Saturday, February 28, 2009

Book # 11: Diaper-Free Before 3

by Jill M. Lekovic, M.D.

As I was diving into the book, Surprised by Christ, I received a surprise of my own. Our 18-month old, Madilyn, has been very interested in the toilet and all that it entails. She has also begun to tell us when she is making a number 2 in her diaper. All this led me to believe that I might need to move my potty training expectations up a bit.

With this in mind, I was searching Craig's List and found a person selling a Little Tykes barn set and a child's potty. I jumped on the chance to get both at a good price. I brought them home, cleaned them both, and presented the barn set for her to play with.

That evening, when Josh was home as well, we asked her if she wanted to see her new potty. She knew exactly what it was for, and immediately tried to climb on it. So we stripped off her pants and diaper, and sat her on it, both chuckling to ourselves at how little she was and how funny it was to see her on the potty. Low and behold, she got the better of us, as she began to pee in it! Amazed and overwhelmed by what this might mean, we praised her success and redressed her.

The potty was moved to the bathroom, and before bath, I once again sat her on it. Once again, she peed. "Now I'm really in for it," I thought, and I knew that Surprised by Christ, would have to wait.

Friday we made a trip to the library, and I hastily threw every one of their potty training books into my bag before heading to Madi's Rhyme Time program. Then began the one day reading marathon of trying to figure out if she was ready to be potty trained, if I was ready to help her, and what the heck the next step would be.

I am happy to say that my stress of the unknown has subsided. After devouring the above mentioned book, as well as parts of two others, I feel prepared. We will take this slow, but by all means continue to encourage her to use the potty. She has since used it two more times--once Friday night and once Saturday before her nap. And why shouldn't I sit her on it any time she has a bare bottom or I am planning to use the toilet myself?

So here I am, once again spurred on to actions I was not even ready to conceptualize by a child all-too-eager to conquer the world and her surroundings. Refusing to eat baby food at 9 months, walking at 10 months, and now potty training at 18. I can only say that it requires a lot of prayer and trust in God to be ready to tackle tasks I don't feel prepared to confront at this time in her development. But I guess that is why Madi and I need each other--me to guide her in her new found independence, and her to guide me to my salvation through learning to leap before I feel ready.

So please forgive the unaccounted for book insertion, but surprised I was.

Next book: Continuing to read Surprised by Christ

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The bathroom walls are being sanded as you read this. And this Saturday is going to be a major work day for Josh and me, so by Monday there should be lots of progress to report on the bathroom and family room. I hope, I hope. . .

Alright, off I go!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book # 10: The Curate's Awakening

by George MacDonald

As I finished reading this book, I was still (and am still) not decided on an opinion of it. C.S. Lewis considered George MacDonald his master, and I went into reading this book with high expectations. It was good, especially theologically. George MacDonald uses the genre of fiction to express his beliefs and understanding of Christianity, and it was intriguing to see how he did it and understand what he believes. However, the plot was frankly a little slow. It took 253 pages of small print to end the way I expected it would after reading the first ten chapters or so. It's not a page turner, but I guess it is more exciting than reading straight-forward theology.

Now that all being said, there are two more in this series, and I find myself curious to see what happens to the two main characters. As I stated, I'm not sure of my final decision.

Next book:
Surprised by Christ: My Journey from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity
by Rev. A. James Bernstein

Monday, February 23, 2009

Even More than Priceless. . .

The giggle of a child as she hugs you before bed, and knowing that the laughter means she is feeling better. It's beyond words.


Number of Tissue boxes used in one week's time: 4
Number of Times up on Saturday night soothing a sick child: 9
Number of hours watching The Wiggles in one sick weekend: 7
Number of Times pediatrician's office phone number was dialed and busy: 48

Two doctor's visits in one Monday morning, one for a sick Mommy, one for a sick child: priceless

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I did it. I finally succumbed to the pressure, got myself in line, planned ahead, and have dinner cooking in the crockpot. That's right! It's 10:23AM, and my dinner is cooking away. I have been reprimanding myself for months, yes, even years, for not taking advantage of this dinner time-saving devise.

What has prevented me using it? Well, for a while I taught and who wanted to get up earlier in order to put dinner in the crockpot. Then it was summer and being home why couldn't I spend an hour or two before dinner getting things ready. And what's my excuse for after Madilyn was born? I procrastinate. Four o'clock would roll around, and I would think, I really need to think about dinner. Then four thirty would be here, and well, maybe I should go take care of dinner. Five o'clock would arrive, and I would be sprinting around the kitchen, frantically, cooking, heating, and chopping.

I can't promise I won't backslide and fall back into old habits, but I can promise that tonight I KNOW WHAT'S FOR DINNER.

Anyone have crockpot recipes you'd like to share?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bathroom Update & Next Book

I once again forgot to tell you the next book I will be reading. Here it is:

The Curate's Awakening
By George MacDonald

And as for the bathroom, I thought you'd like to know that the wallpaper, toilet, vanity, floor heater, and all wall hangings have been removed. I took care of the wallpaper, while Josh took care of the rest. Now Josh gets to spackle the walls, while I move back to the family room and work on the last wall needing primed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Bathroom Downstairs

As I said before, I once again failed to take pictures before starting the project. But I think you'll get an idea of what it looked like from these.

I have a pretty good grasp on how to remove wallpaper at this point seeing as I removed it in two rooms of our previous home, and this will be my third room in our current home. It can be time consuming, but that's mainly because your spray bottle hand gets tired. Here's what I do:

1. If the top layer, the one with the pattern, will easily tear off, grab it and pull.
2. Arm yourself with a spray bottle filled with hot water. For this bathroom, I emptied a bottle of the wallpaper removal gel down the kitchen sink. Trust me, the gel does nothing, hot water does it all. Spray the remaining wallpaper liberally.
3. Let sit for about 5 minutes. In other words, keep spraying other areas for about 5 minutes, then return to where you started to begin removal.
4. Use a scraper and just slide it across the wall. The paper should just peel right off. If you find yourself having to use arm strength, then grab the spray bottle and apply more water.
5. When all the wallpaper is removed, sand the walls to remove any leftover glue.

That's it. Not so bad. But I will say that after removing so much wallpaper in my life, I will NEVER, EVER put any in a house. I know that at some point that wallpaper would need changed, and I do not want to have to remove anymore. We actually replastered the walls in the kitchen instead of succumbing to using wallpaper.

Here are some up close pictures of what the wallpaper looked like. This one was on the top half of the room, complete with a border.

This one was on the bottom, and is proving a little harder to remove. It requires two separate sprayings--one on the top layer and one on the bottom.

Oh, and can you see the country blue trim? That takes me back. Remember THIS?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book # 9: An Open Door: Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayer

by Frederica Mathewes-Green

This is the third book I have read by Frederica, and I will say that I enjoyed the other two more. This one takes a beginners look at icons and their use in the Orthodox church. Frederica looks at the four most prominent on the iconstasis, and then travels around her church to explain eight more icons that are displayed there. It is a great introduction, and she has masterfully intermixed descriptions of the icons, explanations of their design, and hymns from the services. It was a great review for me, and it was a pleasant book to read. A favorite quote of mine from a story she tells is "A saint is somebody whom the light shines through." (page 81) Definitely something I would recommend to someone new to Orthodoxy and the use of icons in churches.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Deadline

We have an official deadline for the family room and attached bathroom. March 27th. We potentially have some friends, a large group of friends--we're talking 8 adults, 2 kids--coming to stay with us. So we NEED that space. We have kicked it up a notch. Yesterday, I started the wallpaper removal in the bathroom, and Josh finished fixing the walls in the family room. And as I usually do, I forgot to take pictures of the bathroom BEFORE removing any wallpaper. But I am going to take some today, and take a shot of the removed wallpaper. This will at least give you an idea of the difference. Those will be posted tomorrow.

Now, what am I doing wasting all this time posting on a blog, when I should be in that bathroom with my spray bottle and scraper. Off I go. . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Valentine's Video

As Josh & I are heading on an overnight trip for a little time to ourselves, I thought I would share this a little early.

It is for all the wives out there-- a video to share with your husband to get you into that romantic, married mood. Or just have a good laugh over.

Book # 8: Eldest

by Christopher Paolini
Book # 2 in the Inheritance Series

A word of warning about this book and series. Make sure you have a couple days of uninterrupted reading time. It is a very engaging book and is hard to tear yourself away from. A mixture of Harry Potterish writing style with The Lord of the Ring's subject matter make for a thrilling fantasy. I must say that it has been hard to be motivated to do much else, but read, these past few days. It was to the extent that Madi and I went for a walk outside with her stroller, and I propped the book onto the back of the stroller to read as we walked. Not sure if that's a healthy addiction or not?

It took me about 100 pages to get back into the series, as I had read the first book a few years ago, but I am now anticipating reading the third book and excited for when it is available. I would recommend this series, especially if you enjoyed Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings series.

I am now taking a break from reading for about a week or so, hoping that I can become more productive and get some wallpaper removed in the downstair's bathroom and some paint on the family room walls. But after that time, here is my next book:

The Open Door: Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayers
By Frederica Mathewes-Green

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Jungle Removed

I have begun the landscape planning process; so hopefully, when spring and planting season arrives, we will be able to get the front flowerbeds under control.

I think overall we removed 9 trees, including one pine tree whose needles reached through our bedroom window. Basically, the front yard doubled in size, which will be nice for the kids in the future. We also now have sun in our living room each afternoon instead of the perpetual gloom.

I must say that it looks a little bare when you directly compare the two pictures, but once summer and leaves return, I think it will fill out nicely.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Remember the Jungle?

Click here to see my original post about The Jungle.

Well, it is warm enough today, so Madi and I are headed outside to get some new pictures of the front yard for you. So check back tomorrow to see the transformation. Now don't get too excited; as it is the middle of winter, the landscaping has yet to happen. But I don't think you'll be disappointed in the difference.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Book # 7: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

by Winifred Watson

This was a quick read, as can be seen in how rapidly I finished it. The entire tale takes place in the course of a single day, in which Miss Pettigrew, a governess, is sent to seek a position from a nightclub singer. Miss LaFosse (the singer) immediately pulls Miss Pettigrew into the drama of her life. The intricacies of the characters and how fully developed they are make this a treat to read. However, the happenings of the day leave Miss Pettigrew and her ever-virtuous nature in doubt of her moral and sheltered upbringing. Not sure I would condone the message, but it would be a great book to discuss as it is read.

Next book:
by Christopher Paolini

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Next Book

So I forgot to tell you what book I was reading next; well, I didn't forget. I just didn't know yet. I had run out of books in my "to read" stack. So after a library visit today, the next book is:

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day
By Winifred Watson

And might I add that I have three more lined up that I am very excited about!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book # 6: What Every Mom Needs

by Elisa Morgan & Carol Kuykendall

This is a book produced by MOPS (mother's of pre-schoolers), which is an organization for mom's to meet and discuss issues that relate to them. This book and the organization focuses on nine basic needs in order to be a better mom. The basic idea is that if you take better care of yourself and meeting your own needs, then you will be better equiped to deal with the challenges of motherhood. Many of the needs addressed and statements made by other women were identical to what I have been feeling as a mom. It was a great resource both for helping me feel understood and for providing some practical ways to help those needs be met. I would definitely recommend this book to any who are new mothers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Original Idea

I think a spa needs to be invented that dips both moms and their kids in Purell, forget the mud baths and paraffin waxes, just throw me in a pool full of Purell and all its antibacterial goodness. I was in school and college for 16 years, I taught Elementary Education for 2 years, and I have never gotten sick this often. Miss Madi has a habit of catching everything that anyone we walk by, talk to, or wave at has. This is the third day of a low grade fever and general crabbiness. This morning we are sitting in front of the computer watching Mary Poppins youtube videos, while Madi enjoys a breakfast of a popsicle. I am happy to report that those two combined has encouraged her to give her toast (her traditional breakfast) a try. Maybe the Tylenol kicked in or maybe she is feeling better. But I can recognize the telltale signs--my eyes are heavy and my sinuses are sore. Well, at least I can say that Madi knows how to share.