Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Aunt Dana!!!

Happy birthday to my very best friend and sister. We've celebrated a LOT of birthdays together sweetie. We celebrated our birthdays together as kids...


And now we are celebrating our birthdays together with our kids...


I know I say it every year (and every chance I get) but I am so incredibly lucky to have a best friend and sister like you. :-) I hope you have a FABULOUS 30th birthday!! Love you bunches!!!!!

P.S. I promise to post pics of your surprise party as soon as someone sends them to me (hint, hint, Jill :-)

Eco-Friendly Friday: Cute Reusables for Kids

One of the things I love most about Addie at this age is her desire to "be like mama". She loves holding, feeding and burping her baby while I take care of Blake, she loves helping me clean and insists on holding the mop herself, and best of all...she loves copying fashion. If I am carrying a purse, she wants one too. If I have on fancy shoes, she has to have on fancy shoes too. So when I noticed her wanting to carry one of my Envirosax home from the store the other day, I thought I might splurge and get her some of her own! I mean...what better way to get her to go green than by copying off me? :-) And while I was shopping, I came across a lot of other great reusable items geared towards kids. Here are a few of my favorites...



The sippy cup market is hot these days! Who knows...maybe its always been hot, but I just never noticed because I wasn't shopping for sippy cups. But with the way we go through them at our house, I have had the chance to a try a ton of different brands. I am happy to see that more companies are switching to BPA free plastic, but there is still something to be said about aluminum and stainless steel bottles. For one thing, they are unbreakable (added bonus if you have a tantrum throwing toddler) and they keep liquids colder longer. I really love these cute SIGG aluminum bottles and the kid version of the Klean Kanteen with sippy spout...


And speaking of keeping things cold (or hot), check out these adorable Mimi the Sardine Modern Organic Cotton Lunch Bags


I know there are a ton of adorable lunch bags for kids on the market but what I love about these is that they are machine washable! I am a total sucker for anything I can throw in the washing machine or dishwasher :-) I also love these bags because they will hold two baby bottles. You know...in case Blake ever decides to take one :-)

Now, one of the easiest ways to cut down on disposables with kids is replacing plastic snack bags with some of these reusable ones made by Snack Taxi


I am also a big fan of Lunch Skins reusable snack bags, but these Snack Taxis have a lot of great kid friendly designs. I would say that before switching to reusable snack bags, I probably used (and tossed) about 3-5 plastic bags a week! I don't even like to add up how many that would have been in a year. So if you are like me and take snacks everywhere you go with the kids, be sure to pick a few of these up. They are SO worth it.

Next up, 3 of my FAVORITE reusable kids items...



How fun are these?!! Stuffed inside each Freak-O-Bag is a reusable shopping bag that kids can take with them wherever they go! They are small enough to hook to your keychain, diaper bag or kids backpack! And the best part? You guessed it....machine washable :-)

As much as I love the Freak-O-Bags, I am still an Envirosax lover :-) My mom pointed out these cute new Envirosax from the Kids Series called Maa, Baa & Paa. I am so getting these for Addie :)


And finally, because I am obsessed with my Reisenthel baskets, I just had to post about these new Reisenthel kids styles!! Addie has one in pink and LOVES to carry hers places when I carry mine. And these are the perfect size for kids too. You must check them out...


I could seriously go on and on about all the cute eco-friendly kids items I found, but I will let you check out the rest for yourself here. And if you decide to place an order before Sunday, be sure to enter coupon code MOM10 for 10% off on a $50 order!!! Happy eco-shopping friends!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Q&A Part II: Vacations, Friends & Booze

Ahh...vacations, friends and booze. This was a FUN post to write :) Lets start with vacations shall we?

My mommy friend Amy asked...

What is your favorite vacation spot Jen, and why?

I have to admit...I am not a very big traveler. I love the idea of traveling and I can think of a thousand places I would like to go. But in the end, I always have a million excuses not to go somewhere, whether it's time, money, distance, etc. Also...I absolutely HATE flying. H.A.T.E. But, Eric and I certainly weren't going to travel by boat to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon, so I had to bite the bullet and just take a Tylenol PM and drink a bottle of wine. And boy am I glad I did because our trip to Punta Cana was AMAZING!!! The water is crystal blue, the beaches are clean and not over populated with travelers, the resorts in our area were all beautiful (including the resort specifically for families with kids), and best of all...everything there is all inclusive. In my opinion, that is the way to travel. So...if I had to pick my favorite vacation spot, i would pick Punta Cana. I would love to go back some day and take another picture like this...


But like I said, I absolutely hate to fly. So if I had to pick my favorite vacation spot within driving distance, I would pick Galena, IL. Galena is a gorgeous little town only about 3.5 hours away from us...


They have a fun little downtown area with lots of shopping and cute restaurants...


My brother Adam and SIL Diana got married here a few years ago and I have been in love with the place ever since. In my opinion, the best time to visit Galena is in the fall. The trees are GORGEOUS and you can't beat doing some shopping while sipping on some fresh apple cider :-)

Also, besides Disney what is one place you feel Blake and Addie have to see/visit in their lifetimes?

This is a great question. My Dad and I have said for years that we would love to go to Germany and see some old relatives, but I have always been petrified to go. I feel uncomfortable going anywhere where I can't speak the language. Also, lets not even talk about how long of a flight that is!! But it is our heritage, and I think it would be a once in a lifetime experience to take the kids somewhere like that. And hey, if my Mom (who is an even bigger scaredy cat than me) can travel to Europe countless times for work, I think I could handle it for a vacation :-)

Now, speaking of vacations, my bloggy friend Chelle asked...

If you could have a girls weekend, where would you go, why, and with whom?

AWESOME question Chelle. I think about this a lot lately, since I haven't had a girls trip in years. MANY years. I have a thousand different places I would consider going, and at least 10 different ladies I would like to travel with (my mom, MIL, my SILs, my BFFs, etc.) but the one place my SIL Dana and I have talked about is Napa Valley.


I have never been to California and since I love wine and sunshine...what better place to go? I also hear they have some fabulous Day Spas in the area that we could go to when we are hung over from all the wine drinking. Which leads me to Chelle's next question...

Beer, wine or hard alcohol or none of the above?

Wine. In a glass, out of a box or straight from the bottle...it is my drink of choice :-) I mean obviously...since I would base an entire vacation around wine drinking. Ha!

And if there is one friend I know I could count on to accompany me on a wine vacation, it would be my BFF Linsey who asked...

I want to know exactly how cool you think your friend Linsey is - on a scale of 1 to 10?

You are a solid 11 babe. I love ya! Oh, and if you and I ever plan a girls trip alone (or with Tara) I would say we book tickets for the Twilight Cruise. Just sayin...

So...since I am not a big traveler, I have become a big fan of "Day Trips" lately, especially with the kids. My real life friend Kate asked...

Do you have memberships anywhere? Where do you like to take your kids?

This a good question honey. I don't have any memberships yet, but I am contemplating getting one to the Brookfield Zoo and/or the Shedd Aquarium in the city since there is SO much fun stuff to do there. Oh, and Addie is in love with fish, thanks to Nemo. And as for our playdate, maybe we can check out one of those places together one day? Let me know when you are off for the summer :-)

Well...that concludes my Vacations, Friends and Booze post :-) But stay tuned for Q&A Part III: Books, Books and Music and Q&A Part IV: Being a Stay at Home Mommy (this one is going to be so fun!). Thanks again for all the great questions ladies! If you think of anything else, be sure to ask! I could play this game all day!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blake is 4 Months Old!

I have to interrupt our little Q&A week for just one second to announce that my baby boy is 4 MONTHS OLD!! Can you believe it? A third of his 1st year is already behind us. It almost brings a little tear to my eye. But at the same time, I absolutely LOVE the stage Blake is entering into. He is so much more social and active. I love watching him play and learn and giggle. He has become quite a fan of his jumperoo as you can see...


And now that he is holding his head and upper body up so well, he no longer wants to lay on his back in his swing. The swing is gone my friends. That beautiful, $160 swing got officially 6 months of use (3 months for Addie, 3 months for Blake). Sigh...

But that's okay because we have PLENTY of other toys for him to sit in. And I am sure in the coming weeks he will try them all :-) I just can't believe we are already at this point. Sitting in the jumperoo, staying up for hours at a time, eating cereal, AH!! Time needs to seriously slow down. My little 7.11 pound newborn is now 16 POUNDS and is 26 INCHES long!!! Seriously? How did that happen?

Oh, and before I forget, I thought I should announce that Blake did not cut his first tooth. He is not going to join the baby vampire club with his fang after all. Turns out the little white bump that I thought was a tooth bud was just a cyst. Our Pedi said babies get them all the time and that they just go away on their own. And his did. So....I guess all this drooling means he will be cutting teeth soon...just not right now :-)

Well that's Blakester's update for this month! I have a very fun girls night ahead of me so I will be sure to post Part II of Q&A tomorrow! Have a Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Q&A Part I: How Many Babies and My Pre-Mommy Lifestyle

Wow ladies...you all asked some really fun questions! And since I am not a short answer kind of girl, I decided I better dedicate a post to each questioner separately. This gives me lots of good material ladies...so thanks!

Tonight...I decided to start with my bloggy friend Heather's questions because I am able to answer one of them with absolute clarity after the day I had today. So let's get started shall we? Here is what Heather wrote:

Do you want a third baby someday?

I have actually deleted the answer to this question about 6 times because I want to find the right words to explain my answer. In short...I do not think Eric and I will try for a third baby. BUT...that does not mean I don't want a third baby. I think no matter how many children I have, I will always want another. As hard as the baby stage is, you magically forget about all of the crying fits and sleepless nights when you see a cute pregnant chic or hold a newborn. That's how it is for me anyway :-) I loved being pregnant and I love being a mother. I could never not want another baby.

But at the same time, I do feel like my family is complete. I look at Blake and Addison and think wow...I am one of the luckiest mamas in the world!!! I have two beautiful, healthy children. And there is something to be said about having a boy and a girl. I am sure if Blake would have turned out to be another girl...Eric and I would be whistling a different tune right now :) In the end, only God knows how many children Eric and I will have. Surprises seem to run in both our families so you can never really say never. But as for right now, I think 2 is our magic number :-)

What is one thing you miss about your pre-mom lifestyle?

This one is simple...time. Even though I worked full-time, taught a night class, commuted 2.5 hours a day and had a full calendar of get togethers with friends and family...I still never felt as busy as I do as a mom. Maybe it's because your job as a parent doesn't just run from 9-5. Your job as a parent is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no sick days or vacation days. It takes you weeks to plan ahead for a doctors appointment and even when you schedule it, odds are you will forget to write it down on your calendar and miss it anyway (not that I have ever done that of course :-) And because your mind is always running a mile a minute, you have a hard time keeping things straight. You miss appointments, you tell people you will call them right back and then forget about them for days (sorry Marie :-), you leave the house without showering or changing out of your comfy pants because the thought literally doesn't cross your mind, you leave your wallet in the shopping cart at the grocery store (yes...that happened today but luckily a sweet old lady turned it in), etc. Even with my hectic pre-mommy schedule, I always felt like I had at least some time to myself each day to regroup, look at my calendar, run errands, put my wallet back in my purse, etc. Once you have kids...you just sort of become this hot mess that is always running around looking for something with a SpongeBob SquarePants sticker stuck to your ass. But...it's the price you pay to become a mommy and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world :-)

What's your favorite restaurant?

Well, when I do get the chance to go out to eat, I ALWAYS suggest the same place...The Cheesecake Factory. I know it is a chain restaurant and it isn't that creative. But I absolutely love their Bistro Shrimp Pasta and can't find anything like it anywhere else, and I am a big dessert person so topping off a dinner with a slice of Banana Cream Cheesecake is pretty much my idea of heaven :-)

Well thanks for the fun questions Heather!!! I have a LOT more fabulous questions to answer so I will be back tomorrow with Part II :-) Have a great night everyone!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What Do You Want to Know About Me?

Okay okay...I know my blog has been full of review posts, eco-friendly posts, weight loss posts, and other posts that many people don't seem too interested in (hence my dwindling comments). I am not giving up on my Eco-Friendly Fridays because I really think you will all enjoy some of the great posts I have coming up. BUT...I think it is time to get back on track. This blog is first and foremost about my family. My kiddies are my pride and joy and I just LOVE talking about them. But I realize that while all of you know so much about Addie and Blake...you may not know too much about me. Sure...you know I love clothes, Origins face wash, Tori & Dean, reading celebrity gossip magazines, Twilight, and all the other random things I post about. But...is there anything else you want to know about me? Any questions you want to ask? Don't be afraid to get personal if you want. I have never held back anything on here before :-) I would love to have some fun material to post about this week (in addition to pics of my babies :-) so ask away friends!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A New Addition to Our Dinner Table & A Booster Seat Review

First things first. Lets just talk about how BIG my little guy is getting!!! He will be 4 months old on Wednesday but since this mama is desperate for a little sleep, I decided to start him on rice cereal a few days early. People keep insisting that he will start sleeping longer stretches once I get a little cereal in him at night, so we will see if all the hype is true. I know it wasn't for Addie, but she didn't like rice cereal as much as this guy did!


I know his silly little faces seem to suggest otherwise, but this little bugger took his first bowl of cereal like a champ!


At one point, I thought he was actually trying to grab my hand and make me feed him faster!


His big sis was there to witness the whole thing. She is quite a cereal junkie herself but when she realized I wasn't feeding him Cinnamon Life...she was over it.


And speaking of big sis, she hit another big milestone this weekend! She handed over her old high chair to Blakester and graduated to the big girl booster!


As I mentioned in a previous post, the great folks over at BabyCribsPlus.com sent me this fantastic Mutsy Grow Up Booster Chair and we were finally able to give it a test run. Umm....you think Addie likes being up at the table like a big girl?


I'll be honest...I wasn't sure I liked the chair when I took it out of the box for the first time. The color is super bright and I wasn't aware that the lap strap was actually a 5-point harness (I am sure it said this in the product description but I must have missed it :-) I knew there was NO WAY I was going to get Addie to wear a harness over her shoulders like that. But the good news is...you don't have to use the 5-point harness if you don't want to. I was able to just use the lap strap and it worked perfectly!! Here are some other greats pros to this chair:

* Although the color did seem bright to me at first, Addie thought the color was awesome and couldn't wait to hop in. I guess that is why they make these chairs in fun bright colors...so kids will actually want to sit in them :-)

* The foam material of the seat is firm, but super comfy. It was also easy to clean and wipe down after a spaghetti dinner.

* It is the perfect height for both our kitchen and dinning room tables.

* The booster easily attaches to the chair and I was happy to see how secure it was. Addie climbed in and out herself and it didn't even budge. This was a big plus.

If someone were to ask if I though this chair was worth the almost $50 price tag, I would say absolutely. For one thing, a lot of the booster seats I looked at did not attach to the chair. I suppose this wouldn't be a big deal to some, but since Addie loves to climb up and down on her own, I just feel safer knowing that the seat isn't going to slide or fall off the chair. Also, I love the materials this company used. The foam seat is awesome and it was SO easy to wipe clean. There aren't a lot of cracks and crevices for food to get into and that is nice :-)

But if $50 for another baby/kid item doesn't fit into your budget, I highly recommend checking out all the great boosters that BabyCribsPlus.com has to offer. They start as low as $24.95 and all CSN stores offer amazing deals like no tax, free shipping and promotional discounts. Can't beat it!!!

Well that's all for today friends! It was a looooong, cold, rainy, garage sale'n weekend and I need to put my feet up and have a glass of wine :-) Hope you all had a Happy Sunday!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eco-Friendly Friday: Green Spring Cleaning

It's the season for some Spring Cleaning! I don't know about you, but when the temperature outside hits 60 degrees or above, I can't wait to get my windows open to air the place out. I feel like my house gets this layer of funk during the winter that just doesn't go away until I can do some deep down cleaning. But who has the time to do that type of cleaning nowadays? I know I only have a very small window of time to do any major cleaning during the day so I like to use products that are cheap, easy and effective. I don't like having 50 different bottles to tote around and because of the kids, I am VERY selective about which cleaners I like to use. I am a big fan of Seventh Generation, but the price tag doesn't always fit our budget.

So...after my friend Natalie suggested trying Reusit.com's Eco-Me DIY Home cleaning kit, I decided to give it a shot.


In order to make your cleansers, you only need to supply three ingredients: Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Olive Oil. The kit comes with everything else you need like spray bottles, storage containers, a scrub brush, microfiber cloth and essential oils. I was most curious about the scent of the products, since I can't stand the smell of vinegar. But to my surprise, the addition of the Home Blend essential oils to the mixture made them smell WONDERFUL! So fresh and clean. This is probably the biggest selling point for me. I want and need my home to actually smell clean, not just look clean. Today I tested the products on a soap scummy bathtub, a post dinner stove top, and a kitchen sink. These products past all three tests with flying colors. I don't know if I will ever buy another cleaning kit again!!!

And while the kit does come with a microfiber cloth, I still have to recommend this Mu Kitchen cloth because it is freaking AWESOME!!!


It has a small scrub pad that is perfect for rubbing out tough stains on the counter, or scraping dried food off a plate. I haven't washed it yet, but I am told that it can be washed in your washing machine and/or sanitized in your microwave. BONUS!

And speaking of fabulous cloths, I just had to post about these reusable SKOY paper towels again because they rock. The last time I posted about them I hadn't really had the opportunity to put them to a major test. But when Addie decided to dump an ENTIRE glass of water on the kitchen floor because Howie "looked thirsty", I decided it was time to give them the ultimate test. Would you believe that just one SKOY cloth soaked up the entire glass of water?!! The floor was dry as a bone. That would have wasted a ton of paper towels. So if you tend to have a lot of messes in your house...I highly recommend picking up a pack of these. Oh, and they also do a great job of cleaning windows and mirrors!!


And finally, if you really need a good scrubber for your bath tub, kitchen sink, stove top, etc, you have to check out these SuperScrubbers...


These bad boys are also washable, they can be sterilized in the microwave, and they last up to 6 months!! No more smelly, germy sponges in your house!!!

And that is really all you need to get your house green and clean!!! I know that all natural cleaners are often cast aside because people don't think they get their house as clean as some of the other products on the market. But I promise you...these did a fabulous job in my house and I actually feel like my house is more clean because I don't have that terrible chemical smell everywhere!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Great Way to Celebrate Earth Day

You know the old expression, "One man's trash is another man's treasure?" Well...I am pretty sure that is the slogan for all garage sales across the U.S. I use to love garage sales as a child because my mom would give my brothers and I each a dollar and we would come home with like 20 new toys between the three of us. And then the following year, when we were totally sick of them, we would sell them back to the neighborhood kids for the same price. So you see...we were already reusing and recycling before we even understood how important it was!

In fact, I am in the process of a "Reuse It Sale" of my own this weekend and I thought wow...what better way to celebrate Earth Day?!!! See all these treasures...

They could very well end up in a landfill if it weren't for bargain hunters of all ages looking for a good deal. In fact, many of the items in our sale are from my Great Aunt's condo and when my Grandma suggested just throwing everything away, I thought NO!!! We need to have a garage sale. I'm sorry...I mean Reuse It Sale :-) Just think...that simple suggestion may have saved the local landfill from one more ceramic kitten and straw hat floral arrangement!! Woohoo!

So, if you live in my area and know where I live...be sure to stop by this weekend and check out all of our treasures. I promise it isn't all old lady condo stuff. There are actually some great finds in there too. The neighbors might think that my mom and I are part of a counterfeit purse ring with all the bags we have (don't worry...there is no Coach in there. I save those for my blog sales :-) but I assure you we are not. We are just purse whores :-)

All right friends...I am off to tag some more items. I hope you are all celebrating Earth Day in a special way! And if you would like to find out more ways to reuse, be sure to check out Reusit.com's list of Top 10 Ways to Cut Down on Disposables. They are also giving away a FABULOUS free gift with purchase today so order your reusable items now! Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sleep? What's That?

Hi friends. I am afraid I have a rather short post tonight because Mr. Blake and I are currently working on two little issues: Sleep and Bottles. Both of which are apparently not on Blake's list of favorite things. Sleep has always been a problem for my little night owl but now that he is approaching 4 months, Dr. Weissbluth tells me that we can start working on some sleep training. Not full on cry-it-out just yet, but a more revised version. My go-to book in this situation has always been...


This book helped me sleep train Addie and I really hope it is just as successful with Blake because let me tell ya...this mama is so sleep deprived it isn't even funny at this point. We are still waking up at least 3-5 times a night. No joke. He doesn't need to eat every time, but he does need some form of comfort to get him back down (i.e. a binky, a belly rub, some rocking, etc.) Eric can help me with some of those shifts but when the little guy needs to eat, its all me. And that is primarily because this little guys has decided that he will not take a bottle. Addie started refusing the bottle around 3 months and it looks like Blake is following suit. He has had plenty of bottles the first few months of life and didn't seem to have a problem with them. But all of a sudden he wants nothing to do with anything even resembling a bottle. Sigh...

So tonight, we are working on both issues. I have been pumping and Daddy is going to attempt the bedtime bottle. Again. And then when the inevitable 12:00 a.m. wake-up comes along, I am going to resist my natural urge to run right to him. We need to see if 5-10 minutes of fussing will get him back down. If it does, hooray!!!! If not...we will have some work ahead of us. Please pray that this little guy has a good night. Or better yet, pray that this mama does too :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I'd Want for Mother's Day...If We Had an Extra $3500

Does anyone watch the show Cougar Town? If not...you should really catch an episode because Eric and I think it is freaking hilarious. But that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is that I am in love with a particular piece of jewelry that Courtney Cox wears on the show...


The leaf necklace is gorgeous too, but I am crazy about the long gold strand. I did some searching online and I discovered that the necklace is by Jennifer Meyer...


Isn't it gorgeous???!!!!! I was just about to send Eric a "mother's day gift idea" e-mail until I realized that this necklace retails for $3500!!!! I know the price of gold is up but holy shit. That is just crazy. So I guess I will not be receiving anything from Jennifer Meyer's collection this Mother's Day. BUT...I would love to find something similar. Has anyone come across a great look-a-like? I haven't done much searching yet, but I have to believe there is something out there. I would be happy with gold or silver, since I wear both. I know this is a random post, but I am just in love with this necklace and I am searching for something a little more reasonable. Any help would be much appreciated :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thanks to Potty Training...I've Become THAT Parent

I'll be honest...I was a little reluctant to join Facebook when I did a year ago because I thought the whole "status update" thing was a bit much. People seem to share waaaaaaaaaaay to much on Facebook sometimes (i.e. airing out their dirty laundry, or picking a fight with another person, or informing the world of their child's bowel movements, etc.) Now don't get me wrong, I have probably been guilty of posting many things that people don't care to know about. But one thing I said I would never do was post about my child's poop. I don't know why...but it totally grossed me out when a parent would write "Jenny just went poo poo in the potty!!!"

BUT....I totally and completely get it now. I understand why parents feel the need to post about their child's bowel movements because in the land of potty training, this is a freaking HUGE accomplishment!!!! And I do mean HUGE!!! While Addie has been so good about going #1, we were still struggling quite a bit with #2. And let me just say that #2 accidents in big girl underwear are NOT fun to clean up. I can handle poopy diapers, but I can't handle poopy undies because it always results in poopy pants, poopy legs, etc. I will spare you the rest of the details.

ANYWAY, when Addie accomplished the task of #2 in the potty a few days ago, I really wanted to post about it on Facebook because, like I said, it was a big event. And then today, when Addie did it again without having to be asked, I was already grabbing for my phone so I could post about it. But then I stopped myself because I didn't want to be "that parent". So instead, I decided to write this entire blog post about it. HAHAHA!!! I mean, it's my blog...I can post about poop if I want to :-)

So the moral of this story is that you should never say "I would never be that person" because some day...you might just be the mom that posts about poop :-) And all joking aside, there is a lot to celebrate today because in addition to mastering the #2 hurdle...Addie has also filled her first potty chart!!!

I am going to get her something special for making it so far but I haven't decided what to do for her yet. I would reward her with treats, but she already had a huge piece of cake at Blake's baptism yesterday. And I would reward her with bubbles, since she is crazy about those right now, but she already has a bunch of bubbles outside. So I don't know what to do that would be something special. Anyone have any suggestions? Maybe I should take her somewhere? I could use some fun ideas :-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Beautiful Day for a Baptism

Today was our baby boy's baptism and I think it is safe to say that Blake was more than excited to be the man of the hour...


Addie was equally excited, but only because she got to wear her cute new tutu dress...


It was a BEAUTIFUL spring day today and I am so happy the weather cooperated because Blake's Godmother (my BFF Tara) had to drive 2.5 hours to be here. It was so wonderful getting to celebrate this day with her, and Blake's Godfather (my brother Adam). Thank you both soooooo much for being there for our little guy on his special day...


Eric and I appreciate it more than you know...


And since my brother Adam comes as sort of a package deal with my sister-in-law Diana, we asked her to stand up for Blake as well. Thanks so much for being there Auntie Di! It meant so much to us...


And to all of our family and friends that were there to celebrate Blake's baptism...



Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

And finally, to my Grandma, who always reminds me to be thankful of God's blessings, thank you for bringing me to your church...


And introducing me to Pastor Hess, who will always play a special role in our family's life.


I hope you all had a blessed Sunday! I know we did :-)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eco-Friendly Friday: The Hard Facts & Starting Simple

Hi friends! I can't tell you how excited I am to kick off Eco-Friendly Fridays!!! I have at least 6 different posts already started with wonderful tips and product ideas for going green in your home and as much as I would love to kick off this new segment with "Green Spring Cleaning", I have decided that there is something much more important to talk about first.

As you all know, Earth Day is right around the corner. The reason I know you all know this is because every company from Starbucks to Target is cashing in on the holiday. Last week alone I received almost 20 different e-mails from stores advertising their eco-friendly products. Did you know they make eco-friendly underwear?

Now, while I am happy to see all the enthusiasm this year, I wish that more companies made it a part of their mission to support the environment all year long. You know, like Reusit.com does :-) They make it their mission to not only sell reusable, eco-friendly products, but also to educate their customers on the benefits of their decision to go green. I think that is where a lot of companies miss the boat. They market their eco-friendly products, but they don't always explain the impact that your purchase will make. For example, did you know that Americans throw out 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Yes, EVERY HOUR!!! So when you make the decision to spend $19.95 on a Klean Kanteen, don't feel guilty about the price tag. Be proud of yourself for not contributing to that unbelievable statistic.

And plastic bottle are not the only problem for our planet right now. Plastic bags are just as bad, if not worse for our environment. It is estimated that we consume over 1 million plastic bags EVERY MINUTE!! And do you know the lifespan for each one of those bags? 1,000 years!!!! And here are a few other mind blowing pieces of information, compliments of Reusit.com...

  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.

  • Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade - breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits, contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest them.

  • During Clean Up Australia Day, nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.

  • Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up to harvest them to weave hats and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.

  • According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78 degrees north (latitude) to Falklands 51 degrees south (latitude)."

  • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit center for Marine Conservation.

I know these facts can be overwhelming and I don't blame anyone for thinking, "what difference can one person make?" Its true, one person alone can't change the world. But...one person can start a movement and if we all commit to making small changes in our own lives, we CAN make a difference for our children and future generations. And that is what I like to preach whenever I talk about going green. Start simple. Start by making one small change in your life. Buy a reusable water bottle or a set of reusable shopping bags like these ACME Workhorse bags...


I promise you...making one small change will lead to lots of small changes. Once I had my shopping bags, I decided I needed to start using reusable produce bags, and sandwich bags, and snack bags, etc. And knowing the hard facts and understanding the difference my decisions are making makes it all worth it.

So in honor of Earth Day, I am asking all of you to make one small change in your life. What will you vow to reuse this Earth Day...and every day after? Be sure to comment so we can all share our ideas :-)

Happy Friday Everyone!

Moving Up in the World

There are lots of changes going on in the Davis household this week and I can already see a lot more on the horizon. For one thing, Addie is VERY close to being potty trained (we just have to get her over the naptime and bedtime hurdles). And speaking of hurdles, I thought it would be a looong time before Addie figured out how to climb out of her crib (since she had never really tried before) but when I watched her scale the railing to get into the crib today to grab her baby, I realized that we are not far off from a big girl bed.

So now that Addie is officially becoming a big girl, she has decided that she no longer wants to sit in her highchair because they are for "babies" (which is actually a good thing because Blake is going to need it in just a few short weeks when we start cereal :-) And while I do let Addie eat at her little table sometimes, I prefer all of us to eat dinner together at the big table. But what do you do when your toddler won't sit in the highchair and they are still too short to sit in a big chair? The answer...booster seat time!!!

I really hated having to research yet another baby/kid item, but I am really glad I did because just like everything else, there are a million booster seats on the market. Some with good reviews, and some with great reviews. I did a lot of my research at the CSNstores, since you can literally find everything from pots and pans to baby cribs, and I ended up coming across an AWESOME booster seat. Its called the Mutsy Grow Up Booster Seat.


It got excellent reviews on Baby Cribs Plus and the best news is that the folks over at CSNstores are going to hook me up with one so I can give it my own review!!!! I will post about it as soon as Addie gets to give it a test run. If you are in the market for a booster seat as well, you need to check out their site. And if you like the looks of this one, it comes in several fun colors. I chose Apple Green. Adorable!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weigh-In Wednesday: I DID IT!!!!!!!

I am happy to report that after a little over 2 months on Weight Watchers, I am 15 pounds lighter and weighing in at 139.8 pounds!!!!!!!!! I know that rounds to 140, but the fact that I saw the 130's on my scale today was just TOO amazing to round up :-) WOOHOO!!!! In celebration of meeting my weight loss goal, I treated myself to a Spicy Italian sub for lunch (you know me and my salami) and my Dad made burgers on the grill for dinner and root beer floats for dessert. I am scared to even add up what my points would have been today, but you know what...it was TOTALLY worth it!! Everything was so freaking delicious!!!! But...I am having a bit of remorse tonight, which my Mom says is a good thing because it means I really have made a lifestyle change :-) I guess I deserve it though, because I was finally able to button my "skinny girl" jeans and wear them in public!!! Even Addie was happy for me :-)

So what now you ask? Well, I still think I am going to try and lose a few more "buffer" pounds. I haven't seen 135 since my wedding and if I could get there again, I might feel a little better about wearing my bathing suit this summer. I am still going tankini style though because even after losing this weight, I still have a little post baby belly. I mean, it did take 9 months for my belly to grow, I should at least give it that much time to shrink back down. So I can deal with the baby belly for now. But what I CAN'T deal with is this damn cellulite!! Sadly, I know that doesn't go away with weight loss so I guess I am just going to have to embrace my new thighs and buy an economy size bottle of Benefit's Jiggle Gel :-)

So after a few more weeks and a few last pounds, I plan to switch to Weight Watchers maintenance plan to help me stay on track. I really enjoy the practice of writing down what I eat because it helps me be accountable for what I am putting in my mouth. Also, I have really grown to like some of the healthier snacks I have been buying. And, now that fresh fruit and veggies will be more affordable with the summer coming, I can keep a lot more of that around the house too.

And speaking of snacks, I wanted to recommend one that I just tried for the first time today and I LOVE them!!! They are called gnu bars...


A very sweet woman got in touch with me last week about her great company and offered to send me a few samples of gnu bars because she said they are great for Weight Watchers (they are packed full of fiber :-) So when my lovely package arrived today...


I couldn't wait to give them a try!! I opened the Banana Nut first (because banana nut is one of my favorite flavors) and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!!! Seriously...they were better than I thought they would be!! They were chewy and sweet and I could definitely taste the bananas and nuts. It definitely tasted more indulgent than only 2 points, which is what I look for most in a WW snack :-) And to be honest, I really think it curbed my hunger for a while!! Bonus!!!

Oh, and just for the heck of it, I wanted to give it the "toddler test" too. We are a little addicted to fruit snacks around our house and I have been trying to introduce Addie to some different, healthier alternatives here and there. So for the heck of it, I broke her off a piece of my bar and she begged for the rest of it!! Another bonus!! I actually think this would be a great snack for toddlers just starting to eat more table food because they are soft and easy to chew. Not to mention all natural and healthy!!

So now I am addicted to yet another snack, and when my sample box runs out, I know I will be placing an order. If you want to check out all the great flavors they have on their website and take a look at their "Fiberology" section, head on over to gnu foods.

Well friends...that's all I have for this last installment of Weigh-In Wednesdays! Thanks for following me on my weight loss journey!! Glad its almost over and now I can start fitting into all my old clothes (and maybe some new ones. ha!) I still plan to post about great healthy snacks and recipes I find so be sure to continue to share those with me. Have a great hump day everyone!!!

Today's Weigh-In: 139.8 pounds
Total Pounds Lost: 15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GOAL MET!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little Vampire Baby

See this baby? Yeah...the one lying completely awake in his crib?


That is my son Blake, a.k.a "the little vampire". I use to joke and call Blake a vampire because the boy is completely nocturnal. He LOVES being awake and hanging out with me at night. Yes...even at 3 1/2 months old. I really thought we were making progress in that department too. There was even a week where we had four 7-hour stretches in a row! It was heaven. But over the past few weeks, things have drastically changed in the sleep department. We are back to pulling all nighters and I just couldn't understand why? And then it hit me...didn't Addie cut her first tooth at 3 1/2 months?

I went back through the archives on my blog and sure enough...her first tooth popped in at 3 1/2 months! Right on schedule! But when I looked in Blake's mouth, I didn't notice any teeth coming through. But after bathtime last night, I started feeling around in his mouth and that's when I felt it. HIS FIRST TOOTH!!! But are you ready for this one...it is his bottom canine????!!! I have never heard of such a thing! A baby getting one of his "fang" teeth first?

So like any crazy mom, I started googling the subject and realized that there are tons of little vampire babies out there cutting canines before any of their other teeth. SOOOOOO weird. And I had to laugh at one website where parents were posting the FUNNIEST pictures of their kids with only their canines in. hahaha!

So...it looks like my little man's vampire nickname works for two reasons now! I am a bit relieved to see Blake's tooth, because at least it explains why we have gone backwards in the sleep department. I know Addie's canines were the worst to come through so maybe if we can get these over with now...the other ones will be super easy! One can only hope right :-)

P.S. Eric and my SIL Dana think this all happened because I read "Twilight" too many times while Blake was in utero. hahahahaha!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reconnecting

It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Tori & Dean. What I love best about the two of them is their honesty when it comes to family and relationships. They don't try to pretend like everything is perfect all the time, and that is sort of refreshing to see because I don't believe that any real relationship is perfect all the time. But if you love someone...and I mean truly love someone...you can't fake that.


The tabloids have really been slamming Tori and Dean's relationship lately by throwing around titles like "In it For the Money" and "A Loveless Marriage". I am sure it doesn't help the Dean's ex has written a tell-all book claiming that Dean only hooked up with Tori to advance his career. And while I don't necessarily believe that statement, I don't blame his ex for wanting to ruin his life and his new marriage. If Eric ever left me for a Hollywood celebrity and then started up a reality show to document how truly fabulous his new life is, I would do a lot worse than write a nasty book. Seriously...shit would go down.

But if you really want to know my honest opinion, I think that Tori and Dean are just going through what every couple goes through when they have two little babies running around. In the middle of trying to balance family, work, a house, responsibilities, etc...you sometimes lose that connection you once had with your partner. Its not gone completely, and there are brief moments when you can spark the fire, but overall...things are very different. You don't have time for each other like you use to. You also don't have time for your friends or your hobbies and when there is time for either of these things, you feel guilty for not spending it with your family. Its no secret...this new life, although very rewarding, is tough on your relationship.

The solution to all this seems pretty simple: make more time for your husband or wife. But how do you do that? How do you find time to reconnect when you barely have time to shower every day? It looks like this new season of Tori & Dean is going to be all about finding the answer to that question. Judging by the previews, it looks like it's going to be a very dramatic season. But I really do look forward to watching it, especially since I find myself in a similar position sometimes.

Now don't get me wrong...Eric and I are not "In it For the Money" and this certainly isn't "A Loveless Marriage". We love each other very much and we know we are in this for the long haul. But I do think it has been entirely too long since we went out to dinner alone, had a few drinks, laughed, talked and just...well...reconnected.

Now, I know we are certainly not the only couple out there that feels this way. I know some of my girlfriends and I talk about this on a regular basis. But what are we doing about it? We talk, and talk, and talk...but still don't take any action. So...I told Eric tonight that I AM taking action. I want us to have at least one date night a month. I don't care if we go out, or stay in, but the stipulation is that we have to be together. Alone. No kids. No phones. No computer. No interruptions. Just us. And this is just the beginning. I still want to figure out other ways to bring back the spark in our relationship...but I don't know where else to start.

So that's where all of you come in!!! I would love to hear what all of you do to reconnect with your partner. Do you have special date nights? Do you leave each other sweet notes or write love letters? Do you do little things for each other for no reason? I know one thing Eric loves is when I pack him his lunch and slip a little picture or note in his lunch box. It is something so small, but he always appreciates it :-) So...share away friends!! I would love to hear your relationship advice :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Simple Sundays

My bloggy friend Adrienne wrote a really cute post today called "Simple Sundays".


She is actually starting this as a new weekly installment on her blog and I think it is such a wonderful idea. I think we all need to be more aware of all the blessings we have, especially when life gets chaotic :-) And speaking of chaos...

Eric and I have been waiting for this weekend for months because our calendar was completely empty. No birthday parties, no family get togethers, no work commitments, etc. Now don't get me wrong, we LOVE getting together with our family and friends. But sometimes you just need a break from all the running around. It was a nice feeling to wake up on Saturday and not have a thing to do!! Well, besides get ready for a garage sale, clean the house to get ready for Blake's Baptism next weekend, do our Spring yard clean-up, grocery shop, continue Addie's potty training progress, give extra lovin to a baby boy who is already teething, and so on and so on. Isn't it amazing how a relaxing, do-nothing weekend can turn into one of the most chaotic weekends of all?!!

I honestly felt like I didn't see Eric all weekend, even though we didn't leave the house. Maybe its because one of us was always either tending to the kids, or trying to get some of our chores done. We were running around like a couple of crazies. And the kids were honestly no help this weekend. Addie was whiny one minute, and totally hyper the next and Blake was just straight up crabby unless you were holding him (and then he was all smiles of course). It was just one of those weekends where you felt more tired and stressed than you did during the week, which isn't fair in my opinion because the weekend is suppose to be your break!!!

So as you can imagine, I was feeling completely drained by the time bedtime rolled around tonight. Eric and I were sitting on the couch with the kids trying to get them to wind down. As I sat there, I looked over at Eric. His hair was all disheveled, his t-shirt had BBQ sauce on it from dinner, and his cheeks were all flushed from running around the house chasing a naked baby girl after bathtime. And I didn't look much better. My hair was in a messy pony, I had no make-up on, my sweat pants had spit-up all down the left side and I am pretty sure I smelled like ham. But then I looked at the kiddies. Addie was sitting on Eric's lap, her hair still damp but perfectly combed, wearing her cute new jammies she got for her birthday. Eric was asking her what shapes were on her jammies and she just looked at him and said "hearts dada". Her sweet little voice immediately brought a smile to my face. I was sitting next to her, holding Blake, who was perfectly calm in my arms. He smelled like lavender from his bath and he was holding my finger with his hand. I could feel him looking at me and when I looked down at him and our eyes met, he let out the funniest little giggle. Addie thought he was giggling at her so then she started laughing. Eric and I didn't know why either of them were laughing but it was so cute to watch, we started laughing too. In that moment, I was hit with a wave of emotions: Guilt, for having wished for bedtime. Remorse, for having raised my voice more than I wanted to this weekend. Relief, for having two happy babies despite all the crying earlier in the day. Joy, for having experienced this moment with my family and Blessed because God has given me everything I have ever asked for. I'll take a stressful weekend any time if it means ending our Sunday just like this :-)