Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Want to "Shred" with Me?

Anyone else feeling the strain of one too many sweets...over the holidays...or the past 6 months?  LOL!  That's how I feel right now, and since I don't really have an hour to dedicate to the gym right now - that little guy sure keeps me on my toes! - I had to look for another alternative. 

That's where this lady comes in the picture...
Yep, Miss Jillian - self-titled TV's toughest trainer.  I don't know about that, but I can say that I remember how other brides raved and raved about this workout back when I blogged about our wedding.  So, for $9 at my local Target, Jillian and her 30-Day Shred came home with me.  I figured that although an hour is next to impossible to come by (unless it's after 8:30pm, and who wants to work out then?!?) I can scrape together 20 minutes each day fairly easily. 

At least that's the plan.  And if I understand the concept correctly, I do 10 days on Level 1, then 10 days on Level 2 and finally moving on to the last 10 days on Level 3.  In theory this sounds simple enough...but that was before I actually played Level 1 on my trusty DVD...and couldn't do all the reps of each round!  Oh what a wimp I've become! 

Despite my thighs feeling like jelly now and my arms actually straining to hold my wrists up while I type up this post...I'm pushing on.  And since no one likes to "shred" alone, I ask you - Who Wants to "Shred" with Me?  Anyone?  Anyone?  We can be bloggy workout buddies and keep each other motivated to continue through what I'm sure will be 30 days of hell.  After that, maybe it won't be so bad.  Maybe...

So who's with me?  I started today...but could totally take a break and let someone "catch up" with me so that we could continue together...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Out of Office Auto-Reply

That's what I need to set this blog on for this automatic out-of-office message.  I'm on vacation this week...officially off for more than a week with the two long holiday weekends combined...I've always wanted to be able to have the extra time off to take this week as vacation, but have never actually done it. 

I'm looking forward to some time with this guy...

Some extra cuddles from this little fella...
And lots of "mommy and me" time with this special little lady!
I hope that your holidays were great (mine were AWESOME!) and you have a great New Year.  If I am inspired at some point this week, you might hear from me...but if not, that's ok too!  See you next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Baked Ziti

Here’s another easy weeknight meal that can be made partially in advance, if you like to prep some of the food over the weekend. I don’t typically plan that well, so it’s also easy to make with little to no planning at all! My kids were all over this…which makes it a WIN in my recipe book!!

Baked Ziti
1 pound dry ziti pasta (you can use any type of pasta)
1 onion, chopped (I only did half an onion)
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars of spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 ½ cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.

2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. (I added a pat of butter to sauté the onion a little before adding the meat.)

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: ½ of the pasta, Provolone cheese, sour cream, ½ sauce mixture, remaining pasta, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the over, or until cheeses are melted.

(Recipe/Image found here)

We normally make our own sauce, so if you do that, you could easily make the meat/sauce portion of this recipe over the weekend and put it away to use later during the week and cut the prep time for this dish by half.  When I cooked this recipe last week though, I cheated and used store-bought jarred sauce.  Get creative with the flavors that are offered to change the taste of the dish around...I used one jar of HEB brand Four Cheese and one jar of HEB brand Marinara sauce...the combination was tasty. 
Like I said before, this recipe is wonderful! It makes enough for a family of four to eat it twice, and the leftovers were maybe better than the first time we ate it! You know a recipe is good when it’s just as good or better the second time around…


Friday, December 24, 2010

Five Months

5 months…150 days, give or take…150 nights of little sleep…time flies when you’re having fun, huh? There are days that it seems that time drags on and on…and then there are the days where time seems to be moving at warp speed. Days when you don’t know if you’re coming or going between feedings…and days when you cherish something close because you know that the time of them doing this or that is coming to an end soon.

So many changes are happening in Jax’s world right now. He’s learning so much, being exposed to so many new things, and going through some rough little pains as he moves from the “baby” stage to the “infant” stage of this first year. Looking back at my daughter, I thought that this time passed so quickly, as I suppose that it would eight years later. This time around, at 34 years old, time seems to be moving a bit slower. Maybe that’s because I know what to expect and am anticipating the change? I don’t know. Either way, it’s an exciting time in our house right now, that’s for sure!

I decided that I might need to organize these monthly posts a bit…Lord knows there are days that I need help remembering my own name, much less all that I’d like to cover in these posts! So here goes:

Stats – Weight/Height, etc.: We don’t go to see the Dr until next month, so I’ve just got guesses. I think that he’s grown about an inch in length from last month and put on maybe a pound or two. It seems to me that he’s “evening” out where his weight is…like his height is catching up on his weight gain, which is a good thing!

Bedtime: 8-8:30pm. Our routine is to start feeding him around 7ish at night, then he gets a bath right before 8ish and is out and dressed and ready for bed shortly thereafter. Some night vary, depending what’s going on, but he does MUCH better when we manage to stick to that schedule…and we’re all about doing our part to help him sleep at night!

“Wake-up!” time: This month I’ve seen a marked difference in his waking time. He managed to drop down to one nighttime feeding within the last two weeks and due to that, he’s up and awake a little bit earlier, usually between 6-6:30am on most mornings. On the weekends, I can sometimes convince him to “sleep” a little longer by bringing him into our bed, but that doesn’t always work. I’m not really sure why he wakes so early now…he’s not hungry, he’ll wait until closer to 8am before wanting his bottle, but he’s awake – happy and playful at this time! He usually does poop right around 6:30-7am, so maybe that’s it!

Naps: Jax still takes about three naps a day, ranging anywhere from short “cat naps” lasting about 30 minutes, to longer stretches of sleep that might run an hour and a half. There’s usually one long nap and two shorter naps in a day…and we’re trying really hard to keep him awake in the evenings, in the hopes that making him tired helps him sleep better. Hey – don’t knock it…I’ll take whatever help that I can get!

Bottles: He takes 6 ounces in his bottles now, eating 6 times each day. Four during and throughout the daytime (about 3 hours apart), one right before bedtime and one around 2-3am.

Meals/Solids: Jax started eating solid foods this past month – with much success! I had started him on cereal with juice a little before the magical 4 month mark, in hopes that it would help the sleeping situation at that time (it didn’t), so starting solids was somewhat easy. We’ve almost finished all of the 1st simple foods with no allergic reactions to anything yet. At this point, he’s taking a tablespoon of fruit in his 3 tablespoons of cereal (along with juice) in the mornings around 10am and then he’ll eat anywhere from a jar and a half to almost two full jars of baby food in the evenings around 7pm. We always start with the vegetable, to make sure that he finishes that one, and then if he finishes or doesn’t finish the fruit, that’s ok. Only one time has he come close to eating both containers. I’ll have to do another post about the joys/pitfalls of making my own baby food (which I DID do for the first few weeks)…let’s just sum it all up by saying that I now support Gerber wholeheartedly. Oh well…

New Foods: Everything! Sweet potatoes, apples, green beans, bananas, squash, peaches, carrots and pears.

Developmental Milestones and “Firsts”: Oh goodness – SO much is happening and changing for Jax right now. He babbles constantly – the teachers all remark on how much he talks for a baby of his age. Of course, none of it is more than baby babble and sounds, but it’s SO cute! And the noises range from quiet, soothing baby sounds/babble all the way to listen-to-me-women-I’m-talking-to-you types of conversations! He can make all sorts of noises, but the newest is figuring out how to make the “b” sound (which is just funny watching him struggle to get it out!) and he’s figured out in the last week how to blow bubbles with his spit. Yes, he’s very advanced – we’re perusing collegiate applications at the moment! Just kidding.

In terms of mobility, he’s freely moving back-to-front and front-to-back and attempting somewhat of an army crawl while on his belly.

He can hold his massive head up for quite a while now, although I haven’t timed it, and turn each way to see everything all around him.

When left alone on a pallet on the floor, 9 times out of 10 he will NOT be in the same spot 5 seconds later when you come back. He can turn a full 360 degree circle on his back to see that much more. He’s figuring out hand-to-eye coordination fairly well as he’s now able to pick up what he reaches for I’d say about 50% of the time. Of course, once the object is in his grasp it goes straight to his mouth…just a little taste test to figure it all out, I suppose. After not liking his high chair so much the first week we tried to use it, he’s settled himself into it and has discovered how fun it is to make toys and spoons fly off of the tray…of course, this is a total accident when it happens, but it’s funny none-the-less.

Another new trick? He’s almost sitting. By himself! He started this about a week or so ago (which was right on time according to when his big sister did stuff – she sat a week before she turned 5 months) but was pretty wobbly. Now he’s starting to correct his positions and brace his hands out to catch himself when he starts to topple over. Am I ready for this stage? Yes and no. Yes, because what a cool age – I remember this being when Jenna got really fun. No, because I remember with clarity this stage…and although lots of fun, I needed an extra head to watch her with and an extra limb or two to keep track of her and hold her down. I missed the immobile stage once she got to the mobile stage…so I know it’s coming.

And oh my goodness - we've got hair! This might not sound like much to you, but Jenna (and I) didn't have hair until almost 3 years old...check out all the hair...ignore the dazed and confused look on his face...

Favorite Toys: Exer-saucer is still a go-to favorite. But he got a new toy from Aunt Tiffany this past weekend that might eclipse the exer-saucer given some time. It’s a long caterpillar with chimes and rattles and all throughout it that is soft (read chewable) with lots of little doodads on it. Loves it. Oh, and then of course, there’s his hands and feet. He plays a lot with his feet when they’re uncovered and bare…not so much when they’re tucked away in sleep n’ play outfits, which amuses me, and makes for fun diaper times!

I think that covers all the main stuff. We’re entering a new stage – the mobile stage – and we’re so psyched about it! Apprehensive, nervous and excited all at the same time. Lucky for us, he’s sleeping so much better at night…we’re going to need the energy just to keep up with him soon! And being only 5 months old, he’s still my little snuggle man at nighttime…that bedtime feeding is still my favorite time with him during the day (other than the early mornings when he’s so extremely happy!) and I don’t even mind the 2am feedings since he’s such a snuggler during that time too. Of course, what mom wouldn’t mind getting that extra 30 minutes of sleep, I’m not gonna lie to you…but I enjoy the snuggles too!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Homemade Toffee

Before I show off my awesome-ness with my treat/goodie bag reveal, I have to have to HAVE TO share this super easy recipe for Toffee with you. If you’re like me, with a sweet tooth the size of a small pie, you will LOVE this homemade treat. You’ll love how it tastes, but more importantly, you’ll love how EASY it is to make! I promise…delicious homemade candy without all the work? Sign me up!

Best Toffee EVER – Super Easy

2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (one bag)
1 cup finely chopped almonds (or less chopped, to your preference)

1. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally once boiling.

2. While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil/parchment paper/freezer paper (shiny side up).

3. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften the chips. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.

4. Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set (I left mine overnight). Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

(Recipe found here)

That’s it! It’s really that easy, and here are some things that I did/didn’t do and it still turned out GREAT!

I don’t own a candy thermometer (mine broke) and wasn’t going to buy one just to make one thing as nothing else I was making this year called for one. You can easily go by color alone (if you know what toffee is supposed to look like) and not mess this recipe up.

I didn’t press the almonds into the chocolate – sounded just too messy, and since I sprinkled them in while the chocolate was still wet (not set) they seemed to stick good enough. Sure, some popped off when I broke the toffee up, but I think that would happen anyway.

You can replace the almonds with any nut of your choice if you don’t like almonds. And chop them as finely or as coarsely as you prefer. It won’t matter either way.

You do NOT have to stir this stuff once the mixture starts to boil like you do a lot of other homemade candies. Literally just stir occasionally like the recipe says. Without any milk product in the recipe, there’s no chance of scalding, so you can prep the pan and chop the almonds and such after you get the mixture going on the stove.

Overall, this recipe was easy to make and SUPER yummy to eat! Brent doesn’t even like toffee and he liked this…if that tells you anything!  Now get to cooking!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Busy Little Elves…

You know what? I think that’s the most magical part of the whole Santa concept…the part where he has unlimited access to magical toy-making elves. And I’m sure that there are also treat-making elves in there too, since there have to be package wrapping elves to wrap up all the toys that the toy-making elves made. That’s why I’m running so behind! I can’t find my elves!!!

Where, oh where, can they be hiding? Did I not pay enough last year? I was pretty sure that Santa’s elves were paid with hot chocolate and cookies…so maybe I was wrong to assume that and they’re on strike this year because I made them mad and didn’t appreciate them enough last year. Could be. Anything’s possible, right?

Well, barring me finding my little magical elves somewhere under the pile of laundry that’s currently sitting on my couch, I decided last night that I just needed to roll up my sleeves and get busy myself if I wanted to get done what all needs to get done the next few days.

No, my Christmas tree still isn’t up. Don’t ask.

BUT even if I didn’t manage that task, I DID manage to get all of the remaining treat bags assembled and put together. Since they were all sitting there, mocking me, waiting to be stuffed with treats and goodies, I went ahead and obliged them. I stuffed and stuffed until my fingers were sticky (either from all the sugary sweetness that’s contained in the treats themselves or from the adhesive that I was using to close the bottoms of the bags, I’m not totally sure) and then I stuffed some more. The good news? All but two treats got all stuffed and assembled. Yea!

And then, since I was on such a good roll of accomplishment, I headed over to my “sewing table” (AKA the dining table) to work on those dang coasters. I don’t know what possessed me to believe that goodies/treats wasn’t enough for the teacher’s gifts. That they needed something handmade in there too…but 32 coasters later…I’m over halfway through with them now. I cut them all out last week. Then I sewed the all together before we went out of town. I took them with me and turned them all right-side out and pinned the openings closed while we drove for hours upon hours – you know, when I wasn’t assembling the gift bags. All of my step-by-step work paid off though, and I was able to sit down last night and in only about 30 minutes finish up 2/3 of them. I think that I have 10 left for tonight…not too shabby.

So I have to “bag and tag” two sets of treats, sew up 10 more coasters and then put all the bags together and finish them off with name tags and tissue paper. Totally doable…if I don’t care whether my tree goes up tonight. I’ve really about decided that we’ll just start a new tradition and put it up on Christmas Eve, leave it up until New Year’s (you know, so we have “time” to enjoy it!) and then take it down. Done and done.

I have all day off on Friday, which is Christmas Eve…so SURELY I’ll be able to get it done then. Surely. We have plans with my parents that night, but I’m totally thinking of either going out to eat with them or just making something in my awesome new Crock-Pot that I won at our office white elephant gift exchange this year…putting presents to good use already – that’s my kind of Christmas magic!

I promise to have pictures of goodies (along with some recipes!) and the cutesy bags up tomorrow. I started to post them today, but realized that there are a few people who read this blog that me doing so would ruin the surprise of opening their gift…so it’ll wait another day. And then I think that I’ll rest and relax, you know, because after that it’ll be Christmas Eve and I’ll need to be working on putting up that tree and wrapping all the presents that need to go underneath it! Yep…no presents are wrapped right now either. Don’t judge.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where, O Where Has Sandy Gone???

Logically, in my head, I know that I’ve been a little MIA from this blog lately…like the past two months. But I didn’t really realize how little I’ve been around, until I was trying to fix a button on my sidebar and noticed that I have only posted 7 times in December. And I think that it showed only 9 posts for November. Dude, I used to post each day!

So what happened?

I guess the best explanation (which is usually the simplest) is that I’m tired. Having a baby is hard work…and I thought that I was doing so good right after Jax was born when I still posted almost daily. Sure, I did good then, but start the teething process, prolonged sleep deprivation as it became four months of little sleep, add in a few rounds of sickness and I just disappear! Whew!

Well, I guess that can be another goal of mine for the New Year that is right around the corner…to be “here” more. Mentioning which, am I the only person who doesn’t know what happened to my 2010? I mean, I feel like I’ve just gotten used to dating things with the 10 on the end…and now I have to re-adjust to putting an 11 instead?

Well, hopefully things will improve. Jax is becoming congested again, but the glories of having a nebulizer at home is being able to start the breathing treatments a little earlier this go round. Maybe before he gets too bad. He’s not getting worse, so maybe it’s working…but who knows? And remember when I wrote last week about a little “surprise” or early Christmas present? Well a couple of my readers (who are smart mommies) knew exactly what I was talking about – or they came close, anyway.

Jax dropped a nighttime feeding!

I didn’t want to say anything for fear of jinxing the whole darn thing, but he went from two feedings during the night down to just one feeding. And I can’t honestly tell you why he changed. When it first started he was still taking in the same amount of solids during the evening as before, but whatever did the trick I’ll take it! Now (about a week later) he’s eating one whole container of vegetable solids each night plus about half of a container of fruit. Maybe once he gets to the point where he’s finishing both containers (fruit and veggies) then he’ll drop that last nighttime feeding. Keeping my fingers crossed…

Either way, I’ll take one nighttime feeding between 2a-3a any day over one at 1a-2a and one at 5a! It’s not a perfect process yet…some nights he still wakes up around 12:30a-1a and cries for a little bit, but I’ve learned that he’s not really hungry right then. He’ll take his pacifier (even if he doesn’t like it at first) and eventually settle back down…you just have to be patient. It’s not the same sort of cry that he gives at 2a-3a when I know for a fact that he’s starving and “needs” to be fed NOW!! Ask any Mom out there…she’ll back me up – there IS a difference!

So it’s been a week now…and I couldn’t be happier. Some nights he doesn’t even do the waking up early thing so I actually get more than 2 hours of sleep in one stretch…something that I almost can’t remember doing before! Like I said, I’m still looking forward to the night when he doesn’t have to be fed at all, but I’ll take what I can get for now and be completely happy with it. I’m trying not to be too greedy and ask for more…but it’s hard!

So that was my big surprise. Not that great of a surprise to some of you ladies…but still a welcome relief for me. Now if I could just channel this “extra” energy that I’m getting from more sleep into wrapping Christmas presents and finishing up the teachers’ gifts, I’d be good to go!!! LOL!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

I have a confession to make…

Please, pretty please, don’t hate me for it…

My Christmas tree isn’t up yet.

And I have three kids.

Yeah, no Mom of the Year award being given to me this year! I meant to get it up one night last week. Really, I did. And to give Brent his credit, he did get it out of the storage unit last week. But it’s still in the garage.

I just didn’t have time last week. Between getting stuff ready for Jenna’s Christmas party and our weekend trip to my Dad’s house for our Christmas with them…time got away from me. So I promised myself and everyone else that we would leave early and get home in time to put up and decorate the tree last night.

Yeah, that didn’t happen either.

So I’ll try again tonight. Maybe today will be my day. I mean, I’ve only got 4 more days…surely one of these will work?!?!

We did the same thing last year…I was pregnant and feeling bad all the time, so the tree went up the week of Christmas. I swore that I’d never do it that way again…but here we are…

Anyone else running behind? The good news is that I’m done with all of our shopping as far as I can remember…gifts just need to be wrapped. But what’s the fun in wrapping if you don’t have a tree to put the gifts under?!?!? Maybe tonight…wish me luck!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Christmas "Surprise?"

I’ve posted before about my love for Shutterfly…I’ve used their services several times in the past for my photo card needs, and I’ve never, ever, ever been disappointed.

So I don’t know where I went wrong this year with my Christmas cards…

Actually, I think that I do know what happened, and since I waited so late to order them in the first place that’s just what I get. There’s no sending them back, no re-orders, no chance of a do-over for this year’s card…le sigh. (Insert sad face)

Mom, if you haven’t received your card yet…STOP READING right now. For that matter, that goes for any of my “real life” friends who happen to read my blog. I’m about to show a picture of our card, and if you don’t want the surprise of opening it in the mail ruined, then you must stop now! You’ve been warned!

For Jax’s birth announcements, I used one color photo and one photo that I had converted to black and white. They came out great. Fantastic. Loved them. And I admit that I was a little bit lazy this year when it came time to take our pictures to use on the Christmas card. Instead of buying and/or hunting down matching clothes for my kiddos, I decided that I would just convert the picture to black and white and be done with it. Easy, right?


I picked a few cards, made some mock-ups and sent them to Brent for his stamp of approval. We both agreed on the same card as our favorite, so the selection process was painless and easy. I ordered the cards, entered my coupon code and away they went. I waited somewhat impatiently for them to arrive, which they did with all haste. I eagerly opened them…and wanted to cry.

This is what I saw…

No, that’s not just the bad quality of a camera-phone picture…the photo has a definite blue tint to it. It’s not truly black and white, like it showed in the preview…but blue and white. The only thing that I can think happened is that I converted the photo to black and white on the Shutterfly site, instead of converting it through Photoshop and then uploading it to Shutterfly as a black and white photo. I can’t really see that doing that would cause this problem…but like I said before, oh well. It’s too late and too close to the holidays for me to re-order, call and complain, or anything. That’s just the way the cookie crumbled this year…

Has this ever happened to anyone else when you’ve used Shutterfly? Like I said before, I’ve used their services countless times with NO problems what-so-ever…and the cards themselves are great this year, except for the blue tint.

I’m sad…but not sad enough to not send them out!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tis the Season...

Have you ever had something happen (a good thing) and you feared talking about it because you didn’t want to jinx things?

I think that this is especially true when you have a blog. You talk about all sorts of personal business here on the internet that’s open/available to anyone with half an interest to read all about it. Sooner or later it’s bound to happen…you talk about something good…and immediately afterward, it goes away. Because you opened your big, fat mouth.

At least, that’s how things work in my life. So, I’m currently sitting on a “secret” that I don’t want to share just quite yet. No, I’m not pregnant. Just get that thought out of your head. And can I ask why must you hate me so much to wish that on me with a nearly 5-month-old at home? I didn’t do anything to you!

But really. I think that if you talk about things happening with your baby the first time it happens (as I’ve done in the past) then that event might never happen again. Or at least not for the next month. It’s sort of like when the baby learns a new trick and you tell all of your family and friends about it…your family and friends come over to see this amazing trick in person with their own eyes…and the little snot won’t do it anymore. No matter how much you beg and plead.

So, my “thing” has happened once. Last night it happened again. That makes twice, if your math skills are a bit fuzzy in the mornings. But I think that it will take several more days to make a “pattern” worth talking about and sharing, don’t you?

Therefore, I’m not talking about it…not even thinking about it…and yes, my nose is growing as I type out these lies!

In other news, since I feel like I can’t talk about what I’d really like to talk about, is anyone else feeling a bit “overcommitted” this holiday season? I know that I am…and I did it to myself. You see, like most other people that we know, the crunch of financial strain is being felt at our household. It’s expensive to have a baby…especially one that likes to continue getting sick and make mommy and daddy miss work. In response to this financial crunch, I decided that the best gifts to give our teachers/day care providers/co-workers was homemade gifts. You know, that personal touch.

So I collected recipes and projects and have been amassing a plethora of photoshop gift tags and labels that are just as cute as can be. Everything is all arranged in my head into neat little piles and stacks of how it will all be: the gift bags, the tags that I painstakingly slaved over, the treat bags with their little tags, etc, etc…you get the picture, right? But in reality, I still have to make all the stuff…which takes time. Time to bake. Time to sew. Time to print out all of these god-forsaken tags and cut them all out. Time to tie them all on, just so. And time is something that is hard to come by with a little one in the house. Especially when it’s the 14th of December and my husband and daughter are just now putting up the lights outside! Don’t even ask me about where our tree is…

In the meantime, I’ve also been working on our family gifts…and was so impressed with how quickly I wrapped up all of the shopping for my nieces and nephews this year…forgetting that I still needed to finish up our kids and one all important person – Brent! Luckily for me, lots of places are doing site-to-store now, which takes most of the work out of it for me. Now if only the UPS brown truck will hurry up and deliver everything to me on time…all of my fingers and toes are crossed!

And then cue the crazy music as I realize that school ends THIS WEEK, which means that the teacher present that I was making for Jenna’s teacher? Yeah, I have to have that done this week…not next week, when everything else can wait until. Hello crazy life, I’d like to say that I’ve missed you…but you haven’t gone anywhere, you’ve been here all along. Hiding in the background, just waiting to pounce!

So, tonight I made fudge. At 10 o’clock at night. Because that’s the best time to make fudge, didn’t you know? And tomorrow night I’ll make something else. The following night will be another thing. And lunches? Well, they’re all present and accounted for this week as I run from store to store collecting all of my baubles/packages or cutting tags and such out of the special cardstock that I ordered and should be arriving today or tomorrow. Luckily, I can stalk the UPS site from my phone as I do all of this and fret and worry over whether my stuff will get here in time.

There’s really nothing like waiting until the last minute! Don’t believe those people that tell you that it’s best to finish BEFORE Thanksgiving…it’s really best to wrap presents the night before Christmas…trust me!

I guess since I’m complaining about the lack of time…I should get on to bed before I’m adding lack of energy to accomplish all of this to my never-ending to do list, huh? Okay…you convinced me…Good Night!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shabby Shoppe Challenges

Oh my it Friday ALREADY?!?!  And I haven't posted one single time this week?!?! 

Gracious...are you all wondering if I'm ok?  We are...just caught the dreaded stomach bug that was making the rounds at Jenna's elementary school.  Yeah, I spoke too soon and apparently too loud about us all being healthy and happy.  The joke was on me!  But once again, we all seem to be recovered...I was trying to whisper it that time...

In the meantime, I completed another Shabby Shoppe Template Challenge, and thought that I would share with you guys.  Check it out!

I love doing these challenges!  The Shabby Shoppe gals provide the template...and more than enough product to work with...a Shabby Shoppe gift card topped all of my Christmas lists this year, that's for sure! 

Maybe things will be back to normal in the next few promises, but maybe!  LOL!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fairies? Good or Bad?

I honestly can’t remember…I know that a fairy godmother always does good things.  But maybe pixies sometimes cause trouble...something is niggling the back of my brain telling me that not all fairies are good fairies…but maybe that’s just too many romance novels read! 
Either way, whatever the good kind are called, the one that controls when and how long your baby sleeps apparently made a visit to my house last night…and I welcome her back with open arms any night that she wants to put in a repeat appearance!
You see, something snapped in me the other night.  It happened when precious baby boy woke up at 11:15pm demanding to be fed.  The irrational, sleep-deprived mother in me reared her ugly head and said “Oh, hell no!”  Especially since the normal, sane, rational mom in me had only been asleep for about an hour at that point…but seriously, something just snapped in me and I was like “you can scream and cry all you want, but it is NOT time for you to be fed yet!”  And that’s precisely what I did.  I let him cry.
Now, before anyone gets their panties in a wad about me letting my baby go hungry, I will tell you that he had eaten a full 5 oz bottle less than three hours earlier.  There is NO reason for him to be eating again so soon.  And yes, it was his hungry cry.  But for whatever reason, it did not tug on my heartstrings this time.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about sleep training and such as he’s approaching that all-important 6 month mark and I would really, really like for him to be sleeping through the night by that point. 
So I gathered him close, crawled back into bed with him in tow, and just let  him cry it out.  Well, technically it’s not a true cry it out since I didn’t leave him on his own to self-soothe and cry all alone in his crib.  But remember, his crib is in our room (we’re out of available extra rooms in our house) and letting him scream and cry in his crib is not as pleasant as letting him scream and cry right next to me in my nice, warm bed.  You see, I can offer him the pacifier every few minutes to try to soothe him…which I can’t do if he’s in his crib.  But I still call it cry it out, since I did nothing else to soothe him.  And I would wait a few minutes between pacifier offerings each time.  
Somewhere in the forty-five minutes of endless screams and wails that ensued, I decided that I had hit the jack-pot of all mothering ideas.  I would force him to eat on MY schedule…that’s what others have been telling me to do for weeks now, I guess I just wasn’t ready to do it while he was so sick and congested.  But he’s all better now, and not cutting a new tooth, so there’s no reason to eat so much at night any more.  I thought in my head that I would feed him at 1am and 5am for a few nights.  He could wake and cry and do whatever, but I would hold firm.  Then the next week (or a few days later) when he adjusted and became used to that schedule, I would length it a bit.  Make him stretch to 1:30am and 5:30am…then 2am and 6am…and before we know it, he’s down to just one nighttime feeding.
Genius, right?  Well…genius for me and our situation. 
So you want to know how it’s going, right?  I guess that I would say at this point (knock on wood) it’s going well.  That first night he cried for 45 minutes, slept for an hour, then cried for another 20 minutes before he got fed.  Went back to sleep in his own bed after being fed.  Woke up about an hour too early and cried for about 15 minutes and then slept until feeding time.  The second night went even better…he again woke up at 11:30 (WAY TOO EARLY!) but only cried for about 5 minutes and then settled down for another hour’s nap.  Woke up about 25 minutes before feeding time and screamed until I gave him a bottle…but I was strong and waited until 1am.  Then he slept straight through until 5am, when I was ready to feed him without a peep from his crib. 
Last night?  Night #3?  He slept until 2am.  And then again until 5:30am.  With not even so much as a whimper in between.  Of course, it probably helped that since he didn’t finish his last bottle of the night after eating what solids we could get into his mouth, we woke him up right before we were ready for bed at 10pm and made him drowsily eat the last half of that bottle.  He was barely awake, went right back to sleep…and then let Mommy sleep for a 4 hour stretch. 
So whether it’s a sleep fairy…a fairy godmother of sleep…or a sleep pixie…she can come back and see me again tonight if she wants.  I’d even put out some homemade bread or cookies if that would guarantee me a repeat visitor…whatever it takes, right? 
Bring it on…please…pretty please?!?!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Yeah, you could say that I've been bitten by the Christmas bug...I got a new scrapbook kit the other day and couldn't resist making a new blog design for the holidays!

The challenge will be making sure to take it down once the holidays are over...there's nothing like someone leaving their Christmas "lights" up all year, huh?  LOL!

Oh - by the way, I had a give-away that ended a while back.  Yeah, I forgot.  I was sick.  Sorry!  But I did finally remember, and to say an extra "I'm sorry" I doubled the prize...not 10 free Shutterfly cards, but 20 free cards for the lucky winner...

Lucky #3 - Natalie!  I'll email you with your promo codes...sorry I was so late!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Four Months

Where has the time gone, Jax? This last month passed in a blur of doctor’s visits, breathing treatments, sleepless nights and a sick household. It really seems like just the other day that I was writing out your 3 month update…oh well. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Right!

Despite the sickness and exhaustion that have plagued our house this month, you have been such a trooper Jax! Being sick is never easy (just ask your Dad!) and you handled it like a champ, just getting fussy a few of those days. Luckily for us, your stuff was mainly congestion and there were just a few days where you ran a fever and felt really bad. Hopefully, we’re all on the mend now!

What are you doing this month? EVERYTHING! LOL. In the past few weeks you have discovered SO much…your hands are still your favorite thing to chew on…although you’ll gladly chomp away on most anything, including everything that is within your reach! Blankets, burp cloths, my fingers, sister’s hair…just whatever you can get your hands on – you’re not picky. That’s probably because in the last month, you cut not only your FIRST tooth, but also your SECOND tooth! You are a drooling, smiling, little snaggle-tooth baby these days…chomping happily away on whatever you can reach!

Speaking of your reach, it’s getting better and better. You’ve figured out some of your toys this month, including a rattle and how it works. You’ve also discovered that big sister and I have hair and you think that it’s SO much fun to pull on! We, of course, don’t agree with your definition of “fun.” You’re doing better in your Bumbo chair, not quite so top-heavy…and you’ve moved on up to your Exer-saucer this past month, which you love, love, love! And we love that you love it…those 10-15 minutes that you’ll sit in it a few times a day give Mommy/Daddy the helping hand to rinse off dishes, sweep the floor, fold laundry or just relax if we need a minute.

Little guy, you’ve also discovered your voice. You are a little chatterbox…telling us what-not and all…sometimes you make noise just to make noise and other times you “conversate” back and forth with us. We can make your day if we’ll speak baby-talk right back at you…it’s like you’ve found your long-lost friend and you really get to talking then! The teachers at day care are constantly telling me how impressed they are at your vocal abilities at this young age…I smile and tell them that you come by it honestly!

Sleep? Well, that’s still a struggle for us sometimes. You do NOT sleep through the night yet, won’t even think about it. You usually wake up sometime between 12:30a-1:30a for your first nighttime feeding and then want to be fed again anywhere from 3:30a-5a…it just depends on many factors. You do still like to sleep in your swaddle blanket, although I’m wondering if we need to start seeing if you can sleep without it. And you still take really good naps during the day…usually a good, long nap either at 11a or 2p…and then short cat naps the rest of the time. It never fails that if I get you to sleep while we’re getting dinner ready, you wake up as soon as I try to eat my first bite! It’s like you know when Mom’s about to eat and you say “Oh no you don’t!”

We’re branching out a bit on your feedings…trying new things to see if you’ll sleep better at night, but you just keep right on reminding us that you’ll sleep through the night when you’re good and ready to do it, and that’s not yet. You started cereal this month…both rice and oatmeal. You prefer the rice cereal, and you like it mixed with apple juice better than formula. Some nights you’ll take almost the whole tablespoon that I mix up…other nights you want nothing to do with it. Since you’re not sitting upright on your own yet, it’s taken me a bit to figure out this whole feeding business. You wiggle around a LOT, and even food won’t keep you still. You always start off in your Bumbo chair for our feedings, and quickly move to my lap. (I don’t know what I was thinking buying a high chair that doesn’t recline…I clearly wasn’t thinking!) By the end of the feedings, we’re usually both covered in cereal and bath time has become much more intense due to the cleaning that is now needed. I can’t wait to start you on real food this next month…you’ve done so well with cereal…and I’m hopeful that real food will help the sleeping situation, but I’m not crossing my fingers or holding my breath!

Jax, you’ve started to laugh this month. Real laughs that are prompted by something specific are so cute! You smile all the time, but you smile the biggest for your big sister…you love her SO much right now. She loves you too, but she’s really ready for you to start talking in real words…not a day goes by that she doesn’t tell me what you were trying to say…it’s so cute. Your feet are a little ticklish, but the best spot to get that laugh out of you is low in your sides…that’s the golden spot that will make you wiggle away from me and laugh the hardest!

Mentioning wiggling away – I nearly forgot! You learned how to roll over this month. You can go from your back to your front and also go back the other way…but you don’t do it on command. It’s totally when YOU want to do it (much to Grammy’s dismay) and no one can entice you to do it if you don’t want to do it. It’s been nearly a week now since I’ve seen you do it, but I know that’s just because I’m watching for it!

I think that sums up the past month…there were fewer pictures this month since there were just fewer days when we felt like taking pictures! Sorry. You’ll still a cutie pie, and if I’m not mistaken, your hair is thickening up a bit and your eyes will turn colors this next month…can’t wait to see those changes!

Love you, baby boy!