really no rest

Kayleigh So it’s been about a week now that Kayleigh’s figured out how to get out of her crib without killing herself.  She’s gotten really good at it, too.  So good at it that just as I predicted, she’s now bored of playing with all toys in their room and the living room so all she does is try to get into things she knows she’s not supposed to be in, try to escape places I’ve attempted to block her off from, and throw things in the trash can.  She also likes to try to escape the house, so the chain lock is on all the time.  Yesterday, to even get a shower, I set Elijah up on the top bunk with his math book and he was to just be in there and oversee K as she can’t open the bedroom door yet.  Actually, that worked pretty well because she stayed safe and contained, he finished his math pages for the day, and I got a shower (a 3 minute one).  Elijah gets mad, though, because she dumps out alllllll the toys, all the tubs and all the drawers, and there’s just toys covering the floor, and he has to clean them up later.  I’ve also had to start locking the refrigerator again and I’m going to have to do something with those cabinets under the kitchen sink.

Really, all this is fine, the next step of life, but it’s got me exhausted by mid-day each day and behind in my photo editing.  Where before, I’d block off the living room and she’d play in there while I edited on my laptop or maybe I’d edit while she was napping.  But with her new found courage, naps are frowned upon and she is not content whatsoever to play in the living room even one bit, not even on her new-to-her trampoline that my parents brought back from storage in their house (it was Elijah’s).

Also, and this is really the point of my post, she’s eaten very little the last several days.  I think this is simply because she doesn’t want to be in her high chair.  She wants to run.  Running is fine, but you gotta eat, too.  She cries when I put her in there and it’s not long before she’s giving me the “done” sign and/or throwing a fit.  Just a bit ago, I got her in there and she ate a bit of freeze dried fruit.  She wanted a graham cracker but then she was done and she got down.  I hadn’t even had a chance to clean up the tray yet and she was signing that she wanted a cracker and what not.  So I put her back in the high chair and she picked up the graham cracker and then started motioning that she wanted out of the high chair with the cracker.  I said “uh, no, Missy, you’re not carrying food around the house.  Eat it.”  She started to cry and act like she was going to let herself out (which she can’t yet) and I said, “No, eat your cracker, then you can get down.”  She yelled and threw the cracker on the floor where it was immediately grabbed by the dog who’s not supposed to be eating People Food.  I guess it’s a good thing I just put her on Pediasure…

I just bought an extra wide gate for our 50″ doorway between the living room and the rest of the house, it’s supposed to be here today.  Their room is off the living room so if this gate is good, that will be really nice and maybe it will help her see that these two rooms are her play area, she doesn’t need to go running around causing trouble elsewhere, the little stinker.

Guess it’s time to shower, Elijah just shut himself and Kayleigh in their room with his math book…  Hey, works for me.  If he actually gets his work done faster while on his bed than at his school desk… wow.  He went in without complaints about math, too.  Unbelievable!!

no rest for the weary

In May, I bought a Groupon for a mattress store that’s about 45 miles north of us, $50 to get $225 off.  Not too shabby.  We needed a new mattress pretty bad.  Come to think of it, I think our last one was purchased in 2002.  It held up pretty well, for the most part, the mattress just getting a bit saggy, but the box springs was still perfect.  Time for an update, though.

Steve actually took the day off work for us to finally get up to the store and do this before the Groupon would expire in November.  He worked all weekend though, so that was out, Tuesday it was.

When we moved into this house, we were in the main floor bedroom but while I was pregnant with Elijah, our upstairs needed to be finished asap.  Steve finished up the drywall work the previous owner started and had to continue with the texture that was being put on the slanted walls (half story, enough said).  When that was finally finished, I was probably about 8 months along, and it was time to move the bed and stuff upstairs.  That… was a nightmare.  Our stairs are steep.  Yup.  Steve and whoever was helping, I think my Dad, got the mattress up there but when it was time for the box springs, it was about 6 inches too wide.  So they took the boards off the stairs, yay for gaping holes!  Every single board cracked in half down the middle… long-ways.  They got the box springs up there and then the steps had to be replaced.  Steve picked sturdier boards that were about twice as thick.

Fast forward… I knew knew knew that when we needed to replace the box springs… it would have to be demolished.  Of course, in the past, I envisioned hurtling it out the window, but that is apparently frowned upon in this establishment.  So we went in the store in mind to get JUST a mattress, no box springs.  Steve, the ever frugal, surprised me by saying that even though our box springs was in good condition, we should go ahead and get the new one.  This, of course, after finding out that they apparently make split queen box springs… so it’s two pieces, halved down the length.  Unfortunately, we had to go to their warehouse to get them, the manager said they don’t sell often, so he never keeps them in stock.  But it wasn’t too bad, I was just glad we could do it all in one day.  He was concerned, though, in having to buy another box springs at some point before needing yet our next mattress, and he was probably right.

But when we had to get this stuff in the house. Oy.  Of course, the old stuff had to come out first.  Steve just kept saying, “I don’t know how we’re going to do this…”   I said we should take a saw to it.  :)  But circular saws in the bedroom are also frowned upon in this establishment.  He ended up having me hold it up on its end while he hammered away at it with a hammer.  Very interesting.  But the short supports went first followed by other boards.  Pretty soon we could fold it in half with the wood inside and cart it out of there.  A pity, but what you gonna do?

The split box springs got up there easily, Steve didn’t need my help, I had children and a dog to attend to, anyway.  Poor Elijah, we had to have him keep Kayleigh and the dog shut in their bedroom downstairs for us to do all of this.  He can keep Kayleigh out of trouble but we had to prop open the back door and, given the chance, both Kayleigh and the dog would take off in a split second if they saw a way out.

But the mattress was another story.  It kept getting stuck and Steve was getting maaaad.  At one point it’s just hanging there, stuck between the ceiling and the stairs and he’s like well crap I don’t know what to do.  Ummm can’t leave it like that!  Eventually with enough maneuvering and lots of prayer, it started popping up the stairs one by one.  Then we had to get it over the short wall and the stupid elliptical that never gets used… anyone want an elliptical??

But then… an assembled bed, a mattress pad protector thing (part of the warranty), clean sheets and pillow cases… ahhhh I am much to excited to sleep here in a few minutes!

The best part?  We got $1400 worth of bed for $600  plus the $50 the Groupon cost me.  The mattress and box springs should have been $1100 but we bought a model that got a tiny scuff on it – it’s lyke omg reallllllly – because it’s not a big deal at all, I wouldn’t have noticed it if the manager hadn’t pointed it out.  I think they tried to deliver it to someone, got the scuff, and had to send those people a new one!  Supposedly those are the rules.  But then they waived $300 for “upgrading” to a split box springs and we added a store warranty for like $60 and taxes were around $70 or so, minus $225.  Yeah it works out to about $600 somehow and it’s a better mattress than we had before, should be much better for my back and hips, I’m under orders of the massage therapist to get something better.  Really was more than I wanted to spend but if it lasts as long as our last mattress (which really could have gone on further, if needed), then we’re talking, what, $70 a year for comfort?  :)

So that took a long time to tell a short story.  Really, it’s some of the beginnings of getting this house under control again.  I have lots of measurements to take, I need to organize some space.  We weren’t doing too bad in the way of organization, but then we added a 4th person and things started snowballing out of control.  I have a few ideas, hope I can do them for cheap and make this effective.  Got lots to do…

the beard. crochet style.

crochet beard and beanie It all started last Christmas when my brother-in-law asked me to make him a crochet beard.  I did but didn’t get to really see him in it, since they’re living across the country right now then he went to Afghanistan shortly after that.  But a couple weeks ago, my friend asked me to make him one so I made my first one attached to the hat.  It’s so hilarious.  These things crack me up.  And then I go and post that photo on Facebook and now I have to make 5 more…  O_o

Got 3 orders and now Steve has decided he wants one (when before he thought it was stupid haha) and my father-in-law wants a looooong one.  Gonna have to figure that one out.  Steve wants dreads of his.  Nice.

Keepin’ me busy!

Elijah’s been asking for one, too, but I haven’t made him one yet because I’ll have to modify the pattern to fit him and, let’s face it, I’ve got enough to do right now!

bag whore.

Not really sure how it happened, but I think I have a problem and her name is Vera.  Vera Bradley.  Actually, I know exactly how it happened.  It all started early this year when Stacey told me she had too many bags she’d never used and her husband wanted her to sell them and I said, “Oh, Kayleigh’s diaper bag is ripping to pieces, got anything I can use for a diaper bag?”  It’s all downhill from there.  Apparently I’m hooked.  But admitting the problem is the first step, right?

It’s just so strange because historically I haven’t been really girlie and I’ve never wanted to stand out.  I always try to blend in.  I don’t typically wear bright colors and while I’m not what you’d call a tomboy, I’ve never really been ornate or girlie in any way.

So I got a Pleated Tote in Bali Blue from Stacey which is a great diaper bag, by the way, and a Villager Tote in the same pattern for my crochet bag.  In my defense, I really did need something to keep my current project/yarn in – I took it in a basket once for a long car ride and that was a total disaster.  Then she called me later and said that the Lisa B. bags were on sale and she was placing an order, did I want one… so I ended up with a matching one of those for only $10.  Then we were headed to shoot a wedding in Ohio and I realized that I didn’t really have anything to put clothes in except this backpack that is getting really old… and she hooked me up with a large and small duffel in the same pattern.  And you were wondering why her husband wanted her to sell some stuff…  Really, I use them all the time.

I’ve ended up with a couple of purses that I snagged on sale while ordering Christmas presents for some of the ladies in my life for later this year.  My sister got a Pleated Tote from me at her baby shower (in a pattern she picked out), she tells me it’s an awesome diaper bag.  She doesn’t read here so I think I can safely say that she’s getting a matching purse for Christmas.  I am not totally lost, though, I cleaned out my closet of my old purses, giving all of them away to good homes except a solid black one I keep on hand and a sweet white one that I also plan to still use that was a gift from Linda.  Even though (before now!) I didn’t buy a purse but maybe twice a year if my other one broke, I’d accumulated a good collection over the years.  I was always getting one with some of my Christmas money from my parents.

I slowed down after that but my parents gave me some money for my birthday, and I got lost again.  Well, what I actually lost was my stupid wallet.  It still hasn’t turned up, it’s got to either be somewhere in this stupid house or it went out with the trash thanks to Kayleigh.  No one ever tried to use my credit cards.  But anyway, that wallet was also in Bali Blue… but I got a different pattern, Mocha Rouge, for my replacement wallet.  So for my birthday, I got me a Mocha Rouge Squared Away bag (pictured).  Goodness, I love this bag, haha.  It’s huge though, bigger than I normally use so I had to put in a couple of other things I don’t normally carry.  Funny.  Also funny: usually I avoid pink like the plague.  Mom’s always been telling me that pink looks good on me because of my skin tone, she’d like this irony.  I got mine new with tags on Ebay for a decent amount less than retail, and free shipping.

At least I do still have some brains.  I haven’t bought things full price, all either on sale or on Ebay when cheaper than the website, and aside from having a couple of extra purses now, the rest has been things I do need such as the duffels or the couple of beach towels I got (half price or so) that I need for going swimming with Elijah during his weekly lessons.  Did you know that after you’ve been married for 11 years, the towels you got for wedding presents are now pretty much crap?  I do!  I also do hereby solemnly swear that I’m not buying more stuff!  At least not for myself.  :)  (Truth be told, all spending that’s unnecessary is going to come to a halt, aside from Christmas, we’re going in to lock down again.)

My favorite patterns are the Bali Blue, Mocha Rouge, Baroque, and Barcelona.  That encompasses all that I personally have.  Each person I’ve bought a gift for is going to be getting a different pattern.  I guess that sort of shows my plainness, though, many of the patterns are much too bold for me, such as Loves Me, which is Stacey’s fav.  It totally fits her personality though, she’s so outgoing and sweet.  Our business has several large bags that we’ve acquired from Stacey’s stash in various patterns, mostly Pirouette.  I don’t particularly care for it much but we have to have something to carry all of our lights and bulbs and cloths and various other things and carrying Vera is a lot more professional looking than carrying Wal-Mart bags.  Yes, I have been known to just throw everything into plastic bags.  I also think I like Cupcakes Green, but I don’t have anything in it and don’t plan on getting anything in it!  Oh, the beach towels don’t match anything else I have, either, I just picked out two when they were on sale, but I don’t care, they are big and soft and way absorbent.  I also love that these bags are proving more durable than purses I’ve had in the past.  Maybe I just bought cheap crap but so far I haven’t had any of the problems I’ve historically had with my purses… straps coming away from the bag, zipper pulls coming off, rips in the outside fabric, stitching coming out, etc.  And they’re machine washable.  I tell you what, that “diaper bag” really needs it about now…  I also like that at least some of them I have say Made in the USA on them.  And they hold value.  I bought one that I used twice and then regretted, I was able to re-sell it on Ebay very quickly.

The only thing I really wish was that they had a decent laptop bag for my behemoth.  I had to get this big black thing from Targus or someone and I swear, that bag is heavier than the actual laptop.  But I was having a hard time finding something that the stupid thing would fit in!

So, hello, I’m Valerie and I’ve become a bag whore… someone save me.  :)

the back.

So remember when I pulled my back out or something?  It was right after our last wedding in August, the same one where we had our backdrop at.  I’ll bet I threw myself into all that pain by carrying too much at once down to the car when we were packing up.  I was so tired and wanted to go home, I probably pushed it too far.  A few days later it got really really bad and Stacey took me to her massage therapist.  She was great and helped me get my back in order so that it felt a lot better pretty soon thereafter.  It took me about another week to feel back to normal, though.  A couple of weeks later, I went to the massage therapist again, this time for a *real* massage.  The first time, she had to work with me special, because of my back, of course, but this time, I got the whole experience.  Wow, it was great.  She even got my sinuses to clear, at least temporarily.  I’m looking forward to another massage.  I really do think I probably should be going regularly.  I’ve had back problems since the summer before 7th grade when I hit a cable I couldn’t see and went flying through the air, landing on my knees and elbows.  I’ve never been to a chiropractor, either, and some of my friends swear by them, but my insurance doesn’t give me chiropractic, only for Steve (what’s up with that?) so why not?

Weddings wear us out.  At first I thought it was just me, just my fault, being out of shape, overweight, etc., but then I talked to other people who do or did wedding photography and they all swear that no, that’s just the way it is.  It just takes a lot out of you.  However, after this last wedding, I noticed I was less tired and in less pain than normal, in both my back and my feet.  By the time I went to bed that night, I was totally beat, but I’d also stayed up to something like 1am.  So of course I should have been tired.  But I wasn’t as drop down dead as I’ve been with a lot of the others.  Sarah suggested that maybe I’m getting used to it, and I guess that could be part of it, but I think largely it’s the massages.  When the therapist first looked at me, she said that one half of my pelvis was pointed forward, the other backward.  I know exactly why that was, it was caused by how I was sleeping… on my side with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent, my body actually turned half on my side, half on my stomach… twisted.  So since I’ve hurt my back and recovered, I’ve been making a point of having better posture when sleeping and with my feet when standing.  If I sleep on my side, which I do for the most part now, I’m supposed to have my legs in the same position (both bent, or both straight, not going opposite ways) and when I’m standing, my feet are supposed to be both pointing forward, straight (historically it’s always been more comfortable to have my toes pointed outward and that’s apparently a no-no).

So, yes, looking forward to another massage.  I need to get Stacey to make us some appointments together.  She watched my kiddos for both of the last ones, the first time she took them grocery shopping and the second time she took them to play at the park while they waited for me.  We’ve talked about going one after another, she’s claimed the second massage – watch my kiddos for an  hour then get her massage.  That’s perfect for me – she can wear them out at the park then I’ll make them sit in the Jeep and take a nap while we wait for her.  HAHA.

I’ve also been wearing those Sketcher Shape-Ups shoes for many moons now.  I didn’t get them so much for the “shape-up” aspect (though that would be a plus) as much as because their soles are uber thick and I have that plantar fasciitis issue (caused by stupid martial arts on a gym floor).  In a nutshell, when I’m off my feet, even for a few minutes, the tendon on the bottom of the foot tightens up and when I stand and try to walk… pain!  …until it stretches back out.  And it’s rough other times, too, if I have to be on my feet for a long time, etc.  I used to run around in flip-flops as much as possible but now I need major arch support.  Something happened right around the time Stacey and I shot our first wedding together (go figure) in April 2010, and it’s sucked ever since.  I’ve had to go to wearing tennis shoe types since then.  The Shape-Ups, though, have been great.  Yes, they cost way more than I was used to paying for shoes but I guess that’s part of the reason I’m in the shape I’m in now.  The first day I got them, it hurt my back incredibly because I didn’t bother to read that you’re supposed to start with only 15 minutes of the day.  But I think they’ve helped my posture, the back pain was gone the next day.  In June, after my back hurt horribly all day during a wedding (which was a longer day than some), I got some dressier black Shape-Ups for weddings and those are helping now, too.

So we’re getting there.  Getting older and trying to take better care of myself.  Can’t just keep running like I’m still 18…