Wednesday, December 31, 2008

check this...

while in st louis, my SIL introduced me to a new money-saving website/blog...
i'll add this to my list of sites on my sidebar, so you can click from my blog whenever you please...enjoy!

year in preview

i always find this time of year quite invigorating. when i was a little girl, i used to write down my resolutions, seal them in an envelope and address the envelope to god (with an actual address). i would then tuck the envelope in the back of my dresser and not open it until the following new years eve. thinking back, i'm not quite sure why i addressed it to anyone...i knew exactly where it was going?!?!? (side note: mom and dad...did you ever know that i did that?) while i still love the chance to look ahead to a new year...a clean slate...a fresh start...i'm not so much into making resolutions. did you know that on average people break their resolutions within 30 days of making them! so much for sticktuitiveness!!!

while many people are thinking about what happened in 2008 (somewhat of a year in review)...and many are blogging about it...i've decided to focus this post on the future and what's to come in 2009! don't get me wrong, 2008 was definitely an exciting year...we added jacob to our family & andrew has continued to amaze me more and more with each passing day...but for tonight i just want to focus on the future...it brings me excitement and energy to do so...ok?

so...in no particular order...i bring you a list of things i'm looking forward to in the coming year...

living in the present...i know, kind of a funny thing to say, after just preaching that i'm going to focus on the future! what i mean though, is living each day to its fullest. yes, it sounds very "hallmark greeting cardish", but it's true. i find that my days are much better (and more fun) when i don't stress about what needs to get done, and i just focus on these boys and watching them grow and learn! so, i vow to live each day to the fullest...and i'm not talking about my eating habits when i say that!

cultivating my passion for writing...if you are reading this blog, which hey, you are...then you know how much i love to write. it is something i've always enjoyed (i was the dork who loved creative writing class!) and i'm so glad that blogging has given me an outlet to release my sometimes creative juices. i'm also glad that so many of you have emailed or posted comments on this blog about how much you enjoy reading it. i really get so much joy out of knowing that my words brought a smile and maybe even some laughter into your day! so...i vow to continue to write...both on this blog and hopefully on an even greater level. if you know anyone who wants to hire me...please be sure to let me know :)

doing what i know is best for me...i am currently reading a great book which has encouraged me to look inside myself and truly think about what makes me happy. all too often, we forget to take care of ourselves...especially those of us who have the job of taking care of others! i vow to eat right, exercise and do things for me that bring peace to my days (ie...vegging out on the couch, writing, reading a good book, or simply hanging out with friends and family) i vow to find love again...a love for myself that is.

helping others...i want to help more women as they enter the world of motherhood. this is something i am passionate about and would love to do more of. so many women, including myself, enter the world of motherhood with quite unrealistic expectations. we read books that tell us how often to feed our baby...how much they should poop each day...how our lives will be so blissful once our baby enters the world...but no one tells us how difficult being a mother really can be...that your baby might cry for hours on end...that you will most likely feel lonely as a new mom...no one prepares us for those things. i want to help women adjust to the real world of being a mommy!

so...as i sit here at 8:45 on new years eve...in pajamas, with 2 kids asleep and a husband on the couch watching tv...i can feel only excitement and positive energy for the year 2009! i thank all of you for reading this blog and encouraging me to ignite my passion for writing...and i leave you with a picture from our trip to st louis...yes, we are lighting the menorah while sitting in front of a christmas tree...a true blended family :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

winter wonderland this is NOT

apparently the weather understands how much i miss my parents, because we have been blessed with some "florida-like" weather! today was sunny and 60 degrees...not too shabby for the final days of 2008! after spending the morning playing in the house, i figured this was a great time to take andrew outside to ride his new bike around and burn off some of the energy he had stored up! here are some pics of the boys playing and of andrew riding his bike...





when we came inside, andrew said, "we need to make it cold outside so it can snow!"


i'm working on posting an entry about our wonderful trip to st louis....hopefully it will be up in the next days or two!



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

what's up doc?

this week has been full of doctor's visits...the boys both had their well check ups on tuesday and i had a physical today. i'll spare you the details of my physical, as i know it's the boy's stats you are interested in :) i will say though, that i am below my pre-preggers weight, which i was REALLY happy to see! i can't compare jacob's 6 month stats to andrew's, because i can't find andrew's 6 month info. yes...i'm "that mom"...for some reason, i go straight from 4 months to 9 months in his baby book medical info! i can tell you though, that both boys are tall and thin!

andrew - 4 year stats
height: 40.25 in. (50th percentile)
weight: 35.4 lbs. (50th percentile)

jacob - 6 month stats
height: 27.75 in. (90th percentile)
weight: 17.1 lbs. (50th percentile)

both boys survived their shots...andrew had 3 and jacob had 4! it was me however, who almost lost it at the end! get this...when andrew was getting his 3rd shot, he started to cry and said "i guess i wasn't good after all." we had been saying "good job" so much throughout the appointment, because he was answering the docs questions and listening to her so well. turns out, he thought he was getting the shots because he hadn't been good during the appointment! brought tears to my eyes and i felt just horrible! we explained that he was getting shots to keep him healthy. he mentioned it again this morning and i told him that i was going to get shots today at my doc appointment too. he was glad to see my bandaid this afternoon when i picked him up from school. luckily, he didn't ask if i got the shot because i wasn't good at the doctor's office!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

mute or pause button anyone?

anyone find the mute or pause button for their children yet? if i could make this, i would have done it today!!! picture this scene...5:30pm...i'm exhausted and worn out from the day (i mean, c'mon, what mom isn't worn out by 5pm?!?! if you're reading this and don't feel the same as i...then stop reading now) anyway...5:30pm...andrew, the rambunctious 4 year old is running around the house on autopilot, having fun and choosing to ignore the fact that his voice has an "inside" level, even though i remind him several times...at the same time, jacob is in the exersaucer screaming in his high pitched terradactyl voice, which i at least have to acknowledge that he does not yet know that he has an "inside" level.
2 crazy boys + way too loud inside the house = mom looking for remote control

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the party circuit


i am SO exhausted from the extreme madness of the weekend, but promised you all i'd post after the birthday parties...so, while i enjoy a piece of cake, here goes...


on friday (andrew's actual birthday) we had some of his friend's from school over to play & enjoy some birthday brownies. the kids seemed to have a blast! it was neat to watch them interact, since we don't really get to see that when they're at school. andrew received many wonderful presents, which of course, he was very excited about! he was not so excited, however, when everyone sang happy birthday to him....he buried his head in his hands! he really didn't like all the attention...hmmm...just another way he's like his daddy!

friday night, derek & i went to his office holiday party, which was also fun. it was really nice to get out for a night and enjoy some adult time. yesterday, i made the comment to derek that the food was really good at the party...his comment back to me..."apparently you thought the wine was pretty good too!" yes...i had quite a bit of wine and paid for saturday morning! derek took care of the kiddos while i stayed in bed until 10am...thanks babe!!! in the afternoon, derek put together the bike that my parents got andrew for his birthday. he was THRILLED to have a big boy bike and even ventured out in the 35 degree weather for a spin. he only lasted about 5 minutes out there, but wasn't quite ready to stop riding, so he headed inside and rode around the kitchen!

today we had andrew's "finish line" birthday party, which was tons of fun! the kids played hullabaloo (one of his favorite new games!), made door hangers, ate lunch, played and ate cake...what more can you ask for! after the "head in hands" incident on friday, i had talked with andrew and asked him if it would be okay for everyone to sing happy birthday to him. he said it was ok...we sang and he did get a little shy...he definitely doesn't like the spotlight on him like that. i'm curious to find out how many of the kids fell asleep either on the way home or once they got home. they were a rowdy bunch here and i'm sure many of them crashed after the party. not andrew though...after having a brief "rest time", we played some of the games he received...including a kid version of monopoly, which he really likes (thanks schoener family)!

all in all...it was a great weekend! i still can not believe that my little boy is 4 years old! i also can not believe that my sweet baby jacob is 6 months old today!!! it's totally crazy how fast time goes by...i'm trying to live in the moment more and enjoy the present...it's so important!

one final note...derek & i will be taking the boys to the doc for their 4 yrs and 6 mos check-ups on tuesday...i'll post stats after the appointment. other than that, i can't promise much blogging this week, as we'll be busy getting ready for our journey to st louis. we head out on friday...and yes, it's a journey, not a trip! it will probably take us somewhere between 15-20 hours to get there!!! are we there yet???

Thursday, December 11, 2008

thoughts from a 4 year old (well, almost!)

much to my disbelief, andrew will be turning 4 tomorrow! it is absolutely crazy to me how quickly time goes by and i honestly cannot comprehend that he is almost old enough to go to kindergarten! this morning, while andrew and i were playing, i grabbed him into my arms and said "andrew, i can't believe you're going to be 4 tomorrow!" from there, our conversation went something like this...

me: "how is it possible that my baby is turning 4?"
andrew: "oh, i don't know mom."
me: "you're getting so big. can't you just stay a kid forever?"
andrew: "i don't think so. the people inside me just make me grow and grow and grow until i'm a fearless giant!"

at this point, i began laughing out loud! andrew sure does know how to keep me laughing! he just cracks me up!!!

we have a fun weekend planned for his birthday. tomorrow after school, a few friends from his class will be coming over for a playdate. on sunday, we are having a "race car" birthday party with friends and family. it should be lots of fun and pictures will be posted next week!

i'll leave you with 2 pictures of andrew and his amazing imagination...in case you can't tell, in the first pic he's directing airplanes on the runway (yes, those are train tracks he's using!)...in the second he is flying the airplane (he said the train bridges on his feet, are the rudder pedals)!!!


Monday, December 8, 2008

it happened to me...

when andrew was a baby i read an article in a section called "it happened to me", in one of my parenting mags. it was a story about a baby who was inconsolable, so the mom called the pediatrician. after bringing the baby to the doc, they found out that the baby had a string from inside her sock, wrapped around her toe. as moms, we hear lots of stories, but for some reason this one has always stuck in my mind. so much so, that i make a habit of checking the insides of socks, before putting them on my kid's feet.
well...apparently checking socks wasn't enough to keep this from happening to my own baby! i had one of those "scary mom moments" on sunday morning. when jacob woke up from his morning nap, i changed his diaper and the decided to cut his toenails. upon taking his feet out of his jammies, i noticed that something just didn't look right about one of his toes. it almost looked like it was pinched into two separate pieces. at first glance, i thought maybe it was just a fat wrinkle...you know, babies get those in the strangest places. but it didn't take long before i had a bad feeling about this toe. i looked a little closer, and indeed, could see there was or had been something wrapped around it. his toe was almost perforated around the middle. derek & andrew were at basketball, so i was alone in the house. i quickly called my next door neighbor and her husband, who is an EMT came right over. he agreed that something had wrapped tightly around it, perhaps a string form his jammies. he checked it out and thought it looked ok...blood was flowing in and out of the toe, he didn't see any string remaining and jacob didn't appear to be in any pain. he gave me some things to look out for over the next few hours. when derek came home, about 10 minutes later, i explained everything and he wanted to take a closer look because we both still thought it looked like their was something wrapped around the toe. he got out a magnifying glass and could see something...with careful use of tweezers, he pulled a long piece of my hair out from around jacob's toe! somehow, my hair had not only gotten into his pajamas, but it had managed to get wrapped very tightly around my baby's toe!!!
luckily, we were able to remove the hair before anything detrimental happened to jacob's toe. the toe is definitely swollen and still a bit torn, but i think with neosporin and some extra kisses it will be okay.
of course, being the joker he is, derek said to me (after all was ok), "i keep telling you i like your hair short. you really should cut it!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

sign of the times


while i love to have order in my life, i am the first to admit that i am not good at keeping a clean home. sure...it's not horrible, but at any given moment you could hunt dust bunnies all over the house! while i would LOVE to have someone come and clean our house (something we enjoyed before kids!), it is just not a practical expense for us these days. so...when andrew asked for a mop today, we handed it over and he got to work...
ps...notice the striped shirt with the army pants...he picked this outfit out himself!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

cool mom?!?!

so, andrew now thinks i'm "cool", but i must say, that i've gained this title after a not-so-cool experience! on our way home from school wednesday, jacob fell asleep in the car and andrew was fading fast...so in an effort to have a few moments with 2 quiet kids, i decided to drive around and let them sleep. afterall, gas is only $1.77 these days! i had circled the neighborhood twice and andrew was almost asleep. i made my way out of the neighborhood and down the street. i was definitely distracted, as i kept glancing in my rear view mirror to see if both kids were sleeping. as i glanced back to the road, i saw a policeman step out into traffic, blow his whistle and wave me over. somehow, i managed to keep the "shit!" scream to a quiet whisper...more in an effort to not wake the kids, than anything else! i had been pulled over for speeding in a school zone!!! i'm thinking, "man this really sucks!" ...not only did i get a ticket, but both my kids are now awake! andrew, however, thought it was really cool that mommy was talking to a "nice policeman with a motorcycle." later in the day, we passed this same spot on our way to a friend's house and our conversation went something like this...

andrew: "mommy, that's where the nice policeman stopped you today."
me: "sure did. was mommy going too fast and she got a ticket?"
andrew: "i don't think so mommy. you didn't get a speeding ticket, did you?"
me: "yes, honey. i did get a speeding ticket."
andrew: "you did? cool! did the policeman write i love amy on the ticket?"
me: "no."
andrew: "well, the next day when you get a speeding ticket i'm going to tell that my policeman friends love amy. they should write that on the ticket."
me: "ok. whatever you say!"

aaaahhh....to be a kid again! no worries and it's "cool" to be stopped by a policeman!

so good, he'll eat it twice...




jacob is enjoying his food so much, that he has been known to shove his food covered hand and/or bib into his mouth and try to savor some seconds...






Monday, December 1, 2008

this little piggy...

...had green beans!
jacob sure is enjoying the good life...being fed more than just breastmilk, that is! i can only imagine what it must be like to taste all of these new foods. so far, jacob has eaten green beans, peas, carrots, squash and apples. the best part...there hasn't been a food he hasn't liked :)

video

Saturday, November 29, 2008

can he build it???

YES HE CAN!!!


if you follow this blog, or know my family at all, you know that derek has passed his LOVE of legos on to andrew. i have been impressed with andrew's ability to follow the directions and build legos for quite some time now. however, today he took it to a whole new level! andrew built this without any instructions to follow or pictures to look at...and without ANY help! he carried his creation into the family room and said "mom and dad, look at my biplane!" he then showed us the wheels, wings, windows, and propeller...WOW!!!

heading south for the winter

so...my parents are officially "snowbirds"...they left this morning for their trek down south for the winter. they will be living in boca raton, florida (with all of the other jewish retirees!) until early april. even though they made this trip last year, for some reason it feels different this time around. maybe it's because i have a newborn, who i love seeing them interact with...maybe it's because i see how close andrew has grown to them over the past year...maybe it's hormones (you can always blame hormones, right?!?!?)...or maybe it's simply because they're my mommy and daddy and i can't imagine not seeing them until late january when we'll head to florida. whatever the reason, i find myself with mixed emotions. i am so excited for them, because i know how wonderful their winter was last year...they were healthier in florida than they ever were in virginia. i am also sad though, because i know how much i will miss them over the next 4+ months. no more meetings at the mall...or meeting up for dinner...or stopping by to see the grand kids. as i sit here and type this, my parents are in a hotel in south carolina, and i'm wondering if this is somewhat how they felt when i left for college so many years ago. aaaahhh...the circle of life! is this what it will feel like when i send my kids to summer camp for the first time???
mom and dad...since i know you'll be reading this...
i love you so very much and i cherish the close bond that we share. thank you for instilling such wonderful family values in me and for raising me to be the mom i am today. i am a better person because of you! i know you are going to have a blast over the next 4 months. you'll be able to keep up with our everyday lives through the blog and of course, through the many iphone pictures i'll send you! i love you guys!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

special visitors


i have always had a special bond with my cousins and it absolutely warms my heart to have them involved in my children's lives. my cousin lisa, who lives in new york, drove here after school (she's a teacher) on friday. andrew was so excited for her to visit, he wanted to stay awake until she arrived, which was around 9pm. we had such a fun weekend...and i think the only time we left the house was for breakfast at silver diner on sunday. this was the first time lisa met jacob, so they had a lot of catching up to do!

on monday, derek's old coworker (and our buddy) ian was in town, so he came over for dinner. andrew really loves playing with ian! in this picture they were riding in their fire truck :) oh, the imagination of an almost 4 year old...and a 25 year old!

hope everyone has a nice thanksgiving! i'll post pics from our turkey festivities soon...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

time flies

i can't believe it's been 2 weeks since my last post! once again, i find myself saying the same thing; "things have been a bit crazy around here lately, but then again, when are things not crazy." blogging has taken a backseat over the past 2 weeks, when it really should have been a priority...as i've said before, i really find this to be a great outlet for me. a lot has taken place with me personally, that maybe someday i'll find the courage (and time) to write about in this blog. for now though, let's focus on the kids and what we've been up to...

papa and gg (derek's parents) came in for a quick visit earlier in the month. despite grand plans of painting our bedroom while they were here, we pretty much just hung out and spent time together. this may have been the first visit where we didn't put them to work! it was really nice to see them and watch them with the kids. they hadn't seen jacob since he was born, and couldn't believe how much he'd changed since then.




as you well know, andrew LOVES firefighters...books about firefighters, playing firefighter, etc. this past week, i took the boys to the library for a fire safety puppet show. it was very cute and well done. after the puppet show, they announced that there were some special visitors coming. i wish i could've captured the look on andrew's face when the firemen walked in! he was SO excited! i DID snap a pic of him with his fire hat on...check out that happy kid!

this weekend, we drove up to new york to see my grandma. we stayed with my aunt judy and my cousin staci & her hubby were there too. it was such a great weekend and a much needed break for me...since judy and staci were ALL about the kids :) (thanks guys!) my grandma has not been doing great, so derek and i were pleasantly surprised at her alertness and how much she interacted with the kids. it was really wonderful to see her! these are memories i will cherish forever! unfortunately, i only have this one picture of greatma and jacob from my camera...my aunt took great pics though.


while andrew wasn't so thrilled with staci and alek's dog, mason, jacob seemed to really like him. i think this video speaks for itself!
video

here are some more pics from our visit to ny...




Sunday, November 2, 2008

halloween 2.0...the real deal!

what a riot is all i can say! it was SO much fun watching andrew run from house to house trick or treating. and he was literally running...to keep up with the niehgbors we were with...they're all over the age of 7! after a few houses, he mastered the art of screaming "trick or treat" when the door opened and we think we heard a "thank you" at about half of the houses ;) he definitely made out in the candy department...we even had to empty his bucket into the stroller basket, so he could fill up again! when we got home, derek dumped it all into a big ikea bag and we combed through it. kit kats must have on clearance this year, because we had a ton of them! some interesting things we found in the bag...trail mix, fruit snacks, a bag of dinner mints and the funniest of all...a two pack of colored mints (the ones that look like m&m's) in a wrapper that said "thank you"...definitely straight out of a chinese restaurant!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 1.0

Many of you know about Andrew's friends/playgroup and my "mom friends", who we met at the New Mom's Group right after Andrew was born. We have been getting together weekly for almost 4 years now...hard to believe! Sometimes we even see each other several times in one week...when things are rough and we just can't be home by ourselves :) We also have an annual Halloween party. What's better than a bunch of kids running around hyped up on sugar, while their parents are enjoying pizza and beer?!?! When Carter's mom brought out the festive orange kool-aid, something these kids definitely don't see everyday, he said to his buddies, "C'mon guys. Let's get all sugared up!" That had to be one of the funniest things I've heard lately! This year we did the party in the late afternoon/evening, since the kids have school during the day. It worked out well, because the dad's were able to join us too. In 4 years, this is the first picture we have of everyone, including the dads and newest babies! Here's a pic of just the kids too...note the look of "Would you quit that cryin' Jacob!"on Andrew's face...

Anna holding little brother Shay, Ben & Carter, Max holding little sis Evelyn, Andrew & Jacob

Milestone!!!

Andrew slept in underwear for the first time and stayed dry!!! When he woke up this morning, he used the bathroom and was SO proud of himself! The funny thing, is that he really had no choice about the underwear because when I was getting him ready for bed last night, I realized we were out of Pull-Ups! I tried to make it exciting for him and asked who else he knows who wears underwear to sleep. He said with a big smile, "Lauren and Emma-Claire" and that was all it took!!!

Happy Halloween to all! I'll try to have pictures up as soon as possible...hopefully over the weekend!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Turns out...I've been robbed!!!

As you know from reading my blog, I have become quite conscious of our family spending and for that matter, our family savings. I am proud to say that we have not only been writing down all of our spending, which has indeed led to less spending, but we also evaluated our monthly expenses (bills, etc). In doing so, I realized that we do not have too much wiggle room. We already cut off our home phone, which is now saving us $20/month :) I have to give a shout out to my cousin Lisa, who after reading my blog, decided to do the same - WAHOO! So, other than my gym membership (aka: my sanity!) and satellite TV our expenses are not ours to change. With that in mind, I decided to get to work and see what I could do to lower our monthly satellite bill. I researched the competition and called our current provider. I told them that I was quite happy with my service and had no complaints; however I could sign up with their competitor and reduce my monthly bill from $70 to only $30. Much to my surprise, the customer service rep did not hesitate at all. Within seconds, he was taking charges off my monthly bill, such as a service charge and protection plan charge. In less than 5 minutes, he had lowered my monthly payment to $50. Even with these reduced charges, he explained to me that I would still receive the SAME service and SAME protection plan. At first, I was excited about my new savings. But then it hit me…WHAT?!?! You’ve been charging me these fees EVERY month for 2 years and all it took was a simple phone call and a threat of discontinuing my service, for you to reduce my charges! Are you kidding!?!?! What kind of robbery is this? I thanked the customer service rep and told him I would call back once I decided whether to take this offer or switch to the other company. So, now I ponder…do I stay with this company which has ROBBED me and will continue to charge me more per month than the competition, or switch to their competitor, who will most likely end up robbing me too…but in the meantime, I’ll be paying $15 less every month?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Southern Charm

After 7 hours in the car (yes, traffic was BAD!) and seeing way too many McCain/Palin signs along the way, we made it to Greensboro, NC to visit the Johnson family. The fun story behind the Johnson family, is that Derek and I introduced Erin and Steve to each other back in the day, when we all lived in G'boro. Erin and I had met in the neighborhood and D worked with Steve. Fast forward to today and our lives are incredibly parallel...we were married within about a year of each other, had our first children within 3 weeks of each other (Emma-Claire is 3 weeks older than Andrew), both moved into our houses at the same time, and then finally, we both had our second children within 5 weeks of each other (Jacob is 5 weeks older than Nolan). This was our first visit with all 4 kids...and it was a BLAST! Within minutes of meeting, Andrew and Emma-Claire were getting along great! Mind you, it was 10pm when we arrived and they had to wake EC, who had fallen asleep on the couch waiting for "that boy" to arrive. Erin and I often commiserate with each other about our "spirited" almost 4 year olds. The stories we share are are so similar. Together, they were like an old married couple! I mean, they were actually negotiating with each other after arguing! It was honestly SO CUTE!!! Despite plans to head to a pumpkin patch and maize maze on Saturday, we ended up staying home and just hanging out. Andrew and EC played their hearts out all day. Andrew loved driving EC's Barbie Jeep, which worked out well, because she only likes to ride in it, not drive it (see...perfect couple!). At night, we made S'mores...the kids played with glow sticks and ran around the backyard (including playing in a tent!), while the adults did what we do best...chatted and drank beer :) The whole weekend was so much fun and I just wish we lived closer to the Johnson's, so we could spend more time together. Hopefully they'll visit us in the spring...and even if it takes them 7 hours to get here, at least they won't have to stare at McCain/Palin signs along the way...that is, of course, because Obama will have won the election by then! :)

Click here to see pics!

Friday, October 17, 2008

the results are in...

ok...this will have to be a short post b/c i need to pack for our trip to NC. jacob had his 4 month appointment today and here are his stats...

weight - 14 lbs. 6 oz.
height - 26 3/4 inches

he's a bit longer and slimmer than andrew was at 4 months...although i don't think he looks slimmer. at 4 months, andrew weighed 15lbs. 4 oz and was 24 1/2 inches in length.

some new milestones to note for jacob...
*rolling over from back to tummy
*talking more (mama, baba)
*smiling and laughing more - he's quite ticklish

here are a couple recent pics from our day at the park. it was jacob's first time in an outdoor swing :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wake up and smell the savings

Oprah’s done it again! I just watched my TiVo’d (is that really even a verb?!?!) episode of Oprah from Wednesday 10/8 and I’m on a mission! In response to the country’s economic crisis, the episode featured “One of the thriftiest families in America” and one of my personal favorites, “The Coupon Mom” amongst other guests. After watching this show, I have decided to WAKE UP and become more conscious of our family’s spending. I have definitely said this before and tried to “budget”, but I’ve never really done it. I think mainly, because I’ve never really had a plan. Well, I’ve made a plan! Here are the first steps I’m going to take…starting TODAY!
1 – Find out where our money is going – I’m going to start keeping a journal of every penny we spend (Derek – start saving your receipts!) and I’m going to separate our spending into 2 columns; wants and needs
2 – Evaluate our spending end of the month
3 – Create a budget (for real!!!) based on this information

I’ve already realized a few things that we can change in order to save more money. Here are a few…
1 – Be more organized about clipping/using coupons (and plan meals according to those coupons)
2 – Curb my spending on things I can do myself - I actually started this morning…I’ve been wanting to get an eyebrow wax for a while now, and immediately after watching this show, realized I should just tweeze them myself and save about $20…baby steps, right! I plan on doing my toes later, which I also think will help me appreciate the occasional pedicure I’ll treat myself to (when we’ve saved for it, of course)!
3 – Make more things instead of buying them (ex…birthday cards)
4 – Cut off our home phone line – we don’t even use it and it costs $30/month!
5 - Dine out at restaurants that offer free kid's meals

I’m sure there are many more things I can add to this list, and I will…but hey, at least it’s a start! Plus, now that I’ve told this to all of you out there, I REALLY have to stick to it! I’ll keep you posted!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

c'mon...seriously?!?!?

ok, so i've NEVER been one for confrontation. in fact, i typically avoid a situation or just agree with someone, in order to avoid such confrontation. however, lately i have been put in a few situations where i'm just not quite sure how to respond. my annoyance meter is off the chart and this has my heart racing and my fingers a'typing...i can't type fast enough! ok...here's the situation (side note: how many of you are singing "parent's just don't understand" right now, after that last line???..."my parents went away on a week's vacation...")...
ok....for real though...here's the deal...
those of you who know me, or have come to know me through reading this blog, know that jacob is a breastfed baby. now, i don't consider myself to be one of those crazy, must only have breast milk moms...in fact, J has had formula. however, i do consider it much easier to breastfeed on the go, than to worry about packing bottles and such. side note...there have been instances where i have packed bottles, and not breastfed in public. when i nurse in public, i either cover myself with my awesome hooter hider or i find a place that is more private. i do not just whip it out and start a buffet in front of everyone!!! this is important for you to know, before getting into my story here. so, if i saw someone nursing "under cover", i would not direct my attention or my preschooler's attention that way. well, apparently other women/moms do not agree with me! case in point...i'm at the gym and J is in the child care there. the gym staff comes to get me because "baby won't stop crying." i go into the child care, where indeed, my baby is pretty upset. i scoop him up and try to soothe him, but nothing. he is definitely hungry. so, i go to the very back of the child care room, behind a partition wall, where clearly noone can see me. i'm nursing J, when i hear a mom walk into the child care with her son. the son spots J's car seat and says "where's baby." the child care provider says he's with his mommy. i then hear the mom say, "oh, he must be having mommy's." i'm thinking, "mommy's...what the hell is mommy's?!?!?" the woman and her son then proceed to come to my self made nursing room. that's fine, i think to myself, it's not my space. well, then she starts saying to her 3 year old, "look he's having mommy's. see honey", while directing his attention directly at my boob! he moves closer to me...and i mean close...he could practically be "having mommy's!" she says to me, with a grin, "we call nursing, having mommy's." i smirk back, with no response. i can't even think of something to say in the moment. does this mother not realize that her son is way too close to another woman's breast? is she not aware of this fact at all? i'm beginning to freak out! i say nicely to the boy, "i think the baby might need some space" thinking maybe this will give the hint, at least to mom, if not to her curious preschooler! hint not taken! she walks away and leaves her son there to observe this scientific experiment! now, i'm fuming. i don't want to be mean to the boy...after all, it's his mother who should be doing something. so, i repeat myself, hoping that the mom will hear me and remove her boy from my grill! no such luck. in the end, it was actually the child care provider, (god bless her) who came and got the boy and told him that we needed privacy. this is only one example of this situation...there have been several others! i know that kids, especially boys, are curious creatures. i know this, because i'm a mom too. but c'mon people...

i'm curious to know...am i overreacting? what would've you done?

ps...disclaimer to my friends who are reading this...please do not think i am referring to any situation involving your child! i'm solely speaking of run-ins with complete strangers.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

notes to mom

oprah has always said that moms have the toughest job in the world...and of course, i have to agree! but the smiles on a child's face or a simple "i love you mom" makes it all worthwhile. parents magazine had a great article this month, which stated that while moms have a lot of lessons to teach our little ones, they too, have a few words of wisdom for us. so...while i'd like to claim the following words as my own...i have to give props to parents mag...

"stop freaking out about the mess! there's always time to clean - but how often do we get to make mud pies?"

"love me, even when i'm naughty. i'll only be this age once"

be patient. i do everything for a reason, but i don't know enough words yet to give you an explanation."

"let me do it. i know you can do it faster and better, but sometimes experience is the best teacher."

"don't expect too much of me. i want to do what you ask and make you happy, but i'm still little."

"don't keep asking me if i've been good. i'm not even sure what that means, but if i was bad, i'd never admit it!"

"keep your promises. it's all about trust. when i'm a teenager, you'll understand why it's so important."

"set limits. i can't actually eat a whole box of cookies - i just want to see if i'd get away with it."

and my favorites...

"don't let me think that you're perfect. i feel a lot better knowing i'm not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes."
"don't try to reason with me when i'm having a tantrum. trust me - i can't hear you over my own screaming."

Friday, October 3, 2008

so little time

this morning, after derek left for work, i decided to get up and have some time to myself. even though my eyes burned, i thought it would be nice to start of the day with a little "me" time, before my time would be captured by the little ones. i headed downstairs around 6:40am, brewed some coffee and then couldn't decide what to do first. i told myself this WAS NOT the time to do things around the house...this was time for ME. my head immediately filled with a million things i could do...catch up on emails, enjoy my coffee on the deck with a good book, veg out on the couch watching oprah on tivo...you get the point....mindless "me" things! well, i can't believe it is now 7:15 and any minute now i could be surrounded with the sweet sound of "mommy" cries...and i really didn't do much in the past 35 minutes. i did NOT stick to my original idea of "me" time...the first thing i did while the coffee brewed, was the laundry! that was the only "house" thing i did though :) i checked a few emails, logged in to the addicting world of facebook, read comments on my blog, and now i'm typing this entry...that's about it! is it woman-nature to always have a list of 100 things we could be doing? why are we wired this way? why can we not just enjoy 30 minutes of "me" time? i wonder...if a man woke up 30 minutes early...what would he do with his time? in this house...the man would probably pour a bowl of cereal and veg out in front of espn, watching replays from games he watched the night before. not that there's anything wrong with that?!?!
ok...i have now blown the final minutes of "me" time. it's time to head upstairs and start getting ready for the day ahead. TGIF!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

bless you

no...i did not just hear you sneeze! it is the jewish new year and whether you are jewish or not, if you are reading this blog, i want to say thank you! i am such a blessed person! while it may seem that i bitch a lot about everyday things and crying kids, i do honestly know that i am truly blessed. so tonight, on rosh hashannah, i am thankful for the following...
* a fantastic husband who loves me and our children
* a husband who does the dishes (even after a long day at work!)
* a husband who does laundry
* a husband who i know (or at least i think i know) would do anything for me
* 2 amazing children
* andrew - our incredibly smart and talented almost 4 year old son
* andrew - who makes me laugh at least 10 times a day
* andrew -who makes me thankful for laughter and sweet innocence
* jacob -our smiley and giggly almost 4 month old
* my mom and dad who are such fantastic parents & grandparents
* my sister and her family who now live closer :)
* my husband's family for accepting me into the family almost 7 years ago now!!!
* my amazing "mommy friends"...you know who you are :) life just wouldn't be the same without you!
* the money i earn to help support our family
* a flexible job
* a beautiful home
* food on the table at every meal...and snacks in between
* kornfeld girls weekend...staci, lisa and judy - i love you!

ok...honestly...there are SO many more things, and this is just the beginning of what could be a very long list...but alas, i must go to bed! please, before you do anything else, think of at least one thing to be thankful for today...and if it's a person, let them know how much you appreciate and love them.
remember..."the happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have."
happy new year to all my jewish peeps and good night to all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

good clean fun

once again, i am avoiding being the "dairy queen" by blogging. i'm trying to convince myself that i'll be fine if i skip pumping tonight, but i know that i'll be regretting that decision come 4am when i can't roll over in bed because my balloons might pop! so...instead, i'll make this quick and then do my duties.

andrew and i had a blast making crayons for the bathtub (another activity in his highlights magazine). this activity was done at a perfect time, since andrew's class at school learned about the color wheel and mixing colors last week. he had so much fun mixing the food coloring to make orange, green and purple. we were disappointed to find out that after our hard work, the crayons didn't work too well. if you'd like to give it a try, here ya go...

1 - spray an ice cube tray with vegetable oil spray


2 - grate a bar of ivory soap (we used 3 bars total!) using the smallest holes on a cheese grater

3 - add 10-15 drops of food coloring and about 2 tablespoons of warm water to the grated soap

4 - add more warm water as needed, and stir until it looks like thick dough

5 - press the mixture into sections of the ice cube tray
6 - freeze for 30 minutes
7 - pop crayons out of tray and let them dry for a day or two before using

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Going BANANAS

ok...so i totally shouldn't be blogging right now! i should be performing my seemingly never ending duties as the "dairy queen", as i am days behind on pumping & storing milk for my girl's trip next weekend. and after that, i should be sleeping...huh, sleep, before 11pm!?!? but, instead, here i sit, typing away...i find that blogging is a way to relax at the end of a stressful day...so much more so than pumping, storing, sterilizing, etc...

anyway...enough about me and my milk mountains...

thanks to papa & gg, andrew receives a highlights (high five) magazine every month. he loves the stories and hidden pictures. everyday, when we get the mail he says, "mom, see if there's a highlights for me" and when there is, we read it over and over for days on end. each magazine always has cute activities in it too. this month...an icy treat...frozen bananas covered in chocolate.


(pay no attention to the pumping accessories on the countertop)


after one bite andrew looked up at me and said, "but mommy, i don't like bananas!" we had extra chocolate left over, so we decided to make some chocolate covered pretzels too...YUMMY!



stay tuned for more "good clean fun" from this month's highlights magazine...

Friday, September 12, 2008

back to school


after much drama (my son IS a drama king, remember!) we have survived the first week back at school. you all know that andrew does not like to do his "morning things", which consists of brushing his teeth, going to the bathroom and getting dressed. he knows that he must do these 3 things before heading downstairs in the morning. while you may think this is ridiculous, it is the only way to get him to do such things. hey, they say that preschoolers thrive on routine, right! well, andrew still likes to balk at this routine EVERY freakin morning. he very adamantly will say things like, "i'm not ready" or "not yet." this was all somewhat ok for the past 3 months, when we had nowhere to be in the morning and i couldn't really fight him on it, because i had a baby on my boob most of the time. all last week, i was fretting about what monday morning would bring. would he get ready or put up a fight? would he eat breakfast or go to school hungry? would we get to school by 10am? (btw - school starts at 9:30!) well, monday was great...getting to school at least! andrew did his morning things, jacob's hunger had impeccable timing and we were out the door on time...until i had to turn around twice because i had forgotten something. after the second time, andrew said "mom, are we going to school today or what!" kids...gotta love em! we got to school and andrew seemed ready to go. we found his new cubby and approached the classroom...and then it started..."mommy, don't leave me"..."mommy, i want you"..."mommy, i don't want to stay here." oy...the guilt! after about 20 minutes, and the onset of jacob's cries of hunger, i was able to scoot out of the classroom, with the promise of returning. when i picked him up after school, he looked so tired, seemed excited to see me (that's always nice!) and then said he wanted to stay for lunch bunch. i explained that he wasn't staying today, but maybe he could stay on wednesday. he asked if he could pick one of the school movies to bring home and i said sure. he was having a hard time choosing (that's putting it nicely) and i told him he had until the count of three to decide and then we were leaving. 1 - 2 - 3...still no movie..."ok andrew. we're leaving now." i began to walk away and that's when all hell broke loose. andrew proceeded to throw his biggest temper tantrum...truly an academy award winning performance! it had everything a tantrum should have...screaming, kicking, hitting, laying on the floor. i'd like to take this time to remind you that andrew goes to school at a synagogue! yes, not really the best place to throw a fit. however, i figured if nothing else, i had god on my side!!! i scooped andrew up and carried him to the car (kicking and screaming), all while pushing jacob in the stroller too. he continued to throw his fit for about half of our ride home and then i'm not sure what happened, but he decided it was time to stop. whew! i must say, i was quite proud at how i handled the situation. while i really wanted to scream a lot of four letter words, i remained calm and let the tantrum run its course.


ok...that was quite a recap of one day...so i'll skip the details and just tell you that wednesday and friday were better! oh, except he wouldn't eat breakfast on friday, and then screamed "i'm hungry" almost the whole way to school.
let's hope for the best next week!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Derek takes a STAYcation

While we had a fun week with Derek home, I've never seen him so ready to head to work on a Monday morning! Our week was filled up with outings, errands, and numerous meltdowns and timeouts. Here are some highlights from Derek's STAYcation...for more photos check out this album.

Saturday, August 30...after an hour long battle with Andrew to brush his teeth and get dressed, we enjoyed a nice breakfast (brunch actually, it was 11:30 by then!) at Silver Diner and then all headed to the LEGO exhibit presented by AFOL (adult fans of LEGOs). I thought this might be as much fun as picking a hangnail, but it proved to be quite entertaining. Actually, I'd even say it was amazing! The things these people created...ALL with LEGOs...truly blew my mind! Mark your calendars for August 22-23...BrickFair 2009!



Tuesday, September 2...family trip to the National Zoo and then a lunch stop at Chipotle. C'mon...you didn't think Derek would go a week without it...did you???



Wednesday, September 3...Derek joined us for Playgroup at the Playground. Afterward, we went to Murphy's for a much needed and deserved beer (yes, it was only lunchtime!)




It was really nice having Derek home for a whole week. As Andrew says, "Daddy was home for a lots of DADurdays!"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Who is this mommy person and where did I go?

While pregnant with Andrew, I was warned by several people that my identity would soon change. I would no longer be referred to in conversation as "Amy", but rather as "Andrew's mom." Everyone who told me about this change, was right. When I would call another mom, I would even say "Hi, this is Amy Banocy, (brief pause), Andrew's mom." I've recently noticed that this identity shift has moved to another level. Not only do other children and their parents refer to me as "Andrew & Jacob's mom", but I refer to myself in the third person. Have I totally lost my own identity? Why, when speaking to my child, do I say, "Mommy's going to take a shower" or "Mommy told you to..."? Why do I not say, "I'm going to take a shower"? Let's take this a step further...not only do I refer to myself in the third person, I also find myself using what I like to call "toddler language." Case in point..."Mommy needs to use the potty before we play outside." That sounds SO ridiculous coming out of my mouth! Why not say, "I need to go to the bathroom before we play outside"? I knew that becoming a mom would bring about many changes in my life, but THIS I did not expect. So, to all my friends who have yet to enter the world of motherhood, heed my advice...take advantage of being YOU while you still can, because you before you know it, you're going to be "somebody's mommy needing to use the potty."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did I really do that???


There are many things I've done as a mom, that I never thought I would do. This tops my list! There's no denying that Andrew is skinny...he weighed all of 29 pounds at his 3 year checkup. In an effort to get my "boy anorexic" to eat, I have turned mealtime into something a bit more fun. It started with breakfast about 2 weeks ago...it has now turned into a ritual! Every morning when I ask Andrew what he'd like for breakfast, he says with a smile "Surprise me mom!" What will I do when I have to pack his lunch for school???

Monday, August 25, 2008

ABC book

With Jacob's morning nap running until about 11am, we find ourselves sticking around the house more in the AM. I must admit, however awful it is, that I usually use this time to catch up email and do things around the house (i.e. clean the kitchen which is still dirty from the night before). Andrew tends to play by himself or with his friends, imaginary friends that is, and keeps himself pretty busy for an hour or so.

After looking at another mom blog over the weekend (chasingcheerios.com), guilt took over and I decided that I could make better use of this morning time. I pumped Andrew up by telling him we were going to do something fun and it would be just him and me. Amidst his excitement, I gathered up magazines, large index cards, tape, glue, scissors and crayons. I was so excited to

start our project...I almost felt like a preschool teacher! I explained to Andrew that we were going to make his very own ABC book, which he was quite thrilled about. I wrote the letter, then he wrote the letter
and then we added pictures that started with that letter. What started out as a fun activity, lasted about 10 minutes, and gave us an ABC book and just that...no D-Z to this book! Andrew became bored and decided he'd rather watch his new DVD about firemen and policemen. While the activity didn't quite turn out as I had hoped, I must say it was fun and I was so proud to see Andrew writing his letters!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

iPhone...just do it

It would be an understatement to say that I love my iPhone (sad, I know!). Everyday, I must tell Derek at least 5 ways my iPhone came in handy that day...for example...

* using the GPS
* checking email while I'm out, to see if someone from Craig's List emailed me back about picking up our new stroller :)
* taking pics of the kids WHENEVER and WHEREVER I want
* checking my calendar to make sure Derek isn't in a meeting before calling him at work
* we don't even have to go to Cracker Barrel to play PegJump!
While all of these things are AWESOME, I have had one complaint since buying the phone. As you know, I'm a list maker. Typically, I rely on good ol' pen and paper for this, but have tried to transition to the "notes" application on the iPhone. It was ok, but not great. It allowed me to type a list, but not to put dates, priorities, etc on my tasks...it was just a list.

Last night, my iPhone love came full circle, when I found an application called "my To-Dos." I quickly downloaded it and began my list of just that...To Do's. So, here's why this app is so super cool...
1 - I can date my tasks
2 - I can prioritize my tasks (high, medium, low)
3 - I can categorize my tasks (personal, work, volunteer)
4 - I can EMAIL a task right from my list to anyone!
5 - IT'S FREE TO DOWNLOAD!!!
#4 will be quite handy when one of my To-Dos becomes a Honey-Do!


So for those of you who have an iPhone, I highly recommend adding this app. For those of you who still haven't been convinced to buy an iPhone, keep reading my blog...I'm sure to convince you one of these days! Afterall, it's a phone, it's an iPod, it's a camera, it's GPS, it's the internet, it's a calendar, it tells me the weather, it has games...and now...it carries a simple organized list of my to-do's!


Oh yeah...apparently 3 year olds think it's super cool too! Just wait until he finds out I can download episodes of Sesame Street!

 
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