Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last Day

Even though New Year's is happy, I do always get a little sad at the start of the Last Day of the Old Year. Yea, I am sentimental. I spent this morning working quietly while the children slept, sipping my coffee, and every so often, letting my thoughts slip to memories of the past year.

All in all, it has been a most wonderful and blessed year, and perhaps that is why I feel super sad to see it go, while still happy for what is to come.

My second son was born, and though it was a bit of a scary, spur of the moment-we have to induce you now-a month early birth, JR has been doing great. Now you wouldn't even know that he was a preemie and just under 6 pounds at birth.

My first son introduced me to his friend, the water monster, that seems to live in our bathroom. He has also welcomed us into the fun world of toddlerhood, which though trying, is oh so fun to experience.

I lost my baby weight! Though having baby weight was a good excuse for my otherwise flabby body...perhaps I will continue to use that. Can you still say you have baby weight when your kids are 7? Hmmm....

We moved with my husband's job to Alabama. But even though I am sad to have left our friends and activities back in NC, we are so blessed that Bill has a job, that we can afford to stay together with an apartment here in AL and still keep our home in NC for the future day we get to go back (hopefully sometime in mid '09).

I started using cloth diapers and LOVE them. Every time I do a load of laundry I feel like I am saving trash from a landfill AND saving us money. That makes it really motivating to do the laundry now.

Part of my resolution this year will be to focus on all the good things in my life and to not stress over the "bad" that happens. There is just so much that is good in my life that I feel the need to really reflect on the past year and try hard to carry that reflection into the New Year, because no matter what awaits us in the future, we have so much to be thankful for, and I never want to forget that.

And for the other part of my resolution? Well, I guess I could always say "get in shape", that is, if I ever find the time to go running....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Made It!

Yes, we are here in Mobile, AL safe and sound. Right now I am in the middle of unpacking and entertaining the kids, and pretty much enjoying a low key day at "home".

"Home", here though, does actually feel like home. Mobile felt foreign, alien, and rather scary to me the first time we came down; however, now it seems the short holiday back at our real home in NC made this trip feel like going home, too. I recognize streets, I remember where the grocery store is, and Little Dude remembered Ruby, Jessie and William, his little friends in our play group here, which made me super happy.

This may not be our house, or even where our dog, Eddie, is, but for now, home truly is where the heart is.

And I am very glad our hearts are together, full and happy, here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

You Don't Want to be Me....

At least, not right now. For my hundreds of adoring fans (hehe), I am sure you are asking, "Well, why ever not?"

Well, I will tell you. Because right now I am starting at 15 hour drive to Alabama with two kids, Christmas toys, and my computer jammed in somewhere.

And we won't get to the apartment in AL until 7pm, at the earliest. And we got up at 3am this morning. WITH THE KIDS.

Our fun adventures at home have ended along with Christmas, and now it is back to the deep south with us. For those of you we didn't get to see during this short trip home, I really hope we get to come back for good this summer! For those of you we did get to see, I can't wait to see you all again!

I'll let you all know how it goes tomorrow...unless I am having to recuperate...then you'll know it went badly! Ha ha ha!

Take care!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bye Bye Christmas

We had the most wonderful Christmas with my in-laws, sister, in-law siblings, and the kids. Little Dude was so excited about the trash truck he got from Grandma and Grandpa and all the books I found on Amazon were a huge hit.

Being home was so much fun, and I am so sad it is over now. Today we are packing the last few things and then hiding out on the long drive back to Alabama early tomorrow morning. *Sigh*

Oh Christmas was so very much fun; we hope all of you had a great holiday too!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Greatest Gift

It is so very easy to be wrapped up in the commercialism of Christmas, or for that matter, any of the winter time celebrated religious holidays. Schools can't celebrate any of them, Christmas cards sometimes don't even have the word Christmas on them, and last year some tree farms tried to call their Christmas tress "holiday trees". So, it is easy to see, how everyone can get quickly swept up in putting emphasis on the wrong things this time of year-getting the great gifts, fighting crowds for those early morning sales, spending money you don't have to get people items they probably don't want.

I want to thank Steph from Adventures in Babywearing for directing me to this video; it really makes you think:





Monday, December 22, 2008

My son has been informing us lately that he is a kid.

This morning though, he has decided he is a man, and doing all kinds of "man" work around the house, like helping me with everything (which also slows everything down in a very fun way).

Yea, he is growing up too fast.

Sigh.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Break in the Treading

Anyone that knows me knows I am not a terribly great swimmer. Comes from growing up in the mountains; not a ton of chances to swim outside of our knee deep backyard creek.

Since Thanksgiving, I have been desperately treading water, though not in the literal sense. You see, I can barely keep up with everything I have to do, need to do, and want to do. In fact, over the last few days, I had been feeling my treading getting tired and not so strong.

Yes, I was slowly sinking as the piles of work, cooking, laundry, cleaning up TOYS, getting Christmas things done, catching up with everyone before driving BACK to Alabama, THE KIDS, cleaning the house, WASHING EDDIE (our very smelly dog), trying to even maintain and build this blog and, oh yea, BREATH and SLEEP just kept getting deeper and deeper.

So today, and I have dropped everything, and am spending time with my in laws, letting them help me relax, take over the kids for a bit and give me time to tread water in their oh so awesome, heated, indoor pool.

Nice. Right now, I am glad to take a break from the not so fun sinking I was going through back home and trade it in for some oh so very fun, sorta swimming, family hangout, treading water, relaxation time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm A Guest Today

Today, I am a guest blogger over at Mom's Marbles, a really fun blog full of great activities for kids of all ages to help you, well, keep your marbles.

I'm also down at the beach for the next few days with my in-laws to celebrate Ed's birthday, so if I get to post on Thursday, awesome, if not, then you will know I was just having too much fun letting my fabulous in laws take over the kid duties, and took full advantage- allowing me time to sleep.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Playing Garbge Truck

My first year as a preschool teacher, I LOVED playing dolls and tea time with the little girls in my class. It never failed I would be asked to participate, and I was all too happy to oblige.

Now that I am the mom to a toddler boy (and another boy that is all too quickly heading towards the toddler years) I am surrounded by very different types of play.

Sure, I saw it before, after all there were a lot of boys in my preschool classes. But they always had each other to play with, and even though I know they liked me, I was, after all, still a girl. So they only rarely asked me to play on the playground with them. That and the fact that somehow my classes always had way less girls than boys, so I always felt the need to make sure they got to play what they wanted to (Elizabeth and McKenzie LOVED tea time) while the others all ran around like humingbirds (including the third girl in my class, Kendall) Thus most of my rough and tumble boy play experience comes from observation.

And so, my son introduced me to the fun filled world of turning the bed into a trash truck today. And then diving either off the bed, er trash truck, onto the the floor while screaming and laughing loudly OR flying onto the bed, somehow not killing yourself on all the toys, er trash, now piled on it, and driving the bed, er truck, all over town to find more trash.

We filled up little baskets (which is where everything is supposed to be organized into), dumped the baskets on the bed, commented on how stinky the trash was, how the baby must have pooped a "good pooming", and how trash trucks are sweet, er "feet".

All while bouncing around, laughing and screaming like a banshee.

Oh yea, I have been welcomed to the world of boys and it sure is awesome. Today is trash day too, so I think we will be playing more trash truck later. I am off to bed now so I will have the energy to keep up with all the toys, er garbage, we will be moving around.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Parents® Critter Conga

My son is in love with the new Parents® drum and so am I! I made a couple of videos for you to enjoy:




and you can read the rest of my review here:

Enjoy!





Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy 6 Months!!

My baby, JR, is half a year old today. I blinked, and 6 months flew by.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Flying Solo

Wow, I really can't believe it is Friday already! Wasn't I just complaining about Bill having to go back to Alabama? Tonight I get to pick him up around 8:30pm-YAY!

But gosh, how annoying to realize that an entire week has gone by and I have not gotten much off my list of things to do around the house, like:

*Wash Eddie(our dog SMELLS)
*Go through Little Dude's clothes, weed out what doesn't fit, what does and figure out who to pass what to.
*Do laundry. Amazingly, I have kept up with keeping the diapers clean. My laundry and the boys laundry has piled up though. It's clean, just not put away, because my major beef with laundry is all the folding. I hate folding.
*vacuum. Nope, haven't done that yet
*Mop the floors. Nope to that either
*Dust. Haven't dusted in years, but feel that it is time I should
*Clean my office-week out what can go to the Salvation Army
*For that matter, go through my entire house to find things for the Salvation Army

All joking around aside, I have to say, it is tough not having Bill around to help, especially at night. My hat goes off to all the single moms and dads out there-it is tiring doing it alone.

So, when Bill gets home I am giving him a HUGE kiss, passing him his boys, and then I am going to take a nice hot shower that doesn't involve a toddler poking his head in, pulling back the curtain (GOSH that its COLD!), bring toys that also need a shower, and striping down as he tries to climb in while I try to get the soap out of my eyes and stop him.

Oh yea, a HUGE, HUGE kiss for Bill.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Organizing the Chaos



What works for me this week?

Organization. Oh yes, I am a huge organizing junkie. I function so much better when I am able to organize and keep up with everything, be it or Dakno, my kids, my blog, or household things, like dishes and laundry....

So how do I try to stay organized? I carry a calendar around with me everywhere. Every January, I invest in a good, sturdy small notebook size calendar that fits great into my bag of miracles, aka the diaper bag, so I am able to write down things as they come up right away. And when I get home, I copy them all to my big wall calendar in the kitchen.

Also, I have a huge wipe board in my office, so I can make weekly and monthly lists of projects and deadlines coming up (often reflecting items written on the other two calendars, yes I need reminding.) Such as:

Century 21 project due Dec. 13th
Team Mom review due Dec. 15th
upload JR video to Newbaby.com sometime next week.
ongoing work projects: blogs optimizations, retainer reports
Playdate with Mia this Friday
Pick up Bill at Airport 9pm Friday
Clean out car-someday

So for this week, I realize I have to get on the Century 21 project,and I am reminded of a review in a few weeks and my on going tasks at work. As I finish off items, I simply erase them from my board. Each Sunday I go back over it and make a new list or re write it so I stay on top of everything.

So, each day, at a glance, I can see what is coming up and plan my work hours around other things and see what items I would like to get done in whatever free time I find myself having. (Like cleaning the car out....not a time sensitive project, but still needs to be done before new life forms start to develop....)

And so, that is What Works For Me! Check out Rocks in my Dryer for more great tips!

Also, check out my Miche Reviews for a few new items that have also Worked For Me!



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adoption Blessing

I have the most wonderful news to share!!!

Our dear friends, Craig and Melissa have been waiting to adopt for a few years now, and their dream has come true!!! They were blessed with a beautiful little 6 lb 11oz little girl-a perfect little miracle!

I am so excited and happy I am actually crying. So, today I will be going over with the boys to see their new bundle of joy and to go stock up on some girly-ness for them.

Oh gosh, this is truly the most wonderful Christmas gift for them, their little girl and the brave young birth mother. What a blessing from God.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bitter Sweet

Well the weekend is over, and for me it is especially bittersweet, because not only does my hubby have to go back to work and leave me alone all day with the kids and *gasp* Elmo's World again and again but he has to go back to Alabama.

And we are in North Carolina. Sigh.

I am so sad to see him go, and I am up right now only because I just can't sleep. I am taking Bill to the airport in 3 hours, (John will be here while the kids keep sleeping) and then it will be Friday night before he is home again.

I know it will go by quickly, but right now, Friday seems forever away.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fab Art!

My brother in law, Fab, has an art show going on at the NC Museum of Art on Blue Ridge today from 10am to 12 to celebrate and exhibit of his art that will be on display until April 2009!! WHOO HOO! I am so excited for him! So, we are off to celebrate and look at his art, then I'm getting a hair cut.

And I am going to document it all with my flip video. (Unless the museum won't let me; I have never tried video taping in there before..)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cloth vs Disposible part 2

I have been trying out some cloth diapers for a few weeks now, and I have to say I am loving it! (Yes, I have had to clean poopy ones)

I tried out some Chinese prefolds with covers and some Bumgenius 3.0 pocket diapers, both of which are MUCH cheaper than using disposables. With two kids in diapers, and probably will have another year of two in diapers, AND with a huge slow down in construction (which is what my hubby does for a living) we felt it was time to try doing everything we could to tighten the belt.

So, enter the cloth diapers.

I have to say that so far, the pockets are my favorite because they kind I ordered can be used for BOTH my boys-they adjust in size. With the prefolds, though it appears they would be the cheapest route, aren't. Because you have to buy different sized clothes for each of your kids. And you need about 24 of each size so you can do laundry every other day. THEN you need different sized covers so the prefolds don't leak everywhere. THEN you need pins or snaps so the prefolds stay in place(and those come in different sizes too..). So, even though the prefolds are about 2 dollars each, by the time you add up all the covers, all the prefolds, all the pins, and snaps, then you are actually spending MORE than you would for the Bumgenius pocket diapers. Not much more, but still, more, and the prefolds are a TON more work!

With the Bumgenius pocket ones, I ordered enough for each boy to go through 4 a day for two days, so 16 diapers. Then I ordered 30 inserts and diaper doublers (which is all I have to change when the boys pee, I don't have to get a whole new diaper) Each diaper also comes with a insert and over night doubler.

And I am done. No more sizes to buy, no snaps or pins to keep up with and I only have to carry one diaper and a handful of inserts and doublers in my diaper bag, because it can adjust to fit either boy! In the rare case that both poop or pee out of a diaper while we are out and about, I have simply put two of the diapers in my car. The diapers will stay in the car permanently, for those times I forget one or need more than one extra.

Nice!

There were also a few forums to try to get used diapers from (I know that sounds gross, I would have washed them first) like diaperswappers.com; however, I had such a hard time understanding all the abbreviations (like I think pocket diapers were PCD for pocket cloth diaper, and All in Ones-just like disposable but you wash them, no inserts or anything- are AIO. That is all I picked up though. So, if you check them out, good luck, I gave up and figured the savings we would be getting from not buying tons and tons of disposables was worth splurging a tiny bit and getting new diapers. Also, as a warning with diaperswappers.com, it was my experience that most of the new diapers were not that much cheaper than new ones anyway. Like with many of the prefold covers and the Bumgenius 3.0 were going for only a dollar or 2 less than new ones. PLUS you pay shipping to the person sending it. So just pay attention if you use their site to make sure it is actually a deal to buy used.

So, since I found Bumgenius at Mom4Life.com, with free shipping and a newsletter discount, it was a tiny bit cheaper to get new ones!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Online Shopping



What is working for me right now? Two words: ONLINE SHOPPING. Oh yea, baby!

Normally I am a marathon shopper; my mother in law and I even pack water and snacks for when we are out hunting, er, shopping, for deals.

But with a two year old and a 5 month old, going out and nursing, changing diapers, stopping tantrums, keeping up with the gift list (I have made 4 already because I keep losing them), and shopping in the crowded stores right now is just not my cup of tea.

So, this year, I have done almost all my shopping online and I have LOVED IT. Here are the major places I have shopped from:

Amazon.com
Mom4Life
One Step Ahead
Best Buy
Overstock.com
Walmart

Amazon is great because you can find cheap used items Like all the library books my son is in love with and hates having to turn in, I got for anywhere from 50 cents to a few dollars plus cheap shipping. And I don't have to worry if he tears a page or colors them up-which I know will happen at some point since he is 2-awesome. So, overall, I got a few hundred dollars worth of kid books for the boys for less than $40. OH YEA.

Mom4Life is great for anyone on your list that is a parent, grandparent,or parent to be. They have EVERYTHING you could possibly think of to make your baby outings awesome, organized and stylish for both moms AND dads. The girls at Mom4Life are also AMAZING. They have such great customer service. I have spent so much time on the phone talking with them all I almost feel like I know them personally. Being able to ask them questions and get details on items helped to bridge the gap between real life shopping (and being able to touch and see an item before buying)and online shopping. Also, Heather and Angela have spent time helping me find items to fit my needs! Even if it was not sold at their store, they directed me to sites where I could buy it. That is what I call customer service!! And they have free shipping-AWESOME. Also, if you sign up for their newsletter you will get 5% off your purchase! Whoo hoo!

Overstock.com is good, but check on other sites, like Best Buy, Target or Walmart to make sure you are getting a good deal. A few things I found where GREAT deals, others were actually more expensive when you realize the shipping charges. So, just compare.

One Step Ahead has some super cute and great toys for kids that are all VERY well made and safe (no lead paint or other such fun products) but beware they are on the pricey side. I did splurge and ordered a stacking toy for JR from there. It is on sale and it is three stacking toys in one, so it is well worth the price. HERE IS A CODE TO HELP WITH YOUR SHOPPING: BDAYDCMR Enter the code at check out for 15% off!

Walmart is AWESOME because you have the option of having it shipped to your door OR having it shipped for free to the store. It is already paid for, so it is just a quick in and out. The manager at our new one here in Garner even told me if I call ahead next time they can bring the boxes out to my car so I don't have to even get the kids out. OH TOTALLY IN LOVE!

Best Buy-where I usually shop for the electronic and movie junkies in my family.

The biggest thing I have loved about online shopping? It comes to my door! So, everyday for the past week has been like a mini Christmas for me, because I get to open the boxes and check out the items before wrapping them for other people! Super fun! Also, with the ease and quickness of online shopping, I am almost done getting gifts! I have two more gifts to get, unless I run across something else that just hits me as something someone would love.

I love having lots of gifts wrapped under the tree all ready to be handed out; it just makes the tree look so complete and happy to me. And it is a great feeling to NOT feel rushed at all-this has actually been the most relaxing Christmas shopping I have ever done. I think this will be the way to go from here on out.

Though I will still need to get to the mall with my mother in law for some "retail therapy", it will just be after the Christmas crowds are gone.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Being There

There is nothing like being there for your children.




Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Car Ride....

Oh yes, we did almost 15 hours in the car with the kids so we could get back to NC in time for the holidays! Bill had to fly back to Mobile Sunday, but the boys and I will be at home until after Christmas! Boy,even though it wasn't bad am I ever glad I don't have to do this drive again for a little longer.....the last two hours Little Dude screamed. Yes you heard me, SCREAMED. Below you can see some of the happier moments.....