The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Monday, August 30, 2010

Seriously?

Molly is five months old.  Just saying it makes me want to hurl.  Where has time gone?  I can't believe she isn't a little newborn anymore.  The two boxes of clothes I packed up that don't fit her anymore are not helping my state of mind.

She has also started rolling over from back to tummy, something which, if you don't know, is much harder than rolling from tummy to back.  Lucky for me she hasn't started rolling all over the floor yet, so I can hold on to immobility for a little longer.  She is also getting dangerously close to crawling, making that hilarious rocking motion every time she is on her tummy.  So, Molly is growing up and Isabelle is growing up and as it turns out, that means I too, am getting older.

Isabelle is finally and I mean FINALLY out of the cheese and crackers phase.  Partially because she has entered the cold oatmeal phase and partially because we ran out of cheese and crackers.  And in case you are wondering if I just said cold oatmeal, I did.  She likes oatmeal, but won't eat it until about 40 minutes after I have finished making it for her.  She is also back to eating peas and bananas which is a major blessing considering I was very concerned about the lack of nutrients from cheese and crackers.  Though, I don't know that peas or bananas are like the best fruit and veggie ever.

And now, despite the obvious lack of children updates, I must wrap it up.  I have just realized (as I write about how sad it is that Molly is five months) that today is Molly's five month visit to the doc and I have about five minutes to get ready and leave!  Off for two more shots.  Not sure who hates it more, Molly or me!  I will be sure to give you a height/weight update next Monday and let you know if Molly has exceeded the 100th percentile on weight or not!  That girl is a chunko.  See you Wednesday for another money saving tip.  Until then, bye!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ray LaMontagne

I am musically in love with Ray LaMontagne.  Not in love with Ray himself because 1. he is uglier than a butt and 2. I am already in love with my husband.  Perhaps that should be the other way around!  Oh well! 

I started listening to Ray after a coworker of Jason's had mentioned/played some of his music at work.  After one song, I was in love.  He currently has four albums out and yes, I do have them all.  Listening to his new album in my car yesterday I realized that I could easily come up with a list of things that feel like listening to Ray, or more simply, things that make me feel good, like I do when listening to Ray!  For example, listening to Ray Lamontagne is like driving with your windows down on a cool summer night, or sitting by a campfire, or being at Jenny Lake (my most favorite place EVER). 

So here is a list of some of my feel good things starting with, of course

1. Ray LaMontagne
2. Jenny Lake
3. Driving with the windows down
4. Camping (only when it is slightly cold outside, forget hot camping)
5. The quiet time before my kiddos wake up in the morning
6. Looking at the stars with my hubby out on the driveway (hope he doesnt' kill me for sharing a sappy fact about him!)
7. Talking on the phone with a good friend just to catch up and say hello
8. Coffee
9. A good fiction book
10. Walking on the beach
11. Driving the back roads between my mother in law's house in OKC and Norman at night, with Jason, again with the windows down.
12. Sleeping with Molly (I only do this in the mornings when I am mostly awake and there is NO chance Jason or I will roll on top of her or that she will roll off the bed or develop a bad habit of only sleeping while I hold her)

Okay, so not a long list, but a list of things that are feel good to me!  If you haven't checked out Ray LaMontagne, you should.  He is awesome.  I am musically in love with him. (this last statement was just for you, Carri as I know how much you LOVE it when I say that!!!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just Between Friends....

If you have never been to a Just Between Friends sale you are missing out.  I have heard about JBF for several years and have never been interested enough to go look.  I have had friends shop there as well as consign there and have always heard rave reviews, but again, I never went to check it out myself.  Until this year.  And truth be told, I was only there because of Mary Kay.  You see, this year JBF had vendors at their sale, and a few Mary Kay ladies and I had a booth there to meet some new people.  However, now that I have been, I cannot believe I ever paid full price for any baby item EVER.  JBF is like a baby/kid garage sale on steroids.  Words cannot do this sale justice.  There is an endless amount of toys, clothes (baby, toddler and kids), and baby related items.  And not just a few of one thing either where you are going to have to really search to find what you want, but multiples of nearly every item and almost all of them in great shape.  I saw two tables full of nothing but Elmo's.  It was crazy.  Other items you can find at the sale are bedding, maternity clothes, furniture, bicycles, books, puzzles, board games, backpacks, shoes, car seats, high chairs and pack n plays. 

Now as for the clothes.....The items are very well organized and easy to look through.  All are clearly labeled with the price and almost all of the clothes I looked at were in what I would call great condition.  I am pretty picky so I was smelling them to make sure they were not from a smoker's home and I also looked for pet hair because I am obsessive about that also!  Some had a few stains, but most were very clean.  There is pretty much every brand of clothes including Carters, Gap, Target, Gymboree, Children's Place, Kohl's and several designer brands.  The one downside to the clothes was the cost.  The items I found were a little more than I wanted to pay, but in the end they were still much cheaper than buying new clothes.  I am curious to see what is left during the last two days where items are 25% and 50% off. 

My first day there I left with about $40 worth of stuff.  I bought Isabelle six wooden puzzles all in very good shape, an adorable Children's Place outfit (my splurge of the day), a Gymboree outfit, and a Gap hoodie for Molly.  I am not sure if I got the greatest deal of my life, but I did get some super cute clothes from stores I don't shop at often and some great new toys for Isabelle.  Maybe the 50% off sale will convince me to spend more!

One thing is for sure, if you are a mom, about to be a mom or know a mom, you can find a great deal at JBF.  If you are needing to get rid of a bunch of kid stuff, you can sell it at a JBF sale and avoid the hassle of having your own garage sale.  Check out their website to see if they have a sale in your area.  If you are in Tulsa, JBF goes through Saturday, with 25% off on Thursday and Friday and 50% off on Saturday.  Stop by the Mary Kay booth if you happen to make it out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Molly hates church.....

So, first let me say that I realize that I committed to posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and today is Tuesday and I did not post yesterday, and well...that is what you get when you have two under two and work and run a house!  Yesterday got away from me too fast and for that I am sorry!

Secondly, Molly doesn't really hate church, at least not all churches.  Only my mom's church, not our church.  Which is nice, because the bible study I am doing at my mom's church is only 11 weeks (2 of which I have already completed), while we will continue to go to COTM for much longer!!!! (again with the exclamation point)

Molly is probably the most easy going baby you have ever seen and yes, I know I said that about Isabelle, but I really mean it with Molly.  Seriously.  She was sleeping through the night pretty much the day we brought her home.  She will sleep anywhere you put her including her bouncy seat, car seat, floor, crib, pack in play, or even while you hold her, and she sleeps all the time (10 hours at night with at least 3 naps during the day 2 of which are 2 + hours).  She enjoys being awake also.  She loves tummy time (what kid does that??), loves her swing, likes to be on her playmat and in her bouncy seat.  This girl is easy.  Except at my mom's church.

Every Tuesday I take Molly into the nursery a happy, smiling, full and sleepy baby ready to sleep the class away and every Tuesday I pick her up and hear about what a nightmare she was during my class.  I have provided the nursery workers with anything they might need to make her happy like her paci, a bottle, a toy, a blanket, etc.  However, for the second week I have heard, "How do you do it?  She is so hard to get to sleep.  Is she always like this?"  It is a mystery to me.  No one else that has watched Molly has said anything other than to say what a wonderful baby she is.  I can't figure it out.  Do the nursery workers smell bad?  Is it too light inside the nursery to fall asleep?  Have these people ever worked with babies before?  I have no idea.  So for now, I will remain clueless.  Hopefully I will figure it all out before next Tuesday so the nursery workers will not beg me to leave and never come back!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thank Goodness It's Friday!

Friday is here, and usually it is just another day for me, but not today!  Today my hubby came home early from work, surprised me with lunch and is taking me out for date night!!!  And he also got a babysitter!!! 

Have I ever mentioned my love of the exclamation point?  Jason hates my over-usage of it in emails, but who doesn't love exclaiming things??  I LOVE it!!!!

Anyway, since I have been preparing pretty much since Jason came home for our date (trying on every shirt and jean/pant in my closet) I have not had time to think of a good blog topic for today.  So instead I am posting some recent pics of the girls for your viewing pleasure.  After all, I am pretty sure they are the cutest kids ever!!!   Have a great weekend.


Molly sucking on her hand...shouldn't be hard to break the paci habit!

Isabelle first thing in the morning.  Check out that bedhead!!!

Isabelle playing with Bear-Bear.  She takes him everywhere.

Molly smiling big for the camera.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Money Saving Wednesday....Diapers

So if you are not currently raising babies, this post may not be for you.  BUT, if you are then welcome to a great way to save some cash on diapers.  Diapers are not cheap.  In fact I am pretty sure that my brother has decided to skip children all together after learning how much we spend on diapers per month.  However, the only alternative cheaper than disposable diapers, cloth diapers, is disgusting.  Who wants to rinse dirty diapers out or keep them in a diaper pail and have to put that stinky mess in your washing machine???  Yes, I know our parents did it, but it was gross then and it is gross now.  So, it is important to know how to save money.  You can go the route of generic, but I have found the true cost of those outweighs name brand.  Usually they are not as absorbent and usually they leak leading to time spent cleaning up a wet or even more fun, a dirty child.  So if name brand is your choice, here are a few easy ways to save money.

First, I believe Babies R Us is the best place to buy diapers.  I only buy the big value packs and I only go when they are having a sale.  Pretty frequently they will have a sale where if you buy two value boxes of diapers, they will give you a $10-15 gift card for your next purchase.  Since I always wait for these sales, I always get a gift card!  On top of that, Babies R Us will mail out coupons for discounts on diapers that can be used with the gift card offer.  To make matters even better you can also use manufacturer's coupons on the same purchase.  Pampers almost always has a coupon for $2 off diapers in the Sunday paper and you can use two of those (one for each box) at the same time.  So on my last diaper purchase, each box was $41.99, but I had a $5 Babies R Us coupon that they applied to each box, making each one $36.99.  Then I used a manufacturer's coupon on each box for $1.50 off, bringing the diapers to $35.49 per box.  Now here is the next best part.  I had a $10 gift card from the previous Babies R Us diapers that I used, bringing my total for two boxes of diapers to $60.98.  Here is the bonus.  I bought the diapers during a buy two boxes and get a $15 gift card offer, so now I have a $15 gift card for my next purchase.  If getting $23 off diapers plus a gift card for the next purchase isn't enough, at Babies R Us when you buy 8 value boxes of diapers you get a 9th one free!  Quite the bargain. 

While Target, Walmart and Sam's might have diapers on sale, I have calculated the cost per diaper over and over and each time, Babies R Us comes out the winner.  You do need to be sure to use coupons, go during sales and buy the biggest boxes.

As an added  bonus, I also take advantage of the pampers rewards program.  Log on to pampers.com to enter your reward codes that are found on packages of diapers and wipes and you can earn rewards such as magazine subscriptions, free pictures from shutterfly.com, toys for your kids or even spa products!

Hope this helps you or someone you know save a few dollars!  See you next week for another idea on how to keep some of your hard earned money in your pocket!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Lesson In Patience

Mealtimes are an interesting time of day at my house.  Interesting might be too nice of a word.  Mealtimes are a nightmare.  Now you might be saying to yourself, "I thought Isabelle ate everything, including cans of green beans and plenty of healthy vegetables."  Well, that was last week.  This week is a whole new ball game.  My regular, normal, eat whatever child has left the building and has been replaced by a soon to be two year old child who refuses to eat anything.  Anything that is except cheese and crackers.  Cheese and crackers for breakfast, cheese and crackers for snack, more cheese and crackers for lunch and cheese and crackers for dinner.  You also might be asking, "why keep giving the girl cheese and crackers?"  Well, I invite you to mealtime at our house.  You see, I try to avoid the cheese issue by making sure she is nice and hungry before sitting down to eat.  I then start my ritual by offering every other food we have in the house that someone might eat, all the while watching Isabelle cry for cheese and crackers.  Tonight, for dinner we went through multiple fruits, several dinner options including her previous favorite spaghetti and something I thought all children liked.....cheeseburgers, which oddly enough I thought she would eat because it included cheese.  Other recently rejected foods include cereal, pancakes, bacon, toast, peanut butter sandwiches, chicken, pasta of any kind, pizza, peas, apples, turkey and applesauce.  So the journey begins, find food Isabelle will eat.  I hope I can keep my sanity through this new phase.  If you have suggestions of healthy, non-fried, easy to make food for toddlers, I would appreciate all the help I can get!  As a side note the dish cannot contain pasta, rice, peas, green beans, fruit, chicken, hamburger, or turkey!!!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Accomplishment

In my old life, my life before children, accomplishment looked much different.  It was a project finished, a deadline met, or maybe teaching a student something new and something they didn't understand before.  Well, things have changed.  Today was one of my most productive days since having children, and yet when I think back on what I did today I can't help but laugh at how different my life is now compared to life before the kiddos came along.  So for your reading enjoyment here is a summary of my day today!  I vacuumed the house, swept the kitchen floor, mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned the appliances, and did dishes.  I also baked brownies and chocolate chip cookies and made veggie pizza.  I worked out, showered, got dressed in clothes that weren't sweat pants and did some laundry.  I also prepared for my Mary Kay open house by removing all the kid gear from the living room and kitchen.  I talked to my good friend, Rochelle, on the phone and was able to read my favorite blog.  In addition to the housework and cooking, I took care of Isabelle and Molly which includes a lot of diapers and meal times.  And at the end of the day I can't believe how much got done around here today.  The house is mostly clean, the laundry is mostly done, I had a good open house and my kids are sleeping.  Life is good.  Hope you all have a great weekend.  See you on Monday when I will be back to talking about the girls! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cha-Ching!

Today is Wednesday and that means I am posting about one of my favorite topics....(drum roll please) saving money! Whoo Hoo!! Yes, I am a geek and yes, I know it. When you make the decision to cut out an entire salary to stay home to have kids (which are not the cheapest things ever) you have to find ways to save some money. So without further delay, here is my first money saving idea. It may or may not be something you can take advantage of, but it worked for me and was very, very easy.

Pretty much every day I get some sort of offer for At&t's U-verse tv. They call, they email, they send me snail mail, it is relentless. I have Directv currently and am pretty happy. But I decided to look into U-verse about a month ago and well...it was the same price. After you add in the same channels I get on Directv, plus Hd service, plus a dvr, it was the same price. So I stayed with Directv. Well, another email came along from U-verse and for some reason I decided to read it and low and behold the offer was better. You could save $25 a month on your first six months of service. Now I am not one for change, but I am for saving money. So rather than calling and switching right away, I called Directv. I simply told them about the offer from U-verse and asked them if there was anything they could do. The guy on the phone said, "Yes, we can offer you $27 off your bill for the next six months." And in less than five minutes I saved $162.

I realize not everyone has Directv and I realize some people don't even have cable. (though how those people do it, I do not know) However, if you have five minutes and want to save a little on your cable bill, I suggest you shop around. See what deals are out there, be willing to switch (which I would have done had Directv not given me a deal since U-verse has no contract), and just ask for the discount. What is the worst that can happen? Either way I would have been saving money! (As a side note, sometimes if your first attempt does not work, you can call back and get a different operator who will say yes to your request.)

Well, that's it. My first post about saving money. Look for other great ideas every Wednesday. Some might work for you, some might work for someone you know. In case you are interested, that extra $162 will be used to help out with the grocery budget which seems to be growing and growing despite my money saving efforts. So expect some posts about grocery savings that are a little less radical than the extreme coupon ideas on the internet, but more beneficial than doing nothing! Have a great day and good luck with the cable guy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, Monday

Perhaps the idea to write on Mondays was not thought out enough. After all it is after 8 pm and I am just now getting started. Oh well!

Like I mentioned in my last post, I am reserving Mondays to discuss all things related to the kiddos. Mondays will be my updates on the kids and general parenting/sahm things. Today, just an update. And hopefully a video.

Isabelle has started making animal noises. She is so funny. She can tell you what a cow, sheep, snake, pig and horse all say. Sometimes you can get her to tell you what a donkey says, but not always. I took a video the other day of these great noises and am hoping to post them today.

video

She can also tell you her colors and almost always get them all correct. Now obviously I think she is a genius, but she is my kid.

Molly is laughing out loud and drooling all over the place. She is also a pretty accomplished scooter these days. She will not stay put on her blanket and although she isn't crawling yet, I am confident it won't be long.

We are doing pretty well here in Jenks, OK. Jason is working like crazy and the girls and I are just crazy! Some days this stay at home life is not exactly how I pictured it. Some days I think I would rather go back to work. But every day I am thankful that I am home, spending time with the girls, hearing the great animal noises and hearing the first laugh, being able to be the one to kiss a boo-boo or get good hugs from Isabelle. I know that I have made the right choice to stay home even if it means sacrifice and stress, and I know I am living a blessed life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Girl's Night

That's right! Today is Friday and tonight is girl's night out! I couldn't be more excited. It is a whole evening of not worrying about kiddos and spending time with some of my favorite people. On the schedule tonight is movie night. We were inspired by the recent ladies event at our church and have decided to watch old romantic movies. For starters, Casablanca. I LOVE this movie. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. And then An Affair to Remember, which I have not seen. For all of you who are shocked by that, let me also tell you that I have never seen Gone With the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany's, It Happened One Night or Philadelphia Story either. Looks like we will need more movie nights. In attendance tonight will be my sister, my nieces, a friend of my niece, my mom, my bro Danny's girlfriend, my bro Bob's girlfriend and perhaps my sister's mother in law. We have all decided to wear our pj's for movie night and are all bringing our favorite movie snack to share, so in addition to having a good time, I will probably gain 10 lbs. Good food, good movies, great company! It should be a great night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Changes

I love blogging. I don't know that I have said that before, but I do. I love it. I enjoy talking about my kiddos, keeping track of what they do and when, and being able to share our family with yours. That being said, I am going to write more, and with more focus. I am going to get more specific about what I blog about, post more often, and hopefully attract new readers! I have decided to try out some new topics beyond the girls and our life and write more about things I am passionate about. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of updates on the girls and what we are up to as a family and I have reserved each Monday to write about our crazy life! One of the first things I am going to start writing about is saving money. I am weird like that. I am passionate about saving money. Now, I am not crazy, just passionate. Which basically means there won't be any posts about how you can get $100 worth of groceries for $1, but I will discuss how I personally have saved a little bit of money each week. Wednesdays will be my money saving posts. I also have decided to make Fridays my day to blog about anything that strikes my fancy. Friends, family, fun facts that I have learned, books that I am reading, meals that I have cooked, and more will all be covered on Fridays. I realize I am taking on a pretty big project considering most months I have only been posting about three times, but I am excited and ready to take on the challenge. I hope you enjoy reading and I hope you share with your friends! Also, if you have suggestions on things you would like to read more about, let me know! See you tomorrow for my first Friday post about....well, whatever I want!