Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Spirited Child

My daughter, Baileigh, is the joy of my life. She is so full of life and energy. Sometimes, however, too much energy. From the moment she was born and Patrick exclaimed, "She has red hair!" I knew I was in for trouble. Trouble she is!

The day she was born the nurse came up to us and said "Boy, that little girl was not too happy about her shots! You are going to have your hands full with her! She has quite the temper!" 

Baileigh, ANGRY at one of her first baths.

Of course I was thinking:
1) What baby enjoys getting shots? Of course she's not happy!
2) Can a nurse REALLY tell the temperament of my newborn?

Well, she was right! Baileigh is very strong-willed and sticks to her guns. I have no idea where she got those characteristics She's just like me. That is why I think we butt heads so much. She wants me to carry her down the stairs, I know she can walk so I refuse. She's angry and I get annoyed. Sometimes I need to just give in, and do something little, like carry her down the stairs, if I know it will prevent the infamous toddler meltdown.

This past weekend truly was a test in parenting for Patrick and I. Saturday afternoon was great. We attended the first birthday party of our friend's daughter. Baileigh just loved her. Spent a lot of the party helping her walk and playing with her. Saturday evening, however, was not as delightful. Let's just say the breaking point was when was found Baileigh eating sugar out of the sugar bowl BY THE HANDFUL! She freaked out when we put her in timeout and refused to eat dinner that night complaining that "her belly hurt" (from the sugar I assume!) and that all she wanted to eat was a cupcake. Bedtime is always a disaster right now. She stalls and stalls and stalls. You name it. She has made an excuse about it. The author of Go the F* to Sleep OBVIOUSLY had a toddler JUST LIKE MINE.  She wears us out and I'm only 27 and Pat is only 29 but I swear she sucks the energy out of us!

Sunday was another rough day. Is rained almost all day, so we couldn't go outside and play. I decide to clean but as usual our curious little one was making messes just after we cleaned other messes up. She refuses to nap during the weekends at home, so we can't even get a moment to down several glasses of wine breath. By Sunday night I was exhausted. I posted this status on facebook: 

I had 13 friends/family comment that yes, 3's and 4's are tough years but we will get through it. I couldn't help but wonder, Will we get through it? I know, I know, I'm being a bit melodramatic, but still! I decided to look online for some advice, maybe a book that has some insight into my strong-willed daughter. I'm not usually the "self help book" kinda gal, but I can't be the only person who's toddler is this stubborn.

Cue the "Evil eye"...

Thanks to Amazon I found a book, Raising Your Spirited Child byMary Sheeda Kurchinka. I liked it initially because of the phrase "spirited", which isn't as negative as other books mentioning "difficult" children. Baileigh is very much spirited. Like I said, she's SO full of life and so happy (when she's NOT having a temper tantrum at Hobby Lobby and I'm having to carry her football style out of the store!) I read the preface of the book online and realized it is very much my daughter. The book has 4 1/2 stars online w/ 72 reviews. Here is some basic info:

The spirited child—often called "difficult" or "strong-willed"—possesses traits we value in adults yet find challenging in children. Research shows that spirited kids are wired to be "more"—by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. In this revised edition of the award-winning classic, voted one of the top twenty books for parents, Kurcinka provides vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint. Raising Your Spirited Child will help you:
  • understand your child's­—and your own—temperamental traits
  • discover the power of positive—rather than negative—labels
  • cope with the tantrums and power struggles when they do occur
  • plan for success with a simple four-step program
  • develop strategies for handling mealtimes, sibling rivalry, bedtimes, holidays, and school, among other situations

I downloaded the kindle book and have been reading it on our ipad. Which, by the way, is so easy and convenient! I downloaded it, and a minute later I was reading Part one! I have only made it through Part one, but I do think the author is brilliant. She raised two "spirited" children and understands them to a T. I feel like already I am beginning to understand my daughter better and why she is the way she is. She is such a loving, nurturing, smart sweet little girl and I'm glad to have found this book to help me learn to appreciate her just as she is. Maybe there is hope that she will get a sibling someday! haha!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Project 24 {UPDATE}

Back in February, I created a list called Project 24. 24 projects I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. I am behind, that is for sure, but I have successfully fulfilled a few of them. Below is the list with annotated updates.

Project 24
1. Replace the awful light in our kitchen.
2. Hang curtains in Baileigh's room. I decided against this. She already have blinds and with the furniture by the windows it doesn't seem to make sense.
3. Make or find cheap (& adorable) chevron curtains for our dining room. {Note: I already made curtains for our dining room, a couple years ago, with less than great results. This time I plan to use Kristin's "no-sew" method!} I completed this, sorta. I replaced the curtains, but I went with a simple linen looking curtain, instead of chevron. I've decide to keep my walls/curtains neutral and use color/pattern on the table and furniture.
4. Either paint or stain the old dresser in our dining room & add new hardware.  Complete! Painted it "Oxford Blue"
5. Fix our dining room ceiling
5. Create a mixed-media gallery wall in Baileigh's room. Not done. I have all the frames/pieces, just haven't put them up yet!
6. Add ceiling fans to our room, the front screened porch & possibly Baileigh's. Not yet, soon I hope!
7. Potty train our 2 1/2 year old. {Okay, not technically a project, but anyone who has a toddler knows this is a big undertaking!} Complete! (Well, not at night, she's in pull ups, but for the most part, done!)
8. Re-paint my eames chair. Grey isn't working for me. Hmm... trying to decide what color!
9. Paint the built in shelving in my closet something other than the lime green it currently it. Not too worried about this. No one sees the closet but me! Focusing on the rooms in our house that people DO see.
10. Get the awesome "Dubuque" print I got from the Dubuque Museum of Art matted, frame and hung.  I should do this... I have the perfect place for it!
11.Make a cute monogrammed wreath to hang on our front door. Not yet...maybe for our "Pinterest Challenge" with Kristin and Stephanie!
12. Power wash the outside of our home. White siding is such a pain!  Not yet...oops!
13. Landscape the retaining wall by our garage. (I think this will be Pat's summer project) This didn't happen and summer is almost over. Maybe next summer?
14. Make or find simple shades for our screened in porch. Not yet!
15 Organize all the cabinets and drawers in our kitchen. Complete! I did this back in the spring when we rented the large dumpster...however, things are getting a bit messy again!
16. Make homemade laundry soap, glass cleaner and all purpose cleaner. Hopefully this weekend!
17. Try a new recipe a week- for all 52 weeks. (This won't be able to get checked off until the last week of December!)
18. Create a jewelry holder for our room.
19. Create silhouettes of all three of our profiles.
20.  Create a chalkboard wall, or area in B's room for her to color on.
21. Organize all my craft supplies. (I have a ton!) Complete! They are located nicely in drawers in my newly painted "oxford blue" dresser!
22. Add an outside railing to our new front steps.  Not done.
23. Replace the make-shift railing for our back steps. Not done.
24. Paint our bathroom a new color. Not done.

There you have it! 9 out of 24 are complete! I'm behind on 7 of them, and there are a few that I don't think will happen before 2013, but I'm okay with it. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent?

Lately we had a laundry issue. No, not the usual issue of having too much laundry laying on the basement floor BEGGING to be washed. And no, not the issue of my husband seeing the aforementioned piles of laundry, and then only washing one shirt and one pair of pants for work the next day. That really annoys me, however, that is not the issue at hand. The issue is that because we use free & clear laundry detergent, I don't feel like it smells good once cleaned. For example, Pat and I have been running a combined 6 days a week. That means 6 pairs of shorts, 6 tops and 3 sports bras (obviously only I wear those) that are being laundered each week. Anyone that works out knows that running makes you sweat (especially in 100 degree weather like we were having) and sweat makes things stink. Because the free & clear detergent is unscented, I don't feel like the stink truly gets out of the clothes.  Pat likes to use fabric softener, but I don't really and I know it's full of crazy chemicals that are really hard on the dry and the clothes. We have been using it lately though because it is scented helps with the smell issue.

We haven't always used free & clear detergents. Back when i was pregnant we used something else, Tide, maybe, but I had sensitive skin and it used to make my skin itch. When you're pregnant and having so many changes you can't control, having itchy skin from your detergent isn't cool. We switched then and haven't looked back. We never used dreft when Baileigh was a baby because the free & clear worked well on her sensitive baby skin. Detergent isn't cheap, and between laundry, towels and your daughter wetting the bed twice in 3 nights (fantastic...) we do a lot of laundry. I'm looking for a new detergent option that will provide the following:

1) Clean our clothes (obviously!)
2) Make them smell good
3) Not make my skin itchy
4) Easy on the wallet (chaaaa-ching! I'd like to have more money, you know, for craft supplies!)

My friend Michelle made her own detergent a few months ago and even blogged about it at her blog Makin' and Bakin' Memories She mentioned that it cost about $20 for all the ingredients and she estimates it will last for 9 months or so since you only use 1-2 tablespoons a load! She washes a lot of laundry too with a two- year-old and an 8 month old!

This weekend I don't have any plans so I think I am going to go out and get the ingredients! Pat is a bit skeptical, but he doesn't like his workout clothes smelling either, so hopefully he just lets me "do my thing"

Hopefully I love it! Then maybe I'll move onto creating my own cleaning supplies...something I have been planning to do since Earth day- 2010! (Kristin, do you remember me printing out the Homemade Cleaning Supplies handout and distributing it around NICC on earth day?)

Anyways, I'll eventually post back and let you know if it was successful! Don't expect a nice tutorial like Michelle did though. Why must I reinvent the wheel? :)