Friday, December 25, 2009

Update: Mommy and Violet Sing A Christmas Eve Duet

Update: I've now made the video public, so everyone should be able to view it without a problem.
Original Post:
Back in October, while listening to The Singing Bible, Violet took quite a liking to Starry Sky--the Christmas song in the box set. I asked the girls if they'd like to sing it at church on Christmas Eve.
As far as she was concerned, I was crazy for suggesting something so horrible.
She agreed heartily.
When I explained that she'd be in front of the church and that there would be a lot of people watching her, she replied, "And you'll hold me up so I can reach the microphone?"
Yes I will, sweetie. Her stipulation was that I sing with her.
So we sang this song over and over and over.
We sent the mp3 to a friend who wrote it out as sheet music for us.
We obtained a pianist and flutist.
And then we were given an opportunity to sing it at our church's Christmas Eve Service.
Here's the awesome video that our friend, Deb, shot for us. (Thanks, Deb!)

It was a blessing, beyond measure, to learn this song and to sing it with my daughter. I'm thankful that it was a blessing to so many during the service of lessons and carols.
Oh, and Amelie?
She let me know that when Violet and I were singing, that she "changed her mind." That "it looked fun."
Maybe it'll be a vocal trio next year...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just In Case You're Not On Our Christmas Card List...

Merry Christmas from the Saladas!

Salada Snipets--tiny bits of our 2009
check in with us throughout the year at

This past year has been a FULL one--full of blessings and laughter. Full of driving and playing. Full of reading and dancing. Full of loving and singing. Full of arguing and mediating. Full of training and disciplining. Full of asking and answering. Full of talking and talking. Full of pretending and imagining. Full of worshipping Our Great God as a family-of-five and with our church family. Full of learning and growing. Full of not-so-much-never-enough sleeping. Full of blogging and visiting. Full of working and church website updating ( Full of book clubbing and Bible studying. Full of movie watching and date nighting. Full of baseball and football watching. Full of grace and forgiving. Full of, by God’s grace, doing our best to love our neighbor as ourselves.

age 5
half-day kindergartener
underwater swimmer
flower girl
avid reader
tooth loser
training wheel bike rider

Jan-Duncan and Nancy to NYC.
Feb-Nancy &kids and her mom to Raleigh, NC
May-to State College, PA and Ocean City, MD
June-to Findley Lake, NY and Solon, OH
July-Nancy and kids to Bethany Beach, DE
August-to Canaan Valley, WV
Nov-to Ocean City, MD and Erie, PA for Thanksgiving

age 3
three day a week pre-schooler
soccer -lover
flower girl
mouse clicker
fruit devourer
prolific smiler

We are now highchairless, cribless, mostly bibless, often strollerless and soon-to-be diaper less. (A mommy can hope, right?) This is the longest we’ve gone, since Amelie was born, without adding to our family. Lord willing, we’re moving on to the next stage of life. Whatever that means…

age 2
nine word sentence creator
avid digger and mud attracter
baseball and football devotee
food scarfer
song composer
ring bearer

We are all about following Jesus: not just at Christmastime, but all year ‘round. We believe it when we read His words recorded in the Gospel of John: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There are a lot of different and confusing messages out there. Our prayer is that each of you may come to know Jesus-even today! We share these things not to condemn or offend--that’s the last thing we desire. Rather we desire all of those we know and love to share in the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding. We can’t fathom living this difficult and burdensome live without the Lord. He is our hope. He is our life. He is our rest. May you know the love of our Sovereign God in sending his Son 2000 years ago so that we may be saved from our sins and have life eternal. May you know Him this Christmas and always!

With Much love,
Duncan, Nancy, Amelie, Violet, and Linus

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Linus Loves Snow

Way back when, Linus developed a relationship with grass.
Clearly, he feels just as good about the snow.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Update: Sharing Christmas 2009

Can't express enough how awesome the two foot snow fall has made things seem magical 'round these parts. I've got tons of pictures from the last few days that I'll post eventually. But without further ado...
Welcome to our home!

Santa and a display of greenery greets you at the front door.

Our tree peeks out from the picture window.

Our tree is new this year. When putting away our former tree last year, I broke the built-in stand to the point of no return. I wanted to try to fix it with super glue, but Duncan assured me that the $25 tree we bought back in 2002 was destined for the landfill. And that it was going to be ok.

"The stockings were hung on the railing with care..."
Isn't that how the poem goes? No?
Well it's how it goes at the chimney-less house!
The greenery is a new addition this year.

I've incorporated live (or at least once-live) greenery this year as well.

Here you can see Amelie's gingerbread house from school, a poinsettia plant that my aunt gave us, and a Santa cookie jar we were given by our neighbors last year. These things adorn our kitchen table.

Amelie made this for Duncan and I at school. She wrapped it up in tissue paper she found on the dining room table and made a big deal about waiting until Daddy got home from work last Friday to give it to us. Super cute.

Violet made this at school. Enlarge it to read the poem.
It made me tear up.

This Christmas season has been full of baking and making at our home.

Today we made pine bark--some to eat and some to give away to neighbors and friends.
We've already made Caramel Meltaways, Grandma Munro's fudge, Chex mix, and sugar cut-out cookies from my Grandma's Betty Crocker cookbook.

Thanks for stopping by to see some of our Christmas this year!
Head on over to Megan's to see her beautiful home decorated for Christmas as well as the other blogs that are participating.

Original Post:
Megan is hosting Sharing Christmas once again this year. I've been looking forward to participating, but haven't been able to catch a break the last few days. There's a reason that I'm unable to post about on here (and probably never will be, so if you know me and you're curious, just give me a call.) The other reason can be summed up in the photo below.

That's right folks.
We can't seem to shake this stuff!
So, be patient and please check back later this evening for this year's installment of Sharing Christmas.
In the meantime, please feel free to browse the installments of Sharing Christmas 2007 and Sharing Christmas 2008.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh, How Far You've Come!

Two years ago, Amelie was a three year-old who attended pre-school two days a week. Her Christmas concert performance, which can be seen here, shows perfectly the temperament of our Amelie of that time. Shy, timid, undesiring of the limelight.

Flash forward two years and you'll see an Amelie who participates fully at her concert which was watched by hundreds of people that filled an entire auditorium!

I know it's hard to see and a bit on the wobbly side (I had a certain two year-old little boy on my lap), but Amelie is in the middle row, the third girl in from the right, with a red bow on the side of her head. Most importantly, you can see her mouth moving.
The entire time.
Take a looksee--

We're so proud at how far our Amelie has come and are so excited to see how very far she'll go.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Post Stealing (Also Known as the Easiest Post Ever)

Don't you wonder what I was doing on the evening of November 14th? Oh, come on...I know you do! So click here and here to find out. I was camera-less that evening, but fortunately, my partners were not.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

First Loss of Tooth

On the Sunday evening of November 15th, Amelie wiggled and wriggled her first tooth right out of her mouth! Being that she's only 5 and 3/4 years old, I was completely unprepared for such an event. (I lost my first tooth two or three month after my 7th birthday!) She was quite pleased at her accomplishment, as might be evident from the photos below.

What was really fun was finding out that my packrat-ness came in handy. I knew exactly where to find my tooth pillow from my childhood. I threw it in the wash and exchanged it under the pillow (with a little cash in the pocket of course) for the tooth that Amelie had put under her pillow in a plastic bag. It was so very exciting!
And following suit with our MO, we don't "do" the tooth fairy. We talked about it, explained that some people believe that it's real, but we're all in on that secret too. And it's a good thing, since Violet overheard us talking about the T.F. in passing and started to panic and ask all sorts of questions. "Who's coming into my room? Does she have wings? Does she fly?" Hilarious. I wonder why more kids don't ask about these characters coming into their homes to take or leave things. It's all weiredness, if you ask this mama.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Worship Preparation

One Sunday morning, Duncan taught Linus something that he was sure to be able to use during that morning's worship service...

Monday, December 07, 2009

On Cloth Diapering

Amelie 4.19.05

Since I started this post on August 1, 2008, it's high time that I finish it, dontcha think?

As I'm nearing the end of my diapering career (at least I HOPE that I am--in more ways than one), I think I'll share my thoughts and experiences with cloth diapering. Recently, I received an email from my friend, Kristi, who is expecting her first baby in the near future. She asked a series of questions which I've pasted here in this post. I think they'll work quite nicely in giving a summary of our cloth diapering career.

To start, the best advice we received, was to wait to start with cloth diapering until your baby is two months old. At that point, the pooping is less frequent and therefore the cleaning out and washing of diapers is less daunting of a task. We waited at least this long with each child and have been willing to stick it out for the long haul. I've heard of many folks that start using cloth diapers with their brand new baby, are so overwhelmed with the task and are overcome by the desire for the ease of disposables, that they throw in the towel and do away with cloth diapering all together. Having a brand new baby is incredibly overwhelming and we were so thankful for this recommendation.

OK, here are Kristi's questions interspersed with my rambling answers:
1. What type of cloth diapers have you used - prefold, fitted, all-in-ones? If you have tried multiple types, which is your favorite? and 2. Do you have a favorite brand?

Primarily, we've used pre-folded diapers from Gerber. We found a good deal on a package of all-in-ones sometime back, and found that we didn't like them. They weren't supposed to be bleached and therefore didn't get very clean. We decided that since they were so cheap ( a 5-pack for $15 down from $50) we'd take our chances in bleaching them. We did, they got cleaner, but still never as clean as the Gerber ones. With the Gerber pre-folds, we've used four types of wraps or covers which have all been fitted and closed with either snaps or velcro. (Duncan's stipulation with cloth diapers was that there be NO PINS! And we've managed to avoid pins completely.) The four types and my reviews of them are as follows:
*Gerber (discontinued, as far as I know)--they were fine for a while, relatively inexpensive, however over time the velcro became quite sharp so that it irritated baby's skin. Also, the waterproofing wore off over time.
*Especially For Baby (Babies R Us brand--also discontinued)--these were softer and didn't have the velcro issue, however they weren't tight enough around the legs to always control leaks and they seemed more water resistant than water proof
*Bumkins--my favorite by far. The velcro tabs are such that they don't irritate, waterproofing hasn't worn off (bought them three years ago), have lasted, are the most expensive. (On another note, Bumkins also makes some of my favorite bibs!)
*I don't remember the name of the fourth kind, but they looked like this (the ones with the snaps)--these were great as well, were expensive, and lasted for all three kids. Although by the time Linus had outgrown the last one, it was on its last leg, had to go in the trash and couldn't be passed on.

3. How did you handle changing dirty cloth diapers while away from the house?
With Amelie, we were gung-ho and used cloth diapers all the time except for overnights away from home. I carried plastic bags with me--sometimes a grocery-type bag, other times a ziplock that I reused. I would used regular wipes to clean up the child and then fold up the dirty diaper in the wrap like you would a disposable (since the wrap was usually dirty and couldn't be reused), put it in the bag and would clean it out at home.

4. Did you use cloth wipes too? If so, how did you use them?
With Amelie, we did use cloth wipes. We bought two dozen little white wash cloths and folded twelve of them them in on each other so that they'd pop out of a Pampers wipes container. Then we'd made this solution in an old Koolaid crystal container:
a teaspoon of baby wash
a teaspoon of baby lotion
fill the container 2/3-full of warm water
put on lid and shake vigorously
pour over folded wipes already in Pampers container

After use, these wipes could be put in the diaper pail and be bleached along with the diapers. We did this for Amelie and some for Violet. Since then, we've just used regular wipes. The biggest drawback with using store-bought wipes is that it makes the bathroom trashcan stinky, as the wipes can't be flushed.

A few more thoughts:
Diaper wraps can be used multiple times before washing. I generally don't use them twice in a row. Rather, I let them dry out before reusing. Obviously, when poop gets on them, they are banished to the washing machine.

The Diaper Duck is a fabulous contraption. Buy one.

As I've already mentioned, we were super gung-ho with using cloth with Amelie, as she was our first and only at the time. As we've added to our family, we've become more relaxed (lazy?) and have used more disposables along the way. My philosophy is that any amount of cloth diapering that you do is good for the landfills and good for your budget.

We used them overnight, at home, until Amelie was 10 months old. At that point, she started leaking through by 11 o'clock nearly every night. They sell "overnight" cloth diapers and inserts and things. We just decided to put her in a disposable from then on and have followed suit with subsequent children.

When using exclusively cloth diapers, we had to wash them about twice a week. We rinse and spin the diapers and then wash them on a vigorous cycle with detergent and bleach.

We've had two basic diaper pails during our career. The first we would fill 1/3 of the way with water and add a splash of vinegar. (This drastically cut down on the odor.) There were two drawbacks, however. This pail with diapers and water was extremely heavy. We kept it upstairs (that's where the changing table was) and I often had visions of slipping while carrying a full pail down to the laundry room. Fortunately that never happened. The other drawback was that, with all of the moisture, the pail got very mildewy and wouldn't come clean. We ended up pitching it, conferring with a cloth diapering friend, and started NOT filling it with water. Also, after every load, we wipe out the pail with disinfectant wipe. This has prevented the growth of mildew in our second pail.

So there you go. I'd love to answer questions that anyone might have. Feel free to leave them as a comment or to e-mail me. If I get enough questions, I may just have to do a follow-up post!