Saturday, June 30, 2007

This and That, a post with several pictures and few words

A half-finished soaker (this is the cherry red yarn I mentioned in the diaper post) :

Ellie's cute and nutritious lunch:

Sophie's missing two front teeth (now she knows what she wants for Christmas!):

Anna "hanging out" in the kitchen :):
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cute Food!

Today, we discovered the world of Bento boxes. It is so much fun! Bento boxes are small boxes with several compartments or tiers (boxes stacked on top of each other). You can get them in tons of colors with little characters on them. Oh, and the food is even cooler. People will take rice and vegetables and make cute animals and flowers... The pictures above are examples of Bento. The top one is an image from a Japanese Bento blog called Crazy Beautiful Bento. The next is an Americanized version of a Bento lunch. We spent a long time (most of the day in fact) looking at all of the blogs, and tryed making our own. We made rice balls and put cucumber and squash cut in flower shapes on the balls. It wasn't as cool as the other ones.... But it was yummy and fun to make. Here is a picture of what we came up with:

Eleanor is three!

Eleanor's birthday was Monday, but due to the yucky cold we're all passing around I didn't get this up until today. Happy Birthday, Ellie, we love you so much!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

We caught the smile!

Just can't get enough of that cute baby!

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Ellie discovers the joys of nature...

She went outside to play, wearing shorts and a t-shirt. When I asked what happened to her clothes, she said she took them off because they got muddy. :)
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sophia's creations Part 2

Sophia is always coming up with cool ideas and making cool stuff. Here is some more cool stuff: Our picnic in the park lunch bag (above).

Sophia's colored paper, drinking straws, and tape playground (isn't is clever?)
Sophia is going through a big (around two feet) paper dolls phase. The one on the far left is Ariel, and the one in the middle is Nausicaa, and the one on the far right is Soleil ( Soleil is french for sun).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sophia's New Cycle

Before Anna was born, we took family bike rides in the following way: Margaret and I rode our own bikes, and Tony pulled a two-seater trailer with the little girls on board. We've been struggling lately with the dilemma of how we can bring everyone along now that we have one more kid. We considered getting Sophie her own bicycle so that Anna could take her place in the trailer, but she doesn't ride without training wheels yet and she's really too little to keep up. Then Tony had a great idea, and we purchased this tandem bike attachment:

Isn't she cute? She's really happy, too. So now our family bike rides will go thus: Tony with Sophia on the tandem bike, Me pulling the trailer with the two little ones, and Margaret riding her own bike (lucky).
I think riding the tandem bike will help Sophie learn to balance as well, I guess we'll see.

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It's a Major Award!

Anthony received a letter today informing him of a very prestigious honor. He has been selected to participate in a distinguished national recognition program by having his Biography appear in the upcoming 30th Annual Edition of The National Dean's List, 2006/2007. The National Dean's List has apparently been recognizing top students (and I guess former students as well) for over 30 years. We are also able to own a copy of the limited edition book for our personal library for the low low price of $69.95.

We were a bit puzzled by this letter, since Tony graduated 8 years ago, until we noticed that this was not, in fact, the National Deans' list, but the National Dean's list. It seems that Dean Somebodyorother has taken it upon himself to publish this prestigious list and we are honored that Anthony has been selected to participate. Anyone who wants a copy of the book at the low low price of $69.95 can let us know and we'll order extras!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

We don't call it a circus for nothing!

This morning at about 10:30 I was in the bathroom changing (yes, out of my pajamas and into my clothes) while Anna was lying on the bed staring at the fan and the other girls were doing something on the computer. All was well until, all at once, the lawn service showed up and started mowing, Blaise started barking and jumping 6 feet in the air at the window, Sophia and Ellie broke out in a fist fight over the game they were playing, Margaret started screaming at me to come and get the dog and Anna started screaming (I guess because of all the noise.)

The best part is I came running out of the bathroom to deal with the sudden chaos and realized that I wasn't wearing a shirt. :)

Cue the circus music....

Monday, June 4, 2007

A diaper post

When Sophia was born, I invested in a stack of cotton prefold diapers and began cloth diapering. It has become a love and an obsession over the years. I'm not sure exactly why, I just love wrapping my babies up in soft clean cotton; it's so much nicer than papery chemical disposable diapers. It's also much less expensive and much less smelly (believe it or not!)

The past month or so we've been struggling with a diaper rash that seemed to be cause by Anna's cloth diapers. The rash was bright red and looked like a sunburn wherever the diaper had touched her skin. At first I suspected the rash was being caused by the detergent I washed her diapers in, so I began trying different detergents, and researching their ingredients. Nothing I did with the washing routine seemed to help. In desperation, I bought some Huggies for her, and the rash seemed to clear up while she was in the disposables. Sadly, I bought more disposable diapers and had nearly resigned myself to giving up the cloth, when I happened upon some information (obsessively researching diaper rashes on the internet) about diaper rash caused by yeast (Candida Albicans). I didn't think this was Anna's problem, but I decided to treat the rash like yeast and see what happened. I washed all of her diapers 3 times in verrrrry hot water, then added a few tablespoons of bleach during the last cycle. This was to kill anything that might be living in the diapers. I also started adding tea tree oil to the water I used to wipe her with, and started wiping her between each change. I put the cloth diapers back on her and her rash has completely cleared up. Some people might not understand this, but I was so relieved I was moved to tears. Now I can wrap my baby up in her soft cotton again and it isn't hurting her skin!

Cloth diapers are widely available (online, at least) and can be very elaborate or (in our case) very simple. Here is my diapering system illustrated:

This is a cotton prefold diaper, with good old-fashioned diaper pins. Diaper pins are great, they make it easy to get the right fit, but they do get dull after a while, and they are a challenge to get on when the baby is feeling squirmy.

As an alternative to pins, when Ellie was a baby I started using a device called a snappy. The snappy takes some practice, but is ultimately faster and easier to use. It grips the fabric with little plastic teeth. Up close, it looks like this:

On the diaper it looks like this:

Over the cloth, there needs to be a waterproof cover to keep everything in. I use a combination of these laminated cloth covers:

And wool covers called soakers. Wool makes a very nice diaper cover, and blends well with my newfound love of knitting. This soaker is one I made about a month ago from merino wool:

To celebrate the solving of the diaper rash mystery, I ordered some red and some yellow yarn to make more soakers:). I will post pictures when I get them finished!

More about Anna

Anna was baptized yesterday (June 3) at our church, St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church. She was very good and only fussed a little bit. Her godmother is Justine Nightingale, a wonderful friend of ours, and a homeschooling mother of two little girls.
Her patron saint is St. Anna the Prophetess. St. Anna's story can be found in the bible, Luke 2:34-38. St. Anna is commemorated on the church calendar February 3, which is just a few days before Anna's birthday, February 6. This, of course, is why we named her Anna :).

Here is Anna with Justine in her new dress:
St. Anna the Prophetess: