Wednesday, February 29, 2012

K5 Learning!

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Be watching, over the next several weeks, to hear my thoughts and ideas about this program!  It looks really neat and definitely helpful, especially for homeschoolers, but for any family as an enrichment tool!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stinky's big day

Stinky was due on St. Patrick's Day, 3 weeks away and still barely a blip on my radar constantly on my "Am I really going to be a mommy of three?" mind. 

In all my "barefoot and pregnant" glory, 36 weeks huge.

 I went to bed, thinking about all the things I hadn't gotten done that day, and all the things I had to do tomorrow.  Tomorrow came and I went about my (very hectic) day...First Steps (early intervention) transition meeting for Bugsy, 8 hours of work teaching 3 and 4 year olds, a quick lunchtime shopping trip to buy hats and socks for the baby, a quick dash home to make a mac-n-cheese dinner for the kids, and as promised, a "Getting ready for Kindergarten" program for Little Lou, all the while secretly having contractions every 4-5 minutes.

I'd known since early morning (probably 9 or so) that I was in the early stages of labor.  It was hip cramping, I can't walk right now, labor.  I didn't tell anyone, just kept my smile one.  I knew if I told, they'd make me go to the hospital, and I was just plain too busy.  That's how I am, folks.  These things should happen when they're supposed to, or I just might not have time!

At 8pm, when I finally took myself to the hospital, I was exhausted, nervous, and 6 cm dilated.  A friend met me at the hospital to take my kids until my mom could get there, and my husband was there a few minutes later.  My blood pressure was up, so my doctor, conveniently the doctor on call, decided to keep me overnight.

I crashed, hard, and when I woke up the doctor woke me up the next morning, I was...6 cm dilated.  Labor had paused overnight.  She debated sending me home, but a major snowstorm had started overnight and, once I am in hard labor, my labors tend to be speedy.  She didn't want me giving birth on the road, so she kept me and observed me.  

Around noon, my doctor broke my water, and I began having a few contractions again.  Around 2:30, I still wasn't in "hard labor," just sporadic contractions, and was 7 cm dilated.  The doctor ordered pitocin.  At 3:50, I was still 7 cm dilated, and pitocin was started.  At 3:11, Stinky made his appearance.  Did you see that?  20 minutes earlier, I was 7 cm.  I'm telling you, my labors are fast and furious.  I DO NOT recommend labors like that!  I'll spare you the details, but it's not pretty.

Stinky was born, one day shy of 3 weeks early, on a Friday afternoon.  


He was 7 pounds, the smallest of my babies by far.  (Little Lou was 8 lbs 1 oz, Bugsy was 8 lbs 14 oz!)  He was the earliest baby, and the only one that decided for himself when he'd make his debut.  Bugsy and Little Lou were waiting in the waiting room with Nana and Poppy to meet their new little brother, and were super excited to push the "new baby" button to play Brahms Lullaby and let the hospital know a new baby had been born.

They were so tiny!

And just like that, we became a family of five!

 
People, they grow fast!  Today, Stinky is wild.  He's full of never-ending energy from sun-up until well after sun-down.  He's a lover, constantly telling all of us, "Lu-you too!"  He's a climber who I am constantly removing from the kitchen table.  He literally dives head first of the the furniture.  He's the first to start a wrestling match with his siblings, and the last to stop.  He loves his dog.  He won't touch a vegetable to save his life...unless you consider chocolate a vegetable, then he'd eat them all day long.  He loves to sing and wants me to "spell dat, mommy" all the time.  He's trying to hard to potty train.  He loves trains and dogs and babies.  He's canine as often as he's human right now!

I'm in that swinging denial stage, folks, where I zip back and forth between, "Wow, guys!  Stinky is two!" and "Wow, guys...Stinky is two."  But he's two.  He's VERY two, and he's ALL boy.  I love that little monster more than I can ever say!

Happy Birthday, Stinky!  Mommy loves you!

I wish I had a better picture for you, but this little guy doesn't stand still long enough!




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Presidents' Day Grace?

Yesterday was Presidents' Day, a day to honor the birthdays of presidents long gone by doing nothing spectacular except for maybe hitting a few sales and definitely waffling over what to do with the extra kids that are home from school for the day.  Am I right?

So, yesterday Little Lou was home from school all day and I didn't babysit.  It was a gloriously perfect day with all 3 kids, where they slept in until 9 and we lounged around all morning, then we played outside in the beautiful sunshine all afternoon and had a picnic dinner.

In my dreams.

In reality, it was a remarkably normal day, where we were all awake by 6:30, I fed and dressed 3 kids, made a grocery list, went to the grocery (3 kids is way harder than 2 at the grocery!), served lunch, and put Stinky down for a nap.

See, the thing about national holidays is that mommies don't get holidays.  Mommies get to work overtime...or a double...or something...on national holidays.  Our workload multiplies.  Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not.  It's the job we signed up for, though, so we do it regardless.

Yesterday was Presidents' Day and I had the grand pleasure of toting 3 kids to the grocery store.  Those fancy carts with the bench in the back where Little Lou and Bugsy could have sat together while Stinky sat in the cart's seat were all taken, presumably by other moms who were caught with their guard down on grocery day by an extra kid or two tagging along!  No big deal, though.  Little Lou and Bugsy are big enough to walk silently by the cart, neither one stepping out of line, nobody touching anything breakable, everybody being kind.  Angels!  In my dreams.  Reality looks a little more sloppy than that.

Yesterday, I made a promise to my kids, a premeditated promise, a hopeful promise, that if they behaved well at the grocery (PLEASE behave at the grocery!) I would reward them with a surprise!  (No, Bugsy, the surprise isn't a new puppy.  Sorry.  No, Little Lou, I will not tell you in advance what the surprise is, because I don't want to hear the screaming when if the prize isn't earned.  Yes, I promise that if you earn the surprise, you will get it as soon as we get the groceries unloaded!)

People, I was going to take a germy risk and feed my children cookies in the McDonald's PlayPlace!

Reality is sloppy.

Stinky sits in the cart at the grocery, no questions asked.  Little Lou and Bugsy have to walk.  (No, you cannot sit in the cart with the groceries!)  Everything goes great for the first 15 seconds and then the two older kids run in five different directions, each yelling that the other one is out of line.  Bugsy wants to see the fish.  (We won't have time for the surprise.)  Little Lou wants to look at the earrings. (WHY can't I get my ears pierced today?) Bugsy has to potty.  (I sent you to the bathroom right before we left the house!)  Bugs is touching everything.  Little Lou is sitting on the floor to check off the grocery list.  All, of course, at roughly twice the approved grocery store volume.  Mommy gets frustrated.  My children have NOT earned a surprise, and they know it.  

They tell me that they don't deserve it.

Then, they throw me the zinger.  Little Lou does.  She's a smarty, and she's getting wise to my "teachings."  She's paying attention at home and at church and sucking everything up like a sponge.  So, she looks at me with those big brown eyes and says, "Mommy, don't you think you could give us a little grace or mercy or something and give us the surprise anyway?"

Ugh.

My children have a LOT of chances to earn rewards.  There's a daily chance to earn a Squinkie.  There are opportunities to earn special treats and trips to Mamaw's and all sorts of other great things.  Sometimes they earn them, sometimes they don't.  Life's like that.  We have "good" days and we have "bad" days.  So, every time my kids don't earn a prize, my mom and my sister make comments like, "You know, sometimes it's okay to show them a little grace."  "You know, sometimes we all need a little mercy."  You know, things like that.

People, my kids get the grace and mercy talk a LOT.  If they didn't, Little Lou wouldn't have thought to throw that one at me!

So, this morning I was thinking about this "grace and mercy" thing.  Friends, my God is big and great and powerful and jealous and demanding.  He loves what is good and hates what is evil.  I am a human, people.  The thing about humans?  We're evil.  Don't you go trying to get out of that one.  We all are, unfortunately.  God has every reason to hate us, but somehow he finds the strength to love us. 

So, you see, the thing about us humans is that we have this wretched habit of messing up.  Maybe it's not the same thing every day or the same thing every time, but we mess up.  We sin.  We walk right away from God's plan, God's definition of right and wrong.  We have come to expect that God's going to forgive us and accept us.  And He WILL!  Every time we ask Him, as long as we ask with sincerity and really intend to make a change, He'll forgive us every. single. time.  He shows us grace and mercy a billion times over; He shows more grace and mercy than we will ever know!

I was thinking about that this morning, and debating with myself how I can justify, then, how I can ever say "no" to my kids when I've promised them a reward and they don't deserve it.  I mean, wouldn't God give them another chance?  Wouldn't he say, "Okay.  You've asked me to show you grace this one time.  Here you go."  Wouldn't He?

People, He would.  And then He wouldn't.  I believe that God will give us grace and mercy and forgiveness and chances right up all the way until the end, and then He won't.  I believe that if I'm 8 or 18 or 88 and I say, "God, I really screwed up!  I've been doing everything wrong.  I REALLY want your eternal prize, and I am going to live for you from now on.  Take over my life and make me whole," He will do just that!

But there will be a day when you reach the end, when I reach the end, and we'll each stand before God.  He'll look at each of us, He'll look at ME, and He'll remember my "day."  He'll look back and He'll recall where I've been and what I've done.  Have I run away and run away and run away?  Have I tried, really really tried, to follow His lead, or have I done my own thing and begged for forgiveness, begged for grace and mercy, when I really started to feel the "crunch?"  And God's going to make a decision, based on my decision.

There will come a day, a moment, when we all run out of time.  There'll be a day when what we've done and how we've walked will matter.  For eternity.  I don't believe God expects perfection; I believe He expects our very best.

In parenting, as in life, I believe it is my job to be as Christ-like as possible.  I believe that it's okay (even essential) that I show my kids a fair bit of grace and mercy.  But friends, I also believe that, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, I have to teach my kids to be grown-ups--God-fearing, Christ-following, grace-giving grown-ups.  Sometimes, it is my job to look back on the day and say, "I'm sorry, kids, but you chose to take your own path today and not follow what I wanted for you.  Today, you do not earn your prize."

Sometimes.

And sometimes, it's my job to look back on the day, to hear their humble pleas for forgiveness, their promises of future perfection, and take them to McDonald's even when they don't deserve it.





Friday, February 17, 2012

Zooper Bolero Review and Hook-On Chair Giveaway!

Confession time: I think strollers are cool, and even if I don't NEED a new one, it's fun to HAVE a new one.  Are you with me? 

I told you last June about my amazing Phil&Ted Sport double jogging stroller, which has been WONDERFUL when I want to go out and get a little exercise in, but I don't really want Bugsy (aka Mr. Short-legs) slowing me down!  That stroller has afforded me tons and tons of workout time that I wouldn't have otherwise had, and I am SUPER grateful for that!

Today, though, I want to tell you about another amazing stroller...the Zooper Bolero


You see, the double jogger is great for, you know, jogging.  (It's good for other things too, just a bit long front to back.)  I've been mostly using a cheapo umbrella stroller, though, and honestly it hasn't been nearly as great at maneuvering as I would have liked!

I can't tell you how excited I was when Zooper asked me to review their Bolero stroller in Ocean Blue!  I had been looking all over the Zooper website, and it looked like the Bolero would be a super compact folding full-sized stroller!  I was SO excited when the box arrived!  So was Bugsy!  ("Mommy, this box is almost as big as I am!")


It was so easy to put together that even Stinky was able to help a bit!  It probably took me about 20 minutes to put together, but had I been working by myself I probably could have done it in 10-15 minutes.  The instructions were very clear and very helpful! 


The first time I opened the Bolero once it was put together, I didn't get it fully engaged.  Be careful about that.  After the first time, though, it hasn't been a problem.  I also struggled to pull the handles fully apart the first time, and popped myself in the chin trying!  Again, this was only a problem the first time, and it has gotten easier to open each time.  I think it's just tight because it's new!


The Zooper Bolero is very roomy!  Stinky weighs about 28-29 pounds, and he has a TON of room in the Bolero!  Bugsy tried it out too, and at 47 pounds he's got room to move!  It's just as easy to push with EITHER of them inside.  The first time I used the Bolero, I was racing my sister through the neighborhood.  I commented to her several times about how hard it was to turn and how awful the clicking noise was around corners.  When we got back to my house, I suddenly remembered having read something about locking front wheels.  I unlocked them, and it is AMAZING the difference it made!  This thing corners like a champ!  I love how smooth the ride is with the Bolero!  It is seriously the easiest, smoothest stroller I have ever pushed.


I LOVE the "sleeping bag" attachment that keeps my little guy toasty warm on cool days!  (He wasn't as thrilled about it as I was at first, but he DID love that he didn't have to wear a coat.  It was 45ish degrees in this picture, so it wasn't a big deal for him to wear a coat anyway!)


The Bolero lays totally flat in it's most reclined position, and it comes with a bassinet for your newborn!  I haven't had the opportunity to use this feature yet, and honestly haven't tried putting it together.  It has its own set of instructions, though, and it looks like it would be easy!  I love that the bassinet can go forward or rear facing, so mommy (or daddy) can see baby the whole time!  It is snugly warm and would be perfect for a newborn!  (Stinky, a week shy of 2, doesn't care to lay down when he rides.)
I really love how compactly the Zooper Bolero folds!  We traded in our Ford Expedition (HUGE vehicle, tiny amount of cargo space) for a Ford Focus Wagon (tiny vehicle, huge amount of cargo space) a couple of weeks ago.  Even with the Bolero in the back, there is more than enough room to load up a week's worth of groceries!  (Currently, it's riding in the back with a folding chair, an extra carseat, a case of girl scout cookies, and a diaper bag...and there's TONS of room to spare!)


My ONLY real complaint about the Bolero (the rest have all be more user-error issues that have been quickly resolved) is that the basket underneath is small.  Yesterday I took it along to the doctor's office.  I was toting 2 sick boys and didn't want 2 sick boys running wild through the office, so I stuck Stinky in the Bolero.  I put my small purse and a cinch sack style diaper bag in the basket, and it was packed pretty full.  I had to unsnap the side of the basket to put them in!  I wish the basket were a little larger...BUT the Bolero does make up for the small basket with the "All Purpose Canopy Pocket."


There are actually 2 pockets on the back of the canopy, which, if you plan ahead, would be perfect for your wallet, keys, and a few diapers and wipes!  You could essentially leave your purse and home and your diaper bag with a few spare items in the car, and just take your stroller along!  If you live in an area where you do a lot of walking rather than driving, this would really be perfect!

All in all, I LOVE the Zooper Bolero a million times more than I expected to!  It is definitely my go-to stroller!  I would highly recommend it to any of you!  You can visit Zooper to find out where there's a retailer near you!  (The suggested retail price is about $400, but I have it on good authority that you can get one on sale on amazon.com for about $300 right now!)

Zooper makes amazing products, people.  One of those amazing products, one that I'd like to give to one of you, is the Zooper Hook-On Chair, which retails at $49!  This cute little high chair folds flat for easy carrying, has a 4-point harness, and works for toddlers up to 30 pounds!  This high chair is great for at home or when you're out and about!  Enter below on the super easy Rafflecopter form for your chance to win!


Wanna know something REALLY cool?  Right now, through the end of February, Zooper is donating $1 worth of Zooper products to Doernbechers Children's Hospital in need for every new Facebook like!  That's potentially a lot of dollars!  Simply by entering this contest, you could be helping Zooper reach out to people in need!  I think THAT is awesome!



Thursday, February 16, 2012

MS. Understood

I Fight Because...
...having multiple sclerosis means that I may not be able to walk when I wake up. Or that I may suddenly have impaired vision. Or that my memory will fail me for no apparent reason. The symptoms of MS are different for everyone - the only certainty is that we are making new strides every day in the fight against MS.
...my husband and 3 children shouldn't have to take care of me.  MS research is ongoing, and hopefully someday there will be an answer, a cure.
...I have to!

I Walk Because...
...I want to do something for the people, like me, living with multiple sclerosis. Today, there is no known cause or cure for MS. With a diagnosis occurring most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50, many individuals face a lifetime filled with unpredictability.  I was 30.

Every hour of every day someone is newly diagnosed with MS. I am walking for them.  I walk for ME.

Donate Because...
...the National Multiple Sclerosis Society uses funds collected from Walk MS to provide help for today through programs and services and hope for tomorrow through ongoing research for a cure.

Because we choose to walk for those who sometimes can't, because we choose to donate to Walk MS, we are getting closer to the hour when no one will hear the words, "You have MS."
 
~~~~~

On April 28th, along with family and friends, I will be walking...for me...at WalkMS Indianapolis.  My team, MS. Understood, has a goal of raising $1000 for the National MS Society, and my personal goal is to raise at least $500 of those $1000.  

People, MS is real.  MS is exhausting.  MS is sometimes painful.  MS is heart-breaking.  MS is not understood.  It's not curable.  It's a life-changing diagnosis.  MS is real.

I'd love to have you join my team!  If you're "local" and have a spare morning on April 28th, I would LOVE to have you join my team and walk alongside me!  You can sign up to walk here.

If you're not local or don't have the time, I'd love for you to donate to my team!  Each team's donations help to fund research, through the National MS Society, which could someday find a cure for, or at the very least a reason behind, MS.  Please, consider a donation to team MS. Understood!  You can donate here.

~~~~~

Some of you need more options.  Here are a couple:

For the month of February, EatSmart will donate 50 cents to the National MS Society for every new Google+ "like."  It's easy and FREE for you!  Run on over to EatSmart's Google+ page, like them, and "donate" 50 cents!  (Wanna know more about why?  Check out my post on the EatSmart blog!)

Now through the end of April, WunderUnders will donate $5 of EVERY embellished trainer to my team's fundraising efforts!  Danielle from WunderUnders is an amazing, sweet mama.  She'd love love love to make you a cute trainer (or 5) and she'd also love to donate to my team!  Please visit WunderUnders on Facebook and make your purchase today!

~~~~~

Friends, I am so very thankful for each and every one of you and your support over the last few months!  You've all shared some great, inspiring words with me!  I appreciate each and every one of you!

If you can, I'd love to have you walk alongside me or donate to my team.  I am forever grateful for the love each of you show every day!


My boys


Those two little boys are my favorite two little boys in the whole wide world.  That one is the sweetest, most compliant kid you've ever met, and that one is a royal stinker.  I'm not telling which is which.  That one loves music and that one loves video games.  That one loves numbers and that one...loves numbers.  They're amazing.  They've been entrusted to me for a time.  I wish I could say they're mine, but they're not...they're His...and I'm sort of glad about that, because it's a hard enough job just to raise them!

It's especially a tough job raising them when we're not sleeping.  

People, they don't tell you this in the instruction book, but 2 year olds (almost!), 4 year olds, 6 year olds...31 year olds...they don't always often don't sleep through the night!  I hate to disappoint you if you are still in the hopeful stage, with one baby who doesn't sleep through the night yet, and are dreaming of the days that you'll get actual rest every night.  Friends, it can happen.  I've heard lots of stories about it happening.  I have, on occasion, experienced a night or two in a row of actual sleep.  Now, let me be clear, here.  The 6 year old almost always sleeps through the night--probably 95% of the time.  The 4 year old sleeps through the night at least 80% of the time.  The 2 year old sleeps through the night at least 25% of the time.  If you add that up, it means that approximately 100% of all nights, someone wakes me up.  (I'm not making this stuff up, people.  Those rare occasions when everyone actually sleeps through the night?  Those are totally offset by the nights that 2...or 3...or 15...of my kids are up in the same night.)

Those two little boys up there?  They're both sick right now.  Remember how I said I'm not sleeping well 100% of the nights right now?  Yeah.  About that.  When you're not sleeping well, you're a little on the...testy...side sometimes.  (I am, anyway.)  And when you're not feeling well, you're a little on the testy side sometimes.  (They are, anyway.)

That cute little blonde?  He's got croup.  He's a wildman by nature, but add steroids to the mix and he's literally bouncing off walls and rolling headfirst off of furniture.  At 9pm.  Two hours past bedtime.  And he's good at it!  

The little boy next to him?  The one with the deepest dimples you've ever seen and more surgeries under his 4 year old "belt" than either of his parents?  He's got a raging ear infection...in the ear that no longer has a tube.  There's pus and ooze and drainage and very much crying.

Folks, this mama is tired.  These boys?  They're needy.  That combo isn't always the most...forgiving of combos.  Against all odds, though, I promised myself this morning that it would be a good day.  While overall the day was mediocre at best, I maintained a (mostly) positive attitude.  I showed those boys tons and tons of snugly love.  I pinned the big one down, forced antibiotic drops into his ears, and he screamed and screamed.  When it was over, he hugged me and told me I'm the best mom ever.  See why I say he's the sweetest kid you've never met?  God made him with an extra big heart, that one.

Friends, pray for us today.  The boys (and the mama) need sleep.  Not just sleep, though...REST.  By the grace of God I've survived the last few days with relative ease, but a good solid sleep would be a huge help.  Pray especially for my sweet boys tonight, that they would feel better quickly!  If you can spare one more minute, throw a prayer my way, too.  My level of grace and mercy may not be nearly as big as His, but with His help, I will survive and my relationship with my kids will thrive.  

Thanks in advance for your prayers for my family!




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: I may be crazy.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Wipes cases don't have to be ugly! Shiny Hineys review and giveaway!

When Little Lou was born, we bought "top of the line" diapers and "name brand" wipes.  The wipes came in the BEST case, too.  


By the time sensitive-skinned Bugsy was born, diapers had been renovated and so had the wipes cases!  I was SO excited to buy wipes! 

(It's the little things, okay?)

And then Stinky was born.  The diapers and wipes were the same...until we went from using diapers that look like this:


To diapers that look like this:


Because it's what I had, I put Stinky's pretty cloth wipes in this:


But that's not pretty!  Brittany from Shiny Hineys fixed that problem for me!  


Brittany makes super cute wipes cases like this:


Isn't that pretty?

She makes tons of other cute patterns, too, and travel cases!




Not only are the wipes cases from Shiny Hineys adorable, they're very well made as well!  I have been using mine for several months now, several times a day, and it still looks brand new!  The fabric and edging are still perfectly adhered to the box, and it still works great!  It's SO much cuter than that old white box...or even the newer commerically made polka dot box!  What a nice addition to my cloth diapering routine!

My ONLY complaint about the Shiny Hineys wipes case is that it's hard to open.  I just leave mine unlatched, though, and don't have any trouble at all!  It works great!

Shiny Hineys cases are a great deal as well!  Ranging from just $10 to $16.50 at the Shiny Hineys Etsy shop, they're worth every bit of the cost!  You'll love having one of these adorable cases on your changing table along with your cloth OR disposable diapers!  (View over a hundred designs at www.shinyhineysblog.blogspot.com where you can follow her blog and also purchase the wipes cases along with matching burp cloths, changing pads, diaper envelopes and car seat covers.  You may also want to become a fan on facebook.)

Brittany from Shiny Hineys has agreed to give one of you a travel wipes case of your choosing!  You'll be so excited about the quality and cuteness of your new case, you'll NEED to buy a nursery-sized case to go with it!  You'll be so glad you did!

I was given this item at no cost in order to facilitate a review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Proud





That, my friends, is the proud, squinkie-loving face of a little girl who didn't scream at anyone for an entire day.




And that is the object of her affection.

People, she's the object of my affection.  And she's worth it.

The day wasn't perfect, but it was beautiful, just like that sweet squinkie-loving baby girl up there.  Not perfect, but beautiful.  And also?  Beautifully perfect.  And worth it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Squinkie Love

I don't understand Squinkies.


Have you seen them?  Do you have a million of them rolling around at your house?  Here's what I think.  When I was 6, I used to beg my mom and dad for a quarter to buy something out of the gumball machine.  Out would pop a little ball of...something...often a miniature figurine of...something.  It was a 25 cent "investment" to keep me happy for the car ride home, and was inevitably lost within the hour.  Now, though?  Now they SELL those things!  In the toy department!  For almost a DOLLAR a toy!  
Squinkies are really popular.  Some of Little Lou's friends have literally hundreds of these these little gumball machine toys.  Little Lou has about a dozen or so, which she received as a gift from someone other than me, because, as I said, I just don't get it!

~~

We've been having some trouble lately, Little Lou and I.  


The thing about kids is that they tend to have one place that's their "safe" place, and that place tends to be home.  They feel comfortable at home.  Kids like Little Lou, the emotional type, tend to take their emotions to extremes when they're in that "safe" place.  They know and understand, whether consciously or not, that mommy and daddy are going to love them no matter what, and they tend to respond accordingly. 

Little Lou is no exception, and mommy is the only one around most of the time right now while daddy is in school and working full time, so mommy tends to feel Little Lou's "wrath."  We sat down today after school, after a particularly ugly interchange, and discussed behavior.  Little Lou doesn't know why she gets angry and she doesn't notice she's getting angry until she's over-the-top angry.  We've discussed this.  It's what she tells me and I believe her.  Emotions are so hard to understand!

Little Lou and I are going to be working on emotions.  Tonight we sat down after the boys were in bed and came up with a "secret word."  I'm not going to tell you what it is, because it's a secret.  It's just between the two of us.  When she starts to get angry, even if especially if she hasn't noticed yet, I'll say the secret word in a secret way and she'll know she needs to settle down.  We've got a plan.  Tomorrow we're going to make two lists, one of things she can do in her room and one of things she can do outside.  If I say the secret word, she will excuse herself to either her room or the backyard and do an activity on her own until she calms down.  If she notices herself that she's losing control, bonus!  She'll still quietly excuse herself to her room or outside and take a breather.

She doesn't like the way she feels when she's angry or when she's screaming at people.  Most of us don't like to feel that way.  THAT makes her angry with herself, and then there's much crying.  She feels remorse, but she also feels like she's alone in this battle.

~~

We went to WalMart tonight and bout Squinkies.  Cinderella Squinkies.  A dozen of them.


Every time Little Lou goes a day without screaming at anyone, she will earn a Squinkie.  Friends, it costs $10 to buy a dozen Squinkies.  I think they're pricey, but I think they're worth it.  My little girl's emotions, my little girl's future, is worth 10 million Squinkies.

~~

God made Little Lou special.  He gave her a big heart in that little body.  He wrapped a WHOLE lot of compassion into a ball of opinionated, emotional brilliance.  God's got big plans for that little girl.  BIG plans.  It's my job to nurture her into a God-fearing, God-loving grown-up.  I'm not sure I've been doing my best, but with God's help I'm working on it.  She's worth my time.  She needs it.  She's GOT it.

~~

Dear Lord, help me to have the words and the insight to pour into her little body, to cover her every day in love.  Help me to be a great example of Godly womanhood to her.  Help me to understand her and to help her understand herself.  You have SO much more in store for both of us!  Help us learn to navigate this future together!




Wednesday, February 1, 2012

21 Day Mommy Blogger Weight Loss Challenge!

It's February!  You already know it's time for the All for Love Valentine's Event (yay!) and you already know I chose an "I love ME!" theme for my giveaway package!  What better way to celebrate than to start a brand new weight loss challenge myself?!?


Dustin Maher of Fit Moms for Life has issued a challenge to mommy bloggers.  You see, mommy bloggers tend to sit on their backsides.  Believe it or not, most of the time when I'm writing here on this page I am sitting.  When women people do a lot of sitting, they tend to...spread.  People that sit get fat, pure and simple, unless they're actively doing something about it!  Dustin's challenge?  Try, for 21 days, to see if changing your diet and exercise "plan" might just change your life!

I'll be amping up my workouts, more careful about my eating, and trying to get more sleep!  I'll also be trying to increase my water intake, although the 50ish ounces I've had so far today have me running to the potty every hour or so!  (There'll be some other "changes" too, like a food log, which I likely won't share with you because I doubt ou really want to see it!)

One of the "challenges" of this...well...challenge...is to show you before and after pictures of my 21 days.  I can TOTALLY do that, and I'm not even (too) embarrassed because of how far I've already come!  Just to refresh those of you who have been with me for the last 8 months, and to bring the rest of you up to speed, I started a journey to healthify my life (I'm allowed to make up words, folks--this is my blog) last June.  On June 1st I weighed in at 191.8 pounds and I looked like this:


I wore a snug size 16 pants, Large or XL tops, and didn't realize how lousy I felt!  This morning I weighed in at 141.8...a 50 pound weight loss!  Today I wear a size 8 or 10 pants, small or medium tops, and feel great!  This is what I look like today:


People, I don't know that the front view is all that noticeable, but check out the difference in those side views!  Wanna see them right together? Here you go:

 

WOW!!  

Today I am sitting 6.8 pounds above my "goal" weight, but have decided that I'll increase that goal to another 16.8.  I have TONS of toning to do as well, and if I could figure out how to get rid of that hangy belly skin and tone those arms, I'd be in heaven!!

My goals for the next 21 days are to lose 5 pounds, lose at least 1 inch from my body, and be able to do at least 15 push-ups.  (Today I could do 12!)

I'll be taking you along on my 21 day journey!  Are you a blogger as well?  Maybe you'd like to join me!  Check out www.mommybloggerweightlosschallenge.com!  If you send me an email (mythisnthatlife [at] gmail [dot] com) with your blog url and beg just a tad, I'll give you a code to get in on March's fun for free!  :)  You won't be able to get in the February challenge, but you'll definitely be able to get in for March!  Why wait, though?  You can go ahead and start TODAY and be so far ahead come March!


I am doing this program at no cost to me in order to advertise on my blog and make a change in my life!  All opinions are my own.


All for Love: I love ME! Giveaway!


Welcome to the All for Love Valentine's Event, hosted by Real Mom Reviews and Mama Chocolate!  This is an amazing Valentine's Day blog hop giveaway, featuring over 50 blogs, each giving away at least $25 in prizes!

Here at My This N That Life, I've twisted the game just a tad.  I decided to forgo the traditional “romantic love” format of an event like this, and focus on an “I love ME!” theme!  As you know, the healthier our bodies are the more positive our attitudes are towards ourselves.  I've known for years that this was true, but I've seen it more and more as I've begun to increase the health of my own body.  Ladies and gentlemen, the healthier my body, the better I feel.  The better I feel, the better my attitude.  The better my attitude, the more I can love ME!  And the more I love me, the more I can show my love for others.  It's just that simple!

I have carefully selected a group of prizes that will help one lucky reader to increase her (or his!) health, and in doing so, promote love for self!  I hope you enjoy the prizes as much as I do!  Please visit the link of each product and leave a comment!  I'd love to hear what you have to say!


Prize 1:
ARV: $19.95





Prize 2:
Hazelaid Gift Code
ARV: $25




Prize 3:
ARV: $39.90



Prize 4:
ARV: $39.95



Prize 5:
ARV: $89



Prize 6:
ARV $119

Total Prize Value: $332.80!


Good luck!  When you're finished entering this giveaway, please feel free to move on to the next on the linky list, below the rafflecopter form!