Jul 31, 2009

Water Ski Show

Aparantly there is a non-profit water ski club right in town. We went to watch their annual show just minutes from our house. It was quite the kick off to "Summah Daze" which is a fun little festival of events that will continue through the weekend. Here's a little phot montage:

Jason and Ella "watching"...she really could have cared less about the skiers!
There were many a people doing pyramids and such. There was quite the humorous clown act. He had the kids and me rolling. In his final act it looked like he was going to go over the jump but instead he popped out of his skis at the last second, ran up the jump and launched! These were two young guys that were great slalom skiers. They would slalom back and forth crossing under or over each other's rope. AND THEN!...they skied all the way around the boat! Yeah, picture that one. The boat has to turn on a dime while one whips around real fast. It was fabulous!Water ski ballett if you will. They went round and round the lake switching from one lift to another. That would take quite the balance and strength! We actually had to leave for the 2nd half of the show because it was Ella's bedtime. It promised to be fully of a lot more jumping and big pyramids. However, we did see these guys. Here they are in mid 360! And yup, they both landed beautifully!

Jul 29, 2009

Car Salesman Saga

This most recent event solidifies my distrust of car salesman. It's a good little tale where the little guy wins (kind of) so you wanna read on!

Sat. July 18th we went into a car dealership knowing exactly what we wanted. And we wanted to utilize the CARS government rebate system where you trade in your "clunker" and get $4500 toward a new car! We agreed on a car and price. We stated that we needed to have the car quickly because I was at home without a car and more importantly I was planning to drive it to Michigan to get to my family reunion (family I haven't seen in several YEARS and none of whom have seen Ella!) The salesman (We'll call him Joe) stated that the government program would be up and running Friday and we could reasonably expect the car Mon or Tues. Fabulous. We put money down and signed.

Friday, the government program was not working so smoothly, no fault there. But the troubles began Friday. Joe never called us back and then when Jason finally got a hold of him, he stated that he could now give us no timeline as to when our "clunker" information would even be submitted to the government. He said he'd keep us updated. We didn't hear from him Saturday, and Monday he wasn't in.

We started to call around to see if this was the norm with this program or if Joe just A)Didn't know what he was doing. B)Was in over his head or C)Was just totally unprofessional.

We heard from two friends who had gone in on Saturday and driven home with their new vehicles. And we found several dealerships that would guarantee us that our information would be submitted the same day we came to the dealership and we'd have our vehicle in 24-48 hours.

Jason called the dealership back and said essentially, "It just seems like you guys are in over your head and don't have this whole rebate system worked out. We know other places that can get it done. Can we cancel the deal?" The associate told us that we could cancel it right over the phone. We decided to do the right thing and wait until Joe was in on Tuesday and talk to him first.

We didn't hear from Joe Tuesday and when Jason finally got a hold of him he had YET to even submit our "clunker" information to the government. Not only that, but he ALSO LIED to us! He told us he had submitted it and we knew he hadn't because he hadn't even contacted our insurance agent to verify that we'd had coverage for a year (and he'd had 1 1/2 weeks to do that at this point). When confronted with that he backtracked and said it was "started" and "in process".

At this point Jason essentially said, "It's Tuesday, you said we'd have the car by now. You haven't even submitted the paperwork. And you're acting unprofessionally in lying! We want to cancel the deal. Please return our deposit." To which Joe replied, "No." Yeah you read that right! HE REFUSED! He then went on to say that we could not cancel the deal if he didn't deliver the car by a certain time. We could only cancel it if he didn't deliver the car for the agreed price. He said not only, would he not return our deposit but he was going to continue to push the deal through so we couldn't go elsewhere! I am LIVID just recounting the story! The gall! The audacity! I have no words!!!

There was then apparently many a word exchanged and much round and round discussion which ended in Jason getting nowhere, Joel continuing with the deal and Jason so mad he was shaking. At which point Jason was resigned to the fact that there was nothing we could do and we just had to wait and hope he gets it done.

Enter Sarah....UH HUH! OH NO YOU DIDN'T! You DO NOT treat me or anyone in my family that way! You DO NOT walk all over me! You DO NOT force my hand! There is NO WAY I was letting it stand at that. There was NO WAY I was giving this man my business. And there was NO WAY I was letting him keep our deposit. After a night of fitful sleeping I was so upset I woke with new resolve.

Today I spent Ella's entire morning nap contacting:
~The Better Business Bureau
~The NH Attorney General's Office
~The NH Auto Dealership Association
~The Federal Trade Commission and
~The National Auto Dealership Association

I then called Mr. Joe when he got in at 12pm and had a little chitty chat with him. I will not recount the details of that conversation. But let's just say he continued to be unprofessional, take no responsibility for his actions and try to run me in circles. Sorry, buddy. You can't run Sarah in circles. I mean business.

Our deposit will be returned to our bank account promptly. The End.

Jul 26, 2009

Sarah Day & Immortal Dogs

Saturday was "Sarah Day". Since Jason had gone on a 4-day fishing trip two weeks before and last weekend I spent the entire time scrubbing tobacco nastiness, Jason said that I should just do something for me this Saturday. Isn't he great!?

I decided I would take a lunch, my ipod and a good book down to the coast (only 20 min away!) and lounge on a beach. I headed out early, as it gets crowded quickly and was all settled on my beach blanket before 10am. And guess how long I lasted? Just shy of 2 hours. And then I missed Jason and Ella so much that I headed straight home! I decided what I wanted to do most for me this Saturday is spend it with the two people I love the most!

We packed our little family up and headed to the cute little park we discovered last Sunday that's just 5 minutes down the road from us. Again...lazed on the blanket, swam in the water, walked down the trails and swung in the swings. We had a little BBQ in the evening and went out for a family walk around the neighborhood afterward...perfect weather for it! And Jason and I finished off the night by watching "Marley & Me". Such a good movie! Quite a tear jerker at the end there. But Jason cried more than me on this one! He said he cried for about the last half hour. This led to a discussion and final conclusion of pure denial that Hunter is immortal.

Jul 23, 2009

Highlights and Lowlights

Some highlights from my week thus far...

~During my Tuesday women's Bible study, Ella stayed upstairs with the young women who do childcare and did excellent! Only one serious spat of tears at the beginning and then she mellowed and was at least distractable. This is such a blessing because I so long for her to get to the point where she's okay with other people and I so long for others to be able to enjoy the sweet, happy girl that we know!

~Have been very productive around the house in all things domestic (cleaning, cooking, laundry, babyfood making etc.) and have even managed to sneak a nap or two when Ella naps!

~Just had to store away a HUGE lot of clothes that Ella is too big for! Also got out a huge lot of clothes that she'll quickly be wearing. I feel SO blessed to have so much to store away and to have quite an abundance of new and used clothes that people have given to us to get out for the next phase!

~Have been enjoying new things with Ella. Swimming (got an adorable kiddie pool), swinging, bubbles, new foods, and sitting up quite well on her own. Also thought of my other mommy friends whos kiddos love bugs as I introduced Ella to two super fat slugs this morning and a rather dungy moth that let her touch him several times! She was intrigued!

~Am in the beginning stages (just research and development I guess you'd say) of actually putting action to my dream of starting my own wedding invitation business. Still a long road ahead but I sense the Lord's blessing and prompting and feel good about forward progress!

~Have been MORE than enjoying my mom's apple butter on toasted hommade bread every night for dessert! YUMMM!

Some lowlights from my week thus far...

~Although not as bad.....the place still smells of smoke. Mostly if it's closed up and damp. Arrrgghhh.

~The truck has been broken for going on 4 weeks. We don't have the money to fix it. I feel house bound! (However I have been doing a lot more walking and a lot more asking for help from others which is hard for me to do but I need to do it!)

~I've moved into the "really don't like my hair" phase, as I always do when I cut my hair off. When will I learn!? Commence the growing out process!
Isn't great when the highlights outnumber the lowlights?!

Jul 20, 2009

Oh What a Glorious Sunday!

This Sunday could not have been any better!

It started out with Ella sleeping in until 8am and waking to a fresh smelling house and a perfect summer day. A leisurely breakfast followed and then Ella napped fully and woke up just in time to head off to chuch. The stars were clearly aligned :)

There was a fabulous, inspiring, motivating message at church accompanied by a rockin' U2 song. And yes, I actually got to hear the message! The whole thing! With my hubby by my side! Because Ella stayed in the nursery the whole time! Our number didn't pop up once on the little "deli server"!

Back home for lunch and afternoon nap then off to explore. We hit a little local park that I'm in love with! 5 minutes from our doorstep. Sand volleyball court, large fields, horseshoe pits, playground and sandy beach! Dogs are welcome and it's free!

Hunter got his swimming kicks which he was over the moon about! Ella "swam" for the first time! She wasn't thrilled about it at first but warmed up to it quickly. Later we played on the swings and slides and then just lazed on our blanket on the grass in the shade as one happy little family. I wish I could have frozen time and stayed there forever!

Back home for BBQ dinner, bath and bedtime for bonzos. Then some quality time with my man sitting out back on a perfect summer night, talking and sipping white wine. Oh my heart is full to overflowing!

Enjoy the FABULOUS pictures!

Jul 18, 2009

There's Nothing Worse....

....than the smell of cigarette smoke infused throughout your home that is. Let me back up a smidge here.

When we looked at our apartment the landlord was priming, painting, and putting in new flooring. It smelled like...paint and sawdust. We didn't look close enough and he didn't tell us the previous tenants smoked like a chimney...IN THE APARTMENT!

When we moved in we could smell stale cigarette smoke. We didn't know where it was coming from because literally every wall, ceiling, door and piece of trim had been primed and painted, all carpets removed and laminate installed...and hardwood is in the other rooms. We thought maybe it was wafting in through the windows from the neighbors.

But then it became very apparent that it was indeed coming from our apartment. Remember that 40 days of rain? Well, the house being all closed and it being extremely humid made the smoke smell start oozing out from everywhere!

I researched how to get rid of smoke smell and aside from priming and painting the tips were to clean every non-painted surface with a degreaser. With degreaser in hand I started to tackle every non-painted surface. As I got going I realized how many there were and as I started to get up close and personal with them I realized that every single one of them was covered in a thick, sticky, dingy layer of nicotine tar!!!!! UUUUGGGHHHH!

Needless to say I went crazy. It only took me my ENTIRE Friday and Saturday non-stop!
Here's what I scrubbed down:
  • 4 light fixtures
  • 2 ceiling fans - had to disassemble these gems to get to every nook and crany
  • 8 lightswitch plates
  • 2 smoke detectors
  • All the kitchen cabinetry which includes 16 doors, 7 drawers and an island
  • All the counter tops
  • The floors (5 rooms total) that aren't brand new flooring
  • 15 windows - and all of their evil, crevice-filled vinyl window casings which were the nastiest!
  • Ella's entire closet...floor to ceiling...TWICE (because it HAD NOT been primed and painted)
  • And then...THEN there were the mini blinds. Disgusting, yellow, sticky, tar stained banes of my existence! I de-greased them, hosed them down. Scrubbed them, hosed them down, then soaked them in bleach. STILL NASTY.
I bought all new ones! Hoping to get reimbursed...but since they guy didn't have the decency to disclose to a young, responsible, professional, non-smoking couple WITH AN INFANT that the previous tenants smoked inside....probably not gonna see a dime! If that doesn't get rid of it...I'm moving... AGAIN!

It's 7:30 Sat. night. I feel disgusting! I am covered in sticky nicotine tar residue and chemicals from the cleaners. I literally just saw one of my neighbors (who is 6-months pregnant) smoking a cigarette! Oh my gosh...I'm not even going to type the words I am thinking right now! Wow. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I sincerely hope your Friday and Saturday were better than mine!

Jul 16, 2009

There is NOTHING like it...

...the sweet, sweet sound of baby laughter that is! Ella has been giving us a giggle or two here and there for a long time now. But today I started doing random things in front of her while we waited for her food to thaw and she was just laughing up a storm! Oh, melt my heart. I could listen to it all day long. I don't know how great the sound is...you may have to crank the volume! There was a big ol' thunderstorm going on in the background as well!

There were three, but our computer is on it's way out and would only upload this one so enjoy. She's laughing at me dancing like a drunken maniac out of view of the camera.

Jul 15, 2009

Fishing, Family, and Friends

We went back up home again this weekend. Jason had a fishing trip planned for Fri-Mon with a friend. They went way out in the willy wacks for a really hard core fishing trip. They drove as far as they could drive and then they hauled their gear behind mountain bikes, riding the roads, exploring every inch of the river and just pitching their tent where they found good ground each night.

He said normally the fishing there would stink mid July, but due to unusually high rainfall, low temperatures and something to do with some migration of the fish to the lake, they "slayed 'em". He caught the biggest brook trout he has ever caught in a stream on a fly rod. 20 inches and really fat. He said it was a "mountain top experience" and he could've just gone home at that. But then they got into places where he said, "no exageration" they each caught at least 100 fish. He said every cast, had a fish on. He said "I got tired of catching fish and that has NEVER happened to me before!" After he had recounted each day, in detail, with the excitement of a giddy child he turned to me with a sigh and said, "Man. If I could do that once a year I wouldn't even need to fish other than that!" It was just the adventure my man was craving and it fully satisfied him. I can't even describe how wonderful I felt for him. It brought joy to me just knowing how much his sense of adventure had been fulfilled that weekend!

And as for me. I got some great time in with my mom. We did a lot of hard work (emotionally and physically) getting her house cleaned up...but I think it was good. She watched the babe two evenings for me so I got some good time in visiting friends and being able to have full, undestracted conversations. And then I got to go to "Mommy Monday" on mon. morning and see many of the girlies and their babes. Good stuff all around!

As for the sleeping through the night. I won't update every day anymore but this about sums it up. She always goes to sleep at 6:30 or 7pm and is always up for the day at 6:30 or 7am. The nights go one of three ways. She either:
1.) Sleeps through completely without waking up at all!
2.) Wakes up once or twice and fusses slightly and then falls back to sleep on her own.
3.) Sleeps straight through until 3:30 or 4 in the morning and then cries bloody murder so I nurse her and she goes right back to sleep.
And really, I'm okay with all of them. It is a major step in the right direction of sleeping soundly through the whole night. And a vast improvement from her waking 2-3 times a night out of what I'm sure now was habit.

Jul 9, 2009

Night #4

She went to sleep at 6:30pm....woke BRIEFLY at 3am. Did her whole fuss, fall asleep, fuss, fall asleep thing for ONLY 15 minutes and didn't wake again until 6am!!! I'm sold! This really works!

I'm convinced that soon she won't even wake at all and I'll be a fully rested momma...I'll be a new woman!!!

I'm just wondering how it's going to go this weekend. Jason is going away on an extended fishing trip with a buddy of his, so I'm going "back home" and staying with my mom and visiting friends. I wonder if the trend will continue or not. When she's sleeping in our room she usually wakes up when we go in to go to bed....and when I'm at someone else's house and she wakes up I always feel like I need to just quick nurse her and put her back to bed so she doesn't wake anyone else....so we'll see!

Jul 8, 2009

7 Months Old & Night #3

She went to sleep at 6:30pm. Woke up at 2am. Did the whole fuss a little, fall asleep, fuss a little, fall asleep thing for about 40 minutes. Then slept until 5am. I thought it was amazing that she had gone for 10 1/2 hours so I nursed her at 5am and then she went back to sleep until 8am. I think that's fabulous!

Also, She is 7 months old today! As of this week she has added carrots to diet and loves them. She still LOVES reading! She is practicing her "standing" on the couch these days. She doesn't pull herself up, we put her there and this only lasts a few seconds but she loves it!She has mastered rolling over from back to belly now too. Actually, she has mastered the roll in general and now does continuous rolls to get where she wants to go. Haven't gotten that one on tape yet. And apparently she loves playing peekaboo with ANY prop available! :)

Jul 7, 2009

Too Good to be True! (?)

Night #2 with "cry it out" method...SHE SLEPT THROUGH BOTH NIGHT TIME FEEDINGS! This has to be too good to be true. Oh wait...yup it was....because our cat woke her up at 4am! The little babushca drifted off at 7pm and didn't wake up until we heard our stupid cat pry her door open and go in there and start meowing like bloody murder because he thinks he's starving...even though he was fed before we went to bed! The cat shall now die. JUST KIDDING! But the cat SHALL spend the night in the basement from now on.

In other news. Yesterday was glorious and sunny. The babe, Hunter and I went and explored an old railroad that's been converted into a nice trail. Then we strolled it right over to the park where Ella had her first push in a real swing (you know, the baby kind). I wish I had the camera. Her mouth was wide open with huge smiles and face all scrunched up with excitement. Then I took her down the slide with me. She loved that too.

And today I'm making good use of a rainy day. Women's Bible study in the morning, which Ella thankfully napped through most of. And now making a few loaves of bread, and chopping up fixins for a salad to go with the homemade pot pie.

I'll let you know how the night time sleep goes without kitty disruptions!

Jul 6, 2009

Cry it out.

Well, we finally did it. Ella turns 7 months old in a few days. She goes to bed at 6:30 or 7pm and wakes up about 6:30am. But she does nurse twice in the night. Once around 11pm or so and once around 2am or so.

The 2am feeding was starting to make me wonder. She was feeding again after only three hours. She goes longer than that during the day when she's all active and such...and she goes for a good 5 hour stretch from when she goes to bed until when she wakes up to feed again. So we were thinking this 2am wake up was just out of habbit.

So we decided to finally employ the "cry it out" method. Many of my friends have employed this method and I'd heard it could be pretty bad. Actually, it wasn't for us....at least not last night. Sure enough she woke around 2am and we waited to see what she would do instead of just going in to feed her. She would fuss, fall back asleep, fuss...cry a little, fall back a sleep etc. etc. This went on for one hour and Jason went in and rubbed her tummy and gave her her pacifier back two times. And that was it. No screaming. No wailing. Not even any extended crying. Back to sleep soundly and woke at her regular time. So we expect to do this for another few nights and then our hope is that she'll sleep that long stretch on her own without waking up.

And last but not least. I know all the theories about parenting and you can theorize all you want that this method will cause trauma to a child. But I chose to look at the facts that I know and have seen with my own two eyes:
  1. 1.) I know that five of my friends have used this method with their children. Btween those five friends there are 7 children between the ages of 2 years and 8 years old. All of their children are not only happy, secure, well adjusted children...but they are also children with really great sleep habits....which the benefits of are undeniable (sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.)!
  2. 2.) We've done small bits of "cry it out" method ever since Ella was little, letting her cry a bit before she falls asleep. We now have a child with predictable, healthy sleep habits that goes right into her crib and goes down for 3 naps a day (1 hour or more long) and bedtime by 7pm in the blink of an eye. 6-9 months old need about 15 hours of sleep between naps and night time and she gets a little more than that. She can sooth herself when need be and is blissfully happy.
  3. 3.) And last but not least, evidence enough for me, is that Ella woke up even HAPPIER this morning than she normally does (and she always wakes up happy!).
We didn't do this method until WE were ready. I'm sure Ella was ready far before we were. But I feel so good about giving her the benefits of healthy sleep! I'll let ya know how it goes!

Jul 1, 2009

6 Months Old!

This kid just keep getting cuter! The bumbo is officially my new favorite baby picture taking tool! And so what if Ella's actually almost 7 months, gimme a break...I've been busy! Here are her 6 month pictures!

Can You Ever Truly Be Safe?

WARNING TO MY MOTHER: Before you read this…mentally prepare yourself for a mild panic attack. Take a deep breath. Say a little prayer. And know that everything will be okay!

I know I joked about the person riding down the middle of the road on his four-wheeler holding a rifle when we lived in Etna. But I was never once for a minute scared. I whole-heartedly knew that that firearm was only for shooting animals. And the next day I talked to my sister and she informed me that she knew the dude (because everyone knows everyone on that road) and he was nice. I NEVER locked my doors and made it a regular practice to leave my purse in my unlocked car whenever it was parked in my driveway. Heck, we never even closed our blinds unless we wanted to block the light out. I do believe I have kissed those times good-bye!

So, two teenagers were murdered Tuesday morning in the next town over from us. Yup. Gunned down in the street. They already have the person in custody that they think did it. There appears to be some history there.

And today I went to my landlord’s bank right here in town to pay our rent. The tellers are fully enclosed behind (what I am assuming is) bullet proof glass. You talk to them through little microphones and the transactions are exchanged through those little metal turntabley thingys.

As I drove home I pondered which high level security package I would get and what color window bars would go best with our home’s exterior d├ęcor.

And then I reconsidered and thought… “Can we ever truly be safe?” NO. We could get hurt or die one million different ways. We can’t live our lives in fear trying to avoid everyone of them, because that wouldn’t be living at all.

Besides. Even when I lived “Up Maine”, there were murders right in Bangor. And there are always murders in surrounding “hick towns” too. It doesn’t matter how populated the area is that you live. It’s everywhere!

The Lord has us in His Grip. Nothing can take us out of His hands! Isn't His peace great!?

Kissing Fed Ex men, a Confessioin, Peas and a fun video too!

I could have KISSED the FedEx man when he arrived during Ella's morning nap to deliver the modem! Either he sensed the impending inappropriate display of affection or I took too long to answer the door. Either way he left the modem hanging on the knob and ran to his truck before I could plant one on him! Internet at my house! It's a little scary how much I love internet. Also, now I will be able to post as I think of things and you won't be subjected to large onslaughts of multiple posts at once when ever I get a chance to post all I've stored up!


Confession: I fell off the cloth diapering wagon. When we moved I packed up the cloth knowing that disposables would be much easier during the move. And then it was just a slippery slope from there. Excuse after excuse kept coming as to why I hadn’t busted the cloth back out yet.

The primary excuse is a really good one. Right now Ella has outgrown the smaller ones - but the bigger pre-folds I got are ginormous and they don’t sell and in-between size L. But it’s time to buck up and get back to business. So I’ve come up with a solution.

I took the bigger pre-folds, cut them down to size, sewed up the edge and sewed up the edge on the scrap piece which now make great insert/doublers! Fabulous. Once again feeling good about saving money and the environment!


Here's Ella eating peas. She really likes to hold the spoon and feed herself. Aside from shoving the spoon too far into her mouth and gagging, she does a fabulous job! She's a good little eater and I couldn't resist these pics!

Ella plays this adorable peekaboo game....either that or she just really likes being under blankets! Have a peek: