Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Care To Lap Up My Bath Water?

It has been a busy week for the Russ household. It all has been packing, and cleaning. To throw in the mix; Forrest developed a rash on his bum, which really sucked, and Forrest was such a trooper. He did not complain even though I was pretty sure that the rash bothered him. I felt pretty lucky to have such a laid-back kid. Between multiple soaking, airing his bum out, and plastering a thick layer of Butt Paste; Forrest's diaper rash appeared to be cured, and this mama did a dance of victory. 

I just had to share a dose of cuteness that happened during one of Forrest's butt soaks. I put Forrest in a baby tub because it was easier to clean out dirty oatmeal water out of the little tub instead of our big tub. Layla had to help herself to some of the flavored water. It must have tasted good to her, I guess? 

It is hard to believe that a month has passed, and we will be moving out this Friday. I have so much to do in the meanwhile; donate bunch of old clothes, a heavy TV, an old dresser, and send our computer tower to a geek shop to be fixed. Our computer tower has a CD stuck in there for like forever, and we want to install wireless chip inside our tower. 

I am thankful to have a bunch of people coming to help us move. It will make the process go faster, and easier. It should be interesting to move with a 8-month old baby, and a bunch of fur babies. Speaking about our fur babies; our cats are pretty chill, and adapting to the change well while Layla, our stinky Basset, is struggling a bit. Once they are all settled in our home, they should be okay, and happy once again. 

Hopefully, I will be able to blog by next week if not before then! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why Are You So Blunt?

My apologies for not posting "It's the Deaf Thing" in a really long time. I would rather to have time gaps between my posts regarding this topic instead of publishing same old stuff over, and over again. I will have to try to keep up with this topic because it is one of the popular topics among my readers. Like always, do feel free to shoot me a message if you want a question or something to be talked about regarding "It's the Deaf Thing". No question is typically too offensive or silly! Do ask away anytime!

Recently, I found a picture that was posted on my friend's Facebook wall, and I just had to share this. It was a clear-cut explanation of how Deaf folks differed from Hearing people. 

What made me laugh about this is the last two bullet point statements: "Be clear if you have a criticism" vs "Use sandwich approach for feedback". 

I grew up in a hearing family. Of course, I adopted hearing tendencies, and had very little understanding of Deaf tendencies. Every time when I hung out with my culturally Deaf friends, they were very blunt, and said things as they were. That bothered me. I felt they were being unkind especially when it came to criticisms. I was so used to hearing's way of using  sandwich criticism. Hearing people felt it was proper to say something nice first then insert a criticism then end on a nice note. It was as if they were trying to soften the blows. I was accustomed to this method. 

If a hearing person was not using sandwich method to offer a criticism then he/she must be an inconsiderate asshole. Right?  In the Deaf world, to use sandwich method was a waste of time, and made no real sense. If you used that in the Deaf world, it was a waste of time to dance around the issue because you were not getting to the point. If you had something to say then say it. It was not offensive at all if you were blunt. Matter of fact, to be blunt helped things to be clear, and clean-cut. If you rambled on, and on (AKA sandwich method) then the point of the criticism was lost. 

I remember when I was a little girl; I pointed at a rather heavy-set woman, and signed, she is fat. My mom was mortified because the heavy-set woman did see me puffing up my cheeks, curling up my hands in claws near my face to show chubbiness, and started waddling to mimic a large person's walking motion. My mom slapped my hands, and scolded me by telling me it was very not nice of me. I did not truly understand why I was being scolded, and felt very confused. I was not being mean. I was just calling it as it was. That woman was fat. My mom had a hearing perspective, and in her eyes; that was very inappropriate. In my eyes as a Deaf person, it was appropriate given the context I was seeing. 

It is often why hearing people feel that, sometimes, Deaf people do not have the best social filter.

It took me a long time to realize that it was not my mom punishing me for being Deaf. She was acting upon hearing norms. She was not educated about norms of Deaf culture. It was not her fault. At the same time, it was also not my fault for using Deaf norms. I was operating on what I knew, and what felt natural for me. I ended up adopting hearing norms, and retained very little of norms that was acceptable in Deaf culture. My Deaf tendencies popped up more frequently when I felt most comfortable which was among my hearing friends. They knew, understood, and accepted that. 

Then I met Stu, my back-then boyfriend/now my husband, and I alternate between hearing and Deaf tendencies. It did confuse Stu especially in the beginning, and he did try to correct me (ha ha ha) when I was operating on Deaf norms. It was a learning experience for us both because I was still figuring out who I was all about back then due to my identity confusion (am I hearing or am I Deaf). Eventually, Stu understood that it was the Deaf thing, and accepted this about me. He understood that when I was being blunt, I was not being critical or uncaring toward his issue he was going through that time, and that it was an act of caring. 

Deaf people don't beat around the bush. They don't dance around the issue. They don't spend their time flogging the dead horse. They say as it is. Yes, it can cause conflicts especially between a hearing and Deaf person. Yes, it also can cause a conflict between two Deaf people especially if there is something that is not too pleasant to be said! 

When you find that you are hanging out with a Deaf person, and the Deaf person is rather blunt with you about something. Don't take it personal. It is a good sign! It shows that the Deaf person feels comfortable enough to include you in his/her world. More often than not, the Deaf person has good intention with what he/she is trying to tell you. I won't lie....there are some Deaf people who are jerks. Just like hearing people. Then again, just like many hearing people, there are more good people than bad. 

Being blunt, and seeing blunt nature among Deaf people can be something of a cultural shock especially if you are not used to it. Just keep in the mind that it is just the Deaf thing

Sunday, April 21, 2013

8 Months Old!

Dear Forrest, 

You are eight months old This month has brought on a major change in your life. You are experiencing your first move! Mama is a bit sad to leave your old home because it has so many memories of her being pregnant with you, bringing you home from the hospital, and watching you grow from an infant to a baby. At the same time, it is exciting to be able to move into a bigger home with more space, and creating new memories with you. Daddy is quite happy to have a new home so close to his work because now he will be home earlier, and be able to spend more time with you. Mama is also relieved that Daddy won't have to make long commute especially in winter. Daddy and Mama hope that you will adjust to new home with no problem. 

You had a great first Easter. You loved being up on the Farm, and playing with your cousins. Your cousins were absolutely fascinated by you, and were so wonderful with you. Daddy and Mama could see you becoming fast friends with your cousins! You dazzled everybody by eating chunky food, and you absolutely loved Grandma B cooking. Mama and Daddy agreed that they were excited for your second Easter because by then, you will be more involved, and running around to find your basket with your cousins! Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and be warmer next year so you can go Egg-Hunting!

You have moved on to stage 2 food. One day, you just grabbed a spoon from Mama, and wanted to feed yourself! Mama decided to try giving you chunkier food, and you were more than ready to indulge them! After that, it was no looking back after that!

You are able to eat chunkier, textured food such as steamed broccoli, chopped sweet potatoes, and whatever that Mama has made for you. You like chopped banana, which is kind of strange because you don't like banana as a yogurt or pureed. You enjoy eating Mumm Mumm (kind of like biscuits), Yogurt Melts, and Cheerios. You love using your fingers, and practice your pincer grasp skill. For breakfast, you enjoy pureed pumpkin with applesauce, and often try to feed yourself with your fingers! It can get quite messy, and it is okay as long as you are learning while having fun. 

Mama and you have made to month 8 of breastfeeding! The best is that in the past month, Mama had no issue with breastfeeding, and that made her happy. The only issue she has with you now is trying to keep you focused on eating instead of kicking, squirming, giggling, babbling, and pushing away. Mama is not sure whether she should continue breastfeeding until you hit a year old or start weaning you this come summer. She has never thought she would have gotten this far on this journey with you! Because of that, the next step is still in the question. Mama is taking this one step at time with you, and deciding what will be the best for you both.

You've recently battled a cold that lingered on what felt like forever. You were pretty much a trooper for the most part. The first week, you struggled to sleep through the night, and wanted to be nursed quite frequently.  Mama had to put your eating adventure on a pause for a few days when you were quite ill with a cold because boob milk had antibiotics for you to get better (which probably contributed to your frequent waking in the night). You developed an aversion to having your nose wiped! Poor you had so much snot running down your upper lip which warranted Mama or Daddy to wipe your nose, and you screamed your head off every...single...time! After you got better, you were back on the schedule with eating twice a day, and boob milk throughout the day. Mama did not get much sleep from checking on you constantly, and getting up with you to make sure you were doing okay. Fortunately, that phase passed, and Mama (and you) got much-needed sleep once again.

You are a belly sleeper just like Daddy is. Every time when Mama goes in to check on you, you are fast asleep on your belly, and happily snoring away. You sleep better on your belly than when you are on your back or side. Because of this, Mama and Daddy are happy to oblige to your likes and dislikes especially when it comes to your sleep!

You are army-crawling with vigor these days. Boy, do you ever move so fast! You are still attempting to lift your stomach off the floor, and crawl without much success yet. You will get hang of it before you know it. Just keep on trying, and it will come to you. 

You have recently learned a new trick. You are starting to pull yourself up! You love to reach onto your toddler chair, and wiggle your little bum as you pull yourself up. Then you look back, and burst in a big smile with your little cooing laughter of yours! I swear that you do it mostly to get applauds, and loud cheering from Mama and Daddy.

You are able to sit up unassisted by yourself. It all started on one evening when Mama put you down for bed in your crib, and the monitor went off. Mama went in to check on you. To her great surprise, you were sitting up, babbling at your feet, and clapping your hands. That evening, it took several times for you to understand that it was not play time, and it was bed time!

There is still no sign of any teeth. Mama recently learned that if parents are late-teethers then it is likely that their children will be late teethers as well! It is possible that you won't be getting any tooth until you are closer to being one. Even so, Daddy and Mama are still on a look-out for any budding tooth! You are still drooling like a Mastiff dog. You continued to babble, and make noises such as dada, mama, baba, ahh, and oooh. Of course, you still had not connected any meaning to those sounds, but that certainly did not make them any less cute!

You started to sign! Your first sign is MILK. You were sitting on your play mat, and turned to Mama then signed milk milk milk milk milk until you got what you wanted. It made Mama's heart proud. Daddy, and Mama continued to sign in your presence in order for you to pick up more signs, and you watch them with such intensity. Mama hopes that you will be able to pick up more signs by the time you turn one.

You continue to be a wonderful baby, and your parents feel incredibly blessed to be your parents! Mama and Daddy are looking forward to what you have to bring this month!

Mama and Daddy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In His Short Life

It is hard to believe that this time last year I was pregnant with Forrest. I do not have that many "naked belly" pictures. I don't know why I shied away from them. I can't remember my reasoning for not preferring to show off my bare pregnant belly. My mom had to nag multiple times to take a picture of my naked belly during my pregnancy before I consented to doing it several times. One day, I finally relented, and allowed her to take a picture of me. Little did I know that this turned out to be one of my few favorite pictures from my pregnancy.

I will have to do a few more of naked belly pictures throughout my next pregnancy.

Stu, and I know that we wanted more kids after we had Forrest. I can't imagine Forrest being the only child or even a brother of one. We both hail from large families. I want three. Stu want four. So the number is still up in the air. The consent is that we will have more kids for sure. I do hope that my next pregnancy will be as easy as I had with Forrest.

Because I already have a boy, I do hope I will have a girl next time around, and it is something I really want to experience. I will be over the moon I end up having a girl. It is not to say that I will be crushed if I do end up with a boy second time around. I will be as ecstatic because that means Forrest will be having a younger brother to look after, and play with. As Forrest is already proving this, boys are fun! I can see myself with two boys. 

It is funny because if you asked me before I had Forrest if I had wanted a girl then I would have said no. The idea of raising a girl terrified me. I was not taking the best care of myself. I was self-conscious. I struggled with my body image. If I had those struggles then how the heck was I going to set up my daughter for the best outcome in our already self-obsessed society toward bodies especially those of women. I was going to set her up to repeat the same ugly cycle that I was trapped in. 

Having a boy felt safer somehow. In my mind, boys were less prone to fall into that nasty trap of perfection, and more confident about themselves. How sexist of me. But it was how I felt, and thought at that time in my life. 

When I got pregnant, I just knew I was having a boy. Call it a premonition. Call it a mother's intuition. All of my life, I knew I was going to have a boy first, and it was a given that I was going to be a mother of a boy. When the ultrasound specialist turned to me, and asked me if I wanted to know my baby's sex at 12 weeks; I smiled, and said yes. A sliver of dread crept through my mind...what if I was wrong, and what if my baby was a girl? I was not ready for a girl. My gut disagreed with my worrying mind, and insisted my baby was a boy. As I watched the mouse hoover across the television screen, the specialist pointed at the sixth "finger", and smiled. Your baby have a little dilly. Yes, he did say that. 

My heart bloomed right there, and relief washed over me. I was having a boy. I felt guilty for being so relieved that the baby was a boy. I did not want my life-long premonition to be wrong. It was not that I did not want or would have rejected my baby if he was a she. If my baby had been a girl then I would have embraced her, and loved her from the start-go, but I would not be lying if I did not say that if would have scared me shitless. 

Throughout my pregnancy, I came with term with my past demons, and put them to bed. I forgave, and made peace with my struggles I had. I owed this much to me to be healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. In a sense, Forrest had saved me. Yes, it was a tired, and old cliche, but it was true.

Becoming a mom pushed me into a healthier direction. I was no longer just responsible for me, but also for my little man. This pushed me to accept my mistakes, learn from the lessons, and let go of my old fears. I strove to be a good perfect  imperfect mom. I was able to look at myself in the mirror, and embrace the changes that bestowed upon my body from being pregnant. No longer I viewed my body as a failure. My body was a vessel that carried my beautiful baby. Every little lines, softening abdominal muscles, and stretchy button button all reminded me of what my body did. When my husband looked at me, and told me that I was even more beautiful now that I am a mother; I did not dismiss him, but smiled, and knowingly nodded my head in agreement.

Because of this revelation  I am no longer afraid of having a girl, and to raise her to be a capable confident woman that she deserves to be. I do hope that someday I will be blessed with a girl.

Forrest has taught me this much in his short life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Look & Beco Soliel Carrier

Hello! I hope you like the new look of my blog! I wanted simplicity, and clean-cut look. As much as I liked my previous layout, I felt it still did not reflect what I wanted out of my blog. It didn't quite get to the core of my personality. It did help me to figure what I wanted, and what I did not like for my blog. I knew I wanted less cluttered appearance, and finally found a perfect layout through a really awesome designer: Carrie Loves Design. She was pretty effective, quick, and got bottom to what I asked from her. 

Back to my regular old stuff....

I am quite happy with the amount of tax return that we will be getting this year. As practical as we are, we planned on putting that to good use, such as paying for Stu's grad school semester, putting some money in our retirement fund, and college fund for our little boy, and with some left over money, we have decided to go ahead to get a baby...erm, I mean toddler carrier for hiking. 

I contribute a lot to Dad for my love of nature. Dad was always taking Alex, my brother, and I out to River Bend to hike, explore, and play in the Woods. Dad also took us camping quite often during my childhood years. I loved the smell of dew in the morning, watching pan fish's shiny scales reflect the sun as it gets unhooked by Dad's nimble fingers, swimming in the pond with Alex, and imagining that we were digging for dinosaur fossils in the gravel paths of our campground. Matter of fact, one of my favorite memories have always been traipsing through the woods, picking up fallen green walnut balls, and stuffing them into large black trash bags. Then we would take the bags to my grandpa's house, where he will cut open the hard exterior to get to the shells inside, and mix them up to be eaten. Throughout the childhood into teenage years, I often went to Lion's Camp every summer, and there, I had a lot of great memories of canoeing, swimming, camping, and swapping stories around the fire pit. 

Thanks to Dad, I could not imagine exposing Forrest to nature. It is very important to me that he has same experiences as I did; to fish, to camp, to swap stories around a fire pit, to eat S'mores, camp food, sleep in a tent or under the stars, and explore nature during the hikes. 

Since we are moving to an area with a lot of parks with paths through the woods; I immediately knew that I had to take advantage of this, and start exposing Forrest to nature at a young age. I started researching for a decent carrier that was able to comfortably support a toddler up to 45 pounds, and came across to Soleil Beco carrier. It was the one I wanted. 

Of course, I have to wait on ordering this until we are all settled in our new house. Speaking about that...packing is going well. We are finally seeing the light at end of tunnel. This weekend, we should be able to start hauling boxes into our new home! About the time.......

I could imagine right there walking with Forrest hanging out on my back as we walked through the woods with Layla. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Life is Good

That's kind of how my kitchen looks like right now. Mind you, the picture is not mine, and those cats are not even mine. But that is what my cats are doing. Laying on top of the boxes on top of our kitchen table. Owning it like bosses. Our cats are unfazed by our growing array of boxes everywhere. I think they are actually in heaven; pouncing, leaping from one box to another especially at the dizzying height, scratching their paws up and down, rubbing their noggins or chins against the corners of the boxes, and luxuriously napping on their makeshift beds. 

Rest of us? 

We are feeling pretty crowded. I think at this point, we can qualify for the show, The Hoarders, given with this mess we are living in. I'm anxious to get a green light from our new landlord to start hauling the boxes into our new home. Hopefully, this weekend, we should be able to start doing just that. Then we all will get much-needed breathing space in our cramped quarters. 

This past weekend, we needed to get out of the house. Especially me, being a stay-at-home mom--it gets tiring dealing with maneuvering, and dealing with boxes being in the way, and not being able to get out of the house for a short while thanks to our bipolar Wisconsin weather not wanting to warm up for spring. Stu, Forrest, and I headed out of the house for a few hours to shop. 

We finally spent Stu's gift cards from Christmas. He ended up buying a new pair of running shoes, and insisted to also buy me a pair of Nike running shoes. I tried to tell him it was not necessary, and he pointed out at my deteriorating gym shoes. It was just minutes away from falling apart. He was right; I needed a new gym shoes, and I settled for a black-pink combo shoes. Hey, those shoes made me feel pretty fly. 

Then we headed over to Best Buy. Stu ended up ordering Roku 3 streaming player. On a whim, we decided to buy a new TV on sale. We were meaning to buy a new TV for some time now. You see, we had a huge boob tube TV sitting on top of Stu's dresser. That thing was as heavy as 3 dead bodies. For real. We didn't want to have to haul that heavy thing to our new house. In my mommy's mind, I was also paranoid that it might fall down on Forrest when he came to be walking age, and wanted to shake the dresser (not that the dresser is easily shaken--it is very sturdy but you never know...). 

We stopped at Cold Stone Creamery (my favorite desert shop ever) for a huge tub of birthday cake batter remix ice cream. We shared it with Forrest, and man; he went town on it, and turned into a greedy salivating monster. He tried to grab our spoons with every chance with a hope of bringing it toward his gaping mouth. When he failed, Forrest kicked his legs furiously, and squealed like a stuck pig until he got what he wanted! We were laughing, trying so hard not to dribble ice cream down our chins, and made fools out of ourselves in the middle of a mall. Needless to say, Forrest was sugar high for a short while on the way home (as evidenced by his noisy babbling, and shaking car seat). We had a good laugh once again. 

Once we got home; I posted our TV up for sale on Craiglist along with our large dresser, and prayed to Craiglist gods that someone wanted to pick up either one of them or both. Stu decided to look around for a dishwasher, and ended up finding one for a decent price! He went ahead, and contacted the seller. By next day, we had a new-used dishwasher for our new home, and Stu said it was my Mother's Day gift! Rock on. No more hand-washing the dirty dishes!! Who knew that this would make me so happy? 

I learned that our brand-new bed will be arriving on next Friday, and that also made me really happy.

Everything is going as planned, and everything is falling in together despite the stress of moving. Life is good. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spidery Sense A-Tingling!

I believe that I have a bug radar. My spidery tingles instantaneously when there is a creepy-crawler hanging around nearby. It works the best with bugs that I dislike deeply such like, oh I don't know, centipedes. Thankfully, the house we live in is not overrun with centipedes. I have only seen one during my whole two-year stint. On the other hand, we have a pretty decent number of silverfishes. A silverfish is not as hideous or scary to look at as it is with centipedes. I mean, it is definitely not pretty either, but I usually have enough gall to just smash the living out of it. If I see a centipede, then you bet that I'm gone. Anyway, I'd find a silverfish here and there. I pick up a tissue, and crush it with my hand. No big deal. 

A few nights ago, Stu, and I were lounging in our bed. He was playing a game on his Kindle, and talking on his cell. I was doing a word-search finder puzzle. Wow, reading that made me feel old. Only old people do that, right? Our evening was going rather pleasantly. Suddenly, my spidery sense went off. 

Bug alert! My spidery sense blared. I went on the defense, and whipped my head around so fast that I could have given myself a whiplash. No sight of a bug. My eyes went up the ceiling. Boom, baby! A silverfish was luxuriously hanging upside down on the ceiling....right above my head. It was the ugliest, and biggest SOB I have ever seen. Instead of being traditionally silver-ish to cobalt in color, it was black, I kid you not, and it was fattest thing ever. It looked literally like a slug. It grossed me deeply. No way in hell I was going to risk touching it. 

I grasped my hand on Stu's forearm, and clutched to him as if I was hanging for my dear life. 

"Uh...babe." I said.

Stu was chattering away on his phone. 


He laughed, and nodded his head, completely oblivious that I had run out of air to breath, and was possibly dying. 

"BABE...." I insisted, and dug my nails into his forearm. That finally got his attention. Stu glanced at me. Without saying a word, I silently pointed my forefinger up the ceiling at the hideous creature above us. It was as if this was taken out of a horror movie scene.

In my mind, silver fish looked very much like this:

In Stu's mind, the bug looked very much like this:

"Are you kidding me? Can't you kill it?" Stu shrugged. I shook my head. Stu put his cell down, and retreated for a moment to retrieve a piece of tissue. I moved to the middle of our bed because A) I had to give Stu a room to stand up, and kill the creature above my head, and B) I didn't want to be underneath the bug when that happened because the worst-case scenario would be it falling directly upon on my head. Stu calmly stepped up on our bed, and reached with a tissue toward the bug. 

Problem solved, right?

Yeah, that would be way too easy. The universe hated me. Karma was out to kick my butt. For what? I was not sure. 

The bug flew off the ceiling directly to my path. Of course, traitorous Stu had to fled and abandon me by jumping off the ship. 


I clasped my hand over my mouth to silence my scream because I did not need to be dying with fear with bug on me with a crying screaming baby in the other room because I had woken him up. I did the quickest roll across the bed, and miraculously landed on my feet like a cat. 

For a disbelieving second, I couldn't believe I made it across the bed, and miraculously landed on my feet like a cat. I thought, Damn that was a smooth move I did especially for a klutz!  Of course a moment later, the klutz strikes! I had to stumble over the box. The reality hit me at that very instant. I could feel the creature's cool body sliding its way on my neck. I flapped my arms, smashing at my neck, and restrained an urge to holler on top of my lung. My lungs were on the fire. My heart was pounding its way out of my chest. No point in waking up our baby, and potentially causing our neighbors downstairs to think that I was being murdered by my loving husband.

I felt hands grabbing me at my arms.

Ashley, I got it. It's dead. Stu signed, and as a proof, he held up a tissue with the dead bug inside.

Where did it go?! I demanded.

It is dead. Look here. Stu assured me. I declined his offer to look at gutted bug, and took his word for it. Of course, I had to ask...

Where did it land? Tentatively, I asked.

Oh it was on your pillow. It may be a bit smeared though. Stu shrugged. I picked up the pillow and swapped his with the soiled bug-guts pillow, and replied that it was his for the night. Stu rolled his eyes. The reality finally sunk in that the bug was dead.

Suddenly, the heavens parted, and the light fell upon me. The wiggly bug sensation on my neck disappeared. My heart was finally slowing down its frantic pounding. I was able to breath once again. Hallelujah!

Well said, Ru Paul, well said.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ice Storm

This morning when I stepped outside to let my dog out, I felt as if I was in a movie, The Day After Tomorrow, because everything was polished in ice. The air was freshly bitter cold yet crisp. As much as I envied warmer, dare I say, summer-like spring weather encroaching among my southern, and eastern friends; I must admit that I was marveled by this icy beauty that was presented all around me.  

It was far prettier in person than pictures could have captured. I wish the pictures could have done its justice as it did before my eyes. On the other hand...I can't say that my dog was as impressed as I was........

Monday, April 8, 2013

Just Rambling On

Among the messy chaos of boxes stacked up everywhere, and taking up space that we do not have, our dog is placidly sitting on the floor underneath the ray of sunshine that is sadly disappearing among the gray skies, and I find that I am wishing for the sun to come back. I am craving a long stroll with Forrest through a park before we move. Unfortunately, it may not be in the cards for this week seeing that it is forecasted that it will rain all week long. Come on, April. Where is our promised spring weather? 

Packing is going so slowly. It is hard to be able to tear myself away to pack when I have a little baby that wants my attention. Thankfully, Forrest is pretty chill, and can keep himself entertained, but like many other babies; he does need me. I can't lose myself in the task like I did pre-baby. Fortunately, my mom, and my good friend are coming up to help relieve some of baby duty over span of the month. I should be able to get this, and that packed by end of this month. 

Stu, and I are planning on getting rid of TV once we move into our new home. We are not big TV watchers by all the means, and I am not sure why we even have TV in the first place. Most of the shows on TV these days are pure trash. We do have our favorite shows that we will miss once we kick DirectTV to the curb like the Walking Dead, and American Horror Story. Besides those two, I don't think I am going to miss TV very much. I am much more of a movie person than I am a TV person. We are indecisive between Hulu Plus, and Netflix. I may have to ask around to get feedback to see which one is most recommended, and liked. 

I used to have a subscription to Netflix, and enjoyed it. I loved catching up on old episodes especially Star Trek Next Generation. Because of that, I wouldn't mind going back to Netflix subscription.

The only disadvantage I see with Netflix is that they do not have updated TV shows on the hand like Hulu does, and the streaming live does not have closed captioning. I'm not sure about Hulu at this moment, and their stance with closed-captioning. It is something I need to look into. 

Our pets seem to know that something is up. They don't understand what is going on, obviously, and even so, they know something is up because of the array around the house. Missy is taking a full advantage of the stacked boxes by sitting atop of them, staring down at inferior beings beneath her--oh what a typical cat she is--and her green eyes glaring softly as she preens herself. Mr. Jinxy is slightly more apprehensive by the upcoming change in his environment, and has retreated to our bedroom. 

I am not looking forward to stuffing Mr. Jinxy in his cat carrier. The last move did not fare well for him, and I. He barely could fit inside the cat carrier due to his large nature, and I had multiple scratches to show for it. I need to be creative and find a different way to transport Mr. Jinxy. I'm not that worried about them adjusting to their new home. They will adapt, and adjust. It is Layla that I am slightly apprehensive about. She does struggle with being in new environment. It means I'll have to re-teach her boundaries, and rules all over again. I expect her to act up, and be a cranky old dog until she is comfortably settled in.

I'm running a bit dry on creative juice for writing posts from being so busy trying to keep everything together for the big move. Care to bear with me for a while? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cloth Diapering Friday: My Routine

I keep the wet bag in our bathroom because it is easier to just clean the mess up, toss poo in the toliet, fasten the snaps or velcros together, turn it inside out, and toss it in the wet bag. On the washing day, I bring the wet bag with me to the basement. Easy Peasy!

I have the washing routine down. I ran into a bit of problem in the very beginning of washing my cloth diapers! You see, I have a washing machine that is a top-loader, but it has functions that a front-loader washing machine has to save water. I was unable to get the washing, and rinsing settings set up right. I was unable to have hot wash, and cold wash combination set up on my washing machine. Ack! With a lot of asking around among cloth diapering community, and parents; I learned it was okay to use warm wash, and cold rinse combination. Whew. Then I hit yet another snag with my lovely washing machine. It did not come with a pre-washing cycle feature, but I learned a trick. I simply bypassed the washing part setting, and go straight to just rinsing cycle in cold water before turning on my washing machine. It worked just fine that way, and I had no issue with my diapers ever since. It was a bit of a learning experience for me!

My routine looks very much like this: 

1) Throw in a dirty diaper in the wet bag. If it has a lot of runny poop, then I just spray it off until it is soaking wet, and throw it that way in the wet bag until the washing day. If it is just pee on it then just toss it in the bag. However, if it is a pocket diaper, I make sure that I remove the insert first then separate it from the cover and toss them in the wet bag. That way, I won't accidentally forget the insert in the pocket diaper when I wash it!

*I always make sure that my snaps or velcros are closed, and turned inside out before I throw it in the wet bag. It makes my washing day so much easier because I don't have to reach in and pull out a dirty diaper to do that. I just dump everything out in the washing machine along with the wet bag. 

2) Throw in less than 18 cloth diapers at time, and the wet bag. Too much diapers thrown in the mix will not do the trick as effectively as throwing in fewer diapers because you want diapers to be able to spin around freely in order to rub against each other. This will help the poop stain and all that icky stuff to come out in the pre-wash cycle. 

3) I have to bypass the washing part, and just go straight to cold rinse for the diapers. I don't add detergent to this step. Let it rinse and spin. After pre-rinsing is done, I do warm wash-cold rinse combination with 3-4 TBSP of Hard Rock Detergent powder. 

4) If everything smells clean and nice then I toss inserts in the dryer machine to be tumbled on low, and hang up my covers in the direct sunlight. You can dry your covers on low cycle, but this may reduce the life of your cloth diapers. If not then I do step 3 again in order to have my diapers to smell fresh!

5) I hang my diapers on the drying rack when it is cold outside. When it is warm and beautiful outside then I hang them on the cloth line, and let the sun do its job! 

I recently learned something about cloth diapering. You should NOT use dryer sheets. Ever. Even with your regular clothes. It leaves behind a film of fatty component (Beef Tallow) on the dryer drum, and it can really affect the inserts. It may cause the insert to repel urine, and cause leaks!

Here's a few facts that you may not know about dryer sheets:

1. Dryer sheets cause a coating on clothing and therefore will cancel out the fire retardation of clothing.
2. Dryer sheets are not recyclable nor reusable – the only option is to send them to the landfill.
3. That lovely scent they leave on your clothes? It’s tough to part with the idea of the “fresh laundry” smell, but consider this: that scent is thanks to “fragrance,” a blanket term for synthetic chemicals that have been linked to a whole host of issues, from asthma, to skin irritation and headaches, to brain damage in developing fetuses and much more. Fragrance also contributes to indoor air pollution, and contains toluene.

Whoa, right? In the place of using dryer sheets, you can use dryer balls! If you still insists on using dryer sheets with your regular laundry, then try looking for dryer cloths or natural dryer sheets such as Method, or  if you feel that it is not worth to be cautious about then you can wipe down the drum inside your dryer, and throw in towels without dryer sheet then let them tumble the whole cycle before throwing in your cloth diaper covers and inserts to be dried.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big News....

We are anticipating a big change coming our way once again. It will be crazy, chaotic, and a bit stressful this month, and I am happy to say that it will be coming with a nice pay-off in the end. I have no idea how we will do this with a seven-month old baby in the tow. What comforts me is that there are other families that have done this with a baby, sometimes a baby with a toddler, or a family of kids running underneath their feet, and they have survived. We will survive. 

You see, we are moving by end of this month! Actually, we have been given a green light to gradually move in the new place. It will help us to have smaller things out of the way before our big move weekend. Our big move-in weekend will be end of April, and we should be in our new place by May first! 

It is so nice to have the search to be finally over. We started in January of this year. Back then, it was more like causal looking around to get an idea what houses, and apartment looked like closer to Stu's work. We wanted to cut down on Stu's commute time. He already have been working long hours, and it did not help to add to those hours by driving 40 minutes. Stu felt that he was missing out on family time by driving so much, and face it; paying for gas really sucked. It was a drainer on our bank account for sure. I did not like to have worry so much about Stu's safety on the road especially in the winter through the rural roads, and having to be cautious of other drivers. We decided that we did not want to live in the same location where he was working at because there was not much of convenience nearby (no food store, no local stores, and all that). It was when we knew that we preferred to return to the town where we graduated college. It was about 20 minutes west from where we were currently living at. It was much nicer area; a little cute town with stores, restaurants, parks, and all that nice things you would want your kid to be exposed to. The best part? Stu's work was only 15 minutes away at most. That meant he will be home earlier, more often, and less hocking out to pay for gas on the credit card!

We knew that it was not going to be a permanent deal to live there so we knew that we wanted a rental house, or a bigger duplex than the one we were living in already. It was really difficult to "shop around" for a nice house or duplex especially when you have a baby, and pets. Pet fees really sucked. I forgot how much it  blew. There was no way we were going to give up our pets just to waiver pet fee. There was also no way that we were going to have our baby living in a place that was not that ideal to raise a little boy, and maybe adding a little brother or sister to the mix eventually. 

For example, we looked at this really cute house out in the country nearby Stu's work, and while the house was really nice; we didn't like the steep stairs, and it had barely any room for our feet to walk up on the boards. Then it was angled at a weird angle which made it so steep. I barely could walk up without feeling like I was going to fall! Stu and I looked at each other, and silently thought, NO way, not with our dog, and little boy potentially tumbling down the stairs, and be injured. 

We kept looking around for a while, again, rather causally, and began pick up our pace a little as the weather started to warm up. We wanted to be able to move by end of Stu's school/work year to make it easier for all of us to move. We learned kind of in a hard way not to move in summer due to Stu's summer school teaching, and football summer camp. Way too hectic. Anyway, we found a potential place recently, and decided to look at it. 

It was everything we looked for. There was a lot of space, three bedrooms, and a nice-sized backyard for our dog to roam. It was not brand-new perfect, and had several things that needed to be replaced before we moved in. The carpet had to be replaced due to previous tenant's pet damage. The kitchen was being redone. The windows were in the process of being replaced. We were relieved that those damages were being repaired because if they weren't then the chance of us moving in was slim. 

We liked that the bedrooms were near on the upstairs level. It made it easier for us to reach Forrest if we needed to, and having an additional bedroom was nice for our visitors. The bathroom was a bit smaller than the one at our current place, and even so, it was a full bathroom. Some places we looked at didn't even have bathroom on the same floor as bedrooms were located at! On the main floor, the living room had a large front window which was nice, the dining room was in a nice shape, and the kitchen was a bit on a small side, but that was not a deal-breaker for me. Our current kitchen was already small as well, and I made it do. Then there was a half bathroom located between the kitchen, and the living room. A bonus to have an additional bathroom! 

In the basement, there was a huge laundry room with a basin sink next to the washing and drying machines hook-ups, which was something I liked, because it was going to make cloth diapering easier. Next to the laundry room; there was a man-cave with walk-in sliding doors leading out to the back-yard, and that was also very nice. The only sucky thing I saw was that the floor laminated tile was not in the best shape near the sliding doors. That, we were told, was not going to be repaired right away since it was not damaged, but rather more of for authentic look issue to be fixed, and because of that, the landlord felt it was not necessary at this time to fix it. 

The yard was really big. We liked it. The front yard was a bit of a different story. It was muddy, and messed up from previous tenants moving out, and snow melting. Fortunately, the landlord was already seeding the yard, and grass should grow in time. The neighbors in the duplex had a mess going on their side. I was a bit turned off by that. We were not sure if the neighbors were spring-cleaning or trying to get rid of things from their house. We were assured that the couple living there was good people, who were in their 50's, and have been living there for ten years. They have grandchildren that comes over and visit. So that meant our little boy running around won't be an issue for them. 

The best part was that there was no pet fee. The expectation was to pay the rent, maintain the place, and pay utilities. We really liked the sound of not having to pay additional $25-$50 per pet. 

The landlord was really nice, and friendly. She was a bit hesitant when she learned that we had pets. I didn't blame her because of the previous tenants' irresponsibility in handling their pets causing damage to the house. We did assure her that our pets were well-behaved, spayed/neutered, and have no history of causing damage. Our current place was in good shape. So our pets must be great then, right. Even though, the landlord's hesitancy made us think that we may not have much of a chance to secure the place. We filled out the application, and submitted it to her, and waited. She did contact our current landlord, and looked up on us (as to be expected). Our current landlord put in a great word for us, and said great things about us and our pets. Yay! 

Then last night, we learned that we were approved to get the place!

Hence, the chaos will be a crazy busy month. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


 Loving: Spending my time cuddling with Forrest. He is a very independent baby, and does not really want to cuddle for too long. Now he's sick, while I hate the fact that he is sick, and he just wants to be by his Mama. So I'm soaking up all this cuddling mode he is in! Seeing more grass through the patches of melting snow; spring is truly on its way, and I can't wait for warm weather to finally to arrive! 

Reading: In Death Series by J.D. Robbs (pen name for Nora Roberts); Loyalty in Death, and I can't remember what order number I am on now. I absolutely love this series because there's a strong female heroine, Eve, that just absolutely kicks ass, along with a dash of good romance thrown in with a futuristic setting.

Watching: We are so behind on our favorite TV series. Thank goodness for DVR, huh? We are hooked on The Following, Monday Morning, & The Walking Dead. Actually, I'm a bit sad to see Walking Dead to end....and absolutely can't wait for this fall! 

Thinking About: House hunting. We are looking around at rental duplexes, and houses near Stu's work. We are hoping to cut down on Stu's commute time, and save on gas. We are also outgrowing the place we are currently living in. The area we are looking at is really nice, and I'd love to be back in the area for a bit while. There is even a potential duplex that we are looking at right now, and won't find out until end of this week if we end up securing it or not. Keeping our fingers crossed that this will be end of our house hunting.

Looking Forward To: Warm weather, long walks, playing outside with Forrest, campfire, Smores, moving to a bigger place, not being heavily pregnant this summer (last summer kind of sucked with me being so pregnant and dealing with hot weather), Forrest getting better, hanging clothes on the cloth line, longer evenings, cook-outs, and oh, so many more!

Making Me Happy: My wonderful family, my friends, and knowing that summer is just around the corner!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Belated Easter

Our Easter weekend was lovely. I wish I had pictures to post. Next time, I will need to do that. Forrest had so much fun army-crawling, and playing with his cousins. He was doted on by everybody. It was nice for Mama to just kick back, and relax while leaving up cooking to Bobbie. A lot of delicious food was eaten, and a lot of great company to be enjoyed up at the Farm. It was good to get away from the city, and unplug from the internet, and everything else in life. I think Stu really enjoyed this time off from his otherwise hectic schedule as well! 

I hope you guys had a wonderful Easter as well! 

While it was nice to get away from life for a short while, we had to come back to reality at some point, right, and that reality was Forrest getting a cold! Poor guy. I was up quite a lot last night consoling my sick little baby. 

I will update more tomorrow. I just want to drop in to let know the blogging world that we are alive and well.

Hopefully, this little man will sleep better tonight.