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We're an American family living in Australia, where everything seems a little bit turned-upside-down.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mini Version of Me

McKinley has half of my DNA.
She looks like me.
At times, she acts like me.
She likes some of the things I like, and sometimes we even say the same things at the EXACT same time.
And yet, she is not me.

I'd like her to be more like me.
Or would I? 
What I really think is that I'd like her to be everything I am not. 

I find myself pushing her in the directions I wish I would have gone.  I want her to be smarter than me, to make smarter choices.  I want her to be a singer, a pianist, an artist, a dancer, a golfer, a tennis star. 
I want her to be able to do the splits and back handsprings so she can be a cheerleader. 

I wonder what McKinley thinks of when she thinks of me? 
Does she see that I was once a little girl who grew up trying all the things listed above? 
Or does she see a woman obsessed with keeping the house tidy, the baby fed, and the laundry done?

I'd like her to see that I am just like her. 
I am a nine year old girl whose life may be almost half over, but who feels like it is just beginning. 
I still want to be good at something. 

I want to be a pianist, a dancer, a singer, a golfer, a tennis star.
I want to be her cheerleader! 
I want her to know I love God, her Dad, her, and her brothers, more than I love anything or anyone on this earth. 
I want her to know that although sometimes it doesn't seem true, I also love myself, and I love what I do. 

If she could realize this sooner than later, that would be great.  In the meantime, I am going to accept this little "mini version of me" for what she is: herself.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: The Flightless Goose

Have you ever seen something happen in nature and think, "that would make a terrific children's story book?"  Well, Eric D. Goodman did just that in his story, Flightless Goose, illustrated by Nataliya A. Goodman. 

Gilbert was just like all of his other geese friends.  He liked to swim, play, and fly.  Until one day something terrible happened and he was no longer able to fly. 

Read the story to see how this made Gilbert feel, and to see how the other geese in his flock treated him because he was different.  In the end, you will see how being different made Gilbert a hero!

This book is a story about friendship, tolerance and self worth.  It is a story about being different and wanting to belong.  It is a story about a hero named Gilbert.

Beautiful watercolor illustrations!

There is an amazing website for kids that goes along with the story.  The website introduces the main character, Gilbert, and treats the viewers to a sneak peek of some of the awesome book illustrations.  Kids visiting the website are encouraged to leave a comment, listen to sounds, and guess "what happens next."  There is an oppurtunity to purchase this wonderful story direct from the website, and you will receive two free gifts! 

Check it out:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baby Signs

Today I want to share Hagen's Baby Signs with you.  He finds great satisfaction in pleasing me with this form of communication.  It is extremely hard to capture these little signs on camera (sorry for the blurry pics), but here goes:



"All Done"

"Nurse" or "Milk" (It's a stretch to see this one.  It's with his left hand)

"Stop making me sign Mommy!"

I have used Baby Signing with all of my babies.  It is a wonderful way of communicating with them, and cuts down on the tantrums and the fussing during those impossible toddler days.  I was lucky enough to take a couple of college level signing classes many years ago (thanks Heather), but anyone can learn basic signs and teach them to their baby. 

I recently discovered several FREE APPS on iTunes that teach sign language with pictures and video.  My older kids love to "play" with those, and it is a great way to get everyone involved.  I also have heard wonderful things about the show, "Baby Signing Time".  Here is their link:

Here is a book I've read on the subject:

Here are my two words of advice for teaching your baby to sign:

Be Persistent-  I probably look foolish signing the same thing over and over again all the while my baby stares back at me and does nothing.  I repeat the sign every single time I use the word I am trying to teach.  Then one day like magic, he makes the sign!  Just like that.  Not only does he make the sign, but he does it with determination and satisfaction written all over his face.  Very rewarding!

Be Consistent-  Go ahead, make up your own signs! As long as you are consistent, and your signs are meaningful to you and your baby, then they will work.  No need to have your nose in a sign book, and no need to be sure you are "doing it right."  Repetition is the key!

Here are the other signs we have mastered or that we are working on:
ball, light, please, hurt, music, hot, water, bird,


I will admit sometimes Hagen gets things all messed up and just starts waving his arms all around in the air as if to say, "Come on! don't you understand me?!"  Babies are smart that way...


Monday, September 27, 2010

One Month Down!

Yesterday marked the one month anniversary of my personal blogging challenge*.  Wow, who knew it would be so difficult to find the time each day to type out my thoughts!  I now know that blogging on the weekends is virtually impossible, but oh the material my family gives me to write about! 

Looking back at this past month, here is my brief, five bullet point reflection:
  • Hagen likes to make dirty diapers when we least expect it. 
  • Everest is trying to find his "self control" at school.
  • McKinley's social life keeps us all running.
  • Mark says the funniest things without even knowing it.
  • I need to face my fear of cooking.
Thank you all for visiting my blog and commenting.  It keeps me motivated to know someone is actually reading it.  Now on to my second month!


* for those of you who may have missed my personal challenge, you can read about it here:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kissed by an Angel

This past weekend I couldn't seem to shake the memory of the time I was kissed by an angel.  It was a day I would rather forget, one of the hardest of my life.  I am thankful that day is mostly a blur now, but I distinctly remember the comforting, soft, kisses of an angel. 

She was an ultrasound tech in a sterile setting.  I was uncomfortable in a cold, unfamiliar place.  My husband and I were hopeful to see our little baby's heartbeat for the first time.  In my heart I knew the inevitable because I just wasn't feeling pregnant anymore.  The spotting had started earlier that day.  We were hopeful nonetheless.  Afterall, I had made it past that "magical" twelve week milestone. 

When she started the ultrasound, everything looked as it should.  We saw the circular space that held our precious little bean.  But something was missing...that magical flicker of a heartbeat.  My own heart sank as tears poured from my eyes.  I knew she shouldn't have, but the tech told me maybe I was mistaken about how far along I was.  I shook my head because I knew.  That is when she kissed me.  She showered me with kisses all over my face.  She hugged me and kissed me and told me how sorry she was. 

It wasn't until I suffered my first miscarriage that I realized how very common they were.  Did you know that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends this way?  I believe it is necessary to raise awareness so that we can be a support to those who feel like they are suffering alone.  Here are a couple of helpful links that I love:
Looking back, I remember so many things that people said to comfort me, but their efforts failed.  Nothing was as comforting as those angel kisses.  I am so thankful that God puts people in our paths, even strangers, right when we need them the most. 


Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Your Weakness?

What's your weakness?  I actually have a few of them, but I will disclose just one at a time here on my blog so I have things left to write about before my 365 day journey ends...

I have mentioned before how Costco is not my favorite place.  That subject definitely deserves an entire blog post all on it's own, (note to self: bring camera to Costco) but I will give you just one of the reasons why today.  Look what I have staring me in the face every time I open the fridge:

My husband loves to buy that enormous tub of cookie dough. You know the one!  I am embarrassed to say that sometimes we eat the entire bucket before even baking a single cookie.  Although the message, "do not consume raw" is clearly labeled on the lid, we cannot help ourselves.  We use it as an ice cream topping, or straight off the spoon.  Disgusting, I know!

So, what's your weakness?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Picture Day

Today is Picture Day at the kid's school.  I don't know why it stresses me out.  I started stressing last night around bedtime.  I had it in my head that the kids needed to get to bed early because it was "Picture Day tomorrow!"  That in turn, stressed the kids out. 

We went to the closet to pick out their outfits so that we wouldn't be stressing about it in the morning.  That was fun!  McKinley has a new pact with herself never to wear pink, and "especially not on picture day!" while Everest just rolled around on the floor groaning about wearing "church clothes" to school. 

I explained to them that Mommy has to pay for the pictures whether they turn out good or not, and Grandma and Grandpa are going to hang them on their walls along with every other relative we send them to, and the pictures will forever be in their school Yearbooks.  If that didn't stress them out even more, then this next part may have...

I showed them a picuture of me on Picture Day in 6th Grade:

That did the trick.  We were all officially stressed out about Picture Day!  But not to worry, my kid's looked absolutely adorable when I dropped them at school.  McKinley even thanked me for helping her get ready.  What I think she meant was, "thank you for not making me wear an argyle sweater with a side pony tail on picture day!"

Hopefully the photographer got to them before lunch and P.E. Oh great, now I'm stressing again! ;)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sour Apple Lunch Snack

As most of you know, I am not known for my cooking.  But I can be quite creative when packing my children's lunches.  There is just something about them being out of my direct control for that many hours in a row.  I often think about them during the day and wonder:
  • are they using their manners?
  • are they playing nicely?
  • are others being nice to them?
  • are they washing their hands?
  • are they hot? or cold?
  • did I dress them right today?
  • and the BIGGEE... are they eating what I pack them for lunch?
My guess is, not always, but I seem to have hit the jackpot with a recent snack I "invented".  It is called the "swirled up sour apple" and both of my kids love it.  In fact, my daughter asked for a picture of the "machine" I use to cut the apples the way I do so she could show her friends.  She is getting a lot of attention at lunchtime because of her apples, and she loves it!  I told her I could do better than just a picture!  I promised to blog about it.  So here goes, (drum roll please!)  the secret recipe for the swirled up sour apple...

  1. Wash a granny smith apple.
  2. Place apple on the Pampered Chef Apple Slicer Corer.
  3. Cut apple.
  4. Put in a ziploc.
  5. Squirt lemon or lime juice in the center of the apple (keeps apple from browning and it tastes great).
  6. Pack in lunch.

There are a couple of variations of course.  Try with different types of apples, you can prepare with or without the apple skin, you can use natural lemon or lime juice rather than the bottled up version.  :)

I love how the simplest things can impress a child, while at the same time, they can be so unimpressed with the things we put such great effort into.  Forest Gump said it best with, "keep it simple stupid!"

Now pull out those apple, corer, slicers and start impressing your kids the simple way!  I hadn't used my "apple machine" in ages because it was shoved deep in the cupboard somewhere.  Now it sits on the counter and I use it everyday.

Let me know if you try it, and better yet, if your kids LOVE it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Computer, I am the boss of you!

Don’t you just despise those days when your computer decides to control you?  You do the same things as always, press the same buttons as always, but somehow nothing works right.  Pictures won’t upload, emails are missing, error codes pop up.  You are sure someone has hacked into your computer!  But then you realize there is nothing on your computer worth hacking because you’ve plastered it all over facebook and your blog already.   I’m convinced it’s just a way for our computers to let us know that they are really in charge.
Today was one of those days for me.  I finally put the baby down for his nap, and sat down at the computer to write my daily blog.  It’s a time I look forward to.  A time where I get to let out all those little thoughts that run around in my brain.  It’s a time I get to reflect on what in the world I am doing! It keeps me in touch with the simple things that I occupy my time with, and makes them seem a bit more important. 
I signed into my blog account and aghast!  My family picture was missing!  That may seem simple enough to replace, right?  Oh, not if you have the number of pictures stored that I do.  It required pulling out the hard drive and viewing the thousands of pictures there, waiting for each thumbnail to load... 
Once I finally found my picture, my computer decided to load it up all funky and leave off my title! Not only that, it is a tad off center and the box around it is smaller. Of all the nerve!  I tell you, I did nothing different that I did before! 
A call to my husband was definitely in order.  Of course, I must remain calm.  You see, I find when I call him at work with my frantic "computer" emergencies, he doesn't quite understand the urgency sometimes.  Doesn't he get that this is my sanity at stake here?!
Long story short, I have a picture again, but I still have some design work to do, and this ranting will have to do for my blog post today.  I've spent my baby's entire nap time trying to show my computer I AM the boss of it!  But just to be on the safe side... I'm going to change my password!  ;)

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Don't worry where your feet have been... just concentrate on where they are going next!

Yes, my little guy's feet were actually this filthy, but they washed up as good as new in the tub. 
Thank you Lord, that you do the same for me everyday. 

Happy Sunday to everyone!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Apple Seed Maternity & Baby Boutique

I stumbled upon the greatest maternity and baby boutique online.   Apple Seed's stuff was so adorable, I would almost want to be pregnant again just to wear it!  I mean, where was this stuff just last year when I had my baby?  It's where style meets comfort as far as maternity wear.  No more frumpy ruffles and bows...  This selection of maternity wear resembles what SJP would probably wear if her character were expecting.  Apple Seed has a unique selection of tops, career, jeans, and even intimates.

Olian Daely Maternity and Nursing TopOlian Dolly Maternity DressOlian Deana Maternity and Nursing TopNOM Lainey Maternity WrapMaternal America Dark Wash Bootleg Maternity JeansOlian Buttonfront Maternity Suit Jacket - Perfect Match to Olian Dress Pants and Work Skirts!

One of the best things about this site is an 8 part video series on making your maternity wardrobe work for nine months.  The series includes choosing basic pieces, accessorizing, and changing your wardrobe for the seasons.  You've got to check it out!

Having had my little one already, I was especially interested in searching the baby products Apple Seed has to offer.  They carry some of my favorite products like Bugaboo, Petunia Pickle Bottom, and Trumpette socks.  They even carry a whole line of organic skincare products for Mom and Baby.

Trumpette Ballerina SocksPetunia Pickle Bottom "Springtime in Surrey" Glazed Boxy Backpack

This diaper bag for Dad termed the "Diaper Dude" was my absolute favorite! 
Diaper Dude Black Dragon BagDiaper Dude Grey with Orange Zipper

After searching the site, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted for me, or for my expecting Mommy-to-be friends, so I was happy to see that they have gift certificates available too!

Soccer Saturday!

Soccer maddness kept me from writing much today, but I do have a few pictures:

As if a funfilled day of soccer wasn't enough, we decided to torture ourselves and make a Costco run.  Of course that's where we ended up eating lunch....

I say it every time, but that was my LAST trip to Costco!

Check out the kid's jerseys!  Our favorite number, 5!

We love Soccer Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Tips For Planning a Unique Baby Shower

Who doesn’t love a baby shower?  How much fun it is to honor the new Mommy-to-be by showering her with gifts!  We all gather around while she opens her gifts, and we “ohh” and “ahh” at the tiny little socks and onesies.  It’s as if we have never seen a baby before, and this one will be our very first glimpse of one!  What a joy!

Are you looking for new ideas to make a baby shower fun and exciting?  I have given dozens of baby showers, and here are 10 of my tips for planning a unique one.

10 Tips For Planning a Unique Baby Shower:

#1- Pick a theme that represents the Mommy's style, or her nursery decor.  I am going to a shower this weekend that will have a seashell theme.  The Mommy-to-be is decorating the nursery with seashells, and that theme will carry over to the shower.  I'm sure some of the gifts will also follow this theme.

#2- Pick an invitation that will make a statement and introduce the theme.  

Here's a sneak peek of a few...

#3- Besides date, time, and place, be sure and include where the Mommy-to-be is registered.  Also mention any nursery themes and colors.

#4- When you order the invites, pick a set of matching Thank You Notes for the Mommy-to-be.  Set a basket out with the blank envelopes at the door, and as guests arrive, have them fill out their address so the new Mommy won’t have to hunt them down later.  Afterall, she will have much better things to do! :)

#5- Of course all Baby Showers must have GAMES!  The last baby shower I went to had a couple of them that I loved.  The guests were required to chew up a piece of bubblegum and shape a baby out of the chewed gum.  It was hilarious to see all the different creations!  Another fun game is a quiz where you match the Hollywood Star with their baby's name.  Example:  Gweneth Paltrow would match up with Apple. 

#6- When planning the menu for the shower, keep it light.  Ladies enjoy mingling much more than eating!  Remember to serve a little something salty and a little something sweet.  Petit fours are always perfect.  They are pre-cut, decorated, and oh so yummy! 

#7- It can be fun to ask guests to wear something special to the shower.  For example, I once went to a "Fancy Hat" shower.  We all wore our fanciest hats.  It may be as simple as asking guests to wear a certain color that matches the nursery.  Or maybe all pink or all blue depending on the baby's gender.  It sure makes all the pictures come out nicely.

#8- Take lots of pictures!  I liked having pictures of all the gifts I opened at my shower, and of all the guests present.  It is so fun for my daughter to look back and see what she received at her baby shower, and who was there.  I also have pictures of the decorations, food, and the games!

#9- Pamper the Mommy-to-be and spoil her at her shower.  Give her a little bell to ring whenever she needs something.  Tell her the bell is hers to keep so that her family will only be a "ring-a-ling" away when she needs them after the baby is born. 

#10-It is always nice to give your guests a little something as they leave.  Some nice party favors include pastel colored candies, little boxes with truffles inside, a small hand lotion (baby powder scent), and small candles. 

I hope these tips were helpful to you!


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a Tiny Prints gift code worth $50, plus 25 FREE Tiny Prints greeting cards—a total gift value of $149.75!

What would June Cleaver Do?

Last night, as my husband and I lay awake in our bed, listening to our baby boy cry himself to sleep, he sighed out this wish, "I wish for one day our life could be like 'Leave It to Beaver'.  

Maybe I wasn't meant to hear this wish, maybe it was a thought meant to stay inside his head, maybe it just slipped out in a moment of foggy "half sleep".  Nevertheless, I heard his wish, and I took it as a challenge of sorts. 

In order to carry out this wish, I must put myself in the shoes of no other than June Cleaver herself.  And might I add that she has some pretty big shoes to fill!  Let's see, where to start?  I figure I should hop in the shower first thing in order to have plenty of time to work on my hair.  I'll have to dig deep into the depths of my closet to find a proper dress to wear, and of course, the practical pumps.  Next, I head to the kitchen to don my apron before preparing a hot breakfast that must be served at the perfectly set table.  After breakfast, I shoo everyone out the door with their lunches, and plaster a big, wide smile on my face.  Once everyone is out of the house, it is time to clean the kitchen, make the beds, and then make a few phone calls.  I'm sure June started dinner sometime before noon, how else would she be able to hold it all together the way she did at the 5 o'clock hour?  Ahh, the 5 o'clock hour at the Cleaver's....  I think this is where my husband's wish was born.  June greets Ward at the door with a smile.  She leads him to his Easy Chair where his paper is waiting to read, and then fills him in on the day's events uninterrupted.  Dinner is served in the dining room promptly at 6 o'clock.... 

Now let's examine a typical morning for Alisha:
I wake up at midnight, 2 am, 4 am, and 6 am to nurse my 10 month old.  I get out of bed at 6 am and plop the baby in the highchair so I can make some coffee. I pour cold cereal for the other kids with my eyes half open. I make lunches, feed the baby, pick clothes out for the kids, braid McKinley's hair, empty the dishwasher, help kids finish up last night's homework, sign permission slips, change the baby, get dressed, load backpacks, run out the door. I load the kids in the car only to realize baby needs another diaper change.  I goo back into the house, change the baby again, race out the door.  (No shower, no make-up, no dress, no apron, no pumps). 

I usually have time to think about dinner around 5 o'clock.  Instead of making the beds,  I fill my morning walking with my kids and volunteering at their school.  I usually check out Facebook, list a few items on Ebay, and play with my baby.  Then it's time to pick up the kids and drive them to various activities.

Unfortunately, my husband tends to walk through the door the minute all hell breaks loose.  Baby is crying, dinner is burning, laundry still needs folding, kids need help with homework, everyone is hungry!  Needless to say, the table is not set, my hair is not neatly coiffed, my feet are bare, my clothes are spit up on, and my "June Cleaver" smile is hidden somewhere underneath it all. 

After careful review, I realize I can't entirely make my husband's wish come true.  But here is what I will do. I will run a brush through my hair and slap some gloss on my lips. Tonight the table will be set, the laundry will be folded, dinner will be ready.  Chances are, the house will be bustling as always, but I will make coming home worth it.  I will greet him at the door with a big, wide, smile on my face!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fresh Cut Grass

I did that thing again.  I seized the moment and rocked my precious son to sleep instead of tackling the laundry pile.  I told myself I was going to mop the floor today, oh and scrub the bathrooms too. I am so thankful that my housework will wait for me.  Housework tends to be patient that way.  I guess it's a good thing I live in a house that "cleans itself!"

The cooking experiment from the other day didn't work by the way.  I didn't get a single recipe or dinner idea, so I was forced to come up with dinner on my own.  I decided to go all out and make lasagna.  The good news is it was bland enough to feed to the baby, and he LOVED it!  The bad news is I made a double batch and froze one, so we get to eat it again in the near future.  Please, it is not too late to send me your EASY, FAMILY FRIENDLY dinner ideas...

Did you remember to notice something "for the first time" today?  I did.  I sat and watched the gardener mow the lawn at my kid's school.  Hagen was enthralled, so I figured it was worth sitting for a while to watch the mower cut fresh patterns in the grass.  The smell alone made it worth it.  It's amazing how the smell of fresh cut grass can open the floodgates of childhood memories for me.  In a matter of seconds I was whisked to a summer morning in the suburbs of Denver.  Back to the days of cartwheels, swingsets, trampolines, soccer games, swim meets, and golf lessons.  Ahhh....

Well, now I'm back in California, back to the reality of being a grown up.  A grown up in charge of picking up her kids from school!  Off I go to hop on the walking school bus (WSB).  There's lots of horse poop along our WSB trail.  I'm wondering if the smell of horse poop will induce a wonderful memory for my kids someday?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Seeing things for the first time...

I love the way Hagen holds his hand out to examine how the sun shines on it. 

He has the same look of awe on his face when I serve a new type of food on his highchair tray. 

I am the luckiest person in the world, because for now, I get to show him things for the first time.  I was there the very first time he squealed with delight as he petted the neighbor's kitty cat.  I was also there when my friend's puppy licked him to pieces and got the same response. 

Showing Hagen things for the first time has opened my eyes to all sorts of things...some good, some not so good.  

I am noticing airplanes in the sky again, and little things like birds sitting on the telephone wire.  I notice how the wind makes the leaves blow, which then makes a "shadow show" on my family room wall.  I notice trash trucks that go BANG, and fast cars that go VROOM!  I notice organic, tear free, and hypo-allergenic.

I notice things from the ground up.  My eyes are now so keen for choking hazards and safety issues around the house. Legos, paperclips, twist ties, hotwheels, cupboards he can open, drawers he can pull out, pebbles that Everest drags in on his shoes, dust bunnies, large food crumbs... the list goes on and on.

Too bad we get complacent to all those ordinary things that make my baby boy go "Wow!"  Wouldn't it be nice if every now and then we noticed the little things?  What if every now and then we literally "stopped to smell the roses?"  My challenge for you today or tomorrow is to see things from the ground up.  Take notice of all those little things God has created.  Pretend you are seeing them for the first time.  Possibly you will find something He created purely for your enjoyment, so ENJOY it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11/01

We remember 9/11.

We remember those who lost their lives.
We remember those who lost their loved ones.
We remember those heros who helped.
We remember those who continue to protect our country.

Today I am teaching my kids why we remember...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The house that cleans Itelf...

That's right! I live in a house that cleans itself.  Well, it's supposed to.  I even read a book with that same title, "The House That Cleans Itself."  I devoured the entire book cover to cover in a couple of days.  I did everything the book said for me to do.  It was a wonderful book that included an easy to read format, humor, diagrams, and even scripture to keep me motivated. 

For days I walked around picking up wrappers, socks, dishes, shoes, etc., etc., saying, "this is NOT how the house that cleans itself is supposed to behave."  I would point out to my family that they had to pick up after themselves because we, "live in a house that cleans itself!"

Everest did as he was told and tried very hard to follow my new rules, but I heard him comment to my husband, "Dad, I don't get it... why do I have to pick my things up if the house can clean itself?"

Well, he had a very valid point.  Did I really think reading a book about keeping my house clean would work?  Would the same thing happen if I read an entire cookbook?  Would dinner appear on my table just like magic?  I guess I'm willing to find out.  Please send me your favorite family dinner recipes and/or the title of your favorite cookbook.  EASY and FAMILY FRIENDLY are the key words here!  I will let you know if it works!

Clean Kids

Here's what I wrote last night before going to bed, so it doesn't count as today's post.

I'm too wiped out to blog tonight, but this thought keeps running around in my head, "Does it really matter if my house is spotless if I have clean kids?"
I am going to attempt to answer that tomorrow! Right now I'm going to get a few hours of sleep before the middle of the night "baby buffet" opens for business!
Until then...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My baby girl got braces!

Yesterday McKinley got her braces. After she got them, her whole face was gleaming with pride! Not having braces myself, I didn't really understand how she could be so excited. Then it hit me like a 2 x 4 straight in the face. She was so excited because braces on her teeth meant she was growing up. Duh! Silly me, every time I look at her I still see my sweet, smiling, chubby cheeked toddler... She looks in the mirror and sees herself as an emerging young lady. Not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere between potty training and Polly Pockets, my little baby grew up.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Have Baby, Will Travel...

I'm back from a weekend away from home, the two older kids, and my hubby.  Although my time away was relaxing, I realized no vacation is truly a vacation when traveling with a 9 month old!  I had a very hard time deciding whether driving or flying would be better with the baby, and flying barely came out ahead as the better option.  Times have changed since 2001 when I first traveled with a baby.

First, I had to figure out how to pack.  The airline I flew charged an extra $50 to check a bag, and I was not about to fork that over, so I had to figure out what was really important.  It ends up a frugal person only needs about half of what they think when $50 is involved!  Leave the diapers, wipes, toiletry items, running shoes, and your novel at home. 

Next, how would I get through security and to my gate with baby, a stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and my suitcase?  First off, ditch the stroller.  Can you imagine having to take the baby out of the stroller, fold up the stroller, put stroller, car seat, and suitcase on the belt, all the while holding the baby?  Oh, and take off your shoes while you're at it.  NOT POSSIBLE!  Here was my solution: wear the baby, put car seat seat on my rolling carry-on suitcase, carry diaper bag on my shoulder, and go!  Unlike me, remember to wear your easy slip on shoes. 

I saw couples traveling with their infants in the airport, and I was relieved I had gone the frugal route.  They had SO much stuff, and looked WAY more exhausted than me, and they had each other to depend on!  I think I even saw them look at me with a bit of remorse, as if they wish they had thought to pack less, MUCH less! 

Okay, now we were on our way... next challenge, boarding the plane.  I was tempted to pre-board when they made that announcement about those traveling with young children.  I resisted the temptation!  You may think it is a privilege, or even a favor, but it is not.  Pre-boarding would extend my time on the plane by one half hour!  And in "traveling with baby" time, that equals about two hours. 

When I boarded the plane, I noticed that no one would make eye contact with me.  Don't take it personally if it ever happens to you.  It is because one of two reasons.  Either they think they will be required to help you, or they think if they look at you, you will sit next to them.  Just smile, give your baby a smooch, and move on with your chin up!  Chances are they will get their payback when you walk by, and since they weren't looking, the car seat you are carrying will hit them in the head and knock a little sense back in. 

Now we are up in the air, and what does baby decide to do with his time?  That's right, big #2!  As mentioned in an earlier blog, my plane did not have a changing table.  YUCK!  I'll spare you the details.  But just so you know, the reason I carried the diaper out of the plane in a barf bag was because the flight attendant asked me not to dispose of the diaper in the bathroom trash.  She told me she would bring me a bag to put it in.  Great, something else to carry out with me...

My baby of course decided to settle down and fall asleep just minutes before the plane landed.  At least I had a few moments to taxi in peace before debarking the airplane.  I relished in the few minutes of peace before trekking through the airport once again only to find the next vehicle in which I had to reload my baby into.

As I stood on the airport curb waiting for my ride, I watched travelers being greeted by their loved ones with nothing but smiles on their faces.  One group in particular brought tears to my eyes.  They were overjoyed to see one another.  It was then that I realized it was all worth it.  I may have felt like I had been through the wringer, I had poop on my shirt, my hair was a mess, I was dehydrated, starving, and had not a stitch of make-up left on my face, but soon my parents would arrive to pick me up, and it would be my turn to smile!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Still on vacation!

Happy Labor Day weekend! I'll be back to blogging Tuesday. I'm still
in AZ soaking up some desert heat.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We landed! Taxiing now. Hagen just fell asleep of course, and I have the stinkiest diaper in the world to tote out in a barf bag! Classic!

On the go!

Here is my first mobile blog! I'm on my way to Arizona to spend the
weekend with my parents, my sister, and my brothers. I will also meet
my newest niece, as well as see a bunch of my other n & ns!

This is my first solo flight with Hagen, and I have two things to say..
They need bigger bathrooms on airplanes (prefably with a changing
table), and I so needed to wear a longer shirt with these short wasted
pants! I'll spare you the deTails!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Ice Cream Fantasy

Last night I had a grand idea in honor of the first day of school.  Wouldn't it be great to take the kids out to Cold Stone for a "surprise" special treat.  I even had a coupon for buy one, get one free!  It would be perfect...

I had dinner done well before 5, so we were ready to go after Daddy got home from work and had some dinner himself.  It would be perfect...

It was a nice evening for a walk, so we all agreed to walk to our "surprise destination" that was only down the big hill, and 3 blocks over.  It would be perfect...

The kids had a blast trying to guess where we were going the whole way there.  So far, it was perfect.

When we got there the choices were daunting.  It occurred to me that we don't go out for ice cream often enough.  And that was even before I told the kids they could pick one topping each.  Perfect...

It was right about that time that I smelled something foul.  Mark apparently caught wind of it too, because he started unbuckling the baby and offered to go change him while I dealt with ordering the ice cream.  We both felt he got the better end of the deal.  So far, so good...

"Where's the diaper bag?"
"Uhh... "  I guess I didn't exactly picture a dirty diaper in my ice cream fantansy.  "Just go in the bathroom and see if you can clean him up a little and flush some of it down the toilet." I said.  Mark is such a good sport, he actually agreed, while I continued the impossible task of choosing ice cream flavors with the other two.  Things were still going okay...

Then Mark stuck his head out of the bathroom, "Hon, could you come in here?"  Oh, this must be bad.  I walked into the restroom and found Hagen spread out on a cabinet not meant for changing babies.  He had the most satisfied look on his face.  Mark, on the other hand, had that look on his face that anyone with kids is familiar with.  It's that "what in the world are we gonna do?" look.  The one you give eachother when you feel utterly trapped, and no amount of parenting experience would be helpful.  Things did not look good...

Mark's idea was to make a diaper out of paper towels.  My idea was for Hagen to go "commando" and hope for the best.  It was afterall, our ice cream fantasy!  I won.  We got him cleaned up and exited the restroom as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened in there.  Things were going swiftly down hill by this point...

The other two still hadn't chosen their flavors.  I was trying to give them suggestions like mint with oreos, cotton candy with sprinkles, chocolate with peanut butter, but they wanted things like lemon tart with peanut butter, or cotton candy with M&Ms.  They won that battle and ordered whatever they wanted.  There went my plan to share with them!  We ended up buying four ice creams to make everyone happy.  Thank goodness we had a coupon.  Cold Stone is not cheap!  But things were looking better again...

While we were walking home in the dark, eating our ice cream, Mark turned to me and said, "This wasn't exactly how I pictured tonight."  He then described to me how he thought things would go.  Apparently he had an ice cream fantasy of his own...  All of us sitting at the table outside the ice cream shop, enjoying our treats, as the kids told him all about their first day of school.  That would have been perfect...

But then, it may have been more forgettable.  This Ice Cream adventure would not be one we would ever forget.  And that makes it perfect in my eyes!