May 31, 2007

The Only Time You'll See Me In A Bikini


Ok, I'm not bringing everything back!

But I had to get in on the Throwback Thursdays that are going on over at the Pinks & Blues blog!

Here's the first and last time you'll ever see ME in a bikini! This was circa 1980, I'd say?


And to the left is why we are now talking about having a little girl someday.

I was just too adorable, no?

Join the fun! I didn't even use a scanner- I just took a picture of my old pictures with my digital camera...




Don't forget to check out the Soundzania CD contest and leave your comments- I'll pick a winner tonight!

May 29, 2007

May 28, 2007

Proof



What? Like I'd really show a close up!



May 27, 2007

updated- Giving In (Or Alternately Titled: I'm Bringing Cankles Back)

(updated with a definition below)

I was tagged for this meme several times and it's been a while... so I kinda lost track of who tagged me. CasualFridayEveryDay.com is the latest to tag me and finally I'm giving in, so here I go...


8 Things About Me:

1. I have never seen Grey's Anatomy. Or ER. I don't do hospital shows ever.

2. Apparently Noah Wyle's character on ER is Dr. Carter. I have sons named Noah, Carter, & Gray. It's been assumed that I just must love hospital shows. Ironic.

3. Someday I think I might want to finish college and become a ketogenic dietician. Or definitely be an advocate for the keto diet to make it more available all over the world.

4. Someday I also would like to be a doula.

5. If we ever have another baby, we will have a homebirth*.

6. Gap's Long & Lean jeans are my favorite.

7. I never wear shorts. Ever. Not even to bed. I have cankles. No matter if I am a size 6 or a size 2 with super skinny legs. It's hereditary and I've just recently decided to accept this fact.


8. I bought two pair of long shorts today. You know the ones that are 'in' right now and go to the knee? They are really cute and quite fashionable. I'm bringing cankles back.


Definition from the Urban Dictionary:

Cankles-
The area in affected female legs where the calf meets the foot in an abrupt, nontapering terminus; medical cause: adipose tissue surrounding the soleus tendon, probably congenital, worsened by weight gain and improved in appearance only by boots.

I couldn't have said it better.

*unless we decide not to. : )



May 25, 2007

Thank You For Waking Me Up At 5 a.m. Again

I've been up since 5 a.m.

All week Gray has been waking me up early. Same old sleepy story today.
After a couple books were read and I wished I could get back to sleep, I decided we should just take a walk. So we did. It had been raining but the rain had just stopped and I bundled us up for the chilly dawn. I soon realized that this was like, the best idea ever. Gray absolutely loves birds- and right about then there were birds everywhere with their heads cocked toward the ground, finding worms, singing songs.

When we got home I was energized and decided to vacuum all the baseboards. Yeah- at 6 in the morning. Hubby & my older boys slept right through it all. It was while I was vacuuming that Gray decided to shampoo the hallway carpet with an almost-full bottle of California Baby bubble bath. If you've ever used it, you know how expensive that is. But, what can you do.

As I was cleaning it up, I realized that 1) now our hallway has the aroma of chamomile, mandarin, and rosewater 2) cleaning up bubble bath from the carpet just makes more bubbles and 3) I should just use this to mop the kitchen floor- which I did.

I started another contest today and for a fleeting moment I thought: I hope people don't get annoyed with all my contests coming up ('cause I have quite a few more good ones for you...) and then I thought: contests are fun! You don't mind, do you? It seems like everyone's got a giveaway and this is good!

The latest one I must get in on is at Pinks & Blues- you could win a Dooney & Bourke summer handbag and Victoria's Secret perfume! Check it out!

So- everyone's having contests and that's a good thing, & all my floors are clean today. Well, were clean. Twice Noah yelled "Mom, Gray's got the ketchup again." It's nearing the end of the day now and, well, I'll just do it all again tomorrow.

May 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: I Just Love This Photo


Don't miss the Mason & Matisse contest.
The big winner will be announced Friday!

When You Shouldn't Buy Organic

It's just so pretty! I had to take a picture. I'm about to make a fresh black bean salsa for a girl's night out tonight (yeah- you heard that right. Jealous?)

There was an excellent article in Time a couple moths ago- you can read it online here-
Eating Better Than Organic. Although it is quite lengthy, I encourage you to read it- it's full of valuable insight and information!

It's time to use common sense and decide when it's best to buy organic and when it might be better to buy a non-organic local fruit or vegetable. For example, you want to look at just exactly where the food is coming from. Is that non-organic vegetable coming from your state or the next state over? And is the organic item coming from clear across the country? Which one would be fresher? And which one uses less carbon miles to get to your grocery store?

And before you hem & haw about all of this being too confusing, too much to think about, or absolutely overwhelming, take the time to be informed about your grocery purchases. Don't let someone else decide for you just because you don't have time or want to think about these things. We must be smart consumers and make smart choices!

Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly wrote about this very thing not too long ago. I am blessed that we have an organic CSA in our town. I am so excited to get our first share in just a couple weeks! If that sounds like something you are interested in, find out if there is one near you!

I did want to share a list of fruits and vegetables that you really should buy organic whenever possible. The following have the highest amount of pesticides and some (like the berries) are virtually impossible to remove even when washing:

apples, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, red raspberries, strawberries, bell peppers, carrots, celery, green beans, potatoes, and spinach.

You can see a very extensive list from the Environmental Working Group with rank and rating score if you click here and scroll down a little.

Now, I must get back to my salsa...


P.S. You have just a couple more days to enter the Mason & Matisse contest!

May 21, 2007

Weekend In Pictures


The Walk went great. The most beautiful sunny day. Here's the fam (I am in hat & glasses, like I said...)



This was a really cool ostrich at
the zoo. I think my mom & I have ostrich eyes.






Gray only cared about splashing in water and chasing the birds and seagulls at the zoo. Nevermind the animals.


I just love this outfit.





My boys on a bench.






Naps. Everyone had a nap yesterday, including ME. (P.S. that is Carter, not me)






Pinks & Blues are so generous- look what they sent me! You should sign up for their newsletter so that you can maybe win something awesome, too, someday!

And you can win big in the Mason & Matisse contest here- don't forget to sign the Mr. Linky
and post about it, too!

May 20, 2007

Dear God,

These are just some things on my mind tonight.

Thank you for healing Noah. At the Walk yesterday there were little kids and big kids in motorized wheel chairs. Kids with helmets. Parents with broken hearts. Although that is what doctors told us to expect with our Noah, You told us You had bigger plans.

Thank you for those plans.

I ask that you give every parent peace in their heart tonight. Whether they have a sick child or not, just give them hope that everything is going to be all right.

Please protect our country. Keep us safe and please help us bring our soldiers home to their families.

Spark a desire in the hearts of all people to find a way to reach out- in our own country and in other countries that desperately need our help.

Help me show others Your unfailing love.

May 19, 2007

Pink Is Not My Favorite

A couple weeks ago I didn't mind so much that my three boys had pink eye because that is also the same time I got my wonderful pink iPod. Then last week I got kicked in the eye in the middle of the night by my wild-sleeping monkey-child toddler. Not so fun- my puffy eye.

And now as I type I am being called Cyclops by my hubby (as in "hey, Cyclops, how you doin' over there?) -
I have pink eye! Moms aren't supposed to get this! Are we?

I took a picture and IM'ed Lori (the one person I knew wouldn't be grossed out) and even she told me to put that thing away!

Today is our big
Walk. And we are going- monster eye and all. We've raised money and everything (we have raised a lot more- not everything is totaled yet), and we always go to the zoo afterward and we are not missing this!! The weather is supposed to be beautiful- I'm planning to wear a big hat and glasses. Hopefully I won't scare any kids (I've already scared my own.) Am I being irresponsible for going out in public with pink eye? I need to look this stuff up.

In the meantime, you can read Noah's story here and also about him in the news recently. Be sure to enter my awesome Mason & Matisse contest here, and pray that they don't put me in the zoo today...

May 16, 2007

Shoes Shoes Shoes


Did I ever tell you that in middle school an annoying boy gave me the nickname "Shoes" because I had so many different pairs of shoes? The stranger and more unusual the better. I just loved shoes. Even way back then.

Did I also tell you that I wore my Dr. Martens to prom? There has to be a picture of that somewhere...


I had some inquiries about the cute sandals Gray is wearing in the previous post. They are Rileyroos from Urban Baby Runway and I love them! (Gray does, too!)

May 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Squinty



Adventures In WHAT?

I hear that from time to time- when I tell people the name of my blog. A friend of mine once said, "Babywearing? Steph, isn't that cruel?" He was only half-kidding.

Well, when I was pregnant with Gray, I was thinking about how this third baby was going to fit in. I joked that I was going to have to probably "wear him" in order to keep him safe from his big brothers and to keep track of all my kids. I was picturing th
e old woman in the shoe. And I only have three kids.

Then I went to a La Leche League meeting like a good little pregnant mommy- making plans ahead for nursin
g the new baby on the way. There I was in awe, watching moms actually wearing their babies (there was such a thing!) in beautiful cool slings. Babies happy and close to mama. Slings that looked more like fashion accessories than baby products. Function and Fashion? I was sold.

Right away I was online looking up baby slings and was amazed at how many different kinds there were. During my search, I learned of other wonderful benefits to wearing your baby. This was serious stuff!

Everything all just made sense, especially when Gray was just one day old and I put him in the sling for the very first time. Since day one he has loved it (and so have I!) It's hard to explain, but it just feels right.


When naming my blog, I kinda figured it as a play on words because yes, I do literally wear my baby in a sling. But also somedays I feel like I've got kids hanging off me and they literally wear me out. But isn't that just motherhood? I love it. Everyday is an adventure. So there you go.

I didn't like the idea of always boxing up the baby in a swing, play yard, or bouncy seat. Many babies are only held when being fed and then they are put down somewhere else so Mommy can do other things. I love the idea of being able to do those other things while still holding baby close, and giving them a better view of the world than from the floor, bouncy seat, or swing. That human touch is so very important, especially in the first year of life.

And I am not saying that I never put Gray down. He did start walking at 11 months and got plenty of tummy time and so forth.

There are no rules with babywearing. Basically you either have a baby sling and use it or you don't. You can be a "babywearer" and still own a stroller and put your baby in the cart at a grocery store. I do sometimes. Just depends on our mood. If my shopping trip warrants the sling, I'll do that. If the big racecar cart is available, then that's what you'll usually see me trying to maneuver around the store. It's basically whatever works. But I always make sure I have a sling with me!

Sometimes the sling is like magic. Definitely works like this for hubby. If I ever leave the hous
e without Gray, I must - my life practically depends on this- leave the mei tai (say it like MAY-tie... not like the drink!) Hubby will notice when Gray shows signs of being sleepy or just needing to be held. He'll put on the mei tai and usually in an instant he's out like a light. This is still the case and Gray is now 19 months old.

When you have a baby that doesn't feel well and nothing else seems to be working, try the sling. It can work wonders. Being held close to your heart and snug & secure is most often exactly what the baby or toddler needs. And instead of being imprisoned to a rocking chair or in front of the tv while you hold a sick child, wearing them in a sling offers you freedom to move about and still do other things.

The most common question I am asked is which type of sling is right for someone just starting out. I usually recommend the ring sling. You'll see these quite often and I love my ring slings still.
That was what I started out with Gray. You can see some lovely ones here at Nest. If you want to try one out, check out your local La Leche League. Most often they will sell slings or at least have some for you to try on! Also, if you already have a sling but aren't confident in knowing how to use it, check out The Babywearer.com here for great tips on how to use your baby carrier.

For newborn and young babies, I prefer the ring sling or an adjustable pouch. My ring sling is what I always have with me and is the fastest sling to put on. Lately my favorite way to wear him around the house or out on long walks is in the mei tai in a front or back carry.

All Natural Mommies offers some very nicely priced mei tais. My mei tai is a Free Hand Baby Carrier and I actually got it through a barter group online. Urban Baby Runway offers a great selection of different baby carriers. You sh
ould also check out The Babywearer.com's 'for sale or trade forums' for easy and inexpensive ways to get a new or used carrier in every style imaginable!

How many slings do you need? Well, I think you need just whatever suits you. One can be just enough! I used to have several but have since loaned quite a few out or given them away. I have a few ring slings (including a mesh water sling- I highly recommend for the shower and pool!!), an adjustable pouch, and my mei tai.

You and/or your baby will most likely develop a favorite. Gray doesn't discriminate and loves them all. How long will I wear him? As long as he wants to be worn, because I would gladly hold him forever...


Pictured above: black ring sling, red Mamma's Milk adjustable pouch, Free Hand Baby Carrier mei tai (by this photo he was just about to fall asleep!)

Also, please check out my Babywearing Tip of the Week every Friday!

May 14, 2007

The Day After Mother's Day

Mother's Day is great- I love that I don't have to do dishes or cook or do laundry, but then the day after comes and well, there's double to do.

Today I've played catch up. I've vacuumed glitter from the carpet where Gray broke a snowglobe right before church yesterday (had to wait for it to dry and then it was Mother's Day after all- no vacuuming until today.) I've searched our entire backyard for a tiny Star Wars guy's gun. A tiny little black gun. Like the size of a little safety pin- or smaller. In the backyard. Full of blades of grass. Where he really wasn't supposed to have it in the first place. But it means so much to Carter so you better believe I am going to do my best to find it.

That's what Moms do- especially the day after Mother's Day.


In The News

I wish you could see the adorable pictures of Noah in this article today, but the whole piece itself is awesome. Here's a link online to Noah's story as a feature in The Times Get Healthy section today...

We'll be walking this Saturday for the 3rd time as the Buddy Bears in the Greater Chicago Epilepsy Walk. This is Noah's first year walking seizure-free, med-free, and diet-free.

Yes, I am still pinching myself and thanking God every day. I don't forget, and I do not take days- even mere moments- for granted.

This day after Mother's Day I am very proud of being a Mama Cat and doing everything I could to help my child. I am so thankful that we relied soley on our faith in God that He would guide us and heal our son Noah. He does indeed have big plans.


May 13, 2007

My Mom(s) & Me

Here's a pic of me & my mom yesterday at our little Mother's Day breakfast at- where else?- Cracker Barrel.


And Here is a pic from today of me & my Mom-in-law but I call her Mom. She treats me as if I am her own child.

Both of my Moms are very special to me...


I wish all you Moms out there a very happy Mother's Day.

xoxo
Steph

May 12, 2007

Thirty-Five Dollars...

See the story here.

May 11, 2007

She Gets What She Wants

*Updated! See pic below...

For Mother's Day I want a new swing for our backyard. You know, those nice ones with the canopy and a soft-cushioned seat. I want one in a nice pa
ttern and long enough to stretch out my legs. I love to knit or read while the boys play on a nice summer day. Our current swing has bit the dust, so a new one is the perfect Mother's Day gift for me.

On our way home from dinner last night we had time to stop in a store that I'd seen a swing in a pattern I liked. There were two to choose from and
one was small and kinda ugly not my style. But it was on sale for $149 and that was kinda in our price range. The much larger one was exactly what I had in mind, and in a nice pattern. I imagined it was much more expensive, but it didn't have a price tag. I was off to find someone to help me and hubby was off with the kids to the pool tables and jacuzzis.

A wonderful lady approached me and told me that the swing I liked so much was $299 new, but I could have the display model for $35. Excuse me?
Thirty-five dollars? (I said it slowly.) Then I actually said, "It's mine!" or "I'll take it!" or something like that. It's still all a blur to me.

I could have also named my blog Adventures In Unbelievable Bargains. I'll have to tell you about them sometime. God has truly blessed me in this area!

Apparently underneath the cushion there is some threading starting to separate. But if you have the cushion on, you do not see this and the swing still functions just as it should. And it's a nice swing. All $299 worth of it! Before I even figured out h
ow we were going to get it back to our house and before I even told hubby about the incredible deal, the swing was mine. All mine. And it will be coming home to me today. (Please pray that it fits in my dad's truck!) Happy Mother's Day to me!

P.S. It fit!!!

My Mom Rocks

I entered a contest to win my mom free jewelry over at Designing Diva. I didn't win (pouty face & sticks out bottom lip), but wanted to share my entry anyway...

My Mom, who took the youth group kids tee-peeing when I was little, rocks.


My Mom, who laughs until she cries and has to cross her legs, rocks.

My Mom, who is "up for anything" at all times, rocks.

My Mom, who was dared to go out in the snow in her bathing suit and photograph it this winter (and did), ROCKS.

My Mom, who puts everyone before herself, rocks.

My Mom, who is now the coolest Grandma Mimi (and has her own blog), rocks.

My Mom, who is in her fifties but lives like she's still a teenager, rocks.

My Mom, who taught me the importance of being adventurous and daring, rocks.

My Mom, who raised me to be an independent woman (and now I'm a Rockin' Mom myself), rocks.

My Mom, who doesn't even realize how much she's capable of and how much of an imprint she's left on the lives of others... ROCKS!

May 10, 2007

trompe l'oeil

Bonus points to whoever understands my title.

My eye is ok. Thanks for the well wishes. It is still a bit tender today. Will probably wear a helmet to bed tonight.

It's been a lovely, productive day and every dish in our house is clean- meaning our cupboards are now bursting. Not everything fits when it is all clean. Hmmm.

Ashlee & I were planning to take the little ones to the circus (non-animal) tonight but we're both feeling a bit out of it. And then I thought, why should I pay for a non-animal circus when I can see one for free right here at home? Actually right now I am willing to pay to be able to leave this non-animal circus.

And It's Really Shiny!

I might have something pink and shiny afterall for Mother's Day. I am up at 4:30 AM typing this after being kicked- more like heeled- in the eyeball. Gray's foot heeled me at full force (he's wild when he's awake and he's wild when he's asleep) right smack in the middle of my eye. I had heard him stirring and so my eye was even open at the time.

There's my first strike against co-sleeping. I just peeked at it in the mirror and my eye is all pink and throbbing. I am only hoping it doesn't turn black & blue... Ouchy!


May 8, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Vrooom

I Have The Prescription


Get thee to a park (with or without the kids) and get on a swing. Go as high as you can. Lean back and close your eyes. Let your hair flow in the wind. Stay as long as you can.

Bubbles. They are fun. (With or without the kids.) But only when you are not the blower. You must put on a fun summer dress or flouncy skirt and twirl around in the yard, wand in your hand, while the bubbles fly about.

I did both of these things yesterday.

It'll cure what ails you.




photo: pete_d

May 7, 2007

Every Day

Noah asked Daddy last night what we're doing after church next Sunday. He told him we'd be celebrating Mother's Day.

Noah thought about it and said "And Father's Day will be a little while after that?"


"That's right."

Noah thought a little more with a quizzical look upon his face, "So when is Kid's Day?"


I Was Dancing

In my dream, just before I woke up a few minutes ago, I was dancing a whole choreographed dance in a store while shopping for a little red handbag. I was really good (at dancing) and the bag was really cute, too. (For more of me & choreographed dancing, go here.)

Then I woke up to the phone ringing- my brother calling to see if we can bring them a baby blanket and sleeper for Abby at the hospital. Still no news on what's going to happen today.

I'm rubbing my eyes, trying to wake up. I'll be naming two winners in about an hour & a half. So I promise I won't go back to sleep...


May 6, 2007

Surround Her


This morning I got a call from my mom that my new baby niece Abby is in the hospital and they might have to do surgery. I don't have many details, but it's something with her little tummy. Please pray for her today. May angels surround and comfort her.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11


*Updated: I just got back from visiting little Abby and she is doing great. Such a sweet little angel. I am working on finding out what the name of the problem is (starts with a 'p'!) They are going to observe her today and decide if surgery is necessary for tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers!- Steph

May 5, 2007

I've Gone To California

I am writing at the Silicon Valley Moms blog today. Check me out.

Click here for the Bloggers Without Makeup contest.


May 4, 2007

Nesting But Not Really

Please note: I am NOT pregnant.

I do usually have the "nesting" instinct early on in my pregnancies and then that is the only time I get the itch to do anything organizational in our house. Lately though, with the weather so nice and the transition from cold-weather clothes to warm-weather clothes, I've been doing some major and much needed de-cluttering in our closets and such.

Just the other day I surprised hubby by cleaning out our downstairs linen Scary Closet. I know we can't be the only ones with drawers and closets named Scary. His response, "Yay, the door stays all the way closed now!" It's embarrassing to admit that it was the first time I'd ever cleaned out that closet since we built this house 7 1/2 years ago. Thank goodness for Freecycle. That's one small closet down, four big ones to go.

Bonus finds: enough gift bags for the next year of birthdays, our first aid kit (I knew we had one somewhere). Oh, and our fire extinguisher. That's a biggie.

By the way, Lori, I also found your Billy Blanks Tae Bo VHS! I just know you've been wondering where that was...


Dare to bare! The Bloggers Without Makeup contest has been extended- are you in?

May 3, 2007

We Got A Raise!


According to
this article, a stay-at-home mom's work is worth $138,095 a year! That is up 3% from last year. Way to go, girls! And if you are a full-time working mom, you would earn an additional $85,939 for the work you do at home.


That last figure seems kinda low to me, honestly, but it's according to
Salary.com.

I know we all feel we're worth way more than that on certain days! And yes, most of us wouldn't accept any amount for being a mom. It's priceless.




Dare to bare! The Bloggers Without Makeup contest is still going on!

photo: Baby Goes Vintage

May 1, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Sharing

Don't forget to share your photo in the Bloggers Without Makeup contest!


...best buds Xavier & Gray
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