Sunday, October 31, 2010

My First Carved Pumpkin!

I know that some of you are thinking that I’m about to upload and show a picture from the early 80’s showing off my first juvenile attempt at carving a pumpkin…but you would be wrong! I mean, I am going to show off the first pumpkin that I carved…but it won’t be from the 80’s. Not even from the 90’s. Nope, my first pumpkin that I can remember carving happened just 3 short years ago.

Now, I should put a disclaimer in here for my Mom…we probably carved pumpkins ALL the time as kids and I just can’t remember. Like the experience was SO traumatic using those sharp utensils that I’ve blocked it all out of my memories so that I just think that the pumpkin that I carved back in 2007 was my first-ever attempt. Just kidding. I do remember my step-dad being outside and scooping out the insides of the pumpkins…it was REALLY gross, didn’t you know? But he must have been the one wielding the knives because I surely don’t remember the actual carving part. Of course, that could have been blamed on my slightly hyper-active, super bouncy personality that didn’t let me stay still long enough to actually help with any pumpkin carving that was actually going on.

So, I call the year of 2007 my first, because it’s the first time that I remember doing it all on my own. Like going to get my pumpkin from an actual pumpkin patch, making up a design, scooping out the guts (that part’s STILL gross!) and doing the actual carving all by myself. Or at least with minor help from my then-boyfriend-now-husband on the finer points of pumpkin carving. It was our first Halloween together, and apparently I had grown two heads when I mentioned that I couldn’t remember ever carving my own pumpkin. That statement was made in reference to my asking why we needed to buy FOUR pumpkins…wouldn’t just one work? Um, NO, I was told. Apparently everyone needs their own pumpkin to carve – Brent, Tanner, Jenna and myself would all get our OWN pumpkins to carve…oh, I see…so in reality I get to do TWO pumpkins since Jenna was only 5 at the time!

So we loaded up the kiddos into the car, drove to our local pumpkin patch and picked out pumpkins. I wasn’t really sure what to look for – what made a pumpkin a good carving pumpkin, so I had to rely on Brent to give my choices nods of approval. Jenna and Tanner picked out their pumpkins, and then they all tolerated my need to take some pictures to document the event.
And you know that the boys were going to “rough house!”
The next day, we got busy working on our pumpkins. As expected, I did the bulk of the "gross" work on both my pumpkin and Jenna’s.  Although she did scoop out some of the "guts."
This is what she thought about the process of scooping out the insides...
Or maybe that face was because Mom kept taking pictures?!?!?

Tanner attacked his pumpkin with LOTS of enthusiasm...which made me a little bit nervous since he was wielding a sharp knife...
While Jenna worked on the artistic side of her pumpkin…
The only true worker? You guessed it – Brent! He sat down and got to business like a pro…before long his was scooped out and ready for carving.
When we got finished (some of us having had to do double the work) we lined them all up to document the occasion with a photograph.
Want to guess which one was done by who? Here they are, up close and in no particular order…

And MINE!!!
And yes, like good little pumpkin carving people, Jenna and I set ours up back at our apartment on our balcony and put some candles in there.
Then we promptly forgot about them until like a month later…when I had to carry them out to the dumpster in double bagged trash bags since they were OOZING liquids and things…

Mental note – pumpkins should be thrown out while they’re dehydrated…not allowed to sit on the porch for another extra couple of weeks so that they start the decomposition process. Just in case YOU didn’t know! LOL!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jenna’s First Halloween…

Well, that’s what I was going to write about today…not really her first Halloween, but the first one that she remembers. She was dressed up like a clown and it was hands-down THE cutest costume she’s ever had! So I was going to write about how cool it was for her to understand Halloween this year and talk about how she had more fun standing in our driveway passing out candy than she really did when she was walking around trick-or-treating herself. Yep, that’s what I was gonna write about…

But you know what? I can’t find one stinking picture of her! Seriously. I’m talking loud colors from head to toe…a black felt hat that had yellow yarn-hair sewn in…full clown face make-up and all on a toddler! SO stinking cute! And I can’t find a picture…does that earn me the Mom of the Year award? Hope not…

So instead of writing about all of that…here’s what I DID find when I was looking for those pictures. One of Jenna’s favorite past times is dressing up apparently…here’s some Halloween costumes that she COULD have used over the years…

Silly Snow “Bunny” Jenna
Cheerleader Jenna
Cowgirl Jenna
Swimming Pool Monster Jenna
Butterfly Jenna
Princess Jenna
California Girl Jenna
And my personal favorite… No Clothes Jenna
Yep…all of these were just normal days. I guess you could say that we like Halloween just a little bit around our house. So much, in fact, that we celebrate it more than once a year! Hope you have a happy and safe Halloween this year!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fabulous Followers Give-Away!

Happy Friday y'all!  I hope that your week has been good...mine's been a million times better than last week was, so I don't suppose that I can complain all that much!  In fact, I'm feeling so good...and feeling so much love from the blogging community that I'm going to do a give-away...are you excited?!?!
I hope so...this one came to me through CSN Stores and I'm SO excited to offer it to you!  Have you heard of CSN Stores?  I'll admit that I hadn't heard of them before they contacted me to do a give-away, but let me tell you...I was quickly won over with all that they have to offer!  CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cute shoes, to a funky end table, or great cookware.  I quickly marked them on my Favorites as a site to shop at soon!  Especially with the holidays coming up so fast - this is the perfect one-stop-shopping spot...

CSN Stores is offering one lucky reader a $20 gift certificate! 

Here's how to enter:
  1.  Vist their site over at CSN Stores and comment below telling me what you'd be shopping for if you won.  Nothing specific, just in, cookware, furniture, clothes - with over 200 online stores, the possibilities are endless!
  2.  Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so that I have a way to contact you! 
  3.  Note - this give-away is limited to US/Canada residents ONLY

Want a BONUS entry?  Then click to the right and follow A Mother...Again through Google Friend Connect.  Just comment below and let me know that you either already follow or are now following to get your extra entry! 

That's it!  It's that easy!

This contest will close on Thursday, November 4th at 11:59pm (CST).  I will randomly selected a winner using and notify the winner.  You'll have 48 hours to contact me back before a new winner will be selected. 

It's Friday, so you know that I'm hopping along today...

Join along for the fun!  So be sure to follow along with A Mother...Again, and get entered for the $20 gift certificate to CSN Stores.  Happy Friday!

I received no compensation for hosting this give-away from CSN Stores.  They are providing the $20 gift certificate for a give-away of my choice - I set the rules and limitations and simply provide them with the winner's name and email.  CSN Stores will contact the winner via email to award the certificate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Setting Our Goals

First, let me say a big “THANKS” for all of your tips/tricks/comments and suggestions on the post that I wrote about setting goals. Especially Pamela, who had LOTS of great advice! If you didn’t see her comment, click here and view the comments – it’s REALLY great advice!

After writing that post, I took a few days to let it all sink in, and talk everything over with Brent, as I feel that this isn’t just MY decision, but a joint decision that we need to make as a couple and both get behind and strive towards. Then we took a week to just process all that we’d talked about.

Lastly? I took him grocery shopping with me this past weekend. I normally run to the store alone, since it’s faster, but with just Jax along for the ride, Brent wanted to come along too. I jumped on the chance to have him there, since I knew that I had lots of coupons to use and wanted to really emphasize what our savings could be if we tried. I’d measure the trip as a complete, overwhelming success! Why, you ask? As we were pushing our cart full of a weeks’ worth of groceries out to the car, Brent was reading the receipt and said these EXACT words: “Babe! Our grocery bill went from $88 down to $77 and change!!!” Saying he was a little excited would be an understatement. (I’ll also say that our weekly bill isn’t normally that high, but we bought Halloween candy for the trick-or-treaters…)

I felt like he finally got it. I mean really understood the power of coupons.

So I took the momentum and enthusiasm that he had at that moment and we talked again about how our money could work smarter for us and all of the other things that we’d already covered a week before. It was like a completely different conversation, even though I didn’t really say anything new. Before when we talked, he agreed with all that I was saying, and was on board with whatever I wanted to do, but he didn’t completely understand nor have the enthusiasm for it that I did. He probably was thinking “What a dork!” about me, in fact. But now? He could see and measure what we could do. I mean, if we could save $10 in one shopping trip at just ONE store, what could we do over the course of a year, applying those principles to ALL of our purchases?

It’s just nice to have your partner “get” what you’re trying to do and go from a willing participant in what you want to do to an active participant, because there IS a difference. So after explaining it all again, here are some of the steps that we’ve come up with for us to start taking:

  • Start couponing regularly (we already do this)
  • Begin to stock pile on certain household items – something we’ve been a little hesitant to start, but are starting to see the advantages
  • Make the most out of our rewards programs, like and our credit card cash back rewards program (which we don’t currently utilize since we don’t use credit for purchases)
  • Diligently track our savings so that we can measure our success
  • Begin eating out less for lunches during the work week and putting that savings to work as well
  • Actively look for new ways to make our money work smarter, not harder
Using all of those steps above, we set a goal that we would like to achieve. Following some of Pamela’s guidelines on goal setting, we kept it simple, straight forward and attainable. Here is our goal:

Save $5,000 using the measures outlined above

Since we both operate better on a work/reward method – keeping a tangible goal in mind - we also set our “reward” if we attain that goal. If we can meet our goal, we will take a vacation back to our honeymoon destination for our 2nd anniversary, paying cash for it all.

And since I like seeing progress, I’m going to set up a button on the side that shows our progress weekly so that you can follow along and encourage us to our success! (OK, so maybe that’s just to show off my mad new HTML skills more than anything…but it’s still fun!)

Now, if you’re one of the sharper tacks in the barrel, you’ll pick up on the fact that if we’re going to take the reward trip for our 2nd anniversary and we just passed our first anniversary, we have to start NOW on our goal and not wait for the new year like I had originally intended…which is fine. Brent said that since the goal that we've set is a little more than what we're currently saving that I could count all that we've saved so far this year that we're starting off on the right foot.  I "opened a new savings account” today and will transfer on a weekly basis what we’re able to save into it and watch it total up! I can’t wait…it would only be cooler if I could make my computer make the cha-ching cash register sound when I put the money in each week!!

Yes, I’m a dork…

I’m really excited (if you haven’t picked up on it by this point) about our new plan. I’m excited to see what we can do if we try. I’m excited to actually set a goal, set steps to achieve the goal and be working towards the prize. I’m just excited in general…but that could be because the little man is breathing better and sleeping again at night – WOO HOO!!! But I’m also excited to start this new plan, too! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrating our Anniversary…With a Sick Kid

When I talked to my Mom a few days before our anniversary, and was telling her about how Jax was sick with his first cold, she made the statement “I bet this isn’t how you pictured spending your first anniversary, huh?” And she was right. Although I knew that it would be low-key since we’d have an infant along in tow…I didn’t factor in a sick infant. And believe me, it makes a difference. Add on top of that two nights of little to no sleep, and you’ve got a recipe for a sleepy weekend at home.

You know, celebrating in your pjs in front of the television.

And there’s not a thing wrong with that. In fact, I enjoy a good pajama party most days…but she’s right – your first wedding anniversary isn’t really one of those times. Pajama-less party? That’s more like it!

Just kidding. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. Either way, with a sick little man and two tired adults, we made the decision early Friday night to just spend the weekend together and relax. To do whatever needed to be done to get Jax feeling better (and sleeping more!) before we had to go back to work on Monday, and if we happened to be able to go out to eat or something, then great. If not, then we would celebrate another time. No big deal. In fact, this would give us the perfect opportunity to focus on our Intimacy Challenge…

And focus on us is exactly what we did. Without the two older kids around, we were able to do exactly what we wanted to do because Jax doesn’t really get a vote in what we do yet, so the entire weekend was about us. Remembering our wedding a year ago, reflecting on all of the changes in the past year, looking at our gorgeous photos from the wedding and the honeymoon, and talking about what this next year will hold for us. It was a great end to our first week of the challenge, and we spent almost as much time talking with each other as we did making sure that we both got some decent sleep! LOL!

Both Friday and Saturday night we stayed in and watched some of our DVR shows (Sons of Anarchy, anyone else?) and I cooked and we relaxed. I even enjoyed a glass of this both nights:

And spent time cuddling with each other (and Jax) on the couch. Perfect.

We also took this out of the freezer for the big day:

And I woke up to the sight of these on our dining room table as a surprise!

Since Saturday was so low-key, we decided on Sunday to get out of the house a bit. We went to breakfast at our favorite breakfast joint…and Jax was mostly good. Then we did some shopping and tried to find an anniversary gift for both of us. Neither one of us needs/wants anything…so we opted for just flowers, cards and dinner out. Totally low-key. After spending most of the morning and early afternoon out and about, we decided to go home and take some naps. Well, some of us slept…others didn’t.

Either way, we cut our cake and ate the anniversary pieces before we went to dinner. Yes, we had our dessert first. I always plan on special events that I’ll order dessert and then I eat too much and don’t have room. So we had our cake before we ever left the house. Plus we went to dinner around Jax’s schedule, which meant that we got to Carino’s around 5:15 (along with all of the other senior citizens!) but that left plenty of opportunity/time for another slice of cake later.

Yes, we ate the thawed one-year-old cake. It was delicious. Maybe a little drier than the day of our wedding, but yummy, yummy, yummy! Good storage tips helped, and thawing it out slowly seems to be the key to keeping it from going all soggy.

After that? We were pooped! It was a great day…ended on the perfect note with Jax going down for the night without any stopped up sounds coming from his little nose. I honestly think that made us happier than anything…

We both reflected that the day was perfectly spent and neither one of us could have improved a thing about it! What might have been a boring anniversary weekend with a sick child turned into a great anniversary celebration…and a great end to our first week of the Intimacy Challenge. I couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary! Love you, honey!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three Months

Oh Jax.

Jax, Jax, Jaxon. Where does the time go? Some days, yes, it seems to drag on in a never-ending certainty…but most days just breeze by and I look up and three months have passed already. Of course, that could be lack of sleep talking! Just kidding…

You’re a joy, Jax – to both your Dad and I. You are a constant amazement, as well as a source of entertainment - you can put a smile on our faces faster than anything! Every single day you’re growing up, learning new things, marking milestones left and right…and we’re just privileged enough to be there for it all. We can’t wait to see what new trick you’ve learned each day…or what you’re going to laugh at each day…just a constant joy.

At three months old, you’re eating 7-8 times a day (STILL!) and taking 4-4.5 ounces at a time. You are formula-fed now, and you seem to love it, even if it still makes Mommy sad every once in a while. Daddy’s a little worried that you’re having troubles processing the formula from the amount of poop that you are currently generating for us, but I keep trying to assure him that a) it’s normal and b) it’s going to get worse when we start you on solids next month! He needs a little training still in controlling his gag-reflex while changing your diapers, but he’s learning…

Your sleeping pattern changed quite a bit this past month. You used to sleep from 8:30p until about 2am with ease and grace. Then you would go another stretch until 5am before your next feeding. Not so much anymore. You’re a little more regular about it now, going the same length of time between feedings now, but I much prefer the old schedule to your new one. Of course, you’ve been battling a cold for about two weeks now (it came up about the same time that your sleeping habits changed, so maybe the two are related?) so any sleep at all has been harder to come by than normal this past week or so. Right now, on a normal night, you’ll go down for the night between 8-830p and sleep until sometime between 1230a-1a before your first feeding. Then you’ll take your second bottle of the night between 4a-5a. Not a horrible schedule, but I still like the old one better!

You are constantly alert these days. And talking! You babble at us like it’s going out of style (a sign of things to come?) in your baby-talk all day long. Or maybe I should say that you do that whenever we can keep your hands out of your mouth! You had just discovered your hands at the beginning of this month, but now they are in constant motion. They’re either making your little “gang signs” at us while you eat, sleep and play or they’re in your mouth. Yes, you still try to shove your whole fist in your mouth upon occasion, but you’re getting better about just putting some fingers in and going to town on them for a little “snack.”

You are slowly becoming more mobile. You have mastered the art of rolling that first quarter of a roll. You can roll either to the right or left side, but you much prefer the left-side roll. You have also started the roll-n-scoot, where you can wiggle from your back to your side over and over again and slowly make some progress towards something. Even though you can do this, I’m pretty sure that at this point, it’s all still accidental and not due to any planning on your part! It’s cute none-the-less, as you have your hands in your mouth and your feet in the air or pushing on the floor to start that roll. I don’t think that it’ll be too much longer before you’re rolling from your back to your stomach like a pro!

This month at day care, and at home, we’ve started sitting you in your Bumbo chair for short periods of time. It’s still a bit early to do this, but when day care told us that they were trying it out in 5-10 minute increments with some added “support” we had to try it at home too. At first you weren’t too sure…

But you’ve decided that maybe it’s okay…

As long as one of us is close by to keep that head from bopping around too much!

I’m sure that you’ll be more than ready for solo sessions in it here in a few weeks…and then we’ll move on to your exer-saucer! They try it once or twice a week at day care and you LOVE it…but we’ve got the bouncy-jumpy kind at home and it’s still too soon to get it out of the box yet.

Mommy and Daddy are wondering if you’re already starting the teething process…the drool is starting up. And it’s like someone just flipped a switch on it, there’s so much some days. Then on other days it’s pretty minor still…so maybe there’s some activity there coming our way too…or maybe it’s just that your hands are ALWAYS in your mouth and you’re trying to eat them, so your little mouth produces more saliva to help digest those fingers! LOL!

You still love your baby crack blanket. But we can barely fasten it now…and you’re making the transition to the larger sized snuggle wraps a bit better now than you were a few weeks ago. All in good time, I think. You’re also starting to sleep some on your side, as you get more mobile and can move around more. But you DO sleep each night in your crib…and take your best naps during the day in your swing. You still love that one!

As your baby-talk vocabulary has ramped up, so has your volume. Man, you can really let one wail when you want to, huh? Some of those squeals have Daddy checking to make sure that you’re still all boy…but no worries there! You’re just learning to use your vocal chords…and learning how to use them well!

Since you’re more alert now, you’re starting to play with toys and reach for and connect with things in your line of sight and within your reach. Mommy has to be really diligent about keeping her hair out of your reach…and toys hanging from your play mat are no longer safe! Sometimes when you get a good hold of one, you are trying to pull up a little with them, which is really cute to watch.

You are still happiest during the mornings. Even though Mommy and Daddy enjoy being able to sleep in on the weekends, we also take turns getting up early with you because we know that’s when we’ll be rewarded with the biggest smiles! You are in SUCH a good mood then…and it’s really neat to get some alone time then.

You are still fascinated with big brother and sissy, but I think that the new is worn off on you with them! Jenna still helps out the most, but that’s probably just because she’s around more often than not…you just coo and gurgle at her when she’s playing with you. You’re probably just working on those mad flirting skills that you surely inherited from your Daddy, huh? Keep batting those baby blues, son…they’re irresistible.

Jaxon, we can’t wait to see what this month holds for us as you continue to develop and change on a daily basis! We love you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Wonderful Year...

A year ago today, I put on a dress…

Gathered some flowers…

Slipped into shoes with a little help…

And walked toward my destiny with love in my heart…

This man was waiting for me…

We shared some vows…

And a kiss…

Uniting two families into one…

We had some cake…

One of us actually wore her cake…

We danced…

Toasted our friends and family…

And partied the night away…

We left under a shower of love and rose petals…

As man and wife.

Thank you honey for the best year that I could have ever imagined. From the wedding of my dreams, to the honeymoon that made a miracle, and a year that I’m sure we’ll never forget. I think that I’m the luckiest woman alive, and I thank God daily for bringing you into my life.

Happy Anniversary…and here’s to 50 more!