Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Spacebags

So VNB and I have a pretty small place (~1000 sq. ft.). This smallness is compounded by the fact that when we married and moved in together, he was coming from an apartment of about 900 sq. ft., and I had stuff that had filled most of a 3-br house prior to storage in my brother's basement (while I was overseas).

Since I didn't have a job right away when we got married, I spent my days culling through my stuff (for a second time - I'd done it once before it went on the truck to come here from my brother's house), getting rid of lots of stuff, and finding lots of creative places and ways to store things.

Well, we'd found a place for everything (finally), with half of the space under the bed to spare when we visited VNB's folks and were given seven boxes of his childhood stuff - way more than half the bed. So he culled through that and we'd finally found a place for everything (which included "just put it in the second bedroom for now")...when we found out that I was pregnant and we were going to need that second bedroom for baby things, rather than our things.

So we both culled through everything again and got rid of another large chunk of stuff until we had room for all the baby furniture and stuff we could stand. Everything sort of had a place, but it was overwhelming. We put lifts under the bed and the futon to give us more space, but the whole place was still just too full. The problem was that we'd gotten to the point where if we threw stuff out, we'd want to buy it again when we got a bigger place.

We'd seen the SpaceBags commercials time and again, but one night, VNB said, "why don't we try those?" So we bought our first box (the one with lots of different sized bags). We were hooked. We started SpaceBagging everything that would shrink, and all of the sudden, we had room to spare again! So we bought more and bagged more stuff! and more! Until the only stuff left wasn't smushable!

They haven't been great about keeping their integrity (we've got a few that are still good, but not all of them), but the good thing is that you can suck them down, stick several of them into someplace small, then they can re-expand all they want without taking up any more space for you! They're a little harder to get out, but that's not a big deal.

In any case, SpaceBags have definitely worked for me! For some other great tips, look here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The "mommyblogger" community is a large and diverse one. Most of the blogs are written by mommies like me, but there is a relatively large community of those who use their blogs to track the course of an illness in their or their children's lives.

To call this a "story" seems to desecrate it. It makes me hurt for this family, and feel both grateful and guilty for the healthy, beautiful family that God has given me, not to mention in awe of their faith, honesty, and worshipful attitude in the midst of struggle.

I know that grace is given in the moment, and that my imagination is more fertile than most, but I can't even stand to hear that Mark Schultz song "He's my Son," much less imagine how I would cope if something were to happen to VNB or AJ (or myself).

Stephen Curtis Chapman says that "We [as believers] can cry with hope...'cause we know our 'goodbye' is not the end." I am in awe of the many people who can 'blog with hope,' and hope that, should a crisis ever befall me or my family, I can be one of them.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

AJ the SpokesBaby (or Our Trip to Hotlanta...finally...)

So while we were in Atlanta, AJ decided he was going to try out a few different products to decide which he wanted to become the spokesbaby for. If you have a preference, please leave a comment so that we can help steer him toward what will show off his natural abilities the best.

Our first day, we went to the Atlanta Federal Reserve. We didn't really get any pictures of that, but I would think that it would be profitable to be the spokesbaby for money. Plus, while we didn't quite "win" their loan simulator "game," we came pretty close, so he should be good at it.

The second day, we went to the NEW World of Coke. It was Coke-tastic! We didn't get a chance to see everything (lunch reservations), but we tasted all sorts of sodas from around the world (alas, no Rani) and got the first of our spokesbaby pictures.

AJ the Coke Baby (not that kind - the good kind of Coke baby)

Alternately, there's this one. I mean, seriously, who could resist those eyes?

Then, he decided to see if he could advertise for Aunt D's quilting guild by showing off the latest of her creations, "Fantastic Fish Friends." Either that or he was looking for a pack of Marlboros to roll up in his sleeve so he could shill for a new run of Grease.

If you look closely, in the black square visible under his left arm (the one holding Aunt D's hand), you can see one of a couple of spots where she embroidered his first name. His last name is elsewhere in a couple of places too. This quilt is just amazingly beautiful and intricate, and is definitely something that he will treasure. Thanks again, Aunt D! Here are both sides:

And the inscription which is on the lower left-hand corner of the pic on the right.

Then, in honor of his first tooth, he thought that maybe "Beef, it's what's for dinner" needed some fresh blood (if you'll pardon the pun):

But, after much contemplation at Atlanta's High Gallery of Art, he decided that he'd cover all his bets and give another product of the Coke company a try:

And if that didn't work out, he figured he might try deep sea diving and/or advertising for the Atlanta aquarium (with his mommy and daddy, of course!).

I think all in all though, he really wants to get into his mom's "family" business (you know, my uncle Ted).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Recycled Changing Table

It seems that I can only manage to get posts together for WFMW. In my defense, it's because some of the pics for my Atlanta visit post were on our desktop computer while some are on this one and when I tried emailing them from the other computer, it didn't work, and in the meantime, VNB has wiped that computer and reinstalled everything. All the pics got saved, but we used like four different media so now I have to track them down.

Excuses, excuses, I know...believe me, the pics are worth the wait.

But back to WFMW, which is why most of you came here in the first place.

So, when AJ was in the process of being knit together, we, of course, started looking around for furniture for his room. VNB's boss very graciously gave us their (very nice) old crib which was just ending its usefulness in their family, and we already knew we just didn't have space for a glider or rocker, so the only thing left to get was the changing table and a dresser. After a _very_ brief tour of the _VERY_ expensive tables at Babies 'R Us (only a very few of which actually looked like what I had in my mind's eye), I convinced VNB to go with me to all the thrift stores and look for something there. After a good bit of searching (and a lot of him saying "can't you make due with this one?" with me replying "not really - it's too tall (or too short, or too something else, or not what I was looking for)"), we finally found the perfect thing.

It was a three-drawer chest of drawers that comes up about to my waist. Good, solid, wood construction, with only a little bit of damage way down at the bottom of the feet. It was the absolute perfect size - 18" wide, 40" long, 35" high (and had drawers - I didn't want that big open space underneath that so many of the cheaper plastic ones had). So, for $30, we brought it home, gave it a fresh coat of high gloss paint (not easy to put on evenly, but makes wiping it off a breeze, and we happened to have the paint on hand already), bought a nice changing pad for it (I think that was about $25), and we had ourselves a changing table for about $60 (instead of $600+). Incidentally, it has room for all of his little clothes too, making one less piece of furniture we had to find room for.

I'm sure that all of you crafty folks out there could do amazing things with decoupage and other stuff, but I'm just not that kind of girl. If I'd had more time and inclination, I probably could have stripped off the old stain and restained it to match the crib. Being 6-months pregnant (and with a husband who had a broken arm), I did not have that time and inclination.

The best thing about it is that when we're done with changing tables, we can just take the changing pad off and we still have a good, solid dresser. An expensive changing table/dresser on the cheap definitely works for me!

For some other great tips, go here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Too-Tart Baby Food

So it all started when AJ started eating the baby food peaches, which have a very strong odor, although I haven't sampled the taste. He liked eating them, but after every other bite, he would scrunch up his face and shiver, kinda like you would do if you were surprised by the tartness of a candy or something. While this provided VNB and I endless hours of amusement (AJ too because I'd mimic him and he thought that was the funniest thing ever), I began wondering what I could do to make the food less tart for him (especially when he started doing the same thing with the applesauce - there aren't that many foods for us to choose from right now, especially fruits for breakfast, so I wasn't about to give up on them).

Finally I came up with an idea - add the rice cereal that was just taking up space in my cupboard. AJ prefers that the peaches with rice cereal "age" for a few hours prior to eating (I guess to more completely merge the two flavors or something - he's going to be a gourmet chef, apparently), but he'll eat the applesauce with rice cereal right away.

One added advantage of this (besides getting rid of the cereal) is that it's helped him get used to the tastes. Now he can down a container of peaches without a second thought (or shiver). It also gave me the opportunity to accidentally give him squash with rice cereal for breakfast one morning (squash and peaches are roughly the same color, and did I mention it was morning?). While he was a little confused by that, he actually liked it, giving me _another_ opportunity to get rid of the rice cereal...and a way to make each container of food last a little longer.

So, rice cereal in tart baby food works for me! For other ideas, go here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pics from Hotlanta

So we spent Labor Day weekend with VNB's Aunt D and Uncle R in Atlanta. We had a great time (although AJ's used to having four adults at his beck and call all day now, which makes for a very whiney household) and have lots of awesome pics....which I haven't gotten together yet.

So stay tuned. Hopefully this weekend sometime I'll manage to scan what needs to be scanned and come up with pithy descriptions for your enjoyment.