Monday, March 26, 2012

Honest Babe

Madison, apparently, cannot tell a lie.  (And yes, I do know that's a Washington, as opposed to Lincoln, reference, but who can resist an easy pun?  Not me.)

As Patrick was giving Madison her bath (still in progress btw, with much splashing and squealing) I noticed a few wet splotches on our comforter, where they had just been playing.  I called into the bathroom,

K: Did Madison spit up on the comforter?
P: Ummmm....
M:  Uh-huh.

I love that girl.

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up over here this morning:
Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

I.  Madison totally tricked me yesterday morning.  Her sleep has been going like clockwork lately, so much so that I don't actually check the clock anymore when she wakes up.  I just go get her.  Well, yesterday she decided to wake up two full hours early.  Normally, I would go pick her up, hold her for a minute or so, then put her back down.  That works pretty much every time.  Instead, since I assumed it was time to wake up, I went ahead and got her up and nursed her, which threw off the whole schedule of the day.  I was so tired when we (Patrick and I) got her up from her first nap that I lapsed into an island tongue, with the off balance cadence, accent, and all: "If I go sleep now, you think she be okay?"  Weird, man.

II.  Big changes are a-brewing in the Philpot household!  That's right, we did change our daily breakfast.  We no longer have burritos (for Patrick) and eggs and toast (for me); we now start off our morning with bagels and cream cheese!  For those of you concerned about the nutrition trade-off, as it turns out, these bagels have more protein than the eggs/burritos that used to be our menu, and less sodium, sugar, and bad cholesterol.  Who knew?

III.  Madison has started a new thing.  Sometimes when we carry her, she'll raise either one or both hands straight above her head.  It looks like she's either riding a roller coaster or saying "Hallelujah", which was especially relevant when she did it during worship yesterday morning.  I would have taken a picture, but that might have been seen as a bit irreverent.  : )

IV.  Due to our (okay, my) former conversations with the local Jehovah's Witness missionaries, we've apparently been blacklisted.  Seriously, they'll knock on our left-hand neighbor's door, cross the street to walk past our house, then recross the street to knock on our right-hand neighbor's door, all with us in the yard trying to make eye contact/waving hello.  It's very frustrating.  Our grass, however, is apparently not off limits.  Yesterday, they parked two cars in our front ditch, then proceeded to use our front yard as a staging ground for adjusting ties and replenishing their stock of watchtower publications.  When Patrick went out to invite them inside/ask if they needed any help, they politely declined, saying that they were looking for Spanish-speaking people.  Apparently they've met their quota of English-speaking folk (or at least the ones who are born-again, once-saved-always-saved, worshipers of Jesus as God).  Wow.  That came across as incredibly insensitive.  For the record, I have nothing against these people who are trying so hard to please a God they have never met.  I'm just hoping for an opportunity to introduce them.

Sorry for the attitude.  I should have drank my coffee before writing my post.  Lesson learned.
 Happy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

THREEE! (says the psycho lady)

Our church is getting a new directory, so Patrick, Madison, and I went last night to get our souls stolen our picture taken.  I didn't really put much thought into the process, since it's not really something I'll be hanging on the wall, or probably even putting in a photo album.  I'm just not into the whole "here's a bluish blackish tie dye background, now sit in front of it and tilt your heads toward one another and we've got ourselves a photograph" thing.  Don't get me wrong; I know nothing about photography, and I know that I know nothing about photography, but I do know what I don't like.

What I'm trying to establish is that I didn't go into this thing with high expectations.  Honestly, I don't think I even had expectations, so when I tell you I was disappointed by our picture, that should tell you something.

Here's how it happened.  Our appointment was at 6:10.  Madison woke up at about 6:00.  We rushed around the house like crazy people, shouting things like "fix it in the car", "I found her pink cardigan", "she spit up(and peed, and spit up again)", and about six or seven different occasions of "did it get on her outfit?"  We managed to arrive at the church about ten minutes late, apologize, and then walk into the waiting room where we discovered we could have been another twenty minutes late without causing any delay.

Once they called our names, we had to get Madison ready again, since she had lost both shoes, mussed her hair, and removed the cardigan.  Okay, I'm actually the one who removed the cardigan, but you know what I mean.  We hurried her over to the "set" (hello, bluish blackish tie dye backdrop, I haven't seen you since my high school graduation pictures), then got in the standard Mommy on stool, baby in lap, Daddy on stool behind Mommy leaning forward and elevated to make him seem disproportionately taller than Mommy.

The photographer (I was sorely tempted to break out the quotation marks there) then proceeded to pull out this naaasssty old stuffed duck.  I think it used to be yellow, but grey is the closest description I can give for its current color.  Madison seemed about as impressed by it as I was; smiles were just not happening.  The "photographer" (sorry, couldn't help myself-now we'll call him Jim) took one picture with her not smiling, after which Patrick said, "Shoot, I blinked."  Then Jim decided that we didn't want a non-smiling picture.  He and the lady he was working with labored in vain for a smile for about three minutes. 

I gradually became more and more involved in operation make-baby-smile.  First, I just bounced her on my lap.  Then, I bounced her on my lap while tickling her.  Finally, what ended up working was bouncing her on my lap, counting "One, two, THREEEEE!" and tickling on three.  We took four or five shots that way, then called it a wrap (rap?  I'm totally not up on the America's Next Top Model lingo) and went to the product pushing table.

Pat and I had discussed beforehand that we were sure we'd get a great picture of Madison and want to buy it, but that we weren't going to.  Let's just say God removed all temptation for us.

The first picture was okay for Madison and me, but as I'm sure you remember, Patrick blinked.  No problem.  Picture 2 was great for Patrick and Madison, but thanks to the "THREEEEE!", I look deranged.  Seriously, I look as likely to eat Madison as I am to tickle her.  No problem.  One of the next three pictures was sure to be an improvement, right?  WRONG!  In every single picture, I have the same expression.

On the bright side, people use the directory (which includes phone numbers for each willing member) to call and ask for things like babysitters, substitutes for Sunday School teachers, etc.  I'm pretty sure when they see my face in that picture, they'll just keep on moving.  Oh, and one more silver lining: Madison's smile in the picture we selected (2, if you want to know) is beautiful.  Big surprise.

I think we'll get our complimentary 8X10 in a few weeks.  I promise to share it with you once it arrives!  In the meantime, please spare me the "I'm sure it can't be that bad"'s.  It is. 

What's the worst professional picture you've ever taken?  Was it for school, prom, maybe even a wedding?


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Time to Cut Back: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Our Finances

Patrick and I have really buckled down on our finances.  Our house mania a couple of months ago (which, by the way, has since subsided) forced us to take a really close look at our cash flow.  See, we thought we were managing our money well, but when we actually sat down and crunched numbers, we were surprised to see a much larger margin between our income and necessary outgo than we expected.  At first, in the midst of our I-want-a-bigger-better-house-and-I-want-it-now mentality, that was an exciting find.  It meant we could afford a larger monthly payment, right?  WRONG. 

We realized that we had been just blowing through our margin each month, not decreasing debt or increasing savings AT ALL.  Then, after much time spent in denial, followed by about a week of non-verbalized but simultaneous doubt about whether we should move forward in our plans to "move up" in housing right now, we finally admitted to each other that we need to get our finances in order before committing ourselves to a larger monthly payment.

Since that time, we've (finally) paid off the hospital where Madison was born and started saving to pay off our last old, bad debt.  And when I say "bad", I mean "don't drive through Wichita Falls or you'll go to jail" kind of bad.  It turns out that it's not a good idea to throw away your traffic ticket and forget about it; eventually, they'll remind you, probably right around the time you renew your license.  Oops.  So, yeah, we're about two months out from being debt free(excluding our mortgage).

Our basic blueprint for our finances is Dave Ramsey's Baby Step Program.  If you've never heard of Dave Ramsey, well, crawl out from under the rock you've been living under for the last seven years and go check him out.  He is, admittedly, extreme in his financial views, and for good reason.  He became a millionaire in his twenties, lost it all and some(largely because of the risks he took with credit), then started over, building more wealth than ever, without using debt.  He is a firm believer that "the borrower is slave to the lender", and now so are we.

By our estimate, it will take us until the end of the year to finish Baby Step 3 (fully funding our three month emergency fund).  Until then, we are operating on an extremely limited budget.  There is a little wiggle room; Patrick and I each get $2.50 discretionary spending for each paycheck.  I've got my eye on a pretty sweet bookmark, and if I can talk them down a little, it just might fit in the budget!  I'll be sure to share the deets with you as soon as I close on the deal.

But seriously, you can expect to see some posts on saving money pretty soon.  A few areas of concern right now:
  • Home decor
  • Madison's Birthday Party
  • Groceries
  • Madison's Birthday Party
  • Clothing
  • Madison's Birthday Party

I feel like I'm leaving something out.  Oh yeah, Madison's first birthday party!  Pinterest, here I come.

So you're all caught up on the goings on over here at the Philpot abode.  What have you been up to lately?

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up over here:
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

I.  We had some really good friends come to stay with us over spring break.  This is my first morning since Wednesday to wake up to an empty house, and Madi and I feel lonely!

II.  Thanks to one of the amazing ladies who works in our church nursery, I was able to sit ALL the way through Sunday School.  Apparently, Madison fell asleep while being rocked, so this sweet lady angel sent from heaven held her for forty minutes until Sunday School let out.  She said she was afraid to lay her down; I know the feeling!

III.  Madison is on her second antibiotic following her first ear infection.  She started on Amoxicillin, then had a reaction after four days on the medicine.  Her rash is finally starting to disappear.  Thankfully, the rash didn't seem to bother her (just me!) and she is doing fine on the new antibiotic.

IV.  As I type, Madison is "dancing" on he play mat.  I wish I had the camera with me, but I know that if I leave the room to get it, she'll have a meltdown and not be in the mood for dancing, anyway.  I need a holster for that thing so I don't miss these opportunities!

V.  I had a dream last night, where our neighbor was trying to sell his house.  When I asked him if there was anything we could do to help, his face turned red and he refused to answer.  I finally got him to admit that he needed us to mow our grass.  I woke up feeling pretty embarrassed; it's only been a week, but it is pretty bad.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Paint (by) Numbers

Good morning!  I'm really excited today to link up to the Pinterest Challenge.  This challenge was started by Sherry at Young House Love and Katie at Bower Power last summer, and there's a new one every season.  This time, Erin and Cassie are cohosting.  The basic idea is to have a motivation to actually create something that's inspired you on Pinterest.  I actually discovered Bower Power through the first challenge, which I'm very grateful for; if you're not reading her blog, well, you should be.  If you asked me to sum Bower Power up in seven words, they would be: bacon, somewhat inappropriate jokes, and budget-friendly design ideas.  Pretty much right up my alley.

You may remember my first go at the Pinterest Challenge, the frame wall.  Since Madison doesn't spend more than half the day napping anymore, I needed something a little less time consuming this go-around.  I went back through my pins, finding pretty much nothing I'm interested in actually doing myself (am I the only one that can't not pin every crock pot recipe I come across?), then finally came across a tutorial for hand painting letters.

The method Jaime (she's the brains behind That's My Letter) came up with is, like most Pinterest ideas, pretty simple and pretty brilliant.  Unlike most Pinterest ideas, there is no Silhouette machine required!  You just print out the letters (or, in my case, numbers), then trace them onto your surface.

My plan was to use this method to make an address plaque for our house.  For the last five years, we've lived without one.  Normally, that doesn't affect our lives in any way, but when we have company (or the pizza guy) coming over, we find ourselves saying things like "we're the one with the red door"(not so bad), or "the only house on the street with the unmowed grass" (oops), or "the one with the broken down mustang in the front yard"(long story).  Not cool.

My goal was to do this project for free, with only materials I had on hand, or that I could beg, borrow, or steal.  Thankfully, I was able to complete the project without breaking any state or federal regulations.  My parole officer will be pleased (or would be if he/she existed).  All I needed was:

printer (if you want to get technical I also used paper and ink)
ballpoint pen
wooden surface (I chose an old shelf removed from our bathroom)
paint brush
paint (leftover from my mom's front door, this will also be our front door color)

First, I placed the numbers on the shelf plaque, then traced (with very firm pressure) them onto the wood.  Forgive me for the blurry number.  Better safe than robbed blind because you posted your address on the internet!
I was left with a very fine indentation of the numbers.  It was hard to see inside, but when I brought it outside into full sun, I was able to paint within the lines pretty easily.  I did make very light marks at the corners.
 Like I mentioned earlier, I just used what I had on hand, which meant painting these numbers with a one inch foam brush.  That's not what I would have originally chosen for the project, but it actually worked pretty well.
 I was able to complete the project, from start to finish, during Madison's nap.  Here's the before(the hooks were there from the previous owner's name plaque):
 And after:
 I really like the way it turned out.  I'm already trying to figure out what else I can use this technique for, but I'm not really into the rustic/country thing.  Hmm.  I guess it's time to get pinning again!

Did you participate in the challenge?  I'd love to see your project!


Monday, March 5, 2012

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up over here!
Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters
 I.  Madison was generally fussy for so long (almost two weeks) that I was starting to forget her real temperament.  Then last night happened.  : )  Not only was she completely unfussy (nonfussy?, fussless?), she was on her sweetest behavior.  I think the reprieve was caused by a combo of her feeling better (she had been pretty congested) and a short break in her insane teething schedule.  She's a biter, so I can't be entirely sure this is accurate, but by my last count, my eight month old had as many teeth. 

II.  Praise God, that crazy-horrible night  was just a fluke.  Madison has gone right back to her 10+ hour sleep schedule with no problem. 

III.  I need to clean.  This weekend was not good for my poor house; it needs a bath.  Come to think of it, so do I.  I think I'm gonna go get on that.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Two things. 

1.  Madison made her second recognizable sign last night: "eat".  Her first was "milk".  She did it very distinctly three times in a row during dinner.  At first I thought she was feeding herself a rogue puff from her high chair, but it turns out that her pudgy little hand was empty, and she wasn't actually putting her hand in her mouth, just gesturing towards it.

2.  A friend asked me the other day how old Madison was when she started having sleep issues.  I dug around on here, found it, told her, and then told her about how well the pick up/put down method worked.  Well, I think I may have spoken too soon.  Madison spent the last eight hours of her night awake, mostly crying.  I did try the pick up/put down method, and she quieted down on the 39th round.  That was really exciting for the four minutes it lasted.  : /  She got about two and a half hours of sleep before she woke up and started this, and then another hour after her early morning feeding.  I got forty-five minutes.

That being said, I'm going to go see what I can do about convincing Madison that this is a good time for a nap.  Wish me luck!