Apr 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday, 4-30-09

It's been awhile since I've done a Thankful Thursday.  Not because I'm not thankful, just because I simply haven't done it.

But this week I'm especially feeling the need to share how blessed and grateful I am.

I'm thankful for my kids because as much as they make me crazy, I probably wouldn't even bother getting out of bed if it weren't for them.  They are my sanity AND my insanity all rolled into one!

I'm thankful for a husband who may not be perfect or even everything I'd really like him to be right now, but is amazing at letting me have the time to what needs to be done right now.  Not only does he not ever make me feel guilty about it but he often tries hard to ease the guilt I put on myself.

I'm thankful for a friends and extended family who, although I will likely never take them up on them, have made wonderful offers to help DO for us.  For me it's not about doing, maybe it will come to that but for now them just BEING, makes such a huge difference.

I'm thankful for every single phone call, visit and real conversation with my mom.  I'm thrilled that today they are ale to get away for a night to celebrate their anniversary!  And even more thrilled that she plans to attend a Mother Daughter brunch with my on Saturday.  While it's always possible that she may not feel up to it when Saturday comes, I'm genuinely just thankful that she feels well enough to want to go.  If we do get to go I'll just be that much more thankful.  (Last year we did not go.)

And last but most definitely NOT least, I'm thankful for God and his amazing works.  For some reason I never cease to be surprised by how I can be given just what I need, when I need it, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
This verse popped up as a status update for one of my friends on Facebook the other day when I REALLY needed it.

Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."


Quick Picks

Even though my little man was really a pretty grumpy guy tonight and slightly covered in boogers we managed to get a few smiles.

My "baby" at 15 months:
still not walking
still not sleeping through the night
still taking a bottle
still not talking much at all
still the cutest thing ever
still making me smile every single day


Apr 29, 2009

Why oh Why?

Oh the great quandaries of life.  Like why is that we drive on  a parkway and park on a driveway?  Or we do turn the radio when we're looking for something while driving?  

Why do I bother trying to keep a calendar?
Last night after work I went to my mom's and hung out while waiting for a meeting at church.  When I arrived at church there was another group in the room we meet in.  Hmmm.  Ok.  Look through all the other rooms. No luck.  Find some one with a key so I can peek in the infamous BOOK. (Its a binder that holds all knowledge of room usage in the building.  It's sacred.  Just slightly less important than that NIV book. Kidding of course!)  Sure enough, our usual room was reserved for our meeting, for the night before!  Ooops.  The true meaning of a day late and a dollar short!

Why is it that everyone else I've ever spoke to who cosleeps with their children finds that the kids sleep so much better.  Yet my 15th month old is still waking up a billion times a night.  This morning he wanted to start his day about about 4:30am. I know part of the issue is he's stuffed up and maybe even has a sore or at least dry throat. But I think this morning the issue was he didn't see me at all yesterday and he just wanted so time with me.  I'm not so good at quality time at that hour.

And why is it that a month seems to be forever when you ARE a kid, but once you have kids 15 months slips by in the blink of an eye?  Today my baby is 15 months old.  It's odd how it can seem to go soooo quickly.  Yet at the same time I can hardly remember life without him.
I LOVE YOU BRYAN!! Even if you don't let me sleep. :)


Apr 27, 2009

Personalized Pillow "Pattern" review and giveaway.

Have you fallen in love with handmade and personalized creations?
Have you ever wished you were talented enough to make these creations yourself?

If you're anything like me you HAVE OOh'd and Aah'd over handmade items recently. And if you're like me, you've likely paused to consider whether you could actually make something Ooh and Aah worthy, only to decide it looked entirely too complicated and well worth the money to buy it from someone, say on etsy.com for ecample. Not that I've spent any money there...

But have you ever heard of YouCanMakeThis.com?
I've just been introduced to this site and must say, it's exciting! While I consider myself somewhat artist and even sort of crafty now and then, I do NOT sew. I tell you, my mom will back me up on this! Yes I know how to run a sewing machine but figuring out a pattern and all that on my own is a definite no go. But I recieved the downloadable "pattern" from YCMT's featured Personalize Pillow and these aren't your Mom's patterns. This is step by step instructions with photos that make is so simple, I could make it. I'll be honest, I haven't yet. I technically own a sewing machine, but it still resides with my parents as I lack the space for it in my house. And while I seriously intend to find the time to use my moms machine and a few of her mountains of "scraps" to create a few of these myself, I didn't want to wait to share this with you guys. Because you see, I have a downloadable "pattern" for one of you as well!
And I'm thinking as much as I LOVE these for kids, I think they'd also make great Mother's Day gifts. You could use Grandama, Nana or whatever name fits for your family!
If you get creative you could really use these adorable pillows for everyone, teacher's gifts, Father's Day and on and on.

So to enter to win your own Personalized Pillow Pattern, visit YouCanMakeThis.com and take a look around. There are TONS of other patterns/instructions to be found there from appareal to adorable dolls. And don't miss the helpful hints and clips for those of us who aren't experts with a sewing machine!

Then come back and leave me a comment about who you think you'd make this pillow for.

After you've done that you may earn extra entries by leaving a seperate comment for each of the following things:
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Don't forget to include your email address in your comment if it is not visible on your blogger profile.

Winner will be chosen May 5th!


Apr 26, 2009

Beautiful Babies

This past Thursday I was honored to finally find a way to serve an amazing organization that helps young women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy and chose to raise their children.
This is a group that holds a very special place in my heart but because of my own children I have simply not been able to find a way to serve them despite my desire to for several years, until earlier this year when I emailed them offering my photography services. So this week I went to the church where they meet weekly and photographed their beautiful children. They will be given a disc of the images as well as a framed print. (Luckily I am not the one who has to chose the one photo to print for each mom!)

I praise God that each of these gorgeous little ones was given a chance!  I pray we will see a day when all of God's children are given the same chance!

These are just a few of my favorites. 


Apr 25, 2009

Future Football Stars??

So this morning was a very short time at flag football.  And the weather was more than a little questionable so I stayed home with Bryan.  They managed to get everything done before the clouds let lose.  And I guess the boys did pretty darn well.  They ran some different drills to assess their abilities to make up the teams and we'll be able to see what teams they're on in the next couple days.  Johnny was a little bummed that he didn't do better, or at least as well as Timmy but sounds like he did do well at some things so that's great.  And Timmy did really well at several things.  Who knows what that really means for their football future, but it sounds like it should at least make this year fun for them.  Their first practice in Friday (then every Friday after that) and their first game is Saturday (then every Saturday after that).  But it should be fun.  Remind me I said that when T-Ball starts up too and we're running around 4 days a week. :)


Apr 24, 2009

Are you ready...

...for some football?!?!?!

Yeah, I don't know if I am either.  But tomorrow morning the boys go for their first week of flag football.  I'm really not sure what the heck I was thinking when I agreed to this.  Flag football SHOULD be harmless enough, but last night Timmy almost had a meltdown insisting he needed a bandage for a little scrape on his arm.  Hmmm, yeah maybe football isn't going to be his thing!  But he's the one that wants to do it!  So we'll see how it goes.

Tomorrow morning is sort of like an unofficial try out. They said they'll have them run some drills, which ought to be interesting as we have never really played football with them. And then the coaches will draft their teams.  As I understood it, this will be done after they've let the kids go so it's not like being picked last in gym class or anything.  Not that either of my astutely athletic boys would BE picked last, just saying.  


Apr 22, 2009

A perfect Mother's Day gift idea

I know you will all be shocked to know that I have used photos as gifts...once or twice.

But this year I wanted to do something a little different. As I happen to wonder around etsy.com fairly regularly 'window shopping' I found the perfect thing. It was something I loved and will be printing to frame for my own living room but also for gifts for mothers day!

After deciding I wanted to do these sort of vintage framed silhouettes, you know after some consideration because no decision can ever be made without much pondering and second guessing, I returned to etsy. Since I hadn't saved any seller in particular for this, I did a search. There were a lot of items found. Many of them were for an actual ready to frame silouette. Only a small handful were for digital files of the silhouette. And of those one jumped out at me. It said proceeds went to a charity AND it was a great price. SOLD!!
I loved the silhouettes she'd done and to think that my purchase could actually help a charity too! So I messaged the seller because there was only one available and, in case you haven't been paying attention, I have three kids. She very kindly added the extra listings for me. Then she got to work. I was worried that my first attempt at photos wouldn't work because my kids were less than cooperative. The baby is in general not cooperative with the taking of photos anymore. Then the older boys were just confused about what I was doing. So in other words, the photos were not perfectly what she asked for. But not only did she make them work...she made them GORGEOUS!

Visit petit debutant to get a beautiful silhouette of your own.

I know you can't see my cuties, gorgeous blue eyes or sweet smiles, but don't you think there is just something simply elegant about these???


Apr 21, 2009

By The Book, review and GIVEAWAY

By The Book

Do you get out regularly for dates with your spouse? Ok, yay me neither! I wish I did but its just not in the cards for us right now. We seem to get out about...once a year. But on that one day we end up spending a ton of time explaining routines, rituals and rules to a completely competent but likely overwhelmed sitter. More than once we've fielded calls, not because an child is hurt or inconsolable, but typically because the sitter can not navigate the sea of remotes we have to start a dvd for the kids. Whether you have one or one dozen kids there just so much to remember to tell a sitter while also tryig to fend of meltdowns because you're leaving and attempting to keep your clothes free from snot or spit-up.

But Karen Berg and Melissa Bishop of Karmel Publishing have developed an amazing solution. Whether you get out regularly or annually, leave your kids with dad, grandparents or a neighbor and whether your kids are infants or older, this book is the perfect thing for every family.

They have created an amazing fill in the blank book that covers all the info that anyone should need to care for your kids (and even your furry kids). Everything from kids likes and dislikes to the hopefully never needed emergency information can be filled in, organized, updated and kept easily accessible. While you'll need to spend some time with it upfront to get all the info into the book, it will save a ton of time as you try to rush (or sneak) out the door. And although my husband is now home full time with the kids I remember a time when this wasn't the case. And I know many other father like this who don't know all the favorites or the bedtime routines. This book could be a perfect thing for them as well. No promises from me that you'll actually get them to look at it. I think it may fall in the "directions" category and we all know how they are about directions. But given a major meltdown even the toughest dad might give in and take a peek!

And last but certainly not least. A section you'll likely want to store in a separate, but equally important binder is the section for you, the parents, to keep/manage information on different sitters. You can record their contact info and other stats like whether they have their own car etc. And if you're looking for a new sitter or nanny they've even provided interview questions for you!

Think this sounds like something you could use?

Well you're in luck! The wonderful ladies of Karmel, have offered one free eBook version of By The Book for one of my readers.

To enter this giveaway, you'll need to visit Karmel Publishing and then come back and leave me a comment sharing which section sounds like the most useful in your house.

For additional entries, only after you've done the first required entry, you may do any of the following.  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each one.
  • follow my blog
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Again you MUST have a contact email visible on your blogger profile or leave your email in your comment.  If this is not done another winner is selected and I have unfortunately been running into this a lot.  Please please be sure that I can contact you via email!!!!

Winner will be selected on April 29th.


Apr 20, 2009

Not Me Monday, 4-20-09

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Ahh, it's Monday again but I did NOT forget that it was. And at no point in the last few days have I been completely unsure what day it was. I'm always clear headed, well rested and on task. So as you can tell, none of the following could have occurred in our house this week.

We did NOT eat out 4 straight days. I am an amazing Martha Stewartesq cook. So I always prepare homemade gourmet meals for my clan.

I did NOT purchase large amount of chocolate this week. Just because it is 75% off does NOT mean its 75% fewer calories. And therefor I did NOT eat at least 75% more than I should have.

I did NOT "help" both of my older sons create completely useless blobs of wood at the children's workshop. I am a 21st century woman who knows how to handle her tools. And if said projects did happen to not work out AT ALL, I would not completely blame it on the fact that the pieces were given obviously being miss cut. And I also did NOT feel at better about it all when the friends we met there realized that the front of their birdhouse had been nailedin upside down, thus creating a slight issue with the birds being able to use the perch that was now ABOVE the whole.

I did NOT allow my 1 year old to eat day old fruit loops simply figuring they can't be any worse for him than anything else he eats off the floor on a regular basis. This couldn't happen of course because I don't feed my kids such sugary cereal. Especially after taking the older boys to the Dr one day with a baggie of them to be busted by the DR, saying that the box they came in woul dhave been more nutrious. But if a box did happen to fall into my shopping cart mysteriously. I wouldn't ever leave food out over night on the coffee table, so that my little man would be able to get at it the following morning.

And I have NOT spent an excessive amount of time staring at the photo of my little man standing (posted on Saturday) in total disbelief of how much older he looks simply by standing all on his own. I'm NOT at all excited about the idea of him walking and being such a big boy. And I'm sure it will NOT be at all bittersweet when he does.


Apr 19, 2009

The toe

I guess I didn't cover the whole toe story here.  
It's not super exciting. 
Two weekend ago the boys were fighting because one wanted the other to stay in the bedroom to play...something.  They were fighting with the door one trying to close it so the other could't get out of the room when the corner of the door jammed over Johnny's big toe apparently ripping the nail back.  He yelped but nothing major enough that I even looked at his toe.  It was 5 or 6 days later when he complained about it again but we were on our way somewhere and I forgot by the time we got home and it wasn't slowing him down from his usual running around.  The next night was when I finally looked at it because he was crying after he bumped it in bed.  It looked horrible.  But by the next morning it looked much better.  And we've soaked it each night since.  It looks horrible at the end of the day, like the photo I posted yesterday.  But that's after a day of being in a sock and getting hot and sweaty.  But after it's soaked it looks better and then by morning it looks decent again.  It does look horrible every night but there really isn't much I see that could be done to it.  So we have NOT gone to the Dr.  If someone has some horror story to share, I am always up for a good maternal freak out.  But while it does appear that he'll lose the nail...I don't know that there's a darn thing that can be done.  And honestly the thought of taking him and having to hold him while they touch it, or God forbid poke anything into it, makes me almost vomit a little.  And considering its not even hindering him...


Apr 18, 2009

Spring has sprung, for now

Mother nature has smiled on us here in IL, but only temporarily.  Today it was 70 degrees when we left the house at 10am.  We were headed out to go to Home Depots kids workshop with some friends.  
Unfortunately, this trip was not as successful as our first try almost a year ago.  Johnny's toolbox held together...well enough to take this photo.  And that's about it.  But Timmy didn't even get his together.  He was making a birdhouse this one side of plexi so you're supposed to be able to hang it ON a window and watch the bird eating.  However the plexi was to slide into slots on the two sides but the piece of plexi was narrower than the whole so it didn't work at all.  But by the time we got it to that point Bryan was done with waiting for us.  So we grabbed the stuff and brought it home to see if Dad could maybe help him make it work.

After Home Depot we grabbed some McD's and took it to the park.  
Bryan watched his new buddy walking and RUNNING all over the place even though he's a few inches shorter (and we won't even talk pounds lighter).  And apperently it looked like something he might be ok with.  
Still has a ways to go but at least he's trying.  That's a step in the right direction.

Here's Bryan and his new little pal.

Playing on the slide

All the big kids.

getting ready to go down the slide

headed to space.

having so much fun is exhausting.

And this is what Johnny's toe is looking like 2 weeks after his injury.


Apr 15, 2009

Blogiversary Winners

Thank you to all of you who helped me celebrated my First Blogiversary by entering my giveaways.

Here are the lucky winners

Hip-T Winner
Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2009-04-16 02:16:14 UTC

Name Bubbles
Here are your random numbers:

9 ~ valerie2350

Timestamp: 2009-04-16 02:17:13 UTC

How to Mess up Your Kids books (5 winners)
Here are your random numbers:

32 ~ liane66 
33 ~ Shasta
16 ~ Puanani503 
20 ~ Karen 
6 ~ Shawna 

Timestamp: 2009-04-16 02:17:54 UTC


Apr 14, 2009

Shi Shu Baby Blanket Review

I recently received the most wonderful baby blanket ever from SHI SHU BABY.

SHI SHU BABY™ blankets were designed with my son in mind. When he was born, he received several cozy, fluffy blankets from friends and family. Many of these blankets were made of microfiber/polyester. Unfortunately, my son's favorite blanket, made of microfiber/polyester, caused him to break out into a rash. That’s when I decided to design a line of blankets made only of natural fibers. When I started researching alternative fabrics/fibers, I discovered Bamboo and fell in love with it's qualities. Bamboo is antibacterial, soft as silk, keeps you cool in the Summer, keeps you warm in the Winter and most importantly...BREATHES! When the SHI SHU BABY™ blanket design was finalized, I decided that I would love to have a larger version for myself. So I designed the signature SHI SHU HOME™ throw.

Now your entire family can enjoy these soft, 100% natural handwoven blankets.

I recieved this Celdon color and its beautiful.  

In case you've missed it in past posts but I haven't fully gone green so hearing that this blanket was made of bamboo made me curious about it's...cuddle factor.  But its amazing.  And to be honest, I haven't let my kids try it out yet.  Despite its antibacterial quality, I just haven't been able to hand it over to my drooly sticky (but oh so cute) little man yet.  Wanna know why?  Because this blanket is sooo much like the blanket I had forever when I was little, I'm having a hard time of letting go of it.   So I'm thirty...something, and I have a blankie, so what!?!  
Maybe I'll be able to get a SHI SHU HOME blanket and be able to give this one to the baby, maybe, if I'm lucky!!


Apr 13, 2009

Starting Over

Now I know compared to some people having a 4 and 5 year old when our baby was born isn't really like starting over. But it was enough of a age gap that I had people with kids my older boys age say stuff like, "Glad its you and not me. I couldn't go back and start all over again."

But when you think about starting over witha new baby, you think about going back to diapers and sleepless nights. What hadn't occurred to me was that while my older boys have begun to appreciate some more grown up music, I'd be diving back into the good old toddler stuff. You the sort of songs that stick in your head until you literally begin to consider a labotomy as a reasonable solution?

As Bryan has been teething (or at least that's what I pray is the problem because at least that means there's a light at the end of the crabby tunnel) he is often so crabby he just doesn't know what to do with himself, or us him. But awhile ago we found a 'magic' solution. It's the most amazing thing. It's over at dailynoggin.com. We go to eth music videos and he's in heaven. We call it his "baby crack" because I swear he goes through withdrawls.
The downside however is that I have heard the songs he really likes (ie doesn't make me skip over now that he has realized that's an option he can demand) that I can NOT get these out of my head. It's like some horrible ancient torture. Songs of misfit ducks and bongo birdies are slowly driving my clinically insane.

Have an enemy you'd like to torture, or a small child you'd like to amuse? Go here and see what I'm talking about.


Not Me Monday, 4-12-09

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

It's been another week of parenting superstardom in my household. I never cease to amaze myself with my own mothering prowess. And for that reason, I clearly did NOT do any of the following less than perfect things in the last 168 hours.

I did NOT basically tell my 5 year old to walk off an inury that I found several days later was swollen red and infected looking. I'm much to caring and nurturing to have no closely examined the injury when it occurred. And I am entirely too attentive to have completely missed it even during a bath. I would not possibly have completely forgotten that he complained about it in the car and that I promised to look at it when we arrived at our destination. And it did not take him hollering in pain after bedtime for me to actually LOOK at it to see how digusting and painfull it looked. If any of this had occurred I'd have immeditately handled it like a medical pro. I would not have had to have him remove his sock and show off his swollen pussiness off at a dinner party to get the simple suggestion of soaking it in warm water/epsom salt.

I did NOT have a total panic attack when I got a call informing my that my oldest son was already home from school, having been walked home by a neighbor while I still sat at work. I did not assume that I messed up and begin a brutal mental attack on myself. I did not quickly verify that he should have infact remained at school for his after school club that day, and I didn't sigh a large sigh of relief for my responsibility, to immediately jump to wonder what then occured that allowed him to not go where he was supposed to. I did not send an email to his teachers and principle to find out that while there was some responsibility on a teachers part for taking a 6 year olds word rather than requiring a note, that my son appears to be growing into quite an adept conman. It could not all possibly have occurred most likely in an effort to acquire a birthday treat. And my son does not continue to deny all of his responsibility in this. I've raised far to honest a child for that. And also my kids are not junk food junkies at all.

I did NOT attempt to attend to a budget meeting at church WITH two small children. I would not let my kids run amuck in order to discuss something so complicated. And if I did it would NOT have resulted in my 1 years olds head being smash in a door leaving visible evidence of my failed attempts at multitasking.

I did NOT shed more than a few tears of overwhelming joy because of the love and generousity of my amazing church family. I did not begin to feel that this good thing I was doing for someone else was in fact bringing me more joy than I could have imagined. And I am sure I will be able to adequately show my appreciation for this outpouring of blessings.

I did NOT attend my little brother's 19th birthday party. It is impossible that he could BE 19. I can still remember the day he was born. I was in class (Jr High) and got called to the office, which never happened because I was not one to get in trouble (really) to take the call to let me know he'd arrived. He's grown into an amazing young man.

I did NOT take my kids to the mall to see the Easter Bunny and TWO easter egg hunts all this weekend. What? There's not any photographic proof anywhere on this blog :)

I did NOT forgo the traditional Easter dinner of ham etc for some McD's. I am too good of a cook to let that happen. I LOVE to be in the kitchen all day to give my family the type of holiday feast they deserve.

I know, it's hard to compete with my amazing skills. I've set the bar high. But if you'd like to give it a go, I'd love to read about all the things you did NOT do this week too!


Apr 12, 2009


For all my depth late Friday night, I have none today. So I'll give myself a break and not even attempt any meaningful writing today. Instead enjoy some photos.

Didn't take any photos of the Egg Hunt we went to first thing Saturday.  It was all over too quick to even attempt photos.

But then we had Lunch with the Easter Bunny at the Park District in Gurnee.  We went Friday and got a group shot of the boys with the bunny so here they each wanted to solo...

Then they got to hunt for more eggs.  
You'd think Timmy was really serious about this egg thing but he's soo not.  He just sort of took off, then just wanders, looking around casually, watching everyone else gather eggs.  
Bryan liked the eggs.  But I learned that I had to watch him every second or he'd put the egg down and someone else would swoop in and grab it from right under him.
After they got a round of eggs they come back to find there were still two golden eggs left to be found so they went out lookin again.
Look at what I got!

After our lunch we came home to color some eggs.  We tried a few new things, including these things that were basically QTips filled with highly concentrated dye.  They don't last very long but they're able to create more with them. 

Then we got cleaned up again and headed to Grampa and Gramma N's for Uncle Alex's (early) birthday celebration.  The boys were looking pretty cute, er I mean handsome. So I made the sit for some snaps.

This morning there were MORE eggs to be found and Bryan was all over it.
Then Bryan popped an egg open and realized what was making the noise.  He was in heaven.  But he was going to eat the wrapper and all until big brother came to the rescue.
A little cuddlin'  Despite how he normally feels about this, he was most than willing to snuggle with Timmy.

Johnny with one (of two) of the buckets FULL of eggs.

Then this is the little surprise I mentioned on Monday.  Just over a week ago I sent an email to a few wonderful ladies at our church asking if they'd like to help put together a basket for my mom and (step)dad.  They've been a little down and I was hoping to bring a little joy to their day.  With the help of many more than I expected, they were given this basket overflowing with love!  I have to say that I started this in hopes of blessing someone else, but ended up feeling overwhelmed myself.  The way our amazing church family stepped up is truly indescribable.