Monday, January 31, 2011

Gettin' Smart. Or Something Like That.

Have you ever come across people's blogs and you have a sudden horrid realization that you have a two year old that has not really done that many crafts? Oh wait. That's me. Coming across all of YOUR blogs that make me feel as though my kid is going to be riding the short bus to Kindergarten.

Yes, I'll admit. When it comes to learning activities, my patience wears thin before we even get set up. Which is why I doubt my abilities to even entertain the idea of homeschooling, despite the fact that both Drew and I are products of said schooling method. But that's another post in and of itself. For another day for sure. Back to learning activities. Brayden has shown interest in sitting at the table for SMALL spurts of time. This was most recently evidenced during our positive experiment with playdough. Since I want Brayden to learn to sit still a little better, I decided to dig into the recesses of my brain and think of another way to help him with his patience. And to help him learn, ofcourse. I thought about how much he LOVES to help in the kitchen, especially when it comes to pouring into the mixer. SO, I went to walmart and got the following:
  • two shoebox sized rubbermaid containers: $1 each.
  • two bags of pinto beans: $1.50 each.
  • set of measuring cups and spoons: $1 total.
If you're good at math, then you can see that I spent $6. Basically I poured the beans in one of the containers, set it out on the table, and let him scoop and pour.


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(I have no idea what his obsession is with sticking out his tongue lately. Crazy kid!)

And you know what? He sat there for 15 minutes. It was like a world record. Or something. Between this and playdough, we may be able to start rolling out more exciting activities. I have found a really good site that gives great ideas. It's called No Time for Flash Cards. I think a friend of mine shared the link a while back. I can't remember, because it's been saved in my favorites for a while. Anyways, the author of the site has different categories of activities based on age. It's a pretty neat site.  Check it out if you want your kid to get smart. Or atleast sit still so you can enjoy your morning cup o' Joe. haha!
And just in case you're wondering... here's what Connor did during his "learning" activity: he loves the star on his Baby Einstein playmat!


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i heart faces: best face of january 2011


I haven't joined in over at i heart faces in a looong time. partly because, well, my life is craziness right now with two under two. and partly because i have a hard time coming up with pictures that fit into the themes. but this week, i knew i wanted to enter, mostly because i just love this picture i snapped of brayden this month. he really is a happy guy, but sometimes he gives me the most serious faces. combine that with the awesome lighting that i got, and this is my favorite face of the month.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend in Review

Well, we started off with the weekend not really going to be that eventful, but several things happened this weekend to make it one we will never forget! (And just forewarning you... there are  A LOT of pictures and things we did, so it may take a while... don't say I didn't warn you!haha!).

Friday we had a warm front come in town. It was WONDERFUL. This momma and her babies have been stuck inside (either in the house or in stores) since November, and we're just about to go crazy, so it was just what the doctor ordered! I took this picture of Brayden and Connor Friday morning; Brayden now asks for their picture to be taken anytime he holds Connor. Usually he says 'I wanna hold!" and then once they are on the couch will say "I wanna say cheese!" Silly boy!


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Once Brayden woke up from his afternoon nap, I put both kids in the car, ran by Sonic and headed to the park. I decided to introduce Brayden to his very own Sonic drink. He thought he was big stuff, and sat on the bench sipping his powerade slushy like he had just received a million dollars. He didn't sit long though, and was so excited to be able to run around and not have blistering cold air blowing in his face (he does not like the cold weather, and normally cries if we're outside for even a milisecond in the cold). I was bummed I didn't pack my camera along for the trip, but managed to get this cute pic with my new Blackberry:


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After the park we headed to Walmart to exchange a showerhead and grab a few things we were out of. Normally I don't bring both boys with me to shop, but we were in desparate need to get the shower head fixed, and I was completely out of bananas-- a near travesty to any household that has toddlers! haha! As we were walking into the store I realized that Ryan Mallett was supposed to be signing autographs at the exact time we were there. For those of you who are not Razorback fans, or have no interest in college football, Ryan Mallett has been the QB for the Razorbacks for the past 3 years, and is one of the nations best. He has broken or set almost all of the QB records at U of A. Basically, in the state of Arkansas, he's about as high as you can get without being Jesus. haha! But my suspicions were correct in that the line was astronomically long, way too long for a woman to stand in line with two babies under the age of two and not have breakdowns. So I stood in front of the policeman and snapped a picture of Mallett, and explained to Brayden that when we were calling the Hogs we were cheering him on, and that soon he would be a really good quarterback in the NFL (I know, I know, he's only 2, but he LOVES football, and I just talk to him like he understands it all, even if he doesn't). So we continued on to our shopping. When I was heading to the front of the store I realized the line to get things signed by Mallett was only about 10 deep and there was still 15 minutes left... a miracle in this state who idolizes anything Razorback, especially someone who has broken and set nearly every school record! So I grabbed an autograph football, stood in line for 5 minutes and was able to get a football signed by the one and only Ryan Mallett AND get a picture of Brayden with him! Again, kicking myself for not packing my camera, but what's a mom to do? Thankfully I now have a Blackberry that takes somewhat half decent pictures. Of course, leave it to my son to not care about the person but only want the ball. He didn't look at the camera, despite my two takes:


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And after we got out of the line and I am holding the ball like it's a stick of gold (which it is-- most of the balls signed by him are going for about $150 right now on ebay!), my child decides to throw the world's largest temper tantrum known to man right in the middle of the main aisle at Walmart. I was mortified. You guys, literally he was leaning OUT of the buggy, kicking his legs, SCREAMING "I wanna ball!" over and over again. He was red faced, and I am sure my face was just as red as my blood pressure continued to escalate as I quickly headed to the checkout. The lady checking us out assured me that there are far worse children that come through the store, but at that moment nothing was going to convince me that my child was not the spawn of Satan at that moment... haha! We headed out the car, and went straight home!

Saturday B had swim lessons. It was my turn to swim with him, which I was kind of hesitant about since last week he did so much better with Drew. Apparently Brayden just needed to warm up to the idea of swimming again, because this week he was doing everything on his own accord-- floating on his back, reaching and pulling, kicking his legs so hard I could barely see through the splashing, and to my pride, excitement and horror, jumping off of the edge of the pool into the water and being completely submersed. He was SO excited about it, and kept laughing whenever he would jump in. At one point he jumped in without me watching, and I literally had to reach down and pull him up at least a foot out from the water.... he held his breath the whole time! While this makes me so happy that he loves it so much, it also FREAKS ME OUT thinking about this summer when I'll have Connor AND Brayden at the pool and he has no fear of the water WHATSOEVER. I'm just praying that he doesn't figure out how to get his floaties off. I so wish Drew or I could take pictures so yall could see how excited he gets about swimming now. He even walks around the house saying "swim swim" and pretending to swim through the air. He just loves it, and I am so grateful that we're able to have him in lessons year 'round. After swimming we headed to Sam's per our tradition. Drew and i were in separate cars, so we met Drew there. I forgot to get a buggy when we came in, so Brayden sat with us like a big boy at the table for the first time. He sat there pretty much the entire time and was so cute. It's amazing to me how much "bigger" he's gotten not just physically but developmentally too. It makes me so sad to think how fast he's growing up, and makes me want to constantly remember that while my days seem like they'll never end, he's only given to me for such a short time and to try to make the best of every opportunity I have with the little guy. Here are a few pics I snapped while we were sitting at the table... silly boy!


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Saturday afternoon was absolutely GORGEOUS. We were outside in short sleeve t-shirts... in JANUARY. Unheard of! Brayden had loads of fun playing baseball, basketball, and some sort of field hockey/basketball combo. Evidence of his sport playing abilities:


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(he realized he had tons of grass on him, and wasn't quite sure about it)


He also played on the slides. It's so crazy to me that this past summer he could barely climb up the playset, and now he's ALL over the place, launching himself down the slide.


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After spending a good portion of the afternoon in our backyard, we met up with Drew after he got out of a conference he was attending to go "hiking". There is a paved trail near our house, so we brought the boys up to it and hit the trail. Brayden was literally running around like a crazy man, finding rocks, sticks and laughing with glee at the fact that he was free to run wherever he wanted. When he got a little tired, he got to ride on Daddy's shoulders. We found out that the trail is a trail to no where... it's not even a mile long and is totally random. Guess it's just a link that will one day connect to some of the trails around here.


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On our way home we made a spur of the moment decision to eat at Steak and Shake (kids eat free on the weekends there). It was good, but honestly we don't really eat super greasy food, and so Drew and I both felt pretty gross later that evening and had a hard time finishing our P90x workout. I told Drew that next time I threw out the idea to eat at Steak and Shake to bonk me upside the head and go home. haha!


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(he literally ate the entire tip of a crayon while we were waiting on our food to get to the table. UGHHH).
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and look who was happy pants the entire time we were eating!
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telling me about something...
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Today (Sunday) B woke up with a horribly congested cough, so we've stayed in our PJ's and watched movies. I can tell he doesn't feel the greatest because he's laid on the couch with me for a majority of Cars (the movie), which is SO unlike my little active guy. I am planning on heading to the store a bit later, since we're supposed to get some nasty winter weather here later this week, and I don't want to be stuck here with no groceries. Hopefully B will start feeling better, otherwise it looks like we may have a long week ahead :( Hope yall have a great week!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend in Review Sneak Peak

For all of you Arkansas fans out there, here's a little sneak peak at how our weekend has started...
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I Like It All

It's Friday Yall! Woo Hoo! That means it's the weekend, and we actually have temps projected into the 60s this week. It's like our little preview of spring... you know, before our 60% chance of snow next Tuesday. I don't want to talk about the snow. So let's have fun and jump into some 5QF answers!

1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
There is a local pregnancy center here in Northwest Arkansas called Loving Choices. We've always supported them in some way because Drew and I both feel strongly in giving women the education they need to make a decision of LIFE for their unborn child. Did you know that over 85% of women considering an abortion will choose life for their baby if they are offered an ultrasound? $25 will cover the cost of an ultrasound at Loving Choices, so $1000 could get stretched a long way.

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?
I always welcomed them happily when I was younger, and even when I was working. But now that I have a toddler, I fully consider them a pain in the butt. Especially considering how Brayden responded to the most recent snow "storm".

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
I wish I could sing like Mariah Carey. Do I have to really explain why? Just imagine being able to sing like her in the shower!

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
It depends on my mood. Most of the time I enjoy listening sports talk radio, particularly The Herd. So I suppose I am more of a news/political junkie.

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!)
Again, it depends on my mood. Although, I will tell you that while I was pregnant with Connor I CRAVED red wine. So the minute that babe started taking a bottle, I was on my way to the county line liquor store for a bottle of red wine. I do love me a cosmopolitan though, as well as a screwdriver, and for good measure I'll throw in a Miami Vice (if I am on the beach this is my drink of choice!). Gosh dang it... now I need to go and get a drink after writing all of those preferences :) haha!





Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Melted Mommy Heart

Yesterday, thankfully, was yesterday. I woke up this morning glad that God gives us a clean slate and has new mercies every morning. Both boys woke up in a great mood. I woke up and got ready early since we had a MOPS mom's morning out this morning. As soon as I finished breakfast B woke up, so I fed him, and as soon as I fed him I got Connor up. Brayden was compliant and sweet this morning, reciting his verses with me and praying for all of our family members. Connor woke up all smiley, and just laid in his crib staring at me so happy that I was there to get him. I love mornings like today, when I can enjoy some of the joyful moments of parenthood without being burdened by the hard parts.

We headed to MOPS moms morning out, dropped off Brayden and then headed to the coffee shop for some fun mom time. It's so refreshing to sit and talk with other moms, to bounce questions off of them, and laugh about those moments that only another mom can laugh at. I picked up B at noon, headed home for lunch and put both boys down for a nap. After naptime we headed to Target to pick up some diapers. Did you know you can combine Target coupons with manufacturer coupons? This means you can get killer deals on Huggies. Brayden has never been able to wear Huggies but thankfully Connor fits both Huggies and Pampers well, so I am able to cash in on the coupon madness. I saved $11 in coupons today, in addition to the $5 giftcard I got for buying 3 packs of diapers... SCORE. What makes it even better is that I bought all the diapers with store credit we had, so nothing was out of pocket. DOUBLE SCORE. We came home and started getting ready for dinner. I took a break to turn on pandora. I am IN LOVE with my Jack Johnson station. SO good. Anyways, when I turned it on, B started dancing, so I started dancing. He immediately smiled the biggest smile, ran to my legs and said "I wanna dance." So I picked him up and we swirled around the living room floor dancing to Jack Johnson. A few minutes into dancing he leaned over and gave me the sweetest kiss. My mommy heart melted into a big puddle right there. It was one of those moments that I know will be burned into my memory for eternity. Sometimes during days like yesterday, I feel so bogged down by the weight of responsibility I have in raising these two souls God has given me. But moments like this afternoon... well, they make days like yesterday totally worth it.

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Random Post about Today and Thankfulness

Oh man. Today was one of those days. The minute Brayden woke up I knew it was going to be a pull of wills. He just was testy from the start. Unfortunately for a reason I have no idea why, I woke up with very little patience. As I rolled out of bed, I said a prayer to God crying out for patience and wisdom in how to handle Brayden. Truth be told, I find myself so frustrated with MYSELF when Brayden is having a testy day. I want so badly for him to obey because he WANTS to obey, not just because he fears the consequences of disobedience. I find myself explaining that love is not angry, but a lot of the times I am saying that right after I react to his disobedience in anger. Oh the plight of parenting. It's so hard knowing that I am displaying an example that B will follow and knowing that I am failing in that regard. Which leads me to my next point.

I've been thinking a lot about God's grace. I am so thankful for a God who over and over again tells me that His grace is sufficient. That His grace will cover my inadequacies as a mom. He also tells me that He will give me wisdom if I ask for it. And oh how I have been asking. I am learning, but it's a slow process. I have learned that true discipline, Godly, biblical discipline, requires even more discipline from the parents than the child. I have to always be on my toes. It's tiring, but in my heart I know it's what is best for my family. I just keep thanking God for grace. I need it so much through this process of mommyhood.

I am also thankful for a mom who will pick up her cell phone when I call, hear my stress and anxiety on the other end and pleas for prayer, and immediately pray. Right then and there. I called mom when both boys were screaming in their cribs and I didn't think I was going to make it another second. She bathed me in prayer and I know is continuing to pray because this afternoon I've had more patience, Connor is sleeping and Brayden has been (relatively) cooperative.

The other night as I was nursing Connor, I remembered back to the days when Drew and I didn't know if we'd be able to have children. As hard as my morning had been, I looked at my sweet sleeping babe, and I realized that Brayden and Connor are both answers to prayer. I begged God during that period of infertility to give me children, and He has answered my cries. He will be faithful to answer my cries for energy, wisdom and patience as I learn to raise these two young men. I am confident in His faithfulness, for He has shown Himself faithful already.

Things I Swear By

Today over at Girl Talk we're doing a Girl Talk Blog Hop with the theme: Things I Swear By. It was actually my idea, this theme, because it seems to me whenever me and my friends get together we're always exchanging ideas on things we love/hate. My list is in no particular order; it's just what I can think off the top of my head that I know I couldn't live without. Most of them are baby items because, well, that's the stage of life I'm in, and anything to make my life easier as a mommy is welcomed with WIDE open arms :) Without further ado, I give you my list.



{1}
Baby Bjorn Soft Scoop Bib
(Image found HERE)

This is my #1 thing I tell moms of toddlers to get. We started out with cloth bibs, and the HUGE plastic looking bibs from Target and Walmart. I hated cloth; the food would dry and it was impossible to get it off. The big plastic bibs were too bulky, and Brayden would cry. These fit great, are dishwasher safe (although I just hand wash mine since I only have two), and most importantly, are hard for little kids to take off (although Brayden has now mastered that art, but he's almost too big for a bib now anyways).

{2}
Summer Infant SwaddleMe blanket

(Image found HERE)

I have swaddled both of my boys, but I lack the artistic ability to swaddle with a regular blanket. Drew does it great, but since he's not home all day that posed a problem form me. This blanket fixes all of that. It's easy to swaddle them, they come in various prints, colors and fabrics for each season, and they even have a flap you can pull down to change a diaper and still keep their arms swaddled.

{3} 
Miracle Hand Repair
(Image found HERE)

I have incredibly dry hands in the winter. INCREDIBLY DRY. My dad introduced this to me a bit before Drew and I got married, so about 8 years ago. This is the thing... it smells gross. Well, not gross, but most definitely like an old lady. An OLD lady. BUT, it works WONDERS on your hands. The best part is that it's not greasy, but it's super thick, so it's great to use both at night and during the day. SCORE.

{4}
P90x
(Image found HERE)

I've only been doing this workout for 3 weeks, but so far I've lost 5 pounds. I can tell a difference in my stamina, my strength and my energy. It's HARD. I'm doing it with Drew and it's fun to have something to do together in the evenings besides watch TV. The only sad part for me is that I think it's affecting my milk supply, so I am either going to have to cut back on working out so much (you do 6 workouts a week), or cutback altogether until I quit nursing.

I know I have more, but I honestly can't think of them right now because my brain is kind of fried. I can't wait to read everyone else's responses. If you'd like to join in on the fun, just hop on over to Girl Talk and link up!