Christmas is...

Christmas is different for me every year.  Some years are really great and I am into the Christmas spirit and then other years I am scroogy and depressed because I miss my Dad.  This year is one of "those" years.  With so many changes happening in my life this year it reminds me what my dad is missing and how much I miss sharing my life with him.  Life goes on,  and I am not sad ALL the time but there are moments throughout the day that bring into sharp focus he's not here.  I warned Jesse this year was not a good one for me.  I thank the Lord everyday for an understanding husband.  HE took the kids to get our tree.  One that I reluctantly paid for out of our dinky Christmas budget.  HE fielded the kids when I got snippy about decorating the house and HE has been finding little extra things like a video email from Santa to make Christmas a little more magical.  I sit on the sidelines, trying not to be grumpy, and apologizing when I loose it.  I have come to accept that Christmases will be this way some years.  These are the years I have to dig deep, serve others, and forget myself and my petty problems.  I am blessed and grateful for what I have.  So, Dad, I hope you peek in on us this Christmas.  I miss you.


Halloween guilt

You know how it starts.  You promise yourself you will exercise self control today.  The day starts off well.   You treat yourself to a piece, a small piece, of pumpkin fudge. Evening approaches and the candy bags that have been safely sealed, open.  As the chocolate aroma reaches your nostrils, resolve weakens.  No, stay strong.  That candy is for the trick or treaters.  You resist... until the kids come back from their own cavity inducing hunt.  The buckets are full.  They certainly can't eat it all.  Just one... mmmm.  That was enough.   Round two is trick or treating at Grandma's.  Oh no, Mom has the good stuff.  Maybe one more.  What is that on the counter?  Some gooey concoction of marshmallows,  chocolate, teddy grahams and butter baked into painful sweetness?   I better try it so I don't hurt anyones feelings.  Yup, my tongue is dancing and my stomach is rebelling.  Oops, a Twix fell out of my son's bucket.  Better just eat it.  By the end of the night I am on the couch drinking water and wishing that sugar had never been invented.


Sleep is under valued

You know how you read tricks and tips about how to loose weight in magazines all the time.  Every once in a while they will throw in get enough sleep.  The main reason sited, I have found, is when you are well rested your more appt to exercise and eat right.  Let me put that into easier terms to understand.
When you are living off of 5 hours a night or less cookies look better than carrots.  Making a healthy meal takes more energy than grabing a 5$ pizza for dinner.  Your dog is your annoying sidekick that you want to kick because she keeps getting underfoot instead of being your motivation and workout buddy.  Your children stressing you out is an opportunity to crack open your stash of chocolate chips instead of using your yoga breathing techniques.  The resistance training you are willing to do is dig around a quart of moose tracks ice cream with a spoon looking for the chocolate chunks and peanut butter cups.  So, the next time you are feeling cranky and fat take a nap first, then workout.  You'll thank me.


Its a conspiracy

Why is it that all baby equipment takes different batteries? ??  Case in point:  I go buy AA, AAA, and D batteries.  Thinking I have everything covered I come home.  I open up his bouncy seat vibration thing and see the need for two batteries... C batteries.  Curses!  By the way, why are there no B batteries in exsistence?  Was that size inconvenient? 


I am a traitor

Today was Charlie's two month check up.  After the usual weight and height business came the immunizations.  I am not a crier and have never felt like crying when my kids get shots.  Today was different.The nurse came into the room and had everything ready.  I held Charlie in my arms, turned him to one side, and pulled up the pant leg on his outfit.  I did not watch as they gave him the shot but kept my eyes on his face and talked to him.  The pain registered.  His mouth became a cartoonish frown and his eyes spoke to me.  As they welled up with tears there was only one word in them: traitor.  I held my little man as he cried in betrayal and pain and almost apologized.


I am a soccer mom!

And I love it!  Being the crazy mom that I am I signed Frank up for soccer this season and volunteered to be team mom.  Our team is amazing!  These kids play so hard and have a great time. Our first game was last Saturday.  Although we aren't suppose to keep score let's just say our team won.  I am of a slightly competitive nature so it was only natural for me to keep track of who scored goals.  Best play of the game: Frankie scored a goal.  He got a break away at mid field.  He took the ball down and kicked it into the goal.  Everyone cheered!  I was sitting down nursing.  I am sure I was quite a site yelling "go Frankie!  Go!  Shoot it! Yea!!!!!!"  He was so stoked!  "Mom, did you see that?" He yelled.  "You bet I did buddy!  Way to go dude!"  So, yea, good game.  I am super excited for the rest of the season.


Gems from my first grader

From the mouth of babes comes truth, at least what seems to be logical and true in their eyes.  Recently, my son Frank, has given me some gems to remember.  Here are a few of our conversations as of late.

One morning Frank and I were sitting at the breakfast table.  Charlie was still sleeping so I decided to hurry and get ready before I didn't get a chance to and ended up in my pjs all day.

Mom: I have to go get ready.
Frank: Yea, you need to put make up on. (ouch)
Mom: Why, do I need make up?
Frank: Yes, you need it to be pretty. (ouch, ouch)
Mom: So I don't look pretty without it?
Frank: No... yes... no... you need make up to be prettier. (nice save son)

Frankie started first grade this year.  He absolutely LOVES his teacher and talks about her all the time.  Mrs. Rice is a bit silly, which is what every first grade teacher should be.  The kids listen better to a little silliness.

Frank: Mom, Mrs. Rice (his teacher), can't have cocoa puffs.  Not a single one!
Mom: Oh, why is that?  Does she have diabetes?
Frank: No, she's old!
(I am so telling Mrs. Rice)

This last conversation was between Ollie and Frankie.  They were sitting at the table today eating a snack discussing juke boxes.  I have no idea how the subject came up but it did.  Frank was trying to explain to Ollie what the turn table did and what it played.

Ollie: Where does the music come from?
Frank: From these things called records that spin around.  That's what they use to call cds in the old days... records.

Oh how I wish I could carry around a recorder so I could capture all the nonsense.  I love it and know I will miss it when it is gone.


You are stressing me out!

Quote of the day up there.  There are some days that is all I feel is stress.  I stress about getting the boys to school, stress about if my baby is getting enough to eat, stress about my photography business I left hanging etc.  I have learned how to let alot of that go but sometimes it creeps up on me.  Today I woke up to a baby with a snotty nose, diarrea and a fever.  All Charlie wants is to be held.  Awake or asleep, he must be held.  My boys are home all day and tomorrow and my hubby won't be back from shift till Tuesday.  As I type, my poor, sick little man is working it out in his crib because my arms and back are worn out.  He's not screaming bloody murder but no mom likes to hear a distress call from a sick child.  Five minutes kiddo.  Please, just give me five minutes.  I have noticed that when I am sleep deprived and stressed I eat.  If there are cookies in the house don't worry there won't be soon.  I walk by and instantly need that sweet uplift and energy boost (translation: sugar rush) that a cookie will bring me.  Most of the time I can resist the urge.  On a good day I'll consume one or two treats and usually it is after my kids go to bed.  It is my time to unwind and since I don't drink, I indulge.  On a not so good day, I snack on said treats rationalizing it is the only thing that I can grab quickly. (Charlie stopped crying... yay!) On a day like today... let's just say I have lost count of how many "rewards" I have given myself.  Stress eating is not something I am proud of and there are plenty of solutions that I can apply and have successfully done so.  There are just some days that I have to throw in the towel, grab two fists full of cookies and acknowledge that I will be back for more. (Ok, now he is just jabbering away between coughs.  Did I mention the nose??  Another round of saline for him)  Thank goodness tomorrow will be better. (He's crying again)  Mostly because I am going to go eat the last cookie we have so I can remove all temptation.


It's been a while

I know that I have been MIA because of the new baby craziness.  There have been plenty of times that I have thought "gee, I need to blog."
Charlie has been a new kind of hard for me.  The honeymoon period ended around two weeks and the next 3 and a half have been hard.  I am talking tear evoking, sleep deprived, earnest prayers to God, hard!  Charlie has taken food sensitivity to a different level.  Food has been a thing I feared over the last couple weeks.  Through searching online, trial and error, and many suggestions I have finally figured out what I can and cannot eat.  In doing so, our nights have gotten better.  My diet is limited but Charlie no longer cries in pain for an hour at a time and if I do eat something wrong I can suppliment with goat's milk.  If any of you come across a kid that is sensitive to everything I have two suggestions.  One, take them to the chiropractor.  That was a huge help getting his digestive system right.  Instead of constipation woes and a sour tummy he poops regularly which is a blessing.  Two, try to suppliment with goat's milk.  It is the most like mother's milk and it works wonders for the little angel that can't handle certain foods you eat.  I know this phase will not last forever.  I know that things will get better and they are starting to do so.  Here are some pictures that I never got to share.

I love doing newborn pictures in black and white.  I don't really know why but it speaks simplicity to me and that is what babies are.  Sweet and uncomplicated... when they are sleeping:)  


Charlie is here

Yes, he came.  July 8th at 2:08 am little Charlie came into the world and has made our lives complete.  Aside from the usual baby stuff (sleeping 3-4 hours at a time at night) he is an easy baby.  He can put himself to sleep and loves to be held.  The boys are smitten with him and love to help me all the time.  My delivery was good.  I had to be induced because they measured my water and it was 1.5 liters lower than average.  The baby was in no distress at the time and they wanted to keep it that way so to my delight they suggested induction.  What?  I get to have my baby three days before my due date?  Woo-hoo!  We decided to induce nice and slow so I could labor as natural as possible but I won't go into the details too much.. gross.  I received an epidural about 7 hours in and they broke my water.  After about two more hours they started pitocin and within another hour and a half I told the nurse I felt the need to push.  In less than ten pushes Charlie came out loud and proud.  Jesse, as always, was a great coach.  Our nurse mid-wife was fantastic too.   Here are some pictures to commemorate Charlie's birth.

Me at 11 hours.  I know I look amazing... haha!  I believe this was taken as a contraction was coming on.

Charlie's first picture.  Not too happy about the flash!

Our nurse mid-wife, Mimi

After camping out on Mt boobious for about a half an hour.

Proud Dad

Super excited brothers!  Look at my handsome sons:)

Frank's first time holding Charlie.  He is still trying to keep count of how many times he has held him.

Oliver's first time holding Charlie.  Ollie calls himself the medium brother

My handsome guy at about a week old.

We are all doing well and adjusting to having our new family member.  Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.


Typical Summer Day

So I woke up this morning determine to fill this day with things to do.  Lately, with baby on the way, I have kept our schedule open in hopes he will arrive and change my life in the crazy ways that babies do.  Today was going to be different!  I decided to ignore my aching hips and non-productive contractions and have a good day with the kids.
             We started with going to the library in the morning around 9:45.  The library at Lindo Lake has a new craft for the kids to make every week.  Today we made Chinese fans.  After coloring and folding and gluing the fans the boys and I went to work picking out books for us to read this week.  We are part of the San Diego County Library Summer Reading Club.  We keep a log of when and what the kids read and after 300 minutes they earn something.  I don't know what yet.
  I also found some easy readers for Frank to master for his at home reading chart.  Every time he can read me a book without any help he gets a sticker on his chart.  After three stickers he gets to pick from my prize bag.  Once he gets really good we will have to extend the amount of stickers but you get the idea.  Frank really does love to read BUT he will make up words or insert words so he can keep going instead of sounding things out and really looking at what he is reading.  So, using the chart, we are working on his concentration.
We happened to be at the library during Toddler Story Time too.  The boys had fun reading, singing, and being silly with the lady in charge and there was quite a group of kids too.  Once we were done at the library we went by the 99 cent store for some shopping.  I found some great shade flowers called impatience to plant.  Once we got home and grabbed a small snack I looked at my watch.  11:50?  Seriously???  I felt like we had done so much.
The boys and I headed out into the heat to plant my flowers in the shade and transplant my basil and pepper plants from pots to the full sun flower bed.  We worked the soil to make it hospitable for the new plants.  Ollie and Frank were my water carriers since our hose is on the opposite side of the house.  Together we sweat, planted, and watered and FINALLY finished.  As I walked back into the house I figured we should make lunch.  After lunch I looked at the clock again, 1:15?  Holy hanna!  What else is there to do?  The POOL!
We changed into our suits.  Ollie and Frankie dutifully held out their arms as I sprayed them down with sunscreen.  The boys rode their bikes and I walked down to our community pool where we swam until three.  Our pool is heated to roughly 87 degrees so after about 15 minutes it doesn't feel that refreshing to me but getting the weight off of my back is heaven.  Once we were home again I decided we needed to make a healthy snack of frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.  Oh so good!  If you haven't tried this activity with your children it is so fun.  Get the packet at the store that is by the bananas and just do it.  You will thank me.  Bananas and chocolate consumed the boys decided they wanted to play outside again.  So, here I sit.  Looking at the clock and still not believeing it is not five or later.  The boys are playing nicely outside without me refereeing for the first time today and my belly is contracting once again.
We were busy and productive.  I feel accomplished knowing my TV has stayed off for the majority of the day.  Tomorrow....... we'll see.

Update- while writing this the boys decided to take it upon themselves to wash Jesse's truck.  Would have been a good idea except we had floor boards that are going to go around the whole inside of our house under neath the truck.  I just spent the last 10 minutes getting twelve 25ft pieces off of the wet cement and laying them as flat as possible across the truck bed and various trash cans.  So, when you come home dad, act surprised about the "clean" truck NOT the possibly warpped pieces of wood.


A joke worth sharing...

Read this and laugh out loud:)

The Haircut                 

A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.   His father said he'd make a deal with his son: 'You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Scriptures, and get your hair cut.  Then we'll talk about the car.'   After about six weeks his father said, 'Son, you've brought your grades up and I've observed that you have been studying your Scriptures, but I'm disappointed you haven't had your hair cut.  The boy said, 'You know, Dad , I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair ~ ~ ~ and there's even strong  evidence that Jesus had long hair.'    

You're going to love the Dad's reply: 

'Did you also notice that they all walked everywhere they went?'


And so it begins...

The baby's room has been a major stopping point for me lately.  I just can't seem to get my nest on!  Well not any more!  As some of you know we had mold growing in that room.  I was super upset and demanded the invader be neutralized immediately!  After cutting out the affected area, fixing the leak, drying it out, sterilizing it, mudding, taping, texturing, and priming we had a new wall and could start putting the baby's room together.  After all of Jesse's hard work I got to pick out the paint and get going.  So I picked out the paint, got the rollers, taped the trim and.... just couldn't get started.  I have been discouraged about my house lately.  I haven't been able to do any projects because we have been so busy with everything else.  HOW am I suppose to get anything done?
Yesterday that all changed.  Jesse had started painting the higher parts of the room about a week ago and yesterday I entered Charlie's barren domain and knocked out the whole thing.  I got the base color done and now get to tape stripes so we can diversify his room with a complimentary color.  I also got little jungle animal wall stickers to put around his room.  Next I raided craigslist and found some shelves that are just the right hight for $10.  We picked those up today.  Ollie has been so good about letting me work!  Tomorrow I tape the stripes and paint the dresser if I have time.  Don't worry, pictures will be posted once the project is complete:)  


Eye Q Giveaway

I rarely blog about other people's giveaways but this is an amazing one.  A phonics reading program designed for early readers that is usually $200.00 is being GIVEN AWAY for free!  Click here to learn more and show Amy some love.  Let her know I sent you so I can get extra entries :)


Life is all about making choices

This morning I woke up with a cloud over my head and tears in my eyes.  The third trimester hormone roller coaster is not my favorite ride and this morning I hit a low.  Thanks to a super busy weekend plus Monday with NO regular exercise I was in bed ignoring my children and trying not to cry.
I assessed the day and realized that something had to give.  I belong to a wonderful group of professional photographers that go out and shoot for fun once a month.  It's great doing what I love for a living but I find myself avoiding my camera when I am busy with jobs.  I don't go out to shoot just because as much.  That is what this group is for:)  An outlet of creativity.  We were suppose to be doing a shoot today up in Elfin Forest.  I decided my mental state and my children's happiness were more important than shooting. I texted my apologies, from my bed, and attempted to start the day.  After getting upset about Frank not getting dress and Ollie punching Frank where the sun don't shine I found myself standing in the middle of the kitchen with both boys on time out.  From there I had to make another choice.  Do I forge through till tonight when I have to teach water aerobics to get my endorphine boost and shake off the day or do I go to the gym this morning and shake off the day before it begins??  I finally got the boys settled down to breakfast and Ollie asks me for his Slurpee.  What?  You mean the one that you finished 95% of so I tossed  the rest?  Yup, that would be the one.  As my son fought back unconsolable tears about his loss I decided I needed to get the heck out of dodge as soon as possible.  Jesse came home from work and took over with the boys.  I took off.  I drove down the road listening to yet more coverage of the Osama Bin Laden killing/burial/conspiracy(really?) on NPR.  I laughed as the interviewer asked "so what do you think people feel over the death of Obama?"  Whoops!  Guess we knew what was on her mind.  I got to the gym, retrieved my googles and cap and shoved my stuff into a locker that I never lock.  I must still have some faith in the general public.  Heading for the pool, I just prayed I wouldn't have to share a lane this morning.  I wanted to be selfish for a half an hour.  I wasn't in the mood for slow people or breathing in others wake!  Whew, one open.  I pulled on my cap, adjusted my goggles and started.  The workout was nothing to shout about but it was finally me time.  The noise blocking water with little to no thoughts running through my head was awesome.  After about a half an hour I had to call it quits.  I know my body's limits and teaching tonight meant I had to take it easy this morning.  As I showered and got ready I realized how lucky I was to have had the opportunity to "do over" the day.  I feel better and know that my day will not be what it could have been.  Am I still emotional?  Yes.  Am I in control?  I am now.    


Eye makeup remover that really takes off your makeup? Now that is just crazy

I know what you are thinking skeptical you: An eye make up remover that actually removes my make up?  That is a myth.  Everyone knows it doesn't exsist.  Or does it?
        All you ladies know what I am talking about.  We use the gook from the store to remove the make up from around our eyes, wash our face, and then when we dry our face we see two marks on our towel where our eyes have been.  The remains of our makeup as we remove the rest of our mascara.  Then I usually have to go back and put more gook on a q-tip to swipe under neath my eyes and rub my eyelashes all over again.  I skip washing my whole face a second time because I am afraid of another pair of black mini caterpillars residing on my towel indefinitely.  By the time I am done with my face washing and moisturizing routine my eyes feel irritated by the amount of work I put them through.
ENTER: Sei Bella dual eye make up remover

As some of you may know I have been a loyal Mary Kay user for many years.  I really did like their remover because it didn't sting like the dickens if it got in my eye BUT I had to use a lot because of the issues stated above.  I was introduced to a new company recently.  I could write a whole post about this amazing company that boasts all natural, tree hugging goodness but that will wait for another day.  Anywho, I decided to give their remover a whirl since I had run out of mine and it was the same price as what I was purchasing through Mary Kay.  Quality and price competitiveness are my top priorities when trying a new ANYTHING!  I ordered the product along with other things I needed from the website and got it in good time.  Night fell.  I was getting a little nervous.  I felt like I was meeting someone at the end of my evening with no idea how our "date" was going to go.  Sure, other people thought it was great but would it really perform??
I stood in front of the sink with cotton balls in hand, shook the slender bottle, upended the thing and gave it a squeeze.  Then I brought the cotton ball to my eye, bracing for the sting, and applied.
Oh, sweet heaven, it didn't hurt!  Point one for you Sei Bella!  I gently wiped away my make up and most of it got trapped in the cotton ball instead of being smeared all over my face.  Then, after doing the other eye, I washed my face as usual and went to dry it.  Anticipating the caterpillars to appear I was pleasantly surprise to pull away and find that my pastel yellow towel was just that, pastel yellow.  If there was anything left over I couldn't see it.  Wonder of wonder!  Miracle of miracles!  I don't have to be harassed about "my towel" by my husband anymore!  It was pretty amazing.  So much so that when my husband was home the next night I performed the whole thing for him and made him watch me pat my face dry and pull away from my unmarked towel.  There is one thing I must add.  I have tried this experiment with regular mascara, water resistant mascara, and water proof too.  Water proof does take a bit more time.  Note, I say time, not effort.  Let the solution sit on your eye for about ten seconds then gently dab and wipe away.
I know, I know.  It is amazing.

* if you are interested in this company and wish to try its products  feel free to contact me so I can help you sign up.  Melaleuca rewards those who refer others and I love a pat on the head as much as the next person:)  


Ideas, snippets, and then gone

That is what my brain has been doing lately when it comes to blogging.  I want to write about what is going on and what I have been thinking about but anytime I think of something clever or thought provoking I am in the middle of my day.  By the time I sit down to chill in front of my computer and blog I forgot what was so funny, cute, or cool and sit in front of the keys staring at the screen.  I think part of it has to do with me being pregnant.  I have a problem with racing thoughts too... and run on sentences... and unfinished stories...and ouch baby stop kicking so hard.  Man I need some tums.
"What was I going to say again?"


Summer is coming...

Yes, it's true.  The warm weather and pool days will be here before you know it.  In honor of the coming of warmer weather her is Frankie doing a spectacular dive and Ollie doing something entirely different.  I love my two little fish:)


Our Creek Adventure

We have moved to a new house and lucky for us right beside our house is a creek and land reserve.  This thing is full of lizards, frogs, and tadpools.  Perfect for our boys and dog.  A couple Sundays ago we decided to take a nature walk.  

 We all ended up muddy, wet, and tired but it was a great Sunday.  If you want to see more artsy pics click here


Knotts Berry Farm+ newly pregnant= not so fun

Jesse got a deal on Knott's Berry Farm tickets and really wanted to take the boys.  The last time I went to Knott's I was about 14 but I said ok.  I knew I wouldn't be riding the big rides but Jesse and I were free to get in and the boys were only $15 a piece.  Why not?  Here is the real question.... why?  Knott's is a big kid amusement park, it is not like Disneyland.  I was barely 2 1/2 months pregnant at the time.  Anywho, we (I) rallied and decided to go for it.
This trip was not fun for me and the hours seemed to drag by.  I was constantly eating snacks and not getting enough to eat at the same time.  Ollie wasn't tall enough to go on the things that Frank could go on and Frank wasn't tall enough for a lot of the rides he wanted to try.  It was frustrating to say the least that the map didn't have a height requirement posted at each ride.  We had to walk over to the ride to find out.  Even though it wasn't the day I hoped for the boys still had fun and I got some good pictures.

                                    Calico Train: These guys are just sooooo cute.

                                         Where ever we go we always find a fire truck!

                                                                Best ride at the Farm!

  I know this last kid is not my own but allow me to elaborate.  This ride is like the dumbo ride at Disneyland.  Very mellow.  The girl in front is in his sister.  The WHOLE ride this kid screamed and cried like he was in pain.  I was laying on a bench trying not to puke when I viewed this scene and got a fiendish delight from it.  So sue me.


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