Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 List: The End

I almost made it! I say 10 out of 12 things done is not shabby! To be honest I didn't think I would get that many, so I am double thrilled! I didn't make a post for every item, obviously. Some of them were too personal to post. Some of them were too boring to post.

The last two were frustratingly simple:

"Visit Turner Field and watch the Braves play. D will love it and it means a lot to T to share it with his son."

and

"Hire a professional photographer to take some good pictures of us as a family. Its time for a family portrait of epic proportions."

How the heck did that happen? How did I miss those two?? Well, the Braves thing was hard because of Tommy's work schedule and the game schedule always seemed to clash. The photography thing just kept getting put off.

So, what to do about the missed items? Add them to next years of course!

Have you got your list for 2011 set up yet? What do you want to accomplish next year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Review

What a year. Corny right? True though. It has been full of ups and downs that I am sure I will remember for a time to come. If you have been here with me through them all, I appreciate you more than you will ever know. If you are newish, welcome to my crazy life.

Instead of a traditional, boring "here is what I did this year, be jealous" type of review, I decided to share a picture a month. 12 pics, 12 months. The year at a glance.


January: Quite a way to start off the new year, right?
February: Georgia Aquarium
March: Touching the Firetruck
April: Amicalola Falls
May: The Family Vacation
June: My Fearless Fish
July: Independence Adventure
August: A Little Family Fun


September: 3 & 1
October: Render Me Manly
November: Fighting the Funk
December: A Good Christmas Wrestle

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Review

Was awesome*. I finally got the jive going about three days before Christmas went down this year and now I am quite upset it is over. It all went by in such a blur. My sister got in late last Tuesday and I swear, it was about 20 minutes later I was driving her back to the airport to take her flight home. We did a lot of playing with the boys and talking and goofing and merry making in the meantime sure but it sure didn't seem to last very long at all.


We got to see most of the extended family, which is always a pleasure. It was nice for all of us to be in one place again for once. That happens so rarely these last few years.


Christmas Eve was good if you don't count the lecture I got from both of my in laws about being a disappointment to the family because they have poor listening skills. Still, the boys enjoyed seeing them and we got to see our only little niece out of the deal. Not too bad. 

Christmas day was nice and relaxed too. Got up with the boys, ate breakfast, opened presents in between playing and drank possibly too much coffee. Definitely ate too much but that is some what of a tradition. I probably really should have just turned into a ham this year. I gave my mother my letter from the 2010 list too which made things happy, happy.


In case you haven't heard, Atlanta had a white Christmas this year. For the first time since 1882. That is 128 years ago guys! Pretty awesome right? It was beautiful snow too. The kind with huge fluffy flakes and snow covered tree limbs. Loved it. Kind of weird to think that its possible that me and my kids may never see that happen in Atlanta again. 


 The few days after Christmas, we spent sitting around and talking, doing a little shopping, this and that. It was a nice little break from reality. One that I hope repeats itself in the years to come. For now though, we are stuck with winter. Gray, ugly winter.

How was your Christmas? Did you enjoy the season?


*Yes, I realize I have been absent but you know you love me anyway so lets just pretend it never happened.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby's First Haircut

Tonight, I got brave. I have always cut D's hair. Since his first haircut a year ago (not kidding, kid was bald till two). So, it only makes sense I would cut K's too right? Except. Well, except K has this temper thing. Hence the hulk baby name. So, I have dreaded cutting his hair since the day he came out with a ton of thick, black hair.

About 15ish minutes old. And hairy.

Of course his hair has lightened up considerably but his hair has only gotten longer. On the front and back that is. Every where else it was all still about the same length it was in that picture. Lately though, his hair had gotten a bit out of control. Fuzzy and wild and sticky outy all over. Which, of course, matched his personality but it wasn't quite as handsome as I wanted it to be for Christmas and since the festivities surrounding Christmas have already started, I needed to get the lead out.

Before.
I snatched him up from his bed as soon as he woke up so he would be extra sleepy and got right to it. He sat there and stared of into space the whole time. I had psyched myself up to have a finger bitten off and he just sat there like a good boy and let me cut his hair.


And now? Now he looks like a big boy. Like a right toddler. It makes me all misty to even think about. My baby, my wittle monster, is getting bigger by the day. Last year he was such a little lump still. This year he is a talking, walking, running little eat beast. Perfection personified. I'm glad he seemed to enjoy, or at least tolerate his first haircut. Now to get his baby hair put into his baby book. *Sniff*

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Week

What?? When the heck did that happen? We have one week to go until Christmas. That is going to pass insanely fast too. We are kind of laying low a little more than last year though and that is going to be such a relief. I can't quite convince our families of that of course but I'm sure they will get over it in time. Maybe by next Christmas at least. Maybe.


Today, we got out of the house for a bit. We went for a long walk around the neighborhood and up the road to a couple of stores and wandered around in there for a bit and then wandered home. It was nice to be out in the fresh air for a bit and the boys seemed to like being carted around.  I am paying for  it now though. My joints ache something terrible. Worse than they have in a very, very long time.


Tonight, we sat around and watched Christmas movies and drank hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows in it and then bath and bed for the boys. It was so nice to spend the day just hanging out with my little boys. They make me so happy. I have been under a tremendous amount of stress here lately but they always have a way of pulling me out of my funk and cheering me up.


Tomorrow morning though, I am going to make K angry. I am going to attempt to cut his hair. It has gotten out of control. Its all different lengths plus it is very fine so it sticks out all over. Its cute-ish but it will be much cuter all cleaned up for the holidays. The thing is, he in probably not going to like it one little bit. Keep your fingers crossed I come out of it with all my fingers. I'm not holding out much hope.


Yeah, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, one week until Christmas. The next week should be a refreshing change of pace for me at least. We have been house bound for a month or so and it will be nice to be forced to get out.


Tomorrow, after K bites my finger off.. I mean, after I cut K's hair, I have to get the house tidied up because "the girls" are coming over for a bit so we can hang out and eat tacos. That sounds bad. Taco Bell.. We are having Taco Bell. Here. I was going to cook a turkey but they made fun of me and said they wanted Taco Bell so that is what they get. Weirdos.


Sunday I am going to an event at Lake Lanier up North of us to tour their Nights of Lights event with D and a bunch of other bloggers. The people at Chevrolet are loaning us a bunch of their new Cruze cars to go through in too so that should be pretty cool. I used to love my Chevy. Until T hit 2 deer in it, lost the only set of keys to it and then blew up the engine. I wish I was joking.


Monday, oh Monday. I don't really have much planned. Depends on if I have a car or not I guess. I may just sit and chill. I may need it. See, Tuesday is going to be epic. My sister comes home for Christmas. She may not know it yet but we are going to make the best of every. single. second. she is here. I will tie her up if I have to. When she was here this summer, she didn't have much time to just hang out. She had to see all of her old friends and what not. This time, I will tie her to a chair if I have to.


She is bringing her boyfriend too. None of us have met him. Hopefully my wild and crazy kids and our habit of making each other laugh until we almost pass out won't scare him off. 


Wednesday, we see my Granddad and his wife and her family and my Uncle Jeff. Thursday is bound to be mass chaos getting ready for Friday. Friday we do Christmas with my inlaws and then go over to my mother's house where Tommy and I invariably have to sleep on the floor and then Saturday will be the big event. The big day.


Can you believe all that is what I consider "laying low"? There is more after Christmas too. Thats the f'ed up part. For now though, its 11pm. Well, a little after but I am still exhausted. T still isn't home but I am thinking I may need to go to bed anyway. I need to try to get up before the boys and shower so I don't scar my friends with my smell and hairy legs. Not that I am saying they will see my legs but with this group, you just never freaking know.


Anyway, good night (or good morning) to you and I hope we all make it through this next week alive and well. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Buy Handmade

As part of my favorite things this year, I decided to pay homage to the crafties out there. I.. am not crafty. If you give me directions or a pattern, I can recreate it with ease but as far as coming up with my own shit? Yeah, not happening. So of course, it only makes sense to give mad props to those that can and do. Plus the added benefit of supporting the people that are awesome enough to take the time to make their craft by hand. Keeping that money in good hands. So, here is my grouping of favorite work at home moms and otherwise crafty superstars:




First off, of course you sort of know her, is Ashley at Sew Sassy by Ashley. You may (should) remember I gave away one of her gorgeous, hand stamped necklaces a few months ago to a lucky reader. Ashley is a very gifted work at home mom that makes and sell a variety of unique items. From beautiful purses, totes and bags to hand stamped jewelry to super cute bows. She also makes these little zipper flowers that are too freaking adorable. The best part is that everything is totally customizable and she has awesome prices. You can contact Ashley at her blog or on Facebook.


 
Then there is Little Bowtique. For all of you with little girls in your life, check her out on Facebook. She hand sews all of her bows from the simple to the extravagant. Personally, I am a fan of the little alligator type clippies but I know some people like the huge layered bows. Besides her instock bows, she also does custom orders, so you can match those pretty little outfits and Christmas dresses. Be sure to get your orders in soon  though in order to get them by the big day!



 
 If you are looking for a custom outfit for a special occasion or something perfect and unique for every day, you need to check out Sweet Designs by Maryum on Etsy or on Facebook. For reals you guys, Maryum is so talented and makes such beautiful clothes for both boys and girls. She just has a knack for putting together patterns. She also makes an awesome assortment of accessories that are just to die for! All that plus high quality sewing and the hottest fabrics makes for a must see collection.





 
Now, if you have a girly girl (or a little man)  that loves jewelry, you need to check out Vicki's Visions on Etsy. She doesn't have much up right now, but her hand crocheted flower rings and bracelets for little girls are just too stinking cute. For $5-$10 apiece they also make awesome stocking stuffers! If there is a specific color or style you are looking for, contact her and see what she can do.




 




One of my most recent favorites though is by Colorado or Bust on Etsy. You guys, she makes the cutest little plush sock monsters you will ever, ever see. Ever. Think of something cute and original that you child will want to cuddle and this is what you see. She carries some in stock as she has time to make them (She has a newborn) but you can also pick your own pair of socks and mail them to her for your very own personal sock monster. They are all handmade and come in two sizes the knee length sock (about 30") and the regular length sock (about 8"). Too. Stinking. Cute.






I am a huge fan of Petunia's on Etsy too. For the most awesome personalized gift for new parents (or if you want to buy me something. Heh.) that you will ever see, check out her Fluffy Birth Stats Blanket. She also makes a custom printed name blanket that is to die for. She is on Maternity break for now but she makes some of the cutest things I have seen for the little ones crowd including wet bags and little owl pillows in stock and ready to ship. . So, so cute. What an awesome idea.





Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Favorite Things 2.0

So, I talked about it yesterday a little, but in case you missed it, I am revamping my favorite things list from last year for all you, my favorite readers. I think its important for us to all share are happy things with each other. Some of my favorite things I have heard about from my friends (see #1) and I am always listening in the stores to hear what people are buzzing about. Keep that in the back of your mind next time you are gabbing loudly on your cell phone at Target. Bwahaha.

So, here is my list for this year. I would absolutely love to hear your list, so if you have a similar post, leave it for me so I can check it out. Or you can always add your additions in the comments. Either way, I want to know. 'Cause I can't hear you through the computer.

Anyway, here you have it! Mama's 2010 top 5 most favoritest things list:

1. My Snuggie. You guys, last year, I made all kinds of fun of these. I ended up getting one for my best friend when she was sick and she started talking about how wonderful it was and how she loved it so and I laughed and probably made fun of her. Then she got me one for Christmas. Yeah, I don't make fun of that shit anymore. I love my Snuggie. It really is kind of an oddball idea and I admit that it was one I thought totally absurd until I used mine. Guys, it has sleeves. Which is full of total win in case you are still wondering. Especially for bloggers with laptops. As stupid as the commercials seem with the lady fiddling with her blanket and laptop/book/dinner is, a blanket with sleeves it totally FTW.

2. Amber jewelry. The teething necklaces we bought for D and K when they were a baby have been absolute LIFE. SAVERS. I don't believe in giving young children any type of drugs or medicines if there is a natural alternative so these have been absolutely perfect. The best part? It works on adults too. Fabulous for my osteoarthritis and even headaches for me. The heat from your body releases oils in the amber which carry succinic acid. I can tell a difference in mine and their pain level and attitude literally within minutes of putting it on, no matter what ails us. A definite must have for any mama and baby. I have always ordered mine from Inspired by Finn on Hyenacart. They have always had fast shipping and quality necklaces. Oh, and if you are worried about the beads breaking loose and causing mass chaos, have no fear. My 6' 5" 260lb husband tried to break D's necklace and couldn't.

3. Skype. This one is freeee! Don't say I never gave you anything. As far as internet messengers go though, this one is A+. I do most of my communicating with my friends via either online messenger or text message. I am not a big phone talker because of some hearing issues (damn I sound old). I used Yahoo messenger for years and years but in the last few it has seriously gone downhill. Fast. My sister turned me on to Skype when she moved way up North so we could do video chat with each other and she could see the boys and whatnot. Most people think that you can only video chat with Skype. Not true! It works as a regular text chat also and that is how I use it the most. So, if you are looking for a non-suck way to privately "chat" with your buddies, check it out. Then find me!

4. My Android. I never bought into the whole iPhone hype. Sorry. I am old enough to realize what a sham Apple is in general, so that probably has a lot to do with it. Maybe I am just not hipster enough (Here comes the hate mail). I got my phone, ironically called a "Hero", this spring and it has not left my person except to charge and shower since. Weird? Yeah, but I get an inordinate number of phone calls and messages a day. It is definitely the most valuable thing I own besides my wedding set. Totally indispensable. Its my clock, my calendar, my social media.. keeper upper.. Yeah. There is a word for that I'm sure but whatever. If you are on the fence, go Droid.

5. The Nintendo Wii. Another multi- purpose type thing here. T and I love to play games on it. We are both pretty competitive with each other and its fun to get so into the games together. We can watch Netflix on it, which has been a total lifesaver here lately with it too cold to go out anywhere. We just turn it on and can watch a ton of movies, or my favorite, get caught up on TV show seasons that I haven't seen. We can browse the internet on that thing too. Space gadget! It has also become my physical trainer. T bought the Wii fit game awhile back and we played with it for a few days and quit. That shit is hard. Its worth it though, and it does get easier with regular use. The best part for me is that I don;t have to actually get dressed or leave the house to do it. That is like a triple win right there!

Inspired by Finn: My Life Saver

Last years Favorite Things (and this year) list included amber teething necklaces from Inspired by Finn on Hyena Cart. If you know me very well or have asked me about them when I was out and about, you have gotten an earful on how much I swear by them.I have bought them for both boys from about 3 months on and they have been such a vital tool for keeping us all sane.

D started drooling and crankies and all the typical nasty teething crap at about 3 months of age. I am not the type of person to hop right on drugging my kids up to help natural processes. Hell, D has had Ibuprofen once and it made his so high he almost couldn't walk. Was funny but not. Anyway, I went looking for a natural way to help ease his pain and stumbled across some information another mom had posted to a group board about Inspired by Finn and decided to try them out.

When we would put that neckalce on him, it was literally like having a different child with in half an hour. The drool went away, he was happy, his gums were no longer swollen and he was just a happy fellow. Needless to say, he wore that sucker until way after he got his final teeth.

With K, we started putting his first teething necklace (it was a gift) on him at about 9 weeks old. At 5 months, he got his first tooth. No symptoms, no drool, no nothing. I was so shocked when I just happened to look in there one day while I was nursing him and tada! A Tooth! It was so easy. I couldn't understand why there is always so much talk about how horrible teething babies could be.

His got lost though. It was misery for a few months there guys. Seriously. He was so cranky when his top two teeth came in. I felt so horrible. So, I ordered yet another! Now, K is cutting his one year molars and the wonderful people at Inspired by Finn were kind enough to send me one for this "review". The only reason I knew about the molars was because he has taken to rubbing my finger on his new teeth when they pop through like "Hey mom, check this out!".

So, I guess you are wondering how all that works, right? Long story short: the heat from your child's body releases oils in the amber which carry succinic acid.

Succinic Acid is another name for Amber Acid that has been used in Europe as a natural antibiotic and general curative for centuries.

Natural Baltic Amber is high in Succinic Acid content and contains as much as 8 percent by weight. Succinic Acid is also a natural constituent of plant and animal tissues.

It is very important to your body. It is used in the Krebs Cycle which is involved in the intermediary metabolic process. Another name for the Krebs Cycle is the Citric Acid Cycle.

A powerful anti oxidant that helps fight toxic free radicals and disruptions of the cardiac rhythm, succinic acid has been shown to stimulate neural system recovery and bolster the immune system, and helps compensate for energy drain in the body and brain, boosting awareness, concentration and reflexes, and reducing stress.
Sounds strange right? I can however tell you it works first hand. It works. For serious. Not even just for teeth. Thats the awesome part. Anything that ails your baby (or you) can be eased with baltic amber. Colds, ear infections, arthritis, sports injuries, sinus problems. You name it. Like I said before, once has D had ibuprofen and he has had nursemaid's elbow three times. As long as he was wearing his necklace, he was fine. That is just amazing to me.

If you are looking for a natural, non drug way to help your baby through the teething stage, amber teething necklaces from Inspired by Finn are the way to go. Right now, if you "Like" them on Facebook you will get a 25% off discount. Thank you Inspired by Finn for making my last three years a breeze!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Favorite Things Are Coming!

Last year, I came up with a list of my favorite things that I wanted to share with you all. Things I thought that you should all know about and things that I think everyone needs. Needless to say, I wanted to do the same for you all this year. I wanted to get this up in time for everyone to get their orders in and get their items before Christmas or the end of Hanukkah.

This year, I wanted to share some of my favorite items with you but I also want to share some of my favorite homemade shops and WAHM businesses. So, tomorrow, you get my favorite things list but stay tuned Thursday for some of my favorite Etsy and homemade shops too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Present of the Season

This past week, I got a call from "the girls". We were to convene for dinner and chat session the next night. I love it when that happens. See, we are the kind of group of girls that can sit and talk for hours on end about every thing and anything. Add wine, it gets better.

This time, we had a lot to talk about. The men in our life, the men out of our life, kids, old times and times yet to come. Oh, and of course the spontaneous dance party. All the goodies. Lots of laughs, a few tears.

The heavy bit, one of us is leaving. For the betterment of their lives, yeah, but still. I don't deal well with people moving away. Maybe because I was the one that always moved as a kid or maybe I just hate to lose someone I am close to. Either way, I am super proud of her for making the right decision for herself and sticking to it. We will see her again. Even if we have to hijack a commuter bus to take us out there.

So, since the big announcement came out (even though we all already knew it was going to happen), Meg decided to give us all our Christmas presents early.

























Perfect. I can't tell you how happy I was that this was the inaugural gift of the season. I love this. Of course we are "sisters from another mister" but sisters all the same. The kind of girls that you know you can count on. We all have our hitches, our skeletons, but no matter what craziness comes through, they will be right there. The kind of friends that not even distance can disturb.

Quite the way to start off the season!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Slacker

Yep, that is me this week. At least around here. Don't hate me though. I have been doing a lot behind the scenes. I have been working on my favorite things post and several other fun things. Oh, and I added a reply button to the comments section. Pretty sweet, no? Thanks to Buzzing the Day Away for help on that one!

Christmas is finally starting to get to me. Finally. We have what, two weeks? I am so screwed. I still have more than half of my list to buy for. Not that buying or shopping is an issue for me. I am a little bit of a shopaholic (Shut up Meg) so it won't take too long to knock out once I get started.

Mostly, I am excited that my sister is going to get to come for Christmas. It really fucked with me that she didn't get to come home for Thanksgiving. Like, for real. It was the first time any of us has ever been away for a holidays holiday and it was so not cool. Christmas though, Christmas she is coming home. She will be here and get to spend a whole week with my boys. Dane is so excited. He asks where his T'aunti is all the time any way so now that he knows she is coming, he asks three or four times a day when she will be here. Yeah, I jumped the gun on that one a bit maybe.

This weekend we are headed to my mother's for a Christmas cookie baking extravaganza. Should be fun although I almost always get a tummy ache from eating too many.

Today though, today I am polishing up the holiday list, getting a review together for you and running a million errands. That is if I can drag my sorry self into the shower some time before bedtime. We shall see. I hope you all have a super awesome weekend and be sure to come back next week if you don't come around often. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Last Little Bit of Fall

This past weekend, T let me sleep in. Sleep in late. Noon late. It was fabulous. Something I don't get to do much anymore with him working the new job and such. Something I needed so much. Good for the soul, that sleeping thing apparently. Plus, we recently switched out the beds and our new bed is so cozy and fluffy. Like sleeping in heaven.

When I woke up, I realized immediately it was quiet in the house. Almost too quiet. So, I got up and went looking for my boys. They weren't in the house, in the back yard or the the driveway but the car was still here. Still mostly stumbling around, I yanked on some clothes and a sweater and wandered out into the front yard. Where I stumbled upon on of the sweetest things.


They were playing in the leaves. Something they had never done before. My boys have always been apartment kids. Apartment kids don't have leaf piles to jump and play in.


It was a leaf throwing party there for a bit. Until they were all out of breath.






They had so much fun doing it too. I really wish that they had not had to wait until fall was basically over to do it but I suppose its better than never?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mashups




 Music is a huge part of Tommy and I's relationship. Its something we bonded over in the beginning and still connect with now.  I will be posting the lyrics to a song and what it means to me every Monday (hopefully). At least until I run out of interesting things to say (Or I forget). Make sense? Feel free to do your own but please link back to me and add your site to the comments below!


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United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop) by DJ Earworm




(Ready to experience my dork side?) I love me a good music mashup. Who doesn't? This year though, I am excited about Earworm's mashup the most. Every year for the last several, he creates a mashup of the year's top 25 pop songs. Last year's was really catchy. The year before? Not so much. Trial and error I suppose. I am still ready to hear what he comes up with this year. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Chicken Challenge

I walked into the grocery store yesterday and the smell of rotisserie chicken hit me like a brick wall. It smell so good and I was already so hungry that I could not resist getting a chicken of my own to roast. While I was standing there trying to find the best chicken they had that would feed us all, another woman walked up and started looking through them too. She commented on how good it smelled at the front door and how she couldn't resist wanting a chicken but she liked making it herself so she could get a big one and use the whole thing for several meals.

Not a particularly riveting conversation, I know, but it got me thinking. I have always used most of a chicken. Then the question: How many meals can I get out of one chicken? Kind of like a turkey but smaller and cheaper.

Now, keep in mind that my boys both eat like ravenous wild animals so some people could possible get more than me but I made it a mission to make as many as I could. If your kids have more reasonable appetites, or you are vegetarian, you can get more than I did. In fact, if you are a vegetarian, you could probably stop reading right about now.

First, I roasted the chicken in the oven. You could boil it and skip a stock making step later but I prefer the taste of roast chicken.

Out of the oven, the boys ate the drumsticks and T and I ate the breasts.

Then I picked the thighs clean and used half in quesadillas for dinner and the other half in a chicken casserole for another day.

The bones and skin, I boiled with an onion, some carrots and cumin to make an awesome stock. I used some of the stock to make homemade chicken and rice soup to freeze, froze some stock alone, and the rest of the broth and a few of the random bits of chicken left to make some chicken tortilla soup for today.

So, out of one mediumish sized, whole chicken, I made five big meals. Plus some stock for later. Not bad, right? I think next time, I may go for the big chicken and see if I can squeeze a few more meals out of it.

Do you have any ideas for me? Something I missed or forgot? How many meals can you think of to get out of one chicken? I challenge you to find out and then let me know!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mommy Confessions

Render Me Mama


Ok, so we all have them. I have decided its time to stop keeping them to myself in hopes that other mommies will realize that none of us are perfect. Here are my dirty little secrets for the week in hopes it will encourage me to be better. What are yours?

~ Totally slacked off all morning yesterday morning. I needed it though. Just a few hours to do what I wanted to do. I got a little work done around the bloggys, got my emails caught up before bedtime, spent some time fuming about other people's attitude toward the stay at home mom.

~ Saturday, we tried to decorate our tree. Tried. Ten minutes after we started, six ornaments were broken, I was in tears and we were throwing everything back into the box. Not pretty. The plan was to put all of the non breakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree and the others at the top, so the boys couldn't reach them. Which we did pretty well. Until a box of those glass balls got into the hands of the small terrorist I gave birth to (Ok, terrorist may be harsh but still). K started breaking and throwing the little balls and when we wouldn't let him do that, he started trying to swallow them whole. Not kidding. Kid is going to be a circus performer. You would think we would just move the balls where he couldn't reach them right? We did. Then they fell off the table and he was into them again like a rabid bunny at a feeding frenzy. Good news is, we tried again later and got some really cute pictures.

~ I wear men's socks. White, plain crew socks. My point of view is that its saves time on laundry by not having his and hers socks. Plus, no one sees my socks. When was the last time you judged a mother of two young boys who wasn't wearing makeup and had greasy hair by her socks? My mother on the other hand thinks I have become too lazy to live. I say, if she wants to do my laundry then she can complain but otherwise she needs to shut up and focus her concern elsewhere. Like my unshaven-since-September legs.

~ I gave K a sucker. Organic but still more sugar than I usually give him. It was well worth it too. He enjoyed the heck out of it. All wild eyed and licking it like his big brother and "mmmmm"ing and smiling the whole time. It took him quite a while to eat it too so I got a few things done while he was confined to his high chair. The best part though was when he got done with the sucker but realized he couldn't put the stick down. He was so sticky from the sucker, the stick was glued to his fat little hand. That occupied him for at least another five minutes until he started screaming and grunting hulk baby style and I had to stop laughing and rescue him from the evil sticky stick. Truth be told? I'd do it again.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2.0 Complete

Yay! Year two is complete. I would love to say I am a changed blogger for it but the truth is, I am still full of the same old crazy as usual. It did seem like it went by a lot faster this year than it did last year. Not sure if its because I just feel more comfortable posting or if I am more interesting this year than I was last.

Stop laughing.

Done? Ok. Here is to year two! Who else made it and who didn't? How do you feel about it?

Dancing Fools

This cracks me up. One, because that is the song they chose to dance to. Two, because D really gets into it. Maybe he will be a dance instructor when he gets older, no?


Monday, November 29, 2010

Mini Me

Who does this look like?
Little Me (1982)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where Are You Christmas?

No really. Where? This bah humbug thing is really starting to bother me now guys. Like, seriously. Why can't I find the happy Christmas spirit this year? Why is hiding? Why is it bothering me so much?

I feel like little Cindy-Lou Who. Only, a little less patient. I think maybe I am psyching myself out about it now. I am trying so desperately to feel it, it is slipping farther and farther away. I was talking to Tommy about it today and he is feeling the same way. He blames it on me because I am usually the jolly elf getting everyone excited and pumped up. Not this year though.

Not that I am dreading Christmas. I found out this past weekend that my sister is going to be able to come home for a few days and that is huge for me. I am so excited about that it just makes the absence of the Christmas spirit even more obvious I think.

I just keep hoping that it will find me. You guys hope for me too. I promise I will stop complaining if I can find it so you better hope hard. Harder. Heh. Ok, just keep your fingers crossed for me then.

How do you get in the Christmas mood? Are you there yet?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday


Yep. I am one of the crazies that went out last night. I've been doing it for over ten years and haven't missed a year. Sorry naysayers but you just can't beat the deals. Here is a breakdown:

Started in my first line at 8pm at Toys R Us for their 10pm sale. Then to Wal-Mart at midnight. Ran home for a couple of online deals. Then Target at 4am. Sears at 6am. Home Depot at 6:30am. Bed, Bath & Beyond at 6:45 and Big Lots at 7am.

Think I am crazy? Consider this:

I am two or three people away from being done shopping.

Everything I bought was at least half off. Most things were more but the best was 90% off.

Now, considering I bought no electronics or computers, here is the kicker for me:

I saved over $375.

Still think I'm crazy? Well, you are probably right but I am okay with that. Sorry but I'm not rich and that money saved on things I would have bought anyway will be useful elsewhere.

Luckily for me, I have very rarely run into the craziness some people talk about. For the most part, the chaos is very controlled and people are usually pretty friendly. The stores are always prepared for and deal quickly with the line cutters, rudies, etc. So, its nothing but fun and deals.

Oh, and exhaustion*. I'm getting too old for the up all night shit. I felt like I had been in a bar fight last night. No word on whether I won or not but I would like to think I did. Not that a little exhaustion will stop me next year.

What about you? Did you go out? Get good deals?

*Hence the ramblies. Forgive me

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful 2.0

T. He works so hard, so we can have whatever we want or need. I am blessed to be able to stay home with my boys and I know it.

My D. He is my little man. He keeps me on my toes and keeps me moving, but he also keeps me smiling. Mr. Chill for the most part except goodbyes. He hates goodbye. D loves with his whole being.  He never forgets a face or a friend. He sees no enemy, no danger. So brave, almost to a fault, he has never been afraid to climb to the highest point in a room and jump from it. He loves for you to wrestle with him but he is cool with chillin' on the couch all the same, as long as you are close. He is his little brother's hero. He has been so completely amazing with K I don't even have the words to express. It makes me all misty just thinking about it. He is just an amazing little boy and I am so thankful for everything he has given me in life.

My K. My little snuggle monster. He brings a whole different dimension and view on life to our little family. He loves to be held and snuggled. Not a baby on the move like D was, he is content to sit in your lap and snuggle into your chest for long periods. Happy go lucky until he isn't anymore and then out comes Mr. Hulk baby. He is energetic and very much the entertainer. He loves to sing and dance. He loves to be laughed at. He is much more conversational than D was. Almost more than is. My little chatterbox from the very first day. My squeakers. His personality is sharp and vibrant. He is a go big or go home type of kid. From screaming to falling to kissing and singing. Like I said before, he idolizes his brother. If his brother has it, he needs it too. If D does it, he has to try. Thank goodness he is more cautious than D though or he would end up in some hairy situations. K is dynamic. He is my little monkey and I am so thankful that he loves me as much as I love him.

My health. I am very lucky to be around considering the heart problems and general lifestyle I have lived. Now, My body is back on track and I don't (usually) have to worry about tachycardia or blood pressure. I almost never get sick. Of course when I do, its a doozy but for the most part, I am very lucky.

Coffee. The elixir of life here recently. I would be one cranky, tired Mama without it. Its probably bad to be thankful for something so small but thankful I am.

For my friends, my saving grace (you know who you are)! In real life and online, I really do have the best friends a girl could ask for. I seriously don't know how I would make it without them. They keep me sane, listen to my ramblings and keep me in place. They make me have fun, even when I don't feel like it. They keep me grounded and I am so thankful for their grace.

For a home, clothing and food. For all the good things and bad. There just isn't enough thanks!

I hope all of you have a very Happy Thanksgiving. What are you looking forward to the most?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Blast From the Past (Thanksgiving)

D's First Thanksgiving- 2007

D at 1 year old- 2008

D at 2 years old- 2009

K's First Thanksgiving- 2009

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Craftiness

 Ok, so the holidays are coming if I am ready or not. So, I thought I would share a few of my favorite homemade type gifts with you. These are all things I have made myself so they are legit. Heh.

Anyway, homemade is cheaper and more meaningful to the recipient so try a few out. Let me know what you think about them and if there are any you would like to see or try out! I haven't added all of the ones I have, just a few of my favorites.


For your lady friends. Well, and possible male: These are awesome big batch crafties so make some for all your lady friends. Yes, even your mother in law.


Bath Fizzies (This is the most complicated but it is also the one that people usually love to get the most.)
1/2 cup citric acid, dry powder
1 1/2c baking soda
2 tsp coconut oil (or any other emollient oil like almond, avocado or apricot kernel oil)
1/4 tsp fragrance or essential oil
Food coloring (if desired)
Paper baking cups or silicone mold

First you need to make the base mix, to do this sift together the bicarb soda& citric acid in a large dry bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup at a time to another dry bowl, to this add any dried flowers, glitter etc. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 teaspoon at a time of almond oil, 6- 8 drops of your chosen essential oil& 6 drops of food coloring. Pour the oil mixture into the 1/2 cup of base mix& mix quickly before it starts to fizz. Combine with your fingertips until all color is evenly distributed. Wipe a little sweet almond oil inside your molds. Fill the molds with the mixture, packing it in firmly. Repeat this process with 1/2 a cup at a time, otherwise it fizzes up and is not as nice a result. You can also use different colors and scents this way. Leave the bath bombs to set for a few days. When set lightly tap the mold and ease out gently or just give away in the paper cups.


Bath Salts
3c epsom salts
1 drop food coloring (if you want)
2 drops scented or essential oil (I like peppermint or lavender best)
Mix. Put in container.


Salt Scrub
2 cups sea salt
1 1/3 cups aloe vera baby oil (regular works too)
8 vitamin E, capsules
2 tablespoons honey
Scent if you want it

Mix. Put in container. 


Brownies in a Jar
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans or chocolate chips
One quart jar

Pour and press sugar into a clean and dry one quart jar. Add cocoa powder and press down firmly. Pour in chopped pecans or chocolate (you can leave this out if you want, making sure they are evenly layered in the jar. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into jar and seal.

Attach these directions to the jar: "Empty mix into large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup of butter or margarine and 4 slightly beaten eggs. Mix until completely blended. Spread batter into a lightly greased or sprayed 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until done. Cut and eat." (Of course you can use your own words but don't forget to give them the directions and don't change the important stuff).



For the kids: These are all great for a playgroup type exchange or even just your relatives. You can make a ton of these things pretty cheaply so be sure to make some for your kiddos.

Cooked Play Dough
(Most like regular play dough)
1c flour (not self-rising)
1/2c salt
1c water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Mix in saucepan over low heat until rolls into a ball. (It does not have to heat long.) Just keep it in an airtight container. If you need to make different colors, add food coloring while mixing over heat.


Peanut Butter Play Dough (For kids over 1 year)
1c creamy peanut butter (Not the natural kind, its too oily)
1/4c honey
1c instant nonfat dry milk*

Mix together until smooth. The end.

*Obviously if your child has nut allergies this one is a no-no. I have heard of people substituting flour for the dry milk for allergies but not much can replace peanut butter.


Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Recipe (This one is messy. I don't recommend letting younger kids help with this one.)
Two parts plaster of paris
One part water (or even just a little less)
Coloring of some sort (I usually use tempera paint or food coloring but you could really use anything.)

Measure the plaster of paris into a bowl, then gradually add warm water, stirring to combine. Add coloring, then allow mixture to thicken. Add water or not to make it the consistency of thick frosting or glue.

Now, you can use pretty much anything as a mold. When I did it, I used soap molds but you can use paper towel rolls or muffin pans or ice cube trays. You get the idea. It will take it a few days to harden so it just needs to be something you don't use all the time.

Important: The dust of plaster of paris can be bad for your lungs. Read the box.


Soap Crayons 
Ivory soap flakes (These work best but you can use any bar soap and just grate it up)
Food coloring
Water
Ice cube trays (plastic works best)

Pour 1/8 cup of warmish water into a bowl. Add one cup of the soap flakes. Mix them slowly until you have a very thick paste. Add food coloring to suit your likes(don't have to use much and it will dry slightly darker than it looks wet). Shape into ice cube trays or just make balls with your hands and put on wax paper.  Let them dry for a few days before popping them out of the ice cube trays or handling the balls too much. Takes 3 or 4 days to dry completely.


For the grandparents/ keepsakes: Here is where I get all crazy and complicated on you guys. good news is, if you have made it this far, you can do these too. I'll include pictures if I have them.


Snowman Hand Print Ornament
Plastic ball ornament (Obviously a darker color is best but try to get a matte finish too.)
White paint
Black sharpie
Colored paint pens

Set up your area first. Paint on a plate with paintbrush, baby wipes for hands (especially with toddlers), several balls and the little tray they come in or something to dry them on upside down. Now, gather up your little one. In my experience, its best to do this part quickly, while talking in up beat tones talking them through what you are doing. It should be over before they knew what hit them. Anyway, paint the entire palm and fingers with white paint. Be careful not to get too much on there or it will not look right (it may take a few tries to get it just right). Have them grip the bottom of the ornament, trying to just make it a quick grasp and release so it doesn't smear. See the snowmen? Cute, right? Let the paint dry and then decorate your snowmen with your paint pens how ever you want.



Memory Ball
Ball ornament (plastic, matte is best but glass works)
Sharpie

Take the ball and write this year's family memories on it. Don't forget the date. Hang on tree. Do this every year to create an awesome keepsake for your family.


Hand Print Tree (This is cute on a t shirt or shopping bag or anything cloth really)
Green fabric paint
Yellow fabric paint
Red fabric paint
Brown fabric paint
Cheap sponge (cut one rectangle for the trunk and one star)

Prewash and iron the fabric you intend on putting this on. Same with the hand print ornament, get your space ready. I suggest doing a dry run with your child's hand to see about how big you are going to make your tree so you can center it easier. Ok, when you are ready, make a brown trunk at the middle bottom of where you plan to make the base of your tree. Now, make four, green hand prints palm side towards the top of the fabric, centered and overlapping over the top of the tree trunk. Slightly above and centered over that, make three overlapping hand prints. Then two, then one. See the tree? Let the green hand prints dry and then add your star and use their fingers to dot ornaments on the tree with other colors if you want. You can also use puffy paint to make garland and such but its really cuter the less you mess with it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Imperfect

Before T and I started dating many moons ago, we worked together as servers in a tacky steakhouse. You know, the kind where you throw the peanuts on the floor? When ever we worked together, he would make me a paper rose out of the little beverage napkins laying around. Usually just a single rose and would hand it to me or stick it in my apron as I walked past. It was corny but a sweet gesture on busy nights and something I got used to.

Then he quit. He moved on to work for another restaurant and I barely ever saw him. Occasionally he would come in to visit all of us and every time I was there, a single paper rose. If he forgot, I would tease him about it and it would be sitting there waiting the next time I walked by.

Then I quit. Moved on to other ventures and never looked back. I thought about him every once in a while, wondering what ever became of him and his paper roses. The few times I went into the restaurant he had quit the tacky steakhouse to work for, he was never there. Eventually I just gave up. Like you do when you figure you will never see someone again.

Then we did. We ran into each other a year or so later and it was instant sparks. We were engaged within 6 weeks and married in a year.

That was a little over six years ago and there have been many paper flowers along the way. Birthdays, babies births, date nights. Fewer and fewer through the years. They have almost stopped. We have been busy with lifes ups and downs and those paper flowers have taken the back burner.

Until this week. One night, Tommy brought home a bouquet of paper roses. White and papery in a plastic kid's cup. They were all perfectly formed and arranged in their "vase" when came through the door and thrust them at me with out pomp. I smiled and gave him a hug. Thanked him, put them on my nightstand and then went on about bathing the boys.


After the boys got out of the bath, T was getting them into their pajamas while I caught up on some email when K carried the bouquet of white paper roses in to me and dumped them in the floor. Crumpling a couple as he stepped on them to crawl up into my lap. T picked them up and rearranged them back in their cup and placed them back on the nightstand, where they belonged.

The next morning I woke up and rolled over face to face with the paper roses. Mostly perfect and beautiful with a few crumpled and stomped on mixed in. I was struck with how much that bouquet of paper roses represented our relationship. Not just the memories associated with the paper roses and their significance but also the imperfect bits.

Our marriage has been filled with beautiful, pristine paper roses. Two gorgeous little boys, good times, lots of laughs and fun. Working together to make our lives better and our marriage stronger.

Lately though we have seen our share of imperfect, crumpled roses. Thrown down in emotion and stomped almost flat.

Its the mix of those things. The beautiful roses and the ugly roses that make us work. That make us, us.  The fragility in the balance that makes me wonder sometimes though. The ability to look past the downtrodden rose and see the pristine ones shining through is solely on my part. I want this to work. To make those perfect roses appear more often than the damaged ones is the goal. Not something that I claim to be easy, hence the mix.

I guess the thing I came to realize more than anything is that sometimes you have to work harder at keeping the roses intact. Sometimes it doesn't work. The roses can be made easily and readily but keeping them beautiful can require some work. Unattended roses, when paper or in the mind, can become sad and warped. Imperfect.



So here is to striving for a mix. Not perfection. Not imperfection. A mix. Crumpled paper roses to make the perfect ones stay perfect.

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