Using meal times

Mingli always takes much longer to eat than I do, but I don’t like to just leave him sitting at the table alone when he is finished.  He likes having us with him.  Up until now this has meant that after I finish eating I just sit there waiting for him to finish.  I got an idea on another blog recently and today I tried it out.  When I finished eating, way before Mingli as usual, I pulled out a book and began reading to him.  I decided to go with a book that he would normally have trouble sitting through, so I pulled out the original Winnie The Pooh book and started reading that to him.  In college I learned that there are a lot of benefits to reading chapter books to young children, but it is only good if the child is enjoying it.  Today was just trying it out, seeing if he would enjoy a long book like that, and he did.  We only got through 2 pages this morning before he was done eating, but he was actually paying attention to the book as I was reading it.  As long as he continues to enjoy it I think this will become a tradition.

Moving

I wrote about how things were changing in our life, but I didn’t realize how much things were going to be changing.  I told my mom that Kaanas was going to quit Walmart and we were going to find something else, and she said that they have an extra room, we could come down there.  She has suggested this many, many times, and Kaanas has always immediately said no, so I didn’t think much about it, but said that I would ask Kaanas, like I always say.  Well, when I asked Kaanas, instead of saying no, he said, “that might be a good idea.”  I was a bit shocked, but then we actually began talking about the pros and cons.  We wouldn’t have our own place anymore, which we aren’t thrilled about, my the upside to us not having our own place is that I would have all the help I need throughout the rest of my pregnancy, without having to feel guilty about people coming in and cleaning my apartment and watching my son.  Mingli would have lots more people to play with him and read him stories and take him outside, stuff that I have been having a lot of trouble with and so he has been missing out on.  My parents also wouldn’t charge us anything, so we would have no rent, no utilities bill, no internet bill, and my parents would probably pay for a lot of the food, although we are definitely going to help with that.  All the money that we are not putting into those things can be going towards paying off debt and getting a bit of a savings.  Also, in order to be paying off debt and saving Kaanas won’t have to work quite so much, which means he can try and get ahead in his school work, something that has been suffering with all the hours he has been working.  Kaanas may still decide to get a full time job to pay off debt faster, but even working 4o hours a week will be less hours that what he is  currently working and mean more time that he can work on school work.  If he only works 30 hours a week we will still have extra for paying off debt and he will have an extra 10 hours a week for school work (his school is a work at your own pace thing, so if he is able to put in extra hours each week it means he can graduate sooner).  We don’t plan on doing this for too long, we do want to be on our own again, but my parents will be moving soon, anyways.  My dad builds power plants, so they are never in one place for too long.  The one he is working on right now is supposed to be done in December, but they are a bit behind schedule, so it may be longer.  Honestly, it would be kind of nice if it was a couple of more months, because our baby is due the beginning of November, so by December I don’t know if I will be completely recovered, and of course there is Christmas, but we can make it work either way.  We probably won’t be staying out in Indiana, not unless things are going really well down there with Kaanas’s job, that is a decision we can make later.

Walmart grocery pickup

So this week I used Walmart grocery pickup for the first time, and I loved it.  I had heard several people talk about it, and Kaanas has talked about it since he works at Walmart, so I decided to give it a try.  It was super easy to use.  I could shop by department and aisle, just like in the store, or I could search for specific products.  The part I loved best?  After I put in the order I had several hours to change my order if I wanted.  I hate it when I get home and remember stuff I needed to get.  This happens almost every time, even if I write out a list.  This time was no different.  About 10 minutes after I put in the order I remembered something I had forgotten.  All I had to do was get back on, add it to my cart, then a button appeared that let me add it to my current order.  This happened like 4 more times over the night and I was able to add everything I had forgotten to my order so easily.  It also kept track of the subtotal in the corner, which makes it easier if you are on a budget and trying to make sure you don’t spend more than your budget.  When Kaanas went to pick up the food they brought it to his car and loaded it in.  I am definitely going to be using it again.

Snack baskets

I have been struggling lately with food for Mingli during the day.  He really needs 3 meals and 3 snacks a day to stay happy, and it is really hard for me.  I do it, I am not going to let him starve, but often we are not eating very well.  I am still coming up with good solutions for the meals, but we have found something that I think will work really well for snacks.  Monday Kaanas and I went to the store and bought a bunch of snacks, especially ones that I am ok with Mingli eating often.  This morning I took all of those snacks and separated them into individual Mingli-sized servings and put them into snack bags.  We got 2 plastic baskets from the dollar store, one big and one small one.  The small one is now sitting on a low shelf that Mingli can get to and contains snacks that I am ok with him eating pretty much whenever he wants.  Right now we have some fruit pouches (they are in the baby food section, but have just purred fruit in them.  Kind of like apple sauce, but lots of different fruits, and they are drinkable so toddlers can feed themselves.  The one Mingli had this morning was strawberry, pear, apple, and pineapple), raisins, fruit and grain bars, whole grain crackers, and 1 bag of teddy grahams( I know, not the healthiest).  I only put a couple of each in there so Mingli can easily see his choices and not get too overwhelmed.  This also gives Mingli a bit more choice over what he eats.  All of the rest of the snacks, including snacks that I don’t want Mingli to have constant access to, got put in the big basket in a higher cabinet.  Every few days I can take this big basket down and use it to replenish Mingli’s little snack basket.  I can also occasionally give him some of the special treats in that basket.  I had the baskets ready when he woke up from his nape and needed a snack, so I showed him where it was and let him pick what he wanted.  When it was time for his bedtime snack we told him to go pick something and he immediately ran in and got something.  So far his favorite seems to be the fruit pouches, which makes me super happy, so we are getting more of those.  I am really excited about this and feel like it is going to make the days easier.

Life changes

For the past 2 1/2 years Kaanas has worked at Walmart.  At first it was just a temporary job to get us through as newlyweds, but he quickly discovered he actually loves Walmart and he could make a good career out of it.  He was promoted to department manager a year and a half ago and has been working to get an assistant manager job.  He is really close, which is nice because it would be a salary position, and a comfortable one at that.  Well we have been praying a lot in the last little bit, and we feel strongly that continuing to pursue promotion at Walmart is no longer the path we should take.  We feel like God is telling us that it is time to move on.  In a way we already knew this, as Kaanas gets closer and closer to getting promoted our family is slowly being pushed into a lifestyle that is not making us happy, but this is what we have gotten used to and are comfortable with.  We are also so close to having a comfortable income where we can actually be paying off debt and saving money.  The feeling that we needed to pursue another path was rather sudden and scary, but one that we both feel is right and what God wants for us right now.  Kaanas hasn’t quit his job yet, but he is looking for a new job.  There are a few opportunities near us that we are kind of excited about and think might be a really good thing for our family.  We are also looking to move to another nearby city, which we also weren’t expecting.  I love where we are living and the people here.  I love the apartment we are living in.  But we feel like moving will be best for us.  The cost of living in this other city is lower, and we could afford a 3 bedroom house instead of a 2 bedroom apartment.  There are also more opportunities there than there are here, and opportunities that might work as a long term career for Kaanas.  There is also better public transportation, so I would have more freedom during the day even though we still can’t afford a 2nd car.  We are really nervous about these changes that are coming, but also really excited.

FHE, about Jesus

I’ve recently realized that Mingli is old enough to start understand some of the basic things that our church teaches and that wee believe, so I have been looking for good ways to teach him at his level.  Yesterday after Kaanas got home from work we went out to Deseret Book and got Mingli a My First Book Of Mormon Stories board book.  It is really simple and meant to toddlers.  I am wanting to start reading some to him every night.  We also bought him a couple of little pictures of Jesus with children.  When we got home we had a simple family home evening lesson.  In our church we are counseled to have family home evening every Monday night.  It is a time when families can gather together and learn about the Gospel, do service, and just spend time together.  Kaanas and I have not been very good about doing this, but with Mingli getting older we thought this would be a good habit to get into and a good time to teach him about what we believe.  I showed him the pictures of Jesus one by one.  As I did Kaanas and I helped him point out Jesus and say His name.  I told him over and over, with each picture, “Jesus loves Mingli.”  He seemed to actually be getting it, and he seemed to really enjoy it.  After the lesson we took the pictures and hung them on the wall above Mingli’s crib so he can see them as he is falling asleep and when he wakes up.  We will probably repeat this lesson at some point, maybe many times, and I want to add in more about Jesus as Mingli begins to understand more.  I am really excited about how this lesson went, and especially that Mingli seemed to enjoy it.

Mingli’s eating problem

We have been having trouble with Mingli eating lately.  Mostly he just throws his food on the floor and doesn’t hardly eat anything.  We have tried lots of different things to get him to eat, but I think we may have finally found something that works, having him sit at the table with us.  The last few meals we have used his high chair like a booster seat and no food or dishes have been thrown on the floor and his food has actually been eaten.  There hasn’t even been a lot of playing with food going on.  I am really glad we have found such a simple solution to this problem and I hope it keeps working.

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