29 September 2011

Me and My Shadow

A funny moment with Xander and Selune. He was crawling around shadowing her. The funniest thing to me is that I hadn't truly realized how big Selune was getting until I noticed she looks bigger than Xander here.

Contrary to how it appears, his head is not right under her tail. Perspective can be a funny thing.

Cake Experiment: Final Attempt

Experiment Status- Mostly Successful

I decided to work on layers, fondant and decorating with the third (and probably final) practice cake.

I made a full batch of fondant this time, so that I would have enough to allow for rolling it out a little more thickly and I wouldn't be concerned about running short. The process of making the fondant went more smoothly now that I had a little experience. My only issue was being a little over generous with the confectioner's sugar on the counter... the dough got a bit tough this time.

Kneading the Dough

Dough Ball

The dyeing process was a little easier on my hands with the addition of dish washing gloves... no skin stained purple from the black dye. I do think the lack of contact with the heat from my hands helped to keep the dough from getting sticky as I worked with it. This time around, I used the lighter blue dye and just a hint of the black. The darker color is still off, but closer. The lighter color came even closer to the inspiration piece. I've been surprised by how little dye it actually takes to achieve rich color.

Light Dye

Dark Dye

I placed the cake layers in the freezer for several hours before icing them. That, combined with the advice on the Wilton cake leveler packaging, helped me to achieve a nice smooth base coat for the fondant. The cake looked good enough to eat already!

Icing in Progress

Icing Complete

Knowing that the diamond pattern is going to be my biggest challenge with the final cake, I opted to decorate this practice cake with a harlequin pattern. I used the icing spatula as a guide for cutting the squares that became the diamonds. Next time I'll use a proper ruler and a pizza cutter. In the practice cake I layered the lighter diamonds on top of the darker base. In the actual cake, I believe it will work best of I piece the diamonds together. It will allow me a little better control in keeping the diamond shapes even. I won't continue the diamonds on to the top of the final cake. Most of the top of the diamond layer will be covered by the top layer and I do not like how the diamonds had to be stretched to continue the pattern.

Solid Fondant

Adding the Diamonds

There will be dots on the top layer of the final cake and straight ribbons around the base of each layer. I decided to practice those techniques on this cake, too. It created a very fun pattern. All in all, I think the final result is a huge improvement over the first practice cake and could be considered a success.

The Final Result

Xander's Eczema

Precious Rash-y Face
I realized that I forgot to post about our appointment with the allergist on Tuesday.

Our first impressions weren't great... the receptionist is a grumpy, snappy ol' woman. She practically threw some paperwork at me and informed me that I neglected to return some vital paperwork that had been mailed to me. I'm ashamed to say it, but I took some pleasure in informing her that the sheets she gave me had not been in the package I received. I'm almost certain I heard her mutter "whatever" under her breath.

The nurse gave us some mixed feelings. She asked some questions and got visibly frustrated when we didn't know Xander's current weight. I explained that he was last weighed at his six-month appointment and had gained considerable weight since then. She pretty much treated us like awful parents because we don't weigh him every day. Seriously, it's a doctor's office... why don't you have a scale? She asked for medication information and again got upset when we didn't know the name of the prescription ointment he's on. She gets all snarky and says, "Well, that's why we tell you to bring the meds in." I responded, "Oh? Was that perhaps on the paperwork I didn't get? I was told his medical information was being faxed to you guys, so I assumed you would have any information you needed." She redeemed herself when dealing with Xander though. She was gentle with him, played with him and generally cooed and praised him.

The doctor herself was wonderful. She was visibly troubled when we were telling her how his pediatrician had us dealing with the eczema. She explained to us that he was basically getting it all backward and our "poor baby" had to suffer unnecessarily all this time. The pediatrician's advice to use Benedryl sparingly was backwards. The allergist said he should have had us administering it daily until his rashes cleared up. She also was amazed he only prescribed a topical antibiotic for Xander's open sores. The infection is visibly apparent, so he should have had a stronger oral prescription.

Getting Some Rest
She clarified that the pediatrician gave us false hope by telling us it was probably a milk or other food allergy. Eczema, especially as severe as his, is very rarely related to a food allergy. She went on to tell us that eczema is a chronic lifetime disease and it cannot be cured; only controlled. She did still test him for all major allergens (including cat, dog, dust, milk, soy, etc) and he came out allergy-free.

The allergist lined up a whole battle plan. She prescribed prednisone to bring down the inflammation and itching. There is a week of amoxycillin to deal with the infection. A stronger steroid ointment (betamethasone) to apply topically was added to the mix. She also recommended that we start giving him Claritin on a daily basis until after the spots clear up and she gave us information on chlorine baths to be done three days a week.

There was also a list of do's and don't to follow. We need to keep his skin free of acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus, etc) that might irritate the skin. Avoid wool... guess that means I need to get cotton or bamboo to knit socks for him. Prevent sweating and keep him dry, but moisturized. There was even a recommendation on a sleep aid for infants because sleep is essential to the healing process. We may need to look into that if his current crazy schedule continues.

It's been just two days and his skin is visibly better. He itched like crazy... to the point of drawing blood... the first time we applied the betamethasone, but since then he rarely scratches. We've been helping him out there by making sure he has on a onesie, long-sleeve shirt, long pants and socks at all time. We've been keeping it cooler in the house to keep him from getting sweaty, too. He even slept a solid eight hours last night. We're very hopeful that it's finally been dealt with.

28 September 2011

Cake Experiment: Attempt Two

Experiment Status- OKAY

Sloppy Spiderweb
The second attempt at advanced cake decorating went a little better than the first. I would describe the results as "okay."

The cake itself proved to be the bigger issue on this go-round. For some reason my go-to recipe decided to be a stinker. Bits of the cake stuck in the pan. The length of time to cook seems a bit off. I've tried following the directions from the cake recipe and the directions for the six-inch pans and had different results every time.

The fondant was much easier to work with. I used the bit of light blue I had left from the first attempt. It has been stored in the refrigerator all this time. When I dusted the counter with confectioner's sugar, I was very generous. I also rolled it out using the 3/16" guide rather than the 1/16" guide. I also pre-cut the circle of fondant to size before transferring it to the cake. Had the cake itself come out as nicely as it did on the first attempt, the final results would have been near perfect.

I did a little practicing with the decorative frosting. It's been quite some time since I last used a piping bag, so it was a bit messy. It didn't help much that I had my little 11-month old "helper" hanging off of me as I worked.

The end result looks decent and was a huge leap forward fro the first result. The taste was very good. The fondant was thin enough and good-tasting enough that you hardly noticed it... no greasy, plastic flavor. The flavor of the chocolate icing base underneath stood out more, which is more than I could have asked for.

26 September 2011

Cake Experiment: Attempt One

Experiment Status- FAIL

The Layers
The cake recipe itself turned out a bit dry compared to normal. It would have been okay if it didn't crumble at the slightest touch. I placed it in the freezer to firm it up for all of the handling that it would be getting, but the little cakes still crumbled significantly. Frosting the layers was a bit of a nightmare because of it. I just couldn't get a nice, smooth base for the fondant.

The Tinted Fondant
The fondant turned out pretty decently, but I will need to practice color combinations to get the shades of blue just right. I just have to get gloves or something to keep the dye off my hands, though. I turned them purple! I think the risk of wearing gloves for a few minutes is better than finding out what all this dye will do to them.

Rolling the fondant was difficult. Despite generous amounts of confectioners' sugar, it stuck to the counter and rolling pin. When I transferred it to the cake, it ripped. I think I will have to roll it out just a little bit thicker. I will also try adding more confectioner's sugar to the dough. Maybe chilling it longer would have helped?

 A Mess
The icing under the fondant started to melt from the weird humidity and the fondant sagged along with it. The more I worked at trying to fix it all... the worse it started to look. I wanted to cry! In the picture, you can see the chocolate icing starting to puddle from under the top layer and the spots where the fondant started to crack as it sagged. The black dye from the upper layer got all over everything. I got fingerprints all over my blue layer and there are spots of deep purple on the kitchen counter.

A Bigger Mess
In the midst of it all, Xander was screaming bloody murder. I had asked Ross to take care of him while I figured out the cakes, but he was too caught up in his game to change a diaper and feed him lunch. The frustration of the cake combined with Ross not truly helping with Xander and the stye in my eye hurting every time I blinked got me very frustrated... so I took it out on the cake. It's still edible. I just sort of "cut" it up into bite-sized pieces. Hehe.

For the record, Ross did come upstairs shortly after the cake smashing. He fed and changed Xander. He cleaned up and hand-washed all the dirty dishes. He put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. He's also volunteered to deal with all of Xander's needs until bedtime and to cook our supper. I made dessert... it turned out smashingly. LOL

But There's Cake!

Today, well technically yesterday, was such a long day.

We were up again last night and into the morning with Xander. He woke up screaming and scratching furiously. We couldn't get him calmed down until we took him out into the living room to play with his toys. Ross and I are both starting to wonder if he's experiencing nightmares. I only wish I knew what he would be so frightened of and how to ease it. The poor kid doesn't need nightmares on top of the pain he's already in.

It was nearly 7:00am before I got him back down to sleep. Ross had gone to bed around 2:00am, so when he woke as I was coming to bed, I told him to take the monitor and let me sleep. Go figure... Xander ended up sleeping until two hours after I woke up at 10:30am!

Ross had his D&D game today, so it was just Xander and I for most of the day. I tried to keep Xander awake to shift him back to his usual schedule, but he crashed at about 6:30pm. Frankly, I was relieved. He'd been a total bear for most of the time after Ross left. I was just settling in for some knitting, after tidying the living room and kitchen, when he woke up. He only had half an hour of sleep. His mood wasn't any better after his nap... until I whipped up a couple of French fries to share with him. Apparently the mounds of food he had eaten all day were not the right foods. *sigh* He played relatively quietly until Ross got home.

After dealing with a surprise blow-out diaper moments after Ross got home (Welcome home, dear. Hehe.), I put Ross in charge of Xander. I scrubbed up and tackled the first round of test cakes. Tonight was just the baking step. I'm using my tried and true chocolate cake recipe from the side of the Hershey cocoa tin, but I had to test out cooking times for various sizes of pans. I usually bake in nine inch rounds, but I'll also be adding six in rounds and mini bundts to the roster... and I wasn't sure how long they all would need to cook. Looks like the six inch rounds take five minutes less time than the nine inch and the mini bundts I'm using for the smash cake take five minutes less than the six inch. That should be simple to remember.

I'm looking forward to practicing with fondant and decorating tomorrow. I'll try to take lots of pictures to share.

24 September 2011

Cake Supplies

Cake Decorating Supplies
If I'm ever any good at it, let it be known that today was the day I became a cake decorator. Haha. Ross and I went and gathered all the little things I'll need to make Xander's cake for his first birthday party. For some strange reason I felt the need to tackle the challenge rather than paying someone else to make a cute cake. It was probably because I wanted something very specific (like my favorite chocolate cake recipe) and the cost could get ridiculous for something that I could do myself. At least this way I'll have the basics on hand for other events.

Party Theme
We are going with a "Lil' Rebel" theme. I want to mimic the look of the decorations. The plan is to have the top layer in black with white dots. The lower level will be the harlequin design in two shades of blue. The candle that came with the party kit looks like the pattern on the bottom. I haven't decided if I'll pipe in a line to cover the seam between layers or use a ribbon... most likely piping in a clean blue line like on the plate. I'm hoping I can find a way to mimic the wings and add Xander's name but that is probably out of my skill set for now.

23 September 2011

Not Again!

It's now 5:00 in the fricken' morning and I still have not slept. Xander simply refuses to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. I don't even make it back to bed before he's crying again. Ross was up with us for two hours earlier this morning. Neither of us can figure out what is wrong. He has been fed and changed numerous times. We have given him the gripe water earlier because he was gassy. We put hydrocortisone on his rashes because he was itching horribly. When that didn't ease his itching, we resorted to the Benedryl.

He's still acting wide awake, whining and itching... and now he's running a fever. I have him up to play in hopes that it will wear him out. He seems to be itching less, but he is very, very clingy and whining over everything. I'm sure he's actually very tired, but something is keeping him awake.

I'm losing my mind here. A person can only go so long with so little sleep. I am so happy that Ross is on vacation after today. Earlier this morning, I warned him that I am heading straight to bed when he gets home and I'm sleeping until I feel rested. If that means Xander is in Ross' care until Saturday night, then so be it. If I don't get some solid sleep soon I'm going to go ape-shit.

22 September 2011

Home Sweet Home?

On the Move
I moved my blog again. I've been trying to find the right place for it. I know a lot of people knock Blogger, but it is conveniently connected to Picasa and YouTube... the places I store my photos and videos. I also like the much wider range of free customization. How else could I annoy my lovely readers with this wonderful script-y font? (Seriously, if it's hard to read let me know. I will change it.) With the new look and options behind-the-scenes, it's much more user-friendly also. I also know that Blogger comes with its own community of writers... and who doesn't like a little more viewership? I'll be adding my archived posts as time allows, so check back to read the past and the future.

21 September 2011

It's a Gas

Probably safer to stay clear of me for a few days. Ugh. The weather and all its associated bugs finally got me. I've been sniffling, coughing, feverish, achy, irritable... oh, and my period showed up ten days early. Yay. Not. I am so glad Ross is on vacation next week. I need the break so badly. I'm just wearing down from the lack of sleep. Yet, even now that he is sleeping, I can't sleep.

We had to take Xander back off the soy formula. The eczema didn't get any better and we got a very gassy baby to boot. We can't pin down a single source. It happens regardless of the type of formula or the type of food he's eating. I read an article in which a mom described a very similar story to ours. Her son turned out to have a corn allergy. Could you imagine? Corn is in everything!

He's rubbing his face on everything... our clothes, his crib, the floor, the furniture... to the point that he has a raw open sore on his chin and a red "mustache" over his lip. I'm applying the hydrocortizone and Aquaphor as the doctor suggested and hoping it clears up quickly. I may have to resort to bandaging his chin at night. That's when he rubs the worst and I'm not there to stop him.

Until we can better determine what is causing the gas, we picked up some gripe water in hopes that it will ease some of the pain he's in. It seems to be helping so far tonight. It's been two hours since he fell asleep and we haven't had any of the usual whimpers and restlessness. I had to go check on him to make sure he was okay!

I really need to try to sleep. Maybe a cup of hot cocoa will do the trick?

20 September 2011

Changed My Mind

I was going to continue with the story of why I have my issues with my sister, but I have decided not to. It's just turned into a big ol' pity party, and that's not my style. Lack of sleep and stress over Xander's issues has made me a bit crazy and I blew things out of proportion. Angel is entitled to her own decisions. I will be there for my nieces if and when they need me.

I will carry on with Xander's party with those who choose to come and I won't fault those who choose not to. I can't say at this point that I definitely won't go to her wedding, but I will say that a lot of healing will have to happen for that to take place.

I can't have regrets for the choices I make. They may sometimes feel like mistakes, but I wouldn't be who I am without them... and I like who I am. Thank you to everyone who offered advice and insight. I truly appreciated it. Hug your loved ones tonight because you never know what tomorrow holds.

15 September 2011

More of the Story

I shared a bit of my current frustration with my sister across a few message boards that I frequent to get some insight. For them, I provide more of the story...

There is so much to this story that is hard to put down without writing a novel here. Actually, many people have said that is exactly what I should do... write a novel. It's all better than fiction. Hey, wouldn't you read a story that starts with the line, "My first memory is the day I killed my sister."?

I think I can pinpoint the very moment I began to give up on my sister. It was when I caught her sneaking out with boxes of her stuff in the middle of the night... leaving my mom and I to care for our dying dad. I know it was tough on Angel. It was tough on all of us. I have no respect for someone who runs away from their problems. I guess that's why I've continued to try to mend what can't be fixed these 10 years since. She hasn't made it easy.

Just days before Dad died, she pops in for a visit and announces she's pregnant. My dad broke down crying. He was completely mute at that point because of what had all been removed to fight his cancer. There is nothing I have experienced more heart-wrenching than watching my dad sobbing uncontrollably in utter silence. I knew that in that moment he was realizing he would never meet his grandchild. I hate her for doing that to him, but I kept silent.

A few days after my dad's funeral, my sister couldn't be contacted. Several of us had tried calling her and she wasn't returning any calls. When someone finally got a hold of her many days later, she said that she and Matt had "spent a few nights in a hotel." It wasn't until a few months later at Easter dinner that she announced she and Matt had married then. My sister and I had once been so close and it killed me that she didn't have us there. It wasn't any secret that no one among her family and friends (and his) approved of their relationship. Matt was rude, crude, and disrespectful... and it was rubbing off on Angel. I'm sure that is why she chose to elope.

Before Dad died, he had asked to see me alone. I still have the note he wrote me that day, "Please take care of your mom. She's going to need you more than ever. I'm sorry I'm leaving you, but I know you're strong enough." It was six years before I left Mom and moved out on my own. We battled through her many methods of coping... drinking, gambling, eating and threatening to kill herself to be with Dad. I tried so many times to get her to get help, but she said she didn't need it. She bled me dry; mentally, physically and financially. It would have been nice at some point to have just a little help from my sister... just a moment where I could feel I had back-up... but it never happened. Mom has been better, but still struggles in every way. I just have nothing left.

Over the next several years, the rift grew. Angel was constantly making choices to be with Matt's family over ours. We were passed by over the holidays and she was "too busy" to make it to parties. Gifts even became an issue. Although money spent doesn't matter, it did cut a bit for Mom when she'd discover they spent $500 on a Christmas gift for his parents but only $15 on her gift. There was so much tension over everything that Mom and Matt's mom began to argue when they were at the same event. Suppose it never helped that Matt's step-dad would side with Mom.

Angel constantly complains that Mom doesn't go to pageants and games that the kids have. When she lived 200 miles from us, she complained that Mom didn't visit. Angel neglects to remember two key points. Mom is on an extremely fixed income (disabled due to extreme anxiety and depression) and any visit she made meant gas money out of my pocket. Angel never offered to help. Now that I am a stay-at-home-mom there isn't extra to give her. Mom also gets very anxious when driving... to the point she has panic attacks when she gets near certain areas. The majority of the time, Angel lived near Milwaukee which is one of Mom's biggest panic attack triggers. Between jobs, my husband, my son and my own obligations, I wasn't exactly always able to take Mom to everything but we made it to every single event that we could. We've been to pageants, every birthday party, every holiday at their house, birthday visits at school, graduations and big events. I can count on one hand how many times Angel has been to Mom's house and it wouldn't take all the fingers on my other hand to count her visits to my home.

12 September 2011

CO: Gothic Ribs

The Toe
Casting on a pair of socks for myself in Knit Picks' Felici. I usually like the purl section to be smaller than the knit sections, but I don't like how the folded over part looks. So, I've decided to do a basic 2x2 ribbing on this sock.

FO: Tiger Socks

Completed Tiger Socks
Pattern: Basic toe-up size 8.5 woman's sock formula from the Sock Wizard program

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted in Tiger

Needles: Size 0 (2.0 mm) circular

Ravelry: Tiger Socks project page

Made for: Me

Notes: I wish I had done the ribbing over the top of the sock too. The fit is good, but I am increasing by four stitches for my next pair for an even better fit.

10 September 2011


Ahhh... an actual restful night of sleep. Xander was only up for a few minutes around 1am. I got him a bottle and Ross put him back to sleep. We all slept in until Xander woke us at 7:30. I'm just whipping up some fried potatoes and veggie sausages for breakfast and then we're hoping to meet up with Gretchen, Shaun and the kids at the farmers' market. We haven't seen them in ages and we've missed several weeks of the market because of Ross' schedule.

Mom is coming by later for help washing up and vacuuming her truck. My cousin Fred has a few possible cars for her to choose from, so she wants the truck looking it's best when he sees it. She's getting the breaks fixed tomorrow by Angel's fiance's dad. Mom is waiting until they're done to let Angel and Jason know she can't make it to the shower because of Xander's birthday party. That is one of those "if only I were a fly on the wall" moments.

I really need to get dressed and stop procrastinating.

09 September 2011

Aches & Pains

Another lousy night of sleep. From 10pm to 4am, Xander woke up every fifteen to thirty minutes. I finally headed to bed at 4:30... hopeful that I could get a few hours of good sleep... but it was not to be. Between an aching back and two cats acting up, I barely scraped together an hour.

It was probably a bad idea to let Xander take such a long (and second) nap yesterday. I'm pretty sure that's why he didn't get solid sleep until the wee hours of the morning.

I'm pretty sure the backache is because of all the rearranging and cleaning I was doing. I moved our incredibly heavy elliptical out of the living room and into the bedroom, changed things around in the living room, cleared out some items destined for the rummage sale and steamed the dining room and living room carpets. The new layout makes the main living area look even bigger, keeps Xander out of things not intended for little hands, and allows for a better play area that contains his toys.

I really need to eat something. I'm starving this morning!

08 September 2011

Spite & Malice

I got an invite for my sister's baby shower in the mail yesterday. She scheduled it for the very same day and time of Xander's first birthday party... a date my family and friends were told to keep open as far back as the week of Xander's birth. She still hasn't had the time to talk things out. Apparently she now decided to get spiteful. Lovely.

Shopping For Xander

New Kicks
Did some shopping for the kiddo.

He needed new shoes because his feet are getting so big so fast. Occasionally Walmart is the place to go when you can't justify spending $30 on something he'll out grow in a week. LOL These were a mere $10... and oh so cute!

Thrift Store Haul
Our favorite thrift shop had a half off everything sale, so we snagged a few things for Autumn and Winter. Our find of the day was an official NFL Packers sweatshirt that was a steal at $1.00. The whole works totaled only $25.

07 September 2011

Food Poisoning?

I walked four and a half miles today. I took a variation on my usual route to meet up with Ross at the store. The main road I need to cross to get to the store was insanely busy today and we were not getting the little walking man to signal us to cross. I decided to have Ross pick us up across the street from the store at Culvers. I wasn't going to cross if I couldn't cross safely.

I'm sort of regretting that decision. I decided to have a Pumpkin Cheesecake Concrete Mixer while I waited. It tasted so good! Within half an hour, I was running for a bathroom. Since then, I've had three more bouts of "digestive issues." Even now, my stomach and back are aching from what my body has been through. I'm debating contacting the store to say something. Does food poisoning strike that fast or could this be something else?

I just hope I'm feeling better by morning. It was bad enough that I only got four hours of sleep last night. Please, Xander, sleep tonight.

06 September 2011

Elusive Sleep

I'm so tired, but I can't sleep. Xander finally fell asleep a bit after eleven and that should have been my cue to get to bed. Instead, I keep wasting minute after minute playing games on Facebook (Sims Social, anyone?) and chatting on message boards. I just know I'm going to get woken in a few hours by my dear husband that never developed the skill of getting ready quietly so the rest of the house can sleep.

Ross has to work overtime all week.  He goes in a couple hours early every day. It basically doubles his paycheck. Overtime helps us build up the nest egg, but it really messes with our family time and sleep schedule. Well, even if he was quiet in the morning, he'd probably still wake me to say goodbye. It's a sweet little morning ritual, so I can't complain... and I generally doze right back off to sleep.

I guess I'll cue up Netflix and find a movie to watch. There's a new documentary called Forks Over Knives that I've been wanting to see, although an old movie I've seen a thousand times would probably be more conducive to getting some sleep. And, there's a yawn. Perhaps I can sleep after all.

FO: Packer Backer Baby Sweater

Packer Backer Baby Sweater
Between temper tantrums, dirty diapers and a cranky husband, I managed to complete Xander's Packer sweater. I used KnitPicks Shine Worsted in White, Dandelion and Arbor (discontinued) and the Candlestick pattern.. I love how soft the yarn is... it has an almost silky feel to it. I'm not very thrilled with the collar. It came out a bit boat-neck for my tastes. When I do the pattern again, I intend to make decreases to create a more snug collar. For this one, I'm going to try a bit of elastic to pull it in just a bit.

I can't wait to give it to him for his first birthday! He won't remember getting it, but this is the age when he won't mind getting it. Haha.

04 September 2011

Little Accomplished

It was supposed to be a day to get things done, but I accomplished very little. We took Xander over to his Nana's to play for a few hours and headed home to tackle our list. I crossed off two things: tidy the house and do Mom's laundry. I got part of the second sleeve on Xander's sweater done.

We didn't even touch the major project of clearing out the two spare bedrooms that have become storage rooms. We have a deadline of sorts. There is a neighborhood rummage sale in late September or early October and I have every intention of participating because the money I make is what I'll be using to buy Ross' Yule gifts... but we need to sort out what we want to sell. I know there is plenty there to get rid of. I have boxes of clothes from my pre-weight-gain days. We had doubles of nearly everything when we moved in together, so the spares can all go... mixers, dishes, silverware, pans, etc. There are two TVs, an entertainment center, several tables, chairs, books, desks, computer gear and so much more. Not to mention all of the baby clothes and gear we've already accumulated!

It's a long weekend, so all is not lost. We may have to do it with Xander around, but we can at least get a start on the mess. Well... until we need to get around to clearing the garage for the sale. That's a whole new ballgame.

02 September 2011


Things are really not getting much better around here. Xander is still enduring painful eczema... and Ross and I continue to go crazy from lack of sleep. Due to our schedules and the office policy that requires first-time visits to be before 4:00, we can't get him in to see the allergist until the last week of September. Ross will be on vacation then.

In the meantime, we are having another go at the soy-based formula. When we tried it before, he got horrible gas. We are currently mixing half soy and half dairy to reduce the chances of tummy aches and gas. By the end of the week, he should be on full soy. It has been only two days since we started, but he slept through the night last night for the first time in over a month! He normally scratches at himself to the point of drawing blood. Today I only saw him scratch lightly at his wrist a couple of times. I'm very hopeful this is actually working... yet it will be so frustrating to find it was all that simple!

Mom's truck is breaking down again. It seems like the problems with The Beast (my nickname for her truck) come in droves. The major issue is squealing and shimmying when she steps on the breaks. The automatic windows keep shorting out, but that can be blamed on the handiwork of her brother; the wanna-be mechanic. The cooling unit is also useless. The good news is that my cousin is trying to find her a nice used car as an even-up trade for her truck. He has a successful career at a dealership and knows that Mom is struggling for the money. She will still need to get the breaks fixed to get it to him, though.

And a random moment of baby and cat...