Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Help with gift please!

As you guys know, I work full-time which means SYT spends about 45 hours per week (uggg!!!) in daycare.  Even though it's a ton of time spent away from him, I do feel extremely fortunate because the lead teacher (and his primary teacher) in the Duckling classroom is wonderful with him.  She seriously has the biggest heart for children and is amazing with them developmentally.  This fall the other aide in the room left to go to a center closer to her house, so Miss E spent two months as the only permanent teacher in the classroom.  The center would flip flop teachers regularly so that there was always a sub in there, but she really had little consistent help. 

I really want to do something special for her.  She doesn't have a lot of money and she does have 4 kids (21, 20, 17, and 4).  Part of me wants to do something really fun, like a gift certificate to a salon for any kind of spa treatment, but then the practical side of me says that I should do a GC to Meijer (for those non-midwesterners, it's a huge grocery store), Target, etc or to a restaurant where she could take all four of her kids out to dinner.  Should practical win out here?  If you really didn't have a lot of money (ie- she's never been to TARGET (!!) and she's never flown on a plane), would you rather have money that you could use for clothes, Christmas items, groceries, etc or b/ c she never does anything for herself, would you rather have something more impractical, like a massage? 

I'd love to know your thoughts on this, and if you have any other ideas, please let me know.  She just dotes on Spence, and I want her to know how much I appreciate her loving him!!  Help a girl out, will you??? 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am thankful

For a loving husband

A precious son

A rambunctious Junebug

A roof over our heads

Steady paychecks from jobs that we love

An abundance of good food

Family, Friends, and Neighbors

Seasons that change

A God I can worship freely

I am truly blessed beyond belief.  I pray that all of you feel very blessed and very thankful on this day and all the days that follow.  I'm also extremely thankful for the blogger friendships that I have made over the past two years of blogging.  It's been a wonderful ride so far! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas cards

Ah, Christmas cards.  I love receiving them, I love sending them, I love hanging them on my fridge, and I really prefer ones with pictures.  My mom keeps hers in a basket and keeps all the pictures from previous years so that we can all go back and look and see how kids have grown over the years.  I love this! 

Two years ago, B and I sent our Christmas card with our wedding picture.  I still look at that one and smile with delight.  Last year we moved into our house on Dec 22nd, and I had started a new job Dec 1, so there was no hope for a Christmas card.  Instead, we send a New Years card with a picture of our new house on the front.  It was a fun card to send, and it was nice to combine a holiday card with a "we've moved" card.

This year?  It's all about our buddy!  We didn't do birth announcements (it wasn't really in the budget when B wasn't working), so this is our true "announcement" to our family and friends.  I've been a Shutterfly user for years.  I've found it to be the easiest of the photo share sites, and I think the quality of their pictures is great.  I've ordered prints, books, and cards from them in the past and have been impressed by them all.  Since having Spencer, we signed up for the print savings plan so that we can order as many photos as we want at a significant savings. 

This year they have expanded their Christmas card selection, and it's been a blast to see which cards other bloggers love.  I've seen lots of the bright ones with pink, blues, greens, oranges- they're super cute and there are a few of those that I would totally go for if I had a couple of crazy kidlets running around.  This year, though, I'm feeling that the card should be simple and traditional.  We haven't taken our pic yet (hopefully we will get a good one this weekend), but once we do, I'm hoping the winning picture will fit well with one of the cards below.........

Love the tartan plaid on this one

Simple, easy

Some of the bright colors yet still pretty traditional

Maybe I just think this baby is cute, but I also love the wreath and the monogram.  So far this and the tartan are in first place for me.

Love the sentiment on this one

Someone who lives on the beach and has towheads must order this card.  I think it is perfect!!  I thought about using one of our pictures from the Lobster Party, except SYT has changed so much since then.  It would be the perfect setting for this card though, right? 

Thank you, Shutterfly, for offering free cards for bloggers this year!  I would have used one of your cards, regardless, but I'm thrilled to get our first 50 for no cost.  Don't worry, you'll get plenty more use from me in the future :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend update

*We started our Christmas shopping this weekend.  It feels good to be organized and on top of things.  I'm slightly disappointed that B already knows his "big" gift (a new driver), but he had to try them out and figure out which he wanted.  There's no way I could've done that on my own.  Our spare room has all the gifts so far, and I have a feeling that will become the designated wrapping room as well. 

*I may or may not have a blood blister in places not suitable to mention here.  Thank you, my darling little Spencer.  Not sure how the heck it will go away since the area is traumatized every few hours, but it's definitely uncomfortable, so I'm hoping it goes away soon!  Any one have this happen to them before?

*There is a fire going in our fireplace, and I love it!  It was freezing here today, so it's nice to be cozy and warm in the family room. 

*This Friday we are hosting all our neighbors for our monthly get together.  The host family provides food and everyone brings their own drinks.  Instead of doing dinner (which we have learned very few people eat), we're doing 4 different dessert offerings and a salty snack.  I'm making salted double chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter crispie bars, individual ramekins of apple crisp, pumpkin fluff, and nuts and bolts (aka homemade chex mix).  I'm going to mull some wine too- I love it and it makes the house smell so good. 

*Thank you for your comments on the car post.  No, there is nothing I'm not sharing here (aka- I'm not pregnant, and esp not with twins!).  I'm just the type of girl that once I get a car, I drive it to the ground.  I've had my car for almost 8 years, and I know I'll have it for at least two more.  So, when I get my next car, it'll be another 10 years before I do this again, and hopefully we'll have a few more kids during that time. 

*We brought out the Johnny Jump-Up this weekend for SYT.  It's a HIT!!!  He loves it!  It's so entertaining to see him laugh and giggle and twirl and jump all around in it.  I'm so glad we pulled it out- it's going to be used a ton!

*B picked out a few new articles of clothing when we were out and about yesterday.  He looked so good in his new pants!  His old gray dress pants were way too big (like 20 lbs too big), pleated, and had pilling on them.  Seriously, I cringed every time he pulled them out of the closet.  When he walked out of the dressing room in the new ones, I was so excited!  Seriously, getting him to shop is like pulling teeth, so it was a big day- new pants, new top, new sweater, all of which he picked out!

*I am getting my hair chopped Monday night!  Probably 5 or 6 inches cut off, plus highlights.  I haven't had my hair cut or colored since June.  It is beyond time.  My hair is so heavy, and right now it won't do anything!  I feel badly as I won't see Spencer at all tomorrow after dropping him off at daycare.  B will have to pick him up and do the whole bedtime routine.  It's hard to do anything after work b/c I do feel guilty when I'm not home with him, but my hair is disgusting and really, really needs some work.  Plus I'm getting the bushes that I call eyebrows waxed too!  Here's to a prettier (or at least better groomed) me!

*My little peanut is SIX months old tomorrow!!!!  I'll do a whole post with pictures this week, but I just wanted to say that in no way do I feel like I've been doing this for 6 months!  I also want to say that I love, love, love being a mom.  Even on the worst days in my least patient moments, I just love it!

*Okay, time to iron, take a shower, and head to bed.  I'm exhausted!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Ahhhh......the Jeep Wagoneer.  AEOT's dream car.  In my mind, it has a tan leather interior, a backseat filled with three car seats, and a "way back" lined with Junie's blanket, suitcases packed for the weekend away, and a bike carrier on the back with 5 bikes (or 5 sets of skis depending on the season).  Bruce Springsteen, Indigo Girls, John Mellencamp, and the Miami Men's Glee Club are all pouring out from the speakers, there is squabbling in the backseat, there's water, diet coke, combos, and dried cherries in the cooler which is on the floor in the middle of the backseat (for easy access by the parental units), and Junie is snoring soundly.  There isn't an ounce of room because I don't pack lightly and kids go through at least 4 outfits a day.  Plus, we have a lot of activites to get to during the long weekend- and those activites all require different clothing, of course. 

Unfortunately for me, the Jeep Wagoneer is no longer made.  So, my search goes out for another version of the perfect car for a growing family.  I have had my Subaru Forrester for a little over 7 years now and love, love, love it.  It's wonderfully reliable, it drives really well in all kinds of weather conditions (very important for this snowbird), and it is perfect for Junie and Spence, B and I.  My future concern is that we'd like to have 3 kids total, and with three carseats and Junie, we need something bigger.  I love the Subaru Outback

but I'm afraid it won't be much bigger than the Forrester is.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it isn't.  We need to look a little more closely, and I'd love to stay with the Subaru brand, but I'm just not sure it'll fit three car seats across the back.

My first choice in the bigger car arena is the Volvo XC70.

I love the station wagon look, I love the safety ratings, I love that it comes in navy, and I love that it's a pretty traditional car.  My biggest downer here?  The price.  By the time I price it out to be exactly how I want it, it's going to be easily over $40,000, and uggggg....that's a lot of money!  Especially to B, who is so not a car person.  I'm also not sure it's much bigger than the Subaru's are; however, I see moms in these cars all the time, so they must be able to fit car seats well!

Another we've been looking at when we see them out and about is the Ford Flex

I like the boxy look, it is definitely roomy enough, B's current car is a Ford and we couldn't be happier with it, etc.  A few things I don't like?  It doesn't come in navy (in fact, the silver is the only color I like), and I don't like the weird white top.  Both are cosmetic issues, but I want to think my car is cute! 

Any of you out there with growing families who love their current car?  I'd love to know what you drive and why you love it!  I'm pretty much open to anything!

Or, if you'd rather just loan me $105,000, I'll take this........


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Restaurant Week!

Grand Rapids is jumping on the national "Restaurant Week" bandwagon, and I am super excited!  If you don't know about restaurant week, it, essentially, is a way to try a bunch of new restaurants at a fixed cost.  Most of them have a set menu that allows the diner to choose one appy, one main dish, and one dessert from a list of 2 or 3.  GR's started on Thursday, and, while we couldn't go out that night, we went out Friday night with E to kick off the weekend.

Marco's is a place we've been interested in trying that's pretty close to our house.  One of my attending docs just loves it.  The menu (click the link above) was enticing, so this was our first restaurant week dinner.  E and I had the scallop stuffed whitefish, and B had the pork tenderloin.  Mine was good, but B's was WAY better.  Seriously, it was awesome.  We liked both the appys, and the desserts were good too.

We're thinking about trying Republic, and we love The Green Well, so we may hit that up as well.  We're usually not the couple who goes out to dinner mid-week (we usually go out once a week at the max- usually once every two weeks, to be honest), but for an occasion such as this?  We're willing to give it a shot!

Have any of you done Restaurant Weeks in your own towns?  Did it create a buzz?  I'm hoping it gets enough people out and about in GR that they consider doing it again next year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's to hoping that the road you travel today will take you to a place where you are at peace and people you wouldn't want to live without! 

And here's to a good Thanksgiving walk down that road so that you can enjoy the amazing feast ahead of you!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A day in the life of a working mom

Over at EADL, they did a series on "A day in the life" and asked all their regular contributors to do a post.  I loved reading about everyone's day to day activites, wake and bed times, priorities, etc, so I thought I'd put together one about me:  a new mom with a full-time job.

5:40- The alarm goes off.  I usually lay in bed for a minute or two and then it's up and into the shower.  Get ready for work, eat breakfast, etc 

6:35- Wake up Spencer to feed him, get him dressed, get the car packed and get coats on.

7:10- Leave the house, drop Spencer off, head to work

8:00- At work for the day.  Hospital rounds in the morning, either outpatient apts or inpatient consults in the early afternoon, and answering phone calls and charts in the late afternoon.  I try my hardest to get in three pumping sessions while I'm at work (happens most days), and that's when I'm able to catch up on all of your blogs.

5:00 (or close to it)- Leave to get Spence from daycare.  I love picking him up- as soon as I walk into his room his eyes light up and his smile intensifies.  He "knows" us, and I love, love, love it!!!

5:45- arrive home, pet Junie, kiss B, and start the evening routine.  Between now and 7 p.m., Spencer needs to eat, get a bath, jammies, nurse, and go down.  B usually starts dinner while I'm tending to Spence so that we can eat once he is down. 

7:30- eat dinner with B, clean up the kitchen, prep the bottles and diaper bag for daycare, pack my lunch for work, go through the mail, start and finish a load of laundry, and prep anything else that needs to be done for the next day. 

9:00- Hopefully B and I are sitting down on the couch to watch one show, but there are definitely nights where this doesn't get done.  I'm usually watching a show and checking email, FB, blogs, etc (multitasking is a great thing!).  We are often trying to pick up, put away laundry, and do other house stuff at this time, so tv often is pushed aside.

10:00- Trying desperately to get into bed.  Usually heading upstairs to brush my teeth, take a shower, read a chapter in my book or one article in one of the many magazines I'm behind on, and then it's lights out.  If I don't get into bed by 10:30, I'm pretty grouchy the next day.  Lately though it's been closer to 11 by the time I'm actually really asleep- uggggg.

2:30-4 a.m.  Spencer is usually up once during the night.  If it's before 4 a.m., we're letting him cry for a few minutes, and he'll often go back down without our help.  If it's after 4 a.m., he usually won't go back down without eating, so I'm up for at least 20-30 minutes with him. 

I'd love to add a workout into my day, but I'm struggling as it is to get the things done that I have to do.  Keeping up with Spence's baby book, trying to blog, sending friendly emails, planning anything................these all get placed on the back burner.  I wish I could either add one more hour to my day or take out one day a week of work!  Balance is tough right now, but we're learning day by day how to handle it all.  I do have to say that I am really lucky b/c B is such a hands on dad and husband.  He's really helpful, and I definitely couldn't get through the day without him!

So, that's Mon- Fri in a nutshell!  Tell me about yours......................

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My must haves for infants 0-4 months

I have seen a few other bloggers do these kinds of posts, and as a pregnant woman, I loved reading them in order to get good ideas on what I should purchase, what I could hold off on, what products are worth the $$, etc.  I thought maybe others out there would like to see what we have loved so far!  (Hey, even if you aren't having kids currently, it's a great resource for baby gifts!)

This blanket made by DreamSacks is awesome.  It's really lightweight (perfect for summer blankets and Southern babies), super stretchy (for those babies who try to break free from their swaddle), and it comes in unexpected, not too babyish colors.  I received this as a gift, and I will give this as a gift in the future. 

A baby sling (mine is from Mod Mum).  I used this constantly when on maternity leave as it was one of the easiest ways to get things done when he just wanted to be close to me.  I still use it now in the hip carry method, and it works really well.  We also have the Ergo baby carrier (love it as well) which is great b/c B can use it.  I didn't think we would ever use two different carriers, but it's wonderful to have both. 

The Baby Jogger City Elite stroller.  We opted out of the infant carseat/stroller combo as I knew the strollers that come in the systems wouldn't suit our long term needs.  We ended up looking at the Phil and Teds and the Uppa Baby Vista but decided on the Baby Jogger after hearing rave reviews from a few people and after seeing how easy it was to fold (I can do it one handed).  I was slightly nervous about how a teeny baby would work in it, but it lies down completely flat and we just put this little head rest thing from Babies R Us in it and it worked out perfectly.  It can be used for running and I love the tires- they'll take on anything!  My only complaint is that the undercarriage basket is quite small.

The Little Lamb swing.  SYT has since outgrown this, but he adored swining in this while we would work in the kitchen.  He took many a nap in here, and for any baby who likes motion, this thing worked!  He didn't like his bouncy seat at all, so I'm really glad we had this swing. 

The soothie pacifier.  SYT really isn't a huge pacifier guy, but this one got us through many a meltdown.  The Happiest Baby on the Block positioning (on their side, bounce the head, saying shhhhh really loudly, and giving him this paci) really worked for our non-napper. 

Tommee Tippee bottles.  They are shaped so that they resemble a mom's breast, and I think they're awesome.  SYT took to them like a charm, and we've had zero problems with them.  If you're going to nurse and pump for daycare, I would definitely try these as your first option.

Any of the Trend Lab towel and washcloth sets.  I had a really hard time finding a cute towel to register for, and I'm so glad we got this set.  The back of the washclothes and the towel are made of fabric like a men's dress shirt and then it's a really soft terrycloth on the other side.  There are quite a few sets (some blue, some pink, some neutral, all really cute), and I would highly recommend registering for this and/or giving this as a gift.  I wouldn't be surprised if I ordered another set b/c I like it so much!

Other things:
*Spencer wasn't really a swaddler, but the miracle blanket and the kiddopotomas swaddler worked well.
*I adore ebay for baby clothes!  I've been able to get things that have never been worn as babies grow so fast, and it's significantly more reasonable than the local boutiques carry!  A few of my favorite brands are Kissy Kissy (oh my goodness, soooo soft), Petit Ami, Ralph Lauren (love that they're really cute and only one piece), Janie and Jack, and pretty much anything that is smocked. 
*Most swaddle blankets that you get will be outgrown quickly if you have a big baby.  The Aden and Anais ones are great b/c they're HUGE!  I also love the Little Giraffe line for blankets and lovies.

Hopefully this will help someone out there!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask!