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!