Wednesday, December 31, 2008

InkHeart: A New Family-Friendly Movie

My husband and I are very, very strict on what our kids can and cannot watch, so I am always excited when I hear about a new family-friendly movie that's coming out.

InkHeart opens on January 23rd and stars Brendan Fraser ("The Mummy", "Journey to the Center of the Earth"), Paul Bettany ("The Da Vinci Code"), Helen Mirren ("National Treasure: Book of Secrets"), Jim Broadbent ("Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"), Andy Serkis ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy), Eliza Hope Bennett ("Nanny McPhee"), and Rafi Gavron ("Nick & Norah's Infinte Playlist"). It is rated PG for Fantasy Adventure Action, Some Scary Moments, and Brief Language.

InkHeart is based on the best-selling book by Cornelia Funke. I love the tagline for the movie which is "Every story written is just waiting to become real."

In InkHeart, a young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook's hero. (Taken from

Go check out InkHeart's website to learn more about the movie. I'm definitely taking Ashley to see this one, as we both share a passion for reading. She watched the trailer with me, and couldn't stop talking about it afterward. It's definitely her kind of movie.

Remember, it opens January 23rd in theatres everywhere. Don't miss it!

Wordless Wednesday: Football with Pa

This picture cracks me up. Every time Jace would throw the football to Pa, he'd kick his leg up this high!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eamon's Journey Fundraiser (Review & Giveaway) CLOSED

You may remember this review that I recently did for the Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays. All of the proceeds of that recipe book (or e-book) are used to fund the therapies and costs of Eamon, who was diagnosed with mild autism.

You can read about Eamon's journey here. Tiffani also states, "“Eamon is an amazingly loving and lovable little boy, who was recently diagnosed with mild autism...just at the base of the spectrum. We invite you to participate in our journey by offering informational resources and participating in our fund raisers...”

Tiffani, the compiler of the recipe book, and the mother of Eamon has also set up a CafePress shop as a fundraiser for Eamon and his therapies. From onesies, to t-shirts, to recipe books, there are tons of super cute items available in their shop.

Tiffani sent us a turtle t-shirt to review. You can see Jace beaming in the picture. He and I love turtles. In fact, I still call him my turtle-baby, and it doesn't even bother him! Yet... I know. :) Since Jace is trying so hard to read like Zander does, he was so proud that he could read the word "turtle" on the shirt. And, I think he looks pretty darn cute in the shirt!

There are some absolutely adorable items in the shop, and they're a really great quality. The t-shirts are durable, and the images are printed beautifully!

As a thank you to Tiffani, and to show her my support, I am offering one of my readers their choice of any one item from her shop. Take your pick - a t-shirt, a onesie, or one of the fabulous recipe books. If you are the winner, I will contact you for your information, place the order, and have it shipped to your door.

To enter, simply stop by the Eamon's Journey CafePress shop and tell me which item you would pick if you won. (You can change your mind later, I promise!)

Here's how to gain extra entries:
1. For 1 extra entry, twitter about this contest. (Leave your twitter ID)
2. For 1 extra entry, follow me on twitter.
3. For 3 extra entries, add our button to your blog.
4. For 5 extra entries, blog about this contest.
5. For 5 extra entries, subscribe to our feed or follow this blog. (5 points for each you do.)
4. For 20 extra entries, purchase something from the Eamon's Journey CafePress shop. (20 entries for each item you purchase.)

Please leave the appropriate number of comments below for each of the extra entries you complete.

The contest will run from today until January 6th. Winner will be chosen through and notified on January 7th. If you do not reply within 48 hours, the prize will be repulled.

That's it! Good luck to all who enter!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I've got a secret!

And, no. I'm not pregnant.

At least I hope not.

No, no. I took the depo shot, and we've only *ahemed* twice, and both times were after the shot.....

So even though my period *still* hasn't shown up, I'm not pregnant.


I'm a nursing mom. Sometimes your period doesn't show up for months. That's all this is, right?! Parker nurses far more than any of my other babies did, so that *has* to be what it is.

I'm hoping that by posting this, my period will start and I can quit silently panicking. I think I would die. Honestly. I would fall over dead. And to my family that may be reading this... I don't even want to hear it. Just keep your opinions to yourself.

Anyway, I really am working on a secret. A big one. But I can't reveal it just yet, because I still have much to do before I announce it.

I am *really* excited about it, though, and should be able to reveal around the 4th or 5th of January. Not too much longer to wait. I hope.

But, if I get quiet around here, it's just because I'm busy, busy with the big secret.

I'll let you know what's up just as soon as I can!!

And please keep your fingers crossed that Aunt Flo shows up soon. **PLEASE!!**

Friday, December 26, 2008

We had the best Christmas!

Hubby ended up coming home early. He helped me put Lucy's kitchen set together and got everything ready for the kids. Thank heavens!

The boys were up about 7am. Parker had a rough night, and was up until about 5:30am. So, Gene and I made the boys sit in the recliner in our room until 8am. Then, we all got up, ate breakfast, and read the Christmas Story together. After that, we opened all the presents.

The boys still believed that Santa brought the presents, and they were so excited over everything they got. Lucy loved her kitchen set, and Ash really liked all the stuff she got.

All in all, it was a great day. I got sick in the afternoon and ended up on the couch for quite awhile, but it still couldn't have been a better day.

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas. I'll share photos soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'm busy, busy today, as I'm sure you all are. Looking forward to spending the entire day with family.

We have been so blessed this year, and I'm looking forward to all the things to come.

Merry Christmas to all my friends - new and old. May God bless you richly!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Parker and Lucy both fell asleep in my bed. Aren't they sweet?

Skin MD Natural Lotion + SPF 15 (Review)

I had the opportunity to try Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion + SPF 15 Sunscreen. I'm always looking for a good skin care product that won't make my face break out.

I've been using the Skin MD Natural Lotion for about 2 weeks now, and so far, it's been great. I haven't broken out from it (which is a HUGE plus!), and I love the fact that it leaves my skin feeling smooth, not oily. Most of the moisturizers I try tend to be greasy and leave a residue on my skin. I haven't had this problem at all with the Skin MD Natural lotion.

It seemed to work better on my hands than it did my face. Of course, I was constantly applying it to my hands. I'd just put it on my face once in the morning and that would be it. I may just have not used it enough on my face.

In the winter, my skin gets extremely dry. My hands crack and bleed, usually at the first sign of cold weather. Since using the Skin MD lotion, my hands have stayed baby soft - even in the bitterly cold weather we've had lately.

Some good-to-know facts about Skin MD Natural Lotion:
* No animal products or testing
* Fragrance and colorant free
* Dermatology tested
* Non-comedogenic
* Hypoallergenic
* Paraben free

If you're looking for a good skin care lotion, I'd highly recommend Skin MD Natural.

To read what doctors and dermatologists are saying about Skin MD Natural, read their reviews here. And, to see a video of Skin MD Natural protecting skin from rock-dissolving acid, click here.

Thanks for the chance to review this product. It's a great product and one worth spreading the word about!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My husband works for Scrooge.

I suppose this is what happens when you have a boss that is younger than you, single, and has no kids.

Gene always has Tuesday nights off. Always. Except tonight. And, not only does he have to work tonight, he also has to work Christmas Eve night.

Now, who in their right mind makes their night stock crew at a grocery store work Christmas Eve, when the store will be closed on Christmas Day?

Scrooge, that's who. Well, Scrooge and my husband's boss.

Now, I have to figure out how I'm going to get to MIL's house without the kids to wrap all the presents. Then, I have to figure out how to get everything home. And I have to do it all alone.

I am so angry, I could spit nails. They don't just have to go in for a little while on Christmas Eve, either. They have a truck coming. A truck. On Christmas Eve. Tell me how much sense that makes. Idiots.

This means Gene is going to be exhausted all day on Christmas now, and is going to have to focus on staying awake long enough to enjoy things with the family.

I have to go to the grocery store today, but I am certainly not going to my husband's store. I'd end up getting Gene fired if I went in. I think it'll be safer to go to Hiawasse to the grocery store there. Wonder if they have to work Christmas Eve? I'll have to ask...

Monday, December 22, 2008

The 5 Things Game

I'm bored, and have stuff I should be doing, but just don't want to do. So, I thought I'd play the "5 things game" instead! :)

The rules are to write 5 things under each of the 5 headings, and then tag 5 other people.

10 years ago...
1. I was a single mom.
2. Working in a machine shop as the receptionist.
3. In one of the best churches ever.
4. Lonely.
5. Getting ready to have my first Christmas without my Daddy.

5 Things on Today's "To-Do" List
1. Get Lisa's cover designed for her new project. (Waiting for approval.)
2. Post my Featured Blogger Post. (Done!)
3. Wrap the presents that are hiding in our closet (that the boys didn't see!).
4. Write up my remaining "things to do/get list" so that I can take care of it on Wednesday.
5. Relax - even if it's just for a few minutes.

5 Snacks I Enjoy...
1. Apples with fat-free caramel dip. (The only way I'll eat an apple!)
2. Cucumbers and Ranch Dressing. (Must be Hidden Valley!)
3. Chocolate Chip cookies
4. Raisins
5. Cheese and Crackers

5 Things I Would Do if I were a Millionaire!
1. Build a much bigger house - I want at least 4 bedrooms!
2. Pay off everything we owe on.
3. Buy a brand new Super-sized SUV
4. Convince hubby to have one more
5. Take the family to Disney World

5 Places I Have Lived...
1. Akron, Ohio (YAWN)
2. Barrington, IL
3. Schaumburg, IL
4. Uniontown, OH
5. North Georgia Mountains

5 Jobs I've had/Still have...
1. Head Teacher in 2's class at 2 different daycare centers.
2. Nanny
3. Legal Secretary (lasted a month)
4. Picture People photographer (constantly got written up for not doing "Picture People poses" even though my sales were through the roof. Go figure.)
5. MOM. The best job EVER.

5 People I'm tagging:
1. Danielle
2. Chris
3. Natalie
4. Dawn
5. Cat

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I have to be the world's worst mother. Honestly.

I am SO sad. I have been crying my eyes out for hours now. I just blew Santa for my kids.

I am such an idiot. We live in the world's smallest house, so hiding the gifts that we purchased yesterday is nearly impossible. We ended up putting everything in our big garden bathtub and covering it with blankets. We did the same thing last year, and we were fine. We told the kids to stay out of our bathroom, but neither hubby nor I thought about locking the door. (Can you see where this is going?)

I was sitting on the couch nursing Parker, and hubby was getting stuff ready for work. The kids had been sitting in our room watching a movie, and Zander came out to the living room. He tells me that "I was in your bathroom..." and I jumped up. The blankets were off all of the toys, Jace was holding *THE* Iron Man toy, and Lucy found the Little Mermaid doll we had bought for her.

I burst into tears. I didn't know what else to do. Christmas is ruined, and it's all my fault. How do I recover from this?? The boys KNEW not to go into our bathroom, but it's my fault for not thinking to lock the door.

Hubby and I told the kids that we're taking all the toys back to the store. We're going to pack them all up in the car, and take them over to my MIL's house. We've told them that *maybe* if they're good, Santa might bring them a few toys, and maybe it will be some of the ones we had picked out for them. But, this year, they're only getting their ornaments from us. Nothing else.

What do you think? Will that help them believe in Santa? I do NOT want to ruin it for them. I feel so awful about this, and if they stop believing in Santa because I messed up, I'll never forgive myself.

I know that Santa isn't the *true* meaning of Christmas, but I believed in Santa until I was 12. (I was a blond, just like Ashley!) ;) My parents always let me believe and always had me convinced that Santa is real. I wanted to at least pass that on to my kids.

So, tell me... have you ever done anything like this, or am I really the worst mom ever? Am I going to recover from this? Are my kids going to recover from this?

SIGH. I am a mess right now. Tell me this will be ok - even if you have to lie to me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What an awesome day!

I had SO much fun today!!

We left Ms. Sabrina's house around 9, and got down to the mall around 11. We started at Walmart (praying we could find a pair of Batman Pajamas in Zander's size - thank God we did!), then headed over to Payless Shoes. After that, we had lunch at Steak & Shake. They completely changed the menu from the last time I was there. But, they still made me my favorite sandwich (the Chicken Frisco) and loaded up my fries with their ooey-gooey cheese. Mmmmmmmmm Mmmm!

After lunch, we headed to Toys R Us. Oh.My.Gosh. The store was HUGE!!!!!!! It was connected to a Babies R Us, and was as big as a MALL! We found some awesome deals there, too. We got a kitchen set for Lucy at almost 60% off, and we found the boys a 30 inch Batman toy for only $25! We really struck gold there. Probably a little too well. :)

After Toys R Us, we headed to Target. Man, I've missed Target. I love that store. We found some great sales there, too, and found the boys some very cool Iron Man toys. (They've never seen the movie, but they're obsessed with Iron Man. Go figure.

Then, we hit the mall. Wow. It was like heaven. Honest. It was HUGE. We didn't even make it through the entire place. We only hit Macy's (had to drop off our Santa letters and get Ashley a Christmas dress), Gymboree (they had super cute Monkey stuff that was too darn expensive!), and the Disney Store. The Disney Store (my favorite store in the whole world) had some awesome sales going on, too, so we got each of the kids something from there, as well as their "special ornaments" for this year.

I hated to leave, but hubby had had no sleep, and Ms. Sabrina and her family were waiting on us to get home for dinner. I did really good on the drive home... until we hit Blood Mountain. I am a city girl. I grew up driving 90 mph in bumper to bumper traffic in Chicago. Give me a million cars and a highway, and I'm fine. Give me an extremely curvy mountain road, and I freak. Poor Gene. The man was living on no sleep, and I think I must have terrified him going up the mountain. As we got close to the top of the mountain, he told me to pull over so that he could drive. I told him I was worried about him being able to stay awake, and he informed me that I had scared him so badly that he was wide awake. Honestly. I just do not do well on mountains. Plus, it was dark and raining, and I had someone on my butt the whole time, so that didn't help a thing.

We made it back safe and sound, hid all the presents we bought, and headed to Ms. Sabrina's house for dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with some very good friends, and ate WAY too much. :) After dinner, they gave us the most amazing gifts. They had put together photo collages of all of our kids together. I LOVE them. I can't wait to hang them and show them off to everyone!

Thank you, Ms. Sabrina for keeping my kids today. I had a wonderful day with my husband, and a wonderful evening with you and your family. We love you guys dearly.

Now, I am exhausted, and I'm praying we wore Parker out today, too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I've got tomorrow all mapped out!

And I can't wait!!!!

We're hitting the Mall of Georgia, Toys R Us, Target, and Best Buy. I haven't seen the insides of any of those places in almost 15 months. I get to go in a Disney Store, an Old Navy, and a ton of other places I haven't seen in an eternity.

We're having lunch at Steak and Shake. Hubby already knows. LOL! It's been way too long since I've had their cheese fries. :)

I am so excited to get to go tomorrow. Ms. Sabrina is watching the kids (except non-bottle drinking Parker), so hubby and I have ALL DAY to ourselves to shop till we drop. Hubby hates shopping, but I think he'll do ok if we're looking for toys. Poor guy will be shopping on ZERO sleep, though, since we'll be leaving as soon as he gets home in the AM.

I am so looking forward to tomorrow. I need this SO badly. Just wish the mall wasn't 2 hours away so I could do it a little more often!

Have a fantastic weekend!!!

Look who arrived on my doorstep today!

Ollie Octopus arrived on my doorstep this afternoon. I won Ollie over on 5 Minutes for Mom - a place that I've been frequenting probably a little too much lately! It's such a great website!

This past weekend, they had a quick giveaway for sweet little Ollie to go along with their unbelievable sale! I couldn't afford to buy Ollie (as much as I wanted to!!), but I knew what a hit he would be in our house, so I did everything I could to win him. Can you even believe it? I got an email from Susan @ 5M4M on Tuesday saying that my number had been pulled!! I couldn't have been more excited! Lucy is going to LOVE him, and it's something that Parker can also grow into. Hopefully the bigger boys will give the little ones a turn! :)

I'm holding onto Ollie until Christmas, but I *had* to sneak a peek for myself. He is even cuter in person than he is in all of his pictures. He's the perfect size for Lucy, and I just know she's going to ride him all the time.

I guarantee Ollie has found a good home here. He's going to get so much love from all of my kids. I predict hearing "My turn! My turn!" many, many times over the next few years.

Thank you, 5 Minutes for Mom. My kids are going to love Ollie, and I can't wait to present him on Christmas Morning!

Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays (Review)

I had the opportunity to review a recipe e-book. "Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays" is complied by Tiffani Lawton. The book is dedicated to her son, Eamon, who was recently diagnosed with mild autism. The proceeds from the sale of this book will aid in the support of therapies not covered by his insurance.

You can read about Eamon's journey here. Tiffani also states, "“Eamon is an amazingly loving and lovable little boy, who was recently diagnosed with mild autism...just at the base of the spectrum. We invite you to participate in our journey by offering informational resources and participating in our fund raisers...”

Now, on to my review!

You all know what happened with the pumpkin pie incident at my house on Thanksgiving. While I couldn't be the one to taste any of these recipes, the rest of my family *loves* pumpkin and jumped at the chance to do a review for me.

The recipe book is filled with more than 50 recipes - all using pumpkin! I had no idea one could do so much with pumpkin!

I went through the entire e-book to find a recipe to make for my family. They wanted me to make all of them, because they all sounded so good, but I figured we'd better just pick one or we might never get the review done! :)

We decided to make the 3-Step Pumpkin Cheesecake:

I really wish I could have tried it, because it smelled absolutely divine... and I love cheesecake! But, I couldn't try it, so I had to let my husband, daughter, and 2 oldest sons to do the tasting for me. The "Mmmmmmmm's" and "Yum's" that I heard while they were eating made it pretty clear that we had made a good choice. It was a hit with all of them, and they can't wait for me to try another recipe!

There are 2 ways you can purchase the Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Holidays book:
If you prefer an ebook, you can find it here. You can purchase the ebook for only $1! It's a steal at that price, and you will be helping fund Eamon's therapies!
If you prefer an actual book that will be mailed to your door, you can find it here. The paperback book is only $10, and again, all proceeds go to benefit Eamon.

Go get your copy today! You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am counting down the days!

On Saturday, I get to go to the MALL!

Now, most normal people despise going to the mall this close to Christmas. I, however, simply cannot wait. In fact, I've spent today thinking that it was Friday - probably in anticipation of Saturday.

Why on earth would I be so excited to go to such a place on such a day? Because I haven't been to a mall in over 15 months. Yes, it really has been that long.

We live in a little podunk town. Our nearest shopping mall is about 2 hours away. There is no way I would drive 2 hours there and 2 hours back with 5 kids to spend a few hours at the mall. So, it's been since before we moved since I've been to a mall.

When we lived in the Chicago suburbs, I practically lived at Woodfield Mall. I loved that place. They had everything you could ever imagine... and now it's even bigger than before I moved back to Ohio!

In Ohio, the malls weren't as nice, but we lived 15 minutes away from 3 different malls. Shopping was never an issue in Ohio. Ever.

Now we're in the mountains of Georgia. I mean *really* in the mountains. For crying out loud, I have to drive almost 45 minutes just to go to Walmart. And forget Target, Kohls, or Old Navy. You have to drive well over an hour to find one of those. I haven't seen the inside of a Michael's, a JoAnne Fabrics, or even a Sally Beauty Supply since before we moved.

Now, I am not one to spend a ton of money when I go shopping, but I do like having choices. Down here, there isn't much choice. You "get what you get, and you don't throw a fit" - as I often tell my kids.

So, Saturday, while I'm fighting the crowds, and dealing with all the people, I'll remember this post and how excited I was to go to the mall. I just hope the excitement lasts all day and doesn't wear off too quickly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: An Old Favorite

I love Lucy's eyes in this picture. They get me every time!

Now, go visit MomDot and 5M4M's Wordless Wednesdays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Parker's 2 month check up

I hate the 2 month well check visit. Hate it. That first round of shots always breaks my heart.

Parker and I both had appointments today. i was supposed to have a mole removed, but insurance wouldn't cover the removal of the mole, but they would cover the biopsy. So, we can't afford to get it removed. Guess I just hope and pray it's nothing. Other than that, my blood pressure was good, so everything else seems just fine. Still not seeing any effects from the Zoloft, and praying that kicks in soon. (As I'm sure my husband and kids are praying that it does, too!)

Parker got a clean bill of health and looks GREAT! He weighed in at 10 pounds 13.5 ounces and was 22 3/4 inches long. He's doubled his birth weight, and is really filling out. Must be all those milkshakes he's drinking ;)

She put him on his tummy and he proudly showed how he could lift his head and even come SOOOOOO close to rolling over. As soon as he figures out how to tuck that arm, there will be no stopping this boy.

The doctor did tell me that Parker has a umbilical hernia. She told me it's nothing to worry about, and it should heal itself by the time he's a year old. So, I'm just not going to worry. Really. No, I did google it, and it's apparently a very common thing in infants. I do feel better after reading that.

I think that's all the big, exciting news around here. Parker is resting peacefully after his shots, even while all the other kids are running around and acting like little heathens. So glad he's such a good baby.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It took me until today....

to realize that I really do love breastfeeding.

I nursed Zander until he was 15 months old. At the time, I was tandem nursing both him and Jace, and it was a lot to deal with. Zander weaned himself when Jace was a little less than a month old. Jace developed a severe allergy to my milk, so I had to stop nursing him when he was around 5 months old.

With Lucy, I nursed her until she was between 4 and 6 months old. I can't exactly remember. I had PPD really bad after Lucy was born, and I hated nursing in public. I was tired of going to the van to nurse her all the time, and I was tired of people walking in on me when I went to nurse her in another room in our church somewhere. That, and people were SO anti-nursing in public. The comments, stares, and looks were just too much for me to handle. It may have just been the PPD, but I stopped nursing her way before I really should have. I regret now not trying to push through and nurse her longer.

Because we now live in the boonies, and really have nowhere to go, AND the fact that Parker will not take a bottle, I haven't had much choice but to breastfeed. As he was nursing today, it hit me. I really, really like this. I like knowing that I am the one providing him his daily nourishment. I like the bond that I feel with him. I am sad, though, that he will be the last baby I ever nurse, and plan to nurse him for as long as I can.

I can't believe it took me this long - and this many kids! - to realize just how much I love this.

No, I don't ever get a break, but in the long run, it will all be worth it. I'm sure of it.

(And please don't think this post is against formula feeding mothers. Not at all. My oldest was ONLY formula fed, and all of my other kids have been on formula at some point in their lives. I have absolutely nothing against it at all.)

Lots of great items arrived today!

I heard the mailman coming down the driveway this afternoon, so I sent Ashley out to see what he had for us. She came back in with her arms full of goodies. They were stacked so high, she couldn't even see over the top of it. It's Christmas already around here! :)

Today we got 3 sets of goodies from the Virtual Baby Shower.

The first is from Because all 3 boys will be sharing a room, and the room has a Spiderman theme, I asked Tiffany if we could do the word "Spidey." She was fabulous to work with from start to finish. When I opened the box today, I couldn't believe how AWESOME the letters were! My boys are going to FLIP when they see these!! If they were sound sleepers, I'd have Gene put them on their wall during the night on Christmas Eve so they could wake up to them in the morning, but there's no way they'd sleep through it. Maybe if we could find a Santa costume.....

Here, take a look at the letters, they really are fantastic!

The second package was from Secure 2 Me. They sent a fabulous stroller shade (which will definitely come in handy on our new Joovy stroller!), and the prettiest blue giraffe blanket I have ever seen. I'm wrapping both of these and putting them under the tree for Parker. LOVE them!

The third package came from Amy at Tote and Tee. I used my gift certificate to order a shirt for Lucy, a pair of Santa socks for me, and a pair of Santa socks for Ashley. The moment I opened the box, Ashley grabbed her socks and put them on. She just loves them. And I am SUPER impressed with how adorable the shirt is! I can't wait to give this to Lulu for Christmas!!

Again, and HUGE thank you to all the sponsors. I think I've only got two more presents that I'm waiting on, and I know one is on backorder. I'll post about the last two as soon as they arrive. This has been so much fun! :)

I did get one more box today. It was a box full of goodies from the MUIB Trading Post. I can't post any photos on here, because some of the items are Christmas gifts for a couple of dear friends who read this blog, but I'll just tell you that it's REALLY great stuff, and you need to join us over there if you haven't already. I made out like a bandit! :)

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November, 2008:
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December, 2008:
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

My kids did GREAT!

I couldn't be more proud right now! Ashley, Zander, and Jace all did SO WELL in the play tonight! They didn't embarrass me at all! :) The only thing they did do that they shouldn't have was as they were walking down the aisle, Jace said, "Hi, Mommy!" loud enough for everyone around to hear. It was sweet, though, so I'll let it slide.

I'll post the rest of the photos on Facebook once I edit them, but here are the important ones....

Ashley doing her speaking part:

She did SO well. For the first time, she didn't sound like she was quoting something she had memorized. Since Ash is so shy, and this was her very first speaking part, I think she did GREAT!!!! I am SO very proud of her!!!

Here are my little shepherds....

Standing at the front, listening to the angels:

Looking confused because the other shepherd went up to the manger too early:

(Note: My boys did NOT go up at the wrong time. We had rehearsed it a million times, and they stayed where they were supposed to until it was time to go up. Again, SO proud!!!) :)

Bowing before the Baby Jesus:

Here are my boys all dressed up - and yes, Zander is a goof, I know. He acts like his dad:

I really cannot believe how well the play went!! I had seen it a dozen times before tonight, but tonight's performance really got to me. Everyone in the play did such an amazing job, and the Salvation message couldn't have been more plain. Really an all around excellent performance from everyone involved.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you've heard me mention Ms. Sabrina about a million times. She has become such a dear, dear friend, and I am so thankful for her. I love you, Sabrina! You and your mom did an AMAZING job with these kids - and adults!

I've also mentioned Brother Tim a time or two. He has also become very special to our family. Gene looks up to and admires him, and Tim's son Jacob is where we got Parker's middle name.

Anyway, tonight I finally got a picture of Brother Tim, Ms. Sabrina, and Ms. Liz (Sabrina's mom). I thought I'd show off some pretty important people in my life:

Sabrina is SO gonna kill me when she sees this, but she knows how much I love her, and I'm pretty sure she'll forgive me. If not, I'm going to have to do something very special for Christmas for her! :)

Thanks for letting me brag on my kids!

Come vote for my Christmas tree!

I never, ever win the contests where voting is involved. Personally, I hate them, and think they are all rigged. Honestly.

But, I'd REALLY like to win this gift for my husband. We all know how bad the economy is, and Gene and I have decided not to exchange gifts this year so that we can get the kids a few things. However, if I *win* the gift, technically, I haven't paid for it, so he can't get upset. ;) I just know he'd really love to have this. He works the night stock crew at a local store, and the music they play over and over is horrid. With this, he can listen to whatever he wants. I'd really like to win it and give him a nice surprise this year, since he's surprised me plenty of times in the past.

Click here to vote for our tree. We're #20.

Thanks for taking the time to vote for us. I certainly appreciate it!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Look what arrived today!

As part of my prize from the Virtual Baby Shower, I received a set of birth announcements from Moon and Back Studios.

Because I had already designed and printed my birth announcements, I asked them if I could use the gift for something else.

Myra from Moon and Back was wonderful to work with. She allowed me to use the gift on Christmas cards instead, and helped me get the perfect design.

I placed the order on December 5th, and she had the proof to me the very next day. On Thursday, the 11th, I got notice that the order had shipped, and they arrived today! The quality is fabulous, and I just love the cards. I can't tell you how much time and money this will save me. :)

Here are the cards Myra and Moon and Back Studios designed for me:

Thank you, Moon and Back Studios. I just love them!

The Blog Frog

Go check out The Blog Frog!

Ever since I lost my blog roll, I've been trying to find a way to keep all my blogs organized and in one place. The Blog Frog is the perfect way to do it!

Go check them out and see for yourself! You won't be disappointed!

My Boys and Play Practice

I am really, really nervous about tomorrow night. We had play practice last night, and Jace and Zander are both shepherds in the play. They don't say a word. They just walk down the aisle, stop at the end, bow before the angel, then get up and go to Mary & Joseph and bow before the baby Jesus.

Easy, right?

Not if you're my boys, apparently. Last night, they walked down the aisle, Zander forgot to stop for the angel, and just walked around the front like a loon. Jace remembered to stop, but dropped his stick and had a total melt down. We finally get them up to Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, and they start singing. Both boys have a meltdown, and come running back to me. "I just needed to give you a hug."


They did do better the second time, but I am really nervous about tomorrow night. We have play practice this afternoon, and I'm hoping we can get it down with them.

Wish us luck. I'm sure I'll have plenty of photos to share come Monday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

It has rained here most of this week. While this is wonderful for the drought, this is not so wonderful for my landscaping.

Our yard is now "The Vinez Swamp." Really, we have our own personal swamp all the way around our house. It still hasn't stopped raining since Grandpa had the smooth out the driveway, so our driveway is a nightmare. The poor UPS guy parked his truck at the top and walked down. I felt SO badly for him.

And, we had a tree fall on our fence. Thank heavens the cows can't get out, but it pulled on the cable for our tv satellite, so the kids have been without cartoons for most of the day. That's never a good thing! Luckily, hubby fixed the cord this afternoon, and our cartoons are back!

But, with all this rain, my internet connection will not stay on. I just get started on something, and then it goes out. I've tried to post on here 4 times today, and it's cut me off each time. Very frustrating.

I also found out today that I can't get any help with my prescription once my insurance expires at the end of this month. I need to check Walmart's website and see if the Rx is available in their $4 program. Otherwise, I just don't know what I'm going to do.

I got Lucy's Christmas dress in the mail today. I can't wait to see it on here I ordered it from Macy's during their sale (make sure you print out that coupon!!) and I LOVE it. This is the one we went with: Lucy's Dress I also love that it came with the matching doll's dress. Lucy loved that too!

Now, I need more clients so I can buy Christmas outfits for the rest of the kids! :) Anyone need a tutu... or a bow... or some design work? LOL!

Sock Monkeys!!!

The Shumway Family Blahhhg is having a giveaway! She is offering up one of her adorable sock monkeys!!

I can't get over how CUTE these monkeys are! I'd definitely love to have one for my newest little monkey!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: What a difference a year makes!

Lucy last year:

Lucy this year:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tree Decorating Contest!!

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love pulling out all the decorations and putting them all over my house. Heck, I even love "floofing" the tree - the job no one else in this house seems to want.

An Island Life is having a tree decorating contest! How much fun is that?!

In years past, our tree has always had a pottery-barn-esque flair. Ribbons, pearls, shiny ornaments, and even photo frames have graced our tree. However, this year, I've turned it into the kids' tree. You see, every year, the kids each get a special ornament. That way, when they grow up and move out, they will already have a set of ornaments to help trim their very first tree. With so many kids, and so many special ornaments, they were overtaking the tree and didn't look right with the fancy tree trimmings. So, this year, I did away with the fancy-smancy, and just made it FUN.

So, here's our Christmas tree:

Yes, you did spot Tinkerbell in our tree! That's Lucy's special ornament from last year.

And, if you have Tinkerbell, you simply MUST have Peter Pan & Captain Hook, too!
(We actually have Peter Pan, Captain Hook, a smaller Tinkerbell, Wendy, John, Michael, Mr. Smee, & the Crocodile. The set was Zander's special ornament last year.)

And, we cannot forget the Reason for the season:

(No, baby Jesus isn't in the manger yet. He appears on Christmas morning.)

A beautiful service at church last night.

Last night at church, we had our Memory Tree Service. This is the first church I've been to that does something like this. It's such a blessing.

We sang songs, listened to others sing songs, and then Pastor read a few verses out of Isaiah about the Christ child. Then, they dimmed the lights and turned on the Christmas tree at the front of the sanctuary. One by one, families went up to the tree and placed an ornament on there in memory of someone they loved who had passed away. What amazing stories of men and women who lived their lives for God, others who had accepted him at the last minute, others who had led the person placing the ornament on the tree to Christ, and even some who had given their lives in the name of Christ. Some left ornaments for missionaries, some for the troops we've lost.

Gene, the kids, and I all went up, and I placed an ornament on the tree in remembrance of my Daddy. I don't remember exactly what I said, because by the time I got up there, I was bawling like a baby. I do remember that I said how lucky I was to have had a daddy who loved Jesus, and that it took me a long time to admit that I didn't have Jesus and needed him. But, now, I have the assurance that I *will* spend eternity with my Daddy in heaven.

After all of the families went through and placed their ornaments on the tree, Brother Tim & his family sang the song "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be" as an invitation. Gene and I took all of the kids up and prayed over each one of them. The thought of spending eternity without all of them is a thought I can't bear. I pray every day that my children will all come to accept Christ and will give their lives to Him.

I am so thankful for our church. We are so blessed.

Boogie Wipes WINNER!

I really wish I could have given this prize to everyone who entered, but here's who picked:

#5 was........

Suzi Homemaker said...

Oh, Angie, I would love to win some of these--we have a whole lot of Boogies going on around here lately! I have been using regular wipes on the kids, but when it's cold and the noses are runny and chapped, my little ones complain that they sting! Since these are alcohol-free, they just might do the trick without inflicting pain! BTW--I have not seen these in stores around here, but I do live in the country!

Congrats, Suzi! I'll contact you soon to get all the details!

Thanks to all who entered!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Please consider helping a worthy cause.

My heart is broken for this family. If I could afford to pay all of their expenses to get their daughter, I would do it.

Lord knows I have no money. He knows how much we struggle day to day, and He knows how much we are struggling at this very moment.

But I had to do something. I had a tiny bit of money in my paypal account, and I felt it only right that the money go to them. They are hurting this Christmas season, and I wish I could make that hurt go away.

If you have a few dollars, would you please consider sending it their way? I know they would appreciate it, and maybe we can all help them bring their daughter home.

Please pass their link on to your friends and family. Let's make a difference in this family's life.

Now, I leave you with this:

I love old people.

Really, I do.

Although, I'm not liking the old man in Rite Aid today so much.

I ran to Rite Aid to pick up my prescription. Parker had cried the entire way there, and he fell asleep just moments before we got there. I get in line at the pharmacy, and they had screwed up the guy's prescriptions in front of me. He turned around and kept apologizing for holding up the line, and was very, very nice.

While standing in line, I put Parker's carseat on the ground. Those things get heavy fast! All of a sudden, another old man walks over to the car seat, crouches down, and begins talking to Parker in the loudest voice one can imagine. Remember when you were told as a kid to use your indoor voice? Yeah. This guy had no clue what that meant.

He finally walks away from Parker, (who was still sleeping, praise the LORD!), and proceeds to stand right in front of me. He was talking with the other old man in front of me, so stupid me just assumed they were together. Well, they weren't. As soon as they finished up with the first guy, the second guy tells them what HE needs. They had, of course, also screwed up HIS prescription, so we stood there another 10 minutes waiting for them to fix it! In this 10 minutes, the old man in front of me turns around and says, "I wish I could say that I didn't mean to cut in front of you. But, I did."

Are you freaking kidding me? I'm sorry, but that's just rude. Really rude. So, being the Christian woman that I am, I laughed politely and said, "Well, then you're really lucky you didn't wake my baby."

What did I really want to say? Well, I can't post that on this blog, because I have family and friends who read this, and I don't want to ruin my testimony. LOL. But, honestly, I would have loved to have given that old man a good tongue lashing!

I know that this old man didn't want to stand in line and wait on his prescriptions, but come on. To use a baby to jump ahead in line? Ridiculous. And irritating.

Oh, and Rite Aid screwed up MY prescriptions, too. They were really on the ball today!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My husband just called me...

to tell me something funny that Zander said while they were in the grocery store.

They had play practice at church tonight, but since Lulu was sick, I kept her and Parker home. That meant Gene had to take Ashley, Zander, and Jace (the three easy ones!) to church and then to the grocery store afterward.

As he's on the phone with me in the grocery store, he was getting frustrated with the boys. He said something like, "I need to go before I start yelling and they throw me out of the store. I can't take this."

My response? I laughed and said, "Honey. I've taken all FIVE of them to the store, and had to fill up the cart. You ran in for 5 minutes. You're not getting any sympathy from me."

He's not getting any sympathy from me. Next time we need groceries, I'm sending HIM with all 5. He'd probably leave without buying anything, though. Maybe that's not such a good idea.

My rant about the USPS and a cute item to share.

The USPS bugs me. Not only does it seem that every time I need to buy a book of stamps, the price has gone up, but they are constantly raising the price of shipping items, too! I went in with a box the other day. Expected to pay $5 - $6 to ship the box. Grand total for parcel post? $18.42. Yes, I added delivery confirmation, but that was what? 59 cents or something? If I had wanted to ship the item priority, I would have paid over $23 to send it. To send a box from GA to CA. Are you kidding me?

And that's not my only beef with the post office. We live in a tiny little hick town. I'm pretty sure our population is less than 800 people. (My grandma will correct me if I'm wrong - it may be even lower than that!) I also think I'm related to half of our town's population. Well, if I'm not related to them, I'm at least supposed to know them, anyway. Take our mailman. I'm either related to him, or I'm supposed to know him. Grandma can tell me which. I really don't care. All I know is that I cannot stand the man. He's a grump. He doesn't like our driveway, (heck, *I* don't like our driveway!), so he avoids it at all costs. If he can stuff our mail into our box, he does. Like, today. I got a beautiful bucket from N Style Moms as part of the baby shower. Rather than take an extra 5 minutes out of his day, and drive down our driveway, our wonderful mailman decided to shove the bucket into the mailbox, bending it all out of shape. Luckily, the bucket bent back into shape and you can barely tell what he did, but I am MAD. The lazy bum could have come down and dropped it at the door.

I will tell you, though, that when he does come down the driveway, I don't go to the door. I send Ashley. I'm afraid that I might say something that will become the talk of the town. So, it's best if I just blog about it instead. ;) I don't think half our population knows how to use the computer. At least I hope not after this rant!

I do want to share a picture of the bucket with you. It is SUPER cute, and perfect for storing Parker's bath stuff! I just love it! Thanks, N Style Moms!

Lucy is finally feeling better. I'm hoping we can go to church tomorrow! Thanks for all the well wishes for her!

Off to finish designing my Christmas card!

Don't forget!!

The Boogie Wipes Giveaway ends tomorrow! Don't miss your chance to get a bunch of awesome boogie wipes for FREE! :)

Lulu is really, really sick today. My computer time is going to be very limited until she's better. Pray that it's quickly and that no one else gets it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Today's packages....

I got 4 packages today from the Virtual Baby Shower contest.

First, I got personal "mom" cards from The Whimsical Stork. I LOVE them! I have business cards for my businesses, but I didn't have a card to give moms that I meet while out and about - or the moms at church. They've got my phone, email, and website address as well as all my kids' names on there. I love them!! They also came with a few matching note cards, which are perfect! I'm always looking for something to write a quick note to someone on, and these will definitely come in handy! Here's everything they sent:

The second thing we got was a diaper pod from Prissy Miss Boutique. This is fabulous! We'll keep it stocked with a couple of diapers and some wipes and we'll keep it in the car. Then we'll never be without them! I love it!

The 3rd thing I got was a Symmetry Sleep Positioner from Summer Infant Products. I've already got this set up in Parker's cradle, and I'm really looking forward to testing it out.

The last thing we got is an AWESOME first birthday kit from Just Add Cake! It had plates, napkins, invitations, and silverware. We really will just have to add cake in order to have a wonderful 1st birthday celebration for Parker! It came packaged beautifully, and the box is perfect to store in until his first birthday!

Thank you to all the sponsors, again. I just love everything we got today!

Saw the doctor today.

My blood pressure was in the normal range, so she really thinks this is just a form of post-partum depression. She put me on Zoloft, but the problem is that my insurance expires at the end of this month, and she wants me on Zoloft for at least 6 months. I really don't think we can afford for me to stay on the medicine once it runs out. I don't know. I'll definitely be praying about this.

I know for a fact that I am really stressed out. With Parker not taking a bottle, I never, ever get any kind of a break. Don't get me wrong. I love nursing him, and I adore all my kids, but I need a few minutes here and there in order to keep my sanity. If you don't agree, you come deal with these kids 24/7, and make sure one of them is attached to your boob for 20 of those 24 hours. We'll take a day or two and see how you feel by the end of it. ;)

Since today is show and tell Friday, I'll show you some pictures from last night!

Here's our Christmas tree this year:

Here's THE Christmas card picture (I think!) :

And here is my absolute FAVORITE picture that I took of the kids last night:

Hysterical, isn't it?

Happy Friday! I am SOOOOOOO glad it's the weekend! Oh, and I got some more packages in the mail today and will post them tonight after play practice!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I've been busy today.

I couldn't get into the doctor today, but I will be going tomorrow morning. Part of me thinks I am just really stressed out. Between the lack of sleep, the kids, Christmas, bills, and everything else, it's really no wonder. I'm interested to see what my blood pressure is tomorrow. I really hope I don't have to go back on the medicine. The migraines have been a lot less frequent since I stopped!

I took "the" Christmas card pictures today. Gene had to be at work early, so I had NO help distracting the kids. Boy, was that fun! I'll have to share some out-takes tomorrow. I think we got "the" shot, though, so I'm happy.

Ok, back to editing pictures. If I don't get our Christmas cards ordered, I'm going to be sending out New Years cards instead!

TGIF tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Make that 3 times.

I cannot win. Seriously. This week has been crazy, and we're just getting past hump day!

I have been miserable all day. I will spare you the lovely details, but I have just been absolutely miserable. I got a package in the mail today, and it was some Ghiradelli chocolate that I was asked to review for a website. Now, chocolate *always* makes me feel better! It was a milk chocolate square with peanut butter filling. I tore into the package on a square, then thought for a second. I should probably check the ingredients. I looked and it had "milk" and "peanuts" in bold. I'm fine with both, so I popped the square into my mouth.

It tasted like heaven. Really. Milk chocolate with crunchy peanut butter inside. It was like eating a gourmet peanut butter cup. And then, it happened. My tongue started to swell, my mouth went numb, and my lips went numb. I couldn't believe it. Why the heck was this happening again?! I pulled out another square (they sent me five), and right where I had torn the first package was the sentence, "May contain trace amounts of tree nuts." What are the odds? Why does this keep happening, and why is it suddenly so bad? I've always had a problem with walnuts, but why does it seem that every other day, I'm putting something into my mouth that is laced with walnuts?

I am going to have to start checking the ingredients of every single thing I put into my mouth. It's just that simple. SIGH. I'm telling you, I am so ready for this week to be over. It's just crazy!

Also wanted to let you all know that I'm calling the doctor tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'm having blood pressure trouble, or if I'm having anxiety attacks. The last few days, there are times when my pulse starts racing, my head starts spinning, and I feel like my heart is skipping a beat. I really feel like I'm having a heart attack and can't get my heart back on track. It's how I felt the first three weeks after Parker was born when my blood pressure was so high. I've been off the meds for about a week (two weeks?) now, and I'm really not liking this feeling. So, I'm going to try to get in to see the doctor tomorrow and see what she thinks. It may just be that my kids are totally stressing me out. Gene told me that I need to "learn to breathe and relax a bit," but I told him that I'd like to see him deal with the 5 kids all day, every day, with absolutely no break. He'd crack like an egg. I'll let you know if I get in to see the doctor tomorrow. I'd just really like to know what's going on.

Hope your week is going better than mine! :)

We LOVE turtles around here!

Turtles, Monkeys, and Ducks. Anyone who knows me, knows that I obsess over those three animals. (Zebras and Giraffes are also coming very close to obsession-status.)

As luck would have it, Seven Dogs and A Baby is giving away a Cloud B Twilight Turtle (ends Dec. 15th) to one very lucky reader of their blogs.

Cloud B is this great company who is dedicated to helping children of all ages sleep better. (Lord KNOWS I need that around here!)

I absolutely, positively adore the Twilight Sea Turtle. I also love that a portion of the proceeds from buying a Twilight Sea Turtle will be donated to an international conservation organization.

This would be wonderful to have for Parker, and maybe for Lucy, too. We have such awful sleep issues with our kids, that I would LOVE to try this out and see how it works.

Wordless Wednesday: It's MINE!

Jace - Christmas 2006.

Now, go see more WW Posts at MomDot and 5M4M.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Now we're in the holiday spirit around here!

Since my house is decked out with Christmas garb, I figured I should spruce up the blog a bit, too! Feels much better in here, don't you think? :)

Today has been pretty boring - Gene's been home, so I've gotten a lot of work done. Installed a new blog design for a client and friend, you can see it here. Did some posting over at What to Expect. Got a bunch of other business things checked off my list. And, I entered a bunch of Holiday Contests. Gotta love the giveaway blogs.

Parker has been nursing constantly today. Only, it's not to eat, it's just to suck. I really wish I could get him to take a pacifier, because I am hurting because of his constant latch on - latch off. Any tips? All my other kids took pacifiers just fine, so this is all new to me, and I don't like it! Although, I have become a pro at nursing at the keyboard and getting lots accomplished.

Not much else to report. All of our beautiful snow from yesterday melted and left behind a yucky, muddy mess. The poor UPS guy came to our house today and parked at the top of our driveway and walked the 1/4 mile+ to our house because he didn't want to get his truck stuck. I felt so bad! We're supposed to be getting new gravel soon, but because it's been so wet, they won't deliver it. Pa (the one getting us the gravel - Merry Christmas to us! LOL!) had them smooth out the driveway so that it would all be even and level before they put the gravel on. Well, it's rained or snowed almost every day since then, and because they leveled it, it made it really soft. Now it's all a big swamp. I'm hoping it dries out sometime. I really wish we could afford asphalt or concrete. It would make my life so much better. Oh, well. I'll be thankful for all that we have. We really are blessed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

This is getting ridiculous!

Twice in one week, I have had a serious allergic reaction to food. Tonight, it was Oatmeal Raisin cookies from Pillsbury. You know, the break apart dough that you just throw in the oven. Apparently, they are made with walnut flour. Now, what are the odds of that? I had no idea, bit into a cookie, and wham! It was Thanksgiving Day all over again. So, I am now living on a benadryl-drugged-mommy-brain. Can't get much worse! But, bear with me if there are lots of grammatical errors in this post. I can't be held responsible for what I say while on benadryl. I usually check ingredients before I buy anything, but I never, ever thought about walnuts (or walnut flour!!) in an oatmeal cookie. Guess I learned my lesson for next time!

In other news, I received another package from the baby shower on Saturday, and one today. The package on Saturday came from Beadiful Items. She sent me a gorgeous spatula and serving spoon set. I love the gems she used on them. They really are very pretty. Here's a picture:

The other item that arrived today was from Seventh Generation. I've seen their diapers and such in our grocery store, but I've never tried them. I'm excited to test out everything they sent - a pack of diapers, wipes and refill, a reusable bag, and even laundry detergent! Look:

Please take a minute to check out Beadiful Items and Seventh Generation!

We also got a nice surprise today: SNOW! It doesn't usually stick when it falls, but it coated the mountains beautifully today. Look how pretty our cow pasture is:

I know we moved South to get away from snow, but this snowfall made the kids' day! And, if I have to be honest, it was really beautiful. I have to admit that much.

Happy Cyber Monday!

If you are having a Cyber Monday sale today, please sign into Mr. Linky and share your sale with us!

We got pounded with snow here today, so it's the perfect day to do some online shopping!

Cyber Monday Specials: