Sunday, December 23, 2012

The End of the World...

So apparently, the Mayan's predicted that today will be the end of the world. While I don't necessarily believe the Mayan's theory is actually going to come true, I do think this gives us all an opportunity to hopefully look a little closer at how we live our lives each day. I guarantee if you knew, for a fact, that the world would end on a particular day, you would live a little bit differently than you do on a day-to-day basis. You wouldn't take the little things for granted. The things that you normally stress over, whether it be your job, cleaning the house, getting the kids to school on time, or even paying bills, wouldn't matter. I know for me, all that would matter is my family and how I spent that last day with them. I would kiss them every chance I got, hold them extra tight when I hugged them and would make sure that they knew how much I loved them (which I try to do every single day, anyways). I wouldn't stress over the floors that need sweeping or the dishes that need washing... I would run around outside with my kids all day, enjoying the fresh air, while laughing and listening to my children. Sometimes I notice that when my 4-year-old begins to ramble on and on about something, I tend to zone out and focus more on what I'm doing and I just nod and give a random "Oh wow!... really?... That's awesome!"... without really listening to exactly what he's talking about. (I do listen, but I have my moments where I am guilty of not giving him my 100% attention)

So the point that I'm trying to get to is this: Don't wait for something to happen, in order to live the life that you truly want to live. It shouldn't take the fear of the world ending to soak in every sweet, little moment with your loved ones. Tomorrow is never a guarantee for anyone, so live each and every day as if it were your last. Don't stress the small stuff in life, and make sure you have your priorities in the right order. Look to God for guidance and pray in times of need. These are words that I live by everyday and I try my best to live in the moment. It may sound strange, but sometimes when I'm playing with my kids, I imagine as if I'm in the future looking back on it. That way, I feel like I am truly cherishing that one single moment in time, and I spend it in a way where I would want to look back on and say that's exactly how I wanted to spend that time with my kids.

So on that note... when the world doesn't end today, don't look at it as more time to get things "right", but look at it as a new day and a fresh start to make any changes to your life that you feel will make a positive difference in your own life, your family's lives and maybe even a complete stranger's.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

We had our baby girl!

So I know I have been M.I.A from the blog for a while, but that is because we have been super busy at home with the boys and our newest little addition.  Our princess was born on Tuesday, August 7th at 9 o' clock in the evening.  I checked into the hospital the day before I was to be 39 weeks, due to a decrease in fetal movement.  The doctor's concluded it wasn't anything serious once they got the heart rate up on the monitors and did an ultrasound to look at baby.  They would have been willing to get pitocin started to get labor going since I was full term, but when they checked me, I wasn't dilated and baby's head was still way too high up, so as they were about to send me home, they noticed a quick decrease in her heart rate.  They kept me hooked up for another 30 minutes or so to keep an eye on her heart rate and sure enough, it dropped again.  That's all it took for them to realize something wasn't right and the baby wanted out.  So the doctors threw my husband a mask and scrubs and rushed me off to the operation room right away.  YIKES!  I definitely hadn't come in with the mindset that I would be having a baby that evening, much less a cesarean section.  I had a VBAC with my last pregnancy and was planning on doing so again.  But luckily, the operation went smoothly and our baby girl arrived with a super set of lungs and a perfectly rounded head.  Her big brothers adore her and I feel like the luckiest mom in the world.  I couldn't be more excited to have another girl in the house!  I love all my boys more than you could imagine, but it's about time we get some more estrogen in here.

I just can't believe she's already over 3 weeks old!  The time sure does fly.  Especially that newborn baby phase... it goes by in the blink of an eye.  That's why you've got to cherish every precious second with your babies.  I can't believe my big boy starts preschool on Wednesday.  It seems like just yesterday that he was a little, itty-bitty baby.  And my other little guy will be turning 2 in a couple of weeks!  Wait!  Is that?... Yup!  My little princess is now crying for me, so I am off to go feed my munchkin.  But I will be sure to update you all on our latest family excitement!  So be sure to check in! I will also be posting some of the fun pinterest activities that the boys and I have been doing lately.

Welcome Princess!
6lbs 9oz 19 3/4inch
September 7, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

5 Ways to Naturally Induce Labor

Since I have officially hit the 37 week mark and am considered full term (meaning baby is fully developed and ready for the outside world at any time now) I have decided it is time to do whatever I can to help convince this baby girl that it is time to start thinking about checking out of hotel mama.  Don't get me wrong, I love pregnancy and I am all for this baby coming out on her own terms, when I know she's ready, but if I can do little things to naturally help convince her to come out sooner than later, then you better believe I'm going to do it.  With the temperatures rising over 100 degrees this summer and trying to keep up with a 4 year old and a 22 month old, while also making sure the house is presentable, laundry is clean and folded and food is on the table, I am very anxious to get this baby out of my belly and into my arms.

So here are the top 5 ways I've found to naturally induce labor:

1.  My favorite: EAT PINEAPPLE!  This is one of my favorite fruits and I could eat an entire pineapple in one sitting, no problem.  The key is to get only fresh pineapple though.  The reason for this is that pineapples contain a natural enzyme called Bromelain, which is believed to work like a prostagladin and aid in the ripening and softening of the cervix.  If you buy the canned fruit, the enzyme has already diminished and will not help to induce labor.  (You can read more here)

2.  Eat Spicy Food!  Not sure if this one really works or not, but I love spicy food and if it could possibly help induce labor, I'm all for it!

3.  Walk!  As I mentioned before, I have a 4 year old and a 22 month old, so evening walks are my favorite!  We get some nice quality, family time, it wears the kids out before bed and it hopefully gets me a few steps closer to meeting my baby girl.  Not to mention, it helps me get my lazy, pregnant butt up burn some extra calories.

4.  Sex!  While sex is not the most comfortable thing at this point of my pregnancy, it does prove to help induce labor.  Like the pineapple, semen releases prostaglandin, which is said to stimulate the cervix and possibly cause contractions.

5.  Nipple Stimulation!  This is said to produce a release of oxytocin (the body's natural form of pitocin, which is what doctor's use in order to induce labor in the hospitals).  The release of this oxytocin causes contractions and can ultimately lead to labor.  So get to rubbing those boobies! lol

I've heard of others, such as using Castor Oil, but this is not one that I would actually try out, myself.  Although my mom did it with her third and she went into labor that night (after sitting on a toilet for a couple hours first).  Sorry, but flushing out my intestines and causing intestinal contractions is not my idea of a fun labor, but go for it if you're into that).  Other ways that I've read about, but haven't tried and probably won't try, include: Bumpy car rides, accupressure, raspberry leaf tea, Cohosh and Evening Primrose Oil (which are herbal solutions that can help ripen the cervix) There haven't been enough studies done on herbal use during pregnancy for me to trust that these are completely safe and effective, so definitely consult your doctor before using any of these methods).  

Please feel free to share any methods you may have used or share with us whether any of these actually worked for you.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our 4th of July Festivities!

 Happy Independence Day to everyone! I hope you all had as much fun as I did this year! The funny thing is, we really didn't go anywhere or do anything too eventful, which I think is why I enjoyed this 4th of July so much.  Usually we are busy running around to visit the in-laws or heading here for a cookout and there for some fireworks and we have to worry about the kids getting cranky and having to pack them up in the car, only to fall asleep for 30 minutes and then wake them when we get home... But no! We hung at our house this year, just us four (mommy, daddy and the two boys), we did some fun festive cooking together, grilled out in the backyard together, did fireworks and the boys were more than willing to climb into bed without a fight after it was all said and done.

What a fantastic day! We even got to see some fabulous fireworks from across the street that someone must have been doing from the local pool or something.  I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday as well.  It's just a shame that there are still two days left in the work week for those of you who have to return to the office tomorrow.  Oh well, it will feel like Monday, but it's already Thursday! (I try to be optimistic about these things).  But anyways, here are a few highlights from our fun day!

Red & Blue pancakes topped with confectioner's sugar! (They were clearly a hit with my boys)

I put together this fun collage of pictures from my favorite garden, CrystalHill Gardens, named after me!  If you haven't checked out their facebook page, you should definitely see some of the fabulous varieties of daylilies that they have! Be sure to like their page and follow them on twitter for the newest photo updates! 

My boys and I made these fun, festive strawberries as a nice healthy snack this afternoon.  I got the idea from pinterest of course.  Not only were they fun to make and pretty to look at afterwards, but they were absolutely DELICIOUS! (The kids ate them up as soon as I was able to get a picture of them)
 My little cutie pie with his strawberry! (annoyed that mommy had to snap another picture before he could bite into it!)
And last, but not least, here are the boys enjoying daddy's firework display! 
Daddy is a bit of a pyromaniac! lol But he definitely knows how to put on a show for us!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Making Room for #3

I am quickly approaching my 34th week of pregnancy, which leaves me a short 6 weeks until my due date (but neither of my other babies ever lasted that long in the oven).  The closer I get, the more I realize how little I've done so far to prepare for my little girl's arrival.  My two boys (4 and almost 2), will be moving into a room together so that the nursery can be used for the new baby.  So the biggest issue is... well hold on, there's a few issues here:

1. My little guy has been using the crib up until last week, where he finally refused to stay put and would climb out every time I put him down for bed.  So we removed the railing and now gate the doorway so he can't wander out of his room at night.

2.  We are moving the little guy into his big brother's room once the baby arrives, but this room barely has room for a second bed.  If we do get another twin, they will have no room to play in there.  Bunk beds are too dangerous for the little guy, who would probably try diving off the top, toddler beds would be a waste of money because they will grow out of them in no time, which leaves me with what choices really? Hmmm? I need help!

We just moved into this house a little over two years ago and are already growing out of it. Has anyone else had this dilemma, and would you mind sharing with me how you overcame it? I'm just quickly running out of time and ideas. We have a spare "bedroom" in the basement, but it's become my husband's office room and I don't think I would feel comfortable having any of my kids down there alone quite yet.  Ohhh decisions, decisions.  I'm sure I'll figure something out (I better).  But any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Parable of the Twins

I remembered my mom telling me about this when I was younger and I have never forgotten about it. This is such a great parable of twins in the womb discussing their view on life after birth. It makes you think about life after death in a similar way. I just love this, always have and thought I would share it with you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 1: Self Portrait

Okay, so I am no photographer, and I still haven't figured out how to upload pictures from my digital camera to my iPad, so this is what I've got... A picture of myself that I took from my phone! I will need to figure out how to get my photos from my nicer camera on here for tomorrow's picture of the day. I tried taking one on my iPad, but the quality is horrible on here. Oh well... I'll post it anyways.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

30 Day Photography Challenge

Since I've been slacking on my blog updates lately, I decided that it would be fun to kick off my return with this 30 Day Photography Challenge that I saw on Pinterest. Feel free to take it yourself and comment below with your pictures so we can share what creative pictures we come up with! Grab those cameras and let's get snapping!

It's a GIRL!

I haven't blogged in quite some time! We have been super busy with the kiddos and getting all of our spring cleaning done. I guess I've got a bit of the "nesting" instinct going on as well, as we are expecting our third little one in August. The doctors said it looks like we are getting our GIRL this time around, but I'll believe it when I see it. The boy gene seems to be pretty dominant in my husband's side of the family, so we will see... But regardless, we are very excited and can't wait to meet our little bundle of joy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We got a puppy!

Say hello to our newest member of the family: Simon! He is an 8 week old miniature poodle. Doesn't he look just like a little Teddy bear? As you can see, the boys are loving him and quickly learning all about the responsibilities that come along with a pet. I, myself, had forgotten how much work it was taking in a puppy. We (and by we, I mean I) are working on the crate training, trying to keep him on a schedule, and having to wake up in the middle of the night when he starts yelping to get out and tinkle. Kind of like bringing home a baby!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Potty Training tricks

    Since I was one of the first of my friends to have children, I have found mommy friends have been coming to me for the potty training tips since I have already "been there, done that". Since I only have boys, I can really only give advice pertaining to them, although I'm pretty sure my methods would work just fine with either boys or girls.
    I always heard boys were especially hard to potty train, but to be honest, I found it to be very easy and my son caught on very quickly. I bought him a cute little mini potty to put in the bathroom when he was as young as 18 months, not to start training him, but just to introduce him to it and get him familiar with it. At first, he just loved to sit and play with the little handle and pull on the toilet paper holder. After a while, I would just let him run around the bathroom naked after bath time and he finally realized he could sit on it. He would just sit and play with it, or even relax on it while he brushed his teeth (as you can see from my picture above).
    Around his 2nd birthday is when I really started the potty training process. I had heard that bribing with m&m's sometimes worked, but my little guy was much more interested in the sticker rewards. I printed out a calendar with pictures of his favorite Disney characters and bought a few of the 99-cent sheets of stickers from Target (or Wal-mart or any craft store). I taped the calendar on the wall right beside the potty and every time he used it, he got to pick a sticker to put on his calendar. Another helpful trick is to ask them throughout the day if they need to go to the potty. I asked my little guy about every 30 minutes or so for a while, just so he became more aware and had to start thinking about going pee-pee.

    After being so dependent on diapers, I find that they sometimes aren't even aware of when they have to go... they just go. To make my little guy more aware, I would just let him run around the house without any diaper or pants on throughout the day.  I found that this is really what made him realize on his own, when it was time to run to the potty. For some reason, if the pants or diaper was on at this phase of potty training, he either didn't realize it was time to tinkle or he was just a bit more lazy and figured the diaper or pants would take care of it for him.

    So with all that said, I hope this is helpful in some way, during your potty training journey. I had my son fully potty trained and wearing underwear by the time he was 2 1/2 years old. Although sleeping through the night with a dry butt is a whole other challenge. He is now 3 1/2 and we are working really hard to get rid of the night time pull-ups. he loves to have his cup of milk before bed, but the nights that we have skipped the milk and I make him go pee pee before climbing into bed, he stays dry. It's just a matter of getting daddy to stick to his guns and not cave with the bedtime cup of milk to get him to sleep on the nights that I am coaching late. So I will keep you informed on his (or shall I say our) progress.

    Do you have any great advice or tricks for potty training? If so, please don't hesitate to share with us.  Because what works for one kid, may not always work for another.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tornado in a 2 Liter!

Ever since my 3-year-old son saw The Wizard of Oz, he has been fascinated with tornados.  He will go on and on about them if you let him. After watching the Tom & Jerry: Wizard of Oz (which I absolutely recommend for your little one if they aren't quite ready for the real Wizard of Oz), they had a quick lesson and tutorial on how to make your very own tornado at home.  It's super simple, takes seconds to do and results in some fabulous little tornados that will surely fascinate your little one.

Here's what you need:

- 2 empty 2-liter bottles
- a washer (like the ones you can probably find in the garage somewhere)
- duct-tape
- water
* (optional) I put a little bit of blue food coloring and glitter in ours just to give it a little debris and add a little something extra to it

How to do it: (super simple)

1. fill one of your 2-liters at least 3/4 full of water
2. place washer on top of 2-liter opening
3. duct tape your second 2-liter on top of the water-filled 2-liter
4. flip your 2-liters (water-filled on top)
5. help get your twister started by gently wobbling the top bottle in a circular motion and TA DA! You should start to see your funnel form as the water drains into the lower 2-liter!

This is a great little science activity for the kids that will surely grab their attention.  My little guy had me flipping 2-liters for a good half-hour before he decided to take a break.  About 20 minutes later, he was back for more!!  (I had a super cute picture of him that I took on my phone, but for some odd reason Blogger won't let me add it to my post! GRR)

Please share your experiences if you decide to do this activity!  I would love to hear what your little one thought of it!  Have any other fun science experiments that you enjoy doing with your kids?  Please share!