Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I haven't shared a recipe in awhile so I thought I would post one of my favorite appetizer/snack recipes.

Mexi-Tortilla Rollups

2 pkgs cr. cheese
1 small can gr chilis diced drained
3 TBSP Pimentos diced
1 pkg ranch mix
- mix together - spread on tortillas & roll - refrigerate for an hour or two til firm then cut into 1/2-1in rolls. You will need to cut off the ends (and eat them). YUM!! Goes great with any Mexican meal or anytime! Love it!! This is one of my favorite dishes to bring to pitch-ins. Its always a popular at parties!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Boys

The latest on Nate:
He is very excited about the baby coming. He has enjoyed being able to feel the baby kick and even hugs my belly goodnight. Sometimes Nate seems like such a big boy! And other times... I'm very aware that he is every bit of four years old!
Nate-isms: Nate says the funniest stuff sometimes. If you ask him how to spell his name he will say: "N-A-T-silent E." How cute is that? ;-) When we're getting ready to go or piling out of the car I will ask Nate "Are you ready, Freddy?" and he almost always replies "I am, Sam".
Most mornings Nate wakes up around 7:30am, gets up and closes our bedroom door and plays quietly with his legos in the game room for awhile. Ah... I love it. 1- it lets me sleep in(or at least stay in bed) a little bit. 2- I get out of playing legos! ;-)
Nate and I have been able to have a little more time alone together with Joe in school. We usually take that time to go to the library or park. Its nice only having one kiddo to keep track of - but I'm constantly reminded that luxury will be short lived!
Nate is full of energy and does not fully understand why I cannot always keep up with him lately. He wants me to climb to the top of the play ground with him and that just isn't going to happen right now.

Joe Update:
We switched his school schedule to Mon, Wed, Fri instead of every day. He was not doing so well with missing naps all week long and therefore I was not doing well. ;-) It has helped our week to go alot smoother cutting back to every other day. He meets with his therapists at school on Wed and Fri so he's not missing any actual therapy time. He's still pretty tired in the evenings on school days but at least he's getting naps(and occasionally sleeping in) every other day to help compensate and get the proper amount of sleep.
Joe has continued to become more mobile. He is now doing a sort of "bunny hop" to get around. He'll lunge forward onto hands and knees and then pop his knees forward and then lunge again, repeat, etc. He's become more actively interested in both his toys and just getting into stuff in general which I have to remind myself is a good thing. ;-)
Another cool thing is we have noticed Joe combining signs. At meal or snack time he has signed "more" and "drink" back to back and then a moment later he signed "more" and "eat" together. Its not super consistent yet but I have seen him do it on multiple occasions. Any progress in the area of communication is huge for him (and for my sanity).
It is difficult having a non-verbal three year old who is basically developmentally the equivalent of eight months old (give or take). He has progressed enough now that he actually has an opinion but not enough to actually communicate what that opinion is. So we have been dealing with more temper tantrums from him that are probably mostly out of sheer frustration that he cannot express his wants, needs and feelings to us effectively. I've had a few meltdowns myself over his lack of ability to communicate. But we are thankful for the progress that he is making in this and other areas.

Both boys have transitioned into "new" beds this past week. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that Nate was still in a toddler bed until a few nights ago. I'd been scouring craigslist for the past several months for bunk and/or trundle beds and when I was lucky enough to find something in our price range it was already gone by the time I tried to get it. So, when my sis-in-law offered their old trundle to us for a good price I jumped at it! Nate is happy to be in a real big boy bed and Joe is handling the switch to the toddler bed well. We'll probably move Joe to the trundle after awhile but figured he'd do well having an interim period with the toddler bed. Their room is not very big so it will be nice to eventually only have the twin bed in there. I was pretty pleased with the deal I got on the two twin comforters. They were originally $45 each but I got them on clearance for under $9 each! Yeah for Walmart clearance! ;-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Third Trimester Thoughts...

We had our home visit with our midwife and doula. We have all our supplies set aside. The baby has "dropped" and I think we're about as ready as we are going to be. I keep telling friends and family that I'm ready to be done being pregnant but I'm not sure I'm ready for the baby to be here! But ready or not, at 38weeks we are now mere couple weeks (maybe even days ;-) away from the arrival of this baby. It really is an amazing thing, being pregnant. I mean, think about it... I have a living being growing inside of me right now. How awesome is that?!? ;-) While I may not be 100% confident about the appearance of my body any time much less right now, I am however in awe of my body's ability to nourish and grow this little person inside of me. What a huge blessing and responsibility God has given me. And I'm so anxious to meet this new little person! I can't wait to hold him or her in my arms and hug and cuddle them!

We are a bit unconventional in our birth plans. For those of you who don't know - we are home-birth people. We had planned on having Nate naturally in the hospital but that did not go as hoped and ended in what we believe was an unnecessary cesarean. I had a hard time with it physically and emotionally. So when we got pregnant with Joe we found a Certified Nurse Midwife in our area who attends homebirths. We had a much healthier experience staying home for Joe's birth. We were so happy with our homebirth last time that we naturally are planning another this time. *Below is a picture from Joe's homebirth in '07

Choosing to have a homebirth is not a decision that we made lightly nor do we recommend it for everyone. But after all of our reading and research it is what we believe to be the healthiest option for us. Hospitals tend to treat pregnancy and birth like a disease to be treated and use many interventions that are unnecessary and sometimes harmful to mom and baby. The cesarean rate in hospitals is rising. Up well over 30% in the US even though cesareans are often more risky for both mother and baby than a vaginal delivery. Doctors are often taught what to do in extreme circumstances - not how to help a woman give birth to her own child. Midwives however are specifically trained to do just that: help with normal healthy deliveries in a natural way. Anyway... while I can easily get on my soapbox for several posts... I will reign myself in and just say I wish more women would consider their options when it comes to childbirth instead of blindly going along with whatever their OB says and not researching and deciding for themselves what is best for themselves, their child and their families.

Something I find helpful especially toward the end of the pregnancy and even during the labor to use positive affirmations to keep my mind from being distracted by the negatives and the "what ifs". Here are some that I thought I'd share.

Pregnancy and Birthing Affirmations

My belly is full of light and love.

I am a strong and capable woman.

My cervix is firm and strong to hold my baby safe.

I am strong and calm and beautiful.

Birth is a wonderful, safe experience.

My body knows exactly what to do.

I am surrounded by loving, nurturing support.

I fearlessly surrender to the power of my body.

My body knows how to birth my baby.

I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.

Untapped sources of strength are available to me.

I am focused on a smooth, easy birth.

I trust my body to know what it is to do.

I welcome my coming labor as the perfect one for me and my baby.

My mind is relaxed, my body is relaxed.

My muscles work in complete harmony to make birthing easier.

My cervix opens outward and allows my baby to ease down.

I choose a gentle and natural birth.

My body knows exactly what to do.

Each surge of my body brings my baby closer to me.

I put all fear aside and welcome by baby with happiness and joy.

I deserve and receive all the love and support I need.

Also here are a few encouraging scriptures that I found to meditate on:

Psalm 34:19 -A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.

Psalm 16:11 - You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Lamentations 3:25 - The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.

Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

SIDE NOTE!! I also wanted to announce the winners of my blog party giveaways. First is the random drawing for the Mommy Makeover kit including a book, workout dvd and a protein bar and that goes to Amanda at One Day at a Time. The other was a scrapbooking grab bag for the best party story and that goes to Jen at Creative and Curious Kids for sharing about the awesome fairy party she put together for her daughter! Loved it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Its Ultimate Blog Party time again! In case you didn't know... I enjoy parties. All kinds: Christmas, birthday, whatever. I like getting together with friends and enjoying eachother's company and having a good time. Who doesn't like that? So - if you're stopping by for the party or just checking in I'd like to ask that you humor me by participating in my personal blog party here. I'd like to get comments from my visitors telling me about some of your favorite party memories. Here, I'll go first:
My parents have been in the party business almost as long as I can remember. We've always been a single income family and with five kids growing up that made money tight. So my mom did a few things on the side for a little cash to help make ends meet. One of these odd jobs was becoming a clown. ;-) Seriously. She was not a character clown that entertained kids. She was a talent clown - she was a great balloon artist and face painter. She did birthday parties and company picnics, etc.
That is how it started anyway. Then a few years later we bought a pony. We couldn't really afford to feed an animal all year 'round so we had to find a way for the "pet" to pay for itself. So, we started offering a clown & pony ride package deal for parties. Then later we added a moonwalk to the mix. And then another. A few years go by and business is booming. We had parties back to back almost every weekend spring through fall. Now, years later they have revamped and are now doing more high-tech amusements for a whole new crowd of party goers. Times are changing!
It was an interesting and unique way to grow up. Going to other people's parties all the time - and only occasionally having one of our own. I think seeing many parties being so over-done helped me to appreciate our own low key celebrations even more. But it was extraordinary too, being able to help so many people celebrate their personal special occasions. What a blessing!

* What is a party without some prizes? Here is a list of my Blog Party Prize Faves!

US6 – Hand Stamped Personalized Necklace valued at $48 The Double Stacked A Lot Of Love.
Provided by: Kristen’s Custom Creations

US17 – Transform your images, your albums and your life with a total of 3 prizes for aspiring photographers and creative women… a copy of photo book Camera Creative, a copy of Found Art, and the big whopper of a Real Women Scrap pack including a Real Women Scrap TV DVD, Real Women Scrap (the book), a Real Women Scrap t-shirt, and a special notebook.
Provided by: Tasra Dawson of tasra mar | transform – your images, your albums, your life

US38 – New Mary Kay Fragrance Free Satin Hands Set for one winner. Provided by: Jasmin Collier & Tamisha Mays

US51 – Two winners will receive a lillebaby EveryWear carrier - Provided by: Scandinavian Child

US53 – 20 full-size sippy cup labels, 60 mini waterproof labels and 2 bag tags will go to one lucky winner! Provided by: Sunshine Paperie

USC 3 – A $50.00 Target Gift Card. Provided by: Peggy Gorman

USC 43 – Prize value: $100. One winner gets to choose 3 meal time plate setsProvided by: Olive Kids Direct, LLC


I'll be doing a couple of giveaways of my own. I'll do a random drawing of the comments on this post at the end of the blog party and that person will receive a copy of the book Total Mom Makeover by Hannah Keeley, a workout DVD and a protein bar from Melaluca.
And for the person with the best party story I'll be giving away a scrapbooking grab bag. I'll be including some rubber stamps, rub-on embellishments and some surprise goodies!
SO... please comment away! You don't wanna miss out on a chance to win! If you are not a blogger you must leave your email address in your comment to qualify for the giveaways.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Steps to Developmental PreSchool...

The week before Joe's birthday was our last week of First Steps therapy. sigh... I will admit that there were a few tearful goodbyes (and not just tears from the pregnant lady) as we shared our last therapy sessions with the therapists that we have had for around two years now. I have spent more time with these wonderful therapists than I have with some of my friends. They have all four (physical therapy, occupational therapy, developmental therapy and speech therapy) been a huge blessing to Joe and us as a family. They are all very different and I love that about them as I was able to connect with each one in a unique way. I am hopeful that we will continue to keep in touch over the years to come.

Monday was Joe's first day of school. And as we dropped him off for his first day... I'm thinking "Ah! Its hard to believe that he is going to school now. He seems so little and so big at the same time!" We only dropped Joe off - did not stay in class with him - so the following pictures are from when we visited the class a couple weeks ago. He participated rather well in "circle time" and quickly learned to activate a communication device by pushing a button when the teacher's aid held it out to him. And Joe doesn't learn anything quickly so it was great to see him pick it up so promptly.There were lots of new things to see and do, he was trying to take it all in. I had been afraid that he would be clingy and get upset wanting to be with me but he took to the new environment rather well. He was curious about the other kids and activities going on.We've had pretty good reports from the teachers come home in his back pack. But I think they would agree with me when I say it is and will probably continue to be a challenge shifting around Joe's schedule. He is so used to taking a good afternoon nap (usually from 1p-4p) and now he is in school at that very time. There were no openings in the morning class this late in the year (but he should be able to be in the AM class in the fall). When I have tried putting him down for a later nap he still wants to sleep about as long which puts him waking up at dinner time. Not ideal. So we're going to try going without a nap at all and see how that goes. He seems to get cranky for awhile but get a second wind, and he seems to fall asleep quicker at bedtime when we skip the nap altogether. So... we'll see.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cutting the Clutter

I will admit that I am a mediocre housekeeper. I like to think I while I am not a neat freak or a clean freak - I think that I keep our home manageable and comfortable. But occasionally clutter takes over. Not usually the whole house... but sometimes a room or nook get over-run with miscellaneous stuff (or junk) that we don't need. In the past few months the room that has become the catch-all room was the music room - the room, the closet, it was stuffed full of big and little items that we didn't know where else to put or what to do with. This room used to function as a music room. But it gradually lost its purpose and recently has been reassigned a purpose as "future baby's room". So the time had come....While I have not been taking pictures to document the process (a little embarrassing maybe ;-) after seeing MoneySavingMom's clutter challenge I decided it was worth sharing. Over a period of a few weeks my husband and I have both taken part in purging unneeded items from this room. Here is a list of a few things that had accumulated that we no longer used or needed: two lamps (they are no longer needed since my hubby and a friend installed overhead lighting in the upstairs rooms), two bar stools, one wooden armchair, some old sewing stuff from when my college friends and I were into Renaissance fairs briefly, several picture frames, a couple artificial ficus trees, a foot spa (a gift from my hubby a couple Christmases ago... nice but rarely used - sorry honey, I'd rather spend the money to go get a pedi! ;-), several toys, some scrapbooking stuff that I no longer use, even my hubby decided to get rid of a guitar, etc, etc, etc. We are not done with this room but we have made a significant dent in the chaos.
Now I want to share the several ways that these unneeded items have been dealt with. There were a few items sold (the stools and scrapbooking stuff = $75) on craigslist.com, some was taken to Good Will, the toys were taken to a children's resale shop = $45 and a bunch was donated to a yard sale fundraiser for some friends who are adopting two brothers from Ethiopia (and any leftovers from that yard sale go to our church yard sale to benefit the youth group). I say all this to remind you to be creative when decluttering your own home. There is more than one way to get rid of stuff - er, um, I mean find a new purpose for your unused items. ;-) A couple other suggestions are: freecycle.org, find a local shelter and see what their current needs are, have your own yardsale, or send out an email to your friends and family see if anyone needs anything that you are getting rid of.
Please leave me a comment and let me know how you find a new home for your unneeded clutter items!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Blessings & Scrappings

For all you Sunday Scrappers... Here is my Ta-Da: I was able to get one layout this week. It is not a great pix but I'm too lazy to take another one. ;-)
My To-Dos are: I'll take what I can get! I hope to be able to scrap a bit this week but who knows. This is a busy time for us: Joe is starting developmental pre-school tomorrow, we're doing alot of spring cleaning (and donating a bunch of stuff to a fund raiser garage sale for some friends who are adopting from Ethiopia), we're days away from being "full term" so we could potentially be having the baby soon...

In other news... yesterday we were blessed with a fun day of Easter celebrations with our church and family.
Two Easter Egg Hunts in one day was plenty for us! No more candy, please! ;-)
While we go through the motions of egg hunts and such, I want to take moment to focus on the real reason that we celebrate Easter. So, here are a couple bible verses to think about. *these are all from the New Living Translation.

Matthew 27:50-53 - And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Romans 1:4-5
- And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

Philippians 3:10-12 - I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

1 Peter 1:3
- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Lego Nate

As I mentioned in a recent post Nate is obsessed with Lego Star Wars the video game. He would play with Isaac all day long if he could. He talks about it all the time. He knows all these characters and their powers, etc. Sometimes it amazes me how much information he retains. I am pretty sure it is only a matter of time before he is smarter than me. ;-) While I have not been super consistent in doing "school" with Nate this year it is obvious that he is learning all the time. We go to the library and read together often. We do the occasional craft project together. There are a few educational websites that he is allowed to play games on - I'm pretty sure Nate is more computer savvy than some of his grandparents already. ;-) He can read simple books and do some simple arithmetic. Nate has inherited my brother's old Legos and he will spend hours building and creating vehicles and space ships and who knows what else. He is very curious and asks questions constantly.
I have been finding this stage to be a mixture of exciting and annoying. Along with being very smart, Nate is becoming more opinionated and defiant. He often asks a question and only to decide he doesn't like our answer and say that we are wrong. Not cool. He will decide that he doesn't like my agenda for the day and insist he has his own plan. Does not work that way, buddy.
Nate is becoming more helpful (sometimes) and in particular he helps me keep Joe from getting stuff he shouldn't now that he is so much more mobile. We have explained that Joe learns things differently than other kids and that is why he gets therapy, etc. But really we have attempted to not draw a whole lot of attention to Joe's special needs. So, given what Nate is used to at home he carries that over when he is at his cousins' house playing. When Nate seeing our 2yr nephew playing with "big boy toys" he tries to be helpful and take them away like he does with Joe. He is not making trouble, he really is trying to look out for the little guy. He does not really understand that other kids younger than Joe can do more than he does and play in ways that Joe cannot. I am not sure what to do. I don't want Nate to continue treating other kids like they are babies. However, I don't know if I want to explain completely how different Joe is to Nate at this age. Obviously he will know, there is no avoiding it completely. But I would rather wait until he is older. I want him to see Joe as Joe: his brother that he loves and adores and plays with... not Joe: his brother who is special needs and will always be different from other kids. Is that so bad? ** pictured below is Nate helping at snack-time by giving Joe a "choice" between his drink and a cracker.Even with the frustrations that come up in our daily life, I am trying to really drink in and appreciate all the joys and precious moments that also come with this phase as I know things will be changing soon when the baby arrives. I want to give my boys as much of my time and attention that I can now because its only a matter of time before I have another kiddo to need my love and care.