Thursday, September 9, 2010

sticking to things

I'm either nine months late or four months early for New Year's resolutions, but now is as good a day as any and there's no time like the present and yadda yadda. I have a lot of things that I need/want to stick to, that I'm having trouble with. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Reading my Bible. There is always room for improvement here, but right now, there is a LOT of room for improvement for me. I don't know how I slipped out of the habit. I used to read some every day, before breakfast even. I need to get back into it. I am full of turmoil about certain things and need His peace and instruction and wisdom to fill me up to overflowing.

2. Transcribing. Hubby and I talked to a realtor briefly a few days ago, and found out that the "good" news is that it is possible to buy a house with only 3.5% down (plus closing costs). That amount is a doable goal to save between now and next spring/summer. The bad news is that it will take diligence on my part, since most of that savings will be coming from my transcription while we live on just hubby's income. The problem is that I will sit down to do a 10-minute file (which should only take me 30-40 minutes) and I'll do two minutes then check my email. Then I'll do another two minutes and pop on Facebook. Then I'll do another 90 seconds and go grab a snack. And the work easily turns into an hour or more, but if I just sat and did it start to finish, it would take no time at all and I'd be done and could move on to another file or to housework or whatever.

3. Housework. I need to continue getting organized. I have spaces and stuff and stuff that needs to go and stuff that needs a space. I can sometimes think in my head what needs to be done, but then it can't be done when I think about it because it's too big a task or the kids are in bed and it involves leaving the house or this or that or the other. What I really need to do is just take 20 minutes and walk through the house, looking in all the cabinets and closets, and make a list of everything that needs to be done and set up a timeframe in which to do it. Because really, the things need to be done in a certain order, so I need to get to it and figure out in what order the things need to be done, then I can actually DO them.

4. Teaching the children. This is both for their Bible work and the secular work. Lydia has a daily Bible reading for her class, and a memory verse. I usually remember to do her items about an hour after she's in bed for the night. I need to do it earlier, maybe after I do her reading lesson. I am still going through the 100 Easy Lessons book, but only doing a lesson for 15 minutes at a time, then starting the same lesson the next day. She was starting to take up to 45 minutes just to do part of one lesson (leaving off the second story reading, and the writing) and it was stressing me out. So now I just do 15 minutes. And I am teaching Benjamin, too. I'm trying to be observant of him and what he's looking at and thinking, and help expand on his thoughts. I also finally put into use the Your Baby Can Read set that hubby's mom got us shortly after Benjamin was born.

I had tried using that with Lydia when she was about six months old, but it didn't "work" for her. I was excited about it at the time and it might have had results if I had continued the program, but we ended up moving about a month later and then had the start of our long spell of spotty employment four months after that, and doing a baby-reading program just wasn't very high of a priority.

But anyway, earlier this week, I finally took the items out of the package that hubby's mom had got for us. It ended up being the "Deluxe" kit. So not only did we have the five DVDs, but we also had a book for each DVD, a set of sliding cards for each DVD, a big set of flash cards, and a few other things. This kit also included an extensive "Parent's Guide" booklet and DVD. I read the booklet and watched the DVD. There are a LOT of less-than-stellar reviews of this product and a lot of naysayers ("Why would you want your baby to read early?" etc.), but the booklet and the DVD addressed so many of those common concerns.

I don't force Benjamin to sit and watch the DVD. Sometimes he wants to stand, instead. Ha, ha. That was my lame attempt at a joke, there. But seriously, he seems to like it. I sit and watch it with him and do the actions (lift arms, touch nose, things like that). And he loves the extras in the kit, too. This evening when I was showing him the sliding cards (these cards have a word on them, then they "slide open" to reveal a picture illustrating the word), he would start to squeal in anticipation of the picture being revealed.

The recommended schedule would take seven months from start to finish, but the booklet said that an older baby may be able to start recognizing the words before the "scheduled end" of the DVD viewing time. It told me of things to watch for to see if that is happening, and if it does, then I can move on to the next DVD early. I don't anticipate being able to do this with Benjamin, but I can see how it could happen with an older toddler. Lydia can already read most of the words on the first DVD. I'm sure that the 100 Easy Lessons that we've completed have helped her with that, but we haven't even been watching the DVDs for a full week yet, and she can already read the words on there. I can't advance to the next DVD for her, though, until Benjamin is ready, so I think that these DVDs and the 100 Easy Lessons will be a good complement to each other.

The program creator's own daughter was on the parent's DVD for part of a Q&A session with some people who were using the program. And I think it's sort of like a weight-loss ad, where such and such a person lost 50 pounds in two weeks and then the fine print says "Results not typical." I don't think that Aleka's results are typical, but if my kids can read a portion of how well she could, then I will be happy. And she didn't just read well over her grade level. She read FAST. It came out in the DVD that she read the entire Harry Potter series -- the whole SERIES -- in ONE day. I consider myself a pretty fast reader, but there's no way I could do THAT. And because she read so fast, she had a ton of time to do other things besides read and study.

5. Exercise. For a few months, I have been meeting up with another babywearing mama three times a week to go walking with her. I need to keep it up. I feel a little better on the days that I do it (but tired, since I get up earlier than normal so I can walk and be home by the time hubby goes to work). But if one or both of us need to cancel for whatever reason, I need to make sure to still get some activity in on my own. We have a set of Walk Away The Pounds DVDs that hubby likes to do sometimes, so I may do that on my "off" days.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

august is gone

I'm not sure what happened to August, but I managed to let it slip by without any blog post at all. I blame Facebook. It's hard to sit down and write a big ol' blog entry, but so easy to do a quick status update.

Anyway. Benjamin's eczema is doing MUCH better. I picked up his fourth homeopathic remedy to try on 7/28, and by 8/11, he was better. It was only a slight improvement, but it was noticeable. He continued to improve over the next several days.


After (and this is his "bad" side):

His skin didn't clear up totally, though, and started getting worse again, so I gave him a second dose this past Sunday. The remedy he's on is a slow-acting one, so I'm watching it for improvement. I also had been off dairy, but went back on it about 8/1 because of being out of town. I had my doubts that it was dairy causing his eczema anyway, and I'm even more sure that dairy's not a culprit because while on this remedy, his eczema improved, despite me being back ON dairy (after being off for nearly six weeks).

I am still practicing part-time elimination communication with him. He is doing really well with it and on days where I offer the potty enough, he will hold it and wait for me to offer again. I don't expect him to be potty trained early or anything (far from it, given my struggles with Lydia, lol), but I just want to let him keep the idea in his head that a potty is an option. And this one day, I was letting him go potty, and Lydia came in and watched him and then tried to make the sign for "toilet" at him. She stuck her thumb between her fingers, made a fist, then shook it at Benjamin and said, "Potty! Potty! Potty!" It was so cute.

Lydia, on the other hand, had a ton of accidents around the trip, which is understandable. It was kind of ironic, though. I hadn't packed any Pull-ups for her, on purpose, b/c she did so well on the trip to Oklahoma. Well, the first two nights were disasters. So on the third night (and for the rest of her trip) I put her in Pull-ups. And of course, those were dry in the morning, lol. Then when we got back home, I put her back in undies, and was rewarded by a wet bed again for two nights. But now she is back to normal and is doing great.

Speaking of our trip, I do have several pictures from it, but first I'd like to talk about Lydia's reading again. I had dropped off the 100 Easy Lessons because of scheduling conflicts and the trip and everything, and tried to pick it back up again on Saturday. The "easy" lessons (we're in the 60s somewhere) are turning into long and hard ones. So what I'm doing now is setting the timer for 15 minutes and then if she's not done with the lesson, I put the lesson away and we'll do more of it the next day. Then I pick out a book and read her a story. I am a bad mom b/c I haven't been reading to her like I should. She needs that from me.

Anyway, on to the trip pictures. Here's Lydia with my Granny and Grandpa.

Lydia with her new outfit from Rae Rae (my mom) (and the funny thing about this outfit is that the hat and jumper came from two different places... but doesn't it match perfectly?):

Lydia in an Oklahoma wheat field sunset:

Water babies:

I'm still slowly working on getting organized. I moved some small furniture around and threw out some large boxes so far, and can now move on to some small things. A few immediate items are to clean out the bins in the "window" between the kitchen and dining room, organize the pantry, and go through the paperwork box. I hope to get those accomplished this week, amid transcription and a play food order.

Benjamin is crawling. He is now doing a proper hands-and-knees alternating crawl, but this video shows his early attempts. He seemed to just move whatever limb he was thinking about, lol. And even now, when he gets excited, he will forget about his legs and try to crawl just with his arms, which just gets him to a belly flop. :p He is also learning what "don't touch" and "come to mama" mean. I especially figure that the latter is easier to teach him now, when he actually WANTS to be with me. And "don't touch" is taught by a lot of repetition. He gets mad at me, but after about 10-15 tries and being told "no" and being removed from the item, he gives up and finds something else to do. Then 10-20 minutes later, he tries again. haha. But I will persevere and prevail. On the teeth front, he still just has those 6 teeth that he got months ago, with no more looming on the horizon yet. He is finally mostly sleeping through the night again, only waking up once most times (which is MUCH better than the 5-6 times per night he was doing in late July). He can "talk" a little bit. I think he's said "all done" before, when he was on the potty, and after he was, you know, all done. lol. He only did it a couple of times, though, and hasn't really said anything else (not even "mama" or anything). Anyway here is his video. :)

And here is Lydia, enjoying a... "drum" lol:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

nine month stats and high school memories

Phew, I just managed to eke out another entry for July. Go me, haha. I might be able to squeeze another one in next week, depending on how busy things get. I barely find time for all the stuff I "need" to do, and then blogging is just extra.

Anyway. Well, after all that whining about potty training in my last post, I now can't remember the last major accident that she's had. She is really doing great, even for #2s and everything. And last night, she asked if she could wear undies to bed instead of a Pull-up and I asked her if she was going to keep the bed dry, and she said yes, so I gave it a try (she'd already been in undies for naps for quite a while with no incidents). She woke up dry. So we're trying it again tonight, too. I hope I don't jinx myself by saying that it's done, haha.

I'm still doing elimination communication with Benjamin, too, still very part-time. He's still not a whole lot closer to crawling than earlier this month, but he will very rarely get up on his hands and knees, briefly. And he is a GREAT sitter, now. I can set him down, and sometimes he'll stay just like that for an hour or more. But if I lay him down, he will roll all over the place. We had his nine-month appointment this month and he is 27" long (but I think he might be a smidgen longer) and he weighs 15 pounds and 14 ounces. The weight gain is quite a bit from the last time he was in the office. He's still quite the peanut, but it's apparent that I make tiny babies.

Some of the busy-ness that I mentioned earlier is because I am trying to get the apartment cleaned out of random stuff that we just plain don't need anymore. Papers will be the most challenging thing to go through, I think. I am a saver and a hoarder, lol. But there are a few small pieces of furniture that I want to move around to hopefully make the whole place a bit more organized, so we can start having people over again without them feeling like they've walked into clutter city. It's hard, though, because I have all these big ideas but then no time between all the other normal stuff like the kids and the cooking and the cleaning and the laundry and the transcription (and the blogging, haha). I have started getting up early 3 days/week and going walking w/ a friend (and B, but leaving Lydia at home) and those days feel more productive to me overall.

We went to hubby's high school reunion last weekend. It wasn't a huge turnout, but the two people he wanted to come, came, so we got to see them and then a few other people. There was a short meet-and-greet at the school on Friday night, then a BBQ lunch on Saturday and a fancy dinner Saturday night. At the lunch, they had rented a bounce house. Lydia went in there for all of about 30 seconds before getting terrified and wanting out. She's also scared of the roly polies (or pill bugs) on my morning walk that I sometimes take her on. She'll sit and watch one all day long, but if I suggest she hold it, she gets terrified. I don't know how I ended up with such a fearful child. I wonder if she'll grow out of it at some point.

Hubby wants to teach a Bible class up at church at some point, too - but not the adult class. He wants to teach the middle schoolers. The class slots are assigned several quarters in advance, so he's already thinking about who he wants to ask to teach with him.

And here are another couple of videos. This first one is just Lydia being three, lol. It's pretty typical of how she acts all day. ALL day, lol. As a matter of fact, she's actually quite calm in this video.

And here's B laughing at me when I go up and down. It took me a bit to get his attention away from the camera, but the wait is worth it. :p

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

books and bathrooms

Hm. I really need to get better at this blogging thing. One post a month does not make a very updated blog, lol. Anyway here is my first -- but hopefully not last -- entry for July.

I've been feeling a little down on myself lately. Fun events have happened, but they were events that I didn't get to go to. My schedule was open. It was an event that I would have greatly enjoyed. But I wasn't invited (and usually the hosts were people who I thought were closer friends than I guess they really are). I only found out about these events later, when the pictures or a mention of it was posted on Facebook or something. It's hard to just suck it up and move on, but that is what I need to do. There ARE people out there who love me for who I am, and I can't be invited to everything. It does still sting a little when I hear of yet another event that went on without me, though.

Lydia is doing well. I've actually started homeschooling her. :) There is a book out there that Tim's sister gave us called "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I started it with her a couple of months ago, and she really likes it and caught on pretty fast. It's really a great book and I've heard lots of good things from others who have used it on their children. Here's a little video of it in action:

But as well as she's doing with that, she's still not doing so well with potty training. She still has about 3-4 #2 accidents a week. I don't know what else to do with her. I can't find any pattern as to what causes them. Sometimes it's when she's busy playing, but that's not the case for all of them. I'm really at my wit's end with it. What makes it worse is that she has absolutely no qualms at all about going in the potty. She'll try if I ask her to and will almost always go (and we're still talking #2s here). I feel like I almost need to remind her ever half an hour or so, as if we were in the beginning of potty training instead of near the end.

Benjamin, however, is doing well with his "potty training." I'm able to let him "sit" on the big potty now (without a seat insert), so that definitely makes the cleanup easier, since I don't have to dump out and clean the small potty each time. I still offer just based on timing, but there are some really good days where I only use like 3 diapers all day long. If this continues to go well, I may get him some tiny undies for his first birthday. Having those would definitely make going potty in public a LOT easier than it is with a pinned diaper.

I did go off dairy and have been off it for about 3 weeks now. I had worse cravings this time than I did last time. But I am introducing some goat's milk and some raw cheese, and both of those seem to be tolerable. Benjamin was also extra fussy right after I went off dairy, but that fussiness ended up being caused by his teeth... he was working on numbers 5 and 6. He's really starting to get quite the toothy grin. :)

He's also increasingly mobile. Still not crawling, but he's getting closer. I'm guessing that he'll at least be army crawling by the end of this month. He can almost get up on his hands and knees. He sort of does it w/ a "straight" bottom, like if he is doing girly-style push-ups.

Another book that I've been reading is "Raising Your Spirited Child." I don't think Lydia is "spirited" per se, but she does have some of those characteristics. I'm taking that book and hopefully finding a bit of meat, then I can spit out the bones. But anyway, there was a chapter about introverts and extroverts, and that chapter was helpful to my relationship with Tim of all things. See, he is the poster child for extroverts, and my picture is in the dictionary next to introvert. That chapter explained a lot for both of us, and we kind of know better how to relate to each other now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

off dairy again

I emailed B's homeopath a few days ago, since she wanted to hear from us about two weeks after I gave him the remedy. His eczema had cleared up some, but it came back, so she had me give him another dose and also suggested that I go off dairy again, this time for six weeks. Tim's high school reunion is in 4 weeks, so that weekend should be pretty interesting as far as meals go. I went through pretty severe withdrawals the first couple of days, but seem to be feeling a little better now. I'm a little nervous about getting all my calories, though, since dairy was a huge part of my diet. A lot of what I ate either was dairy itself or it had dairy in it. I picked up some almond milk and some soy ice cream. So far the almond milk seems fine (not sure if I like the unsweetened one or not, I may try coconut milk next time) but the soy ice cream made me feel a little nauseous afterward. I'm not holding out a ton of hope on dairy being his trigger since I did try it previously. He is showing some improvement, but that could just be the next dose of remedy doing its work, and not the dairy at all.

Not a whole lot else going on. I am finding it hard to keep on top of my chores, especially laundry. I keep saying that I will fold the clothes after "just one more load." But then while that load is washing and drying and being put away, another dirty load seems to just appear out of nowhere. Part of my problem is that I am still doing some transcription and have tried to do a little extra to help with B's medical bills from his recent tests, and for his visit to the homeopath. Plus, we need to gather together a few funds so that we have a small lump some so we can possibly go shopping for a large item next spring.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

growing and playing

Benjamin is gaining weight appropriately. His doctor did end up sending him for some blood tests (slightly elevated liver enzymes) and a liver ultrasound (normal). The on-site lactation consultant also asked me if I was getting enough calories. I was not, and after a week of counting my calories, he gained nearly 6 ounces. He is still gaining and today is right at 15 pounds. I'll be going in for roughly biweekly weight checks until his 9-month appointment later this summer.

I am still practicing elimination communication with him, and it is going well. I still can't tell at all when he needs to go, so I've just been doing it on timing. We went through a couple of phases where our communication seemed to be off, so I took brief breaks here and there. But so far, this week has been pretty good. I've even had my first #2 catch(es) since he was an infant. I'm so glad I kept doing it and didn't just give up altogether.

His eczema, on the other hand, not so great. It's still just as bad as it's always been. And just when I think I've found out which food it was that was causing it, his face gets worse, even before I re-introduce the potentially offending food. We did go ahead and go see a homeopath on the 19th, and she sent us home w/ a remedy that I will give him on Monday, then give it several weeks to see what affect it'll have. Meanwhile, a friend gave us a referral to a pediatric allergist so I may make an appointment to get a blood test for him, just to see if he is allergic to something that I can control.

And now if you made it this far, here are a couple of videos for your enjoyment.

Lydia decided to dress Benjamin up in her princess outfit. He liked it.

Here she is, teaching him a Bible class song until she saw me filming her, lol.

And you know how those sauce packets from a particular fast-food Mexican restaurant have cute and corny sayings on them? Here she is, "reading" them.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

trying to heal my baby

Hm. My "dashboard" on here says that I made a post on March 31, but I can't find it now, so I guess I'll just start from here and give an update.

Lydia is doing so great with her potty training. She's even dry most nights now, too, but does still have the occasional accident. She takes herself to the potty and wipes and everything (but of course still needs help w/ #2s). It'll be interesting to see how she does on a 6.5-hour road trip next week.

Tim's job is going awesome. He had enough sales to "qualify" his own route and finally got his raise. :D He is really doing awesome and totally loves his work.

My work is also going fine. I'm still transcribing and also still making play food every now and then. I had two orders this month, one from someone I did know, and one from a total stranger. I'm still in the middle of the order from the stranger, but between that and transcribing and the children and everything else, I am definitely keeping busy.

B had his 6-month appointment a couple of weeks ago, and he only gained two ounces since his 4-month appointment. I am not concerned about my supply and have sort of been suspicious of reflux all along, so he is now on some reflux medication, and has been for just over a week. It seems to be helping. I also took him to a chiropractor on Thursday, who looked at his head and noticed it was slightly crooked, so she loosened his skull so that he could grow into it evenly. She also showed me a massage for his belly to help pull his stomach down into his abdomen instead of letting it be stuck up under his ribs. I don't know if I'm doing it right, though, b/c I can't find the "gap" that is supposed to be there when his stomach is in the proper spot.

She gave me some probiotics to start taking, and also recommended that I go see a homeopath. She noticed his eczema and so we talked a lot about that, and she thinks that it is food-related, but she also thinks that the homeopath can help me with that. So I am going to call her next week and hopefully be able to see her shortly after I return to town.

Benjamin really is a happy baby overall, though. He can finally roll both ways, though like his sister, he did it from back to front first. He can babble the "B" sound. He is smiley and talkative and usually in a good mood (which is part of what makes me doubt that he has reflux, but he did have several other symptoms, like refusal to eat and sour-smelling spit-up). I just want him to be as healthy as he can be. I have been praying to God to heal his eczema and/or show me how to help Benjamin heal, and right now, I think that a visit to the homeopath is the answer that He is giving us right now. She is also a nutritionist so she might have some words to share with me in that regard as well. I know that I did say in an earlier post that the saga was ending, but the comments that people keep saying to me are painful (even when they say "oh it looks like his skin is clearing up." Because yeah, maybe it's clearing up right at that moment... but maybe an hour later it'll be flared up again). He needs more help than I can give him by myself right now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the next big thing

My three big waits are over. Baby has arrived, hubby has a job, and Lydia is potty trained. I don't know what the "next big thing" is now. Just, life. Day-to-day stuff. Chores. There's nothing huge to wait for anymore. I am content.

For Lydia's potty training, I changed my approach at the end. I gave her tiny presents to unwrap if she did #2 in the potty. If she did #2 in her pants, I cleaned her up w/o any words at all (previously, I am embarrassed to say that I would sometimes lose it and yell in frustration). A few days of this, and she decided that #2s went in the potty. Then, one evening, she went to the potty all by herself, w/o me reminding her. And that was that. She's had a couple of accidents since then, but she is daytime trained, for naps and everything. Night-training could happen in a week or it could happen in a year or more. I'm not stressed about that at all.

Benjamin's "potty training" is going well, too. We have our phases that we go through were sometimes we're in tune with each other and other times we're not, but the past few days have been pretty good. It's a little easier overall now that he's bigger, and can sit by himself on the little potty w/ me helping him a little.

Tim's job is still going fine. There is someone up there who is leaving, and starting yesterday, that person took Tim out on his route so that he could introduce Tim to his customers... as his replacement. :) Yes, after over four months of "training," Tim is finally getting his own route. We are pretty excited about this.

My work is going fine, too. I'm still transcribing for two companies and love the flexible schedule. I also make play food and a few other crocheted items every now and then, when people want it, but it's not my "main thing" like I'd hoped it would be when I first started it.

I've gone through a partial purge here, w/ some clothes and toys and stuff. The half of the living room that doubles as Lydia's play area had previously been massively cluttered w/ random books and toys there. Nothing had a place of its own. I think that the purge has affected Lydia's attitude, for the better. She just seems "easier" seemingly overnight. It's hard to put the change into words, but it's there, definitely.

We had Benjamin's 4-month visit yesterday and he is 13 lbs 12 oz and 26" long and his head is 17" around. I did ask his doctor about his facial issues, and she thought it might be eczema. She said that, if I wanted, I could put straight Vaseline on it and also occasional hydrocortisone, but that she wouldn't do any more than that at this time. I also told her that I cut dairy out of my diet, and she said that I could continue that as well. The first time I cut it out, after about 11-12 days, he started to get better. Then I ate some cheese and sour cream, and he got worse again within hours. I'm now on day 10 of stopping dairy again and am seeing a very slight improvement.

Now I'm at the end of this post. I guess the next big thing will be home ownership, but that's too far away to even have a countdown for yet. Soon, though... soon. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the newborn acne saga ends here

No new pictures today. He looks about the same. Just some thoughts, instead. I'm probably a little crazy, but anyway here they are.

So, my peers have babies who have beautiful skin. I don't know a single other in-real-life baby (younger than 6 months old) who has even a little bit of redness. So my baby is red. Maybe it'll go away. Maybe it's eczema. Maybe it's yeast. Maybe the cause will never be known and he'll stay red indefinitely.

And? I'm okay with that. This is MY baby that God saw fit to bless me with. Benjamin is a smiley, happy baby. He doesn't have colic. He is (usually) easy to sooth. He's growing. I wouldn't think that his disposition would be so happy if the rash were bothersome to him.

He's already three months old. Three months! I don't know where the time went. Yes I do. It disappeared while I kept dwelling on his appearance instead of who he is. I don't want to let any more unnecessary time escape, time that I could instead spend watching him grow.

Sure, I'll mention it at his next doctor visit. And maybe he'll outgrow it. Maybe he won't. I'm not going to keep my life on "pause" any more. He and I are getting pictures made on Friday, a gift from Mom. Back when she and I were talking about it, I had the brief thought that his skin would be better come picture time. But I can't hit the "pause" button for life. He will only be three months old once, and then it's gone.

I don't want to miss the important things.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a new year with new challenges... and some old ones

One of my new challenges is to get in better shape. It's not really a "New Year's Resolution" per se, but since I just happen to be about 3 months postpartum and also still about 16 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight (I haven't lost any additional weight since the first two weeks), it's time to be a little more proactive. Our apartment remodeled the old laundry room into a workout room. I have been there twice so far... once to check it out, and once to actually do a session. I just did the treadmill and will probably stick with that for the forseeable future, unless it's busy, and then I will probably do the stepper. I've never really thought my diet was TOO terrible, but when I keep thinking about exercising, it's also making me think twice about what I eat, too, like for snacks and whatnot. I need to get more fruits and veggies and fewer chips and cookies. Or maybe I can put the fruits and veggies IN the chips and cookies, lol, like make dried veggie chips and then put carrots and zucchini in the cookies.

An always-ongoing challenge is finances, of course. We are very very blessed to have received an answer to our prayers for a good job for hubby, but after nearly four months on the job, he still does not have his own route yet and therefore is still making "training" pay. He tells me that he is next in line to get one, though, so hopefully any day now we will have some changes. Meanwhile, the training pay comes just slightly short of our monthly needs, so I have been continuing to work as well. I have narrowed down all my transcription things to just two companies, and between the two of them, it's a nice supplement to hubby's job. January is also a month where his job gets three checks, so there's that "extra" money, too, which will help keep us afloat.

Benjamin is growing like a weed. I weighed him today and he is 13 lbs 13 oz. Lydia didn't reach that weight until nearly 10 months. He has a double chin and is very smiley and loves to "talk" to people. I've gotten to where I can get him up on my back for grocery store trips, and it's SO much comfier than wearing him on my front. I am trying to branch out to a few different ways to wrap him up there, but am having a few failures intermixed with my successes. But at least I CAN get him there. We are still ECing with him as well, and that is also still having its hits and misses. He still has skin issues on his face. His dr said at his 2 month appointment that it was just acne and sensitive skin, but I'm starting to wonder if it's eczema and if he's sensitive to something in my diet. I tried to keep a food log b/c the redness does come and go (although it's heavier on the "come" side than the "go" side), but I really eat the exact same thing every day so that didn't help me any.

Lydia has entered the terrible threes in full force. Whenever I'm consistent with her discipline, she is a dream child, but if I slack even in the very slightest, she sees that as an opportunity to whine, cry, run away when I call her, etc. It is hard to be consistent w/ Benjamin around, since often times he is nursing or needing a diaper or whatever at the same time that she needs attention, but with prayers and with the grace of God, I will continue to try to be a better mother each day than I was the day before. And tomorrow it will be easy to do that, because today, I did not have a good day, mostly related to her potty training, or lack thereof. I got upset at a situation in the evening, and told her how I really felt. :(

But let me elaborate on the potty training and then you might be able to at least understand my frustrations. Last week, I set up a posterboard in the bathroom. On it, there are pictures of pee and poop in the potty (ok pictures of potties and then I colored some brown and yellow... I wanted it to be real but not TOO real, lol), pictures of wet and dirty diapers being put into the pail, a picture of Lydia "telling" me and hubby that she needs to go potty, and a picture of a dry diaper. She was with me while I was making it, and I talked it up, but it still took a few days or so for her to understand what it was for. But she seemed to like it. Oh and at the very bottom was a picture of her "prize"... some Dora panties.

She is still not catching on that she needs to (eventually) initiate her own trips to the potty. But she does things that get my hopes up, and then does other things that just make me really feel like she WILL be wearing diapers to college. On Sunday, she stayed dry (in a Pull-up) ALL DAY, including a #2 in the afternoon. Granted, I was taking her more often than I would have gone myself (and I initiated all the trips), but still, ALL DAY... including eating out after church and being out late like that (she went early at the restaurant and then not again until we got home). But then today, it was diaper after diaper. She did have one instance where I was in the bathroom, and she was in there too, w/ a wet diaper, so I took the old diaper off while I was sitting down and she was standing next to me. Then while her diaper was off and I finished up my business, she sat down UNPROMPTED on her little potty and went #1. Then she thought about it and said she had to go #2, and a few minutes later, she did that as well... also in her potty. We celebrated and got stickers and I started to put a diaper back on her (trying to save the $$$ Pull-ups for church) but she wanted a Pull-up. I told her that she needed to go to the potty on her own and if she peed or pooped in it, then she'd be getting a diaper. Not even FIVE minutes later... she did #2... IN the Pull-up. Yay. Then this evening right before bed, another #2, in her diaper. :( And it was one that was really hard to clean up, too.

So that is where we are with that. I don't want to close on that unhappy note, so I'll share a couple of recent pictures of Benjamin, since it's been a while since I shared.