Thursday, December 29, 2011

How we save money, part II

Yesterday I thrilled you all with details about how we save money by making our own baby food. I know that you have all been thinking, "When will she post more about saving money?" Especially my child-free friends ;). So, rather than have you all checking your computers incessantly, I am going to take advantage of one sleeping boy and two other boys who are currently entertained by our furry house guest.

When we moved into the rental house last year Benjamin was hanging out in utero. We also had one child in diapers. Having done the whole "two children in two different sizes of diapers" bit before, I was not looking forward to dropping 50.00 at a time every time we needed to buy diapers. Knowing that we would finally have access to washer/dryer hookups, we decided that we would purchase a washer and a dryer and look into cloth diapering our third child.

I began to do lots of research and asked my cloth diapering friends loads of questions. One internet friend pointed me towards the cottonbabies website. After looking around the website, it quickly became my favorite 'go-to' for all things cloth diapers. They were super informative and helpful, AND (as an added bonus), provided free shipping! What's not to love?

I decided that we would try the BumGenius 4.0.

First of all, these diapers are adorable. Check it out.

Our first batch of BumGenius 4.0, adjusted to fit Aaron.

Second of all, the diapers are super easy to use and very similar to disposable diapers. All I had to do was put the liners inside of the pockets, then put it on my child. The snaps are super convenient because they don't pill and lose their snappy-ness, much like Velcro does.

Finally, the kids look super cute in the diapers, if I do say so myself. :)

Aaron showing off the cloth diapers.
They even work for nap time!

They worked great on the newborn as well (and look at that fluffy butt!!).

At first I was nervous about washing the diapers, I mean, the one thing I actually liked about disposables was that I could just throw out the mess. Although, with leaks and such I still had to deal with poop, but just the thought of having to dump and rinse and other stuff, I was not looking forward to it. But, once I decided to suck it up and do it, the "dirty job" of washing diapers was really not so bad. For one, we have a wet bag that hangs on the door knob of Benjamin's closet. It has a water proof liner and a cute fabric cover. The pee diapers are simply dropped into the wet bag while the poop diapers have the solid waste dumped into the toilet, then the diaper is deposited into the wet bag. The bag contains all of the smell, I promise! No one has ever entered our house and said, "Woah, what is that smell?" In fact, having used a Diaper Genie for my disposables in the past, I would have to say that that thing reeked, while my wet bag contains the odors super well.

Every other day I simply dump the bag into the washer, do a rinse cycle, a wash cycle on hot, another rinse cycle, then put the inserts in the dryer while the covers line dry. It's super easy and I have saved myself time and money. I don't have to drive to the store any more (it usually happened late at night) to get diapers, all I have to do is a load of laundry!

Now, let me break down the cost for you.
We have 26 BumGenius 4.0 diapers. We bought all of them on sale (buy 5 get 1 free). On average, one BumGenius 4.0 costs $16.99 (Now they are $17.95, but I'm going to estimate how much we saved/are saving so I will use the 16.99 price). So, 22 diapers (because we got four free with their sales) cost us $373.78. I also bought wipes and a wipe warmer and some wet bags, but I'm solely going to go off of the cost of diapers to keep this blog entry shorter).

On average, our kids have been potty trained around the age of 2.5. So, for Benjamin we will have spent $373.78 on diapers for his whole life. If we had bought disposable diapers, that would have cost us approximately (based off of the price of Luvs on, and off of the average of 8 diapers per day-I'm guessing lower because while newborns use more diapers, toddlers don't use as many) $1,918.00. That is a savings of approximately $1,445.00.

That more than made up for the cost of our washer and dryer.

Not to mention we used the cloth diapers on Aaron for the past 8 months, which saved us more money (I can't figure out the math...).

Since doing my research, 3 of my friends have begun to use cloth diapers (although, I think they were more inclined to do so before I said anything). I've also become somewhat of a zealot with cloth diapers. I can't help it though! Who doesn't love to save money? And, it is so easy!

I write all of this to help my friends who are wondering if cloth diapering is worth it. But, I'm also writing this in response to a contest that Jennifer Labit (the founder of cottonbabies) is having. I am not receiving any compensation at all for this post, but if she likes my post I could win 12 free BumGenius diapers. Also, one person who comments on my post will win 12 BumGenius diapers of their own (if my blog post wins). Considering I have a full supply of diapers, I will happily gift most of my set given to someone else as well (I know lots of pregnant people right now).

So, help me win my Internet friends and family! Comment away and let me know what you think of cloth diapers. Does it work for you? Would you be willing to try it? Do you think I'm crazy? Aren't the BumGenius diapers cute? I will let you know on January 16th whether or not I've won (and which one of my commentators won as well if I've won).

And, if you haven't considered cloth diapering, DO IT! :) If not, at least click on over to the cottonbabies website and check it out. It's more than just diapers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How we save money, part I

In the next day or two I'm going to write a post all about cloth diapers and how much money we've saved in doing cloth diapering. There's a purpose behind it; the desperate hope that I will win a give away that is doing. 12 free BumGenius 4.0's and 12 to give away to another mom. I know people who need cloth diapers so...

It got me thinking. There are many different ways in which we are able to make ends meet while having three small children who tend to go through clothes (and other items) like they are going out of style. So, here is just one way in which we save money when our children are small.

We make our own baby food (and I breast feed exclusively except for giving sippy cups with water for the first year).

Think about it. On average, one serving of Gerber baby food is about $0.75. That is $2.25 a day, 15.75 a week, and $819.00 a year. Just on pureed food (and that is baby food, not toddler food which is more expensive, for example one mac and cheese dinner will cost you $2.33).

On the other hand, we bought a variety of fruits and vegetables at Trader Joe's on Monday. The apples were $0.69 each, and I used two of them to make baby food. The two apples made about 10 servings. That is $0.13 per serving. I saved $0.62 on just one serving of applesauce. I bought frozen peas at $1.29 and used half of them to make baby food. It made 6 servings (I think). That figures out to $0.11 a serving. I could go on, but...well, I digress.

I've also thought about the savings in gas and time. Sure, it took me about 45 minutes to make about 40 servings of baby food yesterday morning. But, in that time I also did dishes, packed up stuff to go hang out with friends, and got my kids to go out and play. If I had gone to the store to buy 40 servings of baby food it would have taken me at least that long to get to the store and back. Not to mention wrangling three small children in and out of the car and in the grocery store.

Plus, there are huge benefits for Benjamin as well. Have you ever tasted store bought baby food? It's gross. It's also super bland. It's no wonder that so many kids only want plain white bread and macaroni and cheese to eat. I'm hoping that by giving Benjamin foods such as hummus and green and red peppers he will develop a taste for more interesting foods.

So, that's my thoughts on baby food. I will write about my cloth diaper research later on this week! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just when I think I have something witty to write about...

Well, I actually don't. I have blog entries rolling around in my brain when I'm supposed to be doing other things. Like preparing awesome lessons for my amazing Junior High students. But, then I find myself with free time, and...hello writer's block.

You would also think that with three adorable little boys, I would have some pictures to show...

Sure, if I ever took the time to get them off of my phone and onto my computer.

So, I'm going to have to just thrill all of my readers (*cough*) with fun boy stories.

First of all, I managed to make my five year old cry this morning. Go, me. We were in L.A. getting ready to visit the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum but first we were getting our coffee fix. I don't know how it came up, but Sam's dad started talking about how tasty babies were, and I agreed quickly and then told Nathaniel that's what happened to his older brother, Bobby. Cue the laughter and general merriment. Cue Nathaniel, thinking that we were laughing at him (or that we were serious about our family being cannibals and eating one of our kids), started crying. Epic fail.

Then, later on I encouraged the boys to roll down the giant grassy hill that surrounds the Page Museum (seriously, loads of fun and anyone who lives around L.A. ought to check out the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits). Not to be out done, I decided that one roll down the hill would be great fun as well for me.

Note: I am not 5 years old anymore and I can barely handle riding on the carousel at Disneyland. Therefore, rolling down a hill immediately makes me dizzy and a little queasy as well.

I handed Sam my phone and headed down the hill. My loving husband recorded my roll, then immediately posted it to Facebook. *Love Him* So, anyone who is my friend on Facebook will not only see my graceful roll down the hill. But, you can also hear me squeal loudly like a five year old girl; watch me kick my son in the head on the way down the hill; AND, if you look closely, will get a good view of butt crack at the very end of the video because, well, things shifted en route.

Other than that, I think I'm doing an okay job at parenting. Aaron has said multiple times today, "Oh goody-goody!!". I have also given my 7 month old a taste of frozen yogurt, which he loved and then cried after I wouldn't give him any more. He had to settle for plain old blueberry baby yogurt for dinner. Benjamin also slept through the night last night (after the 11pm wake up feeding). That's happened a few times the past week or so. I don't think I'm going to second guess my kids or my instincts anymore. I know that some people's kids start sleeping through the night at 6 weeks. But each of my kids need those extra couple of feedings for awhile longer. My kids generally weighed about 3-4 pounds more than most of my friends' kids at birth, so...they need the extra calories!

We're hanging around here for Christmas this year. We traveled last Christmas and realized it's expensive! Plus, I think the kids enjoy being here (even if Nathaniel has bugged us about going to Iowa). Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I refuse to feel guilty.

There's this weird thing that goes on among parents, or mainly moms. We get this weird complex and hold ourselves, and others, to these impossibly high standards. We sit in our playgroups carefully watching our kids interactions with the other kids and thinking, "Oh, my little Johnny is definitely more advanced than little Timmy." Or we embellish stories of our kids, making them sound smarter, brighter, more advanced, etc. than their peers.

Your Suzie was walking at 11 months? That's nothing, my little Sally was already being scouted for the 2024 Olympic Gymnastic team.

Don't even get me started on our houses. Maybe this is just me, but I always feel the pressure to have my house clean. Not just clean, but super organized and guest ready. I've relaxed a little bit since having three children, realizing that cleaning while the boys are awake is like raking leaves while the kids are outside playing. I get something clean, go to clean something else and turn around to find that my clean living room has been turned into fort land. (Not to be confused with Fort Dodge, fort land has a little more going for it...ha!)

So, since that little digital sign told me that I was pregnant over 6 years ago I've had this nagging sense of guilt and feeling of not being good enough, not being held up to the right standard.

I work outside of the home and *gasp* my children go to some form of daycare. According to some people, that means my children will be maladjusted miscreants, who should only hold out hope of getting menial jobs which may or may not include asking if someone would like fries with that (I'm only slightly exaggerating this).

I will sometimes get a babysitter and go to a morning movie on my day off of work. And yes, while some people have "their priorities straight" (direct quote from a mom of another kindergarten when she heard me say I was going to the movies one morning) I will occasionally partake in a movie and popcorn and soda ALL BY MYSELF and watch what I want to watch.

And today, after spending the morning hanging with a dear friend I went back to my house with all intentions of cleaning while the boys napped. Instead, I curled up in bed with Aaron and we read books and giggled and I fell asleep and woke up covered in stickers because apparently, Aaron didn't fall asleep. :)

And you know what, I still have Cheerios all over my kitchen floor and laundry in the washer/dryer from the day before yesterday(?), but Aaron had a giggly time with his Mommy and I had got to spend some good one on one time with my poor neglected middle child.

And I don't feel guilty.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More proof that I have no idea what I'm doing with the whole "parenthood" thing.

After three nights of trying to get Benjamin to sleep through the night I was ready to throw in the towel. Each night his crying spells were getting longer and were increasing in frequency so I thought, "He's just hungry. I guess he's simply not ready to give up that night time feeding." Of course, last night, when I had figured that I would just go feed him when he woke up crying, he slept until 4:30am. I think I was taking in too much caffeine and that it was keeping him awake. Go figure.

Also, I realized that almost four years ago when I started this blog, I made an observation about Nathaniel's empathy. You can see that post here. As the years have gone on and I've watched my little tyrant of a toddler grow into a very self-sufficient, strong willed little boy, I have enjoyed watching his tender heart and gentle spirit. He is my little boy who will cry while watching a movie and the friends move away from their other friends. He cried when his Beta fish, Luigi (hard G sound) died and we flushed it, and he easily bursts into tears when Sam corrects him. Yesterday we went and watched the Muppet movie in the theater (it was a gamble taking the three boys, but they did super great). There are three scenes where main characters are leaving or appearing to give up. At the first one, I was trying to keep Aaron in his chair while juggling Benjamin when I heard a sniffle and a whimper. Poor Nathaniel was crying because of what was happening on screen. (And, as I was typing this I heard Nathaniel crying from his bed, and when I went in there and asked him what was wrong he said, "I had a Muppet dream!" He had been thinking of one of the songs and it made him sad again). I love that he has a soft heart and that I don't have to teach him empathy. I'm just going to have to be more careful about the movies he sees. Maybe we'll watch them at home so he doesn't have to be embarrassed about crying publicly. You know, when he's older and more aware of stuff like that.

So, apparently movies I think are okay for the family: Make my kid cry for days afterwards. And, thinking that my kid is/isn't ready to sleep through the night: Not really up to me.

*sigh* At least Aaron thinks I'm pretty pretty great. Except for the whole "you can't have pie tonight because you didn't eat your dinner" fiasco.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Figuring out the sleep thing, round three.

I have to admit, Nathaniel was the WORST sleeper EVER. From birth he would wake up more times than I could count during the night. I remember one incredibly rough night where he was up every 45 minutes. Of course, I got to get up and go to class after that, so I was a basket case. I also couldn't get him to fall asleep at night. He would cry and cry for at least two hours, fall asleep in my arms, then wake up the minute I laid him down. Double Ugh. But, at about 4 months old I got him to fall asleep no problem. It took about a week of letting him cry for a few minutes, going in and patting him, then leaving, etc. but one magical day I laid him down for a nap and he rolled onto his side and immediately fell asleep.

It wasn't until about 10 months that he began to sleep through the night. That was rough. I blame the pacifier. He would lose that stupid thing in the middle of the night then scream bloody murder when he couldn't find it. I was never so happy to see that thing go (as useful as it was that first year). Of course, he did continue waking up at 5:30am for the day, which royally sucked, but at least he slept from 7:30-5:30 without waking!

Then we had Aaron. Well, I should say I had Aaron. Sam was gone at the time so I got to do the whole sleep thing all over again. Luckily, he was a MUCH better sleeper than Nathaniel. It only took a few days of putting him down while he was awake and having him cry before he would simply fall asleep without a fuss. Of course, he woke up three times a night STARVING (or so it seemed) until he was about 9 months old. I was in survival mode so I didn't care. I would nurse him and then put him back down if it means quiet and a little bit more sleep. Once Sam got home from Kosovo we did the whole, "close doors and turn on fans" routine so we wouldn't hear Aaron wake up. He never took a pacifier, so that wasn't an issue, it was just breaking his middle of the night snacking habits. Now, he's a champion sleeper, and would sleep until 8am if I let him.

Enter Benjamin. I feel like I'm a bit wiser this time around AND I have the added benefit of a husband who is here. Once we got past that newborn, "I don't know why I'm crying, but gosh darn it something is wrong and I'm going to fuss about it!" stage, he fell asleep no issue. But, he has that stinking middle of the night habit. For awhile he would sleep through the night, but then something tragic would happen, like a tooth, or a trip, and he would wake up a few times a night again. I kept expecting it to get better, but this week I realized that my 6 month old is getting up 3 times a night to eat, and he doesn't need to, especially when he nurses for about 2 minutes and then falls asleep.

So, last night we began Operation Sleep Through The Night for the Love of Pete!!! Every time Benjamin cried one of us would go in and pat his back and shush him, but we did NOT pick him up. I realized he wasn't so much crying as he was just whining and complaining. He was up three times, and then at 6am I let him come into bed with us and nurse.

I'm hoping tonight is better. I figured this is a prime time to do this because Sam doesn't work and I don't work, so being a zombie is okay for a few days. Crossing my fingers!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I know, I know. I'm a slacker blogger. But, I realize more and more that this is really a great place for me to record the stuff my kids are up to so I can remember. It's also a good place to flesh out my deep thoughts. :)

That's what I'm doing now. I'll post another blog about family stuff.

As we were getting ready to head out the door this morning I mentioned to Aaron randomly, "Wow, Aaron, you are getting tall. I bet when you are a man, you will be tall!" Nathaniel then asked me, "Mommy, what's a man?"

Without thinking I said, "It's an adult boy." Then I quickly stopped and said, "No, I take that back. A man is someone who takes responsibility and does what needs to be done." Then I told him that a 23 year old could live at home with his parents and not take care of anything, which would make him a boy while a 23 year old could live on his own and take care of everything himself, which would make him a man. Let's just say, it's hard to explain responsibility to a 5 year old, but I think he started to get it.

As an aside, he said the cutest thing. I asked him if Daddy was a man, which he quickly said yes to (and I agree, I have an awesome man of a husband who does what needs to be done to take care of his family. Then he said, "And, Daddy is in the Army!" Which, according to Nathaniel, makes him the man. :)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the whole "what does it mean to be a man?" question. This is something that's important for me to think through as the mom of three future men. How can I raise my children to be men? How can I raise these amazing children of mine to be responsible men in society?

It also made me think about the fact that my generation had a lot of absent dads/lack of father figures, and many of the boys in my youth group have the same thing.

How are we, the ones who were lacking strong male role models in our lives, supposed to teach the next generations how to be men?

I think the key is teaching responsibility. So many people are not being held responsible for their actions. I mean, it's all across the board, really. People are in huge debt, and aren't held responsible for paying their bills. Students aren't being held responsible for their homework or their actions, and parents are giving their kids whatever they want without making them pay for it or work for it. As a youth leader I often hear parents making excuses for their children, which makes me feel super frustrated.

If we make excuses for our kids their whole lives, they will never learn to take responsibility for their actions! If every time my kid forgot his homework or lunch I took the blame, it wouldn't teach him anything except how to pass the buck. We have to hold our children to a high standard.

I want my three boys to grow up knowing what being a man looks like. I want them to know that they have the freedom to make their own choices and make their own mistakes, but that whatever decisions they freely make that I am going to give them the opportunity to freely face the consequences.

Anyways...I'm super tired and I'm not even sure if any of this makes sense. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear what others have to say, especially my friends who are moms of boys! (Although, you could easily use this same argument as being a responsible human).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Adjusting to a new schedule.

We have started the new kindergarten/preschool/daycare schedule and so far, no real bumps. We have yet to be late (whew) and the kids have had pretty good morning attitudes so far. I'm even doing okay with Benjamin not right by my side every minute of every day (insert sad face here, but he is so happy at the sitter's house that I know it's way better than my trying to work while he's in my arms).

Nathaniel loves school, which is a good thing considering with how hesitant he was to actually start it. He moped all the way to school on Wednesday and kept crying, "I don't want to go to kindergarten!" but, by the end of the day he was all, "I LOVE kindergarten!!" Every day after he has been a non stop chatter box of all of the cool things they do. :) I'm super glad that he loves school just as much as I did.

Aaron is doing pretty well. He had a huge melt down/anger fit at school on Tuesday, but then calmed down. We call him our little sour patch kid. First he's sour, then he's sweet. Seriously, he will throw a huge fit with kicking and screaming and hitting, then two minutes later come and give me the biggest kiss and hug and say, "I sorry Mama!" Yesterday was our first day with Nathaniel in school and the rest of us at home and I asked him what he wanted to do and he said, "Cuddle with you, Mama!" So he grabbed his blankets and then we sat on the couch and cuddled. Melted my heart. :)

Benjamin is officially a rolling kid. He did it without any fanfare at all. Sam went to go get him from the crib one morning and he happened to be on his belly sleeping. Now, he immediately rolls over onto his stomach when he is laid down. I think seeing my friend's son (who is nearly 10 months old and the same size as Benjamin the 4 month old) crawling around motivated him. He had this look on his face like, "Woah! What are you doing? I wonder if I can do that..." If he's like Aaron, he will be crawling within two months. Ugh.

We renewed our Disneyland passes last week before we ran the half marathon. So, we are back to going to Disneyland! There are quite a few new rides, so it's a new experience. :) It's great now that Benjamin is bigger and more alert. We all rode the carousel last night and it was super fun to see three little boys in a row on horses. It's the random moments that warm my heart like that. I LOVE being a mom. :)

I am heading to Iowa with Benjamin on Thursday. I'm super excited to show off the baby and to just see and visit people. There is something about sitting on the front porch of the farm house drinking tea and watching nothing that gives me great peace. I would say I'm hoping for a good thunderstorm, but we just had one here in California this morning (which just put people in a tizzy, I tell you!) so I don't feel the need to witness one.

That's about it here. We have loads of pictures, but they are all on our new phones and I don't know how to transfer them onto the computer yet. They are, however, on Facebook so that works out well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Almost kindergarten, and other random facts.

I can't believe that we are almost the parents of a kindergartner. Not that I can really remember a time in our marriage when we didn't have kids (those four years seem like so long ago, and, to be fair, Sam was gone quite a bit of that, over 1/4th of it). It's very surreal.

On the one hand, I'm a little sad to enter this next stage of life. This "new season". I'm sad that I will no longer be able to take Nathaniel to Disneyland whenever we want to go. Instead, I will have to wait until Friday after school because every other day of the week will be too busy with school, practicing violin, lessons, sports (hopefully) and life and bed to be able to go to Disneyland. I am sad that he has some place he HAS to be now, rather than "Well, I'm home today from work, so he doesn't have to go to preschool".

But, on the other hand, I'm happy that he is starting school. He is more than ready academically. He's been reading words for the past year and a half and has balked at learning any more. I figure once a teacher is telling him to do it, he will be more than happy to. We went school shopping this weekend and bought lace up shoes for him telling him that part of being a kindergartner was tying his own shoes. He's been practicing since Saturday. He even made up a song. I don't know how it goes but I heard him singing, "Then you grab the loops and pull..." and when I asked him where he learned the song he looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I made it up!"

He's a little nervous, but I'm excited about the smaller class sizes at Bethany and the fact that he's on the same campus that he was on for preschool AND half of his class is from his preschool class. Now, we just need to hope and pray that he uses his voice when he needs to. That he learns that it's okay to raise his hand and ask to go to the bathroom. I want him to know that if someone is bothering him he can tell the teacher and it will stop. I'll let you all know how the first day goes. It's in a week. :)

Aaron is doing much better. While Sam was gone he went through a biting and peeing/pooping his pants phase. If he wasn't doing one, he was doing the other. I hoped and prayed that it was just separation anxiety from Sam, and it was. Since Sam's been home he hasn't bitten at all and has jumped back on the potty train like a trooper. The only times he really has an accident is when we fail to take him, or when he's super focused on something else.

His talking is taking off as well. He has full sentences and has finally started referring to himself as Aaron. For awhile when we would ask him his name he would shout, "Two and a half!!" because that is how old he is. :) Now, he labels everyone and everything. If Aaron had a font it would be caps lock.


It's fun. He is singing songs now, very carefully, making sure to get each word in the song. "All 'board the choo choo train, all 'board choo choo train. All board choo choo train. All board, all board." (from Disney Jr.).

He also likes to play pretend with everyone and everything. He makes us play food, he sings us silly songs, he cracks himself up by pretending things are something else. For example, I'll ask him to bring me a book and he will run to his room and grab underwear or a blanket and come out saying, "Here's a book, mom!" then fall over giggling. :) He makes me laugh.

Benjamin is doing well. He caught this horrible cold that his older brothers got (fever, then cough, ugh). His cough is horrible and he's actually coughed out a few things (yum, tmi, sorry), but he's breathing fine so I'm not worried, just keeping one ear open at all times.

He sleeps like a dream! I swear, I was so worried about having a third child because everyone I know has said that the third one was the wild card who was totally difficult or crazy or just way different. Benjamin IS way different from his brothers. He sleeps through the night! Both Aaron and Nathaniel were up at LEAST twice a night until they were 9 and 10 months old. Benjamin sleeps from about 9-4:30, sometimes longer. I can take no credit for this, it is simply something he has done without any training or crying it out or anything from me. We didn't even have to sleep train him, he naturally falls asleep by himself looking at the mobile. Happy us! He coos whenever he is awake and giggles hysterically at his brothers. He has yet to roll all the way over, but will roll to his side to sleep and immediately sticks his thumb in his mouth. He gives giant open mouth kisses to anyone who is willing to receive them and, just like Aaron before him, absolutely refuses to drink anything from a bottle. I'm hoping that changes because he starts daycare on Thursday. He'll get hungry enough eventually. I hope.

Sam and I are doing well. We are running the Disneyland 1/2 marathon on Sunday and feel like we are ready. I started training in June and at first I wasn't sure if I could do it. But, my fitness level came back super fast and within a few weeks I could run a mile in under 10 minutes (not the greatest, but not too shabby for having just had a kid, I think). Last night we ran 10 miles in 2 hours, so we feel pretty confident that we will be able to finish the 1/2 in under 3 hours. I'm super excited to do this, but after the race I'm planning on cutting my runs down to just running three at a time then going and doing ab and arm work. My arms are starting to wave back. :)

Sorry for the long update here. Life is going great, but super crazy. Long updates are what to expect for awhile.

Will update after the first day of school (ominous music here).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rambling late night thoughts.

Random thought #1: I just noticed that this is my 300th post. Dang!

I love being a mom. Even with Sam gone this past month, I've loved being a mom of three rambunctious little boys. Sure, by the time I finally get them all to bed, finish up whatever thing absolutely has to be done and flop down on the couch at night, I'm exhausted, but I LOVE life right now and wouldn't trade it for anything.

I would, however, trade random comments from strangers (and some non-strangers) that silly old me thought would stop after giving birth to the third little boy.

Here are examples of a few of the comments I hear the most of:

1. Are you going to try for a girl?
I usually smile and say something along of the lines of we weren't trying for a girl this time and please let my body recover from this last 10 pound child please before talking about another baby.

2. Oh...three boys. I bet you wish you had a little girl, huh?
Nope! I am blessed to have three incredibly cute and easy going (for the most part, don't ask how Aaron's biting habits have been lately...) boys. I am also blessed to be a Jr. High Pastor and get to have the best parts of girls and send them and their attitudes (because, you know that they have them) home to their parents.

3. Are you expecting!?
No, you moron, as you can see I am either pushing a newborn in a stroller or have him in my arms. I am not pregnant, and you have just successfully made my self confidence drop another few points. It's called post partum and it usually takes more than a month or two to get rid of the belly. Only one time have I felt gracious towards someone who asked me this question, and that was because it was someone I hadn't seen in nearly 2 years, I was wearing a maternity top (no judging, the baby was 6 weeks old and nothing else fit right) and Benjamin was sleeping in his car seat underneath the table out of her sight. I immediately said (as she gestured toward her stomach and started the "Oh, you're expecting!" comment), "I just had a baby!" to help her save face.

And my favorite comment which makes me cringe through my smile:
4. "Wow, looks like you have your hands full!"
This comment is usually said to me as I'm wearing Benjamin on my front, strapped to me like a bomb, and am pushing the double jogger through a crowded festival, or while I'm making sure Aaron and Nathaniel don't wander too far away while I'm changing a diaper. I normally smile and say, "yup!" as I keep on going, but sometimes I want to say, "yes, yes my hands are full. HELP ME!!" because I'm trying to maneuver through a crowd or buckle seat belts or get food for the older two. Here's a hint people, if you see a very tired looking mom with three small children, offer to help her, offer her a bottle of water, offer her a massage (especially if you are the owner of a spa at a community festival, just saying...).

But, aside from the "don't you wish you had a girl?" questions, I love my kids and I love chasing them around and playing with them.

But, I also love sleep and my insomniac ways have led me to be up WAY past my bedtime. Enjoy the late night ramblings of my fried mommy brain (I'm sure there are a ton of grammatical errors!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life lately: The kid version.

Since Benjamin entered into the world we've been going non stop. Hence the lack of updates. I was up and around the day after giving birth and was going almost full steam until an infection knocked me back down on my butt 2 weeks after. Thank God for antibiotics! After four days of literally laying on the couch alternating between shivering and sweating I was able to walk around upright.

Benjamin is an awesome baby, just like his big brothers were. He nurses like a champ and, just like Aaron before him, has a hard time knowing when to stop, which often results in large barfs splashing on the floor behind me when I burp him. He sleeps pretty well and gets better every week. Currently he sleeps from about 9-midnight and then until 3-5 (from midnight until that time). We're working on a schedule, but it's going to be hard until school starts in the fall, especially with two older brothers who need to get out and experience life.

Nathaniel has grown up a lot the past few months. He turned five on the 14th and has embraced being a big kid fully. Since he's the oldest he has always kind of been a baby, wanting me to dress him and do things for him. But, now that he's five...he showers by himself (as opposed to taking baths), he makes his own breakfast for the most part, and he doesn't want to cuddle with me around his friends. The other day when I tried to give him a kiss good bye he gave me a look like, "Please don't!" and offered me a five instead. *sigh* I'll take it. He starts kindergarten in the fall, which I still can't wrap my mind around. Kindergarten! I picked up his uniforms today, which will make life so much easier in the fall. No clothing battles!! It will simply be, "Pick which color of Academy shirt you want to wear!"

Aaron is having a bit of trouble adjusting to all of the changes lately. He was doing great, but since Sam left for Australia he is pushing his boundaries. He regressed a little bit with the potty training, but he's still in underwear. I figure I would rather wash out some pants then put him back in diapers. Unfortunately his adjustment problems has him acting out in preschool too. He's biting again (ugh) and hitting and not listening. He's also not listening at home. I've tried nearly everything: Positive reinforcement (you are doing so great listening, Aaron!), negative reinforcement (time outs and spanks), more positive reinforcements (chocolate milk if he doesn't bite at school). He's just having a hard time with it all and having me working and daddy gone is really hard on him. He's a lot clingier and cries when I leave. Tomorrow Nathaniel has VBS and I'm planning on doing some good one on one time with Aaron after Benjamin's dr. appointment. He is still a VERY sweet boy who loves fiercely. He is constantly hugging and kissing his baby brother and never shows animosity towards Benjamin at all. He loves laughing and playing with Nathaniel, but has a harder time because Nathaniel is a bit bossy and doesn't like it when Aaron does things on his own. In fact, I think part of the hitting and biting at school is Aaron getting frustrated with other kids who aren't following the rules and he just gets so mad. It's a theory anyways.

That's about it here. I will update again tomorrow with Benjamin's newest stats, but I'm sure he's doing well. He's outgrown his three month clothes already! Oh, and Aaron is at nearly 35 pounds and about 37 inches tall. It's CRAZY!

I will say this before I end this long post. Having three kids is amazing. A lot of people were telling me how hard it would be. It's no harder than having two kids and no hubby. The hardest part is when the baby is crying and one of the other ones needs something. I find that Benjamin cries more than the other two did (meaning, I have to leave him to cry while I finish up with one of the older kids). It hasn't seemed to affect him too much though, he is still all smiles when he sees one of us. Thank God that this kid cries when he has a dirty diaper though! I think I would forget to change him otherwise!

Life lately: The non-kid version.

I've decided to do two posts to catch up on my blog. The first one will be about life in general without the fun kid updates (like anyone cares, but I find my life interesting!). The second one will involve our wonderful kiddos.

Since Benjamin was born life has pretty much gone back to normal, non-pregnant life. I was back at work 3 weeks after coming home from the hospital, although it was super part time at first and until September I have Benjamin with me. It seems as if my mind is completely gone though. I'm missing deadlines and forgetting to email things. I go online to send an email and 20 minutes later find myself staring at the screen thinking, "What was I doing?" Ugh. I figure eventually I'll be getting more sleep and my mind will catch up. Until then, post-its are my friend.

I started training for a half marathon 5 weeks ago. It's going really well. I started off barely running a 12.5 minute mile and tonight when I went for my run I did a 9:40 mile. My previous 1/2 marathon was a 10:30 mile average. I don't know if I can do that by September, but it feels good to be running again, and it feels really good to be able to fun 4 miles in a row and be finished in about 43 minutes.

Sam has been in Australia for the past 2 weeks and will be gone for another 2.5 weeks. Because of the 17 hour time difference it's been super difficult to talk to him, but it's fun to tell the kids the things he's doing and seeing. I hope he gets a chance to do some site seeing and isn't stuck on the base the whole time.

Wow, not much is going on in the non-kid sector of our lives. :) I'm flying back to Iowa in September to visit family and introduce Benjamin to grandma and grandpa and his uncle Ian and Auntie Olivia. It's only 5 days, but it will be nice to have some quiet on the farm.

That's about it here. Church work is going great. Super great. I am reminded everyday how blessed I am to have this job. I adore my students, they make me laugh more than want to pull my hair out. They are passionate about what they are interested in and they are super sweet. It was super hard to let my 8th graders go, but luckily they only moved up and not out.

That's about it. Kind of a snore, but boring is much better than drama. :) Besides, the kid stories are more interesting in my opinion...

Friday, May 13, 2011

My heart just grew another 10 pounds.

As I type this I'm balancing my laptop on my boppy pillow and cuddling a super snuggly baby on my shoulder listening to happy little grunts and taking every other minute to smell his sweet baby smell and kiss his soft little bald head.

Benjamin David Grummons was born Thursday, May 12th at 5:07am. He weighed 10 pounds even and was 22 inches long. Here is his birth story. :)

A week ago I went to my regular doctor's appointment and had my first "check" to see how things were going with the journey to delivery. It was super promising. His head was engaged in my pelvis and I was even starting to dilate. I left the doctor's office happy thinking for sure that this was going to happen for real. :)

Wednesday the 11th I went again for another weekly check up and had another check to see how things were going. It was incredibly disappointing because his head was no longer engaged in my pelvis and my dilating had shrunk. It was as if things had gone backwards in time! When I asked my doctor what she thought happened she said, "Honestly, his head has probably grown too large for your pelvis and it popped out." But, she agreed that we would wait another week (even though my due date was this weekend) and we would see what happened. But she told me that her recommendation would be to have a planned c-section if I was still pregnant next week. Of course, I felt like crying, and was actually encouraged to do so. So, I cried, went back to the office, wrote my "I'm now going on maternity leave" email message to my pastor and the parents then went to coffee with a friend to decompress a bit.

While at coffee with my friend, she mentioned a "cocktail" that she could whip up that she swore brought her into labor with her first child. At that point I was ready for anything so she agreed to come over Wednesday evening to make me up her drink. Basically, it was a drink with Castor Oil and stuff to keep the Castor Oil taste tolerable. Bottom's up!

So, that night at about 8pm I tucked Aaron into bed and drank a doctored up Root Beer float. We giggled about the coming side effects (basically being married to the bathroom for a few hours) but at that point I was ready to try anything and I figured taking the drink at night would guarantee a good night's sleep before things kicked in.

Ha! At 8:40pm I was sitting on the couch with my computer when all of a sudden I felt the urge to sneeze. I sneezed and thought, "Oh crap, I think I peed my pants." Then I jumped up from the couch because there was a tidal wave of water. My water had broken from the force of my sneeze! I dashed to the bathroom telling Sam, "I think my water broke!" and he called our friend who was going to watch the kids to alert her that things were indeed starting.

I spent the next hour and a half counting contractions (which hit me hard right afterwards) and making sure we had everything we needed. By 10:30 I was ready to head to the hospital, and I am so glad we went when we did. My contractions went from 7-13 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes apart really fast. When I walked into labor and delivery I saw my o.b. (who happened to be on call that night) and said gleefully, "My water broke! I'm totally in labor!" to which she replied, "You are not in labor (probably because I had a huge stupid grin on my face), and even if your water broke, it doesn't mean you are past 1 cm!" So, like the mature person I am, I stuck my tongue out at her and called her a negative Nancy. :)

Sure enough, I got taken into the delivery room and into my glorious robe and I was at 3cm. For the next hour I paced through contractions, breathed through contractions, answered random questions (I thought they were random anyways), signed paperwork and got my blood drawn and i.v. started. I was also told that if I wanted an epidural (which was recommended just in case of emergency c-section) I should have it soon.

By 12:30 I was ready for my epidural because my contractions were every minute or so and they were super painful (duh, but they were pitocen free contractions!). It took the anesthesiologist 3 tries to get my epidural in!! Three separate pokes!! Me, sitting perfectly still through numerous contractions while the anesthesiologist is talking me through what she is doing. I just kept thinking, "Shut up!! I don't want to hear about it!!". Finally, at 1am I was set up and ready to go into blissful epidural land.

I encouraged Sam to go sleep in the chair because it might take awhile (I was now at 4 almost 5 cm) and got ready for the happy numbness associated only with the happy drugs blocking the pain. That happened, but then my legs got all "holy crap my legs fell asleep but now they are waking up with giant pins and needles" feeling. It was like restless legs syndrome, only much much worse because even though I had the urge to move my legs (stretch them, kick them, etc.) I couldn't move a muscle. In fact, I noticed that I couldn't feel anything below my armpits. Plus, I was feeling super woozy and beginning to panic. They put an oxygen mask on me, but that made me feel claustrophobic. So, for the next two hours I had a panic attack (go me!).

It was horrible. I just wanted to move my legs, and the logical side of me was telling myself to just calm down and breathe. But, the illogical side of me kept saying, "I just want to move my legs!!" The nurse had to monitor my heart rate (which was in the 130's) and Sam kept telling me to breathe deeply, to which my response was to hold my breath because I couldn't concentrate on breathing. Finally I calmed down enough to fall asleep at around 3-ish (I think, at one point I woke up to being checked, which is a little awkward...).

I woke up at 4am because the epidural was wearing off (yay!) and every time I had a contraction (about every minute or so) Benjamin would jam himself into my rib cage. Finally, at about 4:30 I called my nurse because I felt funny. So, she came in to check me and said, "Okay, let's push!" I was all, "Wait, what? I've only been at the hospital for 5 and a half hours! I haven't even seen the new nurse staff yet!" So, I tried waking Sam up. It took me three times of telling him that he needed to get up and help before it registered for him that it was time to push. :) I pushed twice and then was told to stop because they needed to call the doctor. Again, what?!?! In my previous deliveries pushing was a 1.5-3 hour process, why call the doctor now?

The delivery team broke down the bed, got the bassinet ready and had me push one more time as the doctor got ready for delivery. Then I was told to wait again. Really? Wait? *sigh* I kept breathing deep through each contraction because I just wanted to push.

Finally, everyone else was ready and I was given the green light to push. 15 minutes later Benjamin was on my chest being rubbed down and I was grinning like crazy. 10 minutes after that I was on the phone calling my mom and texting my friends.

He is perfect and healthy. His head is perfectly round, and he was a VERY successful VBAC. I was praising God for how quick and "easy" the whole labor and delivery was. Even as the placenta was delivered (and I was a little uneasy about how that was going to go) I was super happy.

Thanks for all of the support and well wishes. We got home this afternoon (I was in the hospital almost as long as I'm usually in labor!). If anyone wants to visit please call first to make sure we aren't sleeping or having other attitude issues from boys. :) Pics to be posted later (or see Sam's facebook page...).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reflections for Mother's Day.

Since becoming a more "granola" mom (ha ha ha, what that has meant is using cloth diapers and purchasing local produce from Tanaka Farms. I still have no qualms about throwing my kids a package of fruit snacks-oh the yellow 5!- and having them sit and watch Toy Story 3 so I can have some sanity) I've become slightly addicted to, a website through which I have purchased my cloth diapers (and cloth diaper accessories).

They are hosting a contest for Mother's Day called, "I'm So Glad You Were Born", meaning if I write a good enough comment I could win 100.00 towards their website. Sam would thank me because even just last night I was on the website drooling over their products and saying, "You know, they are having a buy 5 get one free sale..." To which he replied, "We have enough cloth diapers! We'll see what happens when the baby is born!" Boo. So I had to settle for purchasing just the laundry detergent which we love (Rockin' Green Hard Rock). Oh, that and another wet bag, that way when one is being washed, we have another place to put dirty diapers. :)

Anyways...To have more of a chance of winning I'm supposed to link the contest on my blog. So, here's the link:

But the stinky thing is, I can only use 250 words. You all have read these posts, it's nearly impossible for me to use 250 words to describe anything. Heck, it's taken me how long just to get to this point! Plus, I have almost three children, how can I pick just one child to comment on? *sigh* I guess since Benjamin has yet to show his cute little pudgy face I can't talk about how I'm glad he was born. I could talk about how I wish he were born! (getoutgetoutgetout!!!)

So, here on this blog I will post about how I'm glad each of my children were born, and then post one of them on the cottonbabies site. Then, if I win, I can get my 6 diapers without complaints from Sam. :) And, since I'd be spending 100.00, I could also get a sweet pair of leggings for free!

Nathaniel: I'm so glad you were born because you added to the love of our family. You gave me something to look forward to and count down for while Sam was away in Iraq. You have taught me more about compassion and empathy than I could have possibly learned anywhere else. You have shown me that these traits are part of the fabric of your character, and not something that can be easily taught. While your tears and your timidity sometimes drive me batty (I promise, your teacher will not eat your face! Just tell her what you need!), I see your thoughtfulness shining through as you reach out to other kids who are quiet and shy like you. I see your compassion as you try to teach your brother how to do "big kid" stuff, and I see your love for the brother who has yet to be born as you whisper "secrets" into my belly, touch various places and ask in wonder, "Is that a leg?" and simply cuddle up to get as close as you can. I love you, my first born child.

Aaron: I am so glad you were born because you have shown me how deep my love can go and how I can easily love a child so different from another. I love your passion and zest for life. You have met everything with a head on determination and stubbornness that has already gotten you far in your short 27 months here on earth. It got you crawling at 5 months, walking at 11 months, and potty trained at 26 months. Your war cries when anyone tries to help you, while often driving me INSANE tells me that no matter what life throws at you, you will be okay. I love seeing how no one will ever walk all over you, no matter who that person is. I know this because you won't allow your brother to make you do things you won't do (and he has the bite marks to prove it!) and I see you shrug off the hugs of the little girls at daycare as you back away and say, "No, high five!" I also love that no matter how tough and big you are, you are never afraid to give your mommy, daddy and brother hugs and kisses and show us how fiercely you love by giving giant hugs that last forever.

I can't wait until Benjamin is born and I can revel in a new little creation and a new little personality. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

School, sentences and sweetness.

I am continually amazed by my children.

For the record. I don't want to feel like I'm bragging about how aweseome my kids are and take any credit for it. We are seriously blessed big time by our kids' temperments and how healthy and bright they are. Plus, I know that most everyone thinks their kids are pretty special, I am just taken back by the things that they do for one another and for others.

That's not to say that two little someones don't act out. They certainly do, and we have the bruises from bites and punches to prove it, but within minutes of a bite or a punch or a shove, the culprit (Aaron) is sweetly hugging the victim (Nathaniel) and saying, "'Orry, Bubba..." while Nathaniel either responds with a punch or an "I forgive you..." (playing out last night for you).

Aaron, my little non-verbal boy, has exploded with full sentences the past two days. I am proud to say that his first sentence was..."No! Kitty, don't you bite me, okay?" (This was after a few minutes of harrassment on Aaron's part when Socrates finally moved to bite him). From that point on Aaron's been full of, "Mommy, more juice, please!" and "I'm cold! I want a towel!" Okay...

Aaron also started at the preschool today. He was so brave! He jumped out of the van, ran to the gate, waited while I opened the gate, rushed through the door, tried to put his lunch in someone else's cubby, ran through the classroom out to the playground where he immediately attached himself to my leg. It didn't help that every single child in Nathaniel's class came running over to say hi to Nathaniel's little brother. At one point Aaron was climbing my leg. He eventually warmed up (after trying to eat his lunch at 9am, seriously, he was so excited about having a lunch box!). He decided to hang out with Nathaniel for outside play time. We'll see how the day goes, especially for nap!

Finally, Nathaniel has been super sweet lately, and very helpful. He helped Sam plant more seeds on Sunday (and got a whole dollar for it!). Then, yesterday, I was doing dishes and sweeping and mopping and doing some other general cleaning. While I was doing dishes Nathaniel dragged a chair over to the sink and said, "Mommy, I want to wash those for you!" So I let him wash the plastic cups and the silverware. Then he grabbed the broom and tried to sweep for me (which is hard when the broom is twice your size) and then while I mopped he would spray the floor for me with the cleaner. At one point my back was aching and Nathaniel said, "Mom, let me pop your back." and began to rub my back. He also took a rag and cleaned the front of the stove for me! Then we made lemonade together and sat and did a puzzle together and chatted about different stuff. His Cubbies lesson was on heaven and asked what he thought would be in heaven. He said apples, people (then asked me if grandma was in heaven. I told him no, that all of his grandmas were still alive...then he asked me if Uncle Ian was in heaven, then he said, "No...Uncle Ian is still alive too...") and chocolate chip cookies. :)

We also talked about my great grandma Smith and the yummy things she made (applesauce, frozen strawberries, etc.), and he was super interested. It made me really treasure the afternoon I spent just hanging out with Nathaniel while Aaron slept. While we cleaned I told Nathaniel that when the baby is born I won't be able to do as much with him at first, but that I would still make time for him. He is super excited for the baby to be born though, and even ran and put stickers on my belly saying, "This one is for you, Mom, but this super awesome one is for Benjamin!"

Yup, we're pretty blessed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Processing a moment in history.

Yesterday was a super long day for me. Between church, a youth luncheon, worship team stuff and a going away party for some dear friends who (like many people around us) are moving due to employment stuff, I wasn't able to sit down until about 8:30 last night. When I signed onto the internet I saw a ton of facebook statuses about bin Laden's death.

I was shocked and yelled for Sam and we rushed to the t.v. (which never comes on at night, so it was a treat for the kids to watch t.v., even if it was the news). As we were turning on the t.v. I commented, "You know, it's great that they finally got the man who masterminded 9/11, but I don't think we should be rejoicing. As far as we know, he wasn't a Christian, which means eternal punishment."

I just can't celebrate eternal punishment for anyone.

Was Osama bin Laden evil? YES. I am not sad that he was finally found. I'm not even sad that he had to be killed in order to be taken captive (as far as we know. Maybe that was the plan all along, but I rarely question military involvement because I know that we will never be given all of the information that they have, for people to sit there and say otherwise are incredibly naive...).

On the other hand, watching the t.v. and watching the President's speech I was thrilled and a little apprehensive. I'm thrilled that FINALLY this evil man was captured. He was not innocent at all. He masterminded an attack on our soil, killing thousands of people. He changed our history. He made it so that SO MANY families were affected. I wrote in my journal on that fateful day that I knew Sam's future was going to be changed by the events that took place on 9/11. So, while I was not thrilled that he was killed (because how much more justice would have been done if he had been captured and imprisoned and brought to justice that way, even though it probably would have led to death as well) I was thrilled that he is no longer out there.

As we sat with the boys watching the t.v. I explained as best I could what was going on. We have a book called, "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" that we bought when we went to New York last year. I asked Nathaniel if he remembered that the towers were no longer there, and then explained that the man who they were talking about on t.v. was the man who made it so that those towers weren't there. Then we told them that they needed to remember this day if they possibly could. We'll see if that helps :).

Finally, we did our story reading and our family prayer time as usual. We prayed for bin Laden, as weird as that may sound. We prayed for God's mercy and that bin Laden was able to know God truly before he was killed. We don't ever want our kids to rejoice in the death of someone, no matter how evil. Especially if they did not know Jesus.

Disclaimer: I hope people who read this realize that we are not saying that his death was bad or not justified. It's just a loaded event. It's hard to process and hard to know how to process such a thing. While it's good that he's gone, I wonder if we've made him a martyr and I wonder what will happen next. But, no matter the outcome, he needed to be brought to justice for what he has done.

Monday, April 11, 2011

He's "mart!"

This picture has nothing to do with the post, but when I was getting stuff ready for the baby the boys grabbed the pacifiers and pretended to be babies. It was pretty cute. :)

We tackled potty training pretty hard core with Aaron the last few weeks. I tried to make it as stress-free as possible both for him, and myself. I simply put the underwear on him and made sure to take him to the toilet every 30-60 minutes. From day one he was pretty successful in that he had minimal accidents (maybe one or two) but that was purely from the effort of getting him to the toilet in time.

It's really great because his baby sitter is completely on board with us and doesn't mind him coming in underwear even if he's not completely trained!

This morning I put him in underwear right away after taking off his overnight diaper. I had dishes to do and diapers to wash and other general house "stuff" to take care of so the boys watched Curious George while I did those things. While I was washing dishes I heard the pitter patter of little bare feet into the bathroom and the toilet lid going up. I dashed into the bathroom quick (because Aaron can't get himself on the toilet by himself) and Aaron was saying, "Mart! Mart!" (I think it's because we tell him he's so smart when he uses the toilet?). I asked him if he needed to pee and he said, "Yeah! Mart!" and then he did (on the toilet).

I know this is just one part of many on this journey, but it's wonderful that at 26 months old he's telling me when he has to go. That's a BIG step in training.

Oh, and he FINALLY got his words last week. Of course, it was during my super busy week at work while Sam was home. I opened up the van door on Saturday to get Aaron and he looked at me and said, "Blankie, ground!" (Everything is said with exclamation from this boy). He has yet to get his connecting words, but the nouns are definitely there, along with verbs. Whew, I thought he would never learn how to speak for himself, which is ironic considering his name is Aaron (who was the spokesman for Moses...).

Other than that, things are going really well. Nathaniel is reading really well now. He's sounding out unfamiliar words pretty well, trying hard to remember all of those darn "rules". Let me tell you, it's pretty funny listening to someone try to sound out the word "face" by breaking it down sound by sound and thinking it's a hard c sound. :)

The pregnancy is going great. I'm trying really hard to stay active, but with Sam home it's increasingly easy to be a slug on the couch in the evenings rather than keep up with the boys. We had a rummage sale at church for the youth group last weekend and I was surprisingly NOT sore on Sunday afterwards, even though we put in a ton of hours (more than 24 in three days). I'm trying to save my energy when I can and do just what is needed to be done (like vacuum and laundry and sweeping, although sweeping is getting harder...). I'm still really hoping to have a successful VBAC. My doctor is being wonderfully supportive and we have the agreement that I'm not going to try to be a super hero/martyr. I will try my best but I'm not going to refuse medical intervention if I need it. My health and the baby's health is more important. I think not being induced and having Sam here will really help me overall though.

That's about it here. I'm trying to keep up with this blog, although most of the people who read this also are friends with me on facebook so any pictures I post are usually up there...

Hope everyone is well!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My thoughts on being a mom to boys (so far).

The more apparent my pregnancy becomes (i.e., the less I just look fat and the more obvious it is that there is someone taking up residence in my body), the more random strangers feel comfortable coming up to me and making small talk/rude comments towards me.

It's really weird because it's a lot of assumptions based on our choices that Sam and I have made as parents/reproducing adults and a lot of pigeon hole-ing that has been done.

For one, a lot of people assumed that we decided to have a third child because we had two boys and were trying for a girl. That is not the case in the slightest. I would like to think that if we had "one of each" that we would still have chosen to have a third child. I can't say what drives us to have kids, except that we have yet to feel "done" having kids. It's weird and complicated and hard to explain. So, when the ultrasound results came out, many of my close friends and family were awesome with their responses of "Hooray! Another boy!!" Even if they were secretly thinking, "Ohhh...a girl would have been nice for them." they didn't say it out loud. Bless them.

It's also weird when people automatically assume that we were disappointed to find out that we were having a third boy. I have said from the beginning of this pregnancy, "I just want a healthy baby (and a nice and easy delivery, but I'll take the healthy baby over the easy delivery)." and I really meant that I just wanted a healthy baby. So, when the doctor waved his magic wand over my belly and pronounced this baby a boy, I was more concerned that the femur measurements were developmentally correct and that the heart had four chambers, etc. than I was concerned about whether or not the chromosomes were XX or XY. In fact, a few weeks before the ultra sound I started to panic thinking that the baby might be a girl and thinking, "Holy Crap, I don't know what to do with a girl!"

Needless to say, giving up sarcasm this week has been incredibly trying for me because in the past two days I have had 4 random strangers comment on us having a boy. No, strike that, 5. One of those strangers was awesome though, saying what a blessing children were and how exciting it was that I was getting another boy. I thanked her for her kind words and told her that I was excited.

The other 4 people have reacted strangely to the news of a third boy in our family (like it directly affects them or something). I've gotten the, "Oh...weren't you hoping for a girl?" comments the "That's why we stopped at two, I am terrified of having another boy!" comments and the "I bet you are sad because you don't get to play dress up and buy dresses." comments.

Seriously? I love being a mom to boys. I get to dig in the dirt. I get to make poop jokes and know that my kids will laugh hysterically. Our toys consist of cars, trains, blocks, and nothing that involves teeny tiny accessories. As they grow, we get to raise strong men who will *hopefully* have a good work ethic and will respect women.

I have toyed with the idea of telling strangers that we don't know what we are having, but then I will have to hear the "Oh, I bet you are hoping for a girl!" comments all over again.

Maybe I will just turn the question around and ask something super personal of them. Or respond with, "I bet your parents really wanted an (insert opposite gender of person asking question here) when they had you, huh?"

But, that's sarcasm.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I think I drank the Kool-Aid.

We have started the cloth diapering adventure this week and I am absolutely LOVING it. First of all, I bought BumGenius 4.0 cloth diapers, which are called "All In Ones" because the cover and the liner come together in a package and the liner goes inside the cover. They are also one size fits most (7 pounds-35+ pounds) so they work for Aaron right now and will work for baby boy #3 come May. And, as an added bonus, the diapers have snaps instead of velcro, so they will last a lot longer.

These are the colors I purchased. I have three of each color. Aren't they great?
I took this picture to show the versatility. The green one is snapped to the smallest size, while the blue one is open so you can see the inside. The insert is hidden nicely away and really easy to get out by simply grabbing it out of the back (where the least amount of pee and poop is) and pulling it out).

I've really been loving how easy it's been to do this. The main thing holding Sam and I back for cloth diapering was not having our own laundry. But, I admit, I was leery of trying it because of the whole having to wash the diapers thing. I mean, poop that I can't just throw out? I gag at simply the thought. But, after a few poopy cloth diapers it really isn't so bad. I simply dump what I can, give it a quick swish in the water (holding the liner which doesn't get wet if I don't dunk it) and then throw the whole thing in the wet bag which hangs in the nursery on the closet door. When it's time to wash the diapers I simply grab the bag (which doesn't leak at all and holds the odor in), take it to the washing machine, flip it inside out (dumping the soiled diapers inside) and do my wash (one prewash, one hot wash, an extra rinse cycle).

I know I sound like a crazy woman, but really, I've been bitten by the cloth diaper bug. I have bought 20 of these things and I need Sam to change my password on the cottonbabies web site because I am in danger of spending WAY TOO MUCH money on these. It doesn't help that they have sales AND for every purchase over 100.00 you get a free pair of leggings (which are being saved for the baby).

The one down side is that Aaron loves the cloth diapers so much that underwear has been usurped. *sigh* I suppose we'll start again when the baby is born and I have a few weeks of being home to work with him.

But really, who can resist this cute little cloth diapered booty?

This is the wet/dry bag that the diapers go in. I could put the clean diapers in the front zipper part, but I have them in a little basket on top of the dresser, right next to the changing pad and the wipe warmer I purchased (with cloth wipes, yup, I'm addicted!)

Monday, February 28, 2011


Aaron's actual birthday. He's eating a banana muffin.
Elmo cupcake with friends for his party.
Aaron getting ready to open presents. There was a Packer football in this one.
Taking a whack at the pinata.
Nathaniel with brother Bear at Disney's California Adventure (Aaron freaked and wouldn't join the picture).
We went for a hike and found a Redwood Forest!
The boys happily hiking with their sticks. Right after this was taken both boys managed to poke themselves with the sticks. Nathaniel on his side, Aaron in his eye. They were okay though.

It's been awhile...

It's been awhile since I've had time/energy/motivation to update the blog. I know I have pictures somewhere on my camera too to highlight all of the stuff that's been happening (like little Mr. Aaron turning 2), but that means finding the camera. I think it's hanging on the hooks by the door...I'll have to do a photo update after a text update. Lame.

Life has definitely been crazy here since the last time I posted. February literally flew by. The beginning of February I took 11 students up the mountain to a very warm winter camp (it was in the 60's and no snow was to be found. Since then it has snowed almost 3 feet up in the mountains. Not fair.). The day I got back from that we threw Aaron a birthday party/Superbowl party to celebrate (boo) the Packers making it to the Superbowl. I was way out of it and barely remember any of it because I was incredibly tired from camp and was also unpacking, doing laundry and repacking to catch a 7:00am flight the next day to Indiana to be with family as my grandfather had passed away the week before.

I managed to fly out to Indiana right as snow was starting to hit, so I got to drive about 2 hours in snow to be with my family. Even though I missed the funeral by mere hours (along with some beloved cousins who I only see when someone dies), it was nice to be with my mom and siblings and aunts and sit with my grandmother. It was super hard to be there though because I kept expecting my grandfather to be there, either sitting in his chair watching t.v. or puttering around in the kitchen. He wasn't one to simply sit still and since he hadn't really been sick up until right before Christmas, it was super hard for me to not expect to see him.

I flew back to California on a Thursday night and Sam turned around and left at 4:30 the next morning to fly to Washington for a conference. Then he came back on Saturday but was gone for drill all weekend as well. That next Friday I went up to the mountains again with the high school group to help out a bit. And now February is over.

Whew. I'm glad it's all behind us now, although with the close of February bring March and planning for summer stuff and the looming birth of baby boy #3 (no name yet). It's all slightly overwhelming!

But, on the kiddo front, everything is going fairly well. Nathaniel is taking violin lessons and is doing quite well when he actually practices (it's hard for him to practice when I'm not around because Sam doesn't know anything about violin and doesn't sit in on the lessons). He got good sound out of his violin today, which made me happy. We are still working on his attitude. He is quite whiny at times, and I'm sure that he's just super tired, but he won't nap. He goes many days in a row without t.v. because that is his big consequence for not listening. He reads really well now, but when he's put on the spot, he freezes and won't do it. He is a super timid kid and adults intimidate him, so when a teacher asks him a question, or he has a question for the teacher he freezes up and immediately says, "I don't know." We're working on it. I know he can read because he corrects me when I'm reading by pointing to a word I skip and telling me I skipped it. Also, he can spell because yesterday I spelled ice cream to Sam and a minute later Nathaniel said, "I want ice cream!" after working out the letters in his head. With kindergarten testing coming up this month I am a bit worried. It's all unfounded because even if he knew nothing, he would be fine in kindergarten because they teach all of the stuff. It's just me being paranoid I suppose.

We register him for kindergarten next month. He will be attending Bethany Christian Academy, which is the school that is on the campus of the church I work at. It's such a blessing to get the private school education at the discount we get it at. I get to know that my kid is getting good quality education and he's right there where I'm working. It makes me happy to know that he won't fall into the cracks in a huge class of 36 kids with a teacher who is really a glorified babysitter because she/he can't control the large classroom and is also dealing with a high percentage of children who do not speak English. We don't live in a great school district, so I'm glad for this opportunity for our kids.

Have I mentioned I can't believe that Nathaniel is starting kindergarten? It is so crazy!

Aaron is a little cutie-pie trouble maker. He is a stinker, but he does it with this "I know I'm cute" look on his face, which makes it doubly hard to come down on him. But, he does get his fair share of time outs and spanks for not listening or punching his brother (mostly punching his brother...). At his 2 year check up the pediatrician mentioned that he should be speaking two word phrases by now and seemed concerned that he wasn't (as was I). But then, after interacting with him told me that I don't need to worry, that he just needs to be given the space to talk. He is super sharp and follows directions and knows stuff, he just has a chatty older brother who speaks for him. All the time. So, after a week of giving him more talking space (asking a question and waiting until he answers, encouraging him to speak, etc.) and telling Nathaniel to cool it and let him talk, he is speaking really well. And, he is a stinker about it. When I give him warnings when he's in trouble he jumps ahead to the counting and then spanks himself and giggles. *sigh*

He's working on the potty training really well. When I put him in underwear he will go into the bathroom before he pees himself and when he's in a diaper he goes to the toilet right after he poops. It really is just going to take me spending the day with him working on it. I've spent a couple of days, but haven't had the time to be super consistent. Small goals here.

Aaron starts preschool in May. He is going to go where Nathaniel goes, which is also attached to the church and is super discounted for us as well. It will be nice to have him settled in a new place before the baby is born. Then, for the summer, if I can't handle having all three kids home or they need to get out, I can drop them off at school (which is also daycare) for the morning to play and I can get a bit of a break.

The pregnancy is going well. February was super stressful so I had a lot of braxton hicks contractions. It was more of a nuisance than anything. But, I am almost 30 weeks, which means 10 more. As of now the baby is head up, so if nothing changes I will have a c-section. It's not ideal, but I'm not stressing about it right now.

As for our family? Sam and I are often two ships passing in the night with the busyness of Sam's day job and his night job teaching online and my own work with the youth plus parenting. But, I'm so blessed with a husband who isn't afraid to put all of the work on hold so he can spend some time with the family. He was awesome to hold down the fort most of this month even in his busyness so I could do what I needed to do. He even put together Aaron's party, including ordering a bounce house, making all of the food (no store bought dips for Sam, it was all homemade guacamole, hummus, salsa and other yummy stuff) and getting decorations. He's a keeper. :)

We're trying our hand at being a bit more "granola". We are getting a box of organic fruits and veggies once a week from a local farm through a fundraiser at Nathaniel's preschool. It's so yummy and we are eating a lot healthier now with fresh veggies and fruit. We also are trying our hand at cloth diapering for this new baby. We'll see how it goes.

That's it here. I am hoping to get this thing updated a bit more. Life continues to march on and this is actually a good way to keep track of what is happening with the family as I go back and re-read older posts.

Blessings to all!

Monday, January 24, 2011

So glad that I am still enamored with the "growing" process.

Aaron will be 2 in 3 weeks. I still have no idea when we are actually going to get to celebrate his birthday as a family since every single weekend in February one of the parental units is traveling and on his actual birthday I have the Annual Business meeting at church, which is kind of a required thing for staff to be a part of.

It's so funny though, because even though this kid is really bright (he knows some colors and some of his letters and is SUPER coordinated, giving even this relaxed mom of boys some mini heart attacks with his bravery), I still get worried about his general skills. I could be remembering this wrong, but Nathaniel was saying two word phrases by this point and Aaron is still pretty much just one word at a time (although, he does have plenty of words and never fails to get his point across). Part of it is being the second child, I think. Nathaniel really does most of the talking for Aaron. Plus, he is super content to play by himself, even going so far as to leave the room while Sam was trying to play with him one night. Sam found Aaron sitting in his bedroom reading books by himself. I guess the kid likes his alone time! (Note: I'm not worried about any developmental disabilities because he totally engages with people, looks people in the eyes, isn't afraid of touching others, etc. He has zero flags for autism or anything like that).

With that, I'm totally enjoying this season of new discoveries for Aaron. I love it when he suddenly starts saying a word clearly. Elmo is no longer "Melmo" but is actually "Elmo" (which actually makes me sad!) and Nathaniel is no longer "bubba" but "Naniel!!" (which is pretty good considering most of Nathaniel 4-5 year old friends still call Nathaniel "Mathaniel"). The parent of choice is still Daddy, but I do get the occasional cuddle time where Aaron drops all that he is doing to cuddle up on the couch with me for a few minutes. I cherish those moments because they are fleeting.

Last night we went to Disneyland and Aaron was officially tall enough to ride the Matterhorn. I was slightly nervous for him, not wanting to totally traumatize him, but Sam took him and Nathaniel and I waited on the side. I was greeted exuberantly by Aaron when he got off of the ride. He was giggling and running and pointing to the roller coaster and telling me about the monster. That makes me super happy.

Nathaniel has his moments. Last week was a rough one for the family. It's like he's taking every boundary we have ever set up for him and pushing it. We had a few days where he was lying about nearly everything, so we told him that if he lied again he would have to face the punishment (which is a spoonful of vinegar). Lo and behold, he did it again and fought us like crazy about the punishment. So, he went to bed after knocking the spoon out of my hands and then had the vinegar in the morning. Since he also was not listening, yelling at mom and dad, calling people names, and throwing fits at every turn he lost pretty much all special privileges. No t.v., no Disneyland, no friends was a pretty rough time for him. But, as soon as his attitude improved, the special things came back. After the vinegar incident he was truly repentant and the minute a lie started to come out of his mouth he quickly stopped, apologized and told the truth. He is even saying, "Mom, I'm going to pretend now!" Then begins his stories. His attitude is much better this week, and we've been quick to point it out and praise him for it. Last night after Disneyland we stopped for Jamba Juice as a treat/snack and I asked Nathaniel if it was more fun to listen and have a good attitude or throw a fit. He agreed that listening was better.

That's about it here. Sam's thinking of planning a Superbowl party since his team made it (boo). I think it will be fun and maybe we can celebrate Aaron's birthday a week early since I will actually be home from camp early in the afternoon. Hmmmm....

The pregnancy is still going well. I had some pretty bad aches this past weekend, but I think it was round ligament pains and the general "getting bigger" aches. After a few days of moving around more I feel much better and slept better too.

Oh, and as if life isn't going super fast anyways, Nathaniel's school has a new parent meeting in a few weeks! I can't believe we're prepping for Kindergarten!! (Nathaniel will be attending Bethany Christian Academy in the fall since that is where I also teach so it will be super easy to drop both kids off at the same place I work while keeping the baby with me until he's big enough for daycare/too big to not be a huge distraction while I work).