Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I did our taxes this weekend. Some of you that know Jeromy know that he took a year of accounting classes. Those of you that know me know that I didn't. Two years of calculus and differential equations didn't leave me with very much applicable knowledge in the arena of finance. Jeromy took business calculus, so I guess there is probably a relationship, I just don't know what it is because I was applying the math to physics, not business. I am also pretty sure that you don't need calculus to do your taxes, otherwise most people wouldn't be doing their own returns. Needless to say, I don't know what a cost basis and other various financial terms I was asked to understand, mean. Why am I the one doing our taxes then you ask? Do we enjoy being audited? Not really, I just happen to be the paper organizer in the house. I file and keep all papers that enter the house from various avenues. I am pretty sure that if I were to ask Jeromy where Ellie's social security number was, he wouldn't really know that she even had one. This is by no fault of his own, it is just my "territory." Taxes require knowing where all of your papers for an entire year live. We sold a house this year, paid interest on student loans and mortgages (plural!), had a baby, a savings account, gave charitably, and had a ridiculous amount of medical bills. This is ALOT of paperwork!

That all being said, I was pretty sure that we were going to owe a significant amount of taxes this year from the sale of our house that we only lived in for one year. You have to live in it for two years or fit other criteria (that we don't) in order to get out of paying capital gains taxes. Wow, I learned something!

I used TurboTax online which I have used two previous years as well. It is a great handholding tool for someone like me that doesn't know much about this stuff. They even have an audit sniffer that tries to find reasons you might get one. My main problem was understanding what terms they used actually mean. They have a feature that tries to define them for you, but I had trouble even understanding the definitions. How smart am I?! What was even more frustrating is that there doesn't seem to be a standard lingo between financial institutions. TurboTax would ask me to enter information for something that our Title company called something else. Can't these people figure out a standardized system to make things easier on laymen? I have heard that our tax code (which like I said don't know anything about) is quite confusing and should be simplified, but I have only heard such things, I don't wish to get into an argument with any of you readers that know more about it than me :D

The "Hooray" part of this post is that when all was said and done, we didn't owe any money. We got money back!! That is a miracle to be sure. Just like all good Americans, I already spent the money on a new treadmill. I just think about it as stimulating the economy!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cabin Fever

I know that I have already posted several times this winter pictures of the couple of inches of snow that we get here, but this weekend was crazy! On Saturday we got frozen rain all day that turned into a sheet of ice covering everything because it was so cold that night. The street looked like glass. I got maybe an hour or two of sleep at a time that night because every time someone tried to leave from the house of young guys across the street, they had to scrape a half inch of ice off their vehicle. At one point I got up to see what all the noise was outside and our next door neighbors were scraping their front porch with a metal shovel at 11:30 pm for some reason. There was a car trying to turn around in our very narrow street and their tires just kept spinning and spinning. It took them 5 minutes to get turned around without hitting anything. When we woke up Sunday morning there was already a couple of inches of snow on the ground and it continued to snow all day long. It didn't stop until it was dark out that night. All in all I think we got around 8 -12 inches. I haven't gone out with a ruler to measure it yet :D

The kids have gone outside for two days now having a great time in all of the powder, even Rachel! Jeromy didn't have to go into work until noon today. His work sent out an email to the employees last night. I have seen kids walking by our house too, so I assume they have a snow day. Snow is so much fun periodically, but the problem is going to be the sheet of ice that is underneath the snow. It is going to be awhile before the side roads like we live on are clear.

The first three pictures were taken early in the day. We got alot more after they were taken!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Catching Flies or Happy to See Me?

This is the sweet face that I get to see when I go into her room. She is so excited to see me that she squeals and kicks her feet. She is so happy and just can't contain herself! Only mothers know what it feels like to be so loved and to be someone's whole little world. It is an indescribable privilege.

She slept all night last night which was very welcomed by me. She had been waking up 2-3 times for the last week all of a sudden. Maybe she is hitting a growth spurt. As much as I love to see that face, I enjoy it more during the daylight hours!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bennett and Ellie

Bennett informed me today that he loved babies because they are so sweet, especially girl babies. He said that he wanted us to have more girl babies. This coming from the boy who informed the ultrasound tech that he wanted a boy baby, not a girl baby and that he was disappointed to hear that a girl is what we were going to have. He did want to know if boy babies were at least a little bit sweet. I told him that he was a boy baby and was VERY sweet and cuddly. He smiled and then told me that he guessed it was okay to have a boy baby then.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Analytical Maybe?

Bennett is very analytical. His little mind is always working, and he is VERY black or white. There is only one answer, nothing else can possibly be right. We have been working on writing all of his letters lately during "school" and he gets very frustrated with himself if it doesn't look perfect. I told him that we are just learning and that as he practices, they will get better, but he wants them to look perfect now. An overachiever in the making. He is very organized and like things to be orderly and in the right place. (I wonder where he got that from?!) He doesn't nap reliably every day anymore. Most days he will sleep for 30-60 minutes and then play in his room for an hour. The other day when I went downstairs to tell him he could come up, he very excitedly told me that he made "games" like at a carnival. He had created little stations that he had set up games to play. Look at the first picture carefully and see how each square has very neatly organized things on it.

These squares were called "Curious George's Library."

This game was called "Smack Purse."

This game was called "Gun Targets."

This game was called "Diego Gun Target."

He set these chairs up later when he went outside to "fix" his lawnmower, but he told me that it wasn't a game so it didn't have a name.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Looking at these two side by side convinces me that they do look alot alike. Everyone thinks that Ellie looks like Bennett, but so does Rachel if you look at their features. Ellie is more rosy-fair-skinned like Bennett and Rachel is more olive complected like I am. None of the kids look like Jeromy or me, so at least they look like each other!

Rachel was so sweet and wanted Ellie to stay in the bed with her today so that she could take a nap with her. Ellie kept waving her arms around and bopping Rachel in the head, so Rachel decided it was a better idea if I took Ellie out with me. Her love has limits.

Rachel is fascinated by nursing lately and is always nursing her babies. Bennett usually joins her in nursing the babies too. Kids are so funny. Lots of imaginative play going on indoors during the winter.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Sweet Baby Girl

I love this little face so much. I wish I could keep her a baby forever, I really do. She is doing a little better than she has been lately. She is nursing regularly again, although she does pull off and relatch about 20 times sometimes as if she has something better to do. She is less content just sitting in her little bouncy chair watching the world go by. She would much rather be held sitting up which is fine by me now that my back is doing better. I have started wearing her in my wrap again which I just love doing. She is so close and cuddly. She gets mad if I squeeze her too tight though and arches her back to get away. Why are they all so resistant to cuddling?!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Want It To Be Light Outside

This is what I woke up to with the addition of crying at 1:30 this morning. Rachel took a longer than normal nap yesterday afternoon and decided halfway through the night that she was done sleeping. I went downstairs when I heard her crying on the monitor, and she was really upset. I have to admit that the only solution I was trying to come up with was one that would involve me going back to sleep by myself. I knew if I brought her to my bed she would mess around and not go back to sleep at all. The solution I came up with was letting her sit in a chair next to her bed and look at books until she felt like going back to bed. This arrangement stopped the crying and allowed me to achieve my main goal of going back to bed. Unfortunately, I couldn't really go back to sleep because I still heard her on the monitor talking and playing. Finally at 3 am I heard Jeromy roll over which I assumed meant he was awake :o) and asked him to go downstairs and tell Rachel to go back to bed. He was wonderful enough to oblige me and when he came back to bed (after quite a long talk with Rachel who kept adamantly telling him that mom said she could stay up) he said that all the lights were on down there, and she was playing away. It eventually quieted down and we all went back to sleep. We sure do have one cranky 2 year old today. I will definitely NOT let her take anymore long naps though. She taught me my lesson!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hospitality Made Easy

You gotta love guests bearing gifts! We had Jeromy's new boss over for dinner with his wife and daughter. His wife happens to be a florist and blessed us with my all-time favorite bouquet of flowers....TULIPS! I was so excited to see them. Jeromy and I got married in March which was so providential because it coincides with tulip season. I carried tulips and we had bouquets in the church as well. They are so happy and cheerful and remind me that spring will be here before we know it. Last week we had a single man from church over for dinner who is a winemaker. What we didn't know is that the wine tasting room has leftover wine every night that they just throw away if they can't find anything to do with it. Can you imagine? What a travesty! When he found out we enjoy a nice glass of wine, he promised to bring us some to church. Hospitality is not something you do to get anything but fellowship out of, but gifts are always nice :D

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Excited About The Dentist?

Is Bennett really my son? Well, I do know the answer to that question because I did indeed see him be born and he never left my sight until we went home from the hospital. This is a kid with no fear. He had his second visit to the dentist on Wednesday for a checkup and cleaning, and he was actually EXCITED to go. I cried every time I had to go to the dentist until I was 12. It was mostly my sister's fault for scaring me about what could go on inside those doors, but still pretty irrational as I had never had any of those things done to me personally. I brought Bennett to one of my checkups before he had to go to his first one so that he could see what they do and how it isn't anything to be scared of. I was pregnant at the time, so my gums were more sensitive than usual. One of the dental hygienists at our dentist's office I lovingly refer to as "nurse rachet." She gives the world's most thorough teeth cleaning. I don't really know if teeth and gums need to be cleaned as well as this dh thinks they do, but she is the one with the sharp tools, so I don't argue. She actually gives her patients numbing mouthwash before she gets to work because at least she realizes how much pain she causes. Being pregnant, I couldn't use the wash, so I had to keep the grimacing to a minimum with my 4 year old watching. She was really good with Bennett and let him touch all of the tools and use most of them. She even let him polish my teeth until he stopped being good about "staying on the white part." That thing hurts on the gums! At least I covered up my pain enough that he wasn't scared about going himself the next time. I was wearing goggles and I guess he couldn't see the tears streaming out of them.

When we got there yesterday, he jumped up in the chair, asked for the headphones and a cartoon, and let a different hygienist go to work on him this time. The only part he really didn't like was the fluoride they painted on his teeth. He asked if he could spit. It is a far cry from the tray of fluoride they used to make you bite down on when I was a kid. Then they would shove that suction hose down your throat so that you wouldn't swallow anything. I had quite a gag reflex and never did make it the whole time they wanted me to. I even had to run to the bathroom gagging one time. That was the last fluoride treatment they made me have.

Bennett collected his booty..... a new toothbrush, floss (do kids with huge spaces between their teeth really need to floss?), a sticky hand that you throw at the wall, and a coupon for a McD's ice cream cone. I guess the dentist wants repeat business so they send you to go get sugar. Jeromy will enjoy the cone, and we are all done for another 6 months. I am sure glad to have such a brave boy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ellie Belly

This is a name that my dad started with Ellie. He is a nickname guy (Bennett is Bubba, and Rachel is Bubbette). He also is known for loving little bellies. Bennett asked me to button his pants today and informed me it was okay to lift up his shirt because grandpa wasn't here.

Ellie belly is sure growing up. She has an opinion about pretty much everything. She is either happy and smiling and laughing or screaming and arching her back and miserable. There is no in between these days of just sitting and chilling. I am convinced that we have an early teether and that is what the cause of her foul moods is. She is nursing pretty well again, and I ate corn yesterday and haven't seen any difference so hopefully that means that she isn't sensitive to it. She sleeps really well, so I really can't complain (too much at least!)

Her newest trick is blowing raspberries which she thinks is pretty funny. I think it is just an excuse for her to spit. She is pretty drooly these days. I haven't a clue what she weighs right now. There is another baby at church who is 2 weeks older than her and feels like he is a good 10 pounds heavier, but he is a really big guy. All is well with us and we are loving having Ellie as part of our family. It is so amazing how God just gives you a perfect "fit."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter Duldrums

Being stuck inside most of the winter starts to get a bit old after a while. I am not one that really likes going to the play area at the mall or the children's museum in the winter either because of the infectious disease factor. I know that little kids are bound to get sick in the winter, but since we have experienced winters where we have been sick for months on end, I am a little cautious. Rachel still puts darn near everything in her mouth which negates focusing on hand washing after we leave. What do we do all day, you ask...............

Bennett is always creating some new weapon. This is a knife that he made from plastic tubing. It has a broken piece of Rachel's bracelet inside. I am not sure why. The handle is made of the back of a sun visor his grandma got him last year. The next MacGyver?

Rachel spends alot of time playing mommy to her babies as well as with her play kitchen. She and Bennett like to set the table and create meals to serve each other. Unfortunately their gourmet endeavors mean taking out all of their little toys (bolts, magnetic letters, odd and ends) and mixing them all together. They have fake food, but I guess it isn't as much fun as using your imagination?!

This is how Bennett dressed up Rachel this morning. She is wearing her bathing suit over her dress with Bennett's swim trunks and beanie on. Why, you ask? Because it was fun I'm sure.

Monday, January 14, 2008


We haven't gotten very many inches of snow at one time this year, but it has snowed more times than I remember it snowing last year. Unfortunately, we seem to get warm days right after we get snow, and it all melts. Bennett gets so bummed when he wakes up and the snow is all gone. Rachel, on the other hand, doesn't like the snow, or the cold for that matter, and doesn't ever want to go out and play in it with Bennett. That makes him not stay out too long either because he doesn't have anyone to play with. He has definitely forgotten the days of playing solo before Rachel came along.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nursing Update

Attention male reader, the following post is entirely about breastfeeding. Tune out now.

Thank you to those that have commented and emailed me privately about their experiences and advice. I contacted our naturopath doctor on Tuesday, who is also a midwife, to talk to her about the problems we have been having. She was baffled by my explanation of what has been happening. She said that teething doesn't usually make a baby not want to nurse at all. There are no other food allergy symptoms like red cheeks, red bottom, eczema or rash, green stool etc. My other kids had these symptoms of food allergy. She said that she would be uncomfortable and fussy after she eats if her tummy were hurting her, not solely while she was nursing. She said that it is a little late to start having colic right now. The other weird thing is that she nurses fine if I can get her calmed down enough to do it. She screams and turns her head and fights it, but will usually calm down once my milk lets down, although not always. Sometimes she will still fight and then chokes and sputters and screams while she is getting some of the milk down. My doctor really thinks that this is behavioral. For whatever reason, this is how Ellie is exerting her little will and trying to control the situation. She encouraged me to wait until she is hungry to nurse her which I have started doing anyway and to try teething tablets. They contain chamomile and it might be what she needs to calm down before she nurses. I tried them before I nursed her that night and sure enough, she nursed just fine. Now, I am fully willing to admit that maybe I was calmer and less stressed because I thought the teething tablets were going to work. Maybe it was a placebo effect on ME. Ellie is very sensitive and gets upset if I blow it and lose my temper with my older two. (What a good reason to work on anger issues!) She even is sensitive to me calling them downstairs because I am raising my voice. So, I don't know whether or not she is feeding off of my emotions or if the problem originates with her. The other puzzle piece is that I have stayed off corn for the last few days. I will introduce some maybe tomorrow to see if she has a reaction. It is hard to know though because maybe she will sense that I am stressed about it and then have the problems again. Sigh. At least she is nursing well today, for that I am thankful.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blogger's Block

When people don't blog for a whole week, I usually assume they are up to all sorts of fun and exciting things. I await the next post enlightening me to all that has unfolded in the previous week. I wrote this because perhaps you are thinking the same thing about me, but alas, I just haven't felt like blogging lately. Sorry. I feel like I have had a hard time catching up from Christmas. Having Jeromy home, decorations out, extra meals to make, I feel behind. We have had alot of company over the last couple of weeks which has been wonderful, but definitely more work. I need to have a couple of "company" meals that are easy, go to meals when I have alot of people to cook for. Something that can be done mostly before hand that isn't complicated. I seem to bust out the fancy, high prep meals for guests and then spend too much time in the kitchen. I enjoy hospitality and want it to stay a joy, so coming up with some easier meals I think will help. Any suggestions? (We are allergic to wheat and dairy, so don't say lasagne!)

Here are some random pictures from the last couple of weeks.

Here is Ellie trying to watch the TV that was on.

We need to work on the "group photo."

Ellie's trick to keeping the binky in her mouth. She just puts her fist over it and holds it in. Too cute! She doesn't go to sleep at night with the binky and I still have her wearing a t-shirt that has her hands covered, but she has such a need for sucking that she wakes up with soaking wet "paws." I am afraid that if I let her hands out she will start sucking her thumb. She sucks on her fingers alot, but hasn't managed to get the thumb in there yet. We have encountered some rocky road with nursing the last few weeks as well. Some days she screams and turns her head when I try to nurse her. She is getting really "busy" and doesn't like to lie down, so I thought maybe that was the cause. I am also afraid it could be a food allergy that is bothering her tummy and making her not want to nurse. I looked in my nursing book for some answers, but it didn't help very much. I think she is teething already too. Before you say that she is only 3 months old, Bennett got in his first tooth a few days before his 4th month. Ughhh! Nursing babies with teeth are not my friend, so I was hoping Ellie would hold off awhile. Rachel got her first tooth at about 6 months. She has been drooly and fussy too, so I don't really know what the lack of interest in nursing is. The book said that she should be nursing 7-8 times a day and I CANNOT get her to nurse more than 6 times. She is gaining weight and looks healthy, so I am trying not to stress about it (at least not too much!) It seems to help if I go into a dark, quiet room, but how impractical is that around my house. For now, I am doing whatever I need to so that she nurses at least 6 times, and I've gone off chocolate and wine because I thought maybe one of those was bothering her. If it continues I will probably check corn and soy as well, but with my current gluten/dairy free diet what will I eat? Right now, Jeromy is saying MEAT! At least she has a mama that is willing to do whatever it takes for her to be healthy. I am waiting for a baby with no food allergies, that's for sure. I think it will take adoption to get that!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008