Monday, June 30, 2008

Contests, contests everywhere!

Yeah! I love a good contest. And now Swistle has gotten everyone into the spirit. It's like Christmas in July! How fun!

1. This is a Pay It Forward contest. I hold a contest, pick a random winner, then the winner must host her/his own contest.

2. You may sign up in the comment section here (keep reading for what to comment) until 11:59 EST Friday, July 4th.

3. I will randomly draw a winner for a prize of an assortment of things that will include (but not limited to) a small Pampered Chef item, stickers for the kids (if you have them- or you can just keep them for yourself), and some other things that I choose for you.

4. The winner will host their own contest on their blog (you don't need a blog to enter, you can host the next contest on here if needed).

So enter now. Leave a comment answering these questions: 1) When is the last time you went to the mall? 2) What did you go for? 3) What did you buy?

My answers 1) I went to the mall last Saturday morning. 2) I went to get some Old Navy flip flops for $1.00 (a sale). 3) I bought nothing. I went less than an hour after the mall opened, and when I was outside Old Navy the line went from the front of the store all the way to the back. And it looked like they didn't have many flip-flops left. Not worth the hassle for me. I walked into a few more stores, then headed home with nothing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Help, I can't decide

I recently won a contest that Sarah held on her blog. What did I win? Well, I won an awesome nursing cover from Beth at Valley Momma Boutique. Her nursing covers are really neat, so I'm quite excited to have won one. I'm not currently nursing, and I won't be nursing in the near future. But we do plan to have more babies in the future (hopefully soon), and I plan to nurse them.

The problem is that Beth has SO many neat fabrics to chose from. I'd like to get a cover that has two different fabrics. I have a few that I really like together. And there are a few fabrics that I really like, but I can't find something great for the other side. Maybe I should just pick the two fabrics that I like the best even if they don't match. Ahh, I need help.

OK, here are her fabric options. What would you pick?
Here are some options for me:
1) p7 RK Another IOTA Circles & p7 RK Funky Squares
2) p5 MM Far Out Floral Spa & p4 MM Bubble Blast
And here are some other fabrics that I really love, but I don't know what to pair them with (or I'm concerned about them being too boyish/girlish):
1) p1 AB Coriander Blue
2) p5 MM Esmerelda

I better stop there. I have a list of about 20 more that I like to. So, what would you choose if you were me? Any suggestions that I haven't mentioned yet?

How do you like your pizza?

A few months ago we got a package in the mail. It was a present from Shannon. Shannon sent us one of her awesome homemade felt play pizzas.



This pizza is so much fun. Of course, we, as parents, have had many concerns lately about plastic toys because of all the recalls and nonsense. What a better way to avoid problems, then having a handmade felt toy.

Two years old is a great age to start creativity and lots of hands on play. Zachariah loves that he can make his own pizza. He puts the toppings on just so, one by one, then takes turns feeding the pizza to us.

The box that the pizza comes in is great for storage, and Zachariah likes to deliver pizzas too. But his favorite way to do it, is to just roll it up and "eat" the whole thing like a taco.
This is an awesome toy that I would recommend to any parent with a child over 2. It would also make a great birthday/Christmas present. The pizza is well made and the toppings are so cute. Shannon makes each one on her own and does a fantastic job.
If you'd like to order your own felt pizza, go to Shannon's Etsy page. Do it now, because she'll soon be overwhelmed with orders and you don't want to wait.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Full speed ahead

So I'm better. How about all of you? Did you enjoy your weekend? We had a fantastic one. We finally didn't have any obligations. It felt nice to relax at home and just do some fun things together.




My mood seems to have lightened. I think a lot of it was hormones. Like Sarah mentioned in the comments "Sounds like backed-up hormones to me, for sure." I think you hit it. I hadn't had my period in a while, and it seemed like everything came crashing down at once. I was behind on things anyway, and then there was a death in the family. So to have that come on the same day just pushed me over the edge. It wasn't like a cliff just a stumble down a small staircase. But I was ready with things to help me feel better and it did help. Thanks to all of you who were concerned and caring towards me. That meant a lot. To check my messages and see all the nice things you said, that helped immensely. I love this little blogging community and the friendships I've formed from it.




This summer we've been trying to do more fun things for us. They don't have to be any big trips or expensive places, but just things that we'd enjoy doing together. We just go out and take care of the garden together sometimes or pick strawberries and cherries. I took Zachariah to the park on Friday. He climbed the monkey bars for the first time. He was coordinated enough to do it on his own and he loved it. Getting towards the top made him a little nervous and he'd ask for my help, but it was fun to see him try something new on his own.




Staying with this fun time we have planned to go to a parade/BBQ/fireworks this weekend at our friend's house. She has a big party every year when the little town she lives in does an early Independence Day celebration. It's a lot of fun, so we're looking forward to that. Zachariah loves parades...especially when they're full of firetrucks and horses and other neat things to see.




And my birthday is coming up soon. Maybe we can go out for dinner or some other fun thing to celebrate. Actually it's only a week away. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to being a year older though. At this point I see each year as another step to getting to 30. But nonetheless, birthdays are still fun, and I've always loved having a summer one. But if getting older means spending more time with this little one, I'll do it again and again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feeling blah

Thanks for the comments on my last post. It was a bit long-winded and annoying. But I was in such a bad mood that day. I'm better now, but I've been feeling really blah lately. I've been just dealing with things from day to day while I'm feeling this way. Today I realized that I should try a new approach. I need to find the things that make me happy that I can do for myself and DO THEM. DUH! I have so much to learn from Swistle. I love how she knows herself pretty well and can avoid this sort of thing by doing what she needs to get through.

After I posted last, our program director from the center where I tutor called. She was so stressed out and busy and was checking to be sure I was coming in. I knew she needed me more this week, because half of our staff is away this week. She also asked me to work more on Thursday, plus the field trip on Wednesday and Friday. I was already unhappy that I had to work on Friday (I don't usually), so her calling me all stressed out made me more stressed out...like I needed more. Then I went to work. I let my friend (who is the center director- above the other lady and my friend long before she hired me) know I was a bit stressed. She is one of the most awesome people I know. Anyway, I let her know that the other lady was just stressing me out (even more than I already was) and I didn't understand why she was worrying about things that didn't really matter or really affect me. My friend told me I didn't have to come in early today if I couldn't or didn't want to (so I didn't, I worked my normal 2 hours today and it was fine). But while I was talking to her about everything, I cried. I just couldn't help it. I think I just let my emotions get the best of me. But I think I needed that, and she is so understanding and it helped.

Today I told Matt that I'd been feeling a little blah lately. Not enough to think I'm depressed, but just a little down. I promised I'd let him know if I got worse or if I got really frustrated with Zachariah (which I'm not at all). In fact I can't believe how great Zachariah was on the zoo trip with the kids yesterday. He loved it and was fantastic all day. He didn't even get a nap, then went out to eat with Matt and I later, and stayed up past his bedtime. He was so pleasant and fun (more than normal). That made me feel good. And I found out today that the field trip for tomorrow is cancelled and I don't have to work after all. Whew, that lifted a weight off my shoulders. Maybe I will have more time to unwind and do things at home.

So after realizing that I'm a little down, I started thinking about what I could do to feel better. Some of these I've done, some I have not yet.
1) Eat a hot lunch
2)Drink Mt. Dew- I don't like coffee, so this is my caffeine drink
3)Be around my family a lot
4)Keep my kitchen counter clean
5)Keep clutter picked up- which is sometimes more work, but when it's done I can rest easier
6)Chocolate
7)Yummy snacks when I need them
8)Sunshine-luckily the weather's been great lately
9)Sleeping in a little when/if I can
10)Reading a good book...or two or three
11)Not being on the computer all the time- this is really the first I've had it on in 48 hours
12)Watching a fun show that I like on TV/Internet
13)Flowers in the house
14)Lots of hugs from my baby and husband
15)Putting my feet up when I feel like it...or getting out my foot spa and soaking them for a while
16)No fuss dinners...or eating out when possible
17)Writing letters to friends
18)Allowing myself time to just relax and do nothing if I need to
19)Chocolate...in any form
20)A good movie for no reason in the middle of the day
21)Good company to visit

This is a list I just thought of. I was trying to find things that make me truly happy. I have done some of these already...chocolate, Mt. Dew (sugar high?), flowers, TV shows, no fuss dinners (taco salad tonight)...and the rest I think I need to work on while I'm feeling this way. It will pass. Maybe Aunt Flo's visit (for the first time in 3 months) triggered it. Maybe it's the beginning of this busy summer. Maybe it's my upcoming birthday (am I feeling old already?). Who really knows. I guess I've just realized it doesn't matter why...it happens, so I'll deal the best I can.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happenings that make me feel crazy

Ahh, I don't even know what to post, but I feel like I should post something. It's been pure craziness around here. I still don't feel settled after our vacation. We've had so many things happening.

Last week I was unpacking, cleaning, organizing around the house. Matt was away 2 different nights and Saturday morning for the local battle of the businesses activities. That just made things harder, because I was being the sole provider of my two-year-old's needs. It meant he was whinier in the evenings and needier in the afternoons. And several days he went without seeing his daddy at all. Saturday afternoon I had to leave Zachariah at home with Matt, because I had a Pampered Chef Wedding Shower to do for my friend. That went great and when I got home Matt reminded me that there was an event at a place I used to work. At the last minute we decided to go, and we had a blast even though we were both so tired. Zac got to play with Addy for a little while too, so he thought that was great. Of course I think he just found her irresistibly cute in her fluffy, pretty dress.

On Thursday afternoon we learned that Matt's grandfather passed away. He's been in the hospital for several weeks now and had some ups and downs. But in the last week we knew he was not going to live much longer. More things kept going wrong for him, and he was not healing like he should have been. Technically this was Matt's step-grandfather. He married Matt's dad's mom about 20 years ago. Matt's grandmother passed away 4 years ago, so he's been on his own since then. Even though Matt wasn't really close to this grandfather, it's the only grandpa that he'd known (the other two died when he was really young). This was also his last remaining grandparent. And it makes 5 grandparents (and great-grandparents) that the two of us have lost in the last 5 years. It's a lot to take in, but we do know that he's in a better place.

We left Sunday afternoon for the visitation. We stayed overnight with my parents, then went to the funeral on Monday. Zachariah was really great through it all. Thank goodness. After everything on Monday we came back home.

Then the crazy schedules continued. Matt went straight to a meeting that night. I was left home alone with Zachariah and needed to do something for dinner yet. When Matt suggested taking him to McDonald's I started thinking that might be a good idea. As much as I didn't want to leave the house again, I didn't think I could make it through the evening by myself with him. I don't usually take him out...especially for fast food, so he thought this was a treat. I took him to a nearby McD's that has a new playplace. He was so excited. I only made him eat a little bit, then I let him go run around. Most of the equipment was too big for him, but there is a little area for younger kids and that was perfect. I came ready with a book, so I went back there and sat on a bench right by where he was playing. We were there for an hour and a half. I think it helped having that short time to de-stress a little. Zachariah was easy to put to bed later. And when Matt came home he brought me a rose and a bottle of fruity wine. He knew I was stressed and thought that might cheer me up. It did. He's so sweet. Unfortunately I didn't get to drink the wine, because it wasn't cold. But tonight, it's all mine....well, not ALL.

Tomorrow the center where I tutor is taking a field trip to the zoo. I will be driving a large van full of kids to a destination just over an hour away. And I'll be toting my toddler around with us ALL DAY. We went last year, but Matt came and helped. Hopefully Zachariah will just have fun and will handle being out all day. I've been asked to work some extra hours this week to fill in for other people (we have several on vacation at once), and I'm hoping I can handle it. Today I talked to Matt (while I was writing this post, because I got a call from one of the leaders that I work with) about how this job is starting to get to me a little bit. I have always loved this job. I've worked there for 4 years now, and I love so many things about it. I'm there to tutor children, I only work 10 hours a week, I only work 2 hours a day, I've been able to bring my son along, and I've never felt stressed there. I'm starting to feel it. Maybe it's because of everything else going on around here. Matt knows that I don't want to do this job forever. I am only staying with it because we can use the extra income, and it's an easy way to get it. Where else could I find a job that 1) uses my teaching degree, 2) I only work 2 hours a day/4 days a week, 3) I can take my son along? No where! So the plan is for me to continue working here until Matt gets a sizable raise, Matt gets a new/better job, or until we have all our debt but the house paid for (student loans being most of that). I know this is something that Matt feels passionate about. He wants me to be able to quit this job. He would like for me to be at home full-time with Zachariah. Right now that just wouldn't work. So I have to find a way to continue to cope. Let's hope I can make it through the summer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

***

Sorry I had that song in my head. I cut my hair. A lot of hair. Like 6-8 inches of hair. My typical hair styling each morning was a ponytail. Now? Now, my hair will no longer go into a ponytail. It didn't turn out quite what I wanted, but I like it. I like that it's shorter and I can style it now. I like that it's cooler for summer. So, here are some photos for your enjoyment.





What do you think? An improvement? Of course it doesn't look like that every day, but it is pretty easy to do like that. I just don't always take the extra 20 minutes to fix it nice.

Can you tell I don't wear make-up often? I didn't even bother putting it on when I posed for these photos.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Home again

I am home now, but I am far from settled. There is always a cloud of gloom over everything when I return home from a vacation no matter how much advance preparation I may have made. While it is nice returning to a clean house, it's a lot of work beforehand. I have to carefully balance packing with keeping the clutter clear. Then when we come in the door it's nice and clean, but that only lasts until we have to bring all our luggage in. We can unpack bags and do laundry, but there is always more than what we started with. I have to find a place to put the new things that came home with us. The new summer clothes we bought must find their way into our already full dresser drawers and packed closets. Our leftover snacks and food must find a way into the already full pantry and fridge.

It still remains that there is not much to prepare meals with. There is no meal plan to buy groceries for, because I have been so busy catching up with laundry and putting everything else away. There is the endless pile of brochures and booklets that we need to go through and decide what to keep for scrapbooks and future references.

And none of this takes into account that I'll be more tired than refreshed after traveling in the car for hours on end. Then it's back to work for my husband, back to a routine for my son. And I will start my summer tutoring program which is different than the school-year, so we will have to adjust our schedules and routines for that.

Am I the only one who ever feels like she needs a vacation after her vacation?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Closer to home

We're only one day away from the end of our vacation. Tonight we're staying in a hotel. I'm trying to get the toddler to sleep in a port-a-crib (not the problem) in the same room as us (problem). One more stop tomorrow, then we're home. Hopefully I'll be around more next week to tell you about my travels and the fun things we did and great places we saw. Until then...have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Favorite Vacation Travels

Today's post is brought to you by Sarah at No Whey, Mama. I have enjoyed Sarah's blog for quite some time now, and I am happy that she decided to help me out by guest posting here. I told her I'd love to hear about some of her vacations or favorite vacation locations. You should also know that Sarah's daughter, Katherine, is allergic to dairy. I love that Sarah posts information and hints and tips about dealing with allergies. This is something that I was very cautious about when Zachariah was young (I have a friend who has allergies to practically everything, and it has made me much more aware.) Without further ago here is a post from Sarah:


Ashland, NH
Area Travel Guide


Planning a trip to New Hampshire? Here are a few places we like to
visit.

My mom grew up spending her summers on Lake Winnipesaukee, between Center Harbor and Meredith. When my sister and I were
growing up, we always spent our vacation at the family "camp" on the lake.
Sadly, the camp had to be sold about ten years ago. But, my aunt now has a great
house on Little Squam
Lake, so we are able to bring the kids to the same area where we spent our
summers.

Squam
Bridge in
Ashland, NH
Little Squam
Lake is also known as Golden Pond because it's where On Golden Pond was
filmed.

Ashland is a
great town with a very active Historical
Society
. We were able to attend their annual lobster dinner fundraiser. They
were kind enough to have hot dogs and hamburgers available for children and/or
those who can't eat shellfish.

I would also like to give a special mention to the Village
Pizza & Grill
in Ashland. We went there for lunch one day, and the
service was amazingly helpful and friendly. Katherine and Eli split a
cheese-free bacon pizza and an order of pasta with sauce. All the staff was very
careful and understanding, and there was no cross-contamination of ingredients.
Plus, the food was excellent. Katherine ate four pieces of pizza, a personal
record.

Just a few miles down the road is the Squam Lakes Natural Science
Center
in Holderness, NH.
We had never been there before, and it is amazing. They have all kinds of
native NH animals that have been injured and are living in natural habitats
while they recover. The black bears, bald eagles, and bobcats were our
favorites.

The Old Country Store
The
Old Country Store
in Moultonborough, NH, has always been the rainy-day
place to take the kids. Penny candy! Weird old machinery in the museum! More
candy! While the price has risen to two cents per piece of candy, it's still
fun, and there are plenty of dairy-free candies available to choose from.

Weirs Beach
Usually we spend one evening at Weirs
Beach
playing games at the arcades on the boardwalk. Our favorites are
Whack-a-Mole, Skeeball, and the ancient Dodge City Shooting
Gallery. We also stopped at the Hart's Slush stand for some dairy-free frozen
goodness.

Rein's Deli
Another family tradition is to stop at Rein's Deli
(Warning: the site plays music) in Vernon, CT, on the drives to and from NH.
They, too, are excellent about dairy-free orders. Katherine likes their turkey
breast on a plain bagel with a side of plain Cape Cod potato chips. I just wish
I could get her to try their fantastic dill pickles!

We had a wonderful time. It's a great place to vacation!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Saturday, Sunday, Monday

At the aquarium in Gatlinburg on Monday...









Lunch on Monday at a little Italian place in Gatlinburg (I can't believe I'm posting this bad picture of me. No make-up, and we'd been walking in the hot sun for a while.)



A short hike on Sunday after checking into our cabin...







The Horse Park in Lexington, KY on Saturday afternoon...







Lunch at Uno on Saturday afternoon near Cincinnati, OH (or rather dessert for the boys)




It's been fun so far!