Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Very Hungry and Not-So-Hungry Caterpillars

felt garland by Handmade at No. 9
Caden is a little eating machine. All he wants to do is eat, eat, eat. But he never eats enough, which is why he is always hungry. He's a grazer and a snacker. I, on the other hand, have lost my appetite ever since I stopped nursing Caden. A nursing mother, not a pregnant one, eats for two! I was always hungry and could eat a lot, but now I'm hungry less often and I eat less. I'm still getting used to it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stake Conference with Elder Oaks

Sunday was a special stake conference for us. Elder Dallin H. Oaks came to address us. We got there over an hour early and were seated in the overflow. Before the conference started, Elder Oaks went around shaking everyone's hands. Lucky for us, we were the last row of people he got to before he made his way back to the stand. He is so much friendlier and nicer looking in person than on the screen! To me, watching him in General Conference, he looks so stern and sounds so authoritative and intimidating. But he was so cheerful and jovial in person. I'm glad I got to see that side of him.

He started the conference ten minutes early; "Hinckley Standard Time," he called it. When he spoke, he said that for stake conferences, he does not prepare talks but listens for promptings while the other speakers talk, particularly the stake president. He talked to us about paying tithing, being a single member in the Church (he was single for two years after his first wife died, and his second wife was single until he married her in her fifties), and how the plan of salvation is one of equal opportunity, not equality, in relation to the different roles men and women play (see my Mormon Light blog).

It was a very spiritually informative and uplifting conference. The only downside was keeping Caden entertained in our laps for 3 hours. First hour before conference was fine, of course. The last 2, Justin and I took turns taking him out into the hall (not to play). And I came prepared, too!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Featured Seller: Tina from Godiva Jewels & TS Crocheted

I've met many people on Etsy, and one of the best is my friend Tina from Godiva Jewels and TS Crocheted. She is the most genuine person I've met on Etsy. She puts all her heart and soul into helping others succeed. I can always count on her for help and support.

Her shop Godiva Jewels sells beads, pendants, and some jewelry.

Both of my grandmothers did a lot of sewing and hand stitching. They taught me their talents when I was very young. From there I always wanted to do crafting and sewing. My husband always supports my love for crafting and hobbies. He made me my own workshop in our basement, and I have more than made good use of it. Then my daughter-in-law wanted me to go to a bead party with her and I loved it. I loved it so much I started collecting beads and making jewelry. I have found my love of all crafting in beads and beading. I still do other crafting, sewing, and woodwork, but I love beads the most. I started getting such a big collection of beads, my friends started buying them from me. So this is how my online shop was started.

Her shop TS Crocheted sells crocheted items (and some other things).


Check out Tina's two shops for more beautiful things!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What to Expect When You're Expecting 3-Book Giveaway [CLOSED]

Raise your hand if you've read What to Expect When You're Expecting. The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant was buy the book. I was absolutely clueless about pregnancy and childbirth! And I greatly fear the unknown. The title delivered its promise: the book gave me the basic facts I needed to lay a good foundation of knowledge that I built upon while making my birth plan.

You can imagine my excitement when their partnership director contacted me asking me if I would like to work with, the website associated with the book. He sent me What to Expect When You're Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, and What to Expect the Second Year to review and is giving away sets of those 3 books to 2 lucky winners!

*Extremely informative. Every question you can think of is answered!
*Sequenced so you can read what you need to at each stage of pregnancy and childhood, allowing you to take each section at a time instead of feeling you need to read the whole book at once.
*Includes indexes for easily finding answers you need right now.
*Written in a tone informal enough to feel like you are conversing with another mother yet authoritative enough that you feel confident in trusting the content.

*Although the authors try to be unbiased and merely factual with certain controversial subjects, it is easy to tell which side they are promoting. So these books are best for mainstream moms or new mothers who haven't formed any parenting opinions yet. However, the authors frequently repeat something I strongly believe: only you know what is best for you and your baby, and a choice is right if it feels right to you.
*Repetitive: many questions are answered more than once.

Two of you lucky readers will win a set of the 3 What to Expect books! Perfect for you new mothers or to give as baby shower gifts.

Mandatory Entry: Browse and tell me something you learned.

1 entry: Like What to Expect on Facebook. Leave your username.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook. Leave your username.

1 entry: Follow What to Expect on Twitter (@whattoexpect).

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

1 entry each: Post this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog.

1 entry: Tell me if the books would be for you or someone else and why.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, September 5. The winner will be announced Thursday, September 6. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open worldwide. Good luck!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


It has been exactly four weeks since Caden last nursed. I thought it would never end! As much as I loved breastfeeding him, I was ready for it to end. When your milk dries up and your kid has teeth, nursing doesn't feel good anymore. I'm glad we made it as long as we did, though--nearly two years.

The weaning journey wasn't easy. The hardest was going from three times a day to 2. During our two-week vacation back east, Caden was so busy and distracted that he only nursed once, if that. So when we got home, I tried to keep him distracted and busy. Then I told him no when he asked for it and gave him cow's milk instead. The first two weeks he kept asking for it and would get frustrated when I gave him regular milk instead. Then over the next two weeks he forgot about it.

But last night while he was sitting in my lap facing me, he grabbed my shirt and looked down. He kept staring at my chest intently, and then it clicked, and he signed milk. "You want to drink some milk?" I asked him, pointing to the fridge.

"No," he answered, pointing to my chest.

"There's no more milk there," I replied. "All gone."

And that was it. No tantrum or frustration or asking again. I knew then he was truly weaned.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Prevent (Some) Tantrums

My little helper spinning the lettuce.
One of the hardest parts of disciplining for me is picking my battles. I learned quickly to prevent some tantrums by using the following techniques.

No More Forbidden Fruit
The first is letting my toddler do usually forbidden things at appropriate times. For example, his aunt let him play with the lightswitches one day, and he wanted to continue playing with them all day. At first I said no, and of course he got upset. Then I made it a point to let him turn on and off the lights as needed. Because I let him do it at those times, he soon stopped asking to do it all the time. This technique has worked for a number of situations, usually those involving some sort of button or switch.

Little Helper
I used to get upset with my son taking the kitchenware out of the cabinets. Then I thought I'd put his knowledge of the kitchen to good use and had him help me put the clean dishes away. He loved it and still does. Now he always helps me unload the dishwasher and put away some dishes. He also helps me with the laundry.

Next to tackle was grocery shopping. I started by letting him put things in the cart and putting produce in the bags. But the last few months he has refused to sit in the cart, so now I also let him push the cart below me. Lately we've had lots of meltdowns at the store, though, because he wants to run around and grab everything, so I need to figure out my next step.

I also let Caden help me cook by helping him measure and stir things. If there is something he wants to do that is unsafe, I guide him to his play kitchen so he can pretend to do it.

Mine and Yours
Caden always wants to touch and use our things, so we get him his own. He has his own computer keyboard that I got at the thrift store for 50 cents, a fake cell phone that came with his play kitchen (also from the thrift store), and a fake TV remote. When he wants something of mine, I remind him he has own, be it books, toys, writing or eating utensils, food, etc. The fact that he has things that are specifically his usually satisfies him.

When I know Caden doesn't want to do something, I will give him choices of how to do it so that he feels he has some control and is more cooperative. For example, he usually refuses to go down for a nap and wants me to continue reading him books. I tell him he can either lie down by himself, have me lie down with him, or let me rock and sing him to sleep. Naturally, he chooses the latter options and falls alseep.

Quality Time
One of the most common causes of Caden's tantrums is lack of attention. We get so caught up in our own busy lives or relaxing days off that we often ignore Caden and expect him to entertain himself. I've been trying to be better about including him in my necessary activities, limiting unnecessary ones, and spending time with him with no distractions so that he knows and feels that I love and want to be with him.

What are some techniques you use to prevent tantrums?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Caden Can Count!

A couple weeks ago when Justin and I were playing a game, we heard Caden counting along with Elmo. We were so surprised! We read counting books to him everyday and he never counted along. Now he does. The only numbers he can't say are one and seven; for the others he mostly just says their vowel sounds. But he recognizes all of them and knows their proper order. He loves counting things and tries to do it on his fingers, which he hasn't quite mastered yet. It's so cute how he tries!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Potty Training Preliminaries

After we have settled into our new place, I want to start potty training Caden. I just read my friend Alex's helpful story about potty training her son and it gave me hope. I think Caden will be ready based on the following:

1. Last week he had a terrible rash, so I left him diaperless for a few hours each day. Naturally, he had a few accidents. I was surprised to see how much they upset him! Caden hates spills and messes (except toys) and helps clean them up, but his accidents bothered him even more. I think going diaperless, as Alex suggests, will be effective with him.

2. Caden also hates getting his diaper changed. To get him to be more cooperative, I took an idea from Elizabeth Pantley: the potty train, in which Caden gets a piggyback ride to the bedroom while I say "choo-choo." When I need to change his diaper, he stops running away or resisting once I ask him if he wants to get on my back. He loves it so much, he has started to tell me occasionally when he is dirty or even wet. That means he recognizes when he goes in his diaper.

3. After I clean him up, I dump the diaper contents in the toilet. That was originally for the smell, but now Caden is interested in flushing it down and washing his hands afterward, a great start for a boy!

I am a little nervous to begin, but I think as long as I am consistent and patient, we will succeed. If only I hadn't stopped the infant potty training!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Moving Woes

We are moving next week to an apartment closer to Justin's work. So far, the process, which began in March, has been very frustrating.

First there was trying to find a place we could afford and be allowed to bring our own washer and dryer. I refuse to sell ours because they were gifts from my in-laws when I graduated from college. And they're great. However, here in Arizona, nearly every apartment provides a washer and dryer, and if they don't, they have a laundromat (after 3 1/2 years of using one, I never will again!) or hookups for only certain styles (stackable, gas, etc.).

We finally found a place. I love the location and layout. Next problem was getting a lease. Apparently we're too poor, so it had to be cosigned. We had to work out all that while on vacation in Wisconsin.

The last hurdle was ASU. We saved the worst for last. The housing office staff are never on the same page and they are very unpredicatable. We weren't sure the exact date our lease ended: we didn't receive a copy, and in the renewal reminder email they sent us, they left our termination date blank. We didn't want to ask because Justin technically graduated in May, disqualifying us from living in student housing even though last year we signed through August with permission. But like I said, communication there is horrible, so what one person says may not be what the next person will say, and we didn't want to be kicked out right then and there. Happens all the time--no exaggeration.

Anyway, we finally got around to it on Monday. We found out our lease ended today (the 1st). We asked for a 9-day extension since we cannot move in to our new place until the 10th. No supervisors were there. We filled out forms. No reply. Tuesday Justin and I spent all day calling the office and checking Justin's email. Nothing. Still no supervisors available; the receptionist didn't even know where they were. We were freaking out, because if our extension was denied, we had to move out in one day, rent a storage trailor, and crash at Adam and Kirsten's place for 9 days. So not happening. Finally, this morning after I called again, Justin called me and said they informed him we could stay.

What a relief! I was so stressed and am still recovering. Just a warning to anyone who is considering attending ASU: don't! I can't say anything about the education since I was never a student here, but the administration is terrible. There is so much chaos and lack of knowledge, ridiculous rules that affect the innocent, fees for everything, and no accountability. All our interactions with ASU, not just housing, have always been nightmares. I just hope the management at our new place is better!
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