Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Going Green in the Dittlinger House

I'm on a new kick lately. I've been browsing Eco-Friendly blogs lately and I'm totally inspired to get a bit more green around here. I'm reading one blog called, The Zero Waste Home, where the writer, Bea keeps her house pretty much trash free. (Seriously. Think about that. She has no trashcans in her house and produces virtually NO trash.) While I'm not interested right now (I've learned NEVER say NEVER) in going that far, she has provided me with a ton of inspiration lately.

It all started a couple months ago in the Relationship Seminar I'm taking with Landmark Education. We did an exercise that had us creating who we want to be in life. I created the possibility of being HAPPY and CONFIDENT. Next step? Go out and live life that way. It's harder than it sounds and so simple all in one. I realized that a lot of what I was unhappy about in my life, I was creating! What a revelation. Without conscious effort, my house has started to become decluttered and airy. I love open space and lack of clutter, it truly does make me happy. I thought it was all the kids toys, but really in truly, things have piled up over the years, a few knick knacks here, a couple of candles there and all of a sudden it was TOO much! You start to not even see the items anymore, but they cause visual stress. I have gone through with trashbags and started tossing like a mad woman. I've made some recycle piles, donate piles and sale piles. I'm attacking the house one drawer/closet/room at a time. I'm not in a rush, I'm going at my own pace. It is SO liberating. I keep finding myself sitting in the chair in my bedroom and just enjoying the calm that the unclutteredness brings to me. I've found I suddenly have more time for exercising, cooking and crafting.

Somewhere during all of this cleaning is when I came upon Bea's website (Zero Waste) and several like hers. With this zen-like experience I've had with decluttering (yeah, the little I know about "zen" haha) along with the journey I've had this past year with REAL food, I'm finding myself wanting to get even further into natural things. I've been using vinegar water to clean my kitchen for a couple of months now, and I'm ready to make my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. I've also joined the no 'poo crusade to stop using store bought shampoo and conditioners. (I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar mixed with lavender oil.) I'm working on substituting paper towels with cloths, I'm not going to buy any more paper plates, I'm looking into patterns to make homemade sandwich and snack bags and I've even gone over the deep end. I've introduced "family cloth" into our home. It sounds so warm and fuzzy... yeah, no. Family Cloth, is the term crunchy hippie people use for cloth toilet paper. Wait! Don't leave! It's really not that bad! It's actually kind of cool. I'll still keep toilet paper around for guests and, well, my dear sweet husband John who thinks I am crazy with this! It's all an adventure, none of it is a commitment (so far I haven't spent any money, I've been upcycling everything) and it doesn't have to all be done at once.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to lately!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

another benefit of being a twin

The girls are sitting together and trying to see how far they can count. They started on Izzie's fingers and moved on to Maddie's fingers and made it all the way to twenty.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's only a couple years away...

Maddie: When I turn five I don't have to swim with a grown up or follow safety rules. When I'm five I can do EVERYTHING by myself including take a bath. Plus I can run faster when I'm five.
Izzie: Yeah! And I can jump even HIGHER when I'm FIVE!

(By the way, this was all said in very happy, excited voices, full of complete enthusiasm as to what 5 years old might hold in store for them.)

Making Meatballs

Looking for the perfect toy for your 3 year old? An extra large tub of glass beads is the toy that goes on and on and on. It gets played with EVERY single day. They lend themselves to endless imaginative possibilities. Today, they were meatballs after the girls helped me make meatballs for dinner this morning.

 (Izzie is in the solid pink dress and Maddie is in the flowery tank dress.) Teddy and Bunny were the taste testers today.

 The beads came to us in that huge butter tub from Mema.

 Negotiating the sharing of more beads.

 Mixing and mixing the meatballs.

 Plating up.

 It is sometimes impossible to get a focused photo of Maddie. She is always moving.

 Izzie showing me a bead that was broken in half.

 Maddie running around, Izzie primping for the camera. (Maddie gets excited energy when she's trying to show/tell me something, Izzie gets poised and calm.)

 Ready for my photo op, mom!

 Making meatballs is a serious affair.

And a fun filled adventure!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another First! Our first Movie Trip!

 Before the movie, we went to lunch at Red Robin's.Here is Maddie, Rhonda and Izzie.

 Our first Movie Tickets to go see Winnie the Pooh! Nanna, Rhonda, Izzie and Maddie.

 Izzie, Rhonda and Maddie deciding on movie snacks.

 Nanna, Izzie, Maddie and Rhonda

Izzie, Maddie and Momma.

When John and I heard that Winnie the Pooh was coming to the theater this summer, we decided that would be a perfect first movie experience. You have to be careful even with Disney because some Disney movies have scary scenes for the little kids, but we figured not too much could be scary about Winnie the Pooh and we were right. It was also a short movie, just at an hour long. With previews though it stretched to almost an hour and a half which did test the girls patience to their limit. But they were really good during the show. All five of us had a really great time at the theater!

 Maddie and Izzie working on an art project for Nanna.

Maddie, Daddy and Izzie. My three gamers.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A laid back Saturday

 Maddie cutting out squares to make a paper monster. Practicing our cutting skills!

Izzie cutting pieces for her monster too.
Today was a day that I thought was going to be super busy, but ended up mostly relaxed. I thought I was going to take the girls to a movie with my mom and sister for the first time, but we are actually doing that tomorrow. (I can't wait! We are taking the girls to see Winnie the Pooh, their first movie to see in a theater!) I'll definitely let you know how it goes. So we spent most of the morning, reading, cooking, playing and crafting. The girls painted some hearts they want to send to their cousin Casey because she sent them some mail last week. They also painted a picture frame that Nanna gave to them. Our biggest to-do of the day was a swim in mom's pool. When we got in the car it read 113 degrees. No, it's not THAT hot, but it almost feels like it. The swimming pool is starting to feel like a bathtub that's for sure. I think the actual temperature is 103 though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A trip to the chiropractor

nI hurt my back yesterday by lifting my bicycle. It's not that it is heavy, it was just one of those, turn funny and boom! crippling pain. Okay, well it actually didn't even happen that way either. It was more of a, "Hum, that felt funny." And I didn't think about it again. My bike ride was rough but I hadn't been out for a few nights and even though the sun was down below the horizon the thermometer was reading 101 degrees. By the time I went to bed my back was feeling more uncomfortable and this morning I woke up with that crippling pain I mentioned in the beginning. When I moved, some nerve must have been pinched because I'd get a shock all the way down my leg. No fun, no fun at all. Well the girls had gymnastics today after a two week hiatus and I did not want them to miss it. So I took some pain meds, which I rarely ever take anymore, just to get through the morning.

Luckily my mom had a chiro appointment today at 12:30 and I was able to sweet talk her out of it. I was going to drop the girls off at her house so they wouldn't have to sit at the doctors bored while I got worked on. But when Izzie asked me (quite randomly, I thought) if "Milk was at Lucky Layla"(Lucky Layla Farms is where Nanna gets our milk) and I said yes. Then she said, "So if Nanna is there, she can't watch us and we get to go to the doctor." I clarified with her that she was asking about Nanna and not Milk. (We were in the car and I couldn't hear her well.) I realized that she actually WANTED to go to the chiropractor with me. Hum. Well, I figured that wouldn't be a problem. Maddie also wanted to go.

I had them back their backpacks with two small toys and two books and off we went. They were very, very, very good while we were at the chiropractor's office. On the way there, I told them that they could stay in the waiting room and play (he has a little table set up for kids) or they could come in the room and watch Dr. Reif work on me. I told them when I went in the last room with the music if they came in, they had to be very quiet. They decided to stay in the waiting room. They played quite contentedly during my appointment. They each had brought two princess figurines and they were pretending they were getting their backs fixed too. It was really cute.

When I was in the last room (he does something called stem? where he puts electrodes on the muscles to make them loosen up around the area he corrected) they decided to come in there. I heard them come in, but just barely. Then I heard one sort of almost fight when Maddie wanted to sit in the only chair in the room and Izzie was already in it. I just told them to "work it out quietly" and I didn't hear another peep. After I paid, when I was leaving Maddie told me she was very sad and angry that sissy wouldn't share. I was AMAZED that it hadn't turned into a huge fight in the room! She waited patiently until I was through to address it. My mouth almost fell to the floor, but I quickly recovered and congratulated her on her patience. We talked it through for a few minutes and everything was okay again.

Then on the way home, they were both quiet for a bit and Maddie asked in a sort of funny voice. "Momma, why did that one lady.... why did she have sort of reindeer feet?" I had to make sure I heard her correctly. Then thank goodness I sort of half noticed in the background of my mind that there was a lady in the waiting room who was wearing some of those new type of "shoes" that mold to your foot. But instead of 5 toes, only the big toe was separate. I thought to myself when I saw them that they looked strange, but didn't think anything else about it. But to my little girl that woman was half reindeer! (I'm impressed she knew that deer have cloven feet.) Anyway, I explained to her that those were some sort of funny shoes and asked her if she wanted me to buy her some. She said no thank you. But I thought the whole thing was pretty funny.

(This is what the boots looked like.)


Daddy reading to his girls. (Maddie and Izzie)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Failed trip to Splashpark

 Rockin my PAMOM gear. Yeah, it's pretty cool to see the logo I designed on things!

 Izzie and Maddie trying to be brave and go to the splash park.

 Nope, Izzie ran right back to me.

 I tried to go with them but she they just sat down and cried.

 Celebration park is pretty darn cool looking.

 Caught this cool photo of a rainbow.

 The girls just stood around until we had our picnic and finally left. Jake and Ford were at the park with us (and their mom, Alison) and they had a BLAST playing.

 The girls really loved their new orginzation system with all the little holes. It made the toy new again, they played for over an hour straight until I told them it was time for nap. They patiently worked with me to get all the pieces back in each spot.

 I went in to check on them and they had this set up going on. (It's a Disney Princess book, and they tried to match the characters but we don't have a few so they just subbed as necessary.)

Maddie and Izzie wanted to have their figurines on the "stage" but couldn't reach it so they went and go stools.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day with Daddy

Ah... the end of another Monday. This weekend was a fun blur. I spent all day Saturday at a staff/volunteer training for Landmark Education. The first weekend of August working an event and I'm looking forward to it! I used to volunteer (assist as they call it) a lot before the girls were born, and I'm ready to get back into it. It's a training and development company, but the thing that rocks, is if you volunteer you pretty much get to take the course for free. Time versus money scenario. Their courses are a great value and assisting you don't get the entire course because you are "working" the event but I still get a ton out of it. I love the people I assist with too, a great bunch of people. All of this of course would not be possible if it wasn't for the support of my hubby.

He was a solo parent for most of Saturday and him and the girls had a great time. While I was sitting in a chair in my class, he was taking the girls to the hospital to see Dana and Holly one last time before they went home. Then he brought them home, cooked them lunch, played a ton, put them down for nap and then even took them out for ice cream! They were so excited to tell me every single thing they did by the time I got home, just in time to tuck them into bed.

 Holly and Dana

 Maddie, Holly, Dana and Izzie

Maddie, Daddy, Holly and Izzie.

Sunday I got on a mad cleaning spree. I grabbed some trashbags and I just tore into the house. It feels so great right now with all the clutter picked up and I even put away some (of the few) nicknacks and photo frames I have out. I mean, I LOVE photos of people, but when I have the extra frames up, it just reads as "clutter" to my eyes. I need some blank horizontal and vertical spaces in my house to feel creative. It's an artist thing I'm sure. I've just been feeling so stifled. I want a balance between bare and homey. So I left some stuff up, but I may go back and do a second sweep. I had such momentum that I called mom and asked if she could watch the girls today so that I could keep up my cleaning frenzy. Thankfully she said yes and so I started in on my upstairs. I didn't even realize how cluttered my bedroom was until I attacked it with a dust cloth and another garbage bag! I still have the family room to get to and then I'll tackle the dreaded closets. The closets are the hardest place to get rid of stuff, because that is where the stuff that you are not sure what to do with ends up!

With all of this clean space, I of course pulled out the vacuum cleaner and was frustrated that as soon as I started the belt bust. I went to Walmart tonight to look for a replacement belt but they did not have one in the brand I need. I did end up buying a sorting container thing for all the girls itty bitty princess toys, and I'm wondering is this wishful thinking? Can I pass my obsession of order and origination on to my kids? Do I even want to? I know that it would be easier for ME to play with the toys if I could see them in a nice way. We'll see what the girls think of it in the morning!
OCD? Wishful thinking? What do you think??

boo-boo math

Last night I cut my finger and grabbed the first band aid I saw, which happened to be a Dora band aid. Well this morning the girls had a couple of mosquito bites and I put cream on them but they kept bothering them. So I told them we'd put a band aid on their boo boos too. Izzie needed two band aids and Maddie needed one. Then Izzie said," Three people have Dora band aids on them." I agreed. Then Maddie said, "If Daddy needs a band aid four people will have band aids, BUT there will be FIVE band aids being used, because Izzie has two."

I sure do have smart 3.5 yr olds!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Visiting Holly

I took the girls to go visit their newest cousin Holly today! They were both excited to get to see her. Too bad Lucy was back in Muenster with her Grandma, because it would have been cute to have four of the girl cousins together. Dana is doing remarkable, she's already up and walking around the maternity ward. I think I didn't get out of the bed for at least the first two days! Both Maddie and Izzie got to hold Holly for a minute and then we all sat and visited while I got my cuddles in. Then to give Dana some rest, I kidnapped Cody and we went to lunch with the girls. Now the part you really want... more baby photos!
 Maddie holding Holly.

 Izzie holding Holly.

 Izzie, Holly, Amanda, and Maddie. Their baby dolls were the same size as Holly!

 So cute!

I LOVE baby toes!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little Miss Holly Elise Klement has arrived!

Sometime this morning I got a call from John telling me that his sister was having what we hoped were braxton hicks contractions, but that she was going to check them out at the doctor. I didn't think too much of it, since my sister-in-law, Dana, wasn't due for another 4 weeks. I had a friend come over and we were having a playdate, when around 12:45, I get another call from John. Dana was going in for an emergency c-section. I looked up at my friend Melanie and told her the situation. She agreed to stay with all the kids, until my mom could come over and relieve her. I called my mom and she dropped everything to head on over to watch Maddie and Izzie. I grabbed a camera and ran out the door. My mother-in-law, Jackie along with my other sister-in-law and the rest of the family are all on vacation in Wisconsin right now. None of us were expecting Baby Klement to arrive early! Dana has had a very great pregnancy.

I missed seeing her before she went into the operating room, but John and I sat in the waiting room and sent in as many positive thoughts as we could. Soon, Cody called John and let us know that baby and momma were both safe and doing well. We got to go back and see Baby Girl Klement, Holly Elise. She is such a precious little bundle of joy! Weighing in at 6.5 lbs and 18 inches long, she decided to arrive early. Not long after that, Cody's mom arrived from Muenster with Lucy (Holly's big sister) and Stacy, Dana's best friend. At first Holly was doing great, but after a bit of monitoring, they decided to put her in the transition NICU because her breathing was shallow and her temperature was low. They think she'll only be in there for a few hours. We stayed and visited for a bit, but decided to head on home to give Dana a bit of rest. I plan on taking Maddie and Izzie to meet their newest cousin in the morning. And for those counting, Jackie and Tom now have Six grand kids: Samuel, Madeline, Isabelle, Sabrina, Lucy and now, baby Holly. Sammy is the King of the hill that is for sure!

Lucy with Daddy.

John, Cody, Lucy and Stacy waiting for Dana to go to the recovery room.

Miss Holly Elise!

Holly got her sister a new toy.

Precious bundle of joy, Holly.

Showing Lucy her new baby sister.

Such a tiny bundle!

Daddy having fun with his older girl.

Lucy saying, "I have an itty bitty  baby!"

Dana with Lucy.

Lucy wanted a bandaid to match the one Momma got.