Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Plans I Have . . .

Good Monday Morning!

This weekend was J's baptism. After months and months of delays, we finally had a pouring of the water . . .

We seriously intended to have him baptized around his third month, but after finding out that we were living in sin (don't get all excited--we were MARRIED, it just wasn't recognized by those pesky Catholics . . . Catholics--don't be upset with me, I married one and am raising another, after all! ), we had to wait to have our marriage convalidated. At least we got to get married again. Of course holidays, my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower, their baby's birth all added up to a string of delays. Wouldn't be so bad it it weren't for the fact that we live several hours from our family. But, in the end, it all turned out perfectly.

The priest was wonderful--we adore him. He is one of those rare people who make an effort to make you feel comfortable. He has the most welcoming way about him that it almost makes me want to become one of those pesky Catholics. My sister-in-law, her husband, their little boy, and my mom-in-law all came in from out of town and stayed with us. Three of my teacher friends attended the ceremony as well and then joined us for dinner and cake after. It was such a lovely time.

I loved having our house filled with life. N, my little nephew has the cutest way of saying Baby J's name. I adore it! He is nearly three and is so full of life and energy! There was conversation, game-playing, eating, laughing . . . They just left a little while ago, J is napping, I'm waiting for a load of laundry to finish. The house is quiet. There is nothing but the humming of the washer to keep me company. *sniff*

Although the event was memorable, I was saddened that my own family could not attend. My parents have a car that would probably never make it here safely, my brother just had a baby and needed to be home with his wife, my baby sister C has classes during the weekend (and I know would have been here if I "demanded" it), and my sister B couldn't be here because she has already traveled extensively and desperately needs to save her money so she can come to Florida with us (hint . . . hint . . .). Although I would have loved for my family to be here, it is her presence that I missed the most. She has an energy that is infectious. The amount of love and care she possesses for little J is extraordinary--and for that I am thankful. I'm hoping she won't mind, but I had to share this message she left for him . . .

Dear J,

I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you today (and every day really). I should've thought to send something sooner but there's no use hiding the fact that your aunt is a procrastinator and a non-plan aheader!

Today's a big day for you and I wish I could be there. But I am praying for you and I promise I always will. When you're older we'll definitely have lots of chats about God, life and even the weather. With the help of your parents, family and the Holy Spirit you'll learn all about God's love and what He's done for you and one day you'll understand on your own and be able to share with others as well.

God's got a BIG plan for you that began even before you were born. I can't wait to see where it all takes you.

Before I leave you to do your baby things I just want to share my favorite bible verse:
Jeremiah 29:11-13
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

I love you dear nephew!

Love always,
Aunt B

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I look at J and I can't imagine him crawling . . . but he will. I can't imagine him walking . . . but he will. I can't imagine him saying "I love you" . . . but he will (I hope!). He will grow up. I can't hold him tight enough to stop it (my brother-in-law says I can . . . but I think we both know it is fruitless). He will go to school. He will start a family. He will move on with his own life . . . one day . . . God willing. In a moment, I get so excited about all that life has in store for this little guy AND saddened to learn that it will all go by so very fast.

Geez, this whole mom thing is killing me . . . You know, they tell you about the poopy diapers, the all-nighters, the spit-up, the need to baby-proof, the best toys, the worst foods . . . the stuff. But I guess no one can tell you about the moments . . . those, you have to experience yourself.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless (almost) Wednesday

*Looking for my American Idol review? Click here.

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I know I won't get millions of dollars for this photo, but it's worth a ZILLION dollars to me . . .

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sharing Time . . .

Are you hungry?
I'm always hungry . . . or so it seems. I had to share. I LOVE Hungry Girl's web site. If you need to lose a few pounds, a lot of pounds, are a Weight Watcher's point person, or just want to eat healthier, you've got to check them out (NO, I swear I am not getting paid for this . . . well, unless someone wants to send me some money). Anyway, they have a great newsletter with "Eat This, Not That" suggestions, news (such as the whole sweetener alternative controversy), recipe alternatives, and one of my favorites, dieting/healthy/alternative food reviews. They also give you the in on great deals on food and the related including coupons, freebies, and more.

Anyway, why am I telling you this? Because I am desperate to get in shape (more on the reason for my desperation--then again, aren't we all a little desperate in this area?--in a later post). Delight.com (unique gifts, accessories, great deals, home products, and more) is offering free shipping to Hungry Girls. Just enter HGDelight when you check out! The offer ends this Friday. Oh, and click HERE for a buy one get one free coupon Atkins Advantage bars.

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Care to win a trip?
Wanna get fit and maybe win a trip to a resort in Mexico? Well, Self is having a contest. What motivation! I'm so big on incentives. And, you know, that whole "I worked out for an hour, I deserve a brownie" philosophy just isn't working. REGISTER for the three-month fit plan and enter the contest!

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Want a FREE new car?
OK, this one goes against my healthy theme, but who cares . . . it is American Idol! You can win a Ford Focus and a trip to the AI finale by entering the Pringles Sweeps. There is a tag line on the site that says, "Both Pringles and American Idol promote and support healthy living habits." Hmmm, so maybe I haven't strayed too far from my healthy them after all.

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Want FREE stuff?
Have I told you about MyPoints? How many of you are members? If not, you need to be! In the interest of full disclosure, yeah, I might make a few bucks if you sign up through me--but what is really important is that I have been a member for nearly 8 years and in that time I have accumulated hundreds of dollars in gift certificates. I usually opt for Walmart, but I've earned gift certificates to Old Navy, Olive Garden, Amazon, and others! I even used some for Christmas gifts). Believe it or not, it doesn't take long to accumulate points either. First off, it is totally FREE to join and if you don't mind clicking on links in e-mail messages, taking a few surveys, and using them as a gateway to your favorite shopping sites (sometimes you can earn up to 10 points per dollar spent!) then you have to try it! Join MyPoints NOW!


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Can you really RENT this stuff?
OK, I time for a "Why the heck didn't I think of that" moment. I was watching the Today show and there is this mom (one SMART mama!) who RENTS toys in the same way Netflix rents DVDs. According to the news segment, there is a cost savings of up to $300 a year (and that is if you are like the average parents who spent upwards of $1000 a year in toys). The site is called Baby Plays. Here's how it works--you visit the site, choose toys to put on your wish list, once you receive them have junior play with them for 30 days or longer, and then ship them back. They provide the tape and label and you use the same box--the only downfall is having to take them to a UPS store. The toys are sanitized, lead-tested, kid-tested (to get the very best toys), shrink-wrapped before you get them!

Here are the plans:

Plan: Silver
Description: 4 Toys per month
Commitment Length: 3 Months
Rate: $36.99

*Considering you will spent an average of $15 per toy, this is a savings of nearly 50%. THAT is if you buy four ($60) toys a month. Regardless, the $36.99 price tag is still a little hard to swallow. But, then again, maybe that is because I buy one toy at a time so I don't see the total cost, which probably closes in on $50+ a month.

Plan: Gold
Description: 6 Toys per month
Commitment Length: 3 Months
Rate: $47.99

Plan: Gold Plus
Description: 6 Toys per month
Commitment Length: 12 Months
Rate: $42.99

Plan: Platinum - Best Value
Description: 10 Toys per month
Commitment Length: 3 Months
Rate: $64.99


Since I'm still working with baby shower toys and toys from friends/family, I haven't had to spend too much just yet, but every time I go to the toy store I get sticker shock. I mean $10 here and $25 there can really add up! I'm all for him playing with my Tupperware and other household toys, but some of these toys are COOL! The jury is still out on this one. If you try it or know someone who has or is (the site just started last October) let us know if it is worth it.

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A Huge THANKS!
THANK YOU!!! Thanks to all those who voted for me at Rebecca's Writer's Round-About! And a big thanks to Rebecca for hosting it. I won second place which is a . . . drum roll please . . . $50 gift certificate to AMAZON! Woo hoo!!! In the spirit of happiness and charity, I think I may have to hold a contest of my own! I LOVE winning stuff so much (I've won two contests since I started blogging--before that, the only thing I had ever won was a He Man action figure from Bubblicious gum--not kidding--and yes, I proudly claimed my prize.) that I have to share the joy. Stay tuned for details!

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And another big THANKS!

Pam at Random Thoughts gave me this lovely bouquet! I simply adore her blog. She's a teacher, like me, and has two adorable children, like me but minus one. Her little boy turned 10 months today! I can't imagine J at 10 months, but then again, I couldn't imagine him at 6 months!

I have to pass these on to Rebecca at Writer's Round-About for hosting that fabulous contest. She is so bright and her site is a must-visit for writers.

Also, I pass this on to Swishy from Waiting for My Real Life to Begin. I LOVE her posts--they make me laugh and go "hmmm..."! She has such a cool perspective on life--and her observations are hilarious!

And finally, although Cecily over at My Chaos My Bliss has enough visitors and awards to choke an elephant, what the heck is one more? She deserves it! So, here's a bouquet from me! She is AWESOME and I love, love, love pics of her little cuties!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I LOVE Seven-Hour Car Rides With a 6-Month Old

Car rides are fun. I mean, they are so fun that I can barely describe the level of fun that occurs when you are in a car for nearly 7 hours with a 6-month-old. Let's see if I can paint a picture for you . . .

First, picture this sweet face. (I know, he'll make me pay for the hat thing later . . . but until then . . . ).

So, how does one keep this sweet face looking this sweet so that the adults stay sane (and married)? Well, let me tell you . . .

1. Sing with the radio-- try anything. Country, Rap, Pop. Doesn't matter. Oh, and if you don't know the words . . . just sing watermelon over and over. Wait, just sing anything over and over. They don't know what the heck your saying . . . er . . . singing.

2. Play with toys. Yup. The Whoozit made the trip. Creepy thing worked . . . for at least 45 seconds. That's a near record! We played with the Winkle, the singing caterpillar, the funky balls (gosh, that sounds weird), the rather large collection of rattles and "keys."

3. Play peek-a-boo . . .with everything. Along with mom, each of the above toys had a chance to play. This kept him happy for about 10 minutes.

4. Read to him. Um. That worked until he kept crying unless he could EAT the book.

5. Pacify him. Binkies are awesome. We have four different varieties. J tried them all. And, promptly spit each and every one out . . . over . . . and over . . . and over again. He had so much fun. Mommy got about 3 1/2 minutes of quiet time.

6. Play the sound machine. Yes, I brought one (and extra batteries). He loved the bird sounds and the tropical rain forest ROCKED. I got a few minutes and a NAP! Granted, nap was about 15 minutes, it was a nap.

7. Tickle and funny face time. This was just exhausting. But, he loved the goofy faces mommy made UNTIL she tried one that caused the lower lip to puff out, the chin to quiver, the voice to wail, and the tears to fall. I can't for the life of me remember the expression that caused this major meltdown.

8. Mommy pretends to sleep hoping that baby will sleep too. Didn't work.

9. Eat food. Yes!!! He LOVES to watch me eat (and I LOVE to eat--Bonus!). The only problem. I couldn't eat for 7 hours. I mean, I could . . .

10. SING. Yes, you thought I forgot about just singing to him . . . you know, lullabies, nursery rhymes. He LOVES Old McDonald. The only problem was after awhile I couldn't think of any more farm animals. Hubby had to make wisecracks when I started introducing dinosaurs, lions, yaks (no clue as to what sound they make--I made one up), and finally, a little red corvette (don't ask--I love/d PRINCE).

Outside of one exciting post-sweet potato eating, crawl up and OUT the back of the diaper poop episode, we survived. We get to do this all again in a few weeks. I can't wait for the marathon version when we go to Florida (20+ hours of fun!).

So, how was your weekend?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Turkey Love . . .

I'm a little late with this post, but apparently, I was too busy stuffing my face . . .

Yes. It is a turkey. I made a turkey for Valentine's Day. Clearly I confused my holidays. It was NEARLY as good as chocolate (which I ate later, of course).

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We are off to Michigan this weekend. T's uncle passed away so we'll be attending his funeral. He was diagnosed with lung cancer a few months before T's dad was. My father-in-law died only months after his diagnosis. T's uncle hung on for nearly two years. We all new it was coming, but can you ever really be prepared to say goodbye? I need some comfort food . . . where's my turkey and chocolate?

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Did you hear about the shooting at Northern Illinois? Of course you did. I graduated from NIU. Strangely, I remember being in the parking garage at NIU the day I heard about the shootings at Columbine. Sad. Very sad. Why do these things CONTINUE to happen?

Well, outside of my turkey, aren't I a bucket of fun posts today?

Let's lighten the mood . . .

Here is J . . . having a BALL!

Hope you all had a fantastic Valentine's Day and here is to a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Toothless Tuesday

Still in the running . . . Please visit The Writer's Round-About and vote for the best entry (on the right side of the front page) while you're checking out Rebecca's awesome blog!

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He's looking for them . . . Where are those darned teeth???

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Monday Mix: 100 Things Challenge and More

First off, I am in the running for a prize. Please visit The Writer's Round-About and vote for the best entry (on the right side of the front page) while you're checking out Rebecca's awesome blog!

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My Honeymoon . . . it was lovely. We spent the day soaking in the rays on a beautiful white sandy beach. Hubby rubbed coconut-scented lotion on my back as I watched the glistening waves roll in and out. And then . . . I woke up.

As most of you know, I got married again on Thursday. Married again . . . to the same man. So, what did we REALLY do for our second honeymoon? We ate, at home--frozen chicken things (I'm not sure if they were boneless wings, tenders or what), I folded about a dozen loads of laundry (how is this possible with only three of us???), hubby vacuumed (not kidding) and payed bills, J chewed on his new toy--a winkle (such an odd toy--but he loves it!):

So, our "honeymoon" was quite exciting . . . how was your weekend?

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Girly Mom came up with the 100 Things Challenge--a bunch of great ideas for us to have MORE fun in life. I completed more than FIVE and I downloaded some pics! So what did I do? Here's the rundown:

8. Learned a new word: coprology, which is the obsession with defecation: an obsession with defecation, especially as expressed in art and literature OR the treatment of unclean subject in literature. What??? I can't say I will use the word all that much, but at least it made me laugh!

16. Watch a home video. J and I sat at the computer and watched videos of him from the day he was born until present. How much he's grown! He was riveted by the images and I was blinded by the tears. Darn hormones acting up again.

25. Hubby and I have started playing games again! We used to play board games and cards a lot. We've decided that during J's naps and when J is just playing by himself, we'd pull out some games and start our "family time" tradition.

31. Blow a bubble with your bubble gum & 52. Take a bubble bath. Blowing a big bubble with my bubble gum for J and taking a bubble bath (sorry, no pics for that one!) gave me the idea to BLOW BUBBLES! He was so weirded out by the floating bubbles--and his eyes were as big as saucers when they would POP! Check out the big bubble right in front of his little face!


32. Wear a hat. OK, I didn't wear one--but having J wear one was a lot of fun for me!



41. Read a new book--I'm reading Second Chance by Jane Green. For someone who reads all the time, not a big deal. BUT, I am making a concerted effort to actually TAKE TIME to read and not just squeeze it in here or there. I grab a cup of tea, curl up on the sofa, and READ while letting hubby have a little J time. A heck of a lot harder than it looks!

58 and 60. All about helping someone else. I paid for the toll ticket for the person behind me while crossing a bridge this past weekend. I love doing that! It is such a cool random act of kindness.

82. Tickle a baby. Oh, this is one of my favorites! I LOVE J's laugh. Here is one of our favorite things to do. He's giggling at me knowing that in just a second I'll lift him up and he'll be SUPER BABY!!!

This is such a great list--I'm gonna keep doing it! I hope you go for the challenge as well.

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I found the black hole of toys. I give J a toy and it disappears--it is like a black hole or a toy version of the Bermuda Triangle. But alas, it is not that mysterious. All his toys get stashed right here . . .
Notice how he puts a protective hand over them . . .

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J got another new toy along with his Winkle . . . a Whoozit. This thing cracks me up. You'll notice J is not in the picture. Why? It sorta CREEPS him out. Maybe he'll learn to love it.


So, do any of you have a toy that just cracks you up or makes you go, "What the . . . ?" I'm dyin' to see 'em!

Here's to a fabulously delicious week!

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Got Married . . . Again

First off, I am in the running for a prize. Please visit The Writer's Roundabout and vote for me (on the right side of the front page) while you're checking out Rebecca's awesome blog!

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I got married yesterday. Yeah, really, I got married. Let me explain . . .

T is Catholic and I am Protestant. We were married in a Lutheran Church over 11 years ago without the Catholic church's permission or knowledge. Uh. Oh. We lived in wedded "bliss" not knowing that we were committing a MORTAL SIN. Kind of exciting . . . I mean, horrible and should be corrected right away. Ahem.

Now that J is getting baptized it is IMPERATIVE that T is right with THE Church. This means our marriage must be convalidated--recognized by the church. What does this mean? We had to say our vows again in the Catholic Church with a priest. Sounds simple enough, huh?

I thought we were just going to stand in front of the priest, say a few words and that was it. But NO. We had witnesses, I wore a skirt, he wore a suit coat, there were flowers, and music. No kidding. It really wasn't a big deal, but it certainly felt bigger than what I had initially thought. T called me around 2 pm yesterday and asked, "Can you wear something nice?" WHAT? I was thinking my khaki pants and blue sweater. I mean, you are talking to someone who rarely gets out of her pj's!

As we got ready, J screamed and whined (I was thinking, "Is this a sign???"), I struggled to put on my skirt and tights and complained about not having lost all the baby fat and that my thighs should not have to go through this--be sucked in like sausages into the way-too-small tights. T said, "I didn't complain at YOUR wedding." I cocked my eyebrow and said, "Yeah, that's right, you didn't. You were still HUNGOVER." (To be honest, J is NOT much of a drinker, but since he lived in Georgia at the time and the wedding was in Michigan, he had his bachelor party the night before--smart move.)


When we pulled in to the church parking lot my friend, co-worker (teacher) and witness walked across the parking lot carrying flowers. "The bride has got to have flowers," she said. For a very brief moment I wondered if I could have still fit into my wedding dress. Ugh, why torture myself. A moment later another friend/teacher pulled up with her husband. Then T's witness came with another friend of T's. We piled into the church--J by this time turned into a little angel (thank Heaven for small miracles). We stood in the back of the empty church while the priest went over instructions. I giggled and quipped that this was the quickest rehearsal ever!

T and I took our places (yes, we were going to walk down the aisle) and the priest excused himself for a moment and came back with MUSIC. Oh Wow. I make faces at J (who sat smiling in my friend's arms). The priest took his place in front of the alter and T and I began to walk toward the smiling faces of our friends, the priest, and our baby boy, J. It was then that it hit me. . .

Classic music played from a tape player, I carried a small store-bought bouquet, I wore a simple outfit--there wasn't a choir, an organist, a church full of people, no attendants, no fancy dress, no tuxes, no decorations. It didn't matter. As we stood facing one another I thought about the last 11 years. We've seen deaths, births, we've weathered so much, and shared in so many joys. We have a son. A beautiful baby boy that has made it ALL worth it. I love this man. I really, really do. He drives me nuts (I am CERTAIN that I drive him even more nuts) at times, but not nearly as many times as he makes me smile.

As I held his hands I realized that I am so blessed. Me. God blessed me. Although this was a simple ceremony, just a formality really, it was an amazing reminder of this marriage, these vows, this life I've lead and the value it holds. Wow.

Here we are over 11 years ago:And at our second "wedding" yesterday:

And you know . . . dress or no dress . . . I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Going Green and Toxic Free

Sorta . . . I have these grand ambitions. But, when reality sets in, I know that the best I can do is try.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how much we are exposed to. Now, before you go thinking I've hopped upon the crazy train and think that EVERYTHING is poison and that there is a HUGE, WHOPPING hole in our ozone, I don't. I'm not one for extremes. You won't catch me living in a cave, riding my bike everywhere, marching on Washington, burning my bra . . . you get my drift. I just ate a Twinkie (yummy), there is a dust monster (seriously, I live in fear of it) living in the corner of my dining room, I don't drive a hybrid, and I just used a gallon of Lysol to "freshen" the Diaper Genie (damn rice cereal!), so clearly I'm not a tree-hugging health nut (nothing against trees or nuts--both of which I like, a lot).

Anyway, with a new baby and a lot of spare time on my hands (not really, but there are only so many blog posts you can write and dishes you can wash --yeah, right-- while your little one is napping--and I WILL NOT watch soaps--I can't, I won't, I tell ya, I just won't) I've been doing some reading and researching. There is so much in the news regarding the chemicals we are exposed to and how many of these chemicals are toxic to both our bodies and environment. I mean, you all heard the news about how babies absorb phthalates from baby products, right? And then there has been talk for a long time, and garnering even more attention recently, about potential environmental causes/triggers/links to autism and autism spectrum as well as a number of other disorders. It just makes you go "hmmm..." A lot.

I think back to this old, old movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman with Lily Tomlin as a housewife who shrinks (down to microscopic size) due to exposure to a bunch of household chemicals. I mean, this was in 1981 (FOREVER ago) cheesy sci fi/comedy that could obviously NEVER happen, but I can't help but think about what COULD happen when I look around at all the stuff. There are lotions, cleaners, sprays, polishes, mousse, gels, pastes--not including the stuff on toys (lead), in the air, our water, our food, our carpets, the "new car smell", Andy Dick, the rays from the sun, the TV, cell phones, computers--UGH. I mean, alone it all seems so harmless, but together--a nasty concoction of who knows what might be brewing.

As I said before, to avoid all this basically means you would have to be shipped off to space . . . naked and starving, with really bad hair. That is unacceptable. So, I'm thinking of taking it slow, taking baby steps. Maybe cutting back or eliminating what I can--choosing organic more often, going fragrance free/(bad) chemical free when the options exist, using a mesh grocery bag (I have way too many of those plastic bags anyway), switching to those funky lightbulbs . . . just a little, here and there.

How to do this? Well, I'm not so sure, being as I am starting, well, today (though I did buy some California Baby Shampoo/Body Wash--doesn't smell pretty, but works). During the course of my research, here are some of the resources I've come across that I'll be using/have used:

ReusableBags.com--I have a different kind (that is currently being used to store gloves/mittens/scarves), but these are fairly inexpensive.

HealthyToys.org--This is the product search page. I started using this before buying J's toys/baby products. It is a decent database and is growing all the time.

Skin Deep--a cosmetic product safety database. I almost wish I hadn't looked here . . .This covers make-up, hair, skin, nails, baby products, teeth, and fragrances--comprehensive.

The Daily Green
--a "consumer's guide to the green revolution."

The Soft Landing Baby Blog--non-toxic baby gear news and reviews. She has a good blogroll, too.

The Green Parent--another awesome blogger who has taken to the cause for healthier kiddies. Because of blogs like this one and Soft Landing, I can stick with writing about poopy diapers, my nutty family, and American Idol.


There are so many more resources, but these are just a few that I've found useful.

Well, as for going green and toxic free . . . 'nuff said, for now! I gotta go--I hear a bag of sea salt "natural" potato chips calling my name.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend Highlights & More Bloggy Bling--Oh My!

With pressure-inducing politics, the fab football game (and commercials--hmmm), the weirdly warming weather, the PACKED Walmart, the dirty diapers (woo hoo, rice cereal!), the itty bitty baby, the spilled BERRY yogurt, and a soon-to-be farewell, it has been a pretty good weekend. I actually did my hair twice!!! I got out of my pajamas both days--before noon! Seriously, someone needs to create an award for that alone.

Highlights . . .
Super Tuesday is almost here. Should be interesting. I feel like we are overwhelmed with political talk right about now (unless you aren't one who pays much attention). Regardless, tomorrow it'll be hard to avoid it!

The football game was WOW! I'm not a big fan, but I LOVE underdog stories and of course, I was touched by the whole brother thing. T laughed at me as I started my whole teary-eyed "He must be so proud of his little brother . . . "

OK, Walmart was insane yesterday. We don't have Target or Meijer and our Super KMart isn't so super. So, Walmart it is. It was an obstacle course trying to navigate through the cereal aisle--and don't even mention the CHIP aisle. BUT, on a nice note, people were really nice about it considering they probably in a mad rush to get home to their marinating hot wings and BBQ mini weenies. It was like we were all in this together--striving to survive the melee that is Walmart. Carts were crashing into each other and no one really got upset . . . they just laughed it off. Oh, if we could always be that way.

I am in awe of life's precious balance. Of how in a moment we can be overcome with grief over the loss of love and in another moment be in pure bliss with the birth of a new life. We found out we were pregnant with J only weeks after T's father passed away. J was born only a matter of hours after T's grandmother passed away. A little miracle baby. The life we all needed to help us understand and bear the loss. This weekend I went to visit a friend who has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Seeing her sweet little face, the tiny curled body, the tufts of dark hair made me feel somewhat calmed as I found out that T is due for even more loss. His uncle, diagnosed with cancer several months before his dad's diagnosis, is in the last stages of his life. As this little baby girl begins her journey, he is finishing his . . . bittersweet, good/bad, happy/sad . . . a balance.

And to show balance . . . how about those Superbowl commercials??? I don't know if I saw any standouts, but there were some pretty good ones. I liked the Rocky-themed Budweiser ad with the dog training the Clydesdale--cute. The Tide interview with the talking stain tickled me . . . simple, but really funny. Oh, and the E-Trade trading baby that spits up, funny! Maybe because I can relate. If you are interested in watching more or to learn how your favorites were rated, check out USA Today's Ad Meter. The Bud ad with the Rocky theme is in first place followed by the FedEx/Carrier Pigeon ad (which was pretty funny as well). All in all, not bad--but I have to say, for once I think the ads weren't the only big thing going on--the game was pretty darned good as well! OH! I just realized that I missed one! There was a great Coke ad with Charlie Brown--the underdog gets his Coke! Very cute . . . and positive (currently #7 on USA Today's list).

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You Like Me . . . You Really, Really Like Me! More Bloggy Bling!

First off, can I just say WOW and THANKS! Thanks to everyone who drops by to read about my life, my thoughts, my ideas . . . I get so excited to see your comments. I have found so many amazing people. From celebrating your successes and feeling your pain to learning about your life to sharing your heartache--it is an amazing connection that we all share.

So, without further adieu, I am honored to have received two awards. First, flowers from Kathryn at Seeking Sanity. She is adorable and so, so funny. I find that we have more and more in common every time I read her blog. Plus, she gets a kick out of my American Idol reviews, which helps to justify the time I put into them (I'm so OCD).


I love getting flowers, but I am going to love giving them!

I pass these on to . . .
Angela at Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy--she is so sweet and I love visiting her blog. Like many of you, she is a "do-it-all" mommy and is AMAZING.

Allie at Allie's Musings--she is a fab writer and is PUBLISHED, I might add. She writes about all sorts of fun stuff and she was one of the first blogs I visited. I have to add, she runs CONTESTS on her site--hint, hint--go check her out. I just won an autographed novel! Yeah for me!

Misty at Starting from Scratch--she is AWESOME. She is so real, so sweet, so wise. I love reading her blog and staring at her adorable children.

RJTrue at What a Girl's Got To Do--a young blogger who writes about the single life and relationships has really stolen my heart with her words. She is so intuitive and self-aware--which is RARE.

Sandy at Momisodes--what can I say about she who has probably received a zillion bouquets from admiring readers? She is bright, fun, humorous, and I (along with a ton of other people) love reading her blog. She writes from the heart about her life and she really connects with her readers--each of us. If you haven't checked out her blog . . . you should.

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I have had the honor of receiving another award. Yeah, me!!! Can you believe it?! This award is from beautiful Angela at Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy (seriously, she really is beautiful . . .).

There are no rules with this award . . . all that Angela asks is that I pass it on to someone who has warmed my heart. AWWWEEE.

So, here goes:

Kathryn at Seeking Sanity--how can I not!? Her posts make me smile and SCRAMBLE to comment because I can SO relate.

Girly Mom at The Red Door--she is incredibly sweet, positive and loving mom who really, really warms my little heart. She recently started the 100 Things Challenge to encourage us all to enjoy life. How awesome is that?! Note to Girly Mom--I'm downloading my pics soon!

Pam at Random Thoughts--she is so much fun! I love her "random thoughts" about mommyhood and life in general.

Melissa at Such Simple Pleasures--has been showered with bloggy love and if you visit her blog, you'll see why. She's a doll--and gutsy, mind you! I spent forever on her blog when I first found her.

Tracy is NOT Just Another Mommy Blog--however, she is another FUN, Fantastic mom who I have just recently found. I love reading about her adventures and misadventures and you will as well!

And last, but certainly not least . . . Painted Maypole! After seeing her mentioned at other blogs and lurking around on my own, I can see why she's so loved. What an awesome blog--positive, fun, and wonderfully written.

I love these awards because not only do you recognize some wonderful blogs, but you also get a chance to share with others some cool details about blogs you think are awesome.

Can you feel the love?? Can you?

Beautiful baby boy is awake . . . time to play!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Some Bloggy Love and A Little Political Talk (I promise!)


First things first! I won my first AWARD!!! I've been shown some bloggy love by Girly Mom! She is a gorgeous mom of FOUR ADORABLE little girls. I LOVE reading her blog and all her girly girl adventures. Wanna smile, laugh, and say AWWWEEE a lot? Check her out.

OK, so the rules for this awesome bloggy badge are just for me to spread the love to 10 more bloggeronies. This was tough to pick just 10 since I've met so many awesome people, so here's to hoping for more love to pass around. Here goes . . .
Burgh Baby's Mom
Jamie at Choosing My Own
Nap Warden at Chronicles of a SAHM
Lindsey at Douglas Drama
RJTrue at What a Girl's Got To Do
Tommie at Tuesday Update
Beth at Wicked Flower Girl
Misty at Starting from Scratch
Mama Geek at What Works for Us
Jennifer at Crazy, Magic, Sometimes Hectic, Beautiful Life

I adore these blog authors . . . they are talented, funny, witty, and very lovable. Check 'em out!

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DEBATING THE DEBATES
Fact Check on ABC's Good Morning America pointed out a lot of inconsistencies in both Hillary and Barack's claims during Thursday night's debates (here are more from the earlier Republican debates). It may seem like just a news blurb on morning TV, but isn't it a little scary that ALL of the candidates have lied or at the very least inflated numbers (still a lie in my book) or exaggerated credentials? No one seems to be making a huge deal about all this--it is all part of the game. It still stinks . . . Guess it is up to all of us to keep our eyes and ears open.

So, it is getting crazy in the political world. Could we have the first African American president? Or female president? Maybe they will run on the same ticket. I'm certain the Democratic party has high hopes for this---it could be an unbeatable ticket.

I have been riveted by these candidates. I could probably write about it all the time, but talk of the candidates, the elections, the debates, and all the other political stuff is ubiquitous, so I've refrained. But WOW, is it gettin' interesting. I keep saying that, but it is so true. The process has never seemed so exciting. Then again, I've only been around to vote in the Bush/Clinton eras.

The "strategery" is so obvious is some cases. Hillary and Barack were involved in a near love-fest the other night during the debates. What happened to all the bickering, the accusations, the sarcasm? They were so NICE. It was like watching American Idol, but without all the bad auditions (which is really the fun part!). The same couldn't be said about Romney and McCain. Yikes! They continue to pick at each other. In this case, it wasn't really fun to watch. Poor Huckabee and Paul were treated like the last two players picked in a round of grade school kick ball.

I really think that the debates are not so much for the discussion of where the candidates stand on the issues (you can find a ton of info on their positions online), but more for us to see how they act, react, interact, communicate, and just plain hold their own in high pressure situations. It is the tone of the rhetoric rather than the content (at least it seems that way at times.) Then again, it is awfully interesting when you "catch" candidates saying something that clearly contradicts their position or contradicts something they had said previously.

This brings me to another point--all of the candidates have accused each other for changing their positions/minds at one point or another. I don't know if this is such a big deal--especially if the candidate clearly states that he/she felt that evidence existed that clearly supported another view--we all have a right to change our mind if we find that our position isn't the best, right? I do think, however, that you need to come clean about changing your mind and not try to sidestep it. I mean, I would rather someone change his/her position than stick with something that would not benefit us. Then again, I guess you have to be careful you don't end up with a flip flopper.

I sure am eager to see where it all stands come the day after Super Tuesday. Should be interesting . . .

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Before I go . . . check out what I get to wake up to each morning--



Woo hoo!!! Have a fantabulous weekend!

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