Thursday, June 25, 2009

Corpus Christi

Here's one reason why we love being parishioners at Star of the Sea. Father Lappe is awesome! Too bad we were on vacation in California and had to miss this. Enjoy!

What a wonderful way to begin the Year for Priests. God is so faithful in giving us holy, dedicated men to bring us the Sacraments and lead souls to Christ. St. John Vianney, pray for us!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Making the switch?

I'm considering making the switch to cloth diapers with Baby #2 in October. Never thought I'd even consider it, but our good friends Darius & Janet do it with multiple little ones (and she's not up to her elbows in stinky diapers), Ryan & Erin are planning on doing it, and Andrew & Lindsey are considering it as well.

At first, the idea popped in to my head when my friend Erin wanted to make the switch with Emma. I had no idea that the cost savings were so significant until she mentioned it. Then I did the math for myself. Clare is 21 months old. If we spend roughly (sometimes more) $30/month on disposable diapers for her, that means that in her short lifetime we've spent $630 on her diapers alone! And when it costs 1/3 of that to outfit multiple babies (heck, they're washable and re-usable) in cloth, it just seems to make sense.

But what about the convenience of disposable? According to Janet, after making the switch herself, once you get the hang of cloth there's really not that much of a difference. The key is to persevere during the transition time.

Then a blog that I love, SimpleMom, has done the past week on Cloth Diapering 101 to dispel the fears that some of us may have when considering switching to cloth and to offer practical advice and tips. You should check out her series on cloth diapering if you have any questions, because it's pretty comprehensive (at least for me who doesn't know anything) but at the same time not overwhelming. You should also visit because she's doing a giveaway with some fantastic cloth diaper supplies from FuzziBunz, BottomBumpers, and Swaddlebees. Check it out!

Like I said, I'm still in the considering phase...we'll see where we end up going with this.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Mary & yard project progress

Happy Birthday, Mary! We love you. Sorry for the belated post...Mare's birthday was yesterday June 2. But we celebrated a day early, so I guess we're OK. :)

Our current yard project: Make it habitable.

When we moved in here 2 years ago, the back yard was covered -- and I mean you-can't-see-the-ground-it's-so-thick -- with waist-high dandelions. We've slowly (with my dad's help and industrial-sized backpack sprayer) been killing off the weeds to just thin them out enough so that we could see the ground.

Well, this spring we finally got to the point where we could see enough bare dirt to bring a rototiller in and get the ground ready for planting grass seed. Imagine! A back yard with grass!

We rototilled it all up and smoothed it out with rakes - I had no idea until my dad showed me how to do it properly that raking was such a fine art. The back yard was almost ready to roll out and plant.

Then we decided that we wanted to put in an automatic sprinkler system.

Back to the drawing board. Fortunately for us, my dad has maintained golf courses his whole life and knows just a little bit (OK, a LOT) about irrigation and has been able to walk Tom & I through every step of putting in our own sprinkler system. It's been a lot of work and planning - my dad even went through the trouble of making a blueprint of our back yard and drawing in the arcs of each and every sprinkler head to make sure that we were getting even coverage! Dad has worked so hard on this, while Tom and I just follow his directions.

With his help, so far we've managed to cut in to our water lines successfully and install a pipe to bring the water for the entire irrigation system outside the house to connect to our valves for each of the zones we'll have, map out with little flags where each sprinkler head needs to be placed for maximum even coverage, bring in a trencher (in other words, not a small piece of machinery) and dig the trenches for the pipe we'll need. We're in the process of hand-digging (read: hard work) to clean out the trenches and make them ready for pipes to be laid.

Here are some pictures of what our front & back yards look like right now:

This is the front yard. Notice that we had to take apart the fence to the right of the house to get easier access to the back yard.

View of the side of the back yard from our deck.

The back side of the house.

My dad smiling despite the fact that he and I were both sweating in the 88 degree weather and covered in dirt.

Dad laying our first pipe and getting the valves fixed to the pipe that we have coming out of the house's water lines. Note: I dug this trench and have become pretty good at digging nice square holes. :)

I'll post more pictures as we lay pipe and get it all back-filled (hopefully by the time we leave for California next Friday). I killed the weeds yesterday so that they'll be dead by the time we are done back-filling. That way the ground will be one step closer to read to plant grass seed. Whew! Hard work, but worth it. My dad and Tom have been working so hard on this project and we love being able to see our progress.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Graduation and Bedtime Battles update

Clare with her Aunt Kristy ("Kiki") at the BBQ celebration of her graduation Summa Cum Laude from NNU. When Clare was born Kristy made me promise her one thing: that she would never be "Aunt Kiki". Well, unfortunately "Kristy" is a little difficult for a little mouth to say. So for now she's "Aunt Kiki." Sorry, Kris.

Clare got a little restless during the graduation ceremony, so she took a walk outside with Great Uncle Lee and Papa.

She was holding up the walk back to the hotel after graduation, so Papa put her on his shoulders -- she seemed to like the view from up here!

Clare and one of her new favorite people - my cousin Samantha. Sami was so sweet with Clare, and I think Clare liked having a "big girl" to chase around and hang out with while we were in Idaho.

Clare loves Fr. Lappe and babies, so Fr. Lappe + baby John Vianney = something that made Clare very happy. She's actually really gentle with babies, and loves taking "her turn" holding baby John. I think she's going to be a great big sister.

Enjoying the sunshine for a few minutes with Aunt Shannon. Don't worry, Clare was slathered with SPF 50 sunscreen. :) She now thinks that the only purpose for the deck is lying down, and can usually be seen dragging her baby, bear, pillow, and blanket outside to go "night-night" even after the sun's gone down.

And now for the grand finale photo of the month:

Yes, that would be Clare in her own bed with (along with her bunny and all 20 other stuffed animals and babies with whom she insists on sleeping) after going down for her nap today with NO FUSSING AT ALL. We've had a breakthrough in the last few days as far as bedtime battles go. Clare's been going to sleep and staying that way with little to no crying at all. It's been awesome, and she's a happier girl now that she's sleeping well. Finally, I no longer dread bedtime.