Thursday, September 30, 2010

movin' on up

After seeing this picture in one of my recent blogs:

I decided it was time to get Tate a bigger kennel.

Oh yeah, and Odie's pretty happy about it too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

baby, baby, free stuff, more baby

NO, this is not a baby announcement.  It's just a simple fact I've noticed (and I'm sure you have too) all the pregos out there right now.  Seriously.  I know there's always certain times of year when a lot of people are pregnant, but right now it's just CRAZY!  WHAT were you people DOING last winter?!  ;)  Even in the just my little group of blog friends (and yes, most of these are real life friends too), I know of Amy and Jenn and Jenny and Lenae and Marissa and another friend who I'm not sure if I'm supposed to put it on here or not...  And then in real life they're EVERYWHERE!  Have you noticed it?

Well, if you are one of these beautiful pregnant ladies and you like free stuff, or if you need to shop for one of these mamas soon, or if you've been a mom for awhile and just want to feel hip with a new bag, then you need to check out this giveaway from NewbornSerenity.com.

Are these diaper bags not the cutest?  I couldn't even tell they were diaper bags!  So chic.  And you could win one for FREE!

They have tons of beautiful baby stuff and the best part is that the owner of this online boutique is a mother of 3 (so she definitely knows her baby stuff!) and is a sweet, wonderful lady and a terrific mom.  Trust me - I've seen her in action!  ;)  Now wouldn't you like to give your business to someone like that?  So, please check out her site and enter that giveaway!

And if you'd like to make a baby announcement on here, I'm always up for that too.  ;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

{stuck} in the middle

Last week Tate got his one year pictures taken by this awesome photographer.  (I can't wait to see how they turned out!!)

Then Friday was picture day at school for Adeline.

So Thursday night, when we were laying out Addie's picture clothes, Millie said in a quiet, sad little voice, "Mommy, when do I get to have my pictures taken?"


It nearly broke my heart.  You see, I always felt guilty making Millie a middle child.


Don't get me wrong - we wanted Tate very badly.  We always wanted to have three kids.  But I knew that by doing so, Millie would get stuck in the middle, and I just felt bad about that.


However, Chad was a middle child and he said it didn't really affect him.  So that did ease my guilt a little.  But Chad is also very easy going, so he handled that role really well.


But here we were, in one of these situations where being the middle child had caught up with her.  The baby was getting his necessary one-year pictures and the oldest was getting her first school pictures.  And since Millie just got her pictures taken in the spring, she wasn't really due for pictures again yet.


So Friday morning, we got Addie all dressed and ready for her pictures.  And then we got Millie all dressed up for her pictures (to be taken by mommy during Tate's morning nap, of course).


Totally unprofessional, but totally fun.


So, in the end, Millie did get her pictures taken after all.


And everyone was happy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

winner announcement by a special guest!

So I know you guys have been waiting anxiously all weekend for this drawing.  Each time you've dug through your purse, unable to locate that much needed lipstick or car keys or ringing cell phone, you've thought,

"Gee, my life would sure be easier with one of those Kangaroo Keepers.  I sure hope I win that drawing!"

I only wish I could give one to every single one of you.  You all need it.  I can hear it in your comments, in your desperate pleas for me to "pick" you (although I'm not really "picking," it's completely random).  I know how you feel.  I, too, was in your condition just a few weeks ago.  But now I'm moving on with life, happily finding every single thing in my purse within seconds.  Even my tweezers.

The next time I'm at a baby or wedding shower and they announce we're playing the "purse game," I will be SO ready.  Look out, ladies with over-stuffed, embarrassingly messy purses.  I've got this one in the bag.  (Yes, pun intended.)


Okay, okay.  I'll stop bragging and do the drawing already.
video
Yay!  Congrats you lucky winner you!  This gal is a sweetheart who loves organization, so I know she's gonna love it!  Plus, with baby #2 coming very soon, it'll come in real handy when doing serious purse-digging while holding baby!  And Amy, since I know who you are and I know where you live (yes, creepy, I know), I will drop it by on my next journey to Tar-jay, which will probably be today!  :)

Wasn't it fun seeing my gorgeous husband on video?  He's a good sport.  I only had to twist his arm a teeny bit.

Sad you didn't win?  Don't despair!  You can still order one from here for a good price, or I think I saw one in the Bed, Bath and Beyond flyer last week.  Either way, it's totally worth it.  Now go out and get one so I'll have some competition for that purse game!  :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

schedule shmedule

It's been rough.  


This whole new "schedule" of ours.  (I have "schedule" in quotations because it still has a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out.)


I've already complained about how early Adeline's school starts.  So I'll spare you from that gripe again.


The first 3 weeks were really tough.  Remember - I'm a stay-at-home mom and Addie never went to preschool, so this whole "gettin' up and going somewhere early" thing is all new to us.  Except for Sundays, of course.  But then I have Chad's help, and church starts much later, so that's easier.


One of the biggest hiccups was Tate's napping schedule.  Trying to fit both of his naps in before picking up Addie (yes, he still needs two naps a day or he's impossible to deal with!) and lining up his afternoon nap with Millie's, while still needing to get groceries and run errands and whatnot, was... hmmm.... how should I put it...... a suicidal mission!  That may sound extreme, but I was running on fumes and tears trying to figure it all out while still keeping a happy, not screaming constantly, Tate.  Plus, throw in the fact that this is football season and my husband is the head coach for the 8th grade team and isn't home until close to 7:00 Mon-Fri and even later on game-days, and I was a mess!


(It does help that they're so cute, though.)

But now, finally, after 4 weeks of school, I think I'm getting it all sorted out.  Here's how we do it (I'm sure you could care less, but writing it out helps to solidify it in my mind):


6:30 - Wake up Tate and get him all ready so he'll go down early for his morning nap.
6:45 - Wake up the girls and start getting them ready.  Well, Addie can do it herself, but Millie still needs help with the little things.
7:05ish - Breakfast.
7:20 - Leave for school (if we're walking), 7:30 if we're driving.
8:00 - Tate's morning nap.
10:00 - Run errands.
11:30 - Lunch.
12:00 - Millie's and Tate's naps.
2:30 - Leave to pick up Addie.
5:00 - Dinner (yes, we have to eat without Chad b/c the kids would starve or fill up on snacks if they waited 'til he got home!)
7:00 - Bedtime.


Why such an early bedtime?  Well, one thing I wasn't warned about before Addie started school was how her full schedule would affect her at home.  After her first week at school, we were sitting down to dinner and she was acting kinda "attitude-y" which is totally unlike her.  I asked her why she was behaving that way and her reply had me fighting a huge grin:


"Mom, I had three recesses today and P.E. and I am just wiped out!  Plus, I had to be good all day at school!"


Hence the early bedtime.  And trust me, by 7:00, she's more than ready for sleep!  And I've learned that when she gets home from school, she needs to conk out on the couch for awhile with a snack so she can just unwind before going out to play.  That has really helped out the dinnertime 'tude.  :)


So, have any of you had schedule woes too?  Do you have any great tricks or ideas to help us all out?


***Plus, don't forget to enter my giveaway for your very own Kangaroo Keeper!  And if you read my blog through facebook, yes I will count those comments as an entry too.***

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a place for everything... and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Remember waaaay back in this post when I had received that super cute handbag and ordered a Kangaroo Keeper for it?

Well, I finally got it last week.  Yeah.  I ordered it in December and got it in September.  But it's not totally the company's fault.  Apparently, it was on a huge backorder and then the company switched hands and in the mess of it all, they lost my order.   So, I finally re-ordered it a few weeks ago and got it just a week later!

So, do you want to know if I like it or not?
Well, I'll let you see for yourself:

Yes, I LOVE IT!  Seriously.  It has changed my life.  I can actually find every. single. thing. in my purse now.  And with 3 kids, there's A LOT in there!  My husband actually encouraged me to get it because he was annoyed every time he had to try and find a pen or the checkbook.  So I'm pretty sure it's changed his life too, although I'm sure he would never admit that.

Here it is standing solo:

And watch how quickly I can change purses:
Voilà!  
Really, it is like magic.  That only took about 5 seconds.

I would totally be on an infomercial for this little contraption.

Why is it better than other purse organizers?  Well, because it's flexible so it can squeeze into even a purse with a narrower opening (like my black one).  There are a million little pockets all different sizes.  It has a bottom so you can transfer all of your stuff at once.  It wipes off easily, so it's super easy to keep clean.  And I'm sure once you get your own, you'll notice your own reasons.

So do you want one yet?  

Well, lucky me... when I ordered mine (which also comes with a mini one that can fit inside the big one), I got 2 sets for the price of one!  Although I'm pretty sure everyone gets that deal...
I gave the mini tan one to my mom and I kept the mini black one.  
But what am I going to do with the big black one?

Well... how about I give it to YOU?!
So, here's what you need to do to enter my giveaway...

*Leave a comment on this post telling me how badly you need this.  Or you can just say, "Hey, enter me."  That'll work too.

*Become a follower of my blog for second entry.  Facebook followers will work too.  Just let me know if you start following or if you already do.  And of course, if you already follow my blog, you automatically get a second entry for this.

*Blog about my giveaway with a link to this post and you'll get a third entry!  You should probably let me know about that too.

You have until midnight Sunday, September 19, and I'll post the winner Monday afternoon.
And hey, if you don't win, you can always just order your own.  I think Amazon has the best deal:


Now, before you go, I have to post these pics of my kids.  This is for you, Nanas!

I got this dress at a fundraiser craft show, made by my awesome friend Jessica!  Want to order one from her?  Email me and I'll give you her contact info!


And Tate, well, he's been in the doghouse lately...

He can get in, but he can't get out.  It's kinda funny.

Now, what are you waiting for?!  Go out and win that Kangaroo Keeper!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

birthdays on a budget

So, as you know from my last several posts, it has been a busy last couple weeks with all 3 of my kids' birthdays, plus 5 other family birthdays thrown in there too.  So, if I don't plan just right, it can end up being pretty hard on the ol' wallet.  With this being Tate's first birthday, it was the first of many that we had to buy gifts for all 3 of our kids at once.  So, I hit the garage sales (yes, I did say garage sales - hey, at this age, they don't know and don't care!) and clearance racks to rack up some pretty sweet deals.

Here's Tate, ready to discover his special treasures.


Tate's expenses:
*Lawn Mower - $4 (garage sale)
*2 Tonka Trucks - $0 (left on neighbors curb for the trash, but they were like brand new! These are the same neighbors who threw out an X-Box 360 packaged nicely in the box which my husband picked up and got fixed for free)
*Talking Workbench - $5 (garage sale)
*Melissa & Doug wooden train (not pictured) - $16 (on sale at an outlet)
TOTAL = $25
(and he loves his new toys so much!)

A few days later, Millie was ready to see what great deals mommy found for her.  (She's the hardest to buy for since she doesn't really know what she wants and we already have all of Addie's old toys.)

*Minnie Mouse suitcase - $2 (garage sale)
*My Little Pony remote control scooter - $4 (garage sale - and to think I almost bought this at the store for $24!)
*2 puzzles - 10 cents each (garage sale)
*Ni Hao Ki-Lan boat - $3.75 (Target clearance)
*Snow White light up necklace - $1.75 (Target clearance)
*Jonah Veggie Tales movie - $1 (garage sale)
*Flowery princess tiara and matching purse - $3 (Target clearance)
TOTAL = $15.70
(She also loves them all, but her favorites are the suitcase and remote control scooter)

The next week, it was Addie's turn to uncover her fun treasures.

*Children's Place super adorable coat - $4 (garage sale)
*Castle boot-like slippers - $2 (consignment sale)
*Mermaid skirt (that she's wearing) - $4 (Wal-Mart clearance - yeah, you know how much I try to avoid this place, but sometimes I'm forced to go for certain items...)
*Littlest Pet Shop stuffed kitty - $3 (Target clearance)
*Littlest Pet Shop house - $10 (garage sale)
*Littlest Pet Shop extras and accessories (tons!) - $5 (garage sale)
*Alice In Wonderland movie - $1 (garage sale)
TOTAL = $29
(Her favorites were the Little Pet Shop stuff since that's what she's been asking for since Christmas, so I was so pumped when I found them for a fraction of the normal price at a garage sale!)

So, the grand total spent on all 3 kids - $69.70! (plus tax on the store-bought items)

So, now I'm just wondering... do you think less of me?  Am I weird?  Am I the only one who buys their kids gifts from garage sales?  Do you think that's just plain tacky?  Seriously, be honest, I want to know what you're thinking and if I'm the only one!

Oh, and before I let you go, I had to share these special moments from Addie's birthday with you:
I got to bring her treats at school (well, technically, it's not allowed to bring homemade treats, but you can order them through the school's bakery, so we ordered some super yummy frosted sugar cookies and I brought juice boxes).  It was so fun to surprise her!

And then, later in the afternoon, we went to see Daddy at his football practice and all the players sang Happy Birthday to her!
She thought that was pretty cool.

Hope you're all having a great week and enjoying some lovely weather!

Monday, September 6, 2010

ladybugs and poodles and football, oh my!

Saturday was our big party day.  Since our kids' birthdays are so close together (all in 10 days!) we've combined the girls' parties for the past two years.  This year we added Tate to the mix too!

My mom stayed here last week and was a HUGE help with everything!
I don't know how much time she spent pulling pork Saturday morning, but I know it never would've gotten ready in time without her!  Thanks, mom!

Chad and my Dad set up a corner of the yard and blew up balloons and hung them from the trees.

The girls were geared up and ready for their cousins to arrive!

We started the celebration in the afternoon with Tate's first birthday cake that I slaved over.
Okay, so maybe "slaved over" can loosely be translated as "placed an order at the Target bakery and drove all the way over to the other side of town to pick it up and spent a whopping $1.99."  Seriously, if you ever need a little cake, order Target's jumbo cupcake and they'll decorate it for free!

He enjoyed his audience of 4 beautiful little girls who cheered him on.

And the results...
5 messy little fingers!  Which I think is the same as 5 stars!

He also loved his presents.

Then it was time for the girls' celebration.

Addie was talked into wanting decided she wanted a poodle cake.  And since Mommy had seen this one in Family Fun, I was up for the challenge.
Isn't she the cutest little 5 year old you ever did see?  :)

Oh, and did I hear you say you wanted to see that cake closer up?  Good, because you're going to.
It was a pretty easy cake to make although I ransacked 3 area grocery stores and their bakeries looking for a large "S-shaped" cookie for the ear.  Nothin'.  So my mom had the brilliant idea of just frosting a thick piece of cardboard and sticking it on.  Totally worked and nobody even noticed.

Since we didn't need two cakes, I decided to make Millie a ladybug ice cream "bombe" after seeing this pretty little creation in Family Fun magazine too.  It's made of raspberry sherbet and chocolate ice cream.  Yum!
She was pretty excited about it!  Gotta love that adorable big cheesy smile!  :)

Then it was present time for the girls!

These big dollies brought smiles to their faces.


And finally, we ended with a dinner of pulled pork, green beans with bacon and almond slices, potato casserole, tortilla chips and taco dip, grapes and M&Ms!

We had a lot of fun!  Although it makes for a big day, it is kinda nice having all three parties done in one day.  Now I have a whole year before I have to plan another one!  

Friday, September 3, 2010

adeline's 5!

Wow!  5 years old!  Is it really even possible?


If you don't mind, I just might be doing a little bragging in this post.  I've tried so hard not to brag about my kids on here, but I think we can allow it on her birthday, right?  So, I'll just start off bragging right away...

You are so smart!
Seriously.  I mean, you were reading when you were just 4 1/2!


And now you're reading so fluently!  And you pretty much taught yourself.  Sure, I showed you what sounds letters make, and helped you put them together, but once you figured out you could sound out words, you were on a roll!  Just a few weeks ago you read nearly all the way through your Big Picture Storybook Bible in just one day!  Obviously, you LOVE to read!

Not only are you good with words, but numbers as well.  You can count to 301 (and probably even higher if mommy would've had more time to listen...)!  And just last week you told me you could do halves.  So I tested you, "What's half of 60?"  "30!"  "And half of of 8?"  "4!"  Your daddy and I were both very impressed by that!

You love all things girly.
From ballerinas

to princesses



to princesses riding unicorns.


And you know I love it!  It's so fun having a girly girl to get all dressed up with!

But even though you're girly, you also have quite the adventurous side.

Like... riding sheep (and not letting go, even though it was dragging you!)

and exploring in the dirt and digging for worms

and swimming under water!

You love to dance!
This year you got to take your very first tap dance class.  And you loved it!

And you love crafts!
Did I mention that you also like that pose?  (See both pictures above)  If you look through our pictures, you'll find several just like that.  My guess is, you saw a princess posing like that and thought it was a good idea.  :)

You are also a silly little girl!
You love to laugh and make people laugh.  Especially if you know it'll cheer them up.  You bring joy to so many people.

You are such a good big sister!
I mean really.  You put up with a lot from those two!  But you handle it so well.

You love to read books to Millie and tell silly stories and giggle, giggle, giggle!

And you're so nurturing to Tate.  You are going to be the best little mommy someday!

Your daddy and I are so thankful for your influence on your siblings.  You are such a good little girl and you're teaching them well.

But most importantly, you are so sweet.

I mean, too sweet for words.  You have such a kind and compassionate heart.  When you know you've hurt somebody (and of course, it's probably on accident), the first thing you say is, "I'm sorry.  Will you forgive me?" Who could say no to that?  

And you are so sweet because you love God and you want to please Him.  Your prayers are so beautiful.  You care so much about those who don't believe in Him and you pray daily that they will trust Him.  You also really care about those who are sick and you remember to pray for them too.  Sometimes when I hear you pray, it makes me want to work on my own prayer life.  Because you are so genuine and thoughtful.  And sometimes I'm not.

You have taught us so much.  We are so blessed to have you.

Happy Birthday, Adeline!