Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday - Part 2

I did not end up dragging my tired (and sick) behind out of bed at all hours of the morning to go to Walmart. I was a good wife and obeyed my husband's veto of buying the Cricut Expression even though it was still available online (and in RED!!!!) for $11 cheaper than it would have been at the store. I was on the computer at midnight and at 5:00 am to try to nab a couple Black Friday deals and I did ok. There were several things I had my eye on that were sold out by the time I was able to get online, but I did manage to get a sheet set for our bed, a gift for our friends' little girl, and a surprise gift for our family at some really great prices. And, I got to stay in my PJs and at home. Not bad!

Right now I'm trying to get things settled here at home this morning so I can pack the boys up to go out for a while. The hope is that Evan will get done what he needs to in the basement so I can go play with Ashley, Sarah & Janna tomorrow without feeling guilty! So, I may end up shopping out in the stores on Black Friday after all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Toy Story 3

As many of you already know, my little guy absolutely LOVES Toy Story. He will literally sit and watch the entire movie from start to finish. That goes for Toy Story 2 as well. So, I am really looking forward to the release of Toy Story 3 in June! Check out the official trailer:

Ah, Buzz in Spanish. Too funny!

Isaiah will be 2 1/2 when this movie comes out. Do you think that's old enough for me to bring him to see the movie in the theater?

Happy Little Micah

I wish I would have started taping about five seconds earlier because he was actually giggling!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yee haw!

Isaiah is feeling pretty sick thanks to a cold his Daddy gave him, so he's been feeling out of sorts and extra tired the last couple days. Today we were on our way back from Piggly Wiggly and I could see him starting to fall asleep back in his carseat, but we were still 15 minutes from home. This is dangerous territory because if he sleeps for that 15 minutes, it's just enough of a recharge that he won't want to go to sleep when he gets home. So, I kept saying his name and tickling his ankle to keep him awake! Aren't I mean? Poor kid couldn't even hold his eyelids up and here I am keeping him awake. It worked and I managed to get home without him passing out. I quickly got him out of the carseat and took of his hat, coat and shoes. I put him right into bed and said "Ni Night" and went out to unload the groceries.

For the next 30 minutes, I was hearing him softly talking/singing in there so I finally went to check on him. There was Isaiah, still tucked snug as a bug into his bed, "flying" his Sheriff Woody doll around and saying softly, "Yee haw! Yee haw!"

He fell asleep about 45 minutes after I originally put him down, but it was just so cute!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Friday

I've always been very anti-Black Friday. Nothing about dragging myself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to shop ever really appealed to me. I like my sleep too much and it didn't exactly sound fun to be fighting with other crazy sleep-deprived people in line just to buy stuff. I have been dreading the day when a Black Friday deal would actually tempt me and that day has arrived. The deep discounts on flat screen TVs aren't what have me actually considering joining the lunacy. Nope, not the deals on laptops (most of the ones on sale are kind of crappy ones anyway). We already have a GPS for the car and we don't travel all that much anyway. Here's what has my little shopping antennae all tingly:

  • The Cricut Expression - This is the mack daddy of scrapbooking cutting machines. I have the older version of the Cricut, but this one takes 12x12 sheets of card stock and can do so much more!! Walmart has them on a Black Friday special of only $188 including two cartridges!! The Expression typically is priced around $300 and cartridges are always at least $35 to $40 each. I am very tempted to go hang out at the Walmart in Baraboo at 4:30 am just to wait until 5:00 am when I can snag this honey of a deal. I promise to sell my old one on eBay to help pay for it! Figures it would take a scrapbooking gadget to get me out on Black Friday, huh?
  • RCA Dual Screen Portable DVD Player - Two kids, two DVD screens for long drives. Need I say more?? Target has an awesome Black Friday deal of only $88!

So now I get to stew on this for a few days: To shop or not to shop? That is the question.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Potty Practice

Ok, so I know I said we weren't going to aggressively pursue potty training right away since putting Isaiah's potty in the bathroom, but I'm starting to think he might be ready to give it a shot sooner than I thought. Isaiah has been just enthralled with that potty from the first moment it arrived and I also showed him his big-boy Pull Ups and he really dug those too. In fact, today he brought me a pair of his Pull Ups when I got home from work today, so I asked him if he wanted to try them out. He said yes, so we changed him from a diaper into a Pull Up. I showed him how to pull them down so he could sit on the potty and I left him in the bathroom for a few minutes while I changed out of my work clothes. When I came back into the bathroom, Isaiah was standing by the potty, pulling up his Pull Ups and he had peed in the potty!! I got all excited and gave him a big high five. I'll guess we'll keep trying to remind him about the potty this week and see how things go. Maybe we can be diaper-free come 2010....wouldn't that be cool?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days that reminds you about the not so glamorous side of parenting. Let me walk you through my train wreck of an evening. It all started while I was at work today. With it being opening day of gun deer hunting season, we were DEAD. Things we so slow, which gets me all antsy because I end up either A: Watching the clock, B: Eating, C: Reading the newspaper, or D: All of the above. Today was definite a Choice D kind of day. All of a sudden, I started to get a headache. Within five minutes it had escalated to a full blown migraine, the kind where your vision gets funky and you're super-sensitive to light and sound. No sooner did this upgrade take place, but a toddler at the table right next to where I was trying to take an order melted down into a full blown tantrum complete with shrieking at the top of his lungs. Normally this wouldn't really get to me because I hear something quite similar on a regular basis from my kid, but the migraine made that boy's wails penetrate my brain like flaming swords. It was excruciating.

I finally headed home and planned on just taking it kind of easy to help appease my migraine. I got to relax until about 4:00 when Isaiah woke up from his nap. By this time, Evan had headed down to the basement to get to work on finishing his trim work. Isaiah woke up in a crazy bad mood and was screaming from the second he got out of bed. Cue: Micah! Baby brother promptly also woke up from his nap and not only refused to eat a bottle, but hollered at the top of his lungs. So, I have both boys screaming their bloody heads off at the same time. Remember that migraine??

Time for dinner. I make Isaiah a grilled cheese sandwich and he is actually coloring at the table rather calmly. Whew! All this goes out the window the second he sits down to eat. I move the colors away so he can eat and he immediately flies into a massive tantrum. I try my tried and true methods to calm him down and get him to eat, but instead he throws his plate to the floor, sending grilled cheese and ketchup everywhere. I put him into time out and try to hold it together while Micah screams from the Pack n Play, Isaiah screams from the naughty corner, and I go to clean up the mess. By this time, my head is hurting worse than ever and in the middle of this din the doorbell rings! Brian starts barking like Cujo on steroids and I open the door with a mop in my hand and two screaming children in the background to the Schwans man. Surprise!! I manage to stammer out that I don't need anything before Evan emerges from the basement to come lend a hand. I lose it. I slam the chairs back in place, throw the mop against the wall, scream a very nasty word at Evan, and collapse onto a stool and start to sob hysterically.

Wow. I'll spare you the gory details of the rest of the evening, but just know it was more of the same. I felt horrible, like I had completely lost control of my kids, my home, and myself. I just couldn't stop crying, no matter what I did. Isaiah said sorry, but I kept crying. When I put him to bed at 8:30, he was still screaming and I was still crying. I was left feeling like the worst Mommy in the world. Evan, the ever level-headed rock of a man that he is, was quick to reassure me that everyone has days like this where the deck seems stacked against them and that I shouldn't blame myself or feel guilty for how it went down. I know that logically makes sense, but I can't help but do exactly that. Isn't it my job as Mommy to keep a cool head and avoid stuff like this? Maybe, but perhaps I just also needed a reminder that I do need help, that parenting is not supposed to be easy. I found a verse from Psalms to help me feel better about this whole fiasco:

For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. (Psalm 66: 10-12)

If parenting was a walk in the park, where everything came easily and we didn't have those days like today, I'd be willing to bet we wouldn't feel as fulfilled by it. There is nothing more fulfilling than those amazing moments with your child where you look at them and say to yourself, "This kid is amazing. I'm a good Mom." Those moments are EARNED, not given. Thank you, LORD, for reminding me today that parenting is so rewarding because it is so difficult.

After taking some cool-down time after Isaiah had gone to bed, I feel much better. I've stayed up past my bedtime to have some quiet time with God and to partake in my therapy - scrapbooking. I'll leave you with the fruit of my labor tonight, I layout I am very proud of and that represents a great catharsis for me. Looking at the sweet faces of my boys in these photos as I worked on this layout was a great reminder that I have great kids and I know that the awesome moments will make days like today just fade into the background.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tip your Waitress, or Else!!

I've always said it: Don't mess with the people that bring your food. As a waitress, I get kind of a kick out of this news story about a couple who were actually arrested for not paying gratuity on their check!!

View more news videos at:

Ok, here's how I see this. Gratuity is certainly expected, but (as much as I hate to admit it) it is NOT required. I don't care if it is the restaurant's policy to automatically add on gratuity for large groups. I've been to many restaurants that do this and I think it's fine. However, if the service is really honestly and truly lousy, why should a patron be forced to pay that gratuity? It was this precise reason that my previous employer, Red Lobster, did not add on gratuity for large parties. Sure, it was a pain in the butt when you just worked your butt off waiting on a table of 10 and they only leave a 5% tip. It's a big bummer that is quickly followed by some select curse words in their direction. The question becomes, if you already know you're going to get an 18% tip no matter how well you take care of that table, what motivation is there for you to provide good service? None. So, the argument can be made that the server is more likely to not sweat it if they can't attend to the needs of that table. In the case of this couple from PA, I feel for them. There's no excuse for having to go get your own drink refills, napkins and silverware. Even from the perspective of someone who has waited tables for years, they absolutely should not have been arrested for refusing to pay that tip. Hopefully they will get a judge with a decent head on his shoulders who will throw this right out of court.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Isaiah's New Toy!

Tonight we presented Isaiah with an early Christmas present - his very own potty.
Yes, I realize that you can't really see the actual potty in this photo, but I didn't really want to post the full shots on the blog because he was butt nekkid. You never know what kind of creepies are out there, right? Isaiah has his own potty in the bathroom now and he was really digging on sitting on that thing. He got mad at me when I had to take him off it to take a bath and then go get PJs on! Hopefully that is a good sign. We're not really moving full steam ahead on the whole potty training thing yet, but rather just trying to get the idea in his head. He'll be getting a pack of PIXAR undies for Christmas too, so he'll even have Buzz Lightyear undies. If that doesn't do it, nothing will!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

What my Kids have Taught Me

As a teacher by trade, I am a firm believer that we learn as much from our students as we hope they are learning from us. Over the past two years, I have come to realize the same holds true for our children. You suddenly become a mother the moment that first child is born, but no instruction manual comes with them. Instead, it is your child who teaches you what it means to take on the title of "Mommy." Who then is the student? Is it your child, to whom you teach to say "Please" and "Thank You" and how to share? Or, is it the parent who learns patience, perseverance, dedication, and how to love beyond measure? Clearly the answer is both. So in honor of my greatest teachers, my darling boys, here are just a few of the lessons I have learned:

  • Sleep is precious and neccessary, but the wee hours of the morning have a unique way of creating lasting memories. There's just something special about a 3:00 am cuddle.

  • If you're not going to be leaving the house all day, it doesn't matter what your hair looks like. Unexpected guests run the risk of seeing you with bed head and bare face if they show up unannounced. No, the Schwans man does not count as an "expected guest."

  • "Family dinner" can be as simple as a box of Macaroni & Cheese with cut up hot dogs. What's important is that we enjoy our time together!

  • Follow through! Honor your promises and follow through with your discipline. It's important that your child knows he can trust you and also that you mean what you say!

  • PIXAR is the best thing to ever happen to Disney. Ever.

  • I never understood why anyone would name a flower "Baby's Breath." Once I had a baby sleeping on my shoulder with his face turned toward mine and I breathed him in....I got it.

  • Grandparents will disregard every single rule you have put in place. Unfortunately, they have earned the right to do this and your kid knows it!! The good news? You'll get to do it to them when they have kids. And the cycle continues....

  • Blowout bowel movements, massive farts, and loud belches can be some of the most welcome things in the world. Never thought that would happen!

  • To your child, you're a superhero. Until they discover Buzz Lightyear. Then you're hosed.

What lessons have your kids taught you??

He slept through the night!

I can hardly believe it, but Micah slept through the night last night! Evan put him to bed at a little after 11:00 last night and he didn't wake me up until 5:15 am!! Now, I'm not going to be naive enough to expect a repeat performance every night now, but at least I know he is physically capable of doing it. Sweet!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just me, a bottle of wine, and my scrapbook!

I had the house completely to myself today. Evan took the kids to Waupun to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa while he went to watch the Packer game with a buddy, so I came home to an empty house after work! I did venture into Madison first to make a return, hit up Target for a sweet deal on a banquet table, and visit my fave scrapbook store, but when I did finally get home.....ah quiet. It was dead quiet. I opened a bottle of my favorite wine (Prairie Fume from Wollersheim Winery) and watched the last quarter and a half of the Packer game down in our basement family room. After the Packers completed their victory I headed to my scrapbook room where I easily polished off the entire bottle of wine and completed four scrapbook layouts. This was a GREAT night. I love my boys, but I need nights like this more often.

Just one of my layouts I completed tonight.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Micah - 2 Months

I'm a few days over the official date, but my Micah is two months old already! It is amazing how fast he has grown already and I'm happy to report that he has left the scary stage behind. What's the scary stage? Newborns!! Bless their hearts, but newborn babies are scary to me. They're small, they look kind of funny (face it, they do!), they look so fragile, and they need you constantly. I always joke that I wish I could give birth to a four month old! Thankfully, Micah has already started to venture into the exciting part of infancy where he is learning new tricks all the time.

Micah - 2 months old:
  • You can smile and coo! If you're in the right mood, squeezing those cheeks just a little bit is usually enough to encourage a smile. You love to look right at faces and just talk away and I swear you have tried more than once to giggle. You're such a happy kid!

  • You are not sleeping through the night just yet. Much to Mommy's dismay, you continue to wake during the night to eat. Most of the time it is only once, but there are some nights where you need that extra feeding. I'm holding out hope that you'll be able to make it through the night by 3 months!

  • You eat like crazy! You are very sloppy and love to let your milk drip down your chin and sputter all over the place, but you are typically a very good eater. At this point, you are a "combo kid" who gets about 50/50 breastmilk to formula. You usually eat about 30 ounces every day, give or take. I'm no longer nursing you, but you do just fine eating out of your AVENT bottles.

  • I can tell you're trying to roll over already. When you're laying on your back you will stick your arms out and wiggle your legs. It's pretty clear you're trying to turn over.

  • You're chubby!! At your checkup on September 5th, you weighed in at 13 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 23 inches long. Your big brother was only 12 pounds, 12 ounces at that point, so you can safely say you've got him beat so far.
  • Already starting to grow out of your 0-3 month clothes, I have had to start sorting through the 3-6 month stuff to make sure you've got sleepers to wear.
  • You look just like your Grandpa Howie!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dear Santa....

The Kooiman family is doing something a little different this year for our Christmas gift giving. We were randomly assigned names by an objective third party (aka Grandma) to buy a gift for instead of getting something for every single person. I'm excited about this because it ends up being more economical, but also because I can focus more on finding a really great gift for that one person rather than stress about finding something for everyone. That being said, I still need lists! Here are the wish lists for myself and my boys.

  • JC Penney gift cards
  • Folding banquet tables (check Farm & Fleet or Fleet Farm)
  • More folding chairs




  • Pre-walkers (try Pediped, Stride Rite, or See Kai Run)
  • Gift certificate for clothes (not sure what he needs for the upcoming seasons. Target, Kohls, Old Navy, Carters)
  • 3-6 month sleepers

Whew!! I hope I've helped guide and direct the holiday shopping for our household.

Scaring people is fun!

Evan's family has this wacky tradition of trying to scare one another and he is carrying it on with our boys. He loves to hide around a corner and jump out at Isaiah and make him scream, but in a good way. I stumbled across this video on Facebook and it reminded me of Evan's little escapades, only with Ellen Degeneres and Taylor Swift. Still pretty funny though!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Isaiah!

Happy Birthday today to my sweet boy. You keep me on my toes every day and I love you to pieces for it. Happy Birthday Isaiah!

And thank you very much to everyone who came over on Saturday to help us celebrate. We had a great party and Isaiah really enjoyed it! Oh, and he's watching a Veggie Tales DVD while I type this. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Isaiah's 2nd Birthday Party!!

Isaiah - 1 day old
His actual birthday isn't until Monday, but tomorrow we are celebrating my little boy's 2nd birthday!! Where did the time go? I just can't quite get my head around the idea that I can now say my son's age in years versus in months. Crazy. It really doesn't seem that long ago that we brought him home as a baby, yet it is hard for me to remember him being as small as Micah. Is that weird? I do remember talking with Evan about how we couldn't wait to see what his personality would be like or to hear him say, "Hi Mama! Hi Daddy!" Now I get to hear those things every day and his exuberant personality makes me smile all the time. I love you, Isaiah. Happy Birthday (a couple days early)!

Isaiah - 1st birthday party!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thank You Supernanny!

The Style network plays re-runs of the show Supernanny and I really enjoy watching it because it has really helped me pick up some great parenting tips. I scored my time-out technique from watching Jo (the Supernanny) and have archived some great ideas for when the boys are older. Last night, I had an opportunity to put into practice one of the methods I saw on the show just the other day - the separation technique. Typically used for children who struggle to go to sleep by themselves, I found myself using it on my two year old who usually goes to sleep just fine! Isaiah woke up last night around 1:30 am and cried and cried for a good 20 minutes. When he hollers for this long of a time period, I start to think something is wrong. The last time it happened, he had wet through his diaper something fierce and was absolutely soaked. So, I went in to check on him and he was fine. Just fine. Dry as a bone, nuk in mouth, just wanting Mommy. It was hard, but I didn't give in because I knew it would be absolutely hellish to try to put him back to bed after I had cuddled him. So, I busted out the separation technique!

I told Isaiah it was time to go back to sleep and I sat down on the floor so he could see my profile. I did not look at him or talk to him, despite the fact that he was staring right at me and screaming, "Mama!! Mama!!!" It took about 15 minutes or so of this and he finally quieted. I waited another three minutes and then tried to leave the room without waking him. He did wake up and start in on screaming again, but I went back to bed. He only cried for another few minutes before he was back asleep! I'd call that a success! I'm still pretty tired this morning because I was awake for quite some time dealing with Isaiah, followed by a rather eventful feeding for Micah (he threw up on my lap). Still, I'm pleased with how it went.

Thanks Supernanny!!

The music of "Glee!"

Until I can get the CD for my very own, I will just have to settle for this website. Enjoy all the music of "Glee!" Big fan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue!

Here's Isaiah as his favorite action hero for Halloween! I really wish I had tried to score some video of him pointing to himself and saying, "Buzz!"Micah got to join in the dressing up a little bit. I didn't see the point in putting a 7-weeker in a costume, so he got a Halloween "outfit." Still looks pretty darn cute, if I say so myself.
I didn't take the boys trick or treating just because Isaiah is still a little young and Micah is VERY young and the wind was cold and nasty. Plus, Isaiah didn't finally go down for a nap until just before the trick or treating hours started, so that was out. He got to be Buzz Lightyear on our trip out for breakfast and to Walmart and he enjoyed helping me hand out candy after his nap. We'll hit the streets next year, I think.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Glee does the National Anthem

The only time in my life I've been bummed I missed watching a World Series game!

Monday, November 2, 2009


It took me three sittings to finish this very simple scrapbook layout. One was a quick five minute session to pick out the photos that was interrupted by feeding time. The second was a very hectic 20 minutes of layout, cutting, and pasting that was frequently interrupted by shouts of "Mama!! Please!!" Finally, I manged to get down here for the final five minutes to finish off the title and journalling. Whew!

The Walmart Effect

What is it about Walmart that apparantly brings out the idiotic and inappropriate in people? I seriously think this is an actual phenomena that is taking place right under our noses and I'm interested to hear if you all are noticing this too. Here's my evidence.

1. There are always people shopping in their pajamas. I saw someone getting groceries on Saturday in Tweety Bird PJ pants, a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and slippers. Yes, all on the same person. I'm all for being comfortable, but this is going a bit far, isn't it? I mean, at what point does "It's only Walmart" become "I don't need to actually get dressed to go out in public?" Don't even get me started on the people that put on so little clothing that they are barely dressed. Tube tops are NOT ok for shopping at Walmart and especially not in October!! I'm not even going to talk about the woman I saw once who had a serious issue with back sweat and poorly fitting stretchy pants. Yikes.

2. People in Walmart forget that other people can see/hear them. On a recent trip to Walmart, I was pushing my cart (and my children) down the baking aisle when a woman came storming down the aisle at me, screaming on her cellphone. Apparantly, whoever it was on the other end was a completely incompetent moron and she was letting them know this....loudly. And with curse words....lots of them. Hello!!! You're in WALMART!! My two year old was incredibly interested in the show she was putting on. Thank God he did not try to copy her behavior.

3. People in Walmart can be downright rude. I have three anecdotes to support this point.

  • The woman on the cellphone was also in my checkout line on that day and someone sprayed some body spray on while she was waiting in line. I was in the process of paying when someone slammed into my back, pushing me up against the card-swiper thingy. Yup, it was Miss Congeniality, storming through the line cursing up and down about the effing "bleeper" who sprayed that nasty "stuff" that was making her sick. Lovely.

  • My cousin Christine relayed a story about when she was shopping at Walmart one day with her three year old daughter, Emma. A complete stranger came up to her and said, "It's such a shame when you young people nowadays have children before you're even done with high school." Christine (who has WAY more moxie than me) replied, "Excuse me? I'm 26 and married!!" This woman looked surprised and said, "Oh, I thought you were 18." And that makes it ok to say such a thing? Wrong.

  • Finally, on my recent trip to Wallyworld on Halloween, I was again in the checkout line. (They like it when you actually pay for things so this is a good place to visit before you leave.) Isaiah is two years old and was reaching the limits of his patience for this particular trip. He likes to grab at the things hanging by the checkout and he managed to get his mitts on a stack of gift cards, which promptly went to the floor. I scolded him and gathered them up as quickly as I could. Cue Micah to start crying. Perfect. I continued to unload the cart and one of the items I put on the conveyer belt was something Isaiah would have preferred to hang on to, so he started to have a bit of a fit. It was at this moment (with both boys crying) that the woman behind me in line looked and me and very seriously said, "Boy, I feel so sorry for you." Really? Thanks.

So, there is my evidence. Is there indeed a "Walmart Effect" or perhaps it's just that a certain percentage of the women who go to Walmart are rude, sloppy psychos. And they all seem to get in the same checkout lane as me.

And come to think of it, tube tops are never ok. Ever.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lambeau Loss

Oh, the pain of defeat. After all my confidence that my team would pull out a hard fought win up at the Tundra, we once again lost to the Vikings. I won't make excuses because my team certainly made their share of mistakes that cost them the game, but I would argue that the personal foul penalty against Johnny Jolly early in the game was critical. Without that penalty, it's a four point swing in the other direction and if you add in the missed field goal by "Wide Left" Crosby....well, you get the idea.

It just gets under my fingernails that Brett won in our house. Oh well.

Packers vs. Vikings

I've waited for this day ever since I found out Favre was going to be wearing that awful purple jersey. Sure, we lost up in Minnesota. But now, he has to come back to Titletown and face the fans he has betrayed. For the very first time, Favre will run through the tunnel to a throng of boos from the Cheesehead Nation. I can't wait. I can't wait to see Kampman send him to the turf the first time. I can't wait to see Woodson pick him off and take it to the house. It's going to be an ugly homecoming for Mr. Favre, as this is now Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood.

Bring it.

Why the Packers are going to win:

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