Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let There Be Light!!

This post is just to show that I'm not the only one who does work around here. This was Matt's Sunday afternoon activity two weekends ago. This post is a little late in the game...

Like our ugly backyard lights that don't work?

We didn't like them either, so Matt went to work.

He loves getting his picture taken!

We got the new lights on clearance for $29 for both of them. Score!

Everyone was getting in on the new light action.

It works!

They aren't the most decorative lights, but they look so much nicer than the old ones. And they have motion sensors! Yey!

In other news, this is what Avalyn learned how to do that weekend:

My little daredevil, she climbs everything.

Matt was supposed to be watching her while I was making dinner Sunday night. Well, he walked away for all of thirty seconds to turn on a fan, next thing I know he's screaming at me that Avalyn was at the top of his six foot ladder. Yeah. Apparently it was my fault. I had to remind him that; A. He was on baby duty, B. He didn't tell me I needed to wash the raw chicken off my hands and watch her for a second, C. He didn't put up a baby gate, and D. He left a six foot ladder up in the house. What the heck? He apologized a few minutes later. I had warned him when we were in Home Depot Sunday morning that she's a climber and we needed to stay away from ladders. I guess he didn't fully understand that our daughter is destined to climb Mount Everest.

At least she's happy.

And, no. I don't plan on putting Matt on baby duty again any time soon! ;)

I Lied, So I Had To Do a Chore

Yeah, I totally lied. I said I'd post about the Chore Jar last week and I didn't. I swear I have a good excuse! My card reader was destroyed by a toddler broke last week. That's right, I could take pictures but I could not upload them to my computer. Oh, the horror! Seriously, do you know what it's like for me not to be able to look at the pictures I took? My worst nightmare.

So, since I lied, I had to do a chore. That's the system. I tried out "fun dollars" a suggestion from a friend, but that only worked for about five minutes. So, I had to implement the Chore Jar. I found the chore sticks/jar idea on Pinterest. From what I understand I'm using it differently than the person who created it, but it works for us!

The rules: If Keith lies, steals, does a chore "half way," or any other thing we deem unacceptable (such as hitting, or not doing his homework), he gets a chore. He pulls a stick out of the jar and has to do whatever it assigns him.

Keith has never responded to any kind of positive or negative reinforcement. I wish I was over-exaggerating. This is a strong willed child. He steals from me all the time (as well as from other people), so I've put him in time out, taken his toys, taken his money, grounded him and spanked him. I have also told him if he behaves he'll get rewards. I have done it all! Nothing works with that child. It's so frustrating! People tell me I'm going gray because of Avalyn. Not the case! I am finally going gray after 6+ years of Keith's shenanigans.

So, I have decided if he's going to be bad then I should get something out of it! If he lies to me (repeatedly - seriously I'm talking if I ask him three times, with warning of punishment if he doesn't tell me the truth, and I already know the truth, blah, blah, blah...), then he pulls a stick out of the jar and does a chore. There are things that aren't included in the jar. I'm not going to make him clean the microwave or the toilets, or use chemicals, or clean the tub... (you see where I'm going with this, right?) I'm going to make him vacuum, pick up toys, put dishes away, wash dishes, etc.

The kid is going to disobey me, I've come to terms with that. At least with the new chore system (which he hates) my house won't be such a mess. Maybe he'll see what a mess he really makes, and how much I have to clean up after him, and stop being such a piggy. Or maybe he'll stop disobeying because he hates chores. We'll see. All I know is, this shows him that his actions have consequences.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Om nom nom

Two things today: Sippy cup/bottle drama (or lack there of), and a Kitchen dilemma.

Avalyn's doctor told me Monday that she needed to stop using a bottle. Yeah, she just started taking the bottle at 11 months and hardly uses it, but I get it. 15 months old and using a bottle = bad. I was really dreading the inevitable sippy cup war. Then something wonderful happened.

Enter the Burger King cup...
Oh yes, she drank from a straw! Totally weird baby moment, came up and stole my root beer. It was not what she was expecting...
Enter the straw sippy cup. Yes, Avalyn hijacked my dresser drawer, even climbed in there herself.
 She loves the straw sippy cup. The bottles are in hiding and she does not seem to miss them. She did not like any of the spout sippy cups (the reason for my dread), but the straw is a winner. *Insert happy dance here!*

 Now onto my kitchen dilemma. The reason this is in the same post as a sippy cup? Because I'm walking into the kitchen more than ever to fill said cup... and I am not thrilled. Don't get me wrong, I love my kitchen! It's so big and functional! And the peninsula is this girls dream come true. Picture me plugging in my laptop and finding recipes while in the kitchen. Also picture being able to have more than four places to sit. Yeah, I need more chairs...

Anyway... What do I do with it? Pink counters, white walls, ugly honey oak cabinets, and very little money to spend on it. I want to do gray walls, but after that I've got nothin'.

Maybe some baskets or knick-knacks displayed above the cabinets? A door for the pantry is a must. No one wants to see how we store our food.

Hello boring dining room. You are boring. Stop it. You're making me boring by association.
I have plans for that glass light shade. As in craigslist. In it's place a shade that is not breakable, ugly glass, but something a little more modern. My parents are also bringing up a hutch for the blank wall. But seriously what the heck am I going to do in here? I was born in the '80s but I don't want to live in that decade permanently.

Ah, well. At least the sippy cup situation has been solved. I have many years to figure out how to tackle the kitchen! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fresh Grapes

Today I finally finished the front door. I've had it almost finished for a while, but I finally put on the third coat.

I teased this picture on Facebook last week:

Before it was an ugly green (this is the best only picture I've got):

Here's the finished product, fresh grapes:

The wood under the door didn't really go with the rest of the house, so I did a little something different.

View from the driveway. Not to shabby!

Next up: Shutters! I want to do a slightly darker purple for the shutters. I've already photoshopped it and it looks pretty good! Ignore the futon frame on the porch, I'm still not sure what I want to do with it. Should the metal framed futon go in the guestroom and the wood futon go into Avalyn's room or vise versa? Hmm... It's a thinker!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whip It Out

So last night, at about 9:15 PM, we had a mini-celebration! Avalyn fell asleep on her own! No nursing, no cuddling, just fell asleep. Woot!

At about 10:15 PM Avalyn woke up, which is pretty normal. She usually wants to nurse and cuddle for a bit and falls back to sleep. Well, I thought (stupidly), "She fell asleep by herself once, she can probably do it again." I gave her five minutes. Five minutes that felt like five hours. Seriously that girl can scream!

When I got to her room, her face was covered in tears and her nose was running, and when she saw me she let out a miserable, "Mama..." Oh, I felt so bad. "The worst Mommy award goes to... * drum-roll*" Well, after that all she wanted to do was snuggle and nurse. She was attached to me for a good hour before I had to get up and use the bathroom. Then I had to do all my night time rituals such as; wash up, take a vitamin, make sure everything is off, make sure the alarms are on, etc. Well, I couldn't bring her with me so I told her I'd be right back. This just made her even more angry.

In the end she stayed in my room, in my bed, attached to me all night. This is why she can't cry it out. My independent child turns into the worlds most clingy, needy, baby. I looked into the behavior on Dr. Sear's webpage and found this:
"Use the "don't offer, don't refuse" method. Don't go out of your way to remind her to nurse. However, if your child persists, or her behavior deteriorates, this may indicate that breastfeeding is still a need rather than a want. Watch your child and trust your intuition.
"Expect breastfeeding to increase during times of illness. These are times when your child needs comfort and an immune system boost."

Avalyn does have a cold, and I suppose that if she does ask for it with such vigor it means there is a need. The only problem is extended breastfeeding is hard. Not for me or Avalyn, but for society. I can't tell you how many times I've been told to stop. I don't nurse in public or even tell people I'm still breastfeeding (except if someone directly asks, or if I ask a doctor if a medication or procedure could interfere with it), but the stigma is still there. I also don't have a support network so that makes it harder. Matt wants me to stop, which just makes it worse. If I should have anyone's support it should be my husband. Maybe I'm living in a fairyland.

Thankfully today Avalyn is back to her happy self and if she wants to nurse I'll let her. I'm not going to do what I did last night again. Not until she understands exactly what I'm saying, anyway.

My little sicky.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Projects!

This weekend we all came down with colds. Which really means, Keith came home from school/his mothers house and coughed all over everyone until we were as miserable as he is. Thanks dude. So, we were stuck at home, not wanting to infect the masses with our disease. Self quarantined. Can you dig it? Clearly I'm still delirious.

Anyway, I spend my time on two different projects:
- Letters for Avalyn's door
- A chore jar for Keith

The first one was kind of a whim thing. I wanted to make something cute for Avalyn, but those foam letters run about $2 a piece and I'm cheap so $12 plus tax for letters did not win me over. So I bought a 12x16 foam craft thing-a-ma-bob from Michaels, on sale for $0.59, and a sheet of scrap book cardstock on sale for $0.30. I figured I could do something with that stuff, but wasn't sure how to really go about it.

Now that I was quarantined at home, I could actually break out the supplies and give making Avalyn's letters a go.

I started by drawing letters backwards on the back of the cardstock. I didn't use stencils or anything, mostly because I didn't have anything like that. I'm not very fancy.

Next I cut the letters out.

Then I drew letters on the foam about a quarter inch wider than the cardstock letters.

I cut out the foam letters next.

Next I glued the letters together.

Added some random ribbon I had laying out. Seriously, I am a ribbonoholic, I have lots of ribbon!

Then I took the letters and pinned them to Avalyn's door with push pins. I thought the letters would be cuter if I didn't put them in a straight line or arch. I like them looking a little haphazard!

Yeah, they look like they belong.

What do you think? I think project #1 is a success! More on project #2 later.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yeah, I'm going there.

Matt and I had one of our famous (in our eyes) disagreements Friday night. I call it a disagreement or discussion. Matt calls it fighting and arguing. Well, whatever you want to call it we had a big one! It was late (think 2:00 AM) and Avalyn was still awake. This usually does not make for a good night. To top it off, we all have colds. I had been up since 7:00 AM at this point, and Matt got up around five-ish PM. When Matt is sick, he likes to sleep. When I'm sick I like to watch TV, read, and veg out.

Avalyn had been sleeping but woke up around 11:30 PM, right before I was about to crawl in bed. I tried to get her down, but she would not have it. At about 1:00 AM I told Matt I was going to try to get Avalyn down again. Matt said he was going to try to sleep, too.

*Insert angry glare from me here*

You see, when Avalyn won't go down nicely, it means I have to lay in bed with her until she falls asleep - which means I usually fall asleep. Avalyn fusses for about 10 minutes before settling down on days like that - Matt can't fall asleep when there's a baby fussing. Usually, when we are in this situation I end up on the futon in Avalyn's room. Not fun for me when I'm sick. When I don't feel well, I like my nice, soft, inviting bed. I don't look forward to sleeping on Avalyn's firm mattress. So, I got mad at Matt and basically told him that he was being rude for making me sleep in Avalyn's room when I was sick.

It snowballed from there. We ended up arguing (again) about Avalyn's sleeping habits. She usually ends up in our bed around 3:00 AM, what can I say? She's my little snuggle bug! I don't mind, I have never minded sharing my room with her. Matt doesn't care either (usually) because his sleep isn't disturbed. When he's mad though, that's the first thing he attacks. His exact words were: "We need to break her, and make her sleep in her own room before we have another baby."

This made me want to cry. I don't want a broken baby! She's perfect! Why would I want to break her? I said this out loud, too. This prompted Matt to get to the real issue on his mind: Keith. Apparently, he thinks I don't care about him and care more for Avalyn. Keith never slept in our room and Avalyn does which in Matt's mind means I love Avalyn more. Little does Matt know, Keith has slept in our room when he has nightmares or just needs some extra affection. Does he go to Matt's side of the bed? No. He comes to me. I'm not the kind of person who is going to tell a kid to go away when they're scared or need comfort. Not going to happen!

All that aside though, I do feel differently towards Keith. I told Matt this, and I have told him several times before the argument as well. I don't know if it's because he's nine and Avalyn's one, or if it's because he's a boy and she's a girl, or if it is because he's my step son and she's my blood daughter. I don't know! Of course I will treat a nine-year-old differently than a one-year-old! Sorry, Avalyn can't do chores, and Keith doesn't need diaper changes.

Matt thinks I don't give Keith enough affection. I meet all of his needs, get him off to school, make his lunches, snacks, dinners, help him with his homework, play with him, I helped him learn to talk, potty trained him, bandaged his owies, and all of the things that go into being a mom... but Matt is right, Keith doesn't get a lot of physical affection from me. But it isn't because I don't try. Keith has said (and I'm quoting him), "I give hugs and kisses to my Dominique, I like her hugs better than yours, so I don't need yours."

Fair enough. I'm not going to force the kid to hug me. Matt says I should. He thinks I'm too hard on Keith as well. Sorry, but no. Matt is the one who spanks, I do not. Keith had been a royal brat all day. Lying and not listening, talking back and full out arguing. It was not a good day. My punishment? Chores. He ended up washing dishes by hand and taking out trash (among other things). Thank goodness for Facebook. I posted a cry for help, and my old neighbor gave me (and my Facebook friends) some great suggestions. We ran out that night to buy fake money to implement "fun dollars" as well as a few other crafts I found online. But I digress...

The fight that started with me being angry at Matt for taking the good bed, ended being out my lack of love for Keith. *Le sigh* Matt was angry and ended up going to the issue that had been weighing on him all day. I was tired and just wanted to resolve the dispute and go to sleep. Matt never did see it from my point of view, he never does when he's mad.

Oh well. I ended up sleeping in our bed with Matt, and Avalyn. She was oddly quiet and fell asleep next to me while Matt and I were still talking. She didn't fuss at all that night, maybe she knew it would upset Daddy if she did. Who knows. She's one smart cookie.

On Saturday night, I put Avalyn to bed at 9:00 PM. I had gone to bed at 1:00 AM and Matt was still up. I felt the bed shift and looked at my clock at 2:50 AM. When I heard Avalyn stir in the monitor, I turned it down and watched it quietly. Sometimes Avalyn can fall back asleep on her own, so I give her a minute or two to see. The monitor kept lighting up and small sounds were coming from her room. I was also worried to have a repeat of the night before. If I got up to get Avalyn, would Matt get all grumpy again? I wasn't looking forward to that, I just wanted to sleep.

I felt the bed shift again, and heard Avalyn's bedroom door open. In the monitor I heard Matt's voice say softly, "Hi sweetie!"

Moments later Matt was back in our room, putting our daughter into my arms. Just goes to show, he doesn't want a broken baby either. I made the comment, "I thought you wanted her to cry it out, and self sooth."

His exact words: "Maybe you can do it, but I can't."

Knew it. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recent Happenings

I've been working hard on my frame wall and so far I have ten frames on the wall leading up the stairs, and I'm pretty happy with it! Avalyn loves staring at pictures of her brother and Daddy - and of course of the "bay-bay!" I even framed the thermostat, ha!

I bought a bunch of amazing frames at a garage sale, but there is one frame I can't bring myself to paint. It's a light green colored wood and the texture is so unique and the frame is so wide, I love it! The problem is the rest of my frames are either a nickel colored metal or black. My idea is to paint the frame so it's similar to the rest, but leave in a pop of green. I wonder if that would be too weird.

We still haven't decided on a color for the living room yet. Who would have thought it would be so difficult?? Not me, that's for sure. We did decide to paint the trim white. I'm sorry Mom! I know it's a sin to paint wood, but our trim is so ugly! We do plan to stain the wood ledge on the half walls, and the mantle. Do we get brownie points for that? I hope so! This is a project I probably won't start until next year, we'll see. Mom will be coming up to visit for a week - maybe I will use her to help stain the kitchen cabinets... put her to work! ;) Just kidding. Maybe.

I haven't updated Avalyn's recent milestones so I'll do that, too!

New words:

33. Doggy (dooooooo-gie)
34. Pretty (pitty)
35. Pet (peh)
36. Tree (tee)
37. Boat
38. Cheese (this is her word for food)
39. No-No
40. Matt (I yelled for Matt and she yelled it too!)
41. Kick

August 20 - Visited with Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Jim and Aunt Jan
August 27 - Visited with Grandpa and Grandma
August 29 - Starts to give kisses to everything and everyone
September 3 - Avalyn's first ride on the tube
September 6 - Pushed a tote to the gate and climbed over it
September 7 - Visited Keith's new school
September 9-11 - Went to GR to visit family and Jake's birthday party!
September 12 - Starts sorting shapes very well with very little help

I am happy to report: I finally got a decent haircut! :D It's even Avalyn approved, she was petting it yesterday saying, "Pitty... pet..." I couldn't ask for a better compliment!

My haircut!

At Keith's school open house!

15 Months Old!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

We had so much fun this weekend! The kids and I went to the cottage almost every day, since my mom and dad were up. Evan and Lorianne came up on Saturday, too, so that was fun. Unfortunately, it was chilly (think less than 70 degrees), so we couldn't play in the water as long, or as much as we hoped to.

Avalyn had fun in the Harry Potter cupboard

Evan and Lorianne discovered a new way to power a paddle boat

Evan and Lorianne relived their childhood and played with blocks with the kids. ;)

Evan knocked Lorianne off the tube. He's mean like that.

Avalyn went on her first tube ride!

And then had to get in the boat because she was squirmy. But, she doesn't like being away from mommy. :'(

Playing with Grandpa

Where's Avalyn?