Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Bet This Doesn't Happen At Your Play Group!

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Jamie Teague, if you are reading this, this one is for you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Will Someone PLEASE....


Start making clothes that fit cloth diaper butts?!!?

I had to buy Graham some clothes for the 6-9 month period and purchased some Old Navy jeans that I thought were super cute. Graham isn't even 7 months old and when I put those jeans on him he looks like they were painted on and his gut hangs out while his pants dig into his skin. He can barely sit up because they are so tight.

I am kicking myself that I bought 2 pairs of jeans from there! Their sizing is fine until 6 months. After the 3-6 month size at Old Navy is 6-12 months. They don't distinguish a difference in 6-9 or 9-12 months clothing. There is NO WAY Graham will fit into those jeans when he is 12 months old! I don't think he will be able to wear them for 2 more weeks! I know that Graham was big when he was born but he is actually average in his weight but extra long for his height.

Has anyone else had the same problem with Old Navy jeans for babies? Cloth diapered or not it seems like it might be a problem. In order to get any more wear time I might have to buy some disposables just so we can get our money out of them. I don't want to have to do that!

Other clothing brands haven't been as much of a problem but I guess I learned an important lesson. Pththththth!

It would be nice if clothes were a little roomier in the behind for cloth diapering. Sigh. I am sure that with all the entrepreneurs out there someone will start a business.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How Did You Come Up With THAT Name?

Dawn tagged her readers with a Meme asking them to share how they came up with their children's names. I thought it was a great idea for a meme so here goes:

Ewan Christopher MacBain- Right from the beginning boys names were difficult for us to choose from as we contemplated what in the world we would name the baby growing in my belly. We loved the idea of family names but weren't sure which ones to pick. We had a lot of criteria that needed to be met before settling on a name. I couldn't start with a "P" because we didn't want the first and last initials to be "P.P.". It couldn't end with an "er" sound because Taylor Parker was too weird sounding. It also couldn't be a name that would possibly become or already is also a girls name--which ruled out a lot of names. And it had to be a little unique. And it had to have significant meaning. I didn't want to pick a name that meant demon or something dark and terrible. So basically we had 5 names to choose from. Just kidding.

If I remember correctly we actually decided on both of the middle names before picking the first name. We choose to have 2 middle names for the boys because it is common in English tradition for boys to have 2 middle names and since that is part of their heritage we decided to go for it.

We were nearing the end of my pregnancy and were leaving Borders bookstore. Jon passed by a book by an author with the name McEwan and Jon said, "Hey, what about Ewan?" I liked it but it was definitely different. I looked up what it meant and it means "Born of Nobility" or "Young Warrior". I liked the meaning and the idea that the baby in my womb would know that he is a child of God and would be a son of the King. I also liked that it meant he would be strong. Ewan also has some Scottish heritage and Ewan is a very popular name in the British Isles.

Christopher is the name of my uncle who was killed in a plane crash over 20 years ago. We wanted to honor him and we liked the name too.

MacBain is from Jon's side of the family and we wanted to include a name from his side of the family. We knew from the beginning that MacBain was going to be in the baby's name. There is a lot of heritage that comes from that side of the family and we wanted to carry that on.

Nicknames:
Tank, Bubba, and Brother--absolutely nothing to do with his name whatsoever!


Isaac Thaddeus Deane- We had a hard time coming up with Isaac's first name too. We had been considering Isaiah for a long time but it never felt quite right. We were on a walk in Canada at the cottage--I remember that day so clearly--and Jon suggested Isaac. It clicked. We knew it was right. We had been praying about it for quite a while so it was a relief that we knew what the baby's name was. Isaac means laughter and who wouldn't want a precious boy whose name means laughter. I pictured someone full of joy and able to laugh.

I really liked that name Thaddeus but not necessarily for a first name. I didn't want his name to get shortened to "Thad" because it sounds like "sad" with a lisp. And I didn't like Tad either. Thaddeus means courage and as I prayed for this baby growing in my womb I knew that courage would be part of his name. When he was born 6 weeks early and was in the NICU I knew why God had pressed that name into my heart.

Deane is Jon's middle name and his dad's first name. Another family name to be passed down to another generation. It also means leader. We thought of a little boy with the pictures of laughter, courage, and leader attached to him. It fit.

Nicknames: Bubba, Brother. Again, nothing creative with his name. I think Ewan and Isaac have those strong sounding consonants so it doesn't really shorten or lengthen into anything that just rolls off the tongue.


Jonathan Graham Antonius- Early on in the pregnancy when I was praying about what to name the baby I felt strongly that the baby's name was going to be Jonathan. Jon felt a little weird about naming a baby after him but didn't feel like he could argue with what I felt like I heard from God. Jonathan means gift of God. Having a third was a deliberate decision on our end and when we got pregnant again I knew this baby was a gift. We were excited about the possibility of having a girl but when we found out it was a boy I felt like God had gifted us with a precious third boy to love.

Graham is a name that we both loved and we both agreed that having two Jonathans in the house might be a little confusing. We knew the second middle name is what we would call the baby. This is the only name out of all the names for all the boys that doesn't mean anything super significant. It means gravel area or gray homestead. Jon has a cousin named Graham, although spelled differently, and we both like him a lot. The name "Graham" met all our other criteria.

Antonius- While we were visiting Canada this summer we were telling the family we were having a hard time coming up with the second middle name. Jon's grandma asked him who were his spiritual heroes were and suggested that maybe we would find a name there. It got Jon thinking and he picked Antonius after St. Anthony. I should have Jon contribute on more of his reasons to pick St. Anthony. Check the comments for that.

Nicknames: Smooshers (because that 12 pound baby at birth was so smooshy when he was born!), Shmooshy, Grahammy, Grahamikins, Cracker (from his grandpa--none of us call him that!)

Consider yourself tagged!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunflower Butter


Has anyone tried Sunflower butter? Mmmmmmmm......it is quite good. We picked some up at Trader Joe's this weekend. I like to switch between peanut butter and almond butter because the boys ask for PB&J almost everyday. I get nervous about them eating too much peanut butter so I use almond butter too. I saw the sunflower butter and thought I'd try it for fun. It is sooooooo yummy! I am testing it out on the boys for lunch today. So far, no complaints. I don't think they can even tell a difference. If you like sunflower seeds then you will love this alternative to peanut butter. It is also a good source of iron!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen, Indeed!

We sang one of my favorite hymns today in church. This song felt particularly poignant this morning because I have been very aware of my sin this week (partially due to the Lenten season and Good Friday) and I have been feeling pretty wretched. As much as I DON'T WANT to sin, I find myself doing it anyway.

Ewan has been resisting naps more and more and even though he probably doesn't need them as much as he once did he still gets tired, cranky, edgy, and loses a lot of self-control which I react to (angrily) rather than respond to (patiently). It has been tempting to blame my own anger and crabbiness on my son rather than taking responsibility for my own sin. As we sang this song I contemplated on my own behavior over the past week, prayed for forgiveness and mercy, and found myself once again feeling hopeful that in Christ I can be free from my sin. If you have never heard this song sung find a way to listen to it because the melody is powerful!

In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Happy Easter, friends. May you be filled with hope on this wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ewan's Easter Party and Laughable Bloochers

I have never posted home movies on the blog before so we will see how this works. The second one is Ewan "singing" at his Easter party at school today. The first one is Isaac giving Graham bloochers before jammies and bedtime. Hopefully it works!

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I got the video from our digital camera--not the movie camera so the quality isn't that great. I am hoping to include a little more video goodness occasionally. This is just the first trial.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Green Post #3 Breastfeeding is Green!

I know a lot of you who read my blog breastfeed your children. Now you can pat yourself on the back for being green! Yeah!

Breastfeeding is green because in order to do so you do not use any resources other than your own reusable breasts! How cool is that! Formula use requires consumer waste from the containers it uses and also fuel to deliver the product across the country, not to mention all the energy used to actually make the formula.

Most of you who read or know me, know that I am a huge fan of breastfeeding--and you also know that I have had problems nursing my children. I have to supplement Graham's feedings with formula in order for him to gain the weight he is supposed to gain. Some people choose to use formula from the get-go and there are ways to be green when it comes to bottle feeding too!

Instead of using plastic bottles, which pose a risk for plastics to leach into the milk, use glass bottles! Glass is much more recyclable than plastic and is much safer for the baby. I recently read an article that reminded me that every single bit of plastic EVER made still exists and will still exist a long time after I die. That is scary!

Glass bottles are getting more popular but they are still hard to find in most markets like Target and Walmart. I found our glass ones made by Evenflo at Babies R Us for a very reasonable price. Less than $5 for 3 4 oz. bottles. Born Free makes glass bottles in addition to BPA free bottles and sippie cups but they are much more expensive. The Evenflo bottles are thick glass and if you warm up your baby's milk in the microwave (we serve ours cold from the fridge water dispenser) you don't have to worry about plastics leaching. I have kept the glass bottles in the diaper bag and haven't been worried about them breaking. I wish that I had bought more of the Evenflo glass bottles when I went to Babies R Us. I only bought 3 4oz. bottles and 3 9oz. bottles. I was hopeful at the time that I wouldn't need to supplement for long or for many feedings during the day. Babies R Us is inconvenient to get to for me so I have also bought some plastic ones too. But I kick myself all the time for making the plunge and getting more glass bottles.

Medela and Lansinoh also have BPA free bottles but they too are hard to find. This site has awesome information on BPA free baby products and companies. Evenflo and a few other companies are in the process of discontinuing their plastic bottles for BPA-free ones. I am glad that companies are willing to change their products to meet safer standards for our children. You can also call the companies whose products you use and tell them to stop using BPA!

Nuggets of Fun

Here are some pictures of some of the cool fun we have been having! After our last snow storm we had a very warm 60-something degree while the snow was still on the ground. It was a great day to play outside so we took advantage of it. The snow had been melting all day so it was a little surreal to be playing outside on a warm day surrounded by snow on the ground. I got out some plastic bowls and we made "snow cakes" with cake sprinkles and food coloring.


We also got a cookbook from grandma that has fun recipes in it for kids. We made this turtle bread. It was actually pretty easy and fun to make. I usually only make yeast bread in the bread machine so I was a little nervous making one from scratch. I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested.


We FINALLY hung some pictures on the wall! I can't believe how much homier and bright our living room feels. I rearranged some items we had on our mantle and I love it now. Try to ignore the books in the fireplace. Books are all over the house and I finally decided to put them into the fireplace as storage for all the books that end up downstairs. The gas is capped off so the fireplace doesn't work and I didn't want to put candles in it with all the small ones running around. It works for now even though it isn't quiet as aesthetically pleasing.




I still haven't taken Graham's 6 month picture but here is a picture of some fun he is having lately. This is the only toy he likes to play with sitting up. He can sit up but he prefers to play laying down--especially on his tummy. He is quite the roller and will roll all over the living room to investigate his surroundings. Neither Ewan nor Isaac were rollers like this. They usually played sitting up. It is pretty fun to watch him roll everywhere.





Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busted!

I wish I had pictures for this one! Unfortunately I was sleeping with the baby while it all happened. At 7am Ewan came in to our room and was ready to get up for the day. Isaac came out of his room soon after Ewan did. Jon was still a little sleepy so was going to let the boys play for a little bit while he laid on the couch and snoozed. Ewan, being the persistent one that he is, told Jon that he wanted breakfast. Jon wanted to snooze and told Ewan so. Ewan asked if he could have a snack. Jon told him that if he could find a snack he could get one. So with a cute smile he came out of the kitchen holding a bag of chocolate chips. I mean, who wouldn't want chocolate chips for breakfast?! Jon told him, no of course you can't have chocolate chips for breakfast and encouraged him to find something else. Ewan went back to the kitchen to scrounge for something else.

Well, the next thing that happened was that Jon woke up on the couch and it was 7:30. And quiet. Too quiet. He was wondering where the boys were and starting calling for them. Ewan eventually came down from upstairs. Jon asked what they were doing.

Ewan, with a sweet smile, told Jon they were under Isaac's covers. "And what were you doing under the covers?", Jon asked. With that sweet, hopeful smile he responded, "Um.....eating chocolate chips and goldfish."

If Ewan had chosen to lie, Isaac's chocolate chip smeared mouth would have given them away.

Busted!

I am glad that Ewan hasn't figured out how to lie yet. He was really hoping that he wouldn't get in trouble for sneaking food which is a major no-no in our house. The consequence was no dessert tonight. We have designated dessert nights on Tuesday and Thursdays so we don't have to say no all the time. It makes life a little easier.

I think Jon was a little nervous about telling me what happened. I think he thought HE was going to be the one that got busted for snoozing while mischief was happening. When things like that happened you never want it to happen on your parental watch! It could just as easily happened to me though so I wasn't going to throw stones.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Relief, Proud, Big Boy, and FINALLY!!!

What do all those words have in common for a post? Well, I'll tell ya!

Isaac is finally WANTING and CHOOSING to go to the bathroom all on his own initiative! Something has "clicked" in the past few weeks for him and he has decided to go pee when he needs to go. We don't have to keep him on the clock and tell him to go every 2 hours. We potty trained him when he was about 2 years and 3 months old. He could pee in the toilet if we asked him to but he didn't have much interest to go on his own volition. And pooping? Forget it! He would poop in his diaper first thing in the morning or right after waking up from a nap. There wasn't much opportunity for him to even try to go in the toilet but when the moment arose, let's just say there was a lot of cleaning up to do!

I don't know what did it for him but he has started just going. He does get an m&m when he pees in the toilet and goes by himself. He also gets a chocolate goody when he poops on the potty. His code for pooping is to say, "Mom, I have an itch in my bum". I guess that is what the feeling of having to go poop feels like to him. We didn't come up with it. A few weeks ago when all this initiative taking started we kept telling him how proud we were of him. He and I would call daddy at school and celebrate over the phone. Sometimes we'd call grandma or tell anyone on the phone what occurred if they happened to call at the right time. I think the he really likes knowing how absolutely proud of him we are for making such a big step on his own. Today he went poop and asked, "Mom, aren't you soooo proud of me?" with a big, big, big smile on his face. We are all celebrating with him. Now the "itch in my bum" comment is usually followed up with a "Let's go poop!".

I have to say that I am just so relieved at not having to remind him to go and that I can relax about cleaning up any pee or poop accidents. In the past month he has grown up so much--learning his letters (well, he has been working on them for a while), starting to write, toileting himself, riding his tricycle (he can pedal and get anywhere he wants to now). He is such a big boy now and he is enjoying that part of growing up.

He was my baby for so long and now I have seen him make some huge milestones all in the past few months. I often feel guilty that he is the middle child (motivation for having a 4th right there!) but I hope that these memories and feelings he has of feeling celebrated for all his milestones will linger and be foundational for his development as a secure person.

We are all super proud of Isaac and if you want to send any remarks along to Isaac via the blog I will make absolutely sure that he gets them!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Green Post #2 Household Cleaners

Wow! It is hard to know where to start on a post about household cleaners because it could be a very LONG one!

Being green when it comes to household cleaners can be an easy change in a physical sense but more difficult mentally. What I mean by that is that we are so accustomed to smelling harsh chemicals and equating that smell with "clean" that we perhaps are a little skeptical when it comes to using biodegradable green products for cleaning our houses.

I remember growing up with the scent of Pine Sol every Saturday so in my mind Pine Sol=CLEAN. There are so many chemicals in household cleaners that are not good for us or the earth. I know when I switched to using more earth friendly products I had to remind myself that harsh chemicals aren't necessarily better.

Avoid household cleaners with these ingredients:

Petroleum is a non-renewable resource. Paraffin, mineral oil, diethylene glycol, perchloroethylene, or butyl cellosolve are all common ingredients found in detergents or solvents and are derived from petroleum.

Phthalates (which have recently been in the news a lot) are used to maintain scents in cleaners. Phthalates have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems in lab animals. Phthalates are found in beauty products, shampoos, lotions, toys, and cleaning products. Manufacturers are not required to put "phthalates" on the label it is often under the label "fragrance" which makes it a little trickier to avoid the products with phthalates in them. I think that some companies are catching on to the danger of phthlalates in products (especially for babies) and we will soon be seeing labels letting us know that shampoos and lotions are "phthalate-free". Phthalates are also found in plastic toys that are have vinyl and PVC in them. Plastics numbered 3 are likely to have phthalates in them so you can choose to avoid those toys too.

I think your best option is to avoid products with non-specific labels of "fragrance" in them.

Phosphates/EDTA are used to soften water and increase the effectiveness of cleaning power. Phosphates effect the environment by causing more algae growth in natural water habitats which can in turn have an effect on oxygen supplies for animals. EDTA is often used as a substitute for phosphates and they are slow to breakdown in the environment. Phosphates are often found in laundry detergents.

Antibacterial chemicals in cleaners are suspected to increase bacteria resistant superbugs like MRSA. There are lots of natural antibacterial agents out there to use for cleaning (more on that).

If you are looking to buy a household cleaner that works well and has natural, biodegradable ingredients these companies have a good reputation for making cleaners that are earth friendly and work well: Method, Mrs. Meyers, and BioKleen. Those are some of my favorite companies.

If you are wanting to be EXTRA-green you can make you own products by using common household products like distilled white vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, water, and liquid soap and simply reuse the same spray bottles for each of your homemade cleaners. By making your own you are helping the environment by not purchasing more plastic that takes 10000 years to biodegrade.

Essential oils are great because they are pleasant smelling and often have their own antibacterial agents in them.

Here are a few recipes from the herb company, Nature's Sunshine:

For a safe disinfectant and laundry freshener:
7 drops of tea tree oil
5 drops lavender
3 drops thyme
2 drops rosemary
7 drops lemon (dark colors only)
Sunshine Concentrate (follow directions on bottle)

You can use Sunshine Concentrate to clean a TON of things. A 32 ounce bottle is 15 bucks and will last a long time.

I got these recipes from this website called EarthEasy. It has a TON of green living information on it and I highly recommend the site. There are recipes for your specific cleaning needs like coffee and tea stains, dishwasher detergent, dishwashing soap, floor cleaner, oven cleaner, and laundry detergent.

All purpose cleaner:
1/2 C. vinegar
1/4 C. baking soda
1/2 gallon water
(my personal addition would be to add 5ish drops of an essential oil for a natural fragrance)
Use with a microfiber cloth to clean bathroom fixtures, tiles, showers, and mirrors.

Bathroom mold cleaner:
one part 3% oxygen to 2 parts water in a spray bottle. spray on area and wait one hour before rinsing.

(Some) Homemade cleaners may take a little extra elbow grease but when you know you are helping the environment and making your home a more non-toxic place the effort seems worth it.

I am not the queen of green just so you know. I don't want anyone to get the impression that I am feeling superior to anyone because I am "so green". The truth is that I often feel convicted about changing my consumer habits the more I learn about how we need to help our environment. I wanted to commit to learning more about how to be green more for myself than anyone else and having a once a week goal helps me continue to do the research and try new things. The only homemade cleaner I make is a diaper pail disinfectant out of water and tea tree oil! I do use Method cleaners for most of my household cleaning products, however writing this makes me want to make some cleaners. The EarthEasy site has so many recipes that I know I will look there before buying any new specialty products that I need.



Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's Food Time!

Well, I gave in a week early and gave Graham some food. I gave him some butternut squash first, then sweet potatoes. Today we tried homemade rice cereal but he wasn't fond of it. I think tomorrow I will add some breastmilk to it to give it some flavor he is familiar with. Here are the pics from our fun day of trying food!