Sunday, December 30, 2007

Two Weeks: A Love Story

Two weeks ago, fourteen days ago, I had two grandparents. Today, I have none.
Two Sundays ago, on December 16th, my grandma, Muriel, turned 89 years old. Her husband of nearly 67 years, George, celebrated with her along with their three daughters and two sons-in-law at her nursing home. A few hours after everyone went home, Grandma got out of bed, fell and broke her hip. She was brought to the hospital that night, endured six days of complete agony, and then succumbed on Saturday, December 22nd. Grandpa was by her side through the whole thing. He watched as she suffered and suffered right alongside her. I should also add that he suffered with her over the last ten years or so, as Grandma struggled with increased memory loss and confusion. He cared for her until the very end. He was very sad when she died, but also very relieved.
This past Friday, December 28th, Grandpa turned 88. He went out to lunch to celebrate with two of his daughters, one son-in-law, and one of his seventeen great grandchildren: Miss Amelie Muriel. Yesterday, December 29th, we had a lovely memorial service for Grandma that really honored the two of them very nicely. Most participants, save for the priest and the organist, were family members. Every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild was present. Also in attendance were several good friends of the family. Grandpa looked great. He was so pleased with the day, that EVERYONE was there, how nicely his beloved was honored. He went home, chauffeured by his eldest daughter. The two of them had a nice evening, complete with ordering in a pizza and some conversation. Eventually, he went to bed.
And that's where the story ends for Grandpa George. He never woke up.
We are all in shock. Reality hasn't set in for most of us. That the two of them would die just eight days apart was the farthest thing from our minds. They are such an example of love and devotion. For that they will always be admired.

Ethel Muriel Lof December 16, 1918-December 22, 2007
Henning George Lof December 28, 1919-December 30, 2007
October 2006

Their legacy: 17 great grand children
Great Grandma Muriel and Amelie Muriel August 2006

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Ballerina Bakers

mmmmmmm...magic cookie bars....

and a gratuitous Linus smiling picture

Friday, December 21, 2007

You know you're sleep deprived when...

you put half and half in your peach mango juice rather than your coffee! Yuck!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Concert Video Update

The video is now available two posts down. I had to used YouTube. Perhaps it was too big for blogger? Not sure of the limits there. Anywho--enjoy when you get a chance!

Sharing Christmas: A Salada Holiday

(For those of you that don't know, our last name is pronounced "Soliday." So my post title is a little rhyme=).)
Welcome to the Saladas on Overbrook Lane!

Our stockings are hung up the fireplace or mantle in this home. Notice the nebulizer box on the end of our Christmas display shelf. I guess that's a part of our Christmas this year, since Linus has RSV.

I'll say up front that I am no Martha Stewart. With three children under four, our theme is child-friendly while trying to cater to the tastes of Mom and Dad.

My husband prefers white lights over colored. I like them as well, but I prefer to have some color.

To please us both, I've added the greenery and ribbons to the front of the house.

Upon entering you will find an all wood, indestructible nativity (or activity, as Amelie calls it) scene. She got it as a Christmas gift from my parents last year and has been enjoying it this year a great deal.

On the kitchen table you will find an advent countdown candle. We (try to) light it every night at dinner and watch the number burn down. When we first lit it, we talked about how many people think that there are other reasons for Christmas besides Jesus and that that wasn't true. We read the Christmas story from the Bible and have re-told it many times since.

The past two years, my sister, Karen, has had us over to her house to make homemade, from scratch, gingerbread houses. She mixes up the dough, presses it into the mold and bakes and bakes and bakes for days to prepare. (The mold only makes one house at a time.) Then, she assembles them with Megan's (her youngest) help. Then we arrive to decorate and eat candy! Amelie is sitting behind hers, but Violet and Linus are sitting behind each others. (Didn't Linus to a phenomenal job?)

Our tree is artificial and little and kind of sorry, but I love it--especially all decorated! I love the red beaded garland.

This is our Noah's Ark Christmas tree. My Dad bought it for us a couple of years ago at a massive Plow and Hearth sale down in VA somewhere. The girls have a blast playing with all of the animals.

What does Noah's Ark have to do with Christmas, you wonder? Well, the story is a reminder of our need for Christ in this sin sick world. And Christmas, after all, is when we celebrate His coming. I couldn't think of a better connection!

And here's a close up of Noah. (I was just practicing with my zoom.)

So there you have it! I hope you've enjoyed the peek into our home at Christmastime. May you know the love of our Savior Jesus Christ as we celebrate His birth!

If you're interested in seeing more homes in their Christmas grandeur, head on over to Megan's to see the list of Sharing Christmas participants!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That's My Girl

After a day chock full of fun that included, but wasn't limited to cleaning up bedding that Violet vomited on and then slept in all night and taking Linus to the doctor for the third time in 5 days to find out that he has RSV (we were sent home with a nebulizer to be used every 3-4 hours and two oral meds.), we were treated to Amelie's first ever Christmas program. Upon her telling me that she wasn't going to do it, that she'd sit with me instead, I assured her that while she didn't need to sing (although it'd be great if she did), she DID need to stand with her class when it was their turn. Well, why don't you watch the video to see how she did.

(Above is the picture of Amelie walking down the aisle at the beginning of the program. She's supposed to be walking next to the little boy, but he practically had to drag her down the whole way. That should give you an indication of what you'll see on the video!)

That's my girl! She didn't open her mouth once! She obeyed her mama and stood with her class. I can't even tell you what a big deal this was to my attention-hating little girl! We are SO PROUD of her!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sharing Christmas

Megan over at A Day With The Demos has thrown out a fun idea. She suggests that on December 20th, we post about our homes all decorated for Christmas, complete with photos, in order to have a tour of sorts. I'm planning to do it and I'd love it if any of y'all participated--to feel a little closer=). If you want to participate, head over to Megan's blog and leave a comment. It should be fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Have You Ever...

...seen a three-month old wearing glasses? Check back soon for photos! Well, in a week or two probably. It seems that no opticians actually carry such a tiny size. They have to be special ordered.
The reality is that Linus has two different-sized pupils (If you click on the above photo, you might be able to tell.), which is why we went to see the pediatric opthamologist yesterday. (Violet also went for a tear duct follow-up, but was too congested to be evaluated. We'll go back when she's well sometime after the first of the new year.)
As it turns out, his pupils are about 1mm different from one another, but since their is no variation in the difference (they're always the same amount of different, if that makes sense), they are fine. The doctor did a full exam, complete with dilation, and found that Linus is more farsighted than is normal for his age. (He's +3.5 in the right eye and +4 in the left.) So much so, that he expects it will progress to the point of his left eye turning inward within the next year or so. We could wait to put him in glasses when it starts to turn in, but that would probably happen when he's 15 or 18 months old. Our thinking is that putting him in glasses now
1. may prevent the eye from turning in.
2. will help us to train him to keep the glasses on as he develops physically, rather than start them in a year when he's VERY able to remove them.
So, we'll see if it's a good decision. It will certainly be an adventure! I started wearing glasses at age three, so my mom warned me that the glasses will probably need to be repaired or replaced often, and to just expect it.
I am so thankful to have discovered this issue so early. How many three month-olds have their vision checked? We didn't go because we thought there was a problem. We just wanted his pupils to be checked out. I believe that God was merciful to us in giving Linus two different-sized pupils, so his farsightedness would be discovered now in order to be treated so early. Soli Deo Goria!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Christmas Meme

Alright, so I wasn't tagged by either of the ladies on whose blogs I read this, but I decided to tag myself and get this going amongst my blog friends. Some fun stuff here--

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
My eco-conscious self insists on gift bags although I will do paper when I run out or when the gift bags I have won't work with the shape and size of a particular gift.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Since my father was a firefighter and saw numerous house fires due to real trees, I grew up with an artificial tree exclusively. We have one and use it since we're often not home for a week at Christmastime. We'll be home this year and considered buying one, but then we dropped so much money into the whole plumbing issue, and decided we'd save money and just use what we've got. In all honesty, a real tree intimidates me!!

3. When do you put up the tree?
As soon after Thanksgiving as possible.

4. When do you take the tree down?
After Epiphany (January 6th--the 12th day of Christmas) but before my birthday on January 15th.

5. Do you like eggnog?
It's o.k. My husband loves it. A sip or two from his each year is enough for me.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
This one's easy--the yellow and white bike with training wheels, a flowered basket, and a banana seat that I picked out of the Sears Wishbook. I got it and LOVED it. I loved it even more when I found out 10 or 12 years later that it was actually my sister's old rusty turquoise and white bike and that my whole family worked together to transform it into what I wanted. I am the youngest of four (my siblings are 12, 11 and 8 years older than me) and my parents didn't have much money. So, when I would go to bed, they'd put the bike on the kitchen table and transform it into the picture from the Wishbook. I had no idea and I loved it.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Amelie got a wooden one from my parents last year that the children can play with. Amelie has already had a good time with it so far.

8. Hardest person to b
uy for?
Most people, in my opinion, since we live in a society where most of us need and want nothing. And when we do, we go out and buy it.

9. Easiest person to buy for?

This year, that would be Violet. She's getting her very own baby doll!

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I'm afraid the giver may read this...don't worry it's no one that checks in here on a regular basis.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. I love to send them and to receive them--especially with update letters and pictures!!

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Story--"You'll shoot your eye out!"
and A Charlie Brown Christmas

13. When do you start shopping for Christm
In the late fall.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas presen
Probably, but I can't think of anything specific. I've definitely been guilty of regifting.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Magic Cookie Bars and Chex Mix.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Either, but my husband's always been partial to clear. So that's what we use.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home
Usually travel, but this year we're staying home!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
A snowflake star

21. Open gifts Christmas Eve or morning?
When I grew up, we opened one on Christmas eve and the rest in the morning. We haven't been home enough to establish any kind of tradition.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
When people (the media) talk about "the real meaning of Christmas" and it lacks Christ. Grrr. Also, when people have those giant blow up decorations and they don't keep them on during the day. It's very distressing to small children!

23. What I love most about Christmas?
What's not to love?

If you're up for it, I'd like to hear from Heather, Melanie (on either or both blogs), Chrissie, Lisa, and Megan.
Merry Christmas!

Family Portrait

I'm not sure if this is legal (my husband will tell me later), but I thought I'd show y'all what we did last Friday night at Sears. I'm frustrated by how they treat their employees (and consequently their customers--our appointment was at 6pm and I believe these were taken at around 8pm--only two photographers helping at least 6 six groups and most of them were bigger than ours!!) but I love the quality and the price of their portraits.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Conversations with Linus

I've only hinted at it here, I think, but a source of anxiety for me has been HOW LONG it's taken Linus to start "talking" and smiling. (He'll be three months on Thursday!!) Well, I'm glad to be able to say that he's talking up a storm these days and the smiles are getting more and more plentiful, as well. I caught him on video this evening, while the girls were in the bath--a rare just Mommy and Linus moment. He warms my heart.

You Know You Have Major Plumbing Problems When... of Amelie's new favorite games is played by calling Roto Rooter on her new toy cell phone.
Recap from last week--
Front yard?
Dug up.
Main drain for the house?
Saving account?
Cut in half.

Update from this week--
Toilet running slow again. Therefore, Roto Rooter is on the way. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Addiction

So, why haven't I blogged recently, you wonder? I've got one word for you--


If you're on and we're not friends yet, invite me!! And if your not on and you decide to try it--BEWARE!!

I'll soon post about three children sleeping in the same room and how I feel like I'm in a dormitory when I go in to check on them. I'll also soon post about Duncan's and my anniversary getaway to Georgetown after it happens. Hey, wait. Isn't their anniversary in June, you wonder? Yes it is, and this is the third year in a row that we've celebrated our anniversary in the fall. I'm beginning to think we should have gotten married in the fall. Maybe, if Duncan hadn't have broken up with me thirteen days before he proposed, and then if I hadn't have taken a teaching job in Maryland during those thirteen days, we wouldn't have had to wait an ENTIRE YEAR to get married after our engagement. I guess we'll never know...
[I'm really over this, by the way. It's just a fun story that I use to tease my husband.]

Sunday, November 11, 2007

[UPDATE: These pictures were taken in August 2004. Duncan is holding a six-month old Amelie and they are standing with Grandfather Salada in his home in Cadyville, NY.]

Last Monday, Duncan's grandfather, Maurice Victory Salada, passed away. Today would have been his 89th birthday. For the story behind his name, click here. He is Linus' namesake. Here's the text from his obituary:

Maurice Victory Salada

Maurice Victory Salada, 88, a resident of the DuBois Nursing Home, formerly of Cadyville, N.Y., died Monday in DuBois.
Born Nov. 11, 1918, in DuBois, he was the son of the late Isaac J. and Florence Gray Salada.
He was a veteran, having served as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Force and the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was a bomber pilot during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. He was Deputy Commander of the 306 Bombardment Group and the Commander of the 368 Bombardment Squadron, both in 1944.
He earned a bachelor's degree in education from Lock Haven State Teacher's College and a master of public administration degree from Columbia University.
He served as the principal at Saranac Central School in Saranac, N.Y. from 1957-1980, before retiring.
He is survived by two sons, Maurice R. Salada of Solon, Ohio, and Michael C. Salada of Galesburg, Mich.; one daughter, Desiree E. Salada of Ottawa, Canada; one brother, W. Thomas Salada of DuBois; one sister, Sara Belle Salsgiver of DuBois; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
He was also preceded in death by two brothers, Ruben Salada and Isaac Salada; and three sisters: Elizabeth Woomer, Joanne Jackson and Anzilla Salada.
- - -
SALADA: Maurice Victory, DuBois Nursing Home, died Nov. 5, 2007. Friends will be received from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Friday at the Goble-Baronick Funeral Home in DuBois. A Ritual Service by members of the DuBois Area Honor Guard will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home with Pastor Ron Lindahl officiating. Burial will be in Salem Cemetery with full military honors accorded by the DuBois Area Honor Guard. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

©Courier-Express/Tri-County 2007

He was a delightful man and he will be missed by many. I'm thankful to have known him.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Improve your vocabulary and feed the hungry all at the same time by clicking here. This is definitely one of the more virtuous ways to while away time on the internet, I should say. This morning, I earned 500 grains of rice and got up to level 41.[Make that 1100 grains of rice. Good luck NOT getting addicted to this site!!] How did you do?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I love these silly things...

You Are a Gingerbread House

A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Little Brother

Here's Linus, one day shy of 10 weeks. He's laying on the quilt he got for being in the NICU. Some middle school students made it as a service project. It really looks like they made it (and not their moms). It's very sweet and the perfect size for a play mat.
The last few days, Linus has started to "talk" to us and seems to be close to smiling. His corrected age is six weeks tomorrow, so it makes sense, since thats when talking and smiling usually starts in infants. (Can you tell I've been just a tad anxious about this?)

We just got back from Linus' two month well visit. He weighs 11lbs. 4.5 oz. (50th percentile) and is 23" (75th percentile). He might be "losing" the weight race with Rock (much to Duncan's dismay), but he's gaining at an appropriate rate. This mama is very pleased with his progress!!


One of our favorite right-before-Daddy-gets-home activities is to put on some music and some ballerina dress up clothes and to "ballet" as Amelie calls dancing. Amelie is showing off some of her most expressive moves and finishes off with some super cheese.

Violet Coloring

One of my both-of-them-can-do-this activities has been to cover the kitchen table with big paper and let the girls go to town with whatever coloring/writing implement they desire. As Violet progresses in her artwork, she gets further and further on the table, to the point of laying on it to get to that spot she hasn't colored yet. This artwork doubles as a tablecloth, by the way.

Sharing a Stool

When Amelie stands on this stool to eat a snack or the occasional meal, she says she's at her desk. Recently, she and Violet have taken to sharing the stool.

Slow Motion Speaking

Violet started saying Amelie's name full out (not just Am-ie) about two weeks ago when she had the croup. She says it so slow and deliberately, like she's speaking in slow motion. She also recently started saying her own name. She ordinarily has a deep voice, but her getting-over-the-croup voice is extra deep. This mama thinks she's too cute. I'm also trying to get her to say her word for goldfish (blub blub) but she wouldn't cooperate on that one. Maybe next time.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Our Ariel and ballerina--

What ballerina DOESN'T suck her thumb?
The Beautiful Little Mermaid--
a little pumpkin too--
(Please disregard the pink swing cover...poor guy. Such is the life with two older sisters.)
Can you see my spider jack-o-lantern?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How's Your Self Image Doing?

Have a daughter? Know a daughter? Love a daughter? Then watch these. (There are three different ones. Make sure to watch them all.)

I have been so impressed by Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. Spread the word.

Monday, October 29, 2007

If I had time, I would write about...

1. since last Monday night, Violet has been sick with the croup. The sickest she's ever been, I tell you. Fortunately, she's on the mend.
2. ...that we've recently seen Little Miss Sunshine (loved it) and Bridge to Terebithia (didn't love it).
3. ...that today, if Linus is awake and not eating, he's crying--the until-he's-purple kind of crying.
4. struggle with how to entertain/play with a 3-year old and a 1-year old at the same time (while caring for a two-month old). Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
5. ...Amelie's incredible imagination.
6. ...that I've been staying up far too late.
7. ...that I usually only take a shower every other day.
8. ...that the girls have been watching far too much t.v. and I feel terribly guilty about it.
9. ...that I feel extremely inadequate and in way over my head a lot of the time.
10. ...that I've started counseling to try to get at the root of and to learn to cope with my anxiety.

Perhaps my next post will be more upbeat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just Cuteness, That's All

Linus has begun taking naps in the crib. As I've said before, I'm always a sucker for a yawn picture, which is what he was doing this morning. Oh, and do you like the swaddling job? This was after his nap. He MUST be swaddled if he will sleep. That is so different from both of the girls that HATED to be swaddled. What's your swaddling experience?
Linus has been working on holding up his head. He's taking a break in this picture.

I reorganized the toy closet and Amelie rediscovered the hats, mittens, and scarves. The girls have been having fun with them lately.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bunk Bed

Violet recently moved into the bottom of the bunk bed. She and Amelie are both quite pleased.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Shutterfly Shout Out

Yeah, so this ISN'T a sponsored post, but Shutterfly is going to get some free advertising here.

Amelie has recently gained control of the mouse. (she's been having a great time on Starfall, by the way.)I bought Linus' birth announcement from Shutterfly last week. Amelie wanted to see them, so I pulled up the website and signed in. I must have walked away at that point.

Fast forward two days. I sign in to Shutterfly to track the announcements--to see when I can expect them to arrive. The tracking thingy isn't working, so I check my order history to make sure everything is hunky- dory. I notice not one, but three orders in my order history. Huh? I just placed one order, right? Apparently, two orders for 200 prepaid prints (at 12 cents each which is a fabulous price, by the way) have mistakenly been charged to my account.

Yes, you read that correctly. TWO orders for 200 prepaid prints.

Let's see...
200 times 2 is ...
400 PRINTS!!

I most certainly DID NOT make those purchases.! I sent an e-mail immediately to customer service stating just that as well as asking what they were going to do about crediting my account. Humpf. I most certainly will never use them again!!

And then, AFTER I sent the e-mail, over the next day or so, I thought about it. I think you can probably tell where I'm going with this. You've got it. Amelie, my non-reading three and a half year old, unknowingly purchased 400 prints. I received a reply from customer service. Here's an excerpt:

"Placing an order is not something that is easy to do accidentally as the items have to be added to the cart then you have to click on check out, enter your credit card info and then click one more time on a Place order now button. Might another member of your household have placed this?"

"not something that is easy to do accidentally" That was my favorite line. Pretty funny. I've tried to duplicate what she did and haven't been able to do so. So I replied and explained my situation. Duncan and I had talked about how we probably haven't purchased 100 prints since Amelie was born and that it was unlikely that we'd use 400 over the next two years. (yeah, so there good for two years which is a good thing) We decided to ask that they cancel only one order, since I can use some prints to finish their baby books and others to send to relatives. (and 12 cents a print IS a great deal!) I also included an apology for my tone in my original e-mail--assuming that it was their fault and not mine, which, in reality, couldn't be further from the truth!

So here's the free advertising. Shutterfly graciously agreed to remove one of the orders. I was very thankful that it was as easy as sending a few e-mails. And yes, I've learned my lesson. When you teach your child to use the mouse, don't abandon the computer when you're signed into websites that house your credit card number. Fellow parents of small children, please take note and learn from my mistake--even if your child has demonstrated a knack for knowing a good deal when she sees it. (I'm so proud.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Disposable Diaper Review

Since we are nearing the end of our exclusive use of disposable diapers, which started on August 6th, I find it appropriate to express some opinions about diapers of the disposable variety. First, allow me to offer a little back information. We were given excellent advice before Amelie was born. We were encouraged to wait to start using cloth diapers until the baby was two months old. It was pointed out that babies poop constantly until they are about that age. At that point, they slow down and poop only two or three times a day, in general. (This is for breast fed babies, by the way. I don't know about those fed on formula.) The thinking is also that so many people start out using cloth enthusiastically and then stop quickly because they are so discouraged by the amount of laundry they're doing.
Once I had a c-section with Amelie, the decision was made to start using cloth diapers when she was around two months old, which is what we did, and it worked out really well. She was in cloth diapers exclusively except for vacations, the occasional lapse in laundry, etc. until Violet was born. When that occurred, they were both in disposables until Violet was two months old, when we resumed using cloth. That was the plan when Linus was born, but since I was in the hospital for the month before he was born, Violet has been in disposables for an extra month. I'll also add that when our children are in disposables, we have exclusively used Pampers. We felt that they were superior over the other major brands.
Upon Linus' birth, we were given some of every variety of disposable diapers--Huggies, Luvs, and Especially for Baby (the Babies R Us generic version). When Linus was in all of those varieties, he consistently had leaks. When he's in Pampers, leaks simply don't happen! Now I've heard the same thing from other parents, only with a different brand of diaper. Their children only stay dry in a particular brand. I find this so interesting. Is it because of how the child is built? For example. my children's body type best fits in Pampers, while my friend's child fits best in Huggies. What has been your experience? Do you have a favorite brand of diaper?
Oh, and the above picture? An 18-month old Amelie with a disposable swim diaper on her head, of course!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Just for Fun--Comparisons at One Month

In order of birth--Amelie, Violet, and Linus. Anyone see any resemblances? If they are there, I have a hard time seeing them.