December 31, 2007

A New New Year



I was looking back to one year ago and came across my New Year's post for 2007. I have confessed in the past that 2007 was a bit of a bust. Some bumpy times. But looking at my goals for the year, and now seeing how I succeeded in every one of these goals, I feel victorious!
Here's the post (and a couple little added notes), and I think that it will remain for 2008. Can only get better and brighter.




I see this new year as a blank page full of promises and possibilities.


Rather than state resolutions, I have goals similar to my prayer every night as I end my day- May I be a better wife tomorrow, a more patient mom, a more organized homemaker, effective servant of the Lord, as tomorrow is a new day.

I love a new start.

I hope for superficial things like provision to go on our vacation to Colorado this June (done). And for a new car (done!). To read more books (did that). And to become a better knitter (yes!).

I hope to grow closer to my friends, and be a better friend to them. (And who knew I'd make so many more for-sure-to-be-lifelong friends this year as well?)


I hope for my family to live a "greener" life.

I hope to get rid of extra "stuff."

Whether it be emotional or physical baggage.

And appreciate more of what is truly important.


I hope I continue to keep my eyes open for what is truly important, and never let "moments" pass by unnoticed.

I hope to not set limits or expectations, or make judgments and assumptions, and only hope to focus on what is good and true.

I hope to always know my purpose, and to put it to good use.

I hope to always look forward and not back, up and not down...

Yes, in this New Year, many treasures await...

photo credit: photographer Ashlee Allen, Nest

December 30, 2007

Adventures In Babywearing: Year In Review 2007

As I did last year, here is first sentence from the first post of each month in 2007.

January-
I see this new year as a blank page full of promises and possibilities.

February- I am so very proud to announce the launch of my best friend Ashlee's newest endeavor, bringing style and comfort to your everyday babywearing...

March-
I just posted one of my favorite photographs ever here.

April-
I was shopping at Goodwill the other day with my Mom & the three boys.

May-
What could possibly be pink at my house- the den of all boys?

June-
I've been working on a mixed tape CD for an upcoming roadtrip.

July-
So you all know by now that we are always trying in little & big ways to live more green.

August-
In collaboration with the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas sharing their Childhood Dreams, I'm re-publishing this post from last year's Elementary, My Dear.

September-
My boys looooove this.

October-
I type with heavy fingers that are more like thick thumbs attempting to translate my hazy mind into a comprehendable blog post.

November
-
I won a gift certificate to Amazon.com thanks to Beth and so I purchased Veganomicon (can not wait for this to arrive!) and also officially started on my Christmas shopping.

December-
I keep teasing hubby for saying snow snorm instead of snow storm yesterday when he was actually trying to make fun of something I had said, but anyway, we had an ice storm today and I am all prepared to be stuck in the house if necessary.

Happy New Year, everyone!

December 28, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: N.I.P.



Most often known as Nursing In Public but now new meaning to me... Nursing In Pouch. Never did I think I'd prefer this over all other carriers for nursing, but my new favorite is my Peanut Shell pouch. I'm not just saying it, people. I mean it. What a revelation! And here's another tip- win one here!

December 27, 2007

What Are You Into This Month?

This Month...

The Thing I've Been Working On The Most: My dream of finally being ahead of all the laundry (I know it has to be possible!) and knitting the never-ending scarf for me.

TV Show Worth Watching: If you know of one, please let me know!

The Christmas Present I'm Loving: I finally have a speaker dock for my iPod! And I can't wait to hang my new birds.

My Favorite Blog Entry From This Month: I'm His Boo

Blog I Am Always Visiting: This month an old friend of mine has really amped up his blog. (A dad's perspective- go figure!) And a tidbit: Way back before I knew hubby, he & Adam had lockers next to each other in school. At the same time Adam & I were friends in youth group. Later, after hubby and I started dating, we found out this friend connection and attended Adam's wedding together. It was neato.

Movie I’ve Seen (In or Out of a theater): Just watched Waitress- perfect if you're due for a good cry.

What I'm Most Looking Forward To Next Month: Turning 31 and entering a brand new year. Sounds so great. And the fact that we have absolutely no plans for 2008. It is wide open with possibilities.

Feel free to share what you're into, too...




December 25, 2007

Gray Goose

It's tradition to have a photo taken of our boys wearing this special bomber jacket that my Dad originally bought Noah (from a truck stop!) They all have cherished their turn to wear the treasured coat. Here's Gray, at 22 months and below is Noah and Carter both at 20 months each. Gray definitely has the brooding look down, don't you think?

December 24, 2007

O Come Let Us Adore Him


He Brings Peace & Joy

Merry Merry Christmas.


December 23, 2007

Something To Think About As You Get Lots Of Stuff This Christmas

Thank you to my good friend Jil for showing this to me. If you get 20 minutes to sit the family around to watch, please do.



December 22, 2007

This Mountain Called 2007

When I close my eyes and really think about it, I am coming down the mountain. And it feels really good.

I was looking through all the photos I've taken this year and there are so many wonderful memories. One of my favorites is this one of my Aunt Susie & me (with Gray on my back) from our family trip to Colorado.



There seemed to be a lot of extra baggage weighing me down in one way or the other, internal struggles, and just life's goings on weaving in and out that made this year seem extra busy and bumpy.

But in the end, on the descent, I feel molded and trained. As I come down I pass the rocks I stumbled upon on the way up and they really aren't as big as I remember. As much as I am glad for it to end, it was a pretty good year. But now I've been there, done that, and am so ready for 2008.



December 20, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: On Traveling...

This week's tip was emailed to me by my friend (in real life!) Sheryl of Peanut Butter & Jelly Boats. She got to thinking about traveling this holiday and how babywearing has helped in the past:

I was thinking about our Thanksgiving trip. We flew. We did not take a stroller, I wore Ethan in the pouch and the boys walked along side us carrying their own backpacks
. It was SOOOOOO much easier than carting a stroller around the airport! I could wear him in the pouch and walk right through security. No folding and unfolding of a stroller to put on the belt to be x-rayed. Then moving through the aisle of the airplane to get to our seats was super easy. He was just right there, snug against me the whole time. I'll never take a stroller to the airport again!!

Also, the last time we went to Disney World, I brought the sling, just in case. It was naptime for Ethan and we were headed to the Winnie the Pooh ride. I took him out of the stroller and put him in the pouch. While other toddlers were cranky and fussy, Ethan was calm and laid his head on me while snug in his pouch. While other parents were trying to keep their kids happy standing in a 30 min. line, Ethan fell to sleep peacefully within 5 min. Then I just got right on the ride with him still in the pouch. He slept through the whole line and almost through the whole ride! It was so incredibly easy!





What Day Is It?

When I was little, my mom had wrapped our teachers' presents- little boxes of chocolate mints- and placed them under the tree. We came home one night to find that our dachshund Mindy had opened up all the boxes and eaten all the candy. No matter that chocolate is supposed to be bad for dogs- that dog lasted for almost 20 years.

The other morning I noticed Carter had a small bag of sugarplums. A couple weeks ago we had gone to a candy store downtown to get some sugarplums for the boys' teachers and then we always get a little bag for ourselves. The teachers' gifts were already wrapped by the store and placed under our tree. I was a bit surprised that we still had some sugarplums left over when I saw Carter with them, but didn't really think more about it.

Later that day I found Noah snooping under the tree amongst the wrapped candy boxes. My eyes got wide as I realized that maybe he had actually opened one of the boxes of sugarplums meant for his teacher. There was one box missing and he confessed (after he made sure he wouldn't be in trouble for telling the truth.)
I had a flashback to his other candy incident last year. He hid the contraband in Carter's bed. Already planting evidence.

I have all my Christmas shopping complete, but still need to wrap everything. I am kinda glad my laziness has paid off, so that we could have this heart to heart about not opening presents until you're supposed to. I joke about laziness. If only I could be lazy. That would be super.

I woke up today and had no idea what day it was. I really thought it was Friday and so Noah got a full practice spelling test from me before getting on the bus. Then I realized that his test is tomorrow. Well, he'll be all the more ready.

Oh, and I've got a new post up over at Close To Home.

-Steph

December 18, 2007

Christmas & Me

I'm it. Amy tagged me for some holiday hoopla of 12 Random Things About Me & Christmas:

1. I miss watching the Peter, Paul, & Mary special on PBS with my Dad every Christmas.

2. One of my favorite holiday movies was Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas.

3. My favorite Christmas movies that are more recent are Elf and About A Boy.

4. I can remember so very clearly hearing Santa's reindeer on our roof when I was a little girl. I still sometimes think I can hear them on Christmas Eve.

5. If I could have the ultimate Christmas wish it would be to have all my family (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins) together for Christmas. We wouldn't even need presents.

6. I don't make Christmas cookies. Maybe someday. But for the longest time there have always been special diets or food allergies to work around.

7. I love love love love love when it snows on Christmas.

8. I have a nativity set that I used to keep out all year 'round, but Gray likes to play with it too much,
so I don't have it out this year.

9. It's hard for me to think of my favorite Christmas present ever because every year I get something really great. My mom is a really good gift-giver and she Santa stuffs the best stockings at her house.

10. I don't care for candy canes much. But I do like the cherry ones sometimes.

11. We did not decorate our house outside with lights or anything this year. We say it's to be more "green"- using less energy and so forth- but secretly we just didn't feel like it. It's cold out there, yo!

12. In closing, here's Carter singing you his favorite holiday song, even though it's not about Christmas, I think it still counts:

video

Oh, and I tag Jen at Mommy Instincts!


Fish Food

If only I could describe my horror when Gray came up to me giggling "Hee hee fish food, Mama."

I ran to the kitchen and found the fish bowl topped with a thick layer of red beta pellets. The entire container of fish food empty. Our little swimming pet Luna is ok. Traumatized maybe, but happy now in a clean and clear environment again. She may have to be moved to the top of the fridge if I am going to keep her safe from the two year old monkey-child living in my house. Help.


December 17, 2007

Inviting You In

I had hoped to participate in the festive Christmas Tour of Homes hosted by BooMama just like last year, but had just so much going on. It was too much added pressure. But thankfully, I am happy to say I can breathe easier today. The pressure is off. I have absolutely no commitments this entire week. No where to be. No deadlines looming. Nothing at all. And it feels so very good.

I think now I'd like to invite you in to see a few of my favorite things around my house this Christmas.

My new table runner from Tarjay. Nothing says holiday centerpiece like cheap ornaments and oranges. I think I make it work.


And now we're entering the Tour d'Eiffel section of my living room. My favorite ornament.



A song for you from the boys' favorite ornament:


video



And since last year I shared my holiday socks, this year I'll show you what socks I'm wearing today.





Now that's that. I am off to relax. No plans. Breathe. I think I'll finish knitting - something for me this time- a yummy scarf. Hope you have a fabulous holiday...

Love,
Steph



The Green Vest

Who knew it would be so popular? I honestly have to admit that I wasn't sure I even liked the vest at first, but after this weekend it's a winner. You can find it here at Lands' End. The Lands' End people were so nice to let me pick out some winter gear for a future review at Close To Home for NWIparent Magazine.


December 15, 2007

Uh, What A Week...

I type here in a foggy gaze- just waking from the first nap in a very long time. It was only about an hour but felt like an eternity. One of those naps. This week, wow, it almost did me in. But this week- wow- it really made me stronger.

Early in the week I had close friends much too close to the tragedies in Colorado. I was invited to be a part of the welcoming into the world of Capri Pearl, her birth was amazing and I am honored to bear witness. New life. Then my best friend lost her father. A life gone.

That's about all I can write or want to write about any of it right now. There's plenty more power in the unspoken.

I know that I'll look back eventually and will see a perspective I might have missed, a connection to the heaviness and spirit of this time. I probably should feel spent. Exhausted from the events of the week, but instead I feel renewed. Tired, but renewed. Now the snow is falling and it seems like even the outside is starting fresh. Everything is going to be ok.


December 13, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: Teaching Your Child To Nurture

This week's Babywearing Tip was submitted by Farrah from Baby Love Slings:

My son Lucas will be two in March. He is as rough-and-tumble as little boys come. He loves his trucks and trains and blocks and just about anything that goes "Vroom, Vroom." But he also loves his sling. I don't mean the one he rides in, although he certainly loves that one. I mean the one he wears, the one he uses to carry his puppy and dino and sometimes even his dump truck. He carries the things he loves and wants close to him. He is too small to put it on himself but he will bring me the sling and whatever he wants to carry and say "ing, mama, ing."


Children thrive when they feel valued, loved, and that the adults in their life enjoy being with them. That is why wearing your baby or toddler is so important: it fosters trust and a secure attachment with your baby and gives your toddler a safe place to reconnect and reinforce their bond with you. When we wear our children, we model for them that it is important to care for others. We are nurturing them and teaching them that they matter and that we want them to be with us. As mothers (and fathers), we want our children to learn how to nurture and love others out of the depth of nurturing and love they have received. Give them their own sling and teach them to care for the things they love just as they are cared for and loved. It is a great tool for encouraging your little nurturer in the development of kindness and compassion and love for others. I know that Lucas wants to wear his puppy in his sling because he loves his puppy. He feels loved when he is cuddled close to mama in the sling so it only makes sense to him that his puppy should go in the sling too. He is starting to make that very important connection.

Lucas is an only child so his only experience of babywearing is from being worn and occasionally seeing one of my babywearing friends with an infant in their sling. I know that if we are ever blessed with another child, the lessons of babywearing will be all the more poignant for him. Older siblings can learn to exhibit the same love and care they see you giving to their new baby brother or sister. It makes them feel important and valued by you when they are able to display the behaviors that are modeled for them. Dr. Sears comments on his website about the importance of role modeling nurturing behaviors for our children. "When we adults wear babies, we model for our other children that big people carry little people. Children and grandchildren are more likely to adopt the style of parenting that they received or witnessed when young. "

As parents, we all want to raise our kids to be compassionate, caring people. One of the best ways to do that is to model that behavior for them and then give them opportunities to exhibit the behavior themselves. Lucas and his puppy love their sling. He wears puppy or dino while he stands at the window watching the snow plows or while he sits in the living room playing with his trains. And me, I just watch and smile as my son kisses puppy's head. He is learning how to care for and nurture others. He is developing compassion and kindness. And that nurtures my soul too.


Give the gift of babywearing and nurturing this holiday. Shop Baby Love Slings at www.babyloveslings.com for all your sling needs. Use coupon code ABW for 10% off your total order. Order by Dec. 20 to ensure delivery by Christmas.

Oh, Capri

I wanted to update everyone that baby is here and I got to be there for it all! But, I'll leave all the details for Mama or Aunt Arianne to post- so keep checking back!

Steph


December 12, 2007

Prayers

There's a Mama & baby that needs prayer while being born today and my best friend needs even more love and hugs right now...

Steph


December 10, 2007

I've Been Cranky

I don't know how much longer I can blame it on hormones, but if I were Santa I'd be leaving a big lump of coal in my stocking this year. I haven't had the best of attitudes lately. I feel downright crotchety sometimes. Extra irritable. Daydreaming about hiding from my kids and anyone needing something from me. You know, the usual. (Right?)

I'm feeling extra guilty about it lately because my husband should be Hubby Of The Year and he has me for a wife. Or maybe that is why he should be Hubby Of The Year- because he has me for his wife. Oh I don't know who else could put up with me!

This weekend was extra crabby for me and he made everything as easy for me as possible. He washed the dishes every single time there was a dirty plate or cup in the sink. He let me escape for hours on Saturday and Sunday. And still I couldn't get over my cantankerous self.

Well, it's Monday. A good day to start fresh. I've promised to take my St. John's Wort again and just get over myself already. I'm married to the Hubby Of The Year after all. And I need to show up and make something of my title as the honorable wife of Hubby Of The Year. He deserves it. And so do I.

December 9, 2007

A Digital Video Camera! Overdue Library Book! And Something Growing Hair On It!

What are: Things you find when you move around the furniture?

And darn it I'm still looking for my sanity...




December 8, 2007

The Other Side Of Christmas

I still stand by my desire for a simpler, less-materialistic Christmas and, well, life for that matter. But an old friend of mine has a different view, and I have to say his version really spoke to me, too.

Steph


December 7, 2007

Target Lady

Tonight I was in Target amid long lines and few cashiers. The girl at the register I was waiting for could not have been more slow. Scanning each item with care and wonderment, and not the slightest sense of urgency to move the ever-growing line. I could not help but think of the Target Lady on Saturday Night Live. When it was my turn, she smiled and delighted in the sweater I was buying, the recycled wrapping paper I'd picked out, and then she scanned my flavored coffee syrup, stopped, looked at me, and said, "Do you ever watch Saturday Night Live?" I had to laugh. She said, "I'm so turning into that Target Lady. Where did you get that coffee syrup?"

I told her I totally knew what she was talking about, and the coffee syrup was in the, uh, coffee aisle.





December 6, 2007

Breastfeeding... Extended

For those curious about where I'm at with the whole extended nursing thing, check out my post- "I'm His Boo" today at the Chicago Moms Blog and all the sister blogs as part of today's topic day- all about breastfeeding. Should be some interesting schtuff!


December 5, 2007

For The Toes

I've got a new post up at my NWIparent blog Close To Home, if you're thinking about stuffing little stockings...


December 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Gray's Look-Alike?




December 3, 2007

That's A Really Nice Haircut!



I finally gave in and did away with Gray's long blonde locks. They were just too scraggly and not working anymore. I love his new 'do... and so does he!

December 2, 2007

Thanks For Sharing

I'd like to take a break from the cute things my kids say or the latest baby carrier you might or might not need. I want to share with you what is on my heart.

I have been struggling with just what it is I've been feeling about the upcoming Christmas. Why is it so hard for me to "get in the Christmas spirit" this season, more than before? I think I've been mistaking this so-called "Christmas spirit" for decorating and shopping and wrapping presents and consuming and wanting and that's just not what I am about right now. And that's not what Christmas is about either.

I read a post recently by one of my favorite bloggers- Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly, and it really spoke to me. A Strange Dimness. I can relate to this. I feel a strange dimness over the traditional worldly things for this holiday season, and life in general. How much time and worry we put into presents and decorations and is this toy made in China? and what we'll wear to a holiday party that only lasts two hours. I am guilty of this, yes! But I don't want to continue to be this way. Honestly... do those things really matter or even last longer than a few hours or mortal days and weeks?

I am not sure how much longer I can stomach all the excess of things and want for more things and the bigger and better and newer and so on and so on. More. More. More. On the outside we have everything or are talking about how someday we'll have everything. When inside us we are empty. It will never fill us up.

And I don't mean to sound like a Scrooge, because I still enjoy giving and receiving gifts and celebrating the holiday and listening to Christmas carols, and all that good stuff. But, I have moved my focus from temporary things and am fixing it on the forever things, and this now changes my view of pretty much everything. I want my main focus to be the things that last and the things that mean something. It would be wrong of me to go on blogging every day without telling you what's really behind my words and in my heart. And of course I am just growing here- taking baby steps. Baby steps hopefully in the right direction.

So evidently, in truth, I am longing for the real Christmas spirit, wanting to put the spotlight on the birth of Jesus, His only purpose to save this world. And oh, does this world need saving...

December 1, 2007

SnowSnorm

I keep teasing hubby for saying snow snorm instead of snow storm yesterday when he was actually trying to make fun of something I had said, but anyway, we had an ice storm today and I am all prepared to be stuck in the house if necessary. Except I haven't gotten groceries. That might be my only problem. But I have plenty of knitting projects! Here's what I've been working on today.




November 30, 2007

The Little Things

There is a greyhound that gets walked through the neighborhood every day. Today he was wearing a purple sweater.

It's Friday.

Tomorrow I get to go out and do stuff. Without the kids. And I get to go to the knitting shop to get materials for these and these.

I made it through my first NaBloPoMo... all 30 days.

Smile.

November 29, 2007

Breakfast At My House

Last night hubby found an egg under the boys' toybox upstairs. It was broken and from what he could see, had apparently been there a very long time. The explanation for everything: "Gray did it!"

Today Gray was buttering his toast with chapstick.

I won't even go into details about Carter's orange juice that went down and well, came back up. Hence the abundance of chapstick & toast in our house today.

I am still in wonderment at how an egg could make it all the way upstairs carried by a 2 year old.

Some Things For Your Christmas List

Little luxuries are always fun for Mamas to give (and receive) as gifts at Christmas. Here are some of my favorites...

The Posh by Tori bangle clutch available at SoBeBabies. I carry mine everywhere and love how convenient the bangle hangs on my wrist, on the stroller handles, or wherever else you need to hang. It's roomy enough for the essentials: lipstick, phone, camera, debit card & checkbook, but small enough to feel like a sassy handbag. Yes, a bit pricey but I have to say that after months of use, it still looks new. I can't even say that for my Coach bags that I no longer carry!
And you or your gift-giver can save $5 off your order at Sobebabies by entering code ABW.

Speaking of hanging your bag, one of my favorite items I've reviewed over at Mama Speaks is the Luxe Link. Such a perfect gift for any handbag connoisseur. I use my Luxe Link all the time and it's a great conversation piece, trust me!

And talk about conversation pieces, try browsing for just one minute over at Etsy and you will agree it can't be done. I could hang out on Etsy for hours. One of my favorite finds is Dandelion Blu (thanks to Cara!) where I found my sweet Lil Blue Bird necklace and now have my eye on the Nesting hair pins. Include "adventures" in the comment field at checkout and your shipping will be free (refunded to you after checkout) at Dandelion Blu! If you have a limited budget but want to find a thoughtful and creative gift, Etsy should be the first place you shop!


You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.



November 28, 2007

Clouds Today


Early this afternoon I stepped out and saw this sky. I could watch clouds forever. At night, during the day, watching them pass. Wondering where the sky begins and ends. Beautiful. My favorite.

November 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: O Christmas Tree Part Deux


Read about Part Deux here.

A Project X-Style Christmas...

Today is Community Outreach Topic day at the Chicago Moms Blog and you can read my post about Project Xavier here. If you are able, reach out this Christmas. Whether it be monetarily giving (might I suggest this $8 lamb for the NICU babies?) or just giving of your time. It means more than you can measure. One of my very favorite things.





November 26, 2007

O Christmas Tree, Why You Not Like Me?

I am just not in much of a Christmas decorating mood, but am the odd one out here as it's all my boys can think about. So today we put out all the decorations and set up the tree. We have the kind that you have to attach each color-coded branch individually. Do they even make these anymore? The tree box was too heavy for me to bring up from the basement so the boys made a chain-gang line up the stairs and brought each branch. I think Gray found that the most fun. I found that putting them to work is quite useful!

And then I had my first taste of what it's like when the lights won't work. I tested the first strand and... nothing. Then the next strand... nothing. Then I thought maybe I should try a different outlet. Same thing. So the next strand lit up the half end, but was dark the first half. I still strung it on the tree and made do with what was lit up. Then the next 5 strands all did not work. I am just not up for going to Target (is that possible?) and I'm even contemplating a Freecycle post "Wanted: WORKING Christmas lights, white or red preferred" but I am not even in the mood for that. So I guess I'll do the lights tomorrow. If I feel like it. In the meantime there's a small glob of white lights at the bottom of the tree. Not our best look, but at least I made the effort.

When the tree is all decorated and the house is all quiet and I have some John Denver Rocky Mountain Christmas music playing, it's one of my very favorite things.

November 25, 2007

Sleep! Glorious Sleep!

I just had EIGHT UNINTERRUPTED HOURS OF SLEEP last night and I don't know what to do with myself. I can't even remember the last time that has happened. Maybe back in 2004? Does this mean I am going to be expected to think clearly and all today? Maybe I should have kept this on the down low...


November 24, 2007

Shall I Have Some Tea?

I love blogger meet ups! Today we had a dainty bloggy meet-up at a tea room and I just realized that I never really had any tea. (So, yeah, I'm faking in the photo.) But I did have some delicious strawberry-stuffed French toast and ate every bite. Including whipped cream. Mmm Hmm. Crooked Eyebrow took most of the good pictures and I can't wait to see what everyone else took. Arianne's got a great group shot here.



They were there:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Boats
More Than A Single Mom
Glass Half Full
Milk & Honey
Mommy Instincts
To Think Is To Create
M.O.M. On A Mission
The Berger Buzz
Rip, Runnin & Roarin
Sunny Side Of The Street
Crooked Eyebrow

And while you're here, please vote for my family's holiday photo in the SuperMomz photo contest!

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.

November 23, 2007

Not A Dime

I didn't spend a cent today. It feels good. I am finishing up a knitted gift (photo to come soon) and also have new ideas for handmade gifts that just might complete my Christmas list this year.

One of my favorite things about gift giving and getting is the thought behind it. It might be homemade or inexpensive, but if it comes from the heart, it's priceless.

And P.S. at this very moment all three of my children are napping like sweet angels.


November 22, 2007

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: Babywearing Tips For Plus-Sized Parents:

This week's tip is brought to you by Heather over at Not A DIY Life.

There are a few different considerations that a plus-sized parent must think about when choosing a carrier for babywearing. Because plus-sized parents are more "squishy," carriers that require tying knots may not be as comfortable. Also, store-bought, one-size-fits-most carriers, probably won't work very well. Find someone who can custom make a carrier for you, or learn to make them yourself!


I have found that an unpadded ring sling works best for us. We are able to use a standard size ring sling, but having someone who can make one for you allows for extra fabric and a longer "tail."

Also, keep in mind that you might have to do more adjusting of the sling while wearing your baby. Because of the aforementioned squishiness, the sling will slide or slip positioning as you move. And, you may not be able to be 100% hands free when using a carrier. Always be aware of adjusting the carrier too tightly, for yourself or your baby. Don't let the need for adjusting discourage you from wearing your baby. It's just part of being plus-sized! If the carrier hurts, it's not right. If it's too tight for baby, baby will let you know!

Thanks, Heather! You also might find this page at TheBabywearer.com helpful: Babywearing For Plus-Sized People.

Nest baby slings are wonderful unpadded ring slings with a longer tail- and if you take a peek somewhere around here you just might find a nice discount code... hint, hint!

If you have a Babywearing Tip Of The Week you'd like to share, email me at jsprecourt at yahoo.com.


You Won't Catch Me On Thanksgiving Day

It's snowing here. Snowed all day. Today has been wonderful. One of my favorites.

Also, you won't catch Carter for Thanksgiving day...

November 21, 2007

: )

Go here..

November 20, 2007

Four Years In

Four years ago on Thanksgiving Day, a turkey baked in the oven, a new table cloth lay spread on our table, and my 2-year-old son had his first seizure.

We spent that Thanksgiving in the hospital, and not once was a thought of the abandoned turkey or pumpkin pie in our minds.

The following Thanksgiving was a hard day for me to honor. I just wanted to forget that day, and the horrific days to follow, had ever happened. Why couldn't it have happened on a normal day, an easy-to-forget day, like a boring Tuesday or just any other day? But Thanksgiving is celebrated every year without fail and with much fanfare and to-do, with non-abandoned turkeys and pumpkin pies. They always show up. And so do my memories. Of that day.

Each year I seem to "get over it" a little more. The bitterness and hurt that I once felt is now upstaged by the overflowing thankfulness that I have for the healing of my son. That one Thanksgiving day changed my life forever and continues to challenge and shape me every day. Even the boring Tuesdays and the Any Days.

Life shows up. And so do I.



Submitted to Scribbit's November Write Away contest: My Life Is Different Because Of...

Oh O

I've recapped Oprah's Favorite Things here, if you want to see my take on it. I found this year's episode hard to watch, to be honest.

The way the audience gets so unbelievably excited and on fire (or "on far" as Oprah would have said it in her Macon accent today) for these things, these things like bath-sized forty-dollar soaps and $190 lounge pants and a fridge that can tell you the weather forecast.

But how excited are we in our hearts about our spiritual life. Or our love life? You know, the things that, like, really matter?


Dino Road

Here's Gray wearing his favorite shirt while he plays with his favorite dino.


I found this Milk on the Rocks tee at Izzy & Ash. Save 15% at Izzy & Ash on anything for fall, excluding furniture and drop ship items when you use coupon code: babywearing15 !

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.


November 19, 2007

King Of The Castle


Today was a really good play day. I am not a fan of cars and Star Wars guys, but do enjoy playing with the castle stuff and animals. I am really glad that's what Gray is most into lately. And when I say 'into', I really mean into.


November 18, 2007

Good Day

A day so good that it allows no time for blogging just might be my favorite kind of day.


November 17, 2007

did you mean "legs?"

Doing a little Christmas shopping on Amazon.com, I was searching "Legos" and it said : did you mean "legs?" I'm wondering how often people buy legs on Amazon... but oh how I'd love some ankles.




Wheat Diapers

Inside joke. But anyway, I did want to share my favorite diapers during my favorite things month. I don't do cloth diapers- maybe with the next baby, but do use Seventh Generation diapers & wipes and feel that's at least a step in the right direction. The best place I've found to buy them inexpensively and conveniently is from 1-800-DIAPERS, now Diapers.com. You can even save $5 off your first order by using referral code: ABWdiapers . Other brands of diapers and baby care items are available as well, like California Baby (we love!) and so on. This is not another product "review" here or anything- it's just something I wanted to share!

*Added- I forgot to mention that Gray is on his way out of diapers thanks to the Peter Potty... isn't that the greatest!?!

-Steph

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.

November 16, 2007

life with a two year old



it just gets better everyday.

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: Gather Together!


Have you heard about the 2008 International Babywearing Conference being held in Chicago next June? I'll be there! I am planning on hanging out with Ashlee with her Nest slings- so please plan to stop on by to see us! Tickets just went on sale for the low price of $99! Maybe you can put it on your Christmas list?! The conference dates are June 25th-28th, 2008. Come learn new sling techniques, shop the exhibit hall, take in a fashion show, and meet the big names in babywearing. Tickets are only $99 until April 1st, 2008 and recieve a free t-shirt if you sign up before the end of 2007!

Please spread the word and you can even post a button on your blog!



November 15, 2007

Stripes


I caught just a bit of the Ellen show this afternoon and they were featuring a woman named Janice with some unusual animals on her farm.

What brought tears to my eyes was a zebra named Zebiscuit that she rescued. He had a seizure disorder and she treated him with alternative treatments, herbs, and diet, and he's never had another seizure! Just like my Noah!

Mmm... Brownies



I made my favorite brownies yesterday, with the help of a chocolatey little chef.

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.

November 14, 2007

Make It Work!


My favorite tv show started its new season tonight! Project Runway, yay! I must say that so far I am most pleasantly surprised by designer Chris March and thought he had the best design, although I also predicted the challenge winner and loved that dress, too!



You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.

Debuting Today...


I write here! Inside you'll find me as a contributing editor with my own
Real Reviews page. These magazines will be distributed in thousands of local Times newspapers and also direct-mailed to families with children.














I will be blogging regularly on the NWIparent website at my blog Close To Home. So stop on by if you get the chance!

Edited to add: All this makes me very pleased, but I am now bursting with pride as Noah begged me to let him take my only copy to school this morning to show his teacher... and of course I let him. : )


November 13, 2007

Shhh

This was a very long day. The house is now quiet.


Life of the Day, Day 30


That Was Easy


Last week as part of the Chicago Moms Blog I was invited to attend an elite session for Bloggers on How To Shop for Tech Gifts this Christmas, thanks to Staples. It was great to see my
Silicon Valley Moms friend again- Techmamas blogger Beth Blecherman, the special speaker of the night!

There had been two other sessions earlier in the day, but I could only attend the later one and brought along Arianne.Turns out that everyone else went to the previous sessions and we were the only attendees for the evening!

It really became more like a Moms Night Out and we had no problem with that! The James Hotel in Chicago had the swankiest bathroom and the most delicious little hors d'ouerves. We had it all to ourselves!

We checked out the latest gadgets and cool tech gifts available at Staples- all of which should be on your Christmas shopping list this season. The perfect "group gift" for Grandparents, Aunts, & Uncles is the must-have digital photo frame - look for ones that offer a multi-card reader, slide show, & remote control. Staples is the first retailer to sell Dell computers, and at the top of my Christmas list is a laptop. Shouldn't every blogger have a laptop? I'm missing out! Tips from the Tech meeting were to have a large enough hard drive on your laptop for all your photos, music, & memory to multi-task. A wide screen for watching DVDs is a nice perk, as well as playing it up with a funky color. Give me a green one and I'd be set!

We didn't talk just tech stuff all night- we talked about blogging and Facebook and NaBloPoMo and about marketing to Mommy Bloggers and all that jazz. We even talked about pajamas and how I needed a new pair of boots and my wondering if there was such a thing as cankle surgery. I'd possibly consider it.

One of my favorite things in our swag bag was the Staples Easy Button. It has now become a bit of a legend for my Moms Night Out group- while bowling the other night, the winner got to keep the Easy Button and will decide what to do with it at the future Moms Night Outs. Since then, the Easy Button has taken on an interesting life of its own and even went on a road trip this weekend. Just where will the Easy Button show up next? To be continued...



Pictured at the Tech Event: Arianne, Beth, & Me (David-Spade-hair, cankles, & all.)


My Favorite Blog Post This Week

I don't know how many times I'll have to say it, but if you don't have Lifenut on your daily to-read list, then I don't know what is wrong with you. Oh yeah, and I love to remind everyone that I've lunched with Gretchen and her adorable children. : ) Yesterday's post A possible future had me in stitches. If you are a Mommy Blogger, go read.

Is there a blog post out there that you think I should not miss?


You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.

November 12, 2007

The Elizabeth


I have been working on my latest knitted handbag (this version now named the Elizabeth for the recipient of the Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway) and after a few adjustments and do-overs, finally finished it up today. I was starting to get in a knitting funk and feel like I am ready to go again!

Life of the Day, Day 29

On My Christmas List

I was in Old Navy the other night and the Christmas music they were playing (already!) gave me a headache. And I don't think I'm that old, but the Salt-N-Pepa song (if you'd call it that and who knew they were still around?) was hideous. Don't they know that I'd be inclined to shop more productively if say, Sufjan Stevens' Songs For Christmas or just some good ol' Nat King Cole was playing!?

Anyways. Even though I wish there was no rush on passing up autumn, I'll admit that I am
getting a bit excited about Christmas. I am adding to my wish list everyday. Here are some of my favorites... last night I saw a commercial for Catch Phrase Music Edition. (You can watch the commercial on that link.) HOW FUN IS THAT? 'Cause all our friends act like that when we have a party. Yikes.


I really think I just must have the new Wilton Giant Cupcake pan. Normally giant things are creepy to me, but this would be so cool. And if these boots actually could keep the warm in and the snowy cold out, I'd totally dig them. But instead I think more practical would be these. (Size 9, Santa, but you already knew that.)


You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.


November 11, 2007

Coming Very Soon...

My new favorite writing gig launches this week. I am beyond excited!


Life of the Day, Day 28

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.


November 10, 2007

date night


Life of the Day, Day 27

November 9, 2007

Such A Rush

... when shopping for tall black boots and you find the size you need in the color you want, and they are much less expensive than you thought.

My favorite.


Life of the Day, Day 26

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.
Shoes are Mia Delight in Black (I found mine at DSW.)

Babywearing Tip Of The Week: Makeup Tips!

This week's Babywearing Tip of the Week was submitted by Flip Flop Mamma!


Learn how to do the "Mama Sway" while applying your mascara!! LoL. As a mother of a newborn that absolutely LOVES to be held, I know how hard it is to try to get things done. Putting yourself together is one area where mamas slack off, because it's just too hard. I'm a firm believer that in order to feel better about yourself, you must get your makeup on!! This is not an easy task with a baby! Oh, it's not enough that my baby is being held, he has to be held by me! So, I throw him in a carrier, usually a wrap or a ring sling, and start swaying. He loves the closeness of mama, he loves the motion, and I'm able to get ready!! When baby is happy, everyone is happy! Next on the agenda? Learning how to apply eyeliner while doing the sway! YIKES! -Jaymi

If you have a Babywearing Tip of the Week you'd like to send in, email me (jsprecourt at yahoo.com)!

November 8, 2007

104




I bowled over 100! tonight during Mom's Night Out with Ashlee "Shaniqua", Robin "Nataasha", Jen "JC", Arianne "Black Widow", Jen "Shaniqua #2, (and I was Sydney Bristow, of course.) Arianne's sis Carrington was there, too, but she doesn't blog or bowl currently as she's 8 months preggers.












Life of the Day, Day 25

I Take Pictures Of My Food


My favorite magazine is Vegetarian Times. Although I am sometimes here & there with my meat eating, I love vegan recipes as I have to avoid dairy and egg while I am still breastfeeding Gray. When the new Vegetarian Times is in my mailbox, I get so excited and usually start my grocery list as I read along.



In the current issue is a quick & easy Penne with Caramelized Cauliflower. Mmmm... it's really good. Gray likes it, too (that's his chubby little hand sneaking in the photo above.)


I love to cook and bake things that I am proud of, and then must take a picture to record such artistry!

You don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to appreciate these yummy dishes. My favorite brownies are still these fudgy treats.

Grab VT at your local bookstore or the best deal I've seen on a subscription is through Best Deal Magazines- just $4.69 for a year !!

You can find me here at NaBloPoMo.

November 7, 2007

Skyline

Tonight I got to get away, see the city and all the lights, there's nothing like it.

Home again, Gray is now fast asleep with his little rumpy in the air... there's nothing like it.

Life of the Day, Day 24


November 6, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: More Shadows


Stop by and enter the Cheeky Jewelry Contest here!