Monday, April 30, 2012

Time for a tip!!

I love dry erase markers.  They are one of my secret tools!  I don't go shopping very often, especially with all of my kids.  But, occasionally, I will run into a store and find something I want to try on.  You want to know my secret weapon for fitting rooms with 3 small children!?  That's not fair, you had hint.  That's right, dry erase markers.  Give them over and let them go to town on the mirror. They can draw silly faces on their reflection or I ask them to draw what I have on... It will give you a good couple of minutes to throw your clothes on!  I also keep them in our church bag.  I just read a tip somewhere yesterday (maybe Parent's magazine?) that said to rip out the pages in those workbooks that cost like $20 for a book of mazes or capital letters... pop each page in a page protector and let them work them with a dry erase marker.  Then they can work them over and over again.
I have another awesome way to use dry erase markers!  On your washing machine!  You think I'm crazy, don't you!?  Am I the only person that loads the washing machine with good intentions to take out such-n-so to air dry/ hang dry/ lay flat and totally forget in my rush to throw everything in the dryer??  I do that all the time!  Well, today I decided to write it on my washing machine when I loaded the washing machine so I would remember what I needed to look for when I switched the laundry over to the dryer.  I got this idea when I saw on etsy the other day, decals to put on the washing machine... like contact paper! It was so cool looking, but it mad me think of dry erase markers.  Here's what I put on my washer this morning...

Meal plan this week

As you all know, I planned meals for the year, but this week, I'm doing the Advocare cleanse, so some of the plans don't quite fit into my cleanse.  I'm making a few adjustments....
Monday: Tacos were the plan... but Jason and I are going out on a date.  I don't know where we're eating, so I'm sure it will end up being some sort of pork or grilled chicken and salad.  Not sure what I'll do for the kids... probably pizza... we'll go for healthy tomorrow. :)
Tuesday: Pork chops and baked beans (this was the plan) I can still do grilled pork chops (maybe marinaded in a raspberry sauce), but I'll do grilled veggies instead of baked beans (I have some fresh zucchini, summer squash and onion)
Wednesday: Breakfast was the plan... which will work well for me.  I'll make scrambled eggs (mostly egg white and one yolk), turkey sausage.  I'll make biscuits or pancakes for the girls and Jason.  And of course, there will be fresh fruit.  Wednesday is the last day of my cleanse, so after that,  I just need to eat smart, but dairy and carbs are allowed in small doses.  :)
Thursday: The plan was italian grilled chicken (perfect!) with green beans
Friday: White pizza- I'll have to check on an alternative for this.... I think it can still be done wisely... I'll just use whole wheat crust, and part skim mozzarella and fresh spinach.
Saturday is supposed to be chicken pot pie... that won't work at all.  I'll figure out something different for that.  Maybe something like shredded chicken quesadillas.

I'm also linking up with another blogger, I'm going to attempt to include their button... let's see if it works. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

If you give a mom a muffin... and Advocare days 5 and 6

I'm pretty sure my life goes a lot like those books "If you give a pig a pancake, or if you give a mouse a muffin or whatever.  If you give a mom a muffin.... I feel like all of my days go like that.  I like to start out my day with a cup of coffee and prayer.. sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.  My days always go better if I can start off in silence.  Silence, in my life, is rare indeed.  I'm trying to incorporate my daily Bible reading again, since I haven't been as good at that in the last few weeks.  Currently, I'm reading through Proverbs (it's our book for Lads to Leaders next Spring).  Did you know there are 31 chapters in Proverbs?  So, I'm reading one chapter a day and I plan to read it every day for 12 months.  So, by the time we go to L2L next year, I will have read Proverbs 12 times!  I'm also reading through the New Testament.  I hope to go through it as many times as I can between now and next year.  It's a great start to my day and helps me remember where my focus is.... Matthew 6:33 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."  Will you read Proverbs with me in May?  Start in chapter 1 on May 1.  I think it will be fun! Whoa... back to my muffin... see what I mean?  After my quiet time with coffee, my kids are normally crawling all over me.  I'm urging them not to spill my coffee or tear the pages in my Bible by sitting on it.  And then we're off.  It's time to make beds and start laundry.  It's time to start breakfast and get dressed.  It's time for "mama" "mama" "mama."  After I fill the first round of requests for what they want to eat, they're asking for a drink and when then get a drink, they ask for yogurt, and when they get yogurt, they will need a spoon.  When I get them a spoon, I'll realize I need to unload the dishwasher.  After I unload the dishwasher, I'll need to fill it up again.  Once I put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, I'll need to clean the sink and after I clean the sink, I'll take the rag to the laundry room.  In the laundry room, there will be a load of clothes dumped in the floor that need to be sorted.  Once I sort them, I'll need to start a load.  After I've started a load of clothes, I'll need to fold what's in the dryer and when I go to put the towels away, I'll see that Julianne's got toothpaste all over the floor in her bathroom.  When I clean up the toothpaste I'll see that there's bathtub paint dried on the side of the tub. I'll stop there, but you see what I mean... one quick task leads to another and another and another and before long, it's the end of the day and it doesn't look like anything's been done.  I know I'll look back on these days and laugh (at least I hope I will) and I'll laugh when my daughters tell me about their adventures as a major character in "If you give a pig a pancake."
On to Advocare day 5 and 6
 I just realized when I posted yesterday I only posted about day 4 (which was actually day before yesterday) and I intended to post last night about day 5 and... you know the drill.  Anyway!  We pretty much had a lazy day at home and I was so thankful to be feeling better!  Whatever I had only lasted a day and I was back to normal... whatever that means.  Day 5 was great.  I have no idea what I ate for breakfast (I think it was fruit, but don't quote that).  I drank a ton of water and I had a salad for lunch with a handful of almonds.  For dinner we went to O'Charley's with a coupon and I had the Brushcetta Chicken (grilled chicken with tomatoes and bruschetta on top) served with broccoli.  It was listed at 550 calories, but I could only finish half.  I seriously wasn't even hungry for the other half.  That's weird.  I usually finish my meal and everyone else's.  I love to eat.  I weighed last night and guess what!?  I've lost 3.5 pounds! Woot woot!!!!
Today is day 6 and it's going well so far.  I had oatmeal for breakfast (I know I'm not supposed to have sugar, but I cheated... a little... and if oatmeal's a cheat, then boo diets).  I've had a ton of water again, just for the record, I'm drinking about 92 ounces of water a day (with one of them being mixed with Spark).  After church, I wasn't really even hungry, so I ate some cantaloup and a bit of Juli's pb&j... another thing not on the plan, but it was only a bite.  :)
Tonight I plan to eat the rest of my grilled chicken from O'Charley's.
I do have a confession.  I am eating Honey Nut Cheerios.  Just a handful without milk. It's my guilty pleasure and the box says whole grain *is one of the ingredients* ha!!  Please don't tell on me. ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Scent-sational Saturday!

I almost forgot about Scent-sational Saturday!  This week has been Scent-sational!  My team is doing awesome and I can't believe the numbers this month!!  The warmer pictured above is Lenox and it is a great, full size, neutral to go in any space. I just got a hold of the Scent of the Month for May, Cherry Vanilla, and it is awesome!  I'll have samples ready on Tuesday.  Let me know if you would like one!

Advocare challenge day 4 and some other funny stuff too

Well, yesterday was a 24 day challenge fail.  Not really, but I was sick.  I went to bed Thursday night feeling gross.  I ate something allowed on the plan, but heavier than I've been eating. Pork roast.  It was delicious and very lean, but still heavier than the rabbit food I've been eating.  So, I just thought it was making me feel yucky.  I woke up Friday morning still feeling awful.  Not as nauseated, but still just blah.  I didn't sleep well Thursday night, so I thought I was just feeling hungover from a poor night's sleep.  Well, we went on as usual (sort of)... I did the very minimal... which meant my house was a wreck, but I just did the essentials (fed the kids, got them dressed, packed lunch... you know, the minimum).  I had an appointment with a customer to drop off Scentsy testers, so I loaded the girls up and off we went.  I kept thinking I would feel better if I could just get moving and shake last night's dinner.  The little girls were restless, so we went to the mall after our Scentsy errand and I let them wander around for awhile.  I love going places with them when they are free to explore and we aren't in a rush.  It's fun to just let them be.  They pick which way we walk, they spend forever in the toy store... just looking around and playing.  I decided it would be easier for me if I just fed them lunch at the mall rather than trying to prepare lunch when we got home.  So, we stopped at Chick fil a and they gobbled up their nuggets.  I wasn't feeling as nauseated, but I didn't have much of an appetite.  I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich (without the bun) and I could only eat a couple of bites.  I was getting more and more tired and just felt awful, so I told the girls it was time to head home.
They were very cooperative (thankfully) and I put them both to bed by 11:45 (naptime usually isn't until 1:00).  Julianne went right to sleep, but Lucy stayed awake.  I slept for about 30 minutes and woke up feeling chills and achy.  I couldn't tell if the body aches were due to fever or the serious work outs at the gym this week, but I took my temperature and it was 101.5.  ugh.  I can't remember the last time I had a fever.  It's miserable.  I pretty much hung out on the couch until it was time to pick up Adelaide in carpool and then parked it on the couch again until Jason got home.
I am SO thankful for the playground and fenced in backyard!  I just sent the kids out to play and I could still hear them from my post on the couch.  Jason was on call last night (of course) but thankfully he got home around 5:30 or 6:00 (bless his heart for not passing out when he saw the condition of our house) and he took the kids out to grab dinner.  He brought me some chicken noodle soup for dinner and it was pretty good.... but I still wasn't very hungry.  I ate a few bites and fell asleep.  The chicken noodle soup isn't on my plan (staying away from carbs) but it's required when you're sick, right??  That's what my mama would say.  Chicken noodle soup and diet coke.  So, that's what I had.  :)
I slept pretty well and this morning I feel much better.  I don't know what that was about.  Fever virus??  Whatever that means...
So, in summary, my day four didn't really go as planned.  I didn't really stick to the plan very well, but I had a good excuse.  I am down another pound, but I might rebound once  I get up and moving again and actually eating again today.

On another note, my girls are hilarious.  Here are a couple of things from the last couple of days that have cracked me up.  We are trying to talk about ways to be responsible for ourselves.  Adelaide is probably the worst at this.  She forgets her backpack, can't find her shoes, leaves her lunchbox at school... you name it.  I know part of that is normal behavior for a child, but she doesn't seem to be interested in being responsible for herself or her things.  For example, her class goes to the library on Wednesday.  Our rule is that she can get her library book out of her backpack to read it, but then she needs to put it back in her backpack.  She has 2 little sisters... if the book is left out, we might never find it.  So.... this week Wednesday comes along and her book isn't in her bag.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm reading a parenting book called "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours"  and one of the concepts in this book is "pulling the rug out and letting the little buzzards fall."  Basically, using reality discipline.  So, I told her, she didn't have her book where it was supposed to be, so she didn't get to check one out (that's the school's rule, you have to turn in last week's book to check one out this week).  She comes home from school and says, "I didn't get to check out a book today (in a sad voice)."  I told her that she would have to keep looking for it and when she finds it, she can check out another book.  She responds with, "I can just take in $5 tomorrow and check out another book."  What!?  Fail!!!  Time for a sit down talk.  You will not take in $5 tomorrow.  You will a. look for the book all week... until you find it b. take $5 next week after you've earned every penny of it.  I'm not sending in $5 for something that you didn't take care of.  I was already making a list of things she could do around the house for extra money.  I think I'll keep it for this summer for sno-cone money.  She won't get paid for her regular chores... some things just have to be done because you're part of this family... she will only get paid for the extras (collecting all trash and taking out, sorting all laundry).  I'm thinking $.25 for each extra chore.  Thoughts?  Other ideas for extra chores? I should note that I didn't actually think this is hilarious.  It's a problem.  Adelaide tends to be selfish (is that a first born thing?) and we are trying hard to teach her to think of others first.  I just realized that this whole story came after me saying that my girls are hilarious... I actually thought this instance as infuriating.  And humiliating.  I don't want to raise selfish people.  We are trying to think of ways for our little ones to serve others and remember to think of others before themselves.  I would love to hear thoughts on that also.
On that same note, Lucy was looking at her chore chart and deciding which to do first.  She chose "living room." *it has a picture of a sofa on it*  She brings it to me, so proud, and says, "I'm going to do this one first because it's just sitting on the couch."  Um... no, that one means you pick up all toys from the living room."  ha!!  Silly girl.
Jason took the girls to the dentist this week for their regular cleaning.  The last trip to the dentist was a nightmare.  Adelaide loves to go to the dentist, but Lucy hates all things having to do with doctors and such.  In her defense, she's had some pretty bad experiences with doctors.  Lucy has spent a lot of time in doctors offices since she was tiny.  At her first visit with Dr. Hamm, she was diagnosed with a cleft palate.  We were sent to specialists at Children's hospital and she was poked and prodded with those awful tongue depressors and such every 3 months throughout her first year.  She has had countless ear infections which also meant that she's had to have her ears irrigated probably over 100 times.  Some in the office, some at home.  You know those giant bulb suckers they use in the hospital to suck junk out of babies??  Yeah, we had to use one to shoot salt water into Lucy's ears... nightly.  It was horrible.  Then she got tubes and while they helped her ears to drain, she still got a ton of infections.  Just last week, she went back to Dr. Hamm for another irrigation.  She's probably looking at another set of tubes if this last round of antibiotics doesn't clear up her infection (this is round 3).  Back to the dentist story (I got distracted, shocker).... last time at the dentist, she didn't want anything to do with him.  Even after we watched Adelaide and everything.  The hygienist gave up and said we would just let Dr. Anglin look in her mouth when he came in.  Well, she wasn't interested in that either.  He tried to force his hands in her mouth and she nearly bit his finger off.  Seriously, she bit down so hard on his finger, I thought he was going to shout.  But he didn't.  Bless his heart.  This time Jason took her.  She always does so much better when Jason is with her.  She's such a Daddy's girl.  And he said she went back with the hygienist by herself and came back out when she was done, smiling from ear to ear.  He asked her how it went and she said, "Good, I didn't even bite him!"  I love that girl.
Sorry this turned out so long!  I guess I had to catch up from yesterday. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Advocare 24 day challenge Day 3

Well, I'm over half way through day 3!!!  Today has been much easier!  I don't know if I'm just getting used to the options of what I can eat... or if I'm not as hungry or what... but I haven't felt miserable today.  I started my day with coffee and then my fiber drink mixed with Spark (the fruit punch flavor).  It is pretty filling, so I waited until I felt hungry to have my banana (around 10:30).  I had a handful of almonds at lunch time (this wasn't intentional, but I just realized I didn't actually eat a real lunch).  I'm just not very hungry today.  I think part of the reason why I eat sometimes is because I really like what I'm eating.... and when I don't really like what I'm eating (like the clean stuff I'm supposed to be eating right now), it's not as attractive!  I know that's not a healthy mindset... but it's real and that's what I'm here for.  I want this to be real... and I plan to tell it like it is.  Last night I made turkey burgers (but I forgot the buns... so I guess they were more like turkey patties) baby spinach salad and corn on the cob.  I know some people on the advocare boards and such say this is too sweet and starchy, but to me, it grew straight from the earth and it's considered a vegetable, so that's what I'm going with.  Get off my back!  Ha!!  Anyway, they were really yummy!  I just mixed ground turkey with fresh chopped garlic, some sea salt and Chicago steak seasoning.  So... it wasn't low in sodium, but it was pretty healthy.  The kiddos ate it up and there actually wasn't enough for seconds, so next time I'll need to double the recipe.  I'll definitely be making that again!
Now, on to the results!  I was down 1.5 lbs this morning.  This is exciting, but I can gain and drop pounds like  nobody's business.... so I'm not like jumping all over the place yet.  That's coming later, I'm sure!  I do feel pretty good today.  I'm hurting like crazy after that really mean and awful class on Tuesday, but after a break yesterday, I'm ready to hit the gym again this afternoon.  Jason doesn't know this yet, but I'm going to try to go to Zumba tonight. I've missed the last few weeks because Adelaide has dance on Thursday nights at 5 and Zumba starts at 5:30... so I've been at dance class with her.  BUT this week, Jason's not working late, nor is he going to a Val Halen concert... so I'm hoping he'll agree to take Adelaide to dance class so I can get my groove on!  :)
I'm also planning to go to Zumba tomorrow morning.  I know that in order to burn fat and do well on this challenge, I need to do some serious cardio training.  I am hoping to hit a sculpting/toning class once a week and at least 3 days of cardio.  Jason accused me of jumping in too hard and too fast and then getting burned out quickly.  This is so true of me.  Not only in the gym... but with pretty much everything I do.  I just like to go big!  You've heard the saying, "Go big or go home" ... well, I go big and then go home!  ha!!!  Anyway, I'm fully aware that this is not going to be easy!  But I'm sticking with it and pushing through the pain.  My core hurts.  A lot.  I started thinking back about that class on Tuesday and you know what I realized?  We did like 30 minutes worth of planks that day.  No wonder I can't take a deep breath without wanting to cry.
I hope you'll stick with me through out this journey.  There is good news today!  I don't have to drink that yucky fiber drink for 4 days!  Hooray!!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Advocare 24 day challenge Day 2

I’m halfway through day 2.  Today has been pretty good.  I started out my morning with my fiber drink mixed with Spark, thanks to the recommendation from a friend.  It was so much better!  Spark is similar to Crystal Light… only not at all…but you do mix it in powder form with your water to make some yummy goodness.  It has vitamins and amino acids and such.  The drink was much better mixed with that.  I’ve been using orange juice, but that makes it even thicker… which is nasty. 
The fiber drink is essentially sawdust (I kid… kind of ) so I wasn’t very hungry right after drinking it.   So, I waited about an hour or so after I finished it before eating something (when I was feeling hungry).  I had a banana and felt much better.  I should mention here that I did have a cup of coffee this morning… which I wasn’t supposed to do.  But a life without coffee isn’t worth living… so if that ruins my cleanse… then it’s not meant to be.  All things in moderation, right?  Well, that’s my outlook when it comes to coffee. My family still has to live with me during this experience and it wouldn’t be fair on anyone to take away my coffee.  There…. Enough about that.
I felt hungry (and maybe a little light headed) around 11, so I had a handful of almonds.  And then a meal replacement shake for lunch.  Now I’m waiting on a conference call to start and I may have some fruit in a bit.  Tonight for dinner is Turkey burgers (but since I’m not doing carbs this week, I’ll have mine on a bed of lettuce.  Mmmmm…. You’re jealous, right?  Yeah, me neither. 
Oh!  I almost forgot .  I made Kale chips last night.  I wish they weren’t called chips because the word chips makes my heart beat fast… these didn’t do that for me.  They weren’t awful (I might be lying just a little) but I wish they were called something more along the lines of “crispy kale” or “crunchy kale” or “it’s nothing like chips and a lot like a vegetable… so don’t be deceived.”  I also took a Y-resist class yesterday afternoon.  The instructor jokingly called it the wheel of death.  Btu she wasn’t joking.  At all.  I’m almost dead right now.  Except for all the pain.  I still feel it.  It was set up in circuits with a bunch of weights and resistance bands around the perimeter and mats in the middle… each circuit lasted 1 minute and then you returned to the mats for a 1 minute plank.  I hate her.  She’s a mean, terrible person for doing that to others.  Just kidding.  No pain no gain… and all that.  But today, I’m miserable. J (that smiley makes it all better, right??  Right???)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Advocare 24 day challenge: Day 1 (or .5 since it's only 12:30)

  I wanted to start out with an update of how my 24 day challenge day 1 is going... and I realize it's only lunchtime, so that might be a bit premature, but I probably won't have an opportunity to write after my littles return from school.  So... so far it's going great!  For breakfast, I attempted to mix my fiber drink in my oatmeal which resulted in numerous gags and an eventual "pour it out and start over."  I will stick to mixing it in my orange juice and chugging it down.  It's not all that bad, but I need it to be over quickly and seeing that full bowl of oatmeal that still had to be eaten just didn't work for me.  I've had more water than I care to think about.  I really don't enjoy water... I drink it and it makes me feel good, but I'd rather have diet coke.  Or Splenda tea...  This might be part of my weight problem... you'll see a trend of things I would prefer versus things that I need and are good for me.  Don't worry.  :)
I was very full after my fiber drink, so I had some fruit and almonds for breakfast.  I had a Scentsy training call at 11, and I was starving, so I munched on some apples and peanut butter during the call and went for a meal replacement drink for lunch.  Naptime is my biggest snacking time... the house is quiet and nobody asks to share my food.  :)  So, I'm planning to grab some cantaloupe and maybe some more almonds if I get tempted.
I'm going to a resistance class at the Y this afternoon... partly to stay moving, partly because my kids love to go to the Y and they've begged to go today.
For dinner I'm planning a grilled chicken salad for Jason and me and grilled cheese sandwiches for the girls... Jason is working late tonight, so nothing elaborate.
I weighed this morning, but if you think I'm sharing my numbers, you're just plain nuts.  I will share daily what my stats are... so stay tuned for tomorrow when I tell you that I dropped 10 lbs overnight (a girl can dream, right??).
I have another post I want to write about guiding our children's hearts, but I'm out of time and have to pick up the little girls... so stay tuned for that too.  Also, please be thinking of service opportunities for my young children.  I'm excited to hear what ideas you all have.

Monday, April 23, 2012

24 Day Challenge

Will you go on a journey with me??  I'm starting a 24 day challenge tomorrow to jump start my lifestyle change.  I don't want to call this only a weight loss challenge, although I sure hope that's a side effect.  I'm just not happy with my eating habits and my lifestyle right now.  I was on a really good workout schedule for awhile and it made me feel great!  However, life happened, and I fell off that schedule.  It really wasn't all my fault, but I do assume some responsibility in not making it happen the way I should.  Being the mama in this household, I pretty much pick up the slack when things get crazy.  And, sadly, that means some things that I want to do get kicked to the curb when the going gets tough (read: stomach virus week or husband on mission trip).   Well, I'm heading out to the gym in a few minutes and then going to the grocery store right after for some essentials for my 24 day challenge.  I'm going to be doing the Advocare challenge thanks to my good friend, Lauren Butler.  She introduced me to Advocare and she did the 24 day challenge with great results!  I am blogging on this simply because I need accountability.  I need to know when the snacks are calling my name that I'm going to be writing about it later.
For those of you that know me well, I'll tell it like it is.  So, stay posted for the next 10 days of my cleanse phase.  During this phase, you eat very little sugar, almost zero carbs and a lot of fresh fruits and veggies.  If I bite your head off, I'm sorry.  I'm probably not going to be very fun to be around until later. :)
Here's to my last day of freedom.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

SCENT-sational Saturday!

I LOVE this Bride warmer!!!  I think it's the perfect amount of neutral but with beautiful detail.  This would make a wonderful Mother's day gift and don't forget about all the teacher gifts that need to be purchased before long!
As always, I am happy to answer any questions you might have.  I've gotten pretty good at guessing scents that you will love based on what you've loved in the past.  So, if you want a warmer for mom, let me know what kinds of scents she likes and I can lead you toward one that should be a great fit.  I want to make sure you're in love with all of your choices, so if you ever get a scent you don't love, let me know!  I'll trade it out for you.  Check out my website:
And.... Tuesday, April 28 will be a BIG day at my house!  My new chocolate fondue will be here that day and I can't wait to try it out and share it with all of you.   It's all straight from Belgium... and it's premium stuff, folks.  The brand name will be Velata and we will have 4 flavors to start with.   Caramel, Milk chocolate, Dark chocolate and White chocolate... I would love to share this with you and your friends.  Let me know if you want to be one of the first to share this new concept!

Birthdays... they get better and better

I'm officially 30 today.  Well, I think I was actually born around 1:00 pm... so I have a couple more hours.  I'm not sure who's more excited about my birthday, me or my children.  That's not true.  They are far more excited!  Although, I do love my birthday!  I spend most hours of most days serving.  I'm thankful for that role... and it's one I feel was given to me.  But it's nice for this one day to feel like it's just mine.  I'm pretty spoiled on Mother's day, too, but I share that with my mom and Jason's mom... and all the other moms in the world.  But my birthday is only mine.  And my favorite fella and girls spoil me rotten.  This morning I woke up at 7:08 (that's SUPER late for us!).  I looked up and read the time on my new alarm clock (I've been wanting one of the iphone docks for a long time!)... then closed my eyes again before I realized that clock wasn't there the night before.  Thanks, Jason!!
 The girls all made me cards, Adelaide's even had a personally made up joke that she wrote just for me.  I don't get it, but she thinks it's HILARIOUS!!!!  Lucy told me "happy burp-day" and burped just for me.  That's so Lucy!  Julianne sang happy birthday over and over.  Jason made me breakfast and served me first... and the kids ate most of my breakfast before he could get their's on the table.  That's what life's supposed to be like now, right!?  I love it!  I am one thankful mama.  I've had a pretty eventful run of my 20's and I'm sure there will be lots of action in my 30's too.  I'll have 2 teenagers during that decade.... oh my.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Diaper cake "May the force be with Jordan"

I'm making a diaper cake for a friend's shower.  Her nursery will be decorated in Star Wars theme, so that's, of course, what we're using for the theme.

I used a tutorial from Pinterest.  You can find it here.  I found it easier to put a few diapers on the layer and then put the rubber band around it... then you can tuck the diapers into the layer without having 6 hands.  She also recommends just rolling through the crotchy part that tries to bunch... but I found my diapers to be irregular and bulky that way... so I held it taught with my left hand and rolled with my right hand.  They all rolled nice and tightly and that's the look I was going for.
I found the little plush guys at Target and the ribbon is just held on with sticky dots.  I think it turned out cute!
I love that the whole thing is completely functional!  The supports in the middle are baby powder and a bottle stacked on top of each other and then 2 packages of diapers stacked around them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Birth stories and how we chose their names.

This is a little glimpse into the names of our children.  Jason and I "planned" our pregnancy with Adelaide... as much as anyone can plan such.  We made preparations and counted months and such.  She was very planned.  When we found out we were pregnant, I thought for sure we were having a boy.  In my family, a boy came first (my brother) and then I came 6 years later.  In Jason's family, he was first and then his sister came 3 years later.  So... it just made sense to me that a boy was supposed to come first.  We didn't care either way (I know everyone says that, but we really didn't) but I was surprised to find out we were having a girl.  My pregnancy was very easy.  I felt great, was rarely sick and loved (almost) every minute of it.  
I did have a lot of "false labor" toward the end of the pregnancy and she was born, uneventfully, 3 weeks before her due date.  We chose her name pretty simply.  We wanted an Irish name that would sound good with our Irish last name.  When we bought a baby name book "Baby Names around the World" Adelaide was the first name in the girl's section.  We both loved it.  I wanted a name that was unique and special.  I think that's exactly what we got.  A lot of people comment on it and say it's old fashioned.  I guess it is... but not in a "Betty" kind of way.  It means "noble, kind" and I hope she grows into that definition!  
Her middle name is Faith... just because we liked it.  She was an awful baby.  Really, she was.  She cried nonstop until about 8 weeks, where she cried about 20 hours a day.  For reals.  It was terrible.  But I didn't know any better.  
Around the time Adelaide was just over 1 year old, we found out we were expecting Lucy.   She was even more planned than Adelaide.  We really counted days and it took longer to get pregnant with Lucy than we had hoped.  But, alas, she's here, so that's all that matters.  Lucy's birth was a much different story than Adelaide's.  The whole pregnancy was different, in fact.  I was sicker and more tired than I was with Adelaide (and with a toddler at home, there wasn't as much time to rest).  Lucy and Adelaide both had the same due date (November 1), and Lucy made her very eventful entrance into the world 1 week early.  I had been having contractions and such for a couple of weeks, but I wasn't making any progress.  So, my doctor decided to induce at 39 weeks.  I was more than happy to oblige.  We went in for our scheduled birth (I love schedules) and they got the process started. 
 I got my epidural and contractions were speeding up.  About an hour after my epidural, I started feeling woosy.  My blood pressure had plummeted.  I'm told this was a vagal response.  I have no clue if that's spelled right or what it means, but I do know that I "came to" with Jason smacking my face and them bringing in the crash cart and the breathing bag thingy. It was terrifying.  The nurse reprimanded me for not telling her I was feeling badly.  Well, I kinda passed out as soon as that started.  Sorry.  I'll try to give you a heads up next time.  
My mom came in during the afternoon to check on me.  She just couldn't stand staying at home while her baby was in labor.
After about 12 hours of labor the doctor came in and was looking at my strip of paper that measures my contractions.  I could tell by the look on her face that something wasn't right. She stood there, arms crossed for about 2 minutes (seemed like an hour) and then she called it.  "We need to go.. NOW." I remember those words like it was 2 minutes ago.  Jason went into the bathroom to put on scrubs and my mom describes it as superman in the phone booth... the door barely closed behind him and he was out again.  They were throwing stuff in the bed with me, disconnecting cords, and off we went.  I remember my hair blowing behind me as we rushed down the hall. I can only imagine how scared my mom was. Jason was with me... and he was scared too.  But it's horrible to not know what's going on.  When we got to the operating room, the anesthesiologist was in another c-section.  The resident was checking my level to make sure I was numb high enough to perform the surgery.  I wasn't.  They tried pushing more drugs... still not enough.  Jason said after he was afraid they were going to have to put me to sleep.  
Finally, things were numb and they started.  I was so sick.... and let me tell you... vomiting while lying flat on your back and being cut open... it's not fun.  But Lucy arrived healthy and happy and I'm so thankful for her.  That was her last major performance so far.  She likes to stay in the background and not be the center of attention.... so her entrance into our world was uncharacteristic.  
We chose Lucy's name pretty soon after we had Adelaide.  I just liked it and one day I told Jason, let's name our next girl "Lucy" and he agreed.  Not too much of a story there. We chose Kellyn for her middle name in keeping with her Irish heritage.  Lucy means "light" and that's not at all why we chose it, but it fits her.  She lights up a room even though she doesn't mean to.  She's so thoughtful and considerate and I am thankful for her.
Julianne's pregnancy wasn't planned.  At all.  I was going through this stage where I was really questioning birth control and God's plan for us.  I wasn't sure (and I'm still not) what God would have to say about it.  So, I wasn't taking it.   I'm pretty sure I told Jason I was pregnant while in a  McDonalds drive thru... on the phone.  Ha!
Julianne was a planned C-section and it was amazing.  I wasn't sick, it wasn't scary and I would so do it again in a hearbeat!
We chose Julianne Ruby after my grandmother, Julia Anne and Jason's grandmother, Ruby.  My Granny was so very special to me and she had just passed away when we found out we were expecting.  She would have loved Julianne so much... I really with they could have met.  Jason's Grandmama loves Julianne Ruby too and I'm so thankful Julianne knows her.  
There you have it!  For the record,  we had boys names picked out every time, but we haven't had to use them yet.  If Adelaide had been a boy, she would have been Aidan Thomas.  Lucy would have been Isaac Lynn (I think) and Julianne was either Reagan or Rhett Thomas (I think).... the middle names weren't set in stone.  
Thanks for checking in today.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stomach bug survival guide

I talked about poop last time and now I'm talking about puke... so again, for you weak stomached people, this post is not for you.
We've had a stomach bug at our house this week, and for those of you that know me... this is the worst possible ailment. I have handled lots of yuck at our house over the last 6.5 years... and this one is the worst! I'm still ranking it above head lice... although Jason disagrees.
Monday, Julianne woke up saying she needed to wash her hands because she fell in a mud puddle. What!? I went in to find her and her bed covered in vomit.
She was sick several more times that morning, but never ran fever and was totally normal by the next day.
Jason threw me a birthday party for my 30th Friday night.... just for grown ups. It was a blast! We got home, exhausted, and had been in bed about 45 minutes when Lucy called me up saying her stomach hurt. She was sick all night and Adelaide started Saturday morning. It was a lovely weekend. :)
I do have some tips on surviving the stomach bug. It doesn't really make it a ton easier, but I like to make things as easy as I can... and here are the tricks I've learned over the years.
If you have girls, this first tip is major. I mean..... like first priority. Hair must be pulled back! When I got Juli out of her bed and straight to the tub, I french braided her hair. This keeps all the little wispy pieces out of her face and the pony tail isn't so long that it falls into the line of fire.
Lucy and Adelaide get as many ponytails, knots, and clips as necessary to keep the hair out of the way. It's much easier to bathe the children again if they "miss" if you don't have to wash hair again.
Next priority... finding tile... or wood... or something other than carpet to hang out on. If your only options are carpet... find blankets, quilts... sheets... something to cover the carpet. Something that can go in the washing machine. I lined the floor around the kids' beds with extra sheets and the path to the bathroom with towels. I had a friend recommend newspaper... you could just throw that away... but that required an extra trip downstairs... so I went with towels. I think the preparation is much easier than the cleanup... so I'm willing to throw down some blankets and towels.
I also cover furniture that the kids are on with blankets. You're not puking on my couch! Get up.... I'm putting a quilt under you.
Number 3... you need a bucket. Or a bag or something. We have a couple of glad containers that were grabbed once upon a time and they now reside under the sink in the girls' bathrooms. The bucket goes everywhere with you. I don't care that you think you feel better. It's throw up day and you and your bucket are best friends. Get used to it.
Number 4... everyone in the family goes on a bland diet. Not quite BRAT diet, but close. Jason and I usually end up fasting. It's sometimes not intentional... but nothing really seems appetizing when you think you might see it again. But the kids (unbeknownst to them) get lots of starches, NO dairy and bananas and apples. Can you say eggo waffles for dinner? Yup! This helps to settle the stomach and keeps from putting too much heavy stuff on a potentially throw up day. Dairy is also a pain in the tail to clean up... it curdles. Which is gross.
Number 5... we push fluids after we KNOW their stomachs are ready. If you push too much too soon, you're just going to be cleaning it up again. So, after they've been puke free for awhile (maybe 30 minutes) they get a SIP of something clear. My favorite is Propel fitness water. It's clear but it is full of electrolytes.... and with a little flavor, the kids like it. And, unlike Gatorade, it doesn't stain anything if it does come up.
When you, as a parent, are in the trenches and being the right hand man... you know the role, holding hair, wiping mouths, rubbing backs... stay behind your little one. You don't see as much puke, you can be there for them to rest on... and hopefully you are staying a little further from the spray of nastiness that you're sure to catch next.
On cleaning up... everything this weekend could go in the washer thanks to the above tips... and I just put everything in the wash like I did when I cloth diapered. It goes in on a normal wash (Hot)... and when that's done I do a sanitary wash (super duper hot with extra rinses). Towels all get bleached.
I hope this helps someone. If you have puke tips, I'd love to hear them... I'll take all the help I can get during stomach bug week!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Conveniently crunchy

I wouldn't say we live a terribly natural lifestyle at the McKeown home. My kids love snacks and cookies of all shapes and sizes (and so do I) and we don't eat all organic or local. However, we have made some changes over the years that I think have made a difference in how we operate. I'll just talk about a couple today. I used cloth diapers with Lucy and Julianne. Lucy... almost the whole time she was in diapers and Julianne, throughout most of her first year (except when we had a sitter or were at church). I love cloth diapers. There's just something about a cute little cloth diapered hiney. They are so sweet!!! They are very economical and they aren't nearly the nightmare to wash as most people think. I normally washed diapers every other day (what's one more load of laundry when you're already doing several loads a day?). They just go in the normal washer and then I dried some in the dryer and hung some out to dry. Then I normally didn't even fold mine. I just stacked the liners and the covers in the drawer and they were ready for another day.
******* If you have a weak stomach or think this is disgusting, skip this section*******
While the little still had breastfed poo, I just threw the whole thing in the washing machine... when they started on solid food and had more solid poop, the poop was sent into the potty and the diaper was sent into the wash. I had a washable liner (think dirty clothes bag) in a trash can... so I just threw the whole thing in the washer (no reaching in and grabbing dirty diapers or anything). So... it's not that gross. It's not for everyone, but it worked for us. I also used reusable wipes... they were just wash clothes with a water spray... the whole thing went into the diaper pail for washing. Julianne didn't love the velcro at the top of the cloth diapers, so we stopped using them before I would like. If you are looking for a cloth diaper to try out, I would recommend the FLIP diapers. They fit great, are trim and are super easy to use... no stuffing liners inside a cover... and you use the cover over and over. I only went through one cover a day.
*****Okay, weak stomach folks, welcome back******
We also don't use paper towels... well, rarely. I own a few paper towels. Only because I have a dad. He likes paper towels. Correction : he LOVES paper towels. So, I keep some for when he comes to visit. We also use them when there's something to cover in the microwave (I don't like a cloth napkin that is covered in spaghetti sauce). So, what do we use!? Cloth napkins (as stated above) and rags. I clean everything with rags... no paper towels. And we use cloth napkins every time we eat. Then they just go in the wash with our towels. I was towels about every other day, so that works great for napkins and rags, too. I found the transition really easy actually. It started out being for environmental reasons... why are we using so much stuff and throwing it away!? And now I'm just too stubborn to pay a ton of money for when I could use something I already have. We use about 1 roll of paper towels every 6 months now. That's a far cry for the case I bought nearly once a month before. If you are interested in making this transition, just try putting the paper towels under the sink for a week. You'll be surprised how many times you reach for them. I challenge you to try to use things you already have. I'm not a tree-hugger or anything, but I do think God has called us to be good stewards of what we've been given and it doesn't make sense to me to spend money on things we throw away when we could use things we already have. Paper towels may not be the way your family "goes green" or saves money, but I urge you to take a look at your excess... and see how you can change it.
Just a few other things I do to save money/not use nastiness:
I use olive oil to remove my eye makeup, I tried washing my hair with baking soda/apple cider vinegar, but Jason said I smelled like a salad. I make my own detergent for our clothes, I clean most things in the house with vinegar and baking soda....
That's all for now. What do you do to save money/go green?

My favorite books... everything from homekeeping, to parenting to homeschool

I love to read. I really do. It takes me away from everyday reality and into a fantasy land. I need that. A lot. Today, though, I want to talk about some of my favorite self help books. These are the tried and true books that I turn to when I have a question about a "phase" my kids are going through or something that I'm struggling with in my daily life. I will try to keep them somewhat separated into categories because some of them are vastly different.
I'll start with parenting. *Please don't dismiss these books because of the behavior of my children! :)* I think my children are well behaved. Usually. But they are children. I've learned the hard way to never say, "my child would NEVER do that." It's not true, folks. As soon as you say that, you will have to eat your words. I do, however, make a promise that when my children do things that aren't what I expect out of them, it will be dealt with. That's all I can do. So, here are a few of my favorite parenting books.
Obviously, the Bible is the number one parenting book... but let's face it. Sometimes it's hard to make applications from the Bible to every day situations. I think the principals taught are the basis of great parenting and should be put into play in our every day roles, but sometimes we need good, Biblically based books that help us with situations we deal with.
I love this book! It has just the right amount of humor and real. Some of my favorite chapter titles, "Inconsistency- or how to raise a yo-yo" "Pull the rug out and let the little buzzards tumble" "DANGER-Super parent at work" I love the real applications this book offers. It gives real "if this, then that" sort of situations. It's probably my favorite. I have read it cover to cover and I think I'll start again.
People either love Dr. Dobson's books or they hate them. I love them. I also recommend "The Strong Willed Child."
And I would like to say, I think all children are strong willed. I have three very different children. But they are all strong willed in their own way. People are pretty strong willed in general, wouldn't you say?
Dr. Dobson also offers ways to cope with discipline and hard to handle issues. He shoots it straight, though, so be prepared to feel like he's stepped on your toes.
I have not read this one through, but I like the way it's broken down into easy to flip to categories. Some of them include: rebellion, guilt and confession, the correct use of chastisement, the child's nature, God's promises to parents... etc.
I think it's a good one to flip through, but I found it hard to read straight through. Maybe I should try again. :)
I love this book. It talks about the joys of parenting and finding the joy in parenting. I need to read this more often. So often I find the everyday tasks of keeping up with children and the home and being a wife are so overwhelming, I don't find the joy in any of it. I need to do better. Some of the chapters in this book include, "Developing intimacy with your children, it's a matter of priorities, the worth of a child, building character." Now I think I might need to read this one again, too. ha!!
That's it for today in the parenting section. There are others that I like, but I these are my favorites!
Moving on to books for the home.
Let me start by saying, this book struck me as sort of weird when I first picked it up. It begins with telling you to go on a prayer walk through your house. I've heard of this through a neighborhood (which I think is a great idea). You walk through your neighborhood praying specifically for the families in each home. I know our minister has discussed doing this for every country specifically. But walking through my house asking God to show me things in each room that need changing just felt strange. But I did it. And I did find myself with new ideas for each space. The basis of this book is finding ways to make your home and it's layout work for you. For instance, we rarely use our front door. I mean, Adelaide comes in the front door after school, but that's about it. Our cars are parked in the back and that's our main way in and out. So... that's where all the shoes and backpacks end up. It's not a very big area. When you first come in from our garage, it's just a hall... like a normal width hall. There's no room for a stool to take off shoes or anything like that. So, I moved some junk out of the coat closet and put a couple of bins and a shoe organizer in it.... it's now the shoe closet. Now that our girls are in preschool/kindergarten, I have put hooks and message boards up. So... the hall has started working for us instead of being a dumping ground that collects clutter. See what I mean? The house still doesn't clean itself, but the book teaches you to use the home and make things easier for you depending on how you live... not living based on your home. Does that make sense?
Lastly, I don't really feel like I'm capable of writing much in the way of home schooling since we only really did it for a year full time... but we still dabble in it and the kids love it, so I'll share my favorite curriculum and let you take what you will from it. There are several reasons why we decided not to homeschool (for now) and I would love to share those with you later if anyone is interested.
"Before Five in a Row" and "Five in a Row" are by far my favorite homeschool curricula for little ones.
These two programs (before is more for preschoolers but can be adapted for older kids. Five in a row volume one is really best for Kindergarten/first grade because the stories are a little longer and more in depth) are based upon Children's literature. So, in the beginning of each book is a list of books that you will study. Some of them are books you have on your shelf at home and some you will have to search for in the library or online. Each lesson is broken down into subjects. You read the same book every day for 5 days. Get it? Five in a row!? When we were doing it, we tried to hit one subject a day... sometimes two depending on the book... then we usually took a "field trip" one day. The subjects in BFIAR are: Art, Math, Bible, Character, Safety, Science, Social Studies.... and more.
I loved the way the kids asked questions and were really interested in the books... especially after a few days of reading the same one. It was amazing to see them learn and watch their little brains develop. We still use these books some and I hope to use them even more this summer when things slow down a little.
This is how I taught Adelaide to read and it's what I'm planning to use for Lucy and Julianne as well. It's a great, easy way to teach them the basics of language and it works! Adelaide was reading like a champ before kindergarten started.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things you should never say to a mama...

Why is it that people think just because you have had a baby, they can dish out all kinds of advice? It actually starts when you're pregnant. Don't drink that diet coke, stay away from lunch meat, sit down, lay down, lay on this side... blah blah blah. Okay, I know some of those things are medically recommended, but why do people feel the need to enforce it? Mind your own business, folks! People make comments about the name you've chosen and how you're carrying. I don't think it's ever appropriate to comment on how big/small a pregnant lady is. Either way can hurt her feelings! I think it's great to say, "You look fabulous" or something to that affect... but any comments on how a lady is carrying can lead to worry (if baby's too big or small) or low self esteem for a mama that already feels terrible. Just keep those to yourself!!
Never... ever... give your two cents on breastfeeding. Ever. I'm guilty of this, too. But not anymore. I've had 3. Breastfeeding worked out great for us... once. It's just not something the others did well. And that's okay. As a pediatric neurosurgeon told me when I was stressing after Adelaide was born (she was a friend of Jason's... I didn't go see her about breastfeeding, ha!) we were all similac babies. It's true. Adelaide and Julianne (my two bottle babies) are healthy, happy and thriving.
Here are a few other favorites (or unfavorites, if you will):
"was this planned?" nonya.... seriously... it's none of your business. And the last thing I want is for my children to think they were some sort of a mistake. I have described one of my blessings as a "surprise." But they think of surprises as wonderful things (which she is).
"Are you trying for a boy?" As if I didn't do a good enough job the first three times. I hope and pray we are blessed with another baby. And it will probably be another girl. And that's just fine. God knows what He's doing.
"Are they all yours?" It's not like a have 30 kids... just 3. And yes, they're all mine. :)
"You're not done!?" Why do you care?
"You don't need any more." Someone seriously said this to me. Ugh. It's just as bad to tell people they should have another. The number of children people have is very personal to them and ultimately not up to them at all. If a family chooses to have one child (or is given that number by the Lord), don't make it your job to comment.
"You're in for it in the teenage years." I know. You don't have to point it out. All I can do right now is put one foot in front of the other and pray pray pray. As Mr. Kyle says in our "Kid's Sing" program for the little ones, "I will do my best, I will never give up, and I'll let God take care of the rest." That's all I can do about the teenage years. I will do my best to have my children's heart and hope and pray I make the right decisions when it's time. Don't be a naysayer.... please!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lazy lazy lazy

I have a really hard time accepting laziness. I just don't understand it. How does a mama sit in a room while everyone around is bustling to get a party ready and not lift a finger!? How is that even possible? I love to be busy. I love to help. I love to be needed. Let's face it. It's nice to feel needed and helpful. Isn't it!? Am I the only one that likes to feel like I've made someone else's life easier? Well, I've been faced with a plethora of moms this year that just don't seem to be connected. They don't seem to have time for their children... they don't seem to be interested in taking a few minutes out of their day (or month) to help in the classroom... they just don't seem to care at all. I'm the room mom in Adelaide's class, and I'm shocked at how many parents didn't volunteer for ANYTHING! I understand some moms have to work and it must be difficult to figure out a schedule for helping in your child's classroom while working full time outside the home. But there's still plenty that can be done! When there's a party at school and you are asked to send something in, that's a perfect opportunity! It doesn't require anyone's presence... it doesn't require you to forfeit your lunch hour or miss a meeting. You just need to buy a package of capri suns and put them in your child's backpack!? Am I missing something!?
Anyway, thankfully, there are a few parents that help with matters in the classroom, but it's just a few.
Well, yesterday we had a party for Julianne's class. At the beginning of the year, there's a signup sheet for all of the parties. There's a place to sign up for food, paper goods and party favors. Normally there are two people that bring food... because that's a pretty big undertaking. Well, nobody else was signed up for food. The teacher sent home a note asking for help and when nobody offered to help, she offered to bring something. But she has her own kids' parties to prepare for. She shouldn't have to bring food for her class. So, I did it myself. (*disclaimer: there was a helpful mom... she brought table clothes, plates and napkins... and the other helpful mom was out of town, so this isn't directed at them... at all) There's also a child in the class with a gluten allergy... so I had to make arrangements for him also... we had pizza, fruit, marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and milk boxes. While we were setting up, I was running around trying to put pizza on plates, cut fruit and put it out, open milk boxes.... you know the drill. There was another mama just sitting there. Playing on her phone. She made sure to note that she wasn't a "party mom" she was just there early because she didn't have time to go home first. But how does one sit there when things are bustling around them... without offering to help!? What happened to asking, "what can I do??" Or "here, I can put pizza on a plate." AAAAhhhhh!!!! It makes me nuts! Anyway, Jason was there with me. Thankfully. He doesn't usually get to go to their parties, but since we left for Nashville right after, he was off work.
Okay, that's all for my rant. For now. I can't make any promises for the future. :)