Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Would You Like To Watch T.V., Kids?

My preschoolers like to watch T.V.

There. I’ve said it. And it’s the honest truth. They enjoy PBS, they like children’s videos, and- just recently- they’ve started to show an interest in some of the Disney material out there.

Here’s the rest of the truth-- I let them watch it. We have limits, sure, and I am ridiculously strict when it comes to content… but I do let my children watch a show here and there.

They like it.

But do you know what they like more?

Take your pick…

“Do you want to do a craft?”
“Should we read this story?”
“Who wants to help Mama bake?”
“Why don’t we go outside?”
“Can you do me favor?”
“Would you like to go in the garden with me?”o
“Who wants to match these socks from the laundry?”
“Should we sing some songs?”
“How many stars can you count?”
“How about we try this puzzle?”
“Can you draw me a picture?”
“Let’s go blow bubbles!”
“Do you want to go for a walk?”
… and on and on…

Any one of those phrases will make my kids abandon the T.V. in a heartbeat. Because here’s the thing…

My kids like spending time watching T.V.

But they LOVE spending time with me.

I bet your kids feel the same way.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Welcome To My World...

If you've wondered why I seemed "back in force" and then disappeared this week, the above is why...

We closed on our new house! Very exciting news, but it also means that my hours are spent hauling and unloading while entertaining small children.

We're not living there yet- the water still needs to test as "potable" before I'm moving three little ones in. We should have that situation resolved pretty soon.

In the meantime, know that I have lots of ideas kicking around in my head and that I'm looking forward to getting right back at it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wanchai Ferry Winner

I've announced the winner of the Wanchai Ferry giveaway over here. Go check it out!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"My Story..." Monday: Telling The Family

My husband and I basically crept away to go the Emergency Room. I had whispered to him "I'm bleeding... and crampy" from a corner of the ICU waiting room. We had little choice but to try and get it figured out. We walked down two flights of stairs and were quickly ushered into a room with a Noah's ark border all around it. A nurse got me settled in and told me they had the on-call OB on his way. So we waited.

Of course, we had our six-month old son with us at the time. It quickly became apparent that we weren't going to be able to keep him happy and quiet in a tiny ER room while we waited to find out what was happening with my second pregnancy. But what were we supposed to do?

About ten minutes into our wait, my sister-in-law showed up. She had found us because the doctor had arrived to talk to my mother-in-law and her three children about my father-in-law's condition. My husband was the one designated to make any decisions concerning continuing life support. He had to be there.

"Go," I insisted, "You have to go... NOW. Your being here with me won't change anything. I'll tell you whatever I find out." Reluctantly, he followed his sister back up to the ICU.

When the doctor arrived, he asked me a series of questions. I supposed that perhaps I wasn't really pregnant after all- maybe the home pregnancy test had been wrong and I was just late this month and that's what this was all about. He told me they'd run blood-work to be sure but that he was very willing to believe the test.

Blood-work and an examination revealed that, yes, I had been pregnant at the time of the test and was indeed STILL pregnant. Whether or not I would remain that way was still a question. He told me that the conventional recommendation was to go home and remain on bed-rest but that, in all honesty, if I was going to miscarry, all the rest in the world wouldn't stop it. Some women wouldn't appreciate his stance, I'm sure, but I believe what he said was completely true. And, so, he advised me to take it a little easy and to come back in two days for more blood-work. If my hormone levels went up, the pregnancy was intact. If they went down, I had lost the baby. As simple- and heart-wrenching- as that.

While I awaited my discharge summary (the one that read "Threatened Abortion" on it), my husband returned sans 6-month old. He had left him up with the rest of the family. We felt joy that, for the time being, everything was okay. We were terrified what would be revealed in 48 hours...

I decided that- income or no income- we needed to tell the rest of the family. They were surely wondering what was going on with me by then anyhow.

And so we told them that I was six weeks pregnant but quite possibly miscarrying.

I'd like to tell you that our announcement was met with a combination of joy and concern. It was not. Sadly, my mother-in-law and one of my sisters-in-law had experienced miscarriage themselves and they almost shrugged it off. I'm not saying they were unkind, but they had more of a "yep, that's rough" kind of attitude that, quite honestly, assumed the baby was already lost. I guess I really wanted someone to say, "Don't worry- it's going to be okay. We'll pray this baby through." But that's not the response I got. I have no ill feelings about this, however. Remember- this was already an incredibly stressful and devastating time for the family as my father-in-law fought to hold on in the ICU.

It was Monday. And everyone was in for a long night. My husband drove our 6-month old son and me home to get some rest and headed back to keep vigil at the hospital.

Before I turned in for the night, I called my parents...

I'll tell you about that next week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mmmm... A Yummy Giveaway

I have to admit it... I'm a big fan of this convenience food. Hop over here and win some for yourself!

Photo Collages

Have you ever seen those photo collages that they put together at Sears? The ones with all the different close-up shots of the baby parts? Well, I love them. I love everything about the idea. After all, baby parts are just so darn cute and precious. Okay, so there's one thing I don't love- the price tag. Those specialty prints can really add up. Especially when you consider that not only would we want a copy, but both sets of grandparents would likely appreciate one too.

One day I mused to my husband, "I wonder if I could create one of my own..."

"Bet we could," came his reply.

And that was that.

Let me just make it very clear that neither my husband nor I is a great photographer. Worse, we're both horrible about even REMEMBERING to take pictures. My whole family is like this. My brother and sister wisely married people who are great about taking pictures. But me? I picked a man just like me. And so... well, we have to really work to commemorate major events.

Anyway, despite my lack of photography skills, I think they turned out pretty cute. I purchased 8 1/2" x 11" photo paper and some pretty $5 frames at Target. I cropped and magnified until I had the shots I wanted and my husband formatted them to fit evenly in an 8" x 10" space so they would look good in the frame. We printed two in sepia and framed them in cherry and two in black and white and framed those in black.

My son, A, at 12-14 months

For well under $10 a piece, we created our own photo collages- a much thriftier option than the $29.99 each for the unframed version.

My daughter, C, at 2-4 months

Pretty soon, we'll have to do another set of them showcasing all of G's cute little baby parts. Knowing I can do three of them, framed, for under $20? That works for me!

This post is linked to:
Works For Me Wednesday, hosted by We Are THAT Family.

Frugal Friday, hosted by Life as MOM.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sibling Love

"I have two baby sisters! TWO of them!!!" he told everyone at the hospital...

"Mama when do I get another sister?" he asks me every couple days...

"Where's my brother?" he asks on the other days...

"I'm a great big brother, right Mama?"

Oh, yes, Sweetheart, you are.

And I'm so grateful for my three kiddos, for the relationships they share, and the fact that I've given them siblings to love and cherish...

Sibling love is a sweet thing to see.
This post is linked to Gratituesday, hosted by Heavenly Homemakers.

"My Story..." Monday: No Job And Baby #2 On The Way

Once I had mentally adjusted to the fact that I would be having two babies very close together, I started to get very excited. I was delighted with the idea of having another precious child. I truly couldn't decide whether a little girl or another little boy sounded like more fun- both options seemed perfect to me!

But, while my husband and I were looking forward to welcoming another little bundle to the family, I was also determined to tell NO ONE. At that point, my husband was without a job and I thought we looked horribly irresponsible what-with my ending up pregnant again so soon while he was unemployed. To be honest, I was a little ashamed. I thought everyone- family and friends alike- would look down on us and be very judgmental. I convinced my husband to keep it all under wraps until he found something...

And that we did. Even when my sister-in-law said, "Just wait until YOU have two!!" while trying to corral her own two children. We shared a quiet smile and said nothing.

One August night, in the middle of the night, I awoke to the phone ringing. I didn't get there in time (we've never had a phone- or a TV- in our bedroom), but the caller I.D. revealed the call came from my husband's parents...

To make a very long, and very heart-wrenching, story short, my father-in-law had suffered a stroke. He was already battling lung cancer and was severely diabetic. My husband rushed off to follow the ambulance while I stayed back with the sleeping baby.

Over the next couple of days, we spent most of our hours in the ICU waiting room. When we went in to visit my father-in-law, I leaned down and whispered, "We're having another baby. Isn't that exciting? You're the first to know!" I'll never know how much he understood; I never got to talk to him again. But I like to think that those words made his heart happy.

I had still planned on leaving it at that- no one else had to know.

But God had other plans about that too...

Because as I sat in the waiting room, I realized that I was cramping and bleeding. And I had to go two floors down to the E.R.

I'll tell you next week about how and why I ended up telling everyone else...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Win a $10 Stop & Shop Gift Card!

Hop on over here and leave me a quick comment to be entered to save $10 on your groceries. While you're there, check out how much I carted home for 80 cents...

Friday, September 4, 2009


... of the baby variety.

A sweet, warm, swaddled baby is one of the finest things I can think of. My husband wraps G. up tight after her bath and then passes her to me for her bedtime meal. Precious, precious...
This post is linked to Finer Things Friday over at Amy's place!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Buy Single Function Appliances

I saw this nifty doo-dad advertised the other day. It would brew your coffee, fry your egg, and toast your muffin all in one handy-dandy little appliance. The counter-space craving lady inside me swooned. Much like most of the men I know get downright giddy (yes, they would deny being giddy vehemently, but giddy they are...) about combo electronics that will play and record both DVD's and VHS's while also playing CD's and doubling as a surround sound system. What's not to like? These gadgets do everything for you!

Well I'm here to tell you- don't buy them. That is, if you want to save money in the long run- don't buy them.

Even if you get a great deal and the multi-function unit costs you less than the sum of its parts, just remember that, as soon as ONE component fails, you have to replace it. Our DVD player and VCR are separate. If either one goes, it's a cheap fix. And we're not left with a half-broken player that we have to hold onto in order to use the other part.

Better to seek out sales on the individual parts you actually need. Because that's the other issue at play here... do I NEED an appliance that will fry my egg? Um... last I checked, they called that a STOVE. ;) And I already have one.

Save yourself a little dough. Buy single function appliances.
This post is linked to Frugal Friday, hosted by the incomparable FishMama at Life As MOM.

A "Hair-rowing" Tale

I'd read about it happening but, despite having two babies while sporting almost waist-length hair, it never happened to me...

Do you know where I'm going with this? The stories about babies getting strands of long hair wrapped around their fingers or toes and ending up in the E.R. to have it cut away when it starts cutting into their flesh? Horrible stories. Truly.

We'd always avoided that. Until today...

My hair is much shorter now- about shoulder-length. But it was today that I noticed indentations in two of G's chubby little fingers. Sure enough, she had a couple strands of my hair wrapped oh-so-tightly around them.

We got lucky. I spotted it pretty early. And I was able to cut it away using a tiny blade on my Dad's Swiss army knife (ask me if that was a tad nerve-wracking...) She's just fine now. And so's her mama...

But take my advice- keep an eye on those baby hands! And try to keep your hair out of fingers' reach.

(By the way, Thanks, Papa, for always having that handy little knife around! Even though people try to confiscate it for fear you plan on hijacking a plane with a 1" blade...)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Kid Equation

Yesterday, I went for a walk with the baby and the 4-year old. It was brisk, fun, and- well- easy. I caught myself thinking, "Gosh, it's so easy to do these things with only two kids!"

But here's the thing.

A few short months ago, I only had two kids. And I didn't think it was easy. In fact, I can vividly remember thinking, "Gosh, when I only have one of these kids with me, it's so easy!"

But wait- there's more...

When I only had one child, I can remember feeling like my hands were SO full. It was an ordeal to get ready and get out the door. My diaper bag was packed for any eventuality. I tried to plan errands when my husband would be around to help!

All of this got me thinking about this equation:

"# of kids you have" - 1 = "much easier"

This has absolutely been true for me. But it begs the question...

Do parents of six children (or more!) really think it's that much easier to do things with one less child along? Does it make a noticeable difference at that point? Let me know!

Parents of large families- does this equation ring true for you? If not, is there an equation that would better fit your situation? I'd love to hear about it! And parents of 2, 3, or 4 kids... do you feel like I do?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Nursing Bracelet

(My bracelet says "Expect Miracles" on it... how appropriate!)

I am well aware that this is not an idea completely unique to me. But, in all honesty, though this is my third baby, this is my first time needing to use this tip. And, so, I pass it on to all of you!

It may surprise some of you to learn that this is my first breastfed baby. My first child was formula fed (by choice-- are any of you appalled and shocked? More on that in another post...). My second baby was fed breast milk, but through an NG-tube and then bottles. I exclusively pumped for her. My new little girl is exclusively breastfed.

This is the first time I've had to remember what side I fed a baby on. With formula, it's a non-issue. With pumping, I pumped both sides simultaneously each time. But this time around? I need to remember!

I use a pretty, stretch silver bracelet to help remind me. I simply switch it from side to side to let me know which side she ended up on last. This is particularly helpful on chaotic days or bleary-eyed nights. The fact that it's stretchy makes it easy to move back and forth without fumbling with clasps. The fact that it's silver makes it pretty enough to wear every day with everything from jeans to church clothes. It's also comfortable enough to sleep in.

Wearing a nursing bracelet works for me!
What tips and tricks do you rely on while nursing a newborn? Any great advice you can pass on to me?
This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday, hosted by We Are THAT Family.