Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tebow Superbowl Ad

As a football fan, obviously I know who Tim Tebow is. Heisman Trophy winner. Florida football legend. Up to this point, I've kind of been rooting against him whenever I watched Florida play and I don't really know why. I think I always explained it as, "I just don't like Tebow."

I do now.

Tebow and his family will be featured in a Superbowl ad this year for Focus on Family. Get a sneak peek on this story and check out a video about Tebow's life and faith in God at Christianity Lived Out: Tebow Superbowl Ad.

Please join me in offering your support for this ad and for the Tebow family and to fight against the many who have raised their voices in opposition to it. If we are truly to have free speech in this country, we must be allowed to speak for any side of an issue, even if it might go against the current majority in the Senate.

Stepping off my soap box now. Thank you.

Scheduling My Life

My Type-A personality thrives on lists and schedules so I am shocked that I still have not sat down and hammered out a weekly schedule for my life. I am behind on so many things and I think the reason is because I haven't explicitly scheduled out time to take care of them. This becomes especially hard when you have an infant in the house whose schedule is still somewhat unpredictable. So, that is my goal for this week. At some point - I haven't yet scheduled time for me to schedule my time - I am going to sit down with my husband and figure out our weekly schedule. Here are a few very important things I need to carve out time for:

Scrapbooking - If I do not set aside specific time for this, I won't get to do it. Trust me, this is important. Scrapbooking is like my therapy and without it I would go even more nuts than I already am. I really need at least two hours every week to do this.

Couple Time - Evan and I need to set aside some time each week to hang out with one another in "adult time." This includes a date night, but also needs to have some casual at home time.

Cleaning and Housework - I hate to admit this is important, but it is. My house is really showing that I haven't made time to do this so I need to make sure it gets back on my schedule.

Sure, it doesn't seem like much, but it's amazing how much I rely on a schedule to function. I'm a freak that way. Do you have anything you need to schedule to make sure you do it?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pampers Points & Snapfish Steals!

I have two very exciting deals to report to you all!

First, is offering a really great deal to all new customers. When you place your first order, you score a $10 discount PLUS you earn 500 bonus Pampers Gifts to Grow points if you have any Pampers product in your order! Just use code 10PAMPERS. Not to mention, they offer free shipping on any order more than $49. If you're a Pampers Snob like me, you really need to be taking advantage of the Gifts to Grow program. There are codes on every package of diapers and wipes that you can enter online at to earn prizes or gift cards. If you're going to buy the diapers anyway, why not get something back for it?

Also, Snapfish is running another great special if you are looking to create a unique photo project. Use code NEWDECOR to score a poster or a canvas print for 30% off until February 7th. If you need a new 2010 calendar, make one from your photos on Snapfish for 35% off using code JANCAL35 until January 31st. Remember, new customers to Snapfish also earn free photo prints!

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

This was the first book I had wirelessly "beamed" to my Kindle at 12:01 am the day it came out. It was pretty cool to have access to a new release pretty much immediately. However, I just got to read it last week! In my defense, it came out on September 18th. I was a little busy then.
As someone who truly enjoyed Brown's previous novels The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, I was excited to read his most recent work. Set in Washington D.C., The Lost Symbol again joins Robert Langdon as he is unexpectedly swept into the mysterious world of secret societies, legend, and mystery. Langdon is tricked into coming to the nation's capital and finds himself at the center of a madman's errand. Expected to help discover the long-long treasure of the Freemasons, Langdon must decipher codes, travel deep into the underground vaults of the U.S. Capitol, and evade pursuit by the CIA.

I particularly liked the cast of characters in this book. The antagonist is seriously B.A. (email me if you don't know what that stands for) and is crucial to making this book so special. He is mysterious, dangerous, intelligent, and his cunning makes him the ideal villain in this story. As is typical for Dan Brown, he provides Langdon with a female sidekick. Katherine Solomon fills this role nicely, but she's more gullible and sappy than she is fierce or interesting. The real star of the show in The Lost Symbol is Director Sato, the CIA director who makes up for what she lacks in stature with a raw grit that strikes fear into the bones of any man she crosses.
Brown's writing style works well in this novel, as he leaves little mini-cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. It always makes you want to keep reading, regardless of the late hour. There is one particular plot twist that hits you like a ton of bricks and may force you to make a frantic call to your spouse at work, just to express your shock and awe at the situation. The final climax is unexpected and jaw-dropping.
Unfortunately, there was still quite a bit of book left after the climax that left me feeling a bit disappointed. The Epilogue feels like a bit of an afterthought and what is supposed to be the resolution to the big mystery that had caused so much hoopla throughout the novel feels somewhat anti-climactic.
All in all, another good one by Dan Brown. I'd still rate Angels and Demons as my fave, but I'd have to put this one below The DaVinci Code.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Micah the Night Owl

I swear, he was sleeping through the night at one point. Micah got a cold a couple weeks back and that severely affected his sleep, but he just has not bounced back yet, even though he is back to breathing pretty much normally without all the snot buildup in his nose. Once again, I was up pretty much all night long again last night. Evan fed him an 8 oz bottle around 11:00 pm, but Micah was awake by 1:30 am. I was in that room about 4 times between 1:30 and 2:15 to give him his nuk or to soothe him before he finally feel back asleep until 3:15 am. I went through the same song & dance until about 3:45 and at that point, I realized he was hungry - ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!! I made a 6 oz bottle and he sucked it dry. I spent the next 40 minutes trying to get him to go back to sleep, but both times I put him in his crib after having rocked him to sleep, he woke up immediately and I couldn't get him quieted down.

That's when I tagged Evan in.

What are we doing wrong here? Should we be starting to sleep-train Micah already? These overnights are kicking my butt so any suggestions from the seasoned parents would be very welcomed!! Here's what Parents Magazine has to say on the subject, but I'm more interested in hearing what you have to say.

Sneaky Chicken Enchiladas

This sneaky recipe is a hybrid of one of Chase Lapine's recipes and my own. I made the fully loaded enchiladas for myself and Evan, but stuck to the alternate kid version for Isaiah. The key with the sneaky recipes is to make the purees in advance so you have them on hand and ready when you're cooking dinner. For this one, I used the Orange Puree.

Orange Puree
1 sweet potato or yam, 3 carrots
  • Chop up the potato & the carrots nice and small. Cover with cold water and boil for 20 minutes until nice and soft. Puree in a food processor, adding water until smooth.

Sneaky Chicken Enchiladas
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 small can green chiles
chicken breasts
tortillas (4)
onion & garlic (to taste)
shredded cheese
salsa (optional)
Orange Puree
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with PAM.
  • Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the chicken and cook through. Shred the chicken into small pieces to make it easier to stuff into the tortillas.
  • Add black beans & chiles. Cook until mixture is thickened.
  • Spread a couple tablespoons of Orange Puree over the middle of each tortilla. Top with cheese to hide the healthy stuff!
  • Spoon chicken/bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with cheese and salsa (if desired).
  • Roll tortillas and place in foil lined pan. Top tortillas with shredded cheese. Bake for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sneaky Kid's Quesadilla

  • Smear the Orange Puree inside a tortilla and top with cheese and as much chicken as your kid will handle. Fold quesadilla in half.
  • Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook quesadilla on either side until golden brown and cheese is nice and melted. Cut with pizza cutter and serve with salsa!


Isaiah loved his quesadilla! He "helped" me make dinner and he was sneaking bites of cheese out of his tortilla so he was super excited to eat it after I got it out of the skillet. I was shocked that he liked the salsa, but he tried it and just figured it was one more thing to dunk stuff in. Score! As for our Chicken Enchiladas, even my picky husband ate the whole thing and even seemed to enjoy it. I found that the Orange Puree added a nice sweetness that worked well with the chicken and played off the salsa in mine very nicely. A big hit! Will definitely be making this one again!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Swagbucks & More Fun Ways to Save Money

Since becoming a coupon-clipping Mommy, I am starting to watch out for more and more deals and ways to save money on the things I buy. I am discovering there are so many cool ways to live on a budget and to save money just by making some simple choices and changes. I thought it might be fun to share some of my fun frugal facts (you like that alliteration there?) and maybe the four people who read this blog might find them useful too!

1. Clipping Coupons Old-School: I buy a Sunday paper before I go to work every Sunday morning and I bust out the scissors to clip coupons the old-fashioned way. It's tedious, but after I sort the coupons into my cute little coupon folder (by genre and expiration date) I have a boatload of savings at my fingertips. I make my shopping lists based on the grocery store sales advertised in the circular I get on Tuesdays along with the Walgreens & Target ads from the Sunday paper. On my last outing, I saved more than $60 just by using coupons I clipped and shopping the specials. It took me more than an hour to make my shopping lists, but it was worth it!

2. Date Night on the Cheap: Who says date night has to be at night? The last time Evan and I went on a date, we dropped the boys off with my sister-in-law (Translation: FREE childcare) on a Saturday afternoon and we caught an early movie. By going to the movies before 6:00 pm, you pay about $3 less per ticket. We also snuck in snacks we had previously purchased at Walgreens to avoid the insane concession prices. Slightly dishonest? Sure. A fiscally savvy move? Absolutely. My Reese's Pieces and I were just fine with it.

3. Go Generic: I buy store brands whenever possible. Case in point - infant formula. Enfamil and Similac formula run about $25 per can! I pay $19.79 for a two-pack of the Up & Up brand that Target makes. The best part? The nutrition info on the label is exactly the same as the pricey brands. The Up & Up diapers are really nice too. I buy generic pasta, cheese, yogurt, milk, whatever I can get my hands on. Sometimes you gotta go with the name brand for certain items, but I avoid it whenever possible and it saves me big bucks.

4. Swagbucks: I am brand new to this phenomenon, but I know several people who swear by Swagbucks. Basically, you do all your Internet searching through the Swagbuck-generated search engine and you earn Swagbucks. Need to do some online shopping? Access your favorite online stores like Target and Walmart through the Swagbucks site and you earn Swagbucks for every dollar you spend. Over time, those virtual dollars add up and you can redeem them for actual items or for gift cards to your favorite stores! Not a bad deal. Oh, and you earn Swagbucks for referring your friends, so if this sounds like something you might want to start doing, click on the button to get started!Search & Win Best of all - it's FREE!!

5. Shop Online: Sometimes it just makes sense to buy online versus going to the store. I never buy anything online until I have at least done a search for a promo code I can use. JC Penny always has a ton of options for promo codes and you can usually find some for other online retailers too. It never hurts to check and you may end up saving a nice chunk of change! Often I find the cost of shipping is cheaper than the gas I would spend to drive to the store. Also, consistently offers really great prices and a lot of their products qualify for free shipping. I recently bought Micah's new carseat on and it only cost me $107 versus the $144 for the same model (different fabric) at Target. It was on my doorstep in only two days with the free shipping option. Can't beat that!

6. Sign up for Stuff: This one only works if you sign up for stuff you're actually going to use. It's no fun to get spam sent to your email all the time or to have to dump massive amounts of junk mail into your garbage every day. My example? I signed up to receive the emails from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Every time the new Michaels email comes out, it has a link to a 40% off coupon for any one regular priced item. This is perfect for me to go and buy my fabulous American Crafts D-ring Scrapbook albums. I will never pay full price for one of those babies ever again. Check out a store's website and see if they have a email sign-up or if you can sign up to receive their offers in the mail. Pampers and Huggies also have awesome programs for this!

I've come a long way from the clueless shopper I once was. In fact, I wrote about it on the blog back in August of 2009. In this post, I was really stressed out about money and one of my goals was to learn how to shop smarter. I'd like to think I've made some progress in that area!

What about you? What tricks & tips do you use to shop smarter?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm a Sneaky Chef!

As I have whined about in the past, my toddler absolutely refuses to eat vegetables. Up to this point, the only way I have been able to get veggies in his belly is by mashing up broccoli or carrots and mixing them into his spaghetti sauce. It gets so frustrating sometimes because I really want him to eat better, but I just don't want to have the tantrums and the screaming that would follow me trying to feed him something funky.

Enter The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. I bought this book quite some time ago and I have tried several recipes from it in the past with awesome results. I wrote a blog post about the Chocolate Cupcakes that have blueberries and spinach hidden in them. They were delicious! I'm also a big fan of the chocolate chip pancakes with wheat germ and other goodies inside. I've recently been inspired to start trying to sneak more and more healthy stuff into the meals I cook for every member of my family, myself included.

Every time I make a sneaky meal, I will blog about it and share what I made and how it went over with my picky eaters. Hopefully some of you can join me in my sneaky chef ways!

Coming Soon: Sneaky Chicken Enchiladas

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project Life

I've been debating back and forth on whether or not I want to take on this project considering that I'm already a couple months behind on my scrapbooks, but the more I think about it, the more I want to jump into creating a Project Life binder for 2010.

Is it a scrapbook? Yup, but a very unique one. A photo album? Yes and no.

Project Life is an album designed to document your daily life for an entire year. It combines photos with journaling cards to create a very unique album. You can go all out and take a photo every single day or you can scale back a bit and put in as many as you can. You can add in page protectors for special documents or keepsakes. All in all, it becomes a pretty cool package.

The nice thing about Project Life is that the hard work is already done for you. The pages are already divided and ready to accept your photos and journal cards. The kit you buy has all the materials you need. It's available on Amazon right now with free shipping and I'm super-tempted. I know I scrapbook too, but this just seems like a really cool opportunity to focus more on our family life from day to day, versus the more "special occasions" I tend to scrapbook. Let's be clear - I have no intention of quitting scrapbooking! Plus, there is a whole community of fellow bloggers who are all working on it together, so there is plenty of inspiration out there.

Aw, heck. I just asked Jessica Turner if I should start Project Life even though I'd have to pick up in February and she said, "Just go for it!" I'm such a sucker for peer pressure.
Don't tell Evan. :)

Same Shirt?

Just how much bigger is Micah than Isaiah was as a baby? Let's use this T-shirt as an illustration.

Here is Isaiah wearing his "My Daddy's a Stud Too" T-shirt at the age of 8 months:

Here is Micah wearing that exact same the age of 4 months.

Notice which boy is wearing the tighter T-shirt? Oh boy....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Never thought I'd say that!

It's amazing the things that come out of your mouth when you have two small children. Three years ago, I never would have imagined some of the things I now say on a regular basis. For example:

Please do not lick the dishwasher!

Come over here so I can see if you're poopy.

Don't bite Mommy in the butt!

Eeewww!! Chalk is not for eating!

Take your hand out of your diaper, please.

Gross, you stink like pee. We'll change you after breakfast.

How did you get pudding in your ear?

Any fun little quips from your experiences with kids?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

100 Free Prints!!

If you're looking for a good deal on photo printing, Snapfish has a whopper of a sale going right now. You can score 100 free prints with any purchase by using code PRINTSNEW until January 27th! Plus, if you're new to Snapfish you can get 50 additional prints just for signing up. I use Snapfish for all my photo printing and I love it.

For those of you playing along at home, I have updated our group room with the recent photos of the family here in Arena. Hope you enjoy!

I'm fairly caught up on my photo developing, but I am going to take advantage of this deal to order prints of photos like this one

and this one.

NFC Champions!

The New Orleans Saints are NFC Champions!! If my beloved Packers couldn't be there, this is the team I was hoping would make it. I just love to see the Vikings heading home with their tails between their legs.

Favre played a heck of a game and had a heck of a season though. He's a fighter, alright.

I'm really looking forward to a Saints vs. Colts Super Bowl. That will be a great game!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Stand Corrected.

Remember a while back when I was at the Walmart in Madison and there was a customer looking for pork chitterlings and I found it hilarious? If not, refresh your memory by reading my post: The Walmart Effect - Part 2.

As it turns out, Walmart does have everything. Check out what I happened to see up at the Walmart in Baraboo today.

Well I'll be danged.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Even though I have seen it several times - including once on Broadway - I get a tingle up my spine every time I see a commercial for the upcoming production of RENT at the Overture Center. It's one of those shows that gets under your skin and stays with you. The music is incredible and the story is timeless. I will never forget the first time I saw it and how I just sat there in awe of the spectacle in front of me.

It is so tempting for me to buy a ticket to go see this show, but I am using every ounce of willpower I have to keep myself from doing just that.

Say the mantra with me: We just can't afford it....we just can't afford it.....we just can't afford it.....we just can't afford it.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Food Rules

Even though I wasn't given any specific dietary restrictions after my surgery, I took it upon myself to make sure I didn't set myself up for trouble by feeding my body stuff that my digestive system - recently missing an organ - wouldn't like. I haven't exactly put myself on a diet, per say, but I have made some small changes that I can really tell are paying off. I have lost some weight (not a lot, but every pound counts!) and I can definitely tell when I eat something I shouldn't have because my body does NOT let me get away with it anymore. :)

1. No deep fried foods - None, nada, zero. I decided the one thing I would give up entirely would be this kind of food. Let's face it - it's bad for you. Period. Here we are on January 20th and I have not cheated even once. Since the surgery, I have not eaten a single french fry nor anything else that is deep fried. This has been a tough one a couple of times, especially at work, but for the most part it has been an easy change to make that has made a big difference.

2. Smarter dessert choices - I love sweets and there is absolutely no way I'm in a place to give them up entirely. Baby steps, people. Instead, I have been making a concentrated effort to make smarter choices in the dessert category. I would literally have a piece of pie every time I worked at the restaurant. I don't do that anymore. I think I have only had two bites of pie since the surgery. If I get a wicked bad sweet craving at work, I have a spoonful of ice cream. At home, I indulge in a JELL-O chocolate mousse cup - only 60 calories each! Do I still get custard at Culver's from time to time? Absolutely. Do I get it every time? Nope. Oh, and it helps that I'm not eating the french fries, deep fried chicken sandwich, or the chicken tenders anymore. I'm also a big fan of the dessert Shooters at Applebee's (see photo)- only $1.99 and way smaller than the crazy huge desserts restaurants typically tempt you with.

3. Cut back on big-time fatty foods - It used to be that nothing would make me happier than a Culver's Double Deluxe value basket paired with either a chocolate malt or a sundae afterwards. Now I stick to the grilled chicken sandwich, a salad, or some other choice not quite as loaded up on fat.

4. Control my snacking - I eat when I get bored, upset, or for no reason at all. Nowhere is this more difficult than when I'm working at the restaurant. When we're slow, I much on anything I can get my hands on: french fries, cookies, malts, onion rings, etc. No longer. I choose sensible meals when I am there and if I start to feel the urge to snack coming on, I grab a glass of ice water and carry it around with me - seriously. I drink that ice water mostly just to keep my hands and mouth occupied so I don't go snacking on something I shouldn't. It works!

5. Reduce portion sizes - We had pizza for dinner the other night and I chose to have a large salad before the oven beeped. By the time I actually ate pizza, I was completely satisfied with two pieces. I probably should have stuck to just one, but baby steps, right? I was really proud of myself for not going back to eat that third piece an hour later!

6. Pack a lunch - This has been awesome! I grilled up two large chicken breasts on the Foreman grill, chopped them up, and put them in a Tupperware. If I am teaching that day, I assemble a little salad kit and bring it with me. I can only imagine how many calories this has saved me versus eating school lunch!

Wow, that became a much longer post than I planned on. Give yourself a pat on the back if you're still reading! Anyway, that's the rundown on the new food rules that are helping me eat better post-surgery.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Micah's New Carseat

Weighing in at a whopping 20 pounds now (he was weighed again when we took him to the doctor to get the suspected ear infection checked), Micah is getting upgraded to a convertible carseat. I researched and read about all the different options, but in the end I decided to buy the exact same carseat Isaiah has. I like it, he likes it, and I know how to use it. Plus, it is rated very highly in all the crash tests and Consumer Reports really recommends it.

So, I ordered another Evenflo Triumph Advance. It is rated to hold Micah up to 35 pounds rear facing and then up to 50 pounds forward facing. At the rate he's going, that will only be in another two months, but still.

Just kidding.

I actually managed to find this carseat on Amazon for less than $110 and it even qualified for free shipping. Really, you can't beat that. And the best part? All of the kind people who ever gave us money for Micah actually bought this carseat for us. I put all that money into an empty 2 liter bottle and then I empty any spare change I get into the bottle as well. I did this with Isaiah too and I was able to buy our Fisher Price swing with that money. I had more than enough in Micah's bottle to buy him his new carseat, so at least I didn't have to stress about not being able to afford to buy it for him right now.

Here's the funny part. I posted on Facebook that I was buying a new convertible seat for Micah and my oh-so-experienced friend Sarah Jo - who has three boys - chimed in with the suggestion that I buy a new carseat for Isaiah instead that can convert into a booster for the next step in his growth and just give Micah the one Isaiah is using now.

Wow, wish I had thought of that before I got the email from Amazon that my carseat had shipped. Oh well!! Live and learn, I guess.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I'm not a pleasant person to be around right now. I know I need to make a choice to change that and I plan on working on that after I get a little sleep, providing Micah allows me to do that tonight.

There isn't anything massive that's making me so cranky, just a combination of a bunch of things. I almost feel silly for my funk, considering the devastation in Haiti and all the other horrible things that could be happening in my life right now that aren't.

Lack of sleep. A stack of overdue bills on my counter. A sick infant who can't sleep in his crib nor though the night anymore. A toddler with a goose egg the size of Texas on his forehead. The Vikings going to the NFC Championship. Piles of photos and no time to scrapbook. Booked to teach tomorrow, but didn't get to shower tonight so my hair will be ugly. Feeling like nothing I ever do will ever be good enough. Frustration. Lack of sleep.

Like I said, nothing too terrible, but just a few things that add up to me being just slightly unsettled at the moment. I promise to try to be more positive the rest of the week now that I've gotten that off my chest.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thank God for Coffee

For two nights in a row now, I have had very little sleep. Micah is waking up constantly throughout the night, so I am getting up several times every hour. Most of the time, I just give him his pacifier and I can go back to bed for a solid 20 minutes or so, but I have had to feed him in the 4:00 hour the past two nights. This morning, he stayed wide awake after that feeding and was happy as a clam as he made a special present for Mommy in his diaper. Oh, and Isaiah has woken up twice each night as well.

What is going on with my kids? Have they teamed up in a diabolical plot to make Mommy sleep deprived and super crabby? If's working. It figures they would pull this stunt when I went back to teaching.

Actually, I suspect Micah might have an ear infection. He has wanted to sleep on his left side these past couple nights and I noticed he was pawing at his left ear quite a bit as he was fighting sleep in the wee hours this morning. I asked the babysitter to keep an eye on it for me today and let me know if she sees him continuing to do that.

As for Isaiah....I don't know. Maybe he's having nightmares again or maybe he's just waking up and getting scared. No clue. The good news is that it doesn't take much to get him back to sleep. A minute or two of rocking in the chair calms him down enough to put him back to bed.

I just know that if I don't start getting some better sleep soon, we are not going to have a happy household. Zombies don't make very good wives and mothers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Like Coming Home

I have really been looking forward to getting back to substitute teaching, but I didn't realize how much I had actually missed it until I set foot in the high school this morning.

I had butterflies in my tummy last night and actually felt kind of nervous. It had been so long since I'd been in the classroom, I guess I was afraid my skills would have gotten rusty or I wouldn't feel comfortable. Pair that with a horrendous night of sleep (I was up with the kids literally 2-4 times every HOUR) and I wasn't exactly feeling confident about my triumphant return to the classroom.

My fears were quickly laid to rest. From the moment I entered the building, I felt as though I had never left. I was immediately relaxed and was greeted with smiles by colleagues and students I haven't seen for months. I quickly remembered how the heck to be a teacher and my morning classes all went very well. I loved re-connecting with my fellow teachers and getting hugs from those I was close to in the past. The nerves passed and I reclaimed my position as an educator with confidence.

It was like coming home.

First Solid Foods

We got the green light to go ahead and start trying out solid foods with Micah, so he got to have his first rice cereal meal. I remember when Isaiah first was offered solids, he was pretty indifferent to it. He ended up with more on his face than in his belly. Surprise, surprise....this was not the issue with "Tons o' Fun."

He got a lot all over his face at first, but it only took a couple minutes before Micah caught on to what he was supposed to do and the next thing I knew, I was having to cut that kid off! Every spoonful I would give him, he would just eat it up. I never would have guessed when he was born with those long, thin limbs that Micah would end up being my chunky baby, but he loves to eat!

I'm always behind the camera, so it's rare to get a photo of me with my kids that I'm actually not embarassed of. So, I just had to share this one with you.
(That and I had two people comment today that I looked like I had lost weight, so I'm feeling kind of good.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"We're gonna need a bigger boat."

Remember that moment in "JAWS" when they finally see the shark for the first time and the sheriff says that line? That's kind of how I felt today when they weighed Micah only I was thinking, "We're gonna need a bigger carseat."

Micah tipped the scales at a whopping 19 pounds, 4 ounces! According to the percentiles my doctor's office uses (which I am never too sure about), that is "off the charts."

He measured 25 inches long (50%) and his massive melon was 17 cm (75%).

No wonder that kid struggles to roll over.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Guess I'm a Bad Mommy

I'm all bent out of shape this morning. I read several blogs on an almost daily basis. Some are parenting/Mommy blogs, some are scrapbooking blogs, and others are just interesting or are written by people I know. One of the blogs I read is written by another stay at home Mommy named Samantha. She always writes such great posts about parenting and her little boy, Lucas, is just a punkin!

Here's the problem. Yesterday, I read a post on Mama Notes (Samantha's blog) that has me all out of whack. She was very upset with herself when writing this particular post because she had let her 10 month old watch "Clifford the Big Red Dog" for less than 5 minutes. She was seriously feeling super guilty that she had such a weak moment and allowed her child to watch TV and was really upset that he seemed to really like it. Read the full post HERE.

This got me thinking. I must be a really bad mommy. Here's why:

  • Not only do my kids watch TV, they love it. Isaiah loves his PIXAR movies so much that he knows what is coming next and can actually talk along with them or act out what is happening on screen. We watch a movie every day. Micah's pretty indifferent at this point, but he is certainly exposed to the TV on a daily basis.
  • I can't get my toddler to eat vegetables and two of his favorite words are "french fries" and "pizza." When we are driving in the car and he sees a Culver's, he points at it and starts to yell, "Num Num!!" and gets angry if we don't pull in to eat.
  • We don't go outside to play during the winter. I don't like snow or cold, so we stay in the house if I can help it. Part of this is that I also have an infant that I really don't want to have out in the freezing cold.
  • I allow my child to drink juice. Apparantly this is a big no-no now, but I do buy the Motts for Tots juice that has 40% less sugar than regular juice. He doesn't drink it constantly and I insist on water or milk with meals.
  • Samantha is still nursing her 10 month old. I quit with Isaiah after 3 1/2 months and I barely made it to 2 months with Micah. She also cloth diapers while I pollute the environment with disposables.

I'm sure there's more because I was lying awake in bed thinking about this for a good 30 minutes last night, but that's all I can remember right now. So yeah. I'm not really feeling like Super-Mom right now.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll get back to watching WALL.E with my two year old.

Micah - 4 Months

I always joke that if I had a choice, I would give birth to a 4 month old. Now, let's be clear. I have no desire to actually deliver a baby Micah's size, but I find newborns to be somewhat scary and 4 month olds are really starting to get fun!

Here's what is happening with Micah at 4 months old!
  • He is really starting to enjoy observing the world around him. He will study your face, listen to your voice, and interact with you. He enjoys hanging out on his activity mat and watching all the toys dance above him. Most of all, he really loves talking to Isaiah!

  • He has developed enough neck strength to hold his head up while he is sitting up and can lift his head up pretty well while laying on his tummy. He still struggles with rolling over though. He can get onto his left side, but then gets stuck!

  • Micah is still on formula only, but is starting to show signs he is ready to try solid foods. He was sleeping through the night on a pretty consistant basis, but has started to wake up hungry again.

  • He is so chubby!! I always thought Isaiah was a "solid" baby, but Micah is just plain chunky. He has little baby boobies and actually has rolls on his ankles. I didn't think that was possible.

  • Micah can grab things now. He got a really cute little rattle toy for Christmas and he can actually grasp it between his hands and shake it. He also loves to hang on to an Eeyore stuffed toy he inherited from his big brother.

  • We tried out the Jumperoo, but he didn't seem to dig it too much. Maybe we will try again in a few weeks!

  • Poor Micah inherited his Mommy's dry skin. He had a nasty case of cradle cap a while back that we were able to slough off, but he has since been stuck with some really bad dry skin on his bald head. So, instead of hair, he has flakes!

  • He sticks to a pretty good routine now. He eats and sleeps around the same times every day and has taken very well to having a schedule. What's really awesome is that he and Isaiah tend to take their afternoon naps at the same time!! Mommy loves this.

We have his 4 month checkup with his doctor on Wednesday, so I will be able to report his official height and weight after that appointment. He's so cute, isn't he??!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Now I'm just Angry!

How many stages of grief are there again? I'm not sure what they all are, but I can be sure that I have been traveling through a couple of them since that heartbreaker last night.

Denial: No! No!! No!!! They couldn't have just lost that game! (And then I sat and sulked for about two hours.)

Anger: This is the stage of grief I am in now because I have started to realize that I am angry at two groups of people:

1. I am angry at the Packers because if you score 45 points, you should win the football game. If you don't, clearly something went horribly wrong.

2. I am much MORE angry with the referees. There were some horrible calls (and no-calls) last night that had an enormous impact on the game, especially in overtime. This article conveys my frustration perfectly: Shutdown Corner

The worst no-call, in my opinion, was definitely on the final play of the game (pictured above). As I watched in horror, Rodgers was hit in the facemask and the ball came loose, resulting in the winning touchdown for the Cardinals. How this penalty wasn't called is beyond my understanding.

Ok....I think I've hopefully started moving on to the Acceptance stage of grief. It might still take some time and healing, but I can at least take comfort in looking forward to a stellar next season!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh My Broken Heart!!

I might need some time to recover from that gut-wrenching Packer loss today. I about had a heart attack about 15 times and then had to make a conscious effort NOT to throw the baby in excitement when the Cardinals shanked the field goal at the end of the game. The final play in OT though....that broke my heart.

Now I guess all I can do is just take pride in knowing they made a great run and staged one heck of a comeback. I guess now I just hitch my star to whomever is playing the Vikings!

(I really hate the Vikings.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Isaiah has a multi-purpose word and it is pronounced "Sah-ee." This word can take on many meanings, depending on its context. Observe.

Translation #1: Sally - This translation applies when watching the PIXAR movie, "Cars." The Porche in the movie is named Sally and Isaiah really likes her. I think it's the pinstriping tattoo beneath her spoiler. She's saucy that way.

Translation #2: Silly - When there is general foolishness taking place (which is rather often), Isaiah likes to make the observation that either he or Mommy (or Daddy!) is being silly. I very often refer to him as a "silly kid," so he caught on to this early. He thinks it is particularly silly when you try to put a puzzle piece where it doesn't belong. Classic comedy right there.

Translation #3: Sully - Another PIXAR character, this time from "Monsters, Inc." The big blue monster is a big hit with my toddler and he gets super-excited when Sully is doing his morning workout with Mike. He will actually act out this scene (to the best of his ability) along with the movie. It's so cute!

Translation #4: Sorry - Whenever he gets a Time Out, Isaiah has to apologize and give a hug and kiss when his time is up. I can't get over how much I love hearing him say "Sah-ee" and know that he understands what it means. He has even apologized out of the blue for running into me on accident or dropping something! Smart kiddo.

Translation #5: Slinky - He has two toys modeled after this character from "Toy Story." He's a weenie dog with a slinky for a body and Isaiah has a tiny little one you can wind up as well as a big one that he got for Christmas.

Who knew one word could mean so many things? I always told my English students that using context clues was an important tool for comprehension, but I guess I never imagined how handy it would be for decoding the language of a toddler!

Friday, January 8, 2010

On the Mend

I thought there might be chance that maybe one or two of you might be wondering how I am doing after all the surgery & hospital drama last week. I've been home for a week now and I am feeling about ten thousand times better! I am back to a normal diet, though I don't plan on going on a cheeseburger bender anytime soon. I had some new blood work done on Monday and my bile levels were just about back to normal, after being more than 4 times what they should have been last week. I checked in with my surgeon on Wednesday and he said I am healing just fine. My abdomen still looks like someone attacked me after a Ginzu knife demo and the top one is still plenty sore. Too much activity does eventually catch up to me later in the day. When I had to tote Micah around in his carseat to Target and then on a couple other errands, I was really hurting by late afternoon. Moving too quickly or stretching too far also causes a good amount of pain. I'm happy to have a sufficient supply of painkillers, let's just put it that way.

All in all, it wasn't the way I would choose to start off my new year, but I'm happy we got the problem taken care of. I just hope we don't have to do anything involving surgery or hospitals again any time soon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Dream of Layouts

Do you ever have trouble shutting your brain off when you go to bed at night? I really struggle with this. No sooner do I get all snuggled in and comfy when all of a sudden, my mind decides it is the perfect time to run through my To-Do List for the next day, wonder if I remembered to run the dryer, or realize I never returned a call. This annoys me to no end!! Along the same lines, however, I do find those relaxing moments before dozing off to be prime time for imagining scrapbook layouts. I know, I know....I am a total dork. I'm serious though! For example, last night I fell asleep with visions running through my head of how I wanted to scrap this photo:

Oh, I've got big plans, baby. I just ordered about 60 more prints from Snapfish tonight, so I won't have the afore mentioned dream layout to show you for a while, but at least now you have something to look forward to. P.S. If you're one of those who follows along with the photos on Snapfish, I did just add all the Christmas photos as well as a few from January. Snapfish is running a sale until January 7th of 50 prints for 50 pennies so hurry if you want to order some prints! Code is NEWYEAR50.

Speaking of scrapbook layouts, here is the two-pager I completed last night. I'm so proud that I finally have caught up to Isaiah's birthday. I'm only two months behind!!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 4, 2010

Breaking the Habit

Well, the dog destroyed yet another pacifier today so we are left with only one. That lonely pink pacifier was pulled from its home in the car and brought inside for Isaiah's bedtime. Evan and I figured this was maybe a good opportunity to start the process of breaking Isaiah of his nuk, so we decided we wouldn't buy any more. I told Isaiah that this was his last nuk and that he didn't get one in the car anymore and that if he lost this one or if Brian chewed it up, he didn't get one at all anymore. I kid you not....about five minutes later, Isaiah suddenly chucked his nuk on the floor. I quickly grabbed it and hid it.

After a couple minutes, Isaiah reached toward me and said, "Nuk?" I reminded him that he threw it, so he got up and started to look for it, but I didn't give it to him. I figured there's no time like the present and I'm not going to be teaching at all this week, so now is as good a time as any to try to break him of the nuk.

I managed to put Isaiah to bed without his pacifier for the first time!! He reached up and asked for it the second his head hit the pillow, but I reminded him that he threw it away. He fussed for a moment or two, but I just left the room. It looks like he managed to fall asleep without it, but I am dreading the encounter that will have to take place if he wakes up in the middle of the night.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How can I thank him enough?

Way back in July of 2004, Evan and I vowed to be together "in sickness and in health." We've seen each other through our share of stomach bugs, migraines, pinched spinal nerves, and common colds. Nothing has come close to the absolutely horrendous ordeal I shall refer to as "The Gallbladder Saga of '09." When I had my very first attack, Evan showed no hesitation has he marched right into Walgreens to buy Gas-X and Midol. At every subsequent attack, he showed genuine concern and did everything he could to make me as comfortable as possible so I could recover and this often meant taking care of both the kids on his own for several hours.

Ever since I wound up in the emergency room on Christmas Eve, I have been blessed enough to have a true servant at my side. I don't mean that in a "dust your shelves, vacuum your floors, kiss your butt" kind of way. I refer to the kind of servant Jesus calls us to be. Evan has gone out of his way every single day to see to my needs before his own. He comforted our children at 3:00 am when I couldn't get out of bed. He spooned ice chips into my mouth to try to ease my pain. He held my hand when I struggled to walk the halls in the hospital. He saw to my comfort upon my arrival home, bringing me anything I might need all while caring for our children and seeing to the chores of our home. Even as he started to come down with a cold and our boys both got sick and cranky, he continued to make sure I was as pain-free as possible. When I finally took the Band-Aids off my wounds and saw them for the first time, he comforted me through my tears and reassured me that I was "still beautiful."

I am truly blessed. In spite of all the pain I have felt over the past couple weeks, it is nothing in comparison to the overwhelming love I have felt from my husband.

Evan, how can I thank you enough?

Didn't need that.

All three boys are sick. Evan is congested and has body aches. Isaiah's nose is running like a fountain. Micah is so congested he can barely breathe and was up crying for most of the night.

And in addition to my abdomen looking like I was attacked at knife point .... I have a sore throat.

2010 had better improve from here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

I've been so preoccupied with the surgery and recovery that I nearly forgot that we just entered a new year. My butt was in bed by 9:30 last night so I didn't watch the ball drop, which is something I enjoy doing every year. I was awake enough in the wee hours of the morning to mutter, "Happy New Year" to Evan when he came back to bed after tending to one of the boys. It's definitely been a rough start to 2010, but I'm optimistic about what this year has in store for us. If you're interested in my musings on 2009, see my post "Auld Lang Syne." I just re-read it the other day and was very pleased with how many of the things I wrote about were actually accomplished.

My hopes for 2010:

Our Family
  • I look forward to all those "firsts" with Micah. First time rolling over, first foods, first tooth, first words, first steps. I remember all these things being so thrilling with Isaiah, but you blink and they're gone. It's so cool to be able to experience them again.

  • Evan figures he'll be traveling to China at least twice a year from now on. That's in addition to the other sporadic business trips he takes around the U.S. I'm starting to get more used to these trips, so I hope in 2010 I can handle them better.

  • Going back to work! As soon as school starts again (and I am all healed and better), I will be back on the substitute teacher list for Sauk Prairie. I'm pumped about getting back into the classroom.

  • Potty Training! Isaiah's started showing interest in his potty and he got some cool big boy undies for Christmas, so potty training will be the next big step for him. I'm not going to rush him by any means, but I'm hoping he is completely out of diapers by the time he turns 3.

Our House

  • Evan hopes to get the built-in bookcase built and installed in the basement before too long. We also need to get rid of the fridge down there and start installing some shelving and storage in the scraproom (I mean, OFFICE).

  • The roof. Our roof is in dire need of being replaced. This one scares me because I know how much it costs to replace a roof and we don't have anywhere near that kind of money. I know God will provide.

  • New floor in the bathroom. I absolutely hate seeing those nasty yellowish stains underneath the bathmats. This will be a rather inexpensive fix - just going to use the trusty peel 'n stick variety of tiles. I hope to have this little project done this winter.

  • Evan really wants to tackle some landscaping projects and some repairs on the outside of the house this year also. We're hoping to plant at least one more tree (maybe two!), fix our front porch, repaint the trim, and get the back porch repainted. He has some much more ambitious goals for the outside as far as landscaping, but we will have to save the larger projects for another year.

What about Evan and me?

  • I absolutely WILL lose some weight this year. This problem with my gallbladder and the surgery has been a real wake-up call for me. I don't plan on going on a "diet," but I am committed to making better choices. I will not soon forget the excruciating pain the wrong foods caused me over the past couple weeks. That's all the motivation I need!

  • I want to be a more active mom. Isaiah will soon be old enough to start doing little craft projects and other creative activities. I need to learn how to do this will my son. I am really going to try not to fall back on watching a movie so often.

  • Evan and I need to make date nights a priority. They don't need to be expensive or elaborate, but we need to make sure that we have some kid-free couple time at least once a month.

  • We are this close to paying off our Accord (only one payment to go!). When we don't have the car payment anymore, I hope to rebuild our savings account that we had to leech from while I've been off work and to pay off some of our credit card debt. The next step after that will be to start setting aside money for a down payment on the minivan I am determined to buy sometime down the road.

  • No more babies this year!!!

Whew! That seems like a lot to accomplish in a year, but I know we can do it. Happy 2010 everyone!

A Rough Week

This is so not what I had in mind for my holiday season. I have spent the last week in a substantial amount of pain and in fear of food. We were really looking forward to me getting the surgery to have my gallbladder removed on Tuesday because I would finally be able to eat regular food without fearing an attack. It was supposed to be a pretty simple process - 1 hour surgery, a couple hours of recovery, head home. That's not what ended up happening in my case.

As Evan has been writing about, we simply could not get my pain and nausea under control so I ended up spending three days and two nights in the hospital. I don't even want to think about how much the last week has cost us. Starting with the emergency room visit to Waupun Memorial Hospital, plus the copay to the clinic, and then the surgery and two nights at Sauk Prairie Hospital. All I can hear is "cha ching! cha ching!" Never mind how horrible I've been feeling....we certainly couldn't afford for this to happen. Oh well.

I am home now and the nausea has gotten better. I am able to keep down small amounts of bland, liquid-based foods and my pain is manageable now. It still hurts plenty to shift positions, get in and out of bed, sit down, etc. I just hope I make some big improvements over the weekend so I'm feeling up to taking care of the kids on my own come Monday.

Thank you all, for your thoughts and prayers.

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