Friday, October 8, 2010


My computer, along with our photos and videos, has crashed. Again. You would think I would've learned from the last time to backup my photos and videos... But no... nope! Actually I was in the process of finding an online storage program for my videos and photos that would allow me to import and export them for free. So if anyone knows of anything like that (other than DropShots; I don't like them!) please let me know! I can't let this happen again. All my videos of my Zoë baby are GONE except for the very few I was able to upload to Facebook.

Even more helpful... if anyone knows if there's a way that I can find and retrieve my photos and videos on my computer I would probably cry. For now I need to first get the computer fixed.

Ugh. I hate this. I swear these companies program their products to break at a certain point.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One month away from a birthday bash!

Someone is having a birthday party in exactly one month! Can you guess who?! Why surely NOT Zoë! But yes it is true. The baby is now about to enter toddlerhood. Her party is going to be autumn-themed with bowls of hearty, homemade potato soup, homemade rolls and pumpkin cupcakes.

Here are pictures from Zoë's 11-month shoot and some commentary about her milestones!

Zoë has been eating table foods with us for the past couple of months. She totally skipped baby foods and hates to be fed. She likes feeding herself! She can eat pizza, noodles, soft fruits and veggies, cheese, crackers and pretty much anything we eat that is soft. She only has her two bottom teeth, too!

Just today Zoë took 8 steps in a row! I've got a toddler now!!! She had been taking a step or two for the past several days but today was the first day she took more than 2 steps and walked toward me. It was so exciting. Abigail and I were jumping up and down and clapping!

Zoë does a few signs. Right now she only signs "more" and "eat". I plan on working with her more on doing signs for "cold", "bath", "drink", "milk", etc.

Zoë still isn't talking much. She said "Elaina" as her first word weeks ago but hasn't said it again since. She says "Uh oh" and just babbles everything else. Her pediatrician says it is normal, though, which is good. Zoë's babbling is toddler babbling, not baby babbling (meaning she mixes up all the babbling sounds to mimic language instead of just saying one thing over and over). My other girls talked so early and had huge vocabs before their first birthdays that I was comparing Zoë to them. I was relieved to hear she is doing just fine for her age!

Favorite things and games- Peek-a-Boo is a huge hit, playing "parachute" with a blanket or towel or just good old-fashioned wrestling and jumping on Mom is fun! Any toy or item that is off limits is her favorite thing to play with of course, too! I think I've got my hands full with this one... Did I mention she loves cleaning out cabinets and drawers? That is her absolute favorite thing to do.

Zoë loves clapping when she's excited or if we clap for her! And she loves giving high fives (if she knows you well enough to give you one that is)!

Zoë's favorite playmates aren't dolls or stuffed animals (she could care less about them). Nope, she adores her sisters. In the morning I'll bring Zoë into my room and if she hears Abigail in her room she wriggles out of my arms and speed crawls to the big girls' shared room to hang out.

 Standing by herself in this pic (she's been standing alone for a month now):

Zoë was in the 75th percentile for weight when she was smaller but is now in the 25th percentile and I think I know why! She's a mover and a groover. Always crawling, walking along furniture, wiggling and wriggling. She's never really been a cuddler but still lets me hold her and wants to be held at times. But even now she won't fall asleep in my arms unless absolutely exhausted.

Zoë is still breastfed but now that she is eating three meals and two snacks a day we nurse 4 times a day. She started sleeping through the night when I started putting her in her crib at night for bed. She can now go down to bed full awake and put herself to sleep rather than being rocked and nursed to sleep!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Because Facebook Makes me FUNNY!

Okay so I DID have three awesome blog posts written up in my head and now that I've sat down... I don't remember a single one. Go figure! And I would've written them down except I was "writing" in my head while in the shower. So instead I leave you with some of my Facebook updates because sometimes I'm funnier with one-liners or witty statuses. I have so much more but will just share in spurts as to not overwhelm your funny box... seriously your sides might split!

September 18, 2010 
Elaina singing (to a tune similar to "The Wheels on the Bus") in the car on the way home: "Abby is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping... all the way home! Elaina is so pretty, so pretty, so pretty... all the way home! Mommy is driving, driving, driving... all the way home!" And then she gets to Daddy and I started laughing SO HARD! "Daddy is sweating, sweating, sweating... all the way home!"

September 16, 2010 
Daddy asked Abigail what Mommy's job was. She replied, "She makes jewelry!" When Daddy asked her what HE did for his job she said, "You pee in the toilet!" Apparently he spends a lot of time in the bathroom at home?!?! Not quite sure what that means but I laughed so hard I almost choked.

August 23, 2010 
Abigail: "Can I have more milk, Dad?" Dad: "Mommy just said no." Abigail: "No! Mommy just said to hold my horses."

July 30, 2010 
While trying to get Elaina to clean up her mess before the sleepover she fell to the floor and dramatically told me, "I'm ALLERGIC to cleaning!"

July 27, 2010 
Elaina is in the other room yelling, "Who has painted my roses RED?!"

July 22, 2010 
Elaina quote of the day: "Mom, when you buy a car do you get to drive it home?"

July 17, 2010 
Called Abigail to dinner and she said to me, "Mom I am a princess and I'm cleaning!" Then she continued to sing, just like something out of a Disney movie. LOL!

July 17, 2010
Is there anything more startling then your dog jumping up from their bed and barking hysterically out of nowhere?!?!?!?! Especially when you're alone?

July 15, 2010 
is watching my nephew today and he told me, "I want to wiv wif you fowever!"

June 24, 2010 
I bent down to pick something up. Abby tells me, "Mom, you have a big butt!" with a giggle. I think it is time to join Weight Watchers!

June 23, 2010 
Abby's favorite color is purple. After breakfast I grab a purple washcloth to wipe her hands/face and I tell her, "Here's a purple rag for my purple girl!" Abby responds, "Yeah!!! I'm the purple girl... And my dad is a black girl!"

May 26, 2010 
HURRY up and finish our car so I can go to Hobby Lobby! It is of the utmost importance! LOL!

March 31, 2010 
Abby snuck Zoë some of her grape juice (via sippy cup- lots of sputtering and coughing). Nice. Ruined her clothes and I kind of freaked before I realized Z is old enough to have a TINY bit of juice though I don't WANT her to have any juice. So all is well. That was our adventure of the day. Oh and Abigail refusing to potty. She's been holding it... all... day.

March 29, 2010
Abby has invisible friends (usually people she knows but she pretends they're here when they're not). She asked me if I wanted to talk to Jesus and waved to "someone" standing next to her. So I said, "Jesus, please help Abby to be strong and courageous potty training today!" Abby, not really into this potty training thing said, "Oh, He's not here anymore. He went to work with Daddy!"

March 12, 2010 
Elaina came home in tears telling me, "I didn't have a nap today! I'm SO tired! I just want to change my clothes and lay down!" When did my 4 yr old turn into an 20 yr old?!

February 26, 2010 
Elaina's version of the Subway jingle: "Five dollarb... five dollarb... dot COM!"

February 22, 2010 
I just told Elaina her eyes were beautiful and reminded me of chocolate! Then I said that Zoe's eyes were blue like blueberries! So I asked her, "My eyes are green--- what is something yummy that you eat that are green like my eyes?" She got excited and yelled, "PICKLES!" So I guess my eyes are beautiful and green...................... like pickles!

I've got some crafty fun goodness I might post soon or maybe some recipes. I'm trying out several new recipes and can't wait to share!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Exciting News!

So I don't know if I've ever mentioned on here before but Daniel and a few buddies started a worship band. They took forever trying to come up with a name so I stepped in and offered some suggestions and one of them took. I want to introduce you to Waiting Here! You can click the band name to visit their Facebook page, listen to the music, check out the photos and become a FAN! Tell your pastor about them and see if they'd be interested in having the band come out for a show.

Wholly Surrendered is my favorite song of the four listed. If you listened which was your favorite?! I love my husband's voice. *sigh* It is the very first thing I noticed about him.

Since we're talking about him and I'm feeling all mushy right now... I met Daniel on a missions trip to Mardi Gras. I was in an internship Bible college and relationships were a huge no-no! Our church and a few others got together for this trip so we were meeting new people for the first time. Needless to say I wasn't really paying attention to all the people involved on the trip beyond my own roommates (four other ladies and two guys).

Daniel was the worship leader on the trip and when he got up to sing I was prepared for a train wreck (in my defense I had never heard him sing before and he was a really, really, realllllly goofy person and had a weirdo beard). Those first notes hit the air and my mouth   l i t e r a l l y  fell to the floor. I'm not kidding! I was standing there gaping with my mouth hanging open. 

And...... I actually knew in that moment I was going to marry him. Then I tried to run from that thought since I had strict rules in the school but it caught up with me and 8 months later we were saying "I do".

Some people notice the eyes or the butt first. I noticed the voice. So mesmerizing and haunting! Go listen to Wholly Surrendered and you'll see what I mean.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Much, much better!

Thank you for all your prayers!

So I'm feeling so much better. I slept so soundly that I felt like I closed my eyes and opened them right back up to morning. I didn't wake up once! Not even when Daniel came to bed (and he's like a lumbering bear; no matter how quiet he thinks he is being he is still loud). I woke up feeling tired (go figure) but the pain was gone. We went to the grocery store, I lugged my huge tub of fall decor out of our third story, vacuumed, cleaned out the fridge, folded laundry, etc. without a word from my ovary.

I am so relieved! I was really hoping I wouldn't have any issues today and having the pain leave is very reassuring. I still plan on making an appointment soon, though. Just to check things out!

On another note my jewelry business is going fantastically! I may not have ever mentioned this here but I actually changed the name to something more personal and memorable. My hand-stamped business is now called Joy Belle.

If you want to become my Facebook fan (click link below) there will be special sneak peaks, giveaway opportunities, behind-the-scenes type posts on what I do, lots of pictures of jewelry to drool over............ hope to see you over at Joy Belle!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Pain

So I'm having some pains. This would be the third day. I am thinking a cyst on my left ovary so I've taken Tylenol and I'm heading to bed really early in just a few minutes. It's just really frustrating to me. I have been fine up until that first period and now it feels like things are flaring back up again.

I've tried to look up prevention of ovarian cysts but there is no information out there (that I have found). We try to eat as much homemade foods as possible (no MSG, no preservatives and fillers, etc.) and all I drink is water and milk and the rare Starbucks treat. I'm actually exercising more (maybe that has aggravated things?!). I have been stressed out about many things lately and I know cysts are based on hormonal things and stress messes with hormones. So perhaps that is it. Not that any amount of my guessing is going to come to a conclusive answer. Still frustrating no matter the cause.

It makes me feel hopeless about this cycle but we'll see. Just because I feel hopeless doesn't mean that it is or that things end up dismal. I've already resolved to not expect to be pregnant for awhile because I don't expect it to happen very fast at all (humor me! Sometimes when you least expect it it happens so I'll just be the least expectant from here on out, ha ha). Truthfully I think Daniel is more tenacious about TTC right now than I am which is definitely a role reversal! I worry that if I get a negative this first cycle he'll cry or something and then I'll feel guilty my woman parts didn't do their job.

Ahhhh well I better get my butt in bed and prevent any bursting and twisted cysts because I can't afford a $300+ ER visit. If I'm still having problems tomorrow I'm calling my midwife to see what she says. It's too early to be a pregnancy or possible ectopic. I don't feel that is it at all. Sharp pains in my ovary when I walk and move; pains that come and go. However no fever, dizziness or anemia or anything like that. Definitely cystic and definitely annoying and definitely stressing me out. Say a prayer if you think of me tonight! And please, if YOU have a prayer request leave me one. I hate asking for prayers without feeling the need to pray for that person right back, ya know?

P.S. I just found some VERY interesting information that says I shouldn't be diagnosed as someone with PCOS but rather as someone with just polycystic-appearing ovaries. Here's the blurb from EMedicine:

Polycystic-appearing ovary is different from the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which includes other symptoms and physiological abnormalities in addition to the presence of ovarian cysts. Polycystic ovarian syndrome involves metabolic and cardiovascular risks linked to insulin resistance. These risks include increased glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

I don't have insulin resistance so I guess I was misdiagnosed. And it sounds like many other women may have been as well. Either way one thing is the same in both of them; cysts!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


We've decided to do a budget makeover and so we're pinching pennies and we're pinching really hard! I'm going to start going to Aldi's for groceries (we have a nice, new one really close to my house) especially as the grocery store I frequent is about a 30 minute drive. I need to start saving on gasoline, too!

So I'm excited to see how our budget looks after our makeover. We don't have cable/satellite, no cell phones (D has one through work), we are very aware of turning off lights and electronics and water. We're also going to try to refinance our house! I'm hoping that we'll have enough equity to finish the projects I've started and have been unable to finish due to dental bills.

Speaking of which... more poor dentalphobic husband has to get all four of his wisdom teeth pulled and we have to pay out-of-pocket as his coverage for oral surgery doesn't begin until March! I think we're just going to get the one out that is bothering him and then hopefully the others will be fine until 2011.

I'm reading The Birth Order right now and loving it. It is about how your birth order may have helped develop your personality and nuisances. It really is so true for everyone I have applied it to and this man (who is a Christian, btw) has been studying this for 35 years! I have found out that even though I am the fourth of five children I have the attributes of a firstborn, middle child AND baby of the family but more so the firstborn. Why? Because there's more than 5 years between me and my next oldest sibling so it begins a new generation, yet I'm also sandwiched in the middle along with two other siblings and I'm the baby GIRL of the family.

It has opened my eyes to so much about myself AND my husband. Most importantly it is helping me to know how to raise my kids based on their birth order and their uniqueness so I can help shape them into well-rounded little people! I highly recommend. Go, buy, love!

On a totally different subject (wow, if you've read this much you're awesome) I think this is O-week. We should know the first week of October if there's a bun in the oven or not. I'm not really thinking this will be our month but you never know! I'm just going to not worry about it and just have fun! The rest will fall into place (hopefully!).

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I want to be real with myself and with you. I sat here contemplating what to write and didn't feel like writing out another list of updates on which child is excelling here or which child is working on this or about our zoo of pets. And I decided to be honest and just write what is on my heart at this VERY moment.

And I have to confess that today I was no ray of sunshine to be around. My name is JOY so I should be joyful all the time, right? But I'm not. In fact I'm far too cranky and short-fused lately. Ever since AF came I can feel that "old Joy" rearing her ugly head. My husband has a nickname for me when I act this way... he calls me by my name backward and will ask where his wife went. 'Yoj.'

I know it is the hormones but I hate blaming them. I should be in control of my emotions. I don't need to get upset over every little thing. And yet I do. Now I don't ever whine to my husband, "The hormones make me do the things I do!" at all. I definitely think it but I don't dare vocalize that because I hate excuses and blame. Don't get me wrong- no one is being hurt. I just grumble to myself, complain about everything and yell at everyone if they make a mess or don't listen.

And I'm so so so sick of it! I'm sick of me. And I can't escape me.

So I guess all of that is to say... am I the only one? Am I the only one who has these bad days? Or yells? Or gets upset over the stupidest things and then feels like a total donkey for having to apologize all the time? Or better yet- feels like a complete hypocrite?

I can't take Metformin (used to treat Diabetes and PCOS; I have PCOS) because I'm still breastfeeding. And Metformin is really helpful in controlling the hormones and helping you to lose weight. So then I feel fat and angry on top of just feeling emotional all the time. I'm just in a slump where I'm not happy with who I am. I act before I speak, I get cranky at the drop of a hat, I feel horrible in anything I wear and don't have money to get anything new (we're PINCHING pennies right now for Daniel's wisdom tooth extraction that we have to pay for out-of-pocket).

Okay, whine over. See? I'm sick of even hearing myself whine. Thank you for listening!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Shots

At 10-months-old Zoë finally got her first shots. She did absolutely amazing. The experience was way different then when I got my other girls vaccinated per the CDC's recommended schedule. She cried for about 2 seconds and then was fine. She babbled to herself in the car (she usually screams in the car- she hates riding!) and didn't really seem "off" except for some teething pain. This was on Friday so we made it through the weekend without a fever or any other side effects from the shots.

Zoë was 18 lbs 5 ounces and I forget how long. They usually write that stuff down for me but our regular nurse went home sick so the step-in didn't do it. And of course I didn't even think about it until I got home and wanted to relay everything to Daniel.

Anyway, I think vaccinations are incredibly important. Without them diseases are making a comeback and coming at full force (over half a dozen children just died in California from Pertussis, AKA Whooping Cough). But I also believe in delaying vaccinations. I don't know that it is wise to give a newborn a Hepatitis B vaccine, for example. That's a vaccine that would be more appropriate when your child started school.

My sister-in-law made a great point about vaccinations in general. There are people dying in third world countries and they will walk for miles and stand in the hot sun for hours when someone comes to deliver a vaccine to their people but in America we don't see death and disease like they do so it's so much easier for us to take vaccines for granted or to say my children are better off without them. 

I'm not big on telling people what to do. Seriously! Anyone who knows me knows that I try to keep my nose out of other peoples' business. So I'm not saying any of this to spark some great debate or make anyone feel guilty for choices they have or haven't made. Just follow your heart! I followed mine and so far we are doing awesome.

Oh and I have some FUNNY THINGS KID SAY moments around here lately.

The other day Elaina told Daniel- "Daddy, the embryo is inside the seed" to which he raised his brows. He laughingly told me later that he was thinking to himself, "How does my five-year-old know the word 'embryo'?!" Apparently they are learning about seeds in school and the little baby plant inside the seed is called an embryo. But we had no idea so her funny little sayings were such a mystery to us!

Abigail told me that she was going to turn back into a baby and go into my tummy and tickle me and that I was going to laugh! I love the age of 3!!! So imaginative and silly!

Abigail is quite the little comedian, too. But she's also got a wild streak in her. She reminds me so much of me and I don't know whether to be proud or scared, ha ha! Anyway all day she talks to her imaginary friends. One friend is "Hannah" and one is "Prince" and the other is "Mr. Nick" (Elaina's PK teacher from last year who will most likely be Abby's teacher next year). She just chatters with them all day long. Not in a weird way, though. She just imagines she's at school or that she's a princess waiting for her prince. It just makes me giggle to listen to her, when she has no idea I'm listening. I'll have to catch something on video soon!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Say hello to my little friend!

It is official people! And I don't think I could ever be more excited, which is absolutely INSANE... but AF is finally here. I haven't had a period since January 13, 2009. So far, so good. I was expecting doubled-over cramps and lots of painkillers but so far I had no inkling AF might be upon me except for EXTREME bloating. Ugh! I lost 5 lbs over the last couple weeks and yet my stomach looks pregnant. It's so gross and annoying. I can't suck it in to save my life. People keep asking if I'm pregnant. I'm like, "No! I'm just super bloated" as though they care to know that. Well... like YOU would care to know any of this, ha ha!

I almost forgot where I kept my box of feminine products it has been so long. We don't have a typical bathroom; just a claw tub, toilet and porcelain sink (no drawers) and then I remembered I keep them stored UNDER the tub in a plastic container, right in reach but out of sight of curious little hands. I fondly remember finding one of my mom's pads (unused) when I was a toddler and putting it in my underwear and waddling around. This was before the ultra-thins, too, so it was quite thick and large. THANK YOU WHOEVER MADE ULTRA-THINS! 

So I'm off to snuggle with my husband on the couch and maybe work on some jewelry and........... chug tons of water to hopefully get rid of some of this bloat.

As far as WHY I'm excited... Daniel and I have talked about baby #4 and it is on! Having my period will hopefully kick start these dear ovaries of mine. Please pray for me! I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2008 and was anovulatory (not ovulating). We're not done having babies, maybe 1 or 2 more, and we want to have them now so they're all close in age and we're not in our 50's and still raising babies because we waited or whatever. So pray that my ovaries and hormones and body cooperate, that PCOS can be done with once and for all. G'night friends!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Co-sleeping Hypocrite?!

So if you caught on in my last post my sweet Zoë has been weaned to her own bed! During our little staycation I had this strong feeling that it was time. She is a really, really mobile baby and I was afraid she'd roll off the bed or climb over me and fall face first onto our hardwood floor. I just kept envisioning that happening in my mind and knew I had to prevent that from happening.

I'm a huge advocate for doing what feels best for you and your family and I also highly promote co-sleeping if one feels it is the right way to go. So needless to say, even though I felt it was time, I had that nasty Mommy Guilt that can creep up on us mommies. I'm no hypocrite! I still strongly encourage families to try co-sleeping if they feel it is something that would benefit them. But there also comes a time for co-sleeping to end and this was the time for us. You never know when that time will come, it just comes when the time comes. Ha ha!

I had been trying to get Zoë in her bed for naps without luck so I thought we'd try to switch things up and try bedtime. And of course it worked like a charm. She still won't take naps in there or at least won't nap in there for longer than 20 minutes but she does go to bed at night!

The first night I stayed upstairs with her and hummed and rubbed her back. She went to sleep in her crib and only woke up twice in the night but muttered herself back to sleep without me having to go in there. Now she goes to bed like a pro. I lay her down fully awake and she rolls over and closes her eyes.

My personal tips for weaning baby from your bed:

-It is said that co-sleeping is most beneficial for your baby's respiratory system up to at least 6 months of age. Your baby hits a critical developmental milestone, however, shortly afterward called "separation anxiety". So the ideal time to wean is 9-months plus. Note that every child is different and as their mother (or father) only you can make the judgment on that perfect and right time for your family!

-When safety becomes an issue it is time to re-evaluate your sleeping arrangements. Co-sleeping is safe when done correctly but once your child becomes mobile new considerations need to be taken in to account. Most co-sleeping couples get rid of the bed frame and sleep on a mattress on the floor to prevent falls. This is not something we wanted to do. Choose what is right for you!

-Give it time. Try nap-times first. Let baby get used to the crib and their room. Have playtime in there and put them in their crib with some toys while you shower or do the dishes and see how they do. You might be surprised to find them happily engaged and content in their own space! Or you may find they are terrified and horrified of their new surroundings. Take your time and test the waters.

-I'm not a big fan of crying it out whatsoever. A little whining and fussing is different. Full-out crying and terror is not okay in my personal opinion. If you need to rock your child to sleep and then put them in bed do it! You won't create a dependent monster. I started off putting Zoë down after rocking and nursing her to sleep and now she goes to bed drowsy or awake.

-Lose the Mommy Guilt! That's right! Don't let those nasty feelings creep up on you. You may feel a little sad as this chapter in your life closes and new ones open up which is definitely alright. I was definitely sad and missed having my baby in bed, still do! But ultimately I know she is safer now and we are all getting better sleep.

The biggest argument against co-sleeping is that your child will become so dependent on you and still be in your bed five years later. If you can wean them before or shortly after their first birthday that shouldn't be an issue. Both of my highly dependent and clingy girls (Elaina and Zoë), both of whom I thought would never get out of my bed, were both out before their first birthdays. And once they were in their own beds they did fabulously for bedtime, sleeping through the night and sleeping soundly.

Happy 10-months to my Zoë girl! She's been sick all this week with a nasty cold but I've got SO MANY posts swimming in my head. Now that she's in her bed I have more time for blogging (I'd been holding her all night, every night, so it hurt my back to sit here with her). Can't wait to catch up with everyone again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Elementary My Dear Watson!

Elaina has been in Kindergarten for 4 days now and I know some of you mommies out there are sending your child to school for the first time and may be wondering what to expect... especially when your little one arrives back home and has the worst meltdown you've ever seen.

Now I don't know if every child is like that but every experienced mom I've spoken with has had the same thing happen with their elementary-aged children, especially the youngest of the bunch which would be preschool through 1st grade. But the older ones can most definitely hit rock bottom the moment they get through the door as well.

Their day is filled with activity and is typically fast-paced depending on what type of school they are immersed in. Their senses are tickled all day long, they're around other kids with differing personalities, they are encouraged to run and play and be active, they're being taught to be social and how to behave with one another, their minds are being challenged... it is a BIG day to be in Kindergarten!

So what does your little one do when they get in the door? They may melt to the floor in a fit of tears for no good reason, they may get snappy and irritable with you, they may push their siblings away and pick fights, they may even just fall onto the couch and start snoring! This is when you have to be really careful how you respond. The best thing to do is to get into your child's tiny shoes and see their day from their perspective. Or perhaps compare it to your own work day. I don't know about you but when dinnertime hits I've reached my limit for the day! I'm tired, cranky and just want to be left alone. Similarly your child needs some space to unwind.

So here are my 3 tips for getting Elaina home in a happy mood! And I hope they help you with your little one, whether they're going to school this year or in the future.

1). Have a snack ready! Even though Elaina gets snacks at school she is incredibly more active at school than at home which means her little body needs more energy food. Cut up some fruit, put PB on some celery, grab a glass of milk and have it ready for them. A high protein snack is a great idea! And remember your child probably isn't getting nearly as much fluids as they need so give them lots of water (refrain from juice, soda and other beverages!). This will get your child's blood sugars level for [hopefully] less meltdowns. I also ask Elaina to take her shoes and socks off the moment she gets home and to wash her hands with soap in order to get her snack as part of the routine.

2). Give them space! Try to refrain from bombarding them with a million questions about their day. They need time to process the day in their little minds and may be overwhelmed by all the new lights, faces, names, smells, foods, etc. I wait until we've started eating dinner to ask about everyones' day. However if they are willing and ready to talk all on their own, before dinner, be an active listener, drop what you're doing and give them your full attention.
  • Some days I just have Elaina go to her room, by herself, in the quiet. Oftentimes she falls asleep until dinner and other times she just reads quietly or relaxes. Her sister pestering her the moment she walks in the door is really hard for Elaina which is why her bedroom can be a safe zone to relax while everyone else stays downstairs.
  • I've got dinner to make and a baby to chase around the house, everyone is getting cranky, so I might put on a short 20-30 minute video or show (educational is best) so they can just unwind and let me get their food done. I'm not a big promoter of letting kids watch a lot of TV. I don't think a child should come home and watch TV until bedtime for a couple of hours. But every now and then letting them just veg out with an educational show isn't going to hurt anyone.
  • Reading time! Reading is a great way to relax and de-stress. And as a Kindergartner Elaina has 10-minutes of reading as her homework everyday. Oftentimes I just have the girls go in the playroom and lay on beanbags with some books. Or we'll all cuddle together to read the books Elaina brings from school.
  • Bath time. Bathing is so relaxing and it is fun! Sometimes we do this after our snack (let's face it; your child may come home stinky from sweating and playing and just needs one anyway!).
  • Tying into the bath time, which we sometimes do before dinner, is putting on pajamas. There is just something about being in your PJs that is relaxing.
3). Strict bedtime. I really let a lot of things slide this summer in regards to bedtime. But now our bedtime is strictly 7pm. As my children get older we'll push it back but right now your elementary-aged child needs an incredible amount of sleep. Plan their bedtime accordingly depending on when they need to get up for school. Even the child who wakes at the break of dawn may be hard to waken once they begin school because they are so fatigued.

All in all have a nice routine set in place when your child gets home.
Ours is: healthy energy snack, books (homework), playtime/downtime, dinner, playtime, bath, pajamas, bedtime.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I love back-to-school! I love the smell of the school supplies, I love picking out the supplies and the new backpack, I love school. Elaina's uniform tops arrived in the mail today and she's all set for the big day on Monday. I asked her tonight what she will learn about in Kindergarten and she informed me she already knows how to read and write so she's not sure. Oh that girl makes me giggle!

Abigail told me that she's ready for school now, too. When we went to buy Elaina's school supplies Abby threw a fit for about 20 minutes in the store because she couldn't get a backpack, too. I felt so badly. So I think we're going to go back to Target and pick up some of their wonderful school materials in the dollar section (workbooks, for example) and do a little bit of homeschooling to prepare her for school next year.

Did I mention we finally named the black kitten? And did I tell you that he is in fact a he and not a she? Well his name is Solomon and he's a little terror and piglet. I swear he is a dog trapped in a cat's body. He is always cracking me up.

I saw at Hobby Lobby the other day that they've already got Christmas and Halloween decorations out! I am so excited about getting some new fall decor, hopefully. We'll see what the budget allows! But they've got a ton of really neat stuff.

Most of all I'm excited for the change of seasons because it is HOT HOT HOT and I'm ready for some cooler weather, football season, late nights in the cool of the night, the autumn sky, leaves changing colors... mmmmm! I love this time of year!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Loving!

I've been gone! We took a little Staycation here at home since we can't ever afford to go anywhere. And it was really fun. We saw Despicable Me in the theater, we went to Crown Center to hang out at the Clifford Exhibit and Kaleidoscope. Today we went to the Toy and Miniature Museum and I saw my dream house as a little dollhouse! Seriously. I told Daniel he needed to build me an almost exact replica of this house; it was SO cool! 

 We love Clifford, the big red dog!

I don't think the hotdog is big enough...

Goth Baby?! This is what happens when you turn your back for ONE second! She sucks on a blue marker.This is an unedited picture so you can see her real hair color, too! It is red but I see a lot of new blonde growing in.

I also gave the girls haircuts (well the older ones anyway; Zoë is still working on growing her hair)! Abigail wanted bangs like her big sister. I giggle so much when she says she wants to do what Elaina does! She ended up looking like a little porcelain doll.

Elaina is starting school on Monday! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. My kids have been fighting and fighting and fighting. I'm so ready for a reprieve from the fighting and for her to get involved in school again. It's been so hot we haven't gone outside a whole lot. Now that school is starting it is supposed to cool down some, go figure!

And the biggest news I have is that Zoë has been going to bed in her own room, in her own crib. We're finally putting her room and crib to good use! Seriously she was really starting to freak me out in my bed. She's a mover and I was so afraid she'd crawl over me in the middle of the night and fall onto our hardwood floors. She was also still nursing in the middle of the night, all night long. Just waking me up every 5-20 minutes. So two nights ago I told her it was time for her to go to her bed, for her own safety. I just had to make up my mind to do it and just do it.

So she screamed at me for a while but I stayed there with her and just sang and hummed softly. She was angry more than anything. When she started doing the tired "fussing" (different from crying; it is a soothing technique for babies) I left the room. And then she was out. And she stayed in her crib that first night for the entire night. I heard her wake and soothe herself back to sleep twice but never once did she cry for me.

Needless to say when I woke up I was so engorged it hurt and my breasts were seriously DOUBLE in size. I didn't think that was possible but it happened! And I woke up before her. I waited... and waited for her to wake up. Finally decided to go clean the attic and by 9AM I finally decided to wake her myself so I could relieve my breasts before they imploded. 

Last night was night #2 for her in her own crib and she went down quicker and didn't make a single peep the entire night. I also had to wake her up again this morning though this time it was 7:35 and I was almost crying from the engorgement. So I guess you could say I woke her up selfishly, ha ha! It will get better as my body gets used to not nursing nonstop in the middle of the night.

Right now she is sound asleep in her bed. I can't tell you how excited yet how sad I am at the same time! I'm excited because we're all getting better sleep, I have my sex life back, my body will most likely start to regulate (hello Aunt Flow?! Remember me?), I'll be able to blog more here and do things I enjoy after the kids go to bed, she's safer and she's sleeping great BUT... I miss my baby! It is all for the best at this point and we're doing fine.

Her first morning after sleeping in her crib. I was [im]patiently waiting for her to wake to nurse and shot some photos of her and she STILL slept through the camera flashes. Good job, Zoë!

Friday, July 30, 2010

How To Make Kids Listen

If anyone has the secret ingredient to getting kids to listen I am ALL ears! I cannot tell you how many times today I told my kids to clean up the playroom. I will tell my kids to do something and they'll blatantly ignore me, whine, walk away, start to listen and then stop... it gets to the point that I'm raising my voice and I hate that. I don't want to be THAT mom. I get whiny, raise my voice and belt out "Why can't you two listen?!" in frustration.

So I have a few ideas for getting kids to listen. Though most of the time I don't think of these in the heat of the moment maybe you will recall them in your own battles!

-Offer an incentive! Remind them that when they're done it is snack time or movie time or craft time or park time or whatever you have planned.

-Give them a 5-minute warning. Tell them they have five minute to finish up and then it is time to clean up instead of just springing something on them. It gives them time to switch gears and transition to a new activity more calmly. Kids do better knowing "what comes next".

-Make it fun! Turn on some music, set a timer and have them race to clean up. This is probably the one I use the most that works the most. Instead of raising my voice in anger I raise it in a sing-songy voice. I try to turn my frustration into fun.

-Get down and dirty. And by that I mean sometimes you're going to have to roll up your sleeves and just help. Kids under the age of 6 can be easily overwhelmed by a large mess. So much so that they shut down and can't figure out where to start. This reminds me of hoarders whose homes are full of piles and piles of stuff. They become so overwhelmed and just can't figure out how to unbury themselves from all their junk. So even if you're busy with something else or have other things to do you may have to suck it up and help the little ones organize. They need guidance and leadership. Showing it to them early on may mean having more clean and organized adolescents, teens and adults later on.

-Make it routine. Always have cleanup at the same time everyday (before dinner or bedtime perhaps).

I hate being disciplinary too. But I know I have to do it. Elaina has gotten to this phase where she'll tearfully tell me, "You don't like me! You always tell me to do things and I don't like it!" Etc., etc. It's so hard not to become defensive and bite back with your own stinging statement but it is so important to stay calm. I just tell her, "Elaina, Mommy loves you. When I tell you to do something it is because I love you. And when you get in trouble it is because you didn't listen to Mommy. Mommy needs you to listen so that you're safe."

And with all of this it is so important to follow through. If you tell your child that they won't get dessert for not eating their peas then they don't get dessert. If you tell your child they can't play outside until they clean up the crayons all over the table then they don't play outside until they clean up. I cannot tell you how many times in a fatigue haze I'd tell my kids, "Just go and play" and it is biting me in the behind. Operation Follow Through has been back in full swing and even though I get lots of temper tantrums from my 3-year-old toddler I know in the end it is helping to provide her stability and predictability in such an unpredictable world.

So what are your tips?! How do you get your kids to listen when it is important? Not just when it is cleanup time but whenever?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting so big!

Zoë is 9-months-old now! We tried and tried baby food but she doesn't like it. I think she's going to skip baby food like Abby did. She does eat her Gerber stars (those puffs that dissolve) and her sisters try to sneak them as well.

She is still nursing and nursing and nursing! She really hasn't had a moment where she's refused to eat or that I felt she may want to wean. Quite the opposite. She is in love with my boobs. I'm sure she'll love to hear that when she is older! Anyway I still haven't had a period and I actually think my PCOS is rearing its ugly head so I've been back in weight-loss mode. I think we want to start trying for another baby in November, after she turns a year old. Daddy wants a boy so we'll see what happens! In the meantime I'm focusing on the weight loss and trying to get this baby to eat some food so we're not nursing so much (so my period will hopefully show up! Must have at least 6 hours between one feed per day/night for your body to begin regulating).

She is also still sleeping in our bed. I have moments where I feel ready for her to be out but most of the time it really doesn't bother me. It has really started to bother Daniel though. I think he wants his wife back! We've been focusing on getting her in the crib for nap time and still no luck. I'm not a "let them cry it out" kind of mom. It's just not for me so telling me to do it is only going to make me go cross-eyed in frustration. I think once they reach a certain age, over a year, that is fine. Before then they're just babies. All they know is you and the comfort of your arms. Weaning her slowly is fine with me. We've got time! Before I know it she'll be older and in her own room. So for now I am cherishing having my baby in my arms.

Zoë is a crawling machine and loves to put anything and everything in her mouth. I can't tell you how many times I've caught her chewing on the dog's bone... *GAG* I'm a bit of a germophobe,  taking courses in microbiology will do that to you, so it grosses me out so bad!

Her eyes are still blue, too! I wonder if they'll darken, lighten, stay the same or change to green like mine did. I definitely don't think she'll be brown-eyed like her sisters. And she still has her birthmarks though they've definitely faded quite a bit. No one really asks about them unless they're under the age of 10. But it makes me wonder- do only blue-eyed babies get stork bites? Because all the babies I know with them have blue eyes!

Being able to put her down to play for a bit is such a nice reprieve. I can get things done! Granted I have to chase after her and grab her with soapy hands while doing the dishes if she gets into the dog's water bowl or starts eating cat food............ seriously she is so fast! I've broken out the gate to keep her from trying to digest every little fiber or dust bunny she finds.

Oh and PS- Our black kitty is not a girl.... he's a boy! His boy parts decided to drop recently. Right now he's sporting a pink collar but at least it has skulls on it. He is still nameless, too. I like Solomon and Daniel likes Jackson (after a Stargate character). We shall see who wins! For a guy who claims to hate cats and didn't want me to bring this one in he sure does have a strong opinion about his name!!!

Here are my boys! Hanging out in the cat condo. I'm surprised Beckett let him up there. I don't think he got to sit there for very long. Ha ha! That is Beckett's spot and he has made that very clear.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Own Shelter!

I think word is getting around the neighborhood that we take good care of animals because this sweet little black kitten decided to taken up residence on our front porch. Throughout the day I'd see her mournfully mewing at me through our big window. So, as I do with all strays, I put out a little food and thought she'd be on her merry way.

Except she's been out there for almost an entire week. I finally decided yesterday to get flea medication and bathe her. It has gotten to the point that I go and check to make sure she's still out there. If we're already feeding her she may as well come in, right? I made sure she went in the litter box before relaxing enough to let her roam. She went twice!

 After her bath! She's so tiny she looked like a little wet rat. She did REALLY good for the bath, too. She just stood there, unsure of what to do. But at least she didn't fight and claw me!

So we are looking for a family to take her but for now she's inside. It was 2 years ago in August that Beckett, our Siamese, found us. Must just be the season strays come and beg at the door!

I've dubbed the kitty Iona (i-yawn-uh). It was a name on my baby list but Daniel didn't like it so I am using it for the kitty because I LOVE it! She's got long, thick black fur and gold eyes. Her eyes are so expressive and beautiful, as you can see above.

My girls have begged for her to come in and Daniel wouldn't relent. Finally I told him I was giving her a bath and that I'd put her back outside afterward if that was what he truly wanted. I think he secretly likes her. He won't admit it but if I say, "Do you want me to put her back out?" he just says he doesn't want to talk about the cat and changes the subject. Awwwww, he's a sucker too (he called me a sucker). He refuses to tell me to put her out!

We aren't calling her ours and are still looking for a family to take her. If no one takes her in a couple weeks we'll re-evaluate and see if we can afford another pet. Isn't she just adorable? Elaina loves snuggling with her!

Beckett chose us. I wonder if Iona has chosen us as well or if we're to be the medium to finding her a forever home. Either way she is with us for now! Sam has tried to dominate her in a way I thought only male dogs tried to dominate. Ha ha! And Beckett is very cautious. I can tell he is upset with me. But he will get over it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I've enabled the captcha when leaving comments. If you see a strange comment with something clickable on it do NOT click on it. They are spammers. I'm trying to find them all and delete them but just a word of caution.

So hi! How are you? I'm pretty good!

We've been working on demolishing our downstairs bathroom and remodeling the kitchen. When I say remodel I actually mean FINISHING the kitchen. There's nothing to really move or change. I painted the cabinets black and the walls are green with plum accents. It is coming together nicely. We're going to put down some vinyl that looks like granite.

I will post pictures soon of the before, during and after!

All of this is hopes of someday moving soon! I'm ready to move on I think. More on that later, though. We're off to Home Depot!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crazy Emotions

First of all Zoë decided to crawl today! *applause* She also started waving yesterday. She rolls her fat little wrist around and flings her arm up and down. She's also been pulling up on things (including me when I was trying to do my workout yesterday!).

And that's another thing. I finally broke out my 30 Day Shred again, brushed the dust off of it, popped it in. I was interrupted... oh about a dozen times. Whenever I'd get down on the mat for crunches or push ups Zoë would start climbing all over me. So here I am sweaty, trying to breathe but also laughing because she was just so darn cute. I LOVE this age!

In two days we will be having our Home Anniversary. It'll be 4 years since we moved into our 100-year-old Post Victorian home. Our first home. And I have to admit I kind of want to break up. This house has been a huge blessing, it is big and beautiful but........ it also just needs so much work we can't invest into it at this time. And as each month passes something new (or old) seems to grate on my nerves until I just feel fed up and tired about it all.

So I started house surfing. Oh that is so dangerous. I begin daydreaming of moving into a new space, one that is more "finished" where I don't have to do major remodeling projects (read: replace windows, floors, gutters, an entire kitchen, etc., etc.). There are literally mansions down the street from my house that are selling for under $75,000 right now because of the economy. These mansions just a few years ago sold for a fraction of a million dollars. There is even one for under $30K!

Not that I need a mansion but I found that interesting. There is no commitment to move. Just a bored housewife dreaming of a finished kitchen and windows that open.

Then I start to feel guilty because I DO know that I am blessed to even have a roof over my head, that some people have it worse. And I also start to feel a little nostalgic. This is our first house. How would it feel to empty out the room for a new family to take over (and possibly ruin it)? How would I feel if I drove by one day and saw it rundown or being used as rental property. You start to feel a little protective.

Like I said we're not moving but I'm starting to warm up to the idea of it becoming a possibility here very soon. For homeowners out there- what made you finally decide to move? How did it go for you? I am super confused on how it would work. Because we can't afford to pay two mortgage payments we'd probably have to live here until the house sold but then we'd be homeless until we found a home to move into?! And any profit we make on the house could be put toward the new place, right? Luckily for us we have an amazing realtor friend, who is a Christian and family friend and just an absolutely all-around sweetheart who really tells us things she isn't "supposed to" tell her clients. Not that anything I asked here is taboo but you know! I thought I'd ask about your experiences since I am not going to be giving her a call just yet!


I am going to be working with Barefoot By the Sea (isn't her blog super sweet?!?!?!) over the next week in a collaborative effort on my giveaway blog. Feel free to grab the button and add it to your blog. Why? It is helpful advertisement for me. It gets people over to the blog so they can find my giveaways! It also earns you extra entries into giveaways. One of my biggest winners at Girly Girl Giveaways has my button on her blogs and she wins a TON!!! My button (below) links to my blog. Here is the code. Simply copy and paste it into an HTML widget!

The event starts July 1 and ends July 9! We're going to have tons of wonderful baby and child products to giveaway!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And time keeps dragging on!

My beautiful blue-eyed baby girl is 8-months-old. She is pulling up to her knees, so so so close to crawling (does the army crawl count?!), pulling herself up to sit, sitting by herself, saying, "Dada" and other things though I don't count that as a first word since she doesn't mean it specifically for Daddy.

Here are just a few of the many pictures I took of her yesterday! Click on them to see them better (the editing I do on them always looks weird when they are resized here on Blogger unless you click on them).

The nose wrinkle! She does this when she smiles and laughs and it is SO SO SO cute!

Sitting pretty! This picture really captured how blue her eyes look, too.

More nose wrinkling and playing with pearls! It looks like she has teeth but that is actually just her gums. She has no teeth yet! But she is getting more hair and it is looking more and more reddish.

She loved the pearls!

We've started some solids on a more consistent schedule. So far she really doesn't like baby food but since I have a cabinet FULL we're going to keep on trying. She does like those fun puff things but she's still a little young for them. I gave her a couple under supervision and she gags on them a little so we're going to wait a couple more weeks before reintroducing them to her.

Still breastfeeding but no period. I'm starting to get antsy about that. I know it is normal for an exclusively breastfeeding woman to not get her period but I'm kind of ready for my body to regulate itself. Hopefully if she eats some more solids for me I won't have to nurse her as much which might kick my body into gear! Though I do want to nurse her for as long as she needs and wants to nurse.

Exercise. Oh exercise. I've been so so so bad with this. I did take the dog for a walk this evening after dinner so that was nice but Shar-Peis are sensitive to heat so when she started panting hard I had to go back home even though I wanted to walk more. She has finally started to eat for us. She's been avoiding water as well which was another reason I needed to get her home. I didn't want her to pass out! The water bowl we got her is self-watering and when it gurgles it startles her so she stopped drinking from it. But after the walk she was so thirsty she finally went for it and I think she knows now it won't hurt her!

And I did some squats while my girls got their jammies on tonight but I really need to do a full workout. I just hate working out if Daniel isn't there because I get interrupted a bajillion times by kids and then I need to be able to take a shower right after. I cannot workout and wait to shower. That's just nasty to me. I am the type of person who hates being interrupted when I am concentrating on something. If I am working out I want to give it my full concentration and really go for it.

I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and do what I can though. I really want to lose 40 more lbs and it isn't going to just come off all by itself. I need to get serious because my tummy WAS getting smaller but now it is looking bloated. My Elaina girl keeps asking if I have a baby in my tummy (I don't) so I know that means I need to start working out, ha ha!

For the record I weighed 174 lbs last time I weighed myself a few days ago. I would love to be down to 135-140 lbs (though my height suggests I should be between 115-135 I would be happy with 140!).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some things I forgot

So a lot of things have happened recently that I've forgotten to blog about! Elaina just turned 5 years old a few weeks ago and I got some fun and fabulous pictures of her at her party. We had our first kid-only party and it was so delightful. The kids played Hullabaloo and ran around. Here are some more serious pictures taken as we waited for parents to pick up friends:

The birthday girl with her guests! One little girl showed up from Elaina's class and it was so fun getting to know her better. She is such a sweetheart!

Elaina and her cousin. They get mistaken for twins ALL the time! They are exactly one-month apart in age, too.

The sisters! Zoë didn't get in the picture but that is okay.

My beautiful 5-year-old

Elaina was my first- my first daughter, my first child, my first pregnancy, my first birth, my first baby, first toddler, first preschooler... I sometimes put too much pressure on her as the firstborn and I'm hoping that this year can be a new start to try to ease up on her. I don't want her to grow up too fast!

She is already in Kindergarten now (it started in summer school) and is learning so much. Her drawings before starting preschool were just scribbles and now she does self portraits, castles, animals, etc. She can write her name and simple words. She can write any letter of the alphabet if I recite letters to her. She always comes home and surprises me with the wonderful topics she learns in school, topics that I would think older children would discuss but am surprised to find my smart daughter getting to learn about early! 

Not too long ago Elaina confided in me that her friends were excluding her on the playground. I cannot tell you how incredibly bothered I felt for my daughter listening to her tearfully tell me that she finally goes and plays with kids in another grade because her friends don't want to play with her. It is SO hard to not want to step in and solve everything for her. After swallowing my own tears and anger so she wouldn't see I asked her how she could handle it.

And without me even stepping in things have gotten better and her friends are being more accepting. We've also had issues with a couple girls in Elaina's class being very disrespectful and being mean to other classmates. I asked Elaina what she could say when so-and-so calls someone ugly and she came up with, "I will tell them, 'That's not nice. If you can't talk nice we can't play together' or I'll just walk away." She's so bright and I'm praying for her classmates this year as they will be growing up together for the next several years (her school only has one class per grade except Kindergarten which has two). Since our talk she has used her solution, too, and it seems like the meanness is dying out for now. I'm very proud of her and I hope she can continue to be a pacifist among her group.

And just had to throw one in of the baby! This was Zoë on Elaina's actual birthday. Our church had a carnival in the projects and we had those blow-up jumpy things, games, food, prizes! Zoë turned 8 months old yesterday but I don't have pictures of her taken yet. She is TRYING so hard to crawl and can sit up all by herself. She has a lot more independent time playing on the floor (I usually hold her all day long) and that lets me get so much more done lately.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wowzers! And a new family member!

This is my 301 post! I have been SLACKING in the posting department. I miss my blog, miss blogging, miss reading all your blogs! But I've been in some kind of time-suck and am trying to dig my way out. The sunshine keeps beckoning me. It's so much easier to blog when the weather is poo!

Well I also mentioned a new family member in my title. For the past few months I've been thinking about adding a mutt to our familia. My husband just recorded a demo and I feel that if his music led him to doing tours or being away from home I'd want a doggy friend to help me feel a little more secure. They're one of the best security for your home. Most intruders do NOT want to be bit by a dog. Go figure!

Okay so fast forward to about two weeks ago. I finally decided we WERE going to get a dog. My husband was like a child when I told him. Before this I had been telling him we were never getting a dog again. I hate the potty training, hate the slobber and fur everywhere. In the past we just kind of took in the first dog that came our way. This time I wanted to be VERY selective and find the dog that would fit in with OUR family; not every dog is meant for every family. They are unique and have different personalities. Some clash and some don't!

So we went three different places. The first place I had some interest in a dog but they wouldn't let us adopt any dog over 6 months old. Some stupid rule about only adopting puppies to families with small children because it is safer. I'm sorry but a puppy nipping and jumping on my kids is NOT safer than an older dog who has gone through obedience training and is over their jumping/nipping stage.

Forget that place! Okay so the second place I found a beautiful American Bulldog/Sheepdog mix but boy was she hairy (remember my fur issue with dogs). She was also incredibly large. I wanted a medium-sized dog so the search continued... and can I just admit that I felt horrible for visiting with all of these dogs and then having to have the volunteer return them to their cage. I felt super guilty that they had to stay at the shelter. The shelters were really nice so the dogs weren't hurting. They get a lot of attention, walks, etc. but I'm sure they're just thinking, "Please take ME home!"

The third place was the charm. I was incredibly impressed with the facility though I did step in something wet at one point, in flip flops no less, and I don't know if it was water or pee. We got a few dogs out, one at a time, to meet. Some dogs were not interested in us whatsoever. We finally asked for the dog that had been #1 on our list. We didn't want to get our hopes up. BUT Daniel felt she was the one before we even arrived without telling me that. I didn't tell Daniel but I felt the same way. That really confirmed things for us later when we admitted to one another that we thought Sam was the one...

Meet Sam! She is a German Shepherd/Chinese Shar-Pei mix. She is a lot smaller than she appears in this picture. She probably comes to about or a little above my knees. She is 4 years old, potty-trained, housebroken, crate-trained (we only put her in there for bedtime and if we're gone) and isn't obnoxiously hyper. Oh and if you notice her short fur then you'll know I'm happy she won't be making me vacuum every other hour.

I actually think she is a little depressed. We're taking her to the vet this morning for her post-adoptive exam and will ask about doggy depression. Her family had her for a year before returning her to the shelter. She is a very sweet, quiet dog (though she does bark if I tell her "Speak!" or if she sees people/dogs out the window). She just started eating last night and we've had her for about 5 days now.

When she was brought out to meet us at the shelter Daniel and I both immediately knew she was the one. She was just so pitiful and sad, too! Daniel and I didn't even have to say anything to each other. We met a dog or two after Sam but our hearts were left with Sam. We just went up to the counter and said we were adopting Sam. I told Sam she was going to her forever home and we signed the paperwork, forked over a small fortune and she was ours! We got to take her home the same day as she was already spayed. We also got her micro-chipped.

We're very blessed with Sam. We feel great peace with our decision and are incredibly excited about having her in our home! I was so hesitant to get another dog because of bad experiences in the past but I know we made the right choice and by being selective we found the dog that was meant for us. She has become more than just security for me when my husband is gone. She is my newest baby that I love to cuddle with and dote attention on.

Any helpful tips on dog depression and on helping heal her heart would be fantastic! And also feel free to ask me any questions about Sam and her transition to our home!

I strongly recommend adopting from a shelter if you are thinking of getting a cat or dog (or even a bird or other small pet like a bunny). And an older pet doesn't mean they're less desirable. We're very happy we chose a smaller, somewhat older dog compared to dog pets we've had in the past. We also enjoyed getting to hear about all the dogs and the shelters really knew if they were compatible with children and other pets (Sam's profile said she got along with cats, for instance. So she and Beckett have been getting to know one another slowly but surely).

Don't support breeding and puppy mills. Adopt from a no-kill or foster shelter. You can find foster programs and shelters in your area by using the search engine at Pet Finder. By adopting from a shelter or foster program you are providing them the necessary funds to adopt from kill shelters. Many of the pets at the shelters we visited were on "death row" at Animal Control. You can also support local shelters by becoming a foster family (where pets stay with you until they are adopted; this usually means you potty train and housebreak them as well as teach them basic commands). If you can't foster you can show support by donating money to your local shelters so they can provide medical treatment, food, water, toys, etc. to their furry friends.

***Picture of Sam is courtesy of Wayside Waifs***

Friday, June 4, 2010

Birthdays, Bunk Beds and Babies!

Okay so there was only ONE birthday and there's only ONE baby but making those words plural just sounded better. Today was Elaina's birthday. Though I guess technically it is already the next day since it is past midnight. What is wrong with me to still be awake?!

Anyway my darling, beautiful eldest turned 5. Five years ago I held my first baby in my arms. She was nameless but so incredibly wanted and loved. She is also my trial-and-error baby, as most first children are. Basically means I didn't know what the heck I was doing so she got the brunt of most of my biggest mistakes (like her crawling off my bed not once but TWICE) as I tried to figure out what worked and what didn't.

Elaina is so incredibly beautiful. This day was so packed that I didn't get to take two minutes to really reflect on the past five years or that magical day she went from being an "inside baby" to an "outside baby". I remember vividly holding her in a rocking chair in her room, while she was a newborn, smelling her and saying to myself, "Hold onto this... it won't last forever!" And then I blinked and she was 5 years old, still not TOO big for my lap but getting there.

Birthday pics:

Today was also the day we got the girls' bunk beds put together........ finally! One of the legs to the bottom bed was mismarked so we had to wait almost 2 weeks for a spare to arrive. It arrived just in time to give the girls the best gift ever on a birthday... new beds!

And a couple weeks ago a sweet little girl turned 7 months old and I haven't posted pictures of her little photo shoot at all. In fact I'm still editing the pictures but I will show you some. She was not very cooperative this photo shoot. She'd look everywhere but at me, would hardly smile, just wanted to eat grass... ahhhh well... you can't win them all! They still turned out terrific!

Dirty Toes from playing in the grass! LOVE 'EM!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Boy Sperm are Just TOO Sensitive!

I recently learned something interesting and had to share it. Apparently an acidic vaginal environment can mean a higher risk of having girls. And apparently women with PCOS have a tendency to be more acidic than what is considered normal.

I guess that explains my trio of daughters!

Obviously women with PCOS have boys, too, and it may have something to do with their diet or even their husband's diet and lifestyle. The Y-carrying sperm (which make boys) are sensitive and can die quickly yet they are the faster swimmers. The X-carrying sperm (girls!) are a lot more resilient but slower swimmers. So if a couple has sex right as they are ovulating and the sensitive X-carrying sperm swim faster and reach that egg before the acid kills them then they obviously have as good a chance of having a boy than a girl.

I actually read in You: The Owner's Manual by Dr. Mehmet Oz that it really isn't all on the man on what gender your children turn out to be. The vagina's environment can play a huge role in which sperm survive and which do not.

So next time someone jokes that the man is at fault for whatever gender you end up with needs to take a good look at their vagina! Ha ha ha ha ha!

And I also found an interesting blog called How to Have a Boy. I'm not really into gender selection (at least the scientific stuff where they take your little embryos and only implant a certain gender) unless the couple has a rare condition that would cause one gender of their offspring to be more susceptible to certain chromosomal and genetic disorders that could threaten their lives. But this was just a fun blog with do-no-harm tricks that might sway your odds more in favor of having a boy in a natural way. For instance they tell you to avoid dairy and focus on foods high in sodium and potassium (banana, anyone?). I'm a DAIRY COW! I drink a ton of milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. So that may explain all my girls too!

No matter if you do headstands after sex or eat 5 bananas a day I still believe, at the end of the day, that God knows exactly who was meant for your family and He is ultimately in control. After all He knew us before we were yet conceived!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My house is chaos!

When my house is a mess I feel like a mess. I don't think my husband understands that. In fact most of our fights are not financial but more about shared responsibility. If something is a mess and I'm starting to spazz and hyperventilate over it, especially when I'm already stressed, he doesn't see why it is such a big deal to me.

Someone once told me, "A woman's home is a reflection of her heart". I can't say that is true for everyone but it is definitely true for me! My house is definitely not spotless. I need to clean the fan blades, dust, wash windows, there are toys all over, etc. What I'm talking about are the main spots (no dirty dishes on the counter, rug is at least vacuumed, my husband doesn't have a "pile" of his stuff in the front hall, laundry folded and put away promptly, etc.).

Well my house is a chaotic mess right now and I'm starting to feel that crazy creepy crawl underneath my skin. You know- the stress! I can't handle messes very well and when they are huge I feel like I'm standing before a mountain.

So why the big deal? Sometimes I can't tackle everything on my own, especially with a baby in one arm. Have you ever tried to do the dishes while holding a baby who is only consolable so long as you are holding them? Getting the husband to help is like pulling teeth at times. Not that he is a bad guy but cleaning is not his strong suit, ha ha!

I got to plant in my garden last week, finally! At one point Zoë had had enough and I put her in the wrap. I hoped to be able to hoe out the weeds and grass that had grown in my flowerbed. Um, that was impossible. I felt that mountain go up right before me as I stood outside, the baby falling asleep strapped to my chest, unable to hoe the garden. If you know me you know I hate being interrupted when I have my mind set on a task. I have to complete the task before I can shift gears. So when my gardening was interrupted I felt incredibly agitated and anxious.

I really try the, "The mess will be there tomorrow to clean up!" approach but there has got to be SOME point when you do have to tackle the mess after all that waiting. And I feel like that is my life. An endless cycle of waiting to tackle things and enjoying the moments I'm in and then the moments of complete panic and stress as I rush to try to clean as much as possible before the baby starts crying.

Here's another Catch 22. We just bought a bunk bed for the older girls and a crib for the baby. We got the crib to put Zoë in when I need to shower and hopefully very soon for naps! So while we're trying to put her crib together she's crying in the bouncer, watching me with these doeful eyes as if to say, "How could you put me DOWN?!" Hopefully she takes to it like a fish to water. We got the crib to put her down and can't even put her down to put it together. Thankfully we made it through (and through a few mistakes I made putting the darn thing together) and now she has a prettiful crib! I'll post pictures of her room soon, when her room isn't a mess of her big sisters' stuff as we complete their bunk beds.

All this furniture building has left tiny pieces of Styrofoam everywhere and we've got these huge boxes in our front hall that I have asked Daniel to take to the basement for the past two days (!!!). The kids have decided to throw couch pillows every which way, toys are strewn under the dining table, papers litter the table from Elaina's backpack and the remnants of dinner are on the kitchen counters. My husband has used Kleenex wadded up to the left of me at the computer desk (also told him to deal with those, LOL) and the bathroom floor needs to be scrubbed. I wish I had 8 arms sometimes! Time Management used to be my middle name.

I just need to get it more together. Not that I have to put stress on myself about getting things done. In fact I think a schedule of some sort might make it easier on me so that things are done and life is less stressful. I'm sick of starting laundry on Thursday and it isn't all folded and put away until Tuesday! It's just ridiculous.

So I guess I'm just venting. Not really looking for solutions or platitudes. I know- enjoy them while they are young. Worry about the messes later (I don't usually clean until everyone is in bed anyway), etc., etc. But I can't help but feel a little overwhelmed at times. What makes you feel overwhelmed?

For the time being I will just hold my sleeping baby (yes, she is asleep in my arms at this very moment while her brand new crib sits empty in her room). Pray for me, that she will transition to taking good, solid naps in her crib. It will really free my arms up to get some things done and to have a little "me" time at some point in the day, which is always refreshing and makes me want to pick up the baby anyway!