Looking for our Wish Lists? Here they are.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sad little Pacifica

My car is at the doctor. It has an uncomfortable sounding rattle and we discussed taking it in on Monday. However when we left church today it wouldn't start. It did eventually and (contrary to last time) I convinced R to drive it right to our (unfortunately probably soon to have a great holiday) friends at Able Auto Service. We are hoping they can get it looked at, diagnosed, fixed and hopefully (miraculously) paid for so that we can leave on time, as scheduled, next weekend for Michigan. We're not sure what is going on (duh) but R says he is hoping we don't have to get a new engine (thanks for the positive thoughts your filling my head with buddy).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for...(in no particular order)

Richard
Lillian
The fact that I am not currently pregnant
Diet Coke
Our AMAZING church group who are great friends, no, great family
Bread
Brandon, Lindsey and Princess Kylie
Britt and Whitney
Landon and Lena
Our new storage ottoman that doesn't make my feet fall asleep when I put them on it
That we have almost everything for Lil's birthday party already
The DVD player we borrowed to keep Lil entertained on the trip to/from MI.
The Sunday Paper
Moist chocolate cake
TiVo
Sprite Zero
My Pacifica
The automatic lift gate on the pacifica
The money for the bike payments (our ONLY debt)
Cheese
The fact that we have a house fund though we're years away from buying one
The yellow and white flowered blanket
My sewing machine
The new orange coat I just bought
Potatoes
My treadmill (although I would be more thankful if I didn't have to use it every day)
Christmas Music
Good Books
Great Wolf Lodge (hopefully we will be able to go back next year)
The Gap
Thanksgiving Parades
That we're debt free (except for that pesky bike)
That even in times like this, we have a house fund started, money in savings, retirement and for our honeymoon.
Email
Internet
Google Reader
Target
Jesus being born and dying on the cross for our sins
My parents
R's parents
Grandparents
Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc
Brian
Three new very little girls Eden Avery (still in the hospital-born at 32 weeks), Laynee Adele, and Ruby Eileen
Babies to come in 2009: Baby Kocher
My babyfit friends who answer my every question
Good movies
Dark Chocolate
Army Wives (the show)
My new (pink) smartphone
I'd be REALLY THANKFUL for internet on that smartphone
Digital Cameras
Rite Aid's $30 for your prescription program (we've made over $150 0ff of them in the last month)
Health insurance for free (the insurance is great, the care sucks, but...its free)
Christmas Music (yes, I know I already said that)
ASHLEY
Julie and Kerstin (the only other two people from high school or college worth keeping in contact with)
March and my big surprise
Ashley's visit last March and coming again this March
Spending Christmas in Michigan
Lillian's ability to eat ANYTHING
My job
R's job...It took ALOT to write that, but its true
For the orders I know we're going to get, back to VA (pray people, PRAY)
The plant we've kept alive through a move from Grand Blanc to Flint, Michigan to Florida and Florida to Virginia
Yoga pants and sweatshirts
Windex wipes
Puma Tennis shoes
Magic Erasers
Cheerios (for Lillian, the cure all)
My laptop
Cheesecake
Friends who act like family at Thanksgiving time

Happy Thanksgiving!


We will be spending the day with friends from our Bible Study class and then having Britt and Whitney over tonight for dinner, dessert and games.

Tomorrow, I plan on shopping alone with Lindsey (alone meaning no husbands, no kids), not sure that we'll go super early though. Nothing we super want to get, mostly just to get out and shop. I am going to look for some jeans though. Two pairs of non-PJ-pants that fit work while I'm here every day, watching the girls, but for two weeks with family, I might need more.

Saturday we're going to Britt and Whitney's for the Clemson-Carolina game, which is each of their favorite teams. Elena is watching Lillian.

Sunday is church as normal and we are working in the nursery.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FAO Schwarz Dream List

If I had a million dollars, If I had a million dollars, If I had a million dollars...I'd be rich. And, I'd buy all of these things.

Giant Doll House

Noah's Ark and Animal Set in Wood
And even though I don't have a million dollars, I'm VERY tempted to splurge on these amazing things.

Plush Noah's Ark
seems like almost a good deal at $68


Hopscotch Giraffe Plush
seems expensive at $50 but its SOOO adorable, and big enough for her to sit on.


Convertible Grow-Up Walker/Ride-On/Push Along Cart also kind of surprised me at only $100. This is INGENIOUS in all its multiple contortions.

Let Your Child Soar

I get Parents Magazine and this December issue had a great article in it "Let your Child Soar: and 49 other ways to be a fantastic parent. I thought I'd share it....

Throughout the year, our board of advisors -- a brain trust of the best pediatric doctors, developmental experts, and educators in the country -- shares the latest thinking about raising happy and healthy kids in the pages of Parents. Now we've gathered our all-time favorite nuggets of their advice in one outstanding article that will have a profound effect on your whole family.

Set Smart Limits

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Don't clip your child's wings. Your toddler's mission in life is to gain independence. So when she's developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity!).

Don't try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child's minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.

Pick your battles. Kids can't absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter -- that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Create Your Own Quality Time

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don't worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That's the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he's a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents' voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There's no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad -- early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals -- like bedtimes and game night -- that you do together.

Be a Good Role Model

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It's how you want your child to behave, right?

Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it's your job to set a great standard.

Respect parenting differences. Support your spouse's basic approach to raising kids -- unless it's way out of line. Criticizing or arguing with your partner will do more harm to your marriage and your child's sense of security than if you accept standards that are different from your own.

Know the Best Ways to Praise

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, "You're great," try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, "Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience."

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let him know how you feel. It's a great way to reinforce good behavior so he's more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact: What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child "catch" you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy.

Trust Yourself

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you're too tired to cook doesn't make you a bad parent.

Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something's wrong, chances are you're right.

Just say "No." Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become the Volunteer Queen at your child's school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don't accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect.

Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child's life -- your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter -- to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

Don't Forget to Teach Social Skills

Ask your children three "you" questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, "Did you have fun at school?"; "What did you do at the party you went to?"; or "Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon?"

Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person's eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid's strong emotions. When your child's meltdown is over, ask him, "How did that feel?" and "What do you think would make it better?" Then listen to him. He'll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.

Raise Grateful Kids

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community.

Don't raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind: Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.

Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer: When you're kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a "gratitude circle" every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

Don't Stress About Dinner

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don't give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it.

Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won't starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect -- a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating habits.

Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what's for dinner and cook it for them.

Always Say "I Love You"

Love your children equally, but treat them uniquely. They're individuals.

Say "I love you" whenever you feel it, even if it's 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible.

Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people.

Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry's piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now -- it will be over far too fast.

Boost Brainpower & Physical Activity

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can't talk doesn't mean there isn't lots that she'd like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you -- a great way to reduce frustration.

Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. P.S. Parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often.

Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Health Advice All Parents Should Follow

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world.

Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities.

Be vigilant about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter.

Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid's fever is caused by a virus, don't push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the chances of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid's toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It'll become as natural as brushing her teeth.

Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line.

Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty: He senses the urge to pee and poop (this is different from knowing that he's already gone), and he asks for a diaper change.


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Posh Passy


I just won a contest!!!

I won a giveaway from the Posh Passy. The giveaway was for a Wet Bag. As you know, we live with the Puke Princess and I can't wait to get this in the mail and start using it. It will be perfect for that LONG car drive to Michigan, to contain the wet (and the smell) while we're in the car.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Vacation by the Numbers

For 15 days of vacation (including 2 travel days) Lillian requires: (taken directly from my packing list)

1 container Gerber Puffs
1 bag Gerber Yogurt Puffs
1 boppy pillow-to sleep with
1 winter coat
1 puffer vest
1 pair slippers
1 pair boots
1 pair tennis shoes
1 diaper bag
1 bottle tylenol
1 bottle teething tablets
1 bottle oxy clean stain spray
1 pack and play (thankfully, its already in MI, we're borrowing one)
1 box animal crackers
1 bottle baby wash
1 headband
1 Carseat
1 tube lotion
1 swimsuit (indoors at hotel)
1 brush
1.5 boxes cheerios
2 travel size oxy clean stain sprays
2 onesie extenders
2 dirty clothes bags (1 for house, 1 for diaper bag)
2 reusable plastic bibs
2 bottles gas drops (eat like a man, fart like a man)
2 pair dress shoes
2 strollers (1 for her to use, 1 is broken ,Dad is going to fix it)
2 gallons milk (1 8oz milk bottle a day)
2 large containers yogurt-to mix with breakfast and lunch #2 jars of fruit
2 Plug Leashes
2 boxes of baby cereal (to mix in with her food-she hates it runny)
2 stuffed toys
3 hats
3 Sippy Cups (2 Red, 1 Yellow)
3 Spoons
3 Forks
3 Bowls
3 pair tights
3 Packages of wipes
4 swim diapers
4 dresses (sunday morning, sunday night, puke back up for each)
4 pair pajamas
4 juice boxes
4 DVDs
4 pair PJs
5 Plugs
5 toys
5 books
6 cups Goldfish Crackers
6 blankets
6 christmas gifts
6 hairbows
7 packages of instant oatmeal (breakfast every other day-with adult food)
7 #3 jars of food (dinner every other day-with adult food)
7 CD's (so we don't get sick of them as quickly)
8 Toddler dinners (dinner every other day-with adult food)
8 stocking stuffers
9 Gifts for Family from Lillian
10 pairs of socks (wears them during the day and on both feet and hands at night)
10 disposable bibs
10 pants (wears about 3 a day)
20 shirts (wears about 6 a day)
20 oz All Free and Clear (1 load of laundry per day)
25 packages of Mum Mum Crackers (2 per package)
45 jars of #2 foods (2 for each meal: lunch every day and every other day breakfast-with adult food)
80 bags of formula (each contains 4 scoops of formula and makes an 8oz bottle)
130 diapers (8 a day plus 10 extra)


All in all, packaged in the car we will have:
1 box of formula (contains 320 scoops of formula and makes 640 oz of bottle)
1 box of wipes
1 box of christmas presents and stocking stuffers for Lillian
1 suitcase of clothes and toys
1 extra LARGE bag of extras (laundry stuff, bath stuff, boppy pillow, etc)
1 carseat
1 box of gifts from Lillian
2 car bags: one of toys and clothes and one of food
2 strollers
2 boxes of food (1 jarred and 1 snacks)
4 packages of diapers

And we will buy or borrow there:
1 Pack and Play and sheet
2 Family sized plain yogurt
2 Gallons milk
Undetermined amount of adult food


And, we need a few things for ourselves.

INSANITY!

Store Closings

Below you'll find a list of stores that are closing effective now. Some stores are only closing some of their poor performing stores or scaling back on opening new locations. At this posting, I do not have the information of the exact locations of any of them. To be certain, you should call your own local store or stop by to know positively if it will be closing or not. Stores that informed the Security Exchange of closing plans between October 2008 and January 2009.

Please check your gift card stash for any that you need to redeem. And be careful of which ones you purchase.

Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide are to be closed
Bombay - Closing remaining stores
Carolina Pottery - Closing all stores
Cache - Closing 14 of their 284 stores and still opening new stores.
Charming Shoppes - Closing 150 of the 2,360 shops.
Circuit City - Closing 155 stores
CompUSA - All stores closed except the stores in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Puerto Rico. They continue to accept gift cards.
Cache - Closing all stores
Dillard's - Closing 20 stores with more in 2009
Disney - Closing 98 of the 322 North American stores and will close more after January
Eddie Bauer - Closing 27 stores and a few more after January
Ethan Allen - Closing down 12 stores and 2 service centers.
Footlocker - Closed 334 stores more to close after January
GAP - Closing 85 stores
Home Depot - Closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
JC Penney - Closing a number of stores after January
J. Jill - Previously reported as closing all stores. They still operate 283 locations and opening new stores, and still selling and redeeming gift cards.
K B Toys - Closing 356 stores
Kirkland's - Closing 130 stores
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's - To close 150 stored nationwide
Levitz - Closing down remaining stores
Linens and Things - Closing all stores
Lowes - Closing unkown amount of stores
Macys - To close 9 stores after January
Movie Galley - Closing all stores
Pacific Sunware - Closing stores
Pep Boys - Closing 33 stores
Piercing Pagoda - Closing all stores
Sharper Image - Closing down all stores
Sprint/ Nextel - Closing 133 stores
Talbots - Closed 28 stores. Closes all the Talbots Kids, Tabots Mens and U.K. Buisinesses.
Whitehall - Closing all stores
Wickes Furniture - Closing all stores
Wilson Leather - Closing down all mall-based locatoins in 2008. It was aquired by G-III Apparel Group and operates 119 Wilsons outlets in the U.S.
Zales - Closed 105 retail outlets. Half of them kiosks and half of them stores. They did open 100 new outlets so the net change was relatively small.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Doings

I am now done:

Making Christmas Cards
Writing Christmas Letters
Printing Christmas Cards
Printing Christmas Letters
Stuffing envelopes
Sealing envelopes
Stamping Envelopes
Addressing Envelopes
Making homemade christmas gifts for family
Making a dress for Lillian
Making a matching dress for part of Kylie's christmas present
Making two photo books for christmas presents
Hunting down hard to find christmas presents
Dividing Lillian's Christmas and Birthday presents
Wrapping all Christmas presents that are not going to MI
Saving money for gas to and from Michigan (no flying this year)
Dividing up time between families while we are there
Buying winter coats for Lillian and myself to wear in Michigan
Buying cheap (or free) snackfood for the trip
Cutting out and planning Lillian's Christmas stocking
Sending Kyle's Christmas present overseas
Buying Lillian Christmas Eve pajamas


I am still:
Trying to find a portable DVD player to borrow to help the trip go smoother
Trying to decide if we should start switching Lil to milk before the trip or keep her solely on formula until after.
Sewing Lillian's stocking (should be done tomorrow...if I feel okay)
Looking for the perfect "First Christmas" ornament for Lillian
Wondering how everything we have to take will fit in the car

And now the guys....

Whitney needs to stop playing with this and get some real work done!

http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/4kJGVu3JDxPcPMSE7xGJ

Meet our Bible Study Girls...well some of them

Introducing Whitney, Teresa, Kally and Carrie

http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/Gq0X3zcAuMp8K6pbKXAm

And even better...http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/erlfj8TCcKP2PJDaR1nz

Meet Whitney and Britt

http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/6uSz83Zsnv1ym0as3jzf

Whitney sent me this this morning. We did ourselves last year (as many of you will remember) but they've done HUGE improvements this year. I was cracking up. (Then grimacing cuz laughing hurt, then laughing some more, then...well, you get the idea).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Surgery

I had my surgery yesterday, it involved more than we anticipated and it hurt more than I anticipated. But I'm still alive and it should only get better from here. Bible Study set up meals through Friday and we had sitters for Lil yesterday and today. Tomorrow though, I have both girls again, and by myself cuz R's on days. Pray that I'll be feeling much better than this by 7am tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mamamamamamamamama

Lillian said Mama today. Repeatedly. And with many witnesses. Score one for me, zero for him!


video

Inkubook

Go to http://inkubook.com and sign up with a new account and you can make a free photo book, and only pay shipping ($6.99). You must create your book and order it by November 30. Just use code PBK266 at checkout.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Family Pictures November 2008

1We took family pictures at the park the other day (thanks Mom Shipp!) and now we're trying to pick one for our Christmas card. Let me know (via a comment) which one is your favorite PLEASE!

1.

2. Dad S.



3. Cyndi, Julie


4. Kerstin

5. Kerstin

6. Cyndi, Kellie

7. Mom S., Cyndi,

8.


9.

10. Julie, Kerstin

11.


12. Mom S., Toni, Dad S., Kellie

13. Mom S.

Kids Eat Free

Now that Lillian is eating like a full grown man, I've been on the hunt for restaurants where "kids eat free" or really cheap. These are from various blogs on the internet and restaurant websites themselves, but you should call your local restaurant before planning on it for sure. This is my list so far...

Sunday:
Hooters (sorry, not many choices on Sunday!)

Monday
CiCi's Pizza
Fuddruckers - $0.99 - 5-9 pm
Texas Roadhouse
TGI Fridays

Tuesday
Atlanta Bread Company - 4-9 pm
Bennigans
Chick-Fil-A
Denny's - 4-10 pm
Fazoli's - $0.99 - 5-8 pm
Fuddruckers - $0.99 - 5-9 pm
Lone Star Steakhouse
Perkins

Wednesday
Applebees - $0.99
Rainforest Cafe

Saturday
Joe's Crab Shack - $0.99
Lone Star Steakhouse - 11- 4 pm

Everyday
IHOP - $0.99 - 3-9pm

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freebies

There are a million freebies this week, be sure to visit Mrs. Nespy's Frugal World for these freebies each week.

FREEBIES:

Black Friday Shopping

There are a couple sites that have the Black Friday ads listed early.

http://blackfridayhcw.blogspot.com
http://www.theblackfriday.com/
http://bfads.net/features

I do take advantage of Black Friday deals but I do it in an unconventional way to take full advantage of the sale prices but not have to venture out early and fight the crowds.

First, I check out the ads ahead of time, like the links you mentioned and make a list of what is on sale where, at what price. Then, I go through that list and pick out anything that can be purchased at wal-mart and go buy those items there on Black Friday. But you don't have to go early, because they are items that are not on sale at Wal-Mart, just at the other stores. Then, when you get to the register, just pull out your other ads and tell the cashier you are using their price match policy. As long as it is exactly the same item, you will get the lower price.

But...If there are really great deals on items that you cannot buy at Wal-Mart, I buy it on Tuesday or Wednesday of Thanksgiving week and pay full price. Then, sometime on Friday, usually as late as the sale goes to avoid crowds, my husband and I get hot drinks and drive to however many stores. I take my receipt in to the customer service desk (usually not busy at all, everyone is at the registers) and get a refund (price correction) of the difference because most stores offer this service if the price goes lower within 30 days. My husband takes the car in a circle around the parking lot (avoiding having to find a parking spot) and then picks me up and we are on to the next store in 5-10 minutes.