Saturday, September 29, 2007

Words from a COMPACTOR

I am a member of a yahoo group for compacting: basically, it's the process of not buying anything new. I am not 100% compacting, but in my decluttering struggle Jeff and I have "vowed" to not buy anything for a while.


Anyway, I recently read this post by a practicing compactor, Laura Redhawk-Hewitt. I enjoyed her thoughts so much on this (because they are so much like mine!) that I wanted to share them with you all. So, with her permission, here is her post on compacting. I hope you enjoy her thoughts as much as I did!

***************************************


I think the biggest hump to embracing a more Compact mentality is becoming aware of WHAT YOU REALLY NEED vs. what you want, or are used to just reaching for. I joined in January 2007 and the more I stopped and asked myself (before buying) do we NEED this? The easier and more COMFORTABLE I became doing without it!

Children do not NEED as much as commercials indicate that they do. They NEED decent clothes (Goodwill will provide you with almost brand new, especially for kids under the age of 10; because a lot of the clothes were not worn out, but they grew out of them! I've gotten as
many as 3 big paper bags of great looking clothes for as little as $25 for one boy and one girl, both school worthy and play clothes!) Children need healthy food, proper shoes that fit their feet and allow them to play and walk without pinching, or throwing them off balance with stupid heels that they have no business wearing in the first place. They need the materials to do their school projects. They need access to books, music and other things that stimulate their minds
to become creative and learn to entertain themselves in healthy, fun, productive ways.

Most of all Children need INTERACTIVE parents who share ideas and encourage them to think, who play with them, read, cook and do chores together so that the kids learn not only responsibility but develop life skills and can take pride in knowing that they too are contributing to having a happy, fun, clean and attractive home to live and play in.

I can honestly say I grew up without a whole lotta THINGS that were popular in my childhood, because my parents simply couldn't afford it. But we played board games, read, danced and sang, cooked, painted, cleaned, and worked on the yard together and they made it FUN (most
of the time) and in retrospect...I'll pick my childhood over some I've seen and some I knew of "back then." They spent quality time with me...because they WANTED TO and I always knew this!

Try asking yourself, DO WE NEED THIS, or is there something I already HAVE that can serve as well. If you believe that you need it, can you get it used? Or, barter for it, Freecycle IS a huge help, I agree! But a lot of it is just letting go of habits and creating new habits that become so comfortable over time that you'll wonder what you were thinking before!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update

Just a quick update on everyone as we've had so much going on:

Will: busted lip is not too swollen - it should be gone by picture day on Wednesday. I think he's also learned not to stick his head in the toilet! LOL! He has also filled his cotton ball jar full and we are finally getting around to his reward that he chose: playing with the Thomas set up at Books-A-Million (go figure...)

Nathan: he is "crawling" around pretty well dragging the cast along. He's also getting really good at "Maaaa" and "Daaaaa" when he wants something. A few new words this week as well: car, airplane, "ta-da", box

Witt: He has been consistently sleeping between 8 and 12 hours each night! WOOO HOOO! We start baby cereal tomorrow (lots of great pics to share, I'm sure)

Jeff: Put in 75 hours last week and was happy to see a non-eventful week this week; he, too, is enjoying the extra bit of consistent sleep

Me: I had my first Southern Living at HOME party last night, so I guess I'm officially "back to work"; I'm enjoying the sleep, but my body seems to be craving more as I still find myself tired; I have one more day of PT for my TMJ troubles before I go back to the dr on Thursday; and no, I haven't lost any weight that I said I was going to lose :(

What a Mom Says in a Day

My mom sent me this link - too cute! You'll love it!

William Tell Overture for Moms

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Last 16 Hours

In the last 16 hours, all of my children have done something "unexpected".

Last night we were at a friend's house for supper. Witt had fallen asleep on the way and took a great little nap. He woke up and shortly there after started screaming! Now, I'm not talking fussing or crying, I am talking all out high pitched screaming like he was being stuck with a needle. Nothing calmed him. We all took turns walking him. I went outside with him. Nothing. For 45 minutes - screaming. We finally just had to pack up our things and go. Thankfully, Jeff drove like a madman on the way home. (Never thought I'd say that! LOL!) He finally calmed down and was all smiles before bed. I have NO IDEA what happened. I hope to never hear that cry again!


This morning about 5 minutes before Will's ride was here for school, he went to the bathroom. I went to check on him. I asked if he flushed and he said, "Yes, but my hair got a little wet when I was looking at the pipes a little closer." He had stuck his head into the toilet while it was flushing! Ugh! Gross! I grabbed a washcloth and went to town on his head. He went to school with a wet head, but at least it was clean. Gross!

Now, directly after I said goodbye to Will and closed the door, I hear from my bathroom, "Maammmmaaa". Poor little Nathan, I left him in my bathroom and he can't get around very well. I go running and here's what I find: (No explanation necessary, except: Yes, that is a Q-tip up his nose!)




So that's how I'm starting my day. Wish me luck!


Update: Will came home with a busted lip today as well. Well, I am certainly living the life of a mother of boys! :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm Not Even 2 Yet


(Daddy picked the colors - War Eagle!)


I'm not even 2 yet and this is what has happened to me in my lifetime:

  • I had colic for 4 1/2 months
  • I've had ear infections on and off for all of my life
  • I've never had a haircut because my hair is taking it's own sweet time
  • I have excema break outs if I'm not lotioned down like a greased pig each night
  • I want to do everything my older brother does, but I'm not allowed
  • I am most preferred by mosquitoes and their bites leave gigantic whelps on me
  • I burn easily in the sun as I am a "lily-white boy"
  • I was the only one in my family to catch strep throat from my daddy
  • I just had ear tubes put in both of my ears a couple of months ago
  • I continued to fall out of my toddler bed so they've put me back in a crib
  • I got a spiral fracture in my tibia by going down a slide
So, there... my face says it all, "What can possibly happen to me next?"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In Between Naps

[FYI: This is an especially long post as I have told you ALL about my Saturday with Jeff and Witt.]

So this is the weekend Witt learns to sleep. Here's how it went...

This past week I have been gradually teaching him by putting him in his crib before he is fully asleep and letting him "fuss" just a bit. Also, after feeding him in the middle of the night I've been putting him on his back instead of his belly. (He's not used to sleeping on his back and I don't want to leave him to fuss while on his belly.) By Thursday night he was doing fairly well, so I had high hopes for Friday night.

Friday, Grandmother came to get the oldest boys for the weekend so they wouldn't have to endure the crying with us. HOWEVER... Friday night really went well! (No, I'm not saying it out loud.) Around 7:45PM, it was past bedtime. So, we did pajamas, a clean diaper, and turned out the lights. I "jiggled" him a bit as I normally do but for a shorter period of time, put him down on his back awake, said good night and left the room. He started crying. I gave him a minute, went back in and picked him up to make sure he didn't have a burp. I patted and patted. No burp. I put him back in the crib and left the room. He cried... for 5 minutes. Jeff and I went to sleep around 8:30 in case it was to be a rough night. He slept... until 5:00 AM!!! I went in, nursed him, burped him, and put him back in his crib awake. Not one peep! I was in his room for a total of 12 minutes! We didn't hear from him again until 8:00 - cooing to himself. Jeff and I got more sleep last night than either of us have in the last year! Ironic, huh?!

Saturday was a great day. We got up and went to IHOP for breakfast. With only one child that doesn't do a lot of interrupting it was great to have conversation with my hubby!! I didn't have to share my food, cut up food, catch flying straw wrappers, pick up forks off the floor, wipe milk off a shirt, or tell anyone to sit down. It was a wonderful vacation breakfast for me!

After breakfast, it was time for Witt's nap. He is usually only awake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in between naps and it was time. The plan for naps was that he would stay in his crib for at least 1 hour. So, I changed his diaper, jiggled him, and laid him on his back. He cried... for 5 minutes. He slept... for 1 hour (15 minutes more than usual). During his nap, Jeff washed the truck and vacuumed it. I did two days worth of dishes and cleared most of the table... ugh. (I've let my normal chores go since I have been decluttering.)

After his nap, we went to the Farmer's Market. We bought purple hull peas, muskedimes (spelling??), spicy pickled eggs (yuck), and pickled okra (yum). Then Jeff suggested a little coffee cafe for lunch, but Witt was falling asleep in his car seat so we headed home. We left him in his seat when we got home. He slept for 45 minutes (normal). During that time I took a long, hot shower using all the Body Shop products I could! I never have time for a nice relaxing, pampering shower any more (I wonder why?). I don't know what Jeff did. When I got out Witt was awake cooing at Jeff.

I dried my hair, got ready and off we went to the coffee cafe downtown. All the tables were full, so we had to sit outside (darn!). What a beautiful day. We had Witt in the stroller and pushed him right up to the table. Nice breeze, cars going by, people walking in and out of the cafe, adult conversation, and a turkey panini in my hand, a southwestern wrap in Jeff's. We got iced coffees for the ride home. Witt fell asleep on the way.

This time I thought I'd take him out of the car seat and put him in his crib. Not a problem. He went straight to sleep. 45 minute nap. Jeff and I snoozed as well.

After this nap, Jeff went to Lowes to get some supplies for a shelf he needed for work. I hired some babysitters for Witt so I could work on straightening out the wires behind my desk. They took him outside in the fresh air.



I paid them one milk bone each. Well worth it! ;o)


Time for another nap... Clean diaper, turn out lights, jiggle, cry... 3 minutes, sleep... 45 minutes, cry... 12 minutes. I piddle on the computer and write this blog during his nap. Jeff's outside with the saw making shelves.

After I get Witt up, I take him outside to Jeff so I can start supper. I (attempt) to put him in the little tent again, but apparently he didn't like it so much this time as both Jeff and Witt end up in the kitchen about 10 minutes later.

Witt fusses and fusses. Jeff consoles and makes silly faces. I frantically try to time supper correctly so everything is hot at the same time. May I suggest not cooking too many new things at once; switching between recipes gets a little rough - especially when frying for only the 3rd time in my life! (Frying could be another whole blog post for me!) Supper turned out very well, though. We had the chicken parmesan meal listed to the right under "What's Cookin' at my House". Jeff even went back for seconds, which is always a compliment! :) [Just for added effects: During supper we found out what he was fussing about when we were serenaded by the makings of a dirty diaper...]

Shortly after supper it's time for a bath, pajamas, kisses for Witt, a jiggle and in bed for him. Tonight I set up the camera that "sees" in the dark. I'm watching him on the tv right now. He cried for about 10 minutes on and off and now ladies and gentlemen, we've got a thumb sucker on our hands! I thought we might and now I have proof! Right now I'm ok with the thumb sucking. I sucked my thumb. I think I stopped around age 4 when my parents put Tabasco sauce on my thumb.

Anyway, he's been in his crib for about 20 minutes now, quiet for the last 10. Eyes are closing. Time for bed. I think we're going to hit the sack early tonight as well. Catch up on some more sleep before the big brothers return. zzzzzzz............

Don't Talk with Fingers in your Mouth...

... unless you're this cute!

VIDEO CLIP of Witt (4 months old):
video


Featured Attractions
lots of "cooing"
rolls from belly to back
giggles
Drool, drool, and more drool
found toes


Coming Soon
taste testing cereal
rolling from back to belly
belly laughs
first tooth
toes in mouth
sleeping through the night! :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Temptation

It is hard to believe what a habit I HAD of buying "stuff". I was in Wal*mart yesterday getting Pedialyte for Nathan, Tylenol for Witt (shots), and an Rx for me (muscle relaxer - that's another whole blog in itself and yes, I had it approved to take while nursing). Anyway, back to shopping...

While there, I saw double packed DVDs. Two DVDs for $9.95! They were the two X-men movies that Jeff and I both liked. I picked them up and had them in my buggy while I waited for the meds. There were a few other things I saw while waiting, but thought to myself, "No more stuff". I'm happy to say that I put the movies back and only walked out of the store with what I went for. Granted those movies were about the price of rentals around here, but we rarely watch the DVDs we own. So anyway, there's $10 I "saved".

Today we went to the mall. My MIL had some shopping to do and we tagged along to get out of the house. The boys rode the carousel and played in the toy store. Jeff showed up while we were there and he and the boys played with the remote control cars that were out. They had a blast with them! Jeff looked at me with that look of, "This is fun, should we get it?" I know that look because I give it, too. I guess I was the bad guy and said, "Remember... no more stuff". Any other day I would have walked out of there with two cars (one for Will and one for Nathan).

However, Will does have some birthday money and if he decides he wants to go back for them that is different. We didn't have his birthday money with us so we didn't get them. But even while playing with them, he never did say he wanted to take one home. The HUGE train set on the other hand, that he wanted. He doesn't need another train set:


So anyway, we "saved" another $30 by not getting the remote control cars. They also had the CUTEST nerf style swords there. What is it about a sword that when you put it in a boy's hand, he knows what to do with it? Nathan has never seen one (that I know of) and off he went waving it around and making grunting noises! :) LOL! too cute!

The mall (and WalMart) is a bad place to go when you don't want to buy anything!

And then of course there are the yard sales...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Decluttering

Today I went on a decluttering/cleaning rampage. It's not exciting, but here's what I did:

I got rid of all the expired medicines in our cabinets. While I was there I noticed several things that we had two of where one hadn't been opened, so I made a pile to return to Wal*Mart. As the day progressed I found a shirt I haven't worn, baby proofing stuff we won't use, and a few other things unopened. So now I'll return that stuff! Get it out of my house!

I went through the boys toys. Three medium sized boxes full to sell. They never noticed and really somehow I don't either. Maybe because most of it was just in a big barrel piled up and I never saw it. Anyway, 3 boxes! Wow!

I went through all three boys' sock drawers. Can't imagine anyone would want to buy used socks so, I chunked a bunch of mismatched and old ones. That is the only purchase besides food I made at the store last night: new socks - they NEEDED some!

I went through my clothes. Would you believe I still have my senior prom dress?! How crazy is that! I know I spent like $300 on it, but come on... it's time to go!!! I chunked some old ratty T-shirts that I know no one would buy and made another pile of clothes I plan to (try to) sell. (I would have turned the T-shirts into shop rags, but we've got enough as it is, especially after I added Witt's old spit rags to the pile!)

I went through my books. Most were keepers. I'm mostly getting rid of books on baby's sleep and colic babies. I'm keeping the ones pertaining to building my SLAH business, a few classics that I loved reading, and a few more "baby" books that it's not quite time to get rid of yet. Then, I went through the boys books. There were some that just needed to go for multiple reasons. About a box full. I also found a few activity books that got lost in the mess that Will will enjoy while sitting quietly in worship services.

I went through my jewelry box. Found a ziploc bag of buttons I've been "collecting" for years. You know how when you buy a new shirt they'll include a button, well somehow I ended up with years worth of buttons - trashed it. I'll be selling a small ziploc bag of jewelry I don't wear. I did however find a treasure I had forgotten about - a blue sapphire pendant (Will's birthstone) on a gold chain. I don't remember who gave it to me or where I got it. Very pretty though. Something "new" to wear! I cleared off my dresser while I was there in the jewelry box and then cleared off my nightstand. When I walk in my room now, I can breathe! It's amazing how much more spacious it looks/feels without the junk piled on the dressers! Ahhhhh....

I also went through the phone books. Who needs 5 yellow pages? Not me. I'll put these off to the side to recycle when they do the phone book pick up.

I went through a pile of papers I created of things that need to go in the baby books. I updated the books and got rid of that pile. (BTW, Witt rolled over yesterday!!)

I went through Witt's clothes. Boxed up the 0/3 months and 3/6 months. I'll get those ready for the Spring Consignment. Nathan will be heading into 3T this Fall. I need to find a place to put all these clothes! Nathan's closet is overflowing with things I'm saving for Witt. And shoes - oh man do we have shoes for boys! Anyway, Witt's closet is done.

Speaking of Witt, tomorrow is his 4 month check up and shots. If he's being a good baby after that, maybe I'll tackle my desk. I'm excited to get started and yet I'm a little scared...



Organized desk here!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stuff-ism

Flylady says, "You can't clean clutter, you can only get rid of it." My husband is reading a book that coined it "Stuff-ism". What ever you call it, however you look at it, my house is full of clutter: too many toys, too many articles of clothing, too many odds 'n ends, just too many things.

Somehow yesterday, Jeff and I got into a conversation about our "stuff". It's something that has been on my mind for a while and apparently his, too, as he was the one to bring up the subject. We both agree there is just too much stuff in our house. It's overwhelming. It's unnecessary. It's a trip hazard! :)

With all these "things" what are we teaching our children? I know what we've taught Will and I'm not so proud. When he breaks something, his answer to it is "Just go buy another one, Mommy." He's not being rude, it's apparently just what he knows. Shame on me! I want my boys to be respectful of belongings. I want them to know that their possessions have value, that money has value and we shouldn't be wasteful. Instead we have been living in a world of replacements.

My friend, Laurel, calls it "living simply"and we have decided to simplify our lives. Our immediate plan is to just declutter one room at a time. I'll probably be doing most of this as I am home during the day and that's ok with me... When I'm in the right mindset, I can get rid of lots of stuff! The other part of the immediate plan is to stop buying stuff. Stop buying just because it's on sale or because I'll use it "later". Stop buying toys to make the kids "happy". (We had a difficult time coming up with a birthday gift for Will as he already has everything!)

When the decluttering is complete, we'll have a yard sale. I really do enjoy doing yard sales. People watching, meeting the neighbors, listening to the kids converse with new people (such sweet random thoughts in those little heads!)... all of this on a crisp autumn morning...coffee or hot cocoa in hand. One of my childhood memories is a yard sale my mom did when we lived in Texas. It was a conglomeration of household items, personal crafts she had made, and a popcorn "stand" for us kids to sell popcorn. I don't know if we sold a single piece of popped corn, but it was fun. Anyway, that's today's blast from the past... back to my stuff...

So, our plan after the decluttering is a yard sale. Then from there, the remain items will probably be posted to the Freecycle yahoo group or donated to our church clothes closet or Good Will. Maybe I'll give ebay a shot with the nicer items. We just need to set a date for the yard sale to give me a deadline.

The money from the sale. What to do? Buy more stuff? No! No! No! We will most likely put it towards new flooring. Our carpet is terrible. We've been in this house for one year and the carpet is terrible. Oh, did I tell you our carpet is terrible? It is! With kids we need to get rid of the carpet. And won't my new floor look great without so much clutter covering it up!? Can't wait!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Playing in the Wind


I wish I could take pictures of the wind and how a nice breeze makes you feel. It was a B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. day today! The sun was shining, the clouds were passing by in the big blue sky, and the wind was blowing just enough to let you know that Fall is on its way. I tried to capture this afternoon's beauty in pictures of the boys; I hope you enjoy them!



A childhood memory of mine that I get to share with my kids: I used to put my younger brother on my feet, straighten my legs, and hold him up there all the time. Now I get to enjoy doing the same with my sons!


They love it and we get to pretend like they are "stuck" up there! :o)







Nathan plucked a leaf from the tree,







inspected it








and showed it to Witt.












My little Witt-man is growing so fast!

























And of course, a little dirt never hurt!




Sugar and Salt

Nathan had the opportunity to discover the difference between salt and sugar last night as I was making banana bread.

I poured a little salt in my hand and he kind of ran his finger through it just playing. I took his finger and put it in his mouth to get it wet and then he dredged it through again - this time I said, "eat". He put his finger in his mouth. No funny face. Just through up the "talk to the hand" pose as said "Baaa" (Back).

Then I got the sugar out. Again, poured some into my hand an let his little finger do the walkin'. Into the mouth it went. Immediately, the finger is back into my hand for another taste. And another. And another. As I put the sugar away I hear "moe" (more). One more taste. Okay.

I remember doing this with Will as well. It's fun to teach the kids something new! For those of you moms/teachers, I came across a fantastic website for activities with the kids. (It was an answer to one of my questions on yahoo !xtra.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Plan

So, with two boys not sleeping through the night, we've got to come up with a plan!

Here's what I'm thinking:

#1: The crib goes back in Nathan's room until Witt is sleeping through the night. We need to get at least one of them sleeping before we work on the other. The crib (cage) will at least keep Nathan in his room.


#2: We've already set up a plan for Witt. Next weekend, Will and Nathan will be going to MIL's house for Friday and Saturday night. We're going to let Witt cry himself back to sleep. He's not hungry. Oh, he'll nurse, but he's not hungry. He's old enough to be sleeping better. I don't expect a full 12 hours, but I do expect better than what we're getting. He has a Dr appt next week and I'll discuss it with him first, but we've pretty much made up our minds.

#3: SLEEP!

#4: Vacation! I think hubby and I need to get away. With Witt still nursing it won't be much of a vacation though. So, I'm thinking Jan or Feb after I'm done with the nursing bit. Even just a 3 -4 day weekend. Just somewhere A.W.A.Y. Where have you gone to relax? We're looking for ideas...

What a Good Hubby

This past weekend we moved Nathan into a toddler bed. He's been doing really well for the naps, but at night he's been up several times (probably why the naps are going well). Last night I was up with Witt more times than I can count now. For the first half of the night I just slept in the bed in his room as to not wake hubby up any more than necessary.

Around 2:30 (I guess) I climb back in our bed because Witt is AWAKE. (I had put him on his back and just left him in his room - he was quiet and eventually fell asleep after I left the room.) Anyway, when I climb into bed, hubby asks if I've had a bad night. At the time it hadn't been extremely bad and that's about what I said. Then he tells me "the other kid's been waking up". Oh no. Turns out I probably had more sleep in Witt's room. Hubby had been up at least 3 or 4 times with Nathan putting him back in his bed.

Side note: Some of you may be thinking, "well, that's ok. dad's need to get up too." True, however, this is a shutdown week for him and he's working hard hours and is already mentally exhausted, so I really feel for him.

To continue, though... Witt woke again and I went in to get him quiet. I ended up curling up in the bed in his room again. Then he woke again. I went to my room. 5:00 am. Hubby's alarm went off. He turned it off and we stayed in bed. Nathan woke up. Witt woke up. Hubby went to Nathan. I went to Witt. I was back in our room before him.

After hubby's return, he took a shower and got ready. I never heard him leave the room, but I woke to Witt's fussing at 7:03. I went to his room, turned his lights on dim and turned the mobile on, hoping for a few minutes more of sleep. Nathan's door was cracked and the light was off. The living room was dark except for the glow of the tv. Will was up watching a Thomas the Train video, chocolate milk in hand. I went back to bed.

15 minutes later, Will calls for me to tell me Witt is awake. I get up; it's time. I go get coffee that hubby left for me. Nathan toddles down the hall, "Dada?". He turns to scoop something off the floor... chocolate milk in a sippy cup left by hubby. We've all got our morning drink thanks to "Dada". Life can start.

Thanks, hon, for the extra minutes of sleep and for taking such good care of our family! I love you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who are "They"?

Just who are "they"? The ones who tell us what is right/wrong, high/low, in/out. Who are these experts that give us all these guidelines and where do these guidelines come from? Who came up with 5 fruits/veggies in a day? Why isn't it 6 or 4? Who decided what number makes your cholesterol high or low? And who made the rules on how much a baby should be sleeping/eating/pooping?

Where is this coming from you ask? Am I way out in left field? (Why couldn't it be right field?) LOL!

Well, I had a recent checkup and apparently my iron is low. Not a big deal I know, but it got me thinking and I did a bit of research on the internet to find that most women have low iron. And then my brain went further and thought "If most women have low iron, how do we know it's low? How did they come up with the average number if most women have low iron? Maybe it's more normal to have a "lower" iron count. Who decided what is high or low for iron? Did they do a study on women with exceptional diets (eat their 5 veggies/fruits a day) and take their iron count to be the norm?"

So, yes, my brain went kind of into random thinking zone today! I was up 3 times last night between 2 and 7... I'm tired. (Or maybe it's the low iron count... hahaha!!!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Smiling Mom

I went to the mall with Nathan and Witt this morning to make some returns. I loaded them into our double stroller, grabbed the two return bags, the humongous diaper bag and headed in. We had arrived before it opened and walked a little bit while we waited. Then I decided to let Nathan out since there weren't that many people. Nathan ran! It was fun! It was actually quite relaxing. We got so many smiles and comments from other people. But, the best comment for me was when we had taken a break...

I went to the coffee shop in the mall and ordered a Sprite for Nathan and I to share. Outside the shop (still in the mall) they had high tables set up with tall back chairs. I hoisted Nathan up into one and I sat next to him. He had a few sips and then waved at someone in the coffee shop; so I glanced that way. A husband and wife were in line for coffee and she told me my children were precious. I of course already knew this, but said thanks with a smile! :) She said she had 4 boys of her own and was remarking to her husband how nice it is to see a mom smiling and so calm. I about hit the floor! I was a calm, smiling mom? Wow, I guess I was. We'll have to go back to the mall again; what a great morning.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Parallel Lives

Let me introduce you to a friend of mine.

In 2002, she had her first little boy. Great baby! Easy temperament. Shortly after his birth, she became an independent consultant with Southern Living at HOME. Then boy #2 was born. What a little pistol he was! W.I.L.D. C.H.I.L.D!!! She began wondering if she wanted more children. Then there was a change in her husband's job and move. Not fun moving with 2 little ones, but she fell in love with her house and was happy to settle in.

Ok, by now some of you are wondering if I'm talking about myself because that's my story. I promise I am not. This is the short version of my friend, Laurel. She and I realize we are living parallel lives and it doesn't end there...

In 2006, I called her with the news that I was pregnant. Telling her that I couldn't do this alone, I demanded she get pregnant as well! (Not really, but I did suggest it! LOL!) And wouldn't you know it, about 5 weeks later she calls with the news of her pregnancy! We both had our third boy earlier this year.

Now, she and I are not completely the same let me assure you. She wants more kids; I do not. She is thinking of home schooling; I am not. She is looking into cloth diapers; I am not. She just got her nose pierced; I will not. :) However, she is one of my best friends and I thought I'd direct you to her blog, Happy at Home.

She is doing a social experiment right now of trying not to shop at chains and compacting: not buying anything new (with a few exceptions). I have been intrigued by the whole concept of "not buying new" lately. For example, I've been wanting a Jumperoo for Witt, but decided to wait for the children's consignment shop to open instead of just buying a new one. Found a book at Books A Million and decided not to buy it new when I can get it used online. Just these few little things will keep something out of the landfill. She also told me about Free Cycle: basically no money exchange, just giving/taking something someone doesn't want to keep it out of the landfill. There are yahoo groups for this - do a search for Free Cycle and the name of your town. Again, here I am talking "green". :)

Anyway, Laurel has some great thoughts on the whole thing and I thought I'd pass them along. Be sure to leave her a comment, let her know I sent ya!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Children's Artwork

Well, Will has started his second year of preschool this week. Very exciting (for me!). He goes, he comes home, he says nothing. "What did you do at school today?"... "I don't know" Just like a man! :)

Anyway, last year, we pinned all of his artwork to a bare wall in the house. I always told myself that at the end of the summer I would take pictures of the artwork and then discard all the papers. That way I would still have a picture of all that he had done. However, after I took the pictures and then took the tacks out of the wall and collected his artwork into a pile, I realized I could not just dump them in the trash! What sweet memories these are!

Now I understand why my mother saved everything I did! (thanks mom!) When I moved out, she gave me a box filled with cards, pictures, artwork, report cards, 1st place ribbons, you name it...everything I had done. I went through the box and kept what I wanted and tossed the rest. (How terrible is that?)

Turns out, there is one picture that Will colored of two Easter eggs that looks EXTREMELY similar to one I colored when I was his age. I would never have know that unless mom had kept my artwork. So, I guess it's off to the store I must go to get an expandable folder to organize and keep his artwork for the next 14 or so years. (It's gonna need to be a big folder, isn't it?!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Cotton Balls

So, we've been doing the reward system of cotton balls in a jar for doing chores and acts of kindness for almost a week now. Positive reinforcement is working!! The transformation has been AMAZING!! We've only had to remove 1 cotton ball!

The first day I explained to Will that once the jar was full we would do something special, he jumped up and down, clapped his hands and said, "What chores can I do?!"

He gets a single warning about misbehavior and he's responding very well. No temper tantrums about going to the naughty chair because there has been no need for it!

After a few weeks with his chore chart I will stop reminding him about it and see how he does. I know there is a transition in doing something new and I heard somewhere that you have to do something more than 20 times to make it routine. (One of the random bits of info stored in my brain!)


Oh, and for those of you interested, his jar will need about 55 cotton balls to fill. However, he has between 5 - 8 "chores" each day that he can earn cotton balls for. Chores include: getting dressed by himself, brushing his teeth (2 times each day), picking up toys, getting his laundry to the laundry room, taking the sheets off his bed on laundry day, taking a nap or quiet time without complaint, picking up his train tracks, etc.

So, anyway, the cotton balls are working great! Just wanted to update.