March 31, 2010

Do You Stamp?

I did it. I became a Stampin' Up!® independent demonstrator. This may be a silly venture for me, and I might just end up buying lots of stuff myself for my hobby. But I'll certainly have fun doing it. I've fallen in love with lots of the products, and I'm pretty sure anyone who likes stamping, scrapbooking, or cardmaking will feel the same way.

If you want to check out some of their products or would like to shop the website, you can click through the link on my sidebar or click HERE!

March 29, 2010

What a Whirlwind

Pat arrived home. He managed to beg his way onto the earlier buses. We arrived to pick him up that Friday morning, and Ryan was completely over the moon when he saw his Daddy. Unfortunately we ended up waiting almost three hours in the car for Pat to be ready to come home. (not fun!)
Pat also came bearing "news". With the Army news isn't so much news until it happens, until then it is just an idea of what may happen. Anyways, Pat's news is that he may be going with the ADVON party for the deployment, which for the non-military it means he'll be going a month earlier than we originally thought. As always with the Army there is the possibility that the time frame we are planning on could change too. I am just currently crossing my fingers that we are still able to go on our vacation to Atlanta as we have planned.

Saturday we went to the Zoo with the boys. Ryan really liked it. He insisted that he walk the entire time, which made him a very slow and tired boy by the end. The things that amazed Ryan the most at the zoo, however, were sticks on the trails and the water in the ponds and streams. I'm thinking he may really love the aquarium in Atlanta since the water fascinated him so much.
It seems we've been really busy these past few days. We've started working on the "to do before deployment" list. I won't bore you with the details, but there is a lot to do.

The other highlight of the weekend is that we started Sean on baby food. I made some butternut squash, and I think he is rather happy to start solid foods.
And my last bit of excitement came yesterday when I couldn't resist buying this at hobby lobby with my 40% off coupon.
Yes, it is a Cuttlebug (machine used for embossing). I cannot wait to play with it, when I get a free moment.

March 25, 2010

Let's Play Ball and More

Yes, these toll house cookie bars look yummy, but they mean Pat is coming home from JRTC soon. (yay!) The FRG is doing a fundraiser and selling snacks while the Soldiers unload all their gear. Of course I wanted to help, and I couldn't resist an opportunity to cut the cute little American flag dog tags. I had fun making the cookies this morning with Ryan. It was his first baking experience.
BUT in true Pat fashion, I got a text last night at four minutes till 1:00 a.m. saying something along the lines of "Sorry baby, I won't be on the first set of buses like I thought, so I won't be home until more like o'dark thirty!" Great...add another night alone. There is still hope that he'll be able to get on those earlier buses, but I'm not holding my breath.

Yesterday I took Ryan for a walk in his wagon. Sean wasn't so fond of his seat. And see, you even get to see a picture of me ;)
Sean again in his front row seat. And there I am again ;)
After the walk Sean got to chill out in his bouncy seat in our driveway. He thought this seat was way more comfortable. Look at what a cutie he is!
While Sean chilled out, Ryan played some t-ball. He is so adorable trying to hit the ball. He had tons of fun too!

March 24, 2010

First Ever Ear Infection

Yesterday was a semi-eventful day. It started out with the kids getting up around 5:00 a.m. (yikes!) Thankfully I got Ryan back to bed until 7 a.m. He seemed to be feeling much better. However, occasionally he would still tell me his throat hurt. I didn't think much of it since he started to eat again and overall was in a playful mood. Around 3:45 p.m. he had handed me the temporal artery thermometer that he thinks is his own personal toy, so I took his temperature. It came back at 99.7, and this thermometer has proved in the past to be very reliable. I know that isn't much of a fever, but the fact that he's been running even a slight fever off and on since Saturday along with this sore throat said to me something must be wrong. Since it was still only 4 p.m. I called his pediatrician to see if they could fit him in the next day. Unfortunately the way things work here, they don't have anything until MONDAY!!!! So they tell me my only option is an urgent care clinic. You have to love the way military health insurance is used. The system almost forces us to use the emergency clinic for things that aren't real emergencies. This is very, very different than how I was raised, so I have such difficulty grasping this concept. I had a mini freakout, and got ready to go. My meltdown was not for worry about Ryan, but rather worry that they'd look at me like I had 3 heads for bringing him to the emergency clinic.
We arrived and they seemed welcoming and it didn't look like too long a wait. I have to say that in the few times we've been to this clinic, they've always been really great about seeing people without making them wait 6 hours like it was at our last post. While we waited to be seen, Ryan was showing the obnoxious side of himself. I am sure the guy running triage thought that he was fine and that I was crazy. When we finally saw the doctor, I explained that it seemed to be his throat and his ear may be the cause. She looked at his ears and right away saw that one was infected. In one way I was breathing a sigh of relief that I wasn't crazy. The doctor was shocked when I told her he'd never been prescribed any meds before. We got him some antibiotics and ear drops. Hopefully he won't have any reactions and will start healing very soon.
I feel like a pretty bad mother though. I wish I had taken him in sooner. It kills me to think that I made him wait so long in pain. However, I will come to my own defense and say that 95% of the time he was saying his throat hurt. I thought he had a sore throat, and usually those go away on their own. The other 5% of the time he would tell me something hurt, but it varied between his ear, arm, leg, and belly. At least now I know when he tells me sore throat that it may mean an ear infection.
Since this was Ryan's first ear infection I was clueless. But here is an interesting ==>LINK<==
that gives some facts that I didn't know like: the common cause of ear infections is the common cold, and it says in young children that get colds 61% end up with ear infections. Ryan's last cold was a bad one so I'm sure that contributed.
I should add that Sean was a trooper through this whole visit. I am sure he didn't want to be there and was hungry, but he never cried at all. He's such an easy baby, thankfully. And of course I could point out the fact that I've survived all this without Pat being around....cause that's what Army wives do ;)

March 23, 2010

Wiggle That Tail

Today Ryan has been coming up to me and doing a weird dance. It's cute, but I didn't know what he was doing or why. I asked him what he was doing and he said "Tail". I asked if he was wiggling his tail and he said "Yes!". I had to get it on film for others to see. I told you he is a bucket of laughs.

March 22, 2010

A Sweet Little Boy

Anyone that spends time with my family gets to see a certain side of Ryan. This is the side that is most commonly displayed. Most of the time Ryan is a fiercely independent little boy who has to do everything his own way. He doesn't listen to him Mommy and frequently disobeys her. If you stay for more than 5 minutes, you'll probably have the opportunity to see Ryan point his finger at me, give the evil eye, and say "Bad Momma" at me. He is definitely a bucket of laughs, but it really can get frustrating dealing with him sometimes. After a long day it is hard to have patience with this side of Ryan.

But there is another side of Ryan that many people do not get to see. Hidden behind his stubborn, independent side is a sweet little boy. Each day no matter how often Ryan was on my last nerve, there is always some moment we share that I will treasure forever. Sometimes it is when we are watching TV before going to his bed when he reaches behind my back and rubs it. Or it may be when he sees me getting teary eyed from exhaustion and frustration and he comes up and gives me a hug. And it could be the random kisses he sometimes shares with me. Or maybe even when he wants to just cuddle in my lap.

I know I am just wasting time getting frustrated with him. I need to remember that no matter how he tests me and pushes the limits, he is a sweet little boy. I am so lucky that I get to see both sides of him.

And in my mind, the little boy that called me into his room at 8:45 p.m. tonight to ask me to get the boogie out of his nose, is one of the sweetest boys ever.

March 21, 2010

Craft Talk

I've finally had a little free time to do work on my scrapbooking and card making. I'm no where near the quality that I am seeing on all the wonderful blogs I read, but I'm getting better at it. I am still pretty simple with my card designs, but I enjoy doing it. I've realized that I'm having a few issues with my scrapbooking though. I am having a hard time making my pages look good because I'm trying to put too many photos in. I usually hate to use two pages for the same photos, and I don't want to leave any of the pictures out. As a result I end up trying to fit too many photos on each page. The other thing I've been feeling badly about is that Sean's pages have been turning out great, and Ryan's haven't quite been ending up how I pictured. I think the reasoning maybe that I have so many more photos of Ryan to fit in. Overall though, I'm just happy to be able to spend a little time doing my hobby. Here are a few pictures of cards that I've made recently:

Learning As I Go

I'm definitely learning as I go as a mother.

Sean has had a lot of trouble sleeping in the past week or so. I've been up with him every two hours through the entire night every night. He wouldn't go back to sleep in his crib, and we had even had to co-sleep a couple nights, which I am not a fan of at all. Last night was looking like it would be more of the same. I swear I've tried just about everything. I decided to take my sister's advice and try swaddling him again. He used to be swaddled every night but starting a few weeks ago he seemed to be too hot and fighting it so we gave it up. Lo and behold, he like it and my night was a million times easier. He still woke up fairly frequently, but was much easier to put back down.

I was actually going to get some sleep for the first time in many nights, but I should have known better because Ryan seems to have come down ill yesterday. He says his throat has a boo-boo so I assure he has a terrible sore throat. Although today he says his ear is hurting him. So now I am not sure if I'm looking at his first earache or if his throat is so sore it feels like his ears hurt, because that happens to me almost all the time when my throat is sore. If it is still bothering him tomorrow, we'll be seeing his doctor. So Ryan came to my bed around 11:30. By 12:30 he had vomited all over my bed. And then the night progressed with him moving between my bed and his bed many times. Oh and I cannot forget the tantrum over his missing "hubba" (helicopter). Thank goodness I was able to find it under the couch with a flash light at 3 a.m.

So my lessons from last night. It is a great thing to have many extra sets of sheets for not only the kids beds, but also your own. I am very thankful that we have at least 3 sets. And although Sean didn't seem to like being swaddled a few weeks ago, he apparently missed it very much and wants to be snug like a bug in a rug.

Here is hoping that tonight I do not have to learn anything other than how the insides of my eyelids look.

March 19, 2010

Banana Bread

I think it is time to make some banana bread, huh?
Thankfully this bread seems to freeze pretty well, so I was able to make a few loaves of bread tonight. However, it was a long process since I only have one loaf pan. I personally think this bread is very yummy, and I make it all the time. Here is the recipe I use that I got from my mother.

Ingredients: 2/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs, beaten
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 or 3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
Chopped Walnuts to Liking

Mix flours into sugar, oil, and eggs. Add 2 or 3 mashed bananas. Add nuts if you are using them, but you don't have to. I usually do not have nuts on hand.

Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan 1 hour at 350 degrees. (I've found 50-55 minutes works perfect for me.)

Internet Deals

I wanted to share a few of my favorite places on the internet that either give me great deals or even help me make money. (who doesn't love free money?!)

Ebates--this is a website the compiles coupons for various retailers and gives you a percentage of money back from your internet shopping. The percentage varies by store. Every few months Ebates mails you a check with all the ebates money that you earned from shopping online. So consider it a rebate on almost anything you are buying online without having to fill out all the paperwork. There is no catch to this. It really is money back in your pocket. I've already received 2 or 3 checks, and I promise you'll be happy if you sign up. You just have to remember when shopping on the internet to enter the stores you are shopping at by clicking through ebates. Let me know if you have any questions. Check it out and sign up ==>HERE<== use this website all the time to find coupon codes for online retailers.

Swagbucks--I'm really new to this one. It seems that if you sign up and use their search engine you could acquire swagbucks. These swagbucks can be traded in for free stuff or gift cards. Some people swear by it. I figure there is no catch to signing up, so I'm giving it a try. Take a look for yourself ==>HERE<==

Do you have any favorite websites that you use to catch a deal? I love a good deal and saving money.

March 18, 2010

My Best Friend

Pat has been gone for almost 3 weeks now. While I miss him terribly, I'm finding things are getting easier now that we are in our routine (and the kids are not sick!). I've been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to be married to my best friend. I am sure most people reading this are thinking, "duh, everyone is married to their best friend", but judging by the high divorce rate some are not as lucky as I am. Pat and I really were made for each other. Our quirks all fit in our relationship. We love each other not only in spite of our flaws but because of them. It is hard to go so long without being able to have a real conversation with your best friend. As I've told many people and most other military wives can attest that the time apart while strenuous and lonely can also bring great insight and closeness within a marriage. This month has given me a reminder of how important it is to enjoy every moment we can be together as a family. I want to live these next couple months before Pat leaves to the fullest. The memories of the time we spent together along with the dreams of our future adventures are what will get me through the long year apart.
I've started to plan some great activities for us when Pat gets home. With such a short time before he deploys though it is going to have to be a balancing act between the things we NEED to get done and what we WANT to do. I expect over the next couple of months you'll be seeing lots of posts about our family adventures, and I cannot wait. (Hopefully I'll remember my camera to document our fun in photos too!)

March 17, 2010

A Little of This and a Little of That

Thankfully this week seems to be flying by. Today really felt like a good day. I think it helps that we had playgroup today and tomorrow I am bringing Ryan to hourly daycare for two hours so I can go grocery shopping easily. I'm hoping for warm weather this weekend so we can get out of the house since we have no plans.

I am having trouble getting back into the swing of meal planning and cooking since my parents visit. We had a good dinner tonight though so I'm hoping that will kick my butt into gear for cooking.

I've made a list of all the scrapbooking/card projects I need/want to make in the coming weeks. As I start to get a few more done I'll post the pictures. I've also splurged on another Cricut cartridge (thank you great deal from e-bay) and a stamp set from Stampin' Up that I bought from a blogger friend. I am really looking forward to trying my new stuff out.

Here are a few pictures that I've taken over the past couple days:

Ryan's New Wagon

My boys are lucky to have such great Grandparents. My parents bought a wagon for the boys during their visit to Tennessee. Sean is a little too young for it now, but Ryan LOVES it. I snapped a few photos from when my parents gave it to him. (you should be able to click on the photo to make it larger)

March 16, 2010

I'm Back to the Blog

I'm back to my blog now. Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments and e-mails. I had a lovely visit with my parents, and I was so thankful for their help while we were all suffering from a cold. Ryan even had some stomach issues to go with the cold too. I think we are finally getting through the cold. Ryan is sleeping well, Sean not so much.

I heard from Pat last night. Of course he would casually mention in the conversation that he's coming home a few days later than planned. great...just what I wanted to hear.

Now we are just trying to get back to our regular schedule. I'm trying to figure out fun things to do with Ryan.

I've been trying to do a little scrapbooking/card making when the kids go to bed. I'll post a few photos of them soon. I'm also trying to play catch up on the housework too, so it is a bit disorganized here. I'm just glad the craziness of sickness seems to have passed.

March 11, 2010

Scrapbooking and Card

Since I got my Cricut I have been trying to catch up on my scrapbooking and make some cards. I will admit that I had a scrapbook set aside for Ryan, but had not put any photos into it. Yes, that means I was over 2 years behind. It will definitely be hard to catch up, but I am committed. I figure that I will try to do both of the boys' scrapbooks at the same time. Here are a couple of pages I have finally got around to making (I just decided that I won't post all of them because I don't want too much information on the internet and some pages just feel private):

This is a card I made quickly from some scrap papers I had to send to a friend who just had a baby. I haven't really had a chance to make many cards, so this is an area I want to explore and practice with more in the near future.

Video and Leftovers

I love moments like these.

I like leftovers, especially if they can be re-purposed into a new meal. Lately I've been doing that a lot. Here are a couple meals that gave us leftovers to use again:

I made a homemade meat sauce before Pat left and froze it. I planned to use it for stuffed shells.
I made stuffed shells with the sauce, and it tasted delicious.
But after the shells were all gone I still had a bunch of the meat sauce left over. So I made up some pasta and used the sauce again. Ryan liked that dish too.

Last Friday I made some homemade pizza for me and Ryan. I am not great at making my dough into a round pizza, but it tasted really good so I didn't care.
I still had half the dough left in the fridge from Friday so I used the leftovers from BBQ pulled pork that I made this weekend to make calzones with the dough. I thought they were very tasty, but Ryan was a little confused by them.
My parents are coming into town tomorrow, so I am going to enjoy a little break from cooking while we get some takeout.
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