Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Part 2

We seemed to have survived the Ballman family Christmas. It was a long weekend because it's always hard to travel with a baby, but a good one.
Friday Carter and I went shopping at the outlet mall with my parents. My mom went on a shopping spree on bought Carter pjs and clothes for the next two sizes. Hopefully it should last until the weather gets warm. He's growing out of things so fast!
Saturday morning we drove down to Tim's parents. After Ben was up from his nap, we celebrated Christmas. I'm so glad that we were able to visit for two days instead of the one that we had originally planned, so that we could sit and really enjoy opening gifts, instead of having to rush.
Sunday we celebrated with all of the Ballman side. It was really nice to be able to see everyone. Carter got some nice gifts.
Overall. Carter had a great first Christmas. I'm so glad we were able to spend time with both sides. My only complaint (and I hate to even type this, but it's been eating at me) is that there is some definite favoritism going on with the kids. I'm hoping this was not intentional, but I'll have to watch for it in the future. While Carter is too young to notice it now, it could be really hurtful later.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bittersweet Christmas Eve

I'm feeling such a range of emotion reflecting on Christmas. My uncle passes away around 4pm with my grandparents and two of my uncles by his side. They were listening to spiritual music and reading the bible. My grandma had just told him that she loved him and it was okay if he needed to go. Everyone had been able to see him. All of our family was in town. In fact it was just before we normally get together for Christmas Eve. It was as if he wanted the rest of the family to be able to be together to celebrate.
Aidan and Joe (my 3 and 4 year old cousins) and Carter helped keep the evening a little bit lighter. Carter was blessed with so many wonderful gifts. We were so blessed to have all 9 of my cousins in town (which hasn't happened in a long time!)

I am so sad to have lost him. But also so happy that he is out of his pain. Mark will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We went to see my uncle Mark tonight. Today he's no longer able to talk or swallow. His body is there and somewhat there, but his spirit that we knew and loved was really no longer there.
I had to take Carter with me because Tim was working. I think Carter could sense the tension in Mark's room because his lip started to quiver and he started to cry after being there for only a minute or two. We were able to take him into the living room and get him calmed down. It's one of those situations where I never know whether or not it is appropriate to bring a baby. My mom wanted us to come because she figured it would help lighten the mood a little bit. Carter was so good the rest of the time there. He did however have a meltdown in the car on the way home.

Please pray for him to be relieved of his pain and for the strength for my family (especially my grandparents) in their grieving.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookies and burns aka why I shouldn't be allowed to use the oven by myself

For some reason for the last two years, I seem to always burn myself whenever I use the oven to bake Christmas cookies. Last year I thought it was just pregnancy brain and a sign (besides the extreme nausea from the baking smells) that I shouldn't make cookies. This year I think I might just need to learn to be more careful or stop baking cookies.
I can't believe it's almost Christmas. It brings back the exciting memories from last Christmas when we announced that we were expecting to our families and friends. Life certainly has changed since then. I'll have to take a bunch of pictures of Carter in his cute little Christmas outfit.
On the other end of things, I'm trying not to be to sad about how quickly my uncle's health has been dwindling. He is now bed bound and is slowly losing most of his words. I think Christmas will be very hard for him (and everyone else) since it'll be the first that he won't be well enough to attend.

Monday, Monday

Weekends always seem to go by way too fast. Overall we had a pretty good one. Friday night Tim went out to volunteer for New Brighton Police Reserves, so Carter and I decided to go over to my parents' because we had to get out of the house. Over there we had a movie night and watch "Mamma Mia" and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2". Carter liked the Abba music in "Mamma Mia", but otherwise I would have to say that it was one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. I love musicals, but it seems that most of them don't turn in to the most believable movies.
Saturday we didn't leave the house because the huge amounts of snow we got. I'm not sure on the grand totals, but it looks like there is close to a foot on our deck. I spent much of the day baking Christmas cookies.
Sunday I worked on some more cookies while Tim was at some training for New Brighton. We went over to my parents' for dinner.
Today I'm going to try to get through my long list of things to do before Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Day two of nap training went okay although I'm not really sure whose training who. I managed to get him to nap in his crib for his morning nap after a few minutes of screaming in my arms. We're starting to have a routine of reading some books with the shades mostly lowered and then lowering the shades and rocking. During the rocking is when the screaming usually begins. When he is calm, I set him in the crib. If he starts screaming again, I first try to comfort him in the crib. If that doesn't work, I rock him in my arms until he calms down. Rinse, Lather, and Repeat until baby is asleep in his crib. By that time I'm ready for a nap myself.
Tim was home when I was trying to do Carter's afternoon nap. Tim doesn't necessarily understand why I'm so against letting Carter cry it out. This gets somewhat frustrating because he won't read the research I have on it either. I try to have reasoning behind any of the major parenting decisions we make. Carter ended up napping in the swing for the second nap. I figure even if we get morning nap under control, it'll be a vast improvement.
On other news, our weekend plans of celebrating Christmas with Tim's mom's family got cancelled because of the forcast of crazy snow storms. I guess they got 4 inches today and are suppose to get way more in the next couple days. I am relieved not to have to be driving in bad weather.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Battle of the nap

Now that we have night time sleeping pretty much figured out I've been trying to work on getting Carter to nap in his crib. He too young for cry it out (and I'm not sure I believe in it from the research I've done.) Today he screamed in my arms for 30 minutes before he got tired enough to let me place him in his crib without freaking out. Anyone have any recommendations?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photo Card Mishaps

After reshooting Carter Christmas photos, agonizing over which one to choose and where to order them from we finally placed our order at Sam's club last night. I got a phone message this morning from them asking me to bring with me a signed release form from the photographer or else they would not be able to give us the prints. Since I took the photos myself using a bed sheet and digital camera I had to laugh. Yes, they turned out decent (and maybe better than some of the cheaper photo places) they in no way look like they were professionally done to me. It did put a smile on may face though. Judge for yourself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cookies

I'm enjoying Christmas cookie baking so much more this year than last year. Last year I was still in the first trimester/prime morning sickness. The smell of pretty much anything made me sick. This year is much better, although a little more challenging with a 5 month old.

My first cookie the peppermint meltaway. They are one of my favorites.
Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Glaze Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food color, if desired
Candy canes or hard peppermint candy, crushed.
Combine butter, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and cornstarch. Beat until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate until firm (30 to 60 minutes).Heat oven to 350°F. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Stir in food color, if desired. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy.

More thoughts on baby stuff aka the things I never knew I needed

I was thinking the other day about all the random baby stuff that I didn't even think of having on hand when Carter was born that we had to run out and get. So I figured I'd make a list to help myself (and others).
1. Baby Tylenol: Buy the bigger bottles at Sam's or Costco to save. We seem to use this all the time. In the beginning we needed this for Carter's circumcism (ask for dosing fro the Dr.) and now we need it for teething. Target's generic must not taste as good because Target hates it.
2. Gas drops: we used this a bunch in the beginning, but rarely now that he burps himself.
3. White noise machine: It sounds strange, but it really seems to work. Carter started sleeping much better when we started using it.
4. Ultimate Crib sheet: You put this on top of the cute crib sheet because it snaps on for easy changes. This was a life saver in the beginning when we were changing sheets several times a day. I really only needed two regular sheets and two of the ultimate sheets.
5. Lap pads: I honest didn't know how to use these until after Carter was born. We put one in his crib and one on top of the changing pad. It saved many changes of sheets and covers. We had one pack and only used them for the first couple months.
6. Old Fashion Cloth Diapers: Nothing beats them for burp clothes. If you want cute ones, sew cute material on to one side. I have some on my etsy site Arieldesigns for those who do not sew.
7. Onesies: Carter was a summer babe and wore onesies day and night. I think we had maybe 7-8. Now that he's bigger he wears them under sweatshirts. We have a ton, but probably only need around 4-5. Our favorite are the Carter's brand ones. Gerber ones run at least a size smaller than stated.
8. PJs: In the early days we loved the snap ones because it was easier for middle of the night diaper changes. Now that Carter is bigger the zipper ones are better. (He likes to unsnap them and take his feet out to suck on.) We liked the cotton ones when it was warmer and the fleece ones best for cold weather. Carter's brand is our favorite on this too.
9. Socks: I would highly recommend not buying too many until you figure out what your baby won't kick off. My favorites are by Trumpette. They are a little on the pricier side, but they're super cute (they look like shoes) and they've stayed on better than anything else.
10. Shoes: We've only been using them since it got cold to keep his socks on. Robeez are the best. I got a pair used for $5. Borrow them if you can or check at consignment shops and mom's sales.
11. Outfits: We really didn't use them until it got cold. I would say you could get by with 6-7, but I don't like to do laundry that often, so we probably have more. Our favorite brands are carter's, old navy, gap outlet, and gymboree (only when a gift).

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I am so relieved to be finished with my classes. I can't say that my last paper was one of my bests, but even if I didn't do it I would have ended up with a C. Now I can start getting ready for Christmas and enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Paranoid Mommy

The pediatrician is probably going to start thinking I'm crazy, but I am pretty well convinced that Carter might have an ear infection. In the last couple days he's started to freak out with any loud noises. And last night and this morning he was rubbing his ears. If we go in today, it'll be the 4th time we get check for ear aches since he was born. I'm probably slightly paranoid about this since I've never had an ear infection before and since there would be no way Carter could even tell us if he had one yet I don't want to be missing any symptoms. I'll have to update later if we decide to go in/if he has an ear infection.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I'm glad Carter is young for this Christmas because I don't know how I would be able to deal with telling him that he won't be getting the toys he wants for Christmas. That's got to be heartbreaking. As parents (even with a 5 month old baby), we're always thinking of things that it would be fun to get Carter. Most of it he'd be too little for until atleast next summer. And I know the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with presents. Carter is lucky enough to have two parents who love him very much and who are able to give him the gift of time. And we're lucky enough to have friends and family with children older than Carter who are thoughtful and generous enough to give us lots of great hand me down toys and clothes, which has helped us so much.
For the Twin Cities mommies who read my blog, we got a lot of our baby gear at Moms of Multiples Sales. I think there are 4 different groups in the Twin Cities and they have sales in the spring and fall. I'll try to remember to post the sale dates once I have them. Also most of the local ECFE groups also have great sales on baby gear and toys. We got our swing and exersauser last year for less than $20 a piece. Once Upon a Child also sometimes has some good deals. I've had the best luck when I go in looking for something particular.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stressing out!

I'm so stressing out right now. My final papers are due for all 3 classes I've been taking this weekend. I'm having a really hard time finding the information I need to even write the one paper. I don't get anything done during the day since Carter barely naps. I have a hard time getting anything done without interruptions when Tim gets home.
We're not ready for Christmas. We still don't have the house clean enough to even put the tree up. We have 5 more presents to buy, and really no money to do so. I'm not having any luck finding any jobs to apply for and I can't seem to even get a decent paying part-time job these days.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sick baby or new sleep plans?

Carter slept through last night and didn't wake up until 8:30 this morning. He took a short nap at my grandma's house and now he's asleep in my lap. I really hope he's not coming down with something.
We helped my grandparents put up their Christmas tree and put up some lights outside today. We also went in search of a bath seat. Being 26 inches long, Carter is now getting too long for his baby bath tub. Target didn't have anything. Everything at BRU was super expensive. Walmart had the perfect solution. It's a mesh bath lounger that was only $8. Carter loves being able to kick and splash in the tub. (Note to pregnant friends, definitely put one of these on your registries. Possible even instead of a baby bath.)

Weekend update

It's been awhile since I updated last. Overall things are good with us. We're mostly done with our Christmas shopping (except for a few difficult people like both our dads and my brother), my semester will be done in another week and a half (in which I still have to write two papers and mess with my website a bunch).

Carter and I haven't been leaving the house a whole lot with the teething. It makes him so incredibly crabby. So far two teeth on the bottom have cut through his gums and we can feel several on the top that haven't yet. I guess if I'm going to have a miserable, crabby baby I'd rather do it all at once than spreading it out over time.

On Saturday, I learned how to make truffles. I think I might add them to my holiday repertoire. Carter entertained my friends and their moms while we were baking. He also loved Frank the puppy. (Although calling him a puppy seems so strange since he's around 50 pounds already). Frank also loved Carter. He would lick Carters hands and wanted to play with him. I can already tell that Carter is going to be an animal lover.

In other news, my uncle isn't doing so well. He was in the hospital for a couple days because he cracked a couple vertebrae. We're not sure if he fell and doesn't remember it, or if it's the cancer starting to go to his bones. Either way he is in pain and extremely cranky. Please keep us in your prayers- his caregivers need the gift of patience and I hope for my uncle not be in pain much longer.

On a more upbeat note I've been playing with picnik and have redone some of the Christmas pictures of Carter. I think i may try to take some more today or tomorrow now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Health Care Vent

Our health care coverage has never been the greatest, but it was better than some. Now, starting December 1st, it's officially gotten a whole lot worse. Our office visits are now $25 instead of $15, prescriptions have also gotten more expensive, all hospital stays at 80/20, and our max per person is now $2500 instead of $1500. I guess Carter is going to be a only child for a while because there's no way we would be able to come up with that much money any time soon.
My other vent is that I can't even seem to get hired for a part time job these days. The job search continues without a whole lot of jobs even to apply for. It's getting frustrating!
Vent over. Now I just have to remind myself that we are lucky that Tim has a job and that we have health care at all. So many people are less fortunate than us! And as much as it is a financial strain on us, it's been really nice getting to be home with Carter these first 5 months of his life.

Teething Hell

What happened to my sweet little boy!?!?! The past several days have definitely been some of the more challenging ones of motherhood so far. Carter is a teething maniac right now. He will scream and cry for several hours at a time. No amount of drugs, rocking, swinging, car rides, teething toys. seems to help even slightly. I seriously can't wait for Tim to come home at night so that I can have a little break. The only good thing is that I can usually get him to take 2 30 minute naps a day now. Just long enough for me to go to the bathroom and possible eat something. We are rarely leaving the house anymore because I don't want to subject anyone else to his screaming sessions.
To make things even more stressful, it's finals time. I have 3 papers to write and a portfolio to try to complete in the next week and a half. I will be so glad when these are complete!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baptism and Monday

Miss Lauren

The cousins

Carter Church wear

We survived the rest of the weekend. Lauren's baptism went well. Carter was pretty good during the church service. He liked the music, but hated the sermon part.

Our exciting news is that during church Carter was chewing on my finger when I felt the tip of a tooth coming out.

This morning Carter and I went to Century to go meet with one of my professors. He loved watching all the people and flirted with anyone who would talk to him.

This afternoon Carter was miserable. He cried from 1pm-4pm. We decided after the first two hours of screaming that it might be a good idea to get into the pediatrician. Of course by then he was back into a good mood. And then he resumed screaming from 6:30 to 7:30 when he fell asleep (hopefully for the night!). The doctor is thinking that it's just teething. I just heard a scream. It's going to be a long night.