Last night, as I’ve done every couple of weeks for the last month or so, I sorted through the sock sack that hangs above my clothes dryer (you know, the place where all the socks go when they lose their match). Individual socks coming through the wash is a relatively new phenomenon at my house, but it has come with a vengeance! I can’t say everything in the sock department was “ship shape” until a baby entered the picture, my husband has always left his dirty socks around the house…but until recently they were at least lying around the house in pairs. And then Josiah started crawling. So now the dad’s socks go through the laundry one at a time, with weeks lapsing in between…and often they land in the sock sack.
It was also about that time that Josiah discovered that my underwear and sock drawers are at floor level. I find them entirely empty several times throughout the week. I have learned that picking up must be quick, because in the time it takes for me to sort through the mess to put it away, my shoes seem to join the mix (Josiah is so helpful!). So in my hurry, some socks end up back in their drawer, some mixed in with the underwear or bras, and some–although clean–make their way straight to the laundry basket. And seldom do they all stay paired. So alas, the mom’s socks also go through the laundry one at a time, with weeks lapsing in between…and often wind up in the sock sack.
But the real heroes (antagonists?) of the missing sock saga are those little tiny ones! Even if both tiny socks start out in the same load, one or the other of them might go missing–inside a shirt, tucked up in the sheets, or clinging to a burp cloth (Of course, adult socks are not immune to this phenomenon, but the “lump” they form is a bit bigger and easier to spot). So socks started going missing from the very beginning, but the number has steadily increased. He just won’t keep ’em on! We felt that Josiah’s personality was captured nicely in his one year photos…caught in the act of pulling a sock off with a big smile on his face!
So here is the reason for telling you all of this: matching up all the single socks in the sock sack has been extra challenging lately because I was silly and bought two packages of identical socks in different sizes. So even when two socks look alike, they are actually slightly different sizes (and have no distinguishing marks). Don’t make this mistake! When you buy the next size of socks, buy a different brand, a different color, or label them somehow before they ever go through the wash. Until now, I thought it was silly that Old Navy and Baby Gap had the size of the sock “written” on the bottom of the sock with the no slip gripper stuff. Why publish the size? Now I understand!!!!
When my husband was a child, he kept all his “Brio” train set pieces in this handy drawstring bag:
This old idea now has a new look!
I call it a Playmat Purse…because it is a purse that is a playmat and a playmat that is a purse. (Aren’t I clever :)) I made one for myself at about the time Josiah could sit up and have used it countless times since then. It’s not rocket science, but let me share with you how it works: I fill it with toys and carry it over my shoulder as a purse. When we get where we are going, it converts to a playmat. Clean up is literally a snap: snap together the magnetic clasps, pull the straps back through the casing, and we are ready to go.
I love that the bubble dot fabric which makes up the playmat surface is so playful and soft…but I love even more that the outer fabric isn’t all baby. I picked blue for my baby boy, but the damask pattern also makes it feminine enough to wear over my shoulder as a purse (and use for my future baby girl?). You can get one for yourself at my etsy store.
I just ran across a funny mailer that we got a while ago. I figured they wouldn’t mind me sharing, if I also gave them a shout out. The mailer came from AAA Plumbing Heating and Electric Service (find them at www.aaatoday.com). Thanks to the people at AAA for your daily dose of humor!
Dumbwaiter – one who asks if the kids would care to order desert.
Feedback – the inevitable result when the baby doesn’t appreciate the strained carrots.
Grandparents – the people who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right.
Hearsay – what toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.
Ow – the first word spoken by children with older siblings.
Puddle – a small body of water that draws to it other small bodies wearing dry shoes.
Show Off – a child who is more talented than yours.
Sterilize – what you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it, and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it and wiping it with your saliva.
Top bunk – where you should never put a child wearing superman jammies.
Whodunit – none of the kids that live in your house.
And in case none of those gave you a chuckle, maybe this will do it. This is a video from several months ago. I was doing an aerobics video and Josiah decided he had some baby fat to burn as well. Hil.ar.i.ous. I laugh every time I watch it. (I just wish it wasn’t so dark.) (and that I could have quit laughing in the background.)
A couple of weeks ago I posted a “how to” for making my own baby food (see here). I must admit, though, that baby food of the Gerber variety does have its certain advantages! It is difficult to pack frozen baby food cubes in the diaper bag…I think it is inevitable that they will either still be frozen when its time to eat OR that I’d forget I’d packed them until they went bad and the odor reminded me. Unopened, store bought baby food is stable at room temperature, so it can just be counted among the diaper bag essentials that always stay packed and ready to go. For this reason, I let Gerber do the work for me a few times.
What I love most about Gerber baby food, though, is the containers (the plastic rectangular ones with resealable lids)! Don’t throw them out! I have used them over and over and over again to for little cheese cubes, macaroni noodles, beans, and other baby finger foods. They are the perfect size, wash up in the dishwasher, and stack very easily in the refrigerator. I have found that I am much more likely to serve up a balanced meal for the baby when I have a few days worth of cheese or veggies already cut up…and I certainly wouldn’t cook macaroni noodles one serving ( up to 10 noodles) at a time!
My son now has enough teeth that we can give him whole crackers, slices of oranges, and chunks of cheese. This really helps cut down on food prep time and makes it easier to serve up a variety of healthy foods. It was only a few months ago, though, that we first introduced “solids.” When we did, I made my own baby food. I was mostly motivated by the savings (I can buy a whole bag of peas for the same price as one tiny jar of the Gerber variety). I have also heard that frozen veggies retain more nutrients than canned ones, and while this may or may not be true, it makes sense to me. Here is what I did:
1. Wash, peel, and chop sweet potatoes, apples, pears, etc. or open bag of frozen vegetables.
2. Cook until soft (Use as little water as possible so you don’t lose any nutrients by draining them off).
2. “Mush” cooked fruit/veggies in a food processor or blender. Some people advise using a food strainer as well…but I don’t have one, so I never did.
3. Put the mushed food in ice cube trays and freeze them. (This makes a much better portion size than the store bought kind…and if he was hungry enough for more than one cube we could mix and match flavors in one meal.)
4. After a few hours, dip the bottom of the ice cube tray in hot water for a couple of seconds (only a couple!) and pop the veggie/fruit cubes out. Store the baby food cubes in freezer bags until ready to serve.
I love new beginnings. Every year I get another shot at doing all I set out to do last year. While not much has really changed, today everything is new. In fact, I think this is why God gave us mornings as well. Every twenty-four hours we all get a new beginning. A fresh start. Renewed energy. It is freeing… like a new journal. I feel such excitement at the prospect of cracking open a new journal…you know when you have to crease the binding for the first time so that the book will stay open. There is just something special about it. It’s not like I am just “turning a page” or “starting a new chapter,” it is like I get a chance to write a whole new story!
But the thing I don’t like about new beginnings (and it’s a pretty big one!) is the part where you have to start. Like this blog. I picked out and purchased this domain name back in October. But I just can’t seem to muster up the oomph to get it going. But since today is a day of new beginnings, I decided I might as well just start. I wish I had something great to share. Something worthy of a “Grand Opening”…but I don’t. So I figured I’d better just start somewhere. Here it goes.
My name is Alisha. I have a wonderful husband and an amazing 13-month old little boy. He took his first steps a few days ago. I feel like we are both living our lives in baby steps right now. You see, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. But I am finding my way a little at a time. I love to create things. I find great joy in taking something that isn’t much to begin with and turning it into something beautiful. Even more if it is something beautiful AND practical! And so with a bit of dreaming and the encouragement of a great deal of people around me, I decided to create this site to share some of my creations with you. This is baby step one. (Baby steps 2-10 will probably be figuring out how to replace the pictures above of people I don’t know, buildings I have never seen, and some rather beautiful trees with a few pictures that actually mean something to me.)
I guess I don’t really know what this blog will be. I’ll probably share some tips I’ve come across and share some mistakes I’ve made in the hope that you won’t need to make the same ones. I’ll probably include pictures and some personal musings about motherhood. We’ll talk about diapers and breastmilk and sleeping (or not sleeping). We’ll cover milestones, share challenges, and explore the myriad of blessings that come with being a mom. I do hope it will be a conversation and I pray you will join me in the journey. Happy New Year!