make it easier on Sadie I stopped nursing Link to go to sleep for naps. He still cries for about 3-5 min when you put him down, but he adjusted rather quickly. However, now he wants to nurse more when he is awake.

Language is still developing well. He knows monkey, elephant, dog, cat, book, tired, nose, mom, dad, bye, hi, pee, poo, and loves to repeat as many words as he can, even if he doesn't commit them to memory. He also really likes to help in the kitchen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kitchen adventures

So it's the beginning of a new month but we are still going with the pantry challenge. We have not bought any groceries except farmer's market produce and items for once a month cooking which I will touch on later. The pantry challenge is proving itself very interesting, especially as items whittle down. However, I am so happy we are doing this because I would have never thought about making items I have due to random ingredients we have left. Yesterday I made coconut shrimp and hand made cole slaw. I have also been very happy with rutabaga au gratin and okre patties.
Today I tried out once a month cooking for the first time. I bought a cookbook at a garage sale that I am following. It is pretty helpful. I did find that I misread two ingredients (I got tomato sauce rather than crushed tomatoes and was short once box of stuffing but otherwise it went pretty well. I got through the all the chicken entrees in about an hour with 1 hour of prep time and 1 hour of clean up. I am going to do the beef and vegetarian dishes tomorrow. All in all I think it will take 5 hours total. I hope to do it with a group in the church basement once a month. I need more large pots if I want to do it at home and not wash dishes between. Just doing a 2 week plan is good for our family of 3. All entrees could feed 5. Besides these frozen meals, we will continue with the pantry challenge until we are down to scooping tablespoons of cornstarch in each others mouth. Just kidding.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Another trial day for the frugalista. I went to Aldi's. My mom has come back from Aldi's often with weirdly packaged items, like canned green beans with an image of green beans riding a fork together on it. I was never amused.

Here is what I learned:

1. You must have a quarter to get a cart. You get the quarter back when you are done.
2. You must bring your own bags. These days it is pretty common to do so, but people at Aldi's have been doing it forever. Lots of people tend to swipe empty pallet boxes as their "bag."
3. It is by far the cheapest option. I suppose by not having to pay someone to corral carts or bag groceries you are cutting out labor.
4. Aldi's is owned by the same parent company as Trader Joes. This makes me a little less skeptical that they are cutting prices by below income labor, but who knows.
5. You must have cash or debit. There will be no credit card purchases at Aldis.
6. Sometimes, if you are the last customer in the store for the night they will give you food they might otherwise throw away for pennies. I was given two coffee cakes.
7. Closing time is 9 pm, but that means through the door. They will still let you shop until you are finished. (I assume within reason).
8. You can buy all your groceries for a month for around $100. After purchasing everything on my "once a month cooking" list I ended up spending a little over $80 and was only needing to go to another grocery store for 5 more items. Parsley, Waterchestnuts, French Bread, Wild Rice, and Linguine.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Using ALL Coupons for the First Time

I have always been overwhelmed by coupons, but I love seeing them. My giddiness at home never feels the same in the store. So today I tried it out at our local Dollar General to see what I could do.
I learned quite a few things.

1. Don't take your toddler. Or if you do, get the Nilla Wafers first and open the box.
2. The generics cost less than the name brands, even after coupons. I did get the ziplock bags instead of the generic though because we reuse them and I wanted quality ones if we reuse.
3. Bring two calculators, one to compare prices the other to keep a running total of what you have with coupons added in.
4. The deals that some coupon bloggers post are not fully researched. One said Purex was totally free because it was $1 off and it was only $1 at DG. The only thing is that the $1 was a to go pack and the coupon says, "excludes to go packs"
5. Some coupons are too specific. Huggies diapers were only for Little Snugglers, which when I was at the store realized was only Size 1.
6. The best coupons are the broad ones. Like $5 off if you spend $25. It's worth grabbing a 50 cent item to bring your total from $24.50 to $25 for the discount.
7. Additional coupons are usually on the counter. For my own sanity I would probably grab one the day before if I could or come back the next day so I could peruse without pressure.
8. Clip the coupons out, even if you print them. They are a hastle if you don't use them all.
9. Bring an envelope with you to keep them in for your sanity.
10. Coupons don't get added in completely until the end so if the running total is $26, it stay may drop below $25.
Today I saved $10.75 and spent $20.88.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Diaper Free or Circumcise

We took Lincoln to the doctor today because he has a sore on the tip of his penis and we had seen a similar sore on his sack a few weeks earlier. The previous one went away, but if it was continuing to occur we wanted to check out to see what it is. We went to the same hospital but saw a different doctor. The doc was super nice, but he was definitely not our doctor who knows our philosophy on parenting and didn't even offer us circumcision when Link was born. When this new doctor was looking at the sore his first words were "Well, if this keeps occuring we could easily have him circumcised." I think we were both equally shocked. Us at what he said and the doc at our reaction. Bryce and I view circumcision as genital mutilation and cannot even fathom doing it to our son. The problem boils down to Link's penis rubbing against the diaper is causing these blisters, just like running in sweaty socks. He has super sensitive skin anyway, breaking out in large heat rashes every time he sweats. The prescription is neosporin, but there is no promising it won't return as long as he continues to wear a diaper. Ahh, we thought. There is the solution. No diaper. We have several friends who do this but have never been brave enough to do it. Now, there really isn't a choice. We are either doing "elimination communication" or we may end up having to have a medical prescribed circumcision. As soon as we got home the diaper came off. Link loved it. We're warming up. My observations on day one: Lincoln does not like sitting on a big toilet for fear of falling in. Even if Link is grunting to poop he will stop when he is sitting on a small potty so that he can get up and play with the potty. Lincoln likes to hold in all pee and poop (yes, we had one solid accident) until we are out of sight. We had basically three accidents. I did put a diaper on him at bedtime. Because he is no longer sleeping in bed with us every night I do not want to wake up tomorrow seeing him playing in or with something he made himself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weaknesses and Frugalling Up

A while back I mentioned we were going to be doing more than a pantry challenge. We were going to try to spend no money this month other than on bills. Well, we have been doing pretty well so far. Halfway through and the only thing we really needed to buy has been gas and another car repair. We have learned our weaknesses and also some ways to be more frugal.

My weakness seems to be wanting to purchase things while driving. This kind of makes sense being so removed from stores that when you pass them you want to purchase a drink or just see the sales, etc. Bryce and I both seem to have a weakness with doing things with friends and in the end I don't really see myself stopping this. This is the one expenditure I don't mind spending. Nonetheless, we have had a great month with friends without spending any money. We had a birthday party for Lincoln using stuff we already had. I went the movies and spent $7 on a ticket, but didn't get anything extra. I went to a free concert at the fish hatchery in Decorah with free popcorn and shakes. I met up with several friends at a free concert and free meal at Schera's the other night.

Some things I am learning to be more frugal with is drinks. I don't like drinking water so I plow through the milk and juice. I started making large batches of sun tea and am enjoying it now. We ran out of oil so I am using leftover grease to cook. Meals have not become too dull yet. I am craving onions and chicken. We have a better idea of what we really need from the grocery store now. Coupon hunting is easier because we known what we want/need. We look up ways to make things when we don't have something. Like dish soap. When my computer wouldn't start again I used Bryce's instead of calling the repair guy and Bryce looked at it more. We also fixed our camera lens without buying another one. I am being less bashful about asking for refunds and not just accepting my fate. I have been on the phone a lot. I have been using the library more to preview things and rent movies. Oddly enough the movies I am drawn to are Suze Orman sessions on money. I am also researching alternative ways to make money and reducing clutter in our life by selling items we don't need.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ning a Ning a Ning a Ning a

Link's new favorite thing is to plug his nose and say "Ning a ning a ning a ning a." This is a take off of "One, one, one, one, one" which he learned from his auntie Amber as what to say when someone asks how old he is.

Link's first mole is showing lightly on his right side of his belly.

He is a very creative kid who loves music.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Words Lincoln knows in Sign Language

All Done
Brush Teeth

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today Link ate with a spoon by himself and practiced standing on his own. He also has made it clear he can say and sign night night, more, done, and almost has food.

Tonight he added tickle to his vocabulary on his own. And despite having only worn shoes twice in his life, when given a pair his size he tries to put them on his feet.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back in the Groove

All those thing put off are instantly on. We had Link's 1 year exam. Link was a gem and even gave blood without even caring for a lead test. Since he is one year WIC changed and we have less food and more whole milk, which will impact what I though we would be eating on our $0 spending month.
Thus far it not spending money hasn't been too hard. Mom and Dad missed us and my mom is now retired so they have been over every night with food to grill out. They came tonight too, but as they walked in the door I got a phone call that church council was tonight so I had to go. The meeting was long and filled with tension so it lasted longer than my parents could stay.
Lincoln's sleep pattern has changed from 3 naps a day to 1 really long nap in the early afternoon. I was very surprised to find this out.
When we got home my sister had done lots of landscaping as part of her rent for our house. The yard looks great with bushes trimmed, branches cut, flowers planted, holes fixes, sandbox built and a swing set up. Link has loved swinging everyday. We also bought him a baby pool on the trip which he enjoys sitting in daily.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More than the pantry challenge

We are back from visiting over 20 states. While we did travel well financially we were hit hard by an unexpected car repair at the end of the trip. To cover the cost as well as make up some other expenses Bryce and I decided to go beyond the pantry challenge (cooking only what you have in your house for a month) and we are going to go all of August without buying anything. Yes, we will pay our bills but there is a difference between paying and buying.

I'll keep you updated on how we do. Already we have a list started of things we will be purchasing Sept 1.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lincoln's Imagination

Link has been excelling at the dinner table. He now blows on ALL his food before and sometimes after it is in his mouth. He signs "more" intentionally now and when he is hungry and we are not feeding him. He occasionally signs "all done" AND he can say it too! This advancement in communicating is good because we are already in what I think is considered the terrible twos. The way I see it the terrible twos are mostly the lack of understanding between parent and child due to communication inabilities. Well, it is here. Probably not as bad as it will be in the future, but enough to be annoying and enough to think I was dealing with tantrums for a while. I guess Lincoln really never has had a tantrum, he just gets whiny and brisk in his movements when we understand what he wants.

He also has a great imagination. He loves to pick up imaginary food and eat it. I noticed this first when he seemed to be picking up cheerios from under his butt in the car seat. I thought I had cleared them all out but then I realized what he was picking up was non-existent. He also does great with animal sounds and raises his arm for an elephant trunk when making the sound.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moving and posing

Lincoln learned to crawl at Phil and Teresa's home. He started with knees, then went to lobster crawl, then bear crawl. So he is on the move. Not constantly, but whenever he wants now. This has helped calm his need to be picked up too.

He loves to give kisses and likes having his back blown on. He can blow through a straw and he likes to brush his teeth and spit (we are not using toothpaste).

He has associated sounds with things. One funny one is a really low rumble he gives to cars. We will upload a video when we get home.

To get him to stop crying we often will get out the camera. He likes to ham it up and often gets caught posing in the funniest ways.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Last night I put Lincoln to bed on a mat on the floor in the bedroom. I was so thankful that I opened the door slowly as not to wake the boy because he moved around and must have been trying to get out because he fell asleep with his body by the wall and his head directly in front of the door. An ingenious way to make sure he would get woken up when we entered the room. If I had opened the door quickly I would have knocked his head off.

People say that some kids skip crawling and go right to walking. I am pretty sure Lincoln is skipping crawling and NOT going straight to walking. This is the only thing that bothers me about his development even though I know it is more my problem of impatience when I see his younger friends crawl all over him and walk. He does not show any signs of a disability just lack of desire. We may be growing a couch potato.

Lincoln now has a pretty good grasp on mama, dada, and baby. He also responds to the words "high five" and "kisses" and he likes to put phones and anything that looks like a phone (remote control) up to his ear and say hi.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

His own signs

Link has always rubbed his eyes when he is tired, but I recently noticed a new sign he makes. From observation he has started to pant like a dog whenever he sees a dog. Today when he saw a sculpture of a dog he began to pant. Last night when Bryce left the room he said "Dah day" which he has said before and we could never tell if he associated it with Bryce or not. The same goes for mama because he says the words in babble and never looks at what he wants. So, when he said "Dah day" I decided to test him a little. And listen to this. I said "Dah day? Where is Daddy?" He stuck out his pointed finger and pointed to the door where dad had just left. I was so excited I praised him and then said "Where is Mama?" He pointed right at my face and then made two kissy noises! Wow, not only did he know exactly who I was talking about I even learned he used the kissy noises to mean me. Once I though about it, I am the only one who does give him an overabundance of kisses. I have tried to get him to repeat the pointing about 10 times throughout the night and he has yet to repeat it. So not sure if it was a moment of clarity, he is being rebellious, or it was a sheer accident.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Second word

Bye. He is liking the B's

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I found a way to eat yogurt

I hate yogurt. Besides reminding me of high school dieting, it also has a weird texture to me and an acidic smell. This is not a big problem except that I am a Candida sufferer and yogurt is usually the first thing you are recommended to eat.

So this week in an attempt to use the rotten bananas in the house (another thing I don't eat much of) I made a smoothie with some strawberries and then again with some pineapple. I love it. Making a smoothie totally takes out the texture of eating mayo or some other kind of dip. It also smells so yummy.

This may sound silly but I know several people who don't like cooked carrots but it raw carrots in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fun and Games

If it counts, Link's first word is "boo" which he says while playing peek-a-boo.
He also likes to make kissing sounds after I kiss him.
When I roll my tongue he laughs or smiles and tries to do it himself. Still not there yet.
Today I noticed when he hears peoples voices in the distance, like outside or in another room he shouts babble out.
Link noticed his shadow today while we were taking a walk and waved to it almost the whole way.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Growing up

One of the biggest issues I have had with Link is separation anxiety. As long as I am right there with him he seems like one of the most perfect kids. I take 3-5 steps away (I counted) he goes bizerk. Although I love that he loves me, I want to go to the bathroom alone sometimes. I heard that it is an evolutionary technique. Just when they start to wander, they start to cling. Thus no one wanders too far. Well, I was believing that for a while but my kid wasn't wandering.

Jump to this past week. Link is moving a lot more. Lots of belly sliding (without the cereal trail) and pulling up and cruising. And now that he is moving he is starting to lose the money grip. Let's hope. Recent examples include:
Sunday when we went to my parents to play croquet, grill out, etc. I got to play an entire game without holding him and Grandpa even went off with Link for a little while with no complaint. Thursday when we went to a gathering of IT people in Northeast Iowa. We left Link with Melissa Awad (not sure if she took Peter's last name) and he played with their kids Windsor and Summit from 6-8. Well he "played" until 8:10 when he finally broke down (most likely tired) and we came home at 8. The last time Link really hung out with the Awads was November.
Friday- I tried walking out of rooms without him and he has been occupied enough with his surroundings to not notice for a few mintes.
Saturday- Went to Sam's birthday party and he immediately let Trish hold him, even though he had his "what is going on" face for a good hour or so. He also played with Sam.
So big strides.
Other fun facts- Link devoured his first plum. I had to rescue the pit from his juicy hands.
He loves being in a clothes basket and practicing standing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adobe Suite Share

Does anyone know if the latest Adobe Suite has 3 installations. For some reason I am thinking that is what is standard. If so, are there two people out there who want to share with me to get the latest version?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another attempt at the Frugal Life

Ok, so you know I am following these blogs. But how is the shopping and savings going? I'm doing well with signing up for free samples. Got a netti pot, chips, coffee, and contact solution all in the mail. Shopping in person is another story. Here are my positives and negatives of my trip today.

- The drive to Waterloo (where the stores with deals are) is 1.5 hours. Am I just making it all up in gas?
+ Kwik Star Card gives me ¢ back for just using it. We get an $8- $10 check in the mail each month
+ Used Kwik Star Coupon to get free bananas
- Tried to do the free Lime Aid at Taco Bell, needed the coupon which I didn't print. I didn't know I would try until I got there. I think a smart phone with coupons (and a printer) would work for me, but is investing in a smart phone payment plane and 3G worth it? I can already answer no.
+ Did see Taco Bell is now having $2 combo meals. Instead of the gallon of soda and tacos on the side you get with their regular meals, you get a Medium Soda (much better) and Doritos with your order.
+ Went to Menards and price bathroom stuff. Got a free mop with a Kwik Star coupon. Bought a hand saw and two pair of pliers, all with mail in rebate. Got a trowel off the clearance rack. Bought a massive box of baby wipes there, on sale for $6.
- Was going to use the rebate check I got from my last trip to buy a fire extinguisher. I bought the extinguisher, but forgot about the check in my bag. Possibly due to my crying child at check out. Shopping without kids will be easier. I need to pump more.
+ Went to Goodwill. Came out with $10 spent on several large glass jars with lids I am planning to use at the co-op for flour and grains and such.
- Went to Home Depot and didn't see any deals. Their clearance section stunk.
- Went to Walmart and couldn't find the two grocery items I have FREE coupons for. Free jar of mayo and free mac and cheese. NOT EVEN AT WALMART? What gives. Also couldn't find their clearance section.
+Went to Old Navy and found double discounted boxers for Bryce. Used a $10 reward card from Bryce's credit card (We only have 3 store credit cards, Kwik Star, Old Navy, and Lane Bryant).
- I didn't have Bryce's card which was needed for the card. I had to call him using their phone (forgot mine) and have him give his social security in order to get the discount.
- Went to Starbucks during Happy Hour for a Frappuccinos. They are no longer doing the deal.
+ Took my Mom out for a retirement dinner at Cu in Waterloo. Used a gift certificate. We had excellent meals with the end total equaling a little over $15.