Thursday, May 29, 2008

But you can't handle the teeth...



Elyse has two teeth. Here is a picture.


I'm having too much fun with this photoshop! :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cloth Diapers...No big deal!!!


So we are totally sold on the idea of cloth diapers. I never thought I would be a convert, but it really isn't hard to deal with at all. We bought six cloth diapers to start. Six seems to typically last a day so I have been washing them each morning. It really isn't even that gross. Now that Elyse is pooping "turds" the poos just plop right off into the toilet, not leaving much if anything on the diaper (sorry if that grosses anyone out). We keep them in a bucket and throw them into the wash in the morning. It doesn't even stink that bad. We started using Charlie's soap and it works great. It doesn't have any scent and it has been taking lots of stains out, but is gentle enough to use on Elyse's stuff too. And according to their website, you don't use any fabric softener because it doesn't leave any residue like most detergents do (apparently that is why we need fabric softener in the first place!). You can check out their website at: www.charliesoap.com. Oh, and it only takes one tablespoon per load. Crazy.

We decided to stick with the Fuzzi Buns brand of cloth diapers. I ordered eight more this morning. They have a pocket where you stick a liner that absorbs more liquid. We bought some of the traditional cloth diapers at Wal-Mart (the kind our parents had to use!) and I just fold one up and stick it in the pocket at night for extra absorption. We haven't had any leaks overnight!

A friend of mine has twins and she uses cloth diapers. I thought she was CRAZY but now that we are trying it, it really is a great way to save money and it just seems a lot more comfortable and less wasteful. Yeah cloth diapers!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Trip to Quantico

We made it north this time to visit some friends in Quantico. We actually were motivated to go because we wanted to see some friends graduate from TBS. Steve Sutton and Jim Tuck were friends of ours in 29 Palms. They both became Warrant Officers went to three months of a school in Quantico. We met up with them for dinner Wednesday night and had a great time. Here is a picture of Dennis with Steve and Jim.


We spent the rest of our trip staying with our friends the Kjobechs and visiting with the Quinns. We had a great time. Here are a few more of my favorite pics.



Here's Lindsey making a whistle out of a piece of grass. Apparently Paul learned how to do that at IOC! :)


Elyse is yelling, "MOM! Bring Haven and I some puffs!"



Ryan and Elyse are good friends!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Great Diaper Experiment


We are going to give cloth diapers a shot! They arrived in the mail today and we can't wait to give them a try. The decision was made for several reasons. It saves money, seems to be better for the environment and just seems like it would be more comfy for Elyse. And, after talking with several moms who use diapers, it sounds like it isn't really that big of a deal to wash them. We just need to throw them in the wash every other day or so and things are good. And it won't be a big deal for me at all because Dennis has agreed to take on the duty of diaper washing. How did I get so lucky?! We bought six total, three of each "Fuzzi Buns" and "Bum Genius." These aren't your grandmother's diapers...the do not require any folding, pins, or even rubber pants. It is all built in. I've included a picture. I'll update the blog with our findings. (We're going out of town this weekend so I guess we won't be able to try them until next week).

Another great development this week has been Elyse clapping! It is awesome that she can clap at all but the greatest thing is that she can really understand our words. We say "clap" and you can see in her face, "Oh, I know what that means" and she claps her hands together. I've seen a light bulb go off in her head, making the connection that words connect to actions and that she can be part of the action. It is so awesome to see all of this develop! I'm going to try and upload a video on You Tube. The video upload here doesn't seem to be working. Check it out!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Take a Picture




I want to be able to take good pictures, especially with Elyse here. I see some pictures in magazines and they are just beautiful. I read a book recently at the book store (I'm to cheap to actually buy it) about photographing babies. It suggested using as much natural light as possible. One idea is to have the baby sitting by an open door so I thought I would give it a try. I was about to give her a bath so I thought I'd take the opportunity to do some naked shots! What do you think? I really want to take a digital photography class. I'll have to look into that.

I also FINALLY added some pictures to Elyse's picture page. I'll add the rest of today's photo session later.

Does anyone read this? If so, please leave a comment! :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Drop and Give Me 20 (Years that is)


So, as noted in the last blog, Dennis and I have made the decision that we are going to stay in the Marine Corps until he retires. My fellow military friends can probably relate to our back and forth on this issue. We have both been completely sure that Dennis will get out and a few weeks later decided that he is going to stay in. Basically, I'm saying don't hold it against me if we change our minds again. But for now, here our the reasons Dennis and the rest of the Katolin family are staying in the Marine Corps:
1. Dennis loves the Marine Corps and Marines. He has wanted to be a Marine since he was a little boy. And, he has passed that love onto me as crazy as that sounds. There is something admirable about the dedication and honor of the Marine Corps that I am proud to be a part of.
2. Dennis is great at what he does. He puts his heart and soul into his work and loves being a leader of Marines.
3. We love new adventures and new places. I NEVER would have known that 29 Palms existed nor would I have volunteered to move out to the middle of nowhere, but I loved our years there and learned a lot from the experience.
4. We love meeting new people and making new friends.
5. There is security. We do not have to worry that Dennis will lose his job. We have great medical coverage.
6. Dennis can retire at the age of 42!!! Every year after 42 for the rest of his life, he will get half of his pay (adjusted for inflation). You can't beat that. I am sure the Dennis and Andrea of 42 will be very thankful to the Dennis and Andrea of 28 for this extra money. And, at this point, he can start a whole new career if he wants.
7. Dennis knows that I love him no matter what, but I don't mind that his job requires him to stay fit and trim. And, I must admit that he looks hot in the dress blues and every other uniform he has to wear.
8. Tax free and cheaper shopping at the commissary and exchange.
9. The internet makes it easier to stay in touch with family and there are always plane rides.
10. Deployments are good for the soul. (Who are we kidding?!)
Well, the last two are our big reasons why we would want to get out. We'll just have to make many trips to STL and hopefully the world will calm down a bit and the deployments will be less frequent.

Trip to Jacksonville


We decided to get out of town this weekend and visit some friends down around Camp Lejeune. This was Elyse's first long car trip and I was nervous but she did great!We left right after a nap and I hung out with her in the back seat. After stopping for some lunch, she snoozed most of the rest of the trip. On the way down, I discovered some teeth popping through! She is a little behind average and I was starting to get early but my mom said she never heard of anyone living their whole life without growing any teeth.

We stayed with our good friends the McCoys. Cameron and Dennis were roomies in Quantico and then we all ended up down the street from each other in 29 Palms. It's a small Marine Corps! Anyway, we had a great time with them. Here's a picture with them (I have no idea why it's so fuzzy).

We also met our friends the Felders for lunch and had lots of laughs. With everyone we saw, it is great that we can meet up after not seeing each other for years, it seemed like we had just hung out yesterday.

An ulterior motive for heading down to NC was to check out the base. In our continuing discussion of "staying in or getting out" we recently decided we want to stay in the Marine Corps until Dennis retires!! As crazy as that is, it feels good to have a decision (for now at least). Maybe in a future blog I'll review our reasons for staying in.

And, on this my first official mother's day as a mother, I want to thank my mom. I hope to be as good of a mom to Elyse as you have been to me. I also want to thank Elyse and Dennis for making me a mom. (Sometimes I can't believe it is true!) It's the job I was meant to do.

Monday, May 5, 2008

All this hassle was worth the tassel!


Today Dennis received an email with this line:
Congratulations Dennis!Your degree was conferred on 4/20/2008 and you are now officially a National University alumnus. Your diploma is currently being processed and will be mailed to you approximately 6-8 weeks after the date of your conferral.

Way to go, Baby! Dennis has worked really hard to earn his Master's degree. He did all his classes online, while working full time, taking care of our family and (oh yeah) a deployment in the middle. Dennis now has a Master's Degree in Human Behavior. I am very proud of him. He sacrificed a lot. We had a makeshift graduation ceremony. Here he is with the hat I constructed.

We are big fans of online education at the Katolin household! I had two new sections of my class start today. For those of you who do not know, I am an instructor for American Military University (www.apus.edu). I do all my work on my own schedule and from home. I love my job. My students are mainly active duty military members, with busy schedules. It is inspiring to hear their stories and know they are making education a priority. I love that I can be a part of their first steps towards a degree and of course love that I can make a little money and stay home with Elyse!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday Morning


It is another beautiful day! Elyse and I woke up this morning and went on a run through the neighborhood. She loved it! I have just started training for the Virginia Beach Rock N' Roll Half Marathon at the end of August (http://www.rnrvb.com/home.html). I am excited but also a little anxious to get started with this training. I did a half marathon back in 29 Palms and it went well but things are a little different. Back then, I had my friend Lindsey and her dog chief to run with most mornings and my friend Candace (a true runner) did the race with me and helped me train. And, I didn't have a baby to take care of! But, I am confident that I'll be able to do it. My friend Susanne who also had a baby in October is going to train with me and I have been inspired by Lisa who is training to run a half marathon in a few weeks. Anyone else want to join???

Here's a picture of Elyse in the pack and play. Lately, she does not seem to mind playing in there for a little while which makes me happy. I want her to get used to it so that once she can move around, there is a place I can keep her contained! She loves putting her mouth up against the mesh and especially likes it when I give her a kiss.

Just in case you were wondering, the "cry it out" worked the other night. She fell asleep after not too long and has been back to sleeping through the night. Yipee!!

Oh, and because I get excited about stuff like this now, I was cleaning the house yesterday and found a recipe online for a natural glass cleaner. I'm trying to move away from all those chemicals, especially with Elyse here. I mixed 1/4 c vinegar, 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing soap in a bottle and it worked great (I think it worked much better than Windex!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

We're back!


So after MONTHS of not making any new additions to our new blog, I am back and ready to get back to business. I've mostly been inspired by my mom and her latest fancy website with frequently updated blogs (www.hyacinthquiltdesigns.com). She has been great at keeping hers updated and I am now inspired.

As I am writing this, Miss Elyse is up in her bed crying! Sleep has been a little messed up for her lately and I'm not sure why. Maybe the teeth are finally coming in. Last night, she woke up crying, and I (doctor's orders) had to lay in bed and resist the urge to pick her up and feed her. I know that's all it would take to get her back to sleep but then she'll wake up every night to eat, right? Hopefully tonight will be better.

I am excited tomorrow is Friday. Since I am working from home, the weekends might not necessarily make a big difference, but really they do...I love having Dennis home and around. It is great to see him and Elyse play together. She knows he is the fun one...her arms and legs go crazy when she sees him approach! I love seeing them together. I knew he would be a great dad but it is great to watch him exceed all my expectations!