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Halloween

Halloween

My brother in law found this adorable penguin costume at Goodwill and we hoped that Lulu would be wearing it. No such luck. My mother in law tried to put her in it on Wednesday last week and Lulu threw the biggest fit ever! I knew she was okay, just angry, so I giggled at took photos. My mother in law is not super happy that I was laughing instead of helping her. Hey, I knew she didn’t want to be in there and she was just telling everyone else within a 2 mile radius. It’s too bad because it’s an adorable outfit.

Plan B was that my husband Jay would cut open a football and make openings for arms and legs and a head and put the baby in there and he would wear his Colts jersey. I don’t think he knows how big our baby is! She is NOT going to fit into a football. And we ran out of time to create our own.

So, on to plan C. Our good friend, Uncle Bob got Lulu a Wonder Woman onsie. It’s way to big but with layers we made it fit. The only problem we ran into all night was when people wondered what “this little guy was for Halloween?” or what “his costume” was supposed to be. Poor Lulu – she has all that curly hair and people still think she’s a boy…

That was the evolution of a Halloween costume for Saturday. Tonight, Lulu wore her fun carrot/pumpkin hat and played in her exersaucer as we tried to keep her warm for the night. Cutest pumpkin in the patch.

And this my friends was the sweetest Halloween costume EVER! I call dibs for next year!

Milk Chocolate Rum Mousse

Milk Chocolate Rum Mousse

¼ cup of Rum

¼ cup of Sugar

1 ½ cups of Chocolate Chips (dark or milk chocolate)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Whipping Cream

3 egg whites from medium sized eggs

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and the rum until the sugar has dissolved. In another saucepan, heat the chocolate chips and stir in 2 tablespoons of whipping cream. Do not let it burn. To do this, I filled a pan with water and then set the sauce pan in it and melted the chocolate with the heat from the boiling water. OR, if you have a double boiler, use that. I do not. Stir until smooth.

Remove the chocolate from heat and stir in the dissolved sugar/rum mixture. Set aside to cool. Once it is cool, whip the egg whites until they are stiff. I prefer to use my hand mixer or my KitchenAid.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, mix it in with the stiff egg whites. In another bowl, whip the two cups of cream. When whipped, stir into the chocolate/egg whites mixture.

Place into serving dishes and then let them set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Eat within 24 hours. Yum!

Sell Everything

Sell Everything

Last year I led the Dave Ramsey course at our church (meaning, I pressed “play” on the DVD player) and the year before Jay and I were participants in the course. One of the things that Dave teaches is that to get out of debt you should sell so much stuff that the kids and dog think they are next.

Well puppy dog, your number is up.

I swore that I wouldn’t be the type of person who has a baby and then gets rid of their dogs. The truth is, we never should have gotten a second dog but we did. We got Jolly so that Pixy, our first dog would have a companion. Pixy has been such a wonderful addition to our life the past five years and so we figured that a second pup would double that joy. Sadly, Pixy isn’t very fond of Jolly and having a rambunctious puppy around has made Pixy miserable.

We brought Jolly home the last week of August. Our first month together was fun and joyful. In September, Jay slipped a few discs in his neck and had to have surgery. A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. During this time, Jay was recovering from this surgery and traveling for weeks at a time for work. In the winter, I was placed on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Suffice to say, Jolly suffered. She was not given the attention, physical exercise, training or the play that she so badly needed and deserved. Then came baby.

With all of the cutbacks and changes we’ve had to make in our life, the financial responsibility of two dogs is just too much. We thought long and hard about it and we even changed our minds once a few months ago (which means Jolly missed out on getting a really good home) and now we just know that she has to go.

We’re waiting for the right family to come along for her. She’s a purebred golden retriever with a lot of love and joy so we just know that we’ll find a family soon. Our hope is that she goes to someone that we only have two degrees of separation with.

Although, Jay says we can take her straight to Kevin Bacon if he wants her.

The No Car Experiment

The No Car Experiment

Yes, we are crazy. Yes, we are desperate.

Within the past 18 months, my salary was cut in half or worse when I switched jobs. When I was on bed rest while I was pregnant, I only was able to work part time and so that salary was also cut. Also within the past year or two, my husband’s salary was cut in order to save jobs. Add to that our majorly HUGE medical bills and the additional cost for adding Lulu on to our insurance. Oh yeah, AND there isn’t the overtime available that there was a year ago. So, I would say that we have been living on about a third or less of what we had two years ago.

It has come to our attention that we haven’t been living as if we were cut. So, it’s time for some REALLY deep cuts. The biggest one is my car. Jay suggested this about a year ago but I threw a fit and refused. Yesterday I got to the point that when I looked at the bills and I thought I’d rather die than figure out a way to pay them. Then I decided that we should be irresponsible and file for bankruptcy. Then I decided that we HAD to get rid of my car. So instead of dying or filing for bankruptcy I’ve decided to sell my car to pay it off.

Being rid of my car would eliminate my car payment, gas, maintenance, taxes, registration and insurance. I know that other transportation costs will surface now but this is the best plan I can come up with. With this we will recoup almost one entire paycheck each month.

How is this going to work? Not easily. But I’m committing to going without a car for three months. And hopefully at that time I will be able to pay cash for a smaller, older, used car. Until then, we will pay off as many bills as possible and I will rely on friends, family and taxis. This won’t start until February or March but we’re working out all of the logistics now.

So, can you give me ride? I’ll pay for gas…

About Working

About Working

 

In my line of work I have met a lot of really kind, loving, wonderful people. I’ve been so blessed that the majority of the people I’ve come across fit that description. However, yesterday I found myself talking to Lulu about my vocation. I begged her to never do the kind of work that I do. It was so strange for me to hear myself saying this for several reasons but the biggest one is that I love what I do!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job and I know that my job is ONE of the reasons that God put me on this planet. There are so many joyous and beautiful moments in my line of work but there are also seasons of terrible sadness and downright cruelty. It’s not that the bad times outweigh the good times, it’s just that the low moments are so lonely and so soul wrenching that I wouldn’t wish them upon anyone, especially someone that I love so deeply.
The emotions that I’ve felt in the past 10 years of working in this area, are emotions that no one should ever have to feel. The actions that I’ve suffered should never have to be endured. The sadness that I’ve felt shouldn’t even exist.
Again, I love my profession; I just wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

 

One Giant Leap

One Giant Leap

 

Last night we took a giant leap. Some might call it a baby step. It IS a step with our baby but it’s a leap I tell you. LULU SLEPT IN HER OWN ROOM FOR THE FIRST TIME! Yes, she did. I kind of want to keep her in the cradle forever. Can’t you just see a five year old sitting up in the cradle at the foot of our bed? Creepy. Hey, at least I don’t sleep with her… often.

I know, I know. It’s time to let go a little, right? She did just fine. It’s not Lulu that I was worried about. It’s her dad. No wait, it’s me. It’s okay though, I had the ability to watch her all night on my laptop, or my iphone. And, maybe I did!

 

On Photos

On Photos

 

We had Lulu’s three month photos taken two weeks ago, twice. Once we went to Portrait Innovations and another time we went to a local photographer. Why twice and with two different people? Did one take such terrible photos that we had to do it again? NO! I mean, we are talking about the cutest baby ever! She could never be in a bad photo!

Lulu was given a gift of a newborn photo shoot plus a photo shoot at three, six, nine and twelve months. With the exception of the newborn shoot, one photo from each session would be placed in a framed photo collage at the end of the year and be given to us. So, since we never went anywhere else to get photos taken when she was a newborn, we got suckered into paying $70 for two 5×7 photographs of our baby. Robbery, right? Well, it’s worth it. They were great photos and our baby was adorable.
Being smarter this time, we went to an inexpensive-print it right there-lure you in with a $9.99 special but you’ll spend eleven times as much in reality kind of place. We love the photos and so yesterday we took her to the “expensive” place. We went to the other place first so that we wouldn’t be tempted to swoop up anymore $70 5×7’s of the cutest baby in the world.
I mean really, look at her!
Just look!
Adorable, right? Right? RIGHT?! 

Sleep? Yes, please!

Sleep? Yes, please!

Lulu is three months now and we’ve started getting 6-10 hours of sleep out of her every night. We tried Babywise and it didn’t work really well for us because our life has no rhythm to it. The one thing I did adopt from it was to not let her sleep after eating. That time is play time (except for the final feeding). This helped with a regular feeding schedule. Plus, Lulu is NOT really into napping AT ALL unless someone is holding her. Now we’re reading Happiest Baby on the Block and hoping to gain some wisdom from that book.

The biggest breakthrough for us has been the swaddling. We’ve always swaddled but we kept her hands out because she fought it. Once we read to make sure we wrap those bad guys in there, everything changed. I guess they move around a lot at night and end up slapping themselves in the face. So, as long as her hands stay in, she sleeps. Once she breaks out, she’s awake. We double swaddle to help keep those arms in. First, we use a swaddling blanket that has the Velcro and then we follow it up with a super huge receiving blanket that a friend made me specifically for this. It’s just a big piece of that soft fabric and she finished the edges. Sometimes we use other blankets instead but that one works the best.

Also, we go to bed really late. Like 11 or 12. Generally we’ll try to keep her up until then and then let her crash on our laps after the final feeding or after story time. Another thing, we wear her out during the day. Lots of playing, we take her everywhere with us, we pass her around to other people that might stimulate her, we go swimming, walks, and again, rarely do we have naps.

And, time has just helped. We had terrible nights until about 8 or 12 weeks. I was desperate before that. I went back to work at 4 weeks and all I wanted was a good night’s sleep!

Swaddling with the arms IN, best recommendation ever!


 

 

Mums the Word – Okay, that was a lame title, too cutesy and I’m not even cute.

Mums the Word – Okay, that was a lame title, too cutesy and I’m not even cute.

Oh my gosh it’s Fall. No, it’s not really. However, I have my mums planted early this year. Why? Because the condition of my front yard (and my back yard and the inside of my house) has led people to wonder if we even live here anymore or if maybe our house has been repo’ed and/or abandoned. It’s too late to plant anything else in my planters so I went with mums a month or two too early.

I spent two days (in between working and entertaining a 3 month old), pulling a whole summers worth of weeds out of the four front flower planters. I dug a few holes and now it looks decent. Currently, we are wondering how to get our grass back and rid the front lawn of the weeds. Our front lawn cannot even be called a front lawn anymore; it’s 90% weeds and the other 10% is just dead.
At least my neighbors might all think I’ve finally “got it together” since I have flowers planted. I assure you, I will never have it “together” again. Ever.