Monday, August 31, 2009

What I Learned This Week, Vol. 13



** I learned that Staples charges an astronomical amount to send a fax: $1.39 for the first page and...wait for it...$1.00 per page after that! Holy moly!! So what I really learned is that you NEVER, EVER, go to Staples if you have a 43 page contract to fax to your realtor. And did I mention that the self serve fax won't take 43 pages? You have to go to the guy behind the copy center counter to have him do it. So much for confidentiality. And get this, it takes FOR-EVER. For more than $43.39 in faxing, I expect it NOT to take more than a half hour. Seriously Staples, where's my Easy Button for that?



** Never take a toddler to Staples if you have no intention of getting a cart to shop and have to stand around for nearly 40 minutes to send a flippin fax. She will scream, run around, grab things off shelves, and punch you in the eye when you try to subdue her (or at least corral her in the copy center area).

** I learned that I am SO looking forward to fall! Today's weather was just perfect! Cool morning, sunny day that didn't get above 80 degrees, chilly night. August, with your leaving, will you please take that hot, hazy, humid weather along with you? Thankyouverymuch. If it stays like this for a few months, I will be a happy camper!!

** I think I can get organized! Or at least get to a place where I FEEL organized. And feeling organized to me is so much more important than actually being "organized". I started menu planning this week (step 1). I will buy a small, dry erase board to hang on the fridge to help keep track of the payables (I would have bought one at Staples today, but due to the bendover I got there with the fax, I couldn't justify buying something else). I will buy the calendar at Sams Club that I found that has a place to keep track of each person's activities in your family! Three simple steps is all it takes I hope (for me at least).

** I've been motivated to start working with Jillian more on her vocabulary. I don't necessarily feel like she's behind, because BOY does that chica understand SO much! It's just that when we sit down to read her books, I feel like a lot of them have too many things on one page to really focus her. So I did pick up a box of letter flashcards in hell Staples today. I'm working more on the pictures than the letters on the cards, but I love that there are two sets of cards and they each have ONE picture on them. She's already got a new word: apple! As she gets older, I see more uses for them besides the alphabet piece. I see sorting games, with picking out the cards that have animals on them, and the ones that have fruits on them, etc. I'm not going to stress out with her learning all of the words, but I feel like they're a great tool and Jillian really likes playing with them. See what happens when I read blogs about educating tots and preschoolers?

I think that's quite enough for one week, don't you? Now I want to know what you learned! Head on over to Musings of a Housewife with your post, link up, and find out what everyone else learned!

Friend Makin' Monday!

I stumbled into this meme today and thought I'd try it out; so here goes!



1. Do you cook every night?
I try to cook every night. Doesn't always happen, but now that I've started menu planning, I expect that I'll stick to it better.


2. What kind of laundry detergent do you use & why?
For us, usually Purex HE. For Jilly's clothes, Dreft HE.


3. Do you do laundry every day or loads at a time?
In an ideal world, I'd do a little bit every day. But as reality goes, I usually spend one weekend day doing tons! Like yesterday, I did five loads. But I did leave some for this week. Today I did whites, tomorrow I'll do Jillian's clothes. I'm SO not into laundry.


4. How often do you eat out per week?
It depends on the week and our schedules. Sometimes we have family stuff to do in the evenings, like house-hunting. So if we have something to do together after my husband gets home, we'll eat out. But I'm trying to keep it at a minimum to be more budget-friendly. It does seem to come in waves. We'll eat out one week 2-3 times, but then not again for two weeks. That's for dinner. Lunch is an entirely different story. Jillian and I will eat at Chick-Fil-A once a week, but I will more often run through a drive through while we're out and about.


5. Where do you usually eat out?
Frisco Grille, Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, and a new favorite, Barley and Hops; fast food weaknesses: Burger King and Taco Bell.


6. What is your favorite retail store?
♥Target♥


7. What's your favorite thing to drink?
Diet Coke, beer


8. Do you take vitamins? What kind?
I got in the habit of taking prenatals while I was pregnant and nursed. I kept taking them until they were gone, and to stay in the vitamin habit, I take a daily women's vitamin.


9. What percentage of the household chores to you do?
90%. What percentage of those actually get done though? I won't say....


10. Do your children do chores? {Or will they, did they, etc}
They will. I'm starting to work sporadically with Jillian (19 months old) on cleaning up. Or at least putting things back. Hah!


11. Do you go to church?
Yes, most of the time. We're regular during the school year since I sing in the Chapel Choir, but we're not as good at getting up early in the summer. And I do prefer the early service (UGH!).


12. Do you have a housework schedule?
No...one day, though!


13. Do you keep a working budget?
No, we're pretty bad at that. I have plans to start one this week or next though. Nothing fancy, just a good visual of our types of payables and when each was last paid. I'm thinking a small dry erase board like this on the fridge so that it can be updated each time we pay a bill. If it's not right out in front of me, I totally forget it. And now that John is doing contract work only, I need more discipline on paying the bills regularly.


14. What do you do at night as a family?
We eat dinner together most nights, and usually have movie time between dinner and bedtime. Also, we have a pretty regular Saturday "movie night" that we do later with my stepson when he's with us.


15. How do you prepare yourself for a new week?
Yeah, about that.... I'm not great at this, but I'm hoping that menu planning is a good start for me to get my week organized.


16. What do your mornings look like?
They used to look awesome! I'd get up around 7am and have some quiet computer time before Jillian got up between 8-9am. Now that she's in a big girl bed though, she doesn't go back to sleep in the morning when she wakes up like she used to in her crib. So now she gets up between 6:45-7:30am. Bummer. If she gets up any earlier than that though, I make her go back down, because the earlier she gets up, the sooner she gets cranky!


17. What time do you get up in the mornings?
Oh, oops. I already answered that! Around 7am.


18. What time do you go to bed at night?
Usually between 11pm and midnight. Though I'd love to move that to BY 11pm. Somehow those late hours just fly by!!


19. How do you manage all of the paperwork that floods into your household? {bills, school work, magazines, ads, etc}
I'm terrible at it! I do try to "file" bills (put them all in one disorganized stack) and throw out the junk mail as soon as it comes in. Hoping that creating a visual budget helps me get those bills organized better. If Once we move, I'd like to institute some kind of simple filing system, like bins on a small table near the door for "action", "file", and "read".


20. How do you keep your household organized? {calendars, charts, etc}
I have a calendar on the fridge where I write stuff that's happening that effects more than just me (like Jillian's My Gym class doesn't go on there, but evening things do). I saw a really neat calendar at Sams Club I may pick up though. Apparently it has a way to show commitments for multiple family members. And it's specific for the year with each month (rather the the dry erase types that I've seen before). For my daily stuff, I use Outlook Calendar synced with my "SmartPhone" (which doesn't seem that smart to me).

Feel like joining in on this version of 20 questions to make some friends? Make your list and link up at aefilkins!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday : 8/31/09



I finally broke down and did it. I created a menu plan for the week. I've been trying to get myself to do this for months now, since I seriously have chef's block (like writer's block, only for when you're cooking) several times each week. And we end up with dinners like, um, hot dogs.

So this being my first attempt, I'm not getting super creative. I'm just trying to have a plan in place to cook good food at home every night this week. I even did some prepare-ahead-prep in the kitchen today!

Sunday: Bruschetta Burritos
Monday: Pork chops, with potatoes and a veggie
Tuesday: Chicken parmesan
Wednesday: Meatloaf (loosely based on this recipe)
Thursday: Chicken & Black Bean Burritos
Friday: we are planning on going to my MIL's to get my stepson, so something at her house
Saturday: Homemade Pizza, side salad

I didn't link to most of my recipes because, well, I make most of them up from a variety of things I've tried over the years. But if something sounds good and you want to try it and need to know how, I'll shoot my recipe over to you!

Do you menu plan? Want to check out some other fantastic plans for the week? Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie to link up or read some more!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Homemade Pizza

After being inspired by various bloggers and friends, I decided to make homemade pizza. And by homemade, I mean, from scratch. Well, I got through it almost all the way homemade. I totally want to make my own sauce, but 1) I had half of a jar of pizza sauce in the fridge already, and 2) I've decided that making it ALL at one time is a bit too much for me. I know my motivational limits. I'm going to try out this recipe to pre-make batches of pizza sauce soon (maybe tomorrow!), so next time I'll have it ready to go.

I used this recipe (thanks Emily!) for the crust, and I received two others that I'm planning on trying out. It worked out well, but next time I think I'll add some herbs to the dough.

I picked up a block of mozarella cheese at the store today and shredded it myself. I sliced up a tomato we had from our recent trip to the Eastern Shore. I pulled some leaves off the basil plant I picked up at Trader Joe's this week. And made a tomato and basil pizza. From scratch (almost)! Get this, it not only didn't suck, it was really good!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Big Girl Swing!

My mother-in-law has a nice swing set in her backyard, and when we were over there a couple weeks back, I let Jillian try swinging on a "big girl" swing. She did amazingly well!

What does that have to do with today's post, you ask? Good. Well, I'll tell you. Today we babysat at Nicholas' house and there's a playground in the neighborhood. After his morning nap, we loaded up in the stroller and journeyed over. There were two "baby" swings and two "big kid" swings. When we arrived there was a girl (I say girl here, not toddler) in one of the "baby" swings. She was there with her, I assumed, grandfather. She was at least three feet tall and spoke quite well in complete sentences. Now, I'm no great judge of age, but I was thinking that she was probably big enough to be on the "big kid" swings. Actually, too big for the "baby" swing. But, whatever. I put Nicholas in the available baby swing and put Jillian on one of the big kid swings. Of course, this made pushing them both a bit more difficult, but again, whatever.

As you can see, Jilly loved the big kid swing.


Even after falling off the swing twice (and the guardian of the girl not even thinking to offer my small toddler the other baby swing), she still loved it, dirty knees and all!


So that was today's adventure at the playground. Thank you, other guardian, for being ever so considerate of my little child. At least SHE doesn't act like a baby!

In a completely unrelated note, Tara over at Keeping Up With The Kellys is having a great toy giveaway sponsored by AllChildrensFurniture.com, who carries everything from kids chairs to toys! The giveaway ends at 12pm (noon) EST on September 2nd!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fun at Chez Brenna

This afternoon we stopped by Brenna's (and Amedeo's) house for a bit of playtime. Jocelyn and Denise were there too!

The little ones played in the baby pool for a while.



And they played out of the pool.



Us moms tried to put them all in the swing for a photo op. Jillian and Amedeo were less than thrilled with our brilliant idea. Jocelyn tried the swing out solo with a much better result.



We headed inside after a few mosquito bites a while, and Jillian cranked out a bit. Brenna soothed my cranky toddler by reading a book before we headed to the home front.


Thanks for a fun afternoon Brenna!

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I Learned This Week, Vol. 12: Beach Edition



We spent three days at the beach and I'm still recovering, which means I'll probably have fewer posts this week, but I will chime in on Jo-Lynne's carnival with what I learned from our trip.

**Hurricanes can wreak havoc on the ocean tides, making it un-swimmable. They also produce the biggest waves I've ever seen at our beaches. And they also create the best ocean breezes EVER.

**Hurricanes can also tear up a beach like there's no tomorrow.

**The "new" beach can be just as fun for play though, as Hurricane Bill created a neat stream around the back area of the beach with a big "island" in the middle. The stream kept getting refilled by the waves.

**Jillian LOVES the beach. She loves the sand. She loves the ocean. And most of all, she loves getting dirty.

**Vacations on the "cheap" can be just as fun as the ones that cost tons of money. We stayed at my aunt and uncle's beach house, grilled out for dinner one evening, and had breakfasts and lunches at the house. Total cost for our family of four for three days and three nights: somewhere around $250. (cost included beer for mommy and daddy!)

**Beach chairs are a complete lost cause when you have a toddler. All you do is carry them to the beach, set them up, and carry them back all sandy. No sitting allowed with a toddler who has no fear of the ocean. None.

**Beach vacations are no longer relaxing, in the former sense of the word. Fun, yes. Great memories, yes. Relaxing, notsomuch.

**A ten year old boy will actually tell you what an awesome time he is having if you take him to the beach for his last three days of summer vacation before school starts.

So there you have it: what I learned from our beach vacation.

Did you learn anything that you want to share? Want to read about what other folks learned? Head on over to Musings of a Housewife, link up, and join in!!

And The Winners Are...

I know you've all been waiting for me to announce the winners of the Fiber One giveaway, right? I used random.org's integer generator and it spit out 1, 3, and 5.

The prizes go to:
Emk: #1
Lisa: #3
Melissa: #5

Thanks to all of you for your comments and awesome breakfast suggestions! Congrats winners! Your prize packs will be sent directly to you!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Short Beach Vacation

Friday morning we left to pick up Josh and head to Ocean City for the weekend. Apparently, the weather back here at home was quite wet, but the weather at the beach, save for a rain shower late Friday night and one Saturday, was pretty nice! Did I mention there was a hurricane off shore?

When headed to Ocean City, MD via Rehoboth Beach, DE, where we stopped at the Dogfish Head Restaurant to have lunch and fill up a couple growlers with some beer to take to the beach house with us. We finally got to OC and I sent John and Josh off to the beach so Jilly and I could run to the grocery store and buy supplies (i.e., milk, steaks, etc). We headed off to join the boys at the beach. The surf was REALLY rough from the hurricane, so she and I stayed in the sand. Mostly. Jillian LOVES the beach. She loves the sand and she loves the ocean. She's quite a handful!





Friday evening we grilled out at the beach house and John and I spent some time chilling out on the front deck. Enjoying a couple DFH beers. And the WONDERFUL ocean breeze. It was awesome!

Saturday morning we were greeted at the house by a rainbow!


We arrived at the beach to find half of it washed away. There was a "cliff" from where the sand got washed away near the surf and a big "stream" that ran around most of the beach. So there was a sort of island of beach in the middle. The lifeguards were definitely not letting people swim, and we wouldn't have even tried. The waves were super rough and the spray when the waves crashed was almost twice as high as the waves! The tore up beach was actually pretty neat. It gave Jillian some places to play in the water without me having to worry about her running into the ocean.




Saturday night we drove back up to Rehoboth to take the kids to Funland. I grew up vacationing at Rehoboth and couldn't wait to let Jillian ride some of the kiddie rides they have. She didn't disappoint! She loved riding the very same rides that I enjoyed some 30+ years ago!

Boats (date back to the 1940's)


Fire Engines (date back to the late 1930's)


Motorcycles (early 1970's)

Rocketships (mid-1950's)

Swings (a little newer: late 1980's)

And of course we rode the carousel and played some skeeball. Then ate ice cream cones in the rain.

This morning we had considered a mini-golf outing, but we thought that might be asking a bit much of our unruly toddler. We opted for some more beach time. The ocean was much calmer, though the lifeguards were still only allowing people in to about knee deep. No pictures from today. We just played on the beach, had lunch at the beach house, packed up and headed to church for the annual meeting home. Thanks a bunch to my Aunt Betsy and Uncle Doug for letting us stay at their fantastic beach house!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blah Blah Thursday

Today was my official last day with my part-time job. I have some mixed feelings about leaving, only because I've built good relationships with folks at two of the stores in which I've been working. The company I worked for, ActionLink, does retail merchandising projects for numerous companies in many retail stores. Two of my weekly visit stores have been magazine projects (putting up magazines and getting rid of the old ones).

I've been doing that at Sams Club in Laurel since I was pregnant with Jillian, and the store was nice enough to let me continue to bring her along on my visits. So basically, I've been working with the same few employees every week for the past two years. And they've known Jilly ever since before she was born! I did, earlier this year, purchase a business membership to Sams and have made a habit of shopping for specific things there every week or so, so I will stop and visit with the employees whom I've befriended.

I haven't been allowed to bring Jilly into Joann with me, so they've only met her a few times, but there are a couple employees there that I will keep in touch with. I think I will enjoy visiting Joann much more again, now that I don't go in to do their mags. I LOVE Joann. I LOVE buying fabric. I LOVE quilting. Which, of course, I've done very little of lately. Not due at all to a lack of fabric. It's more a lack of motivation. A special thanks here to my mom who has been coming down once a week to watch Jilly while I've been off working - thanks mom!!

Tomorrow morning, we set off to pick up Josh and head to the beach for the weekend. We haven't really been to the beach this summer, unless you count the Berwick-upon-Tweed detour we made while in England, dipped our feet in the North Sea, and picked up seashells. But that was kind of unplanned. And not really a swimming beach. And not with the kids.

So it'll be a fun weekend of my beach favorites: Dogfish Head beer, grilling out at the beach house, Grotto Pizza, Funland, and mini-golf! Another shout-out of thanks to my Aunt Betsy who's letting us stay at her beach house - thank you!!

Monday we get to meet with our realtor (my uncle) and see a couple of the houses in Frederick that we're interested in. I'm pretty excited about it; even though the house we REALLY fell for is off the market, these two are both great values and I'm already leaning towards one of them. Anyway. After that we've got our second meeting of Pub'n'Talk, which I'm totally excited about!

Also next week, our My Gym classes start up again after a two week summer break. Phew! There have been several days these past two weeks when I wished we had class! Wednesday I officially start my babysitting gig. We'll see how it goes at my house Wednesday. It looks like Nicholas has an allergy to cats, so as of Thursday, I may be sitting for him at his house. Which may be a nice change of pace for Jillian, too. We shall see. Then Wednesday afternoon we are having our first official board meeting for Enercient at our new office space in Clarksville. It'll be great to get us three owners together, make a few decisions to move forward with, and get on the same page.

Ya got all that? Good. Because I might need you to remind me what I've got going on; I've already double-booked myself twice! Oh how schedule changes mess with me!

I'll try to put up a post with some beach pics at some point over the weekend. I will likely be MIA most of the weekend though. If I do borrow my husband's wireless card, I'll probably be doing some fantasy football research, since, well, our draft is NEXT weekend.

If you haven't already, check out the giveaway I've got going on. Make sure you get your entries in by Monday at 8pm and good luck! Happy weekending all!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thoughts on Breakfast...and a Giveaway!

Breakfast around here has become and informal event. Ever since Jillian decided it was NOT okay for me to feed her yogurt, we struggled eating breakfast in the kitchen with her in her high chair. Lately I've been pounding a Carnation Instant Breakfast and giving Jillian a NutriGrain bar or a bowl of Cheerios with raisins and a sippy cup (or two) of milk. I'm not thrilled about not having a "formal" breakfast time, seeing as how breakfast IS the most important meal of the day and all. I like oatmeal, and so does Jillian, but I just don't feel like having something hot for breakfast when it's sweltering outside. So when I got the opportunity to try Yoplait's new Fiber One yogurt for free, I jumped on it. Because we can all use a little more fiber in our diets right? I tried the Vanilla flavor, because I'm a little strange with textures. You know, yogurt that has fruit chunks in kind of freaks me out. Somehow, I just feel like yogurt should be smooth. I like fruit, just not in my yogurt. Same thing with soup. I like soups that are pureed. I don't like chunks in my soup, unless it's a potato soup. Yeah, I'm strange like that. Anyway. I really liked it! In the past I had tried Dannon's Activia and found that it had a different texture than "normal" yogurt. This tasted just like regular vanilla yogurt, one of my favorite flavors! Now I definitely have another healthy breakfast option! And even better, a fantastic snack for that "late-afternoon-I-really-don't-need-to-eat-right-before-dinner" craving. I wish my local grocery store would have had the key lime flavor...how good does THAT sound?

The health benefits of getting enough fiber in your diet are pretty impressive. I knew about the importance of it before, but when reading about them all in one place, well, WOW. I had never even thought about the benefits of fiber reaching to weight management by helping you feel more satisfied and helping to curb your hunger. This is SO a snack I can get behind. And I always feel hungry about an hour or so after drinking a breakfast shake. Ah...something filling in my tummy for breakfast!

MyBlogSpark is giving me the chance to give away a free trial of the Fiber One yogurt to three (3) of my lucky readers! And get this, not only do you get a coupon for a free four-pack of the yogurt to try, you get a gift pack too! They provided me with one, and I was totally impressed. It includes this awesome (this thing is super cool!) insulated lunch bag, a divided lunch tray with lid, a big lidded and measured drink cup with lid, and two sporks (who doesn't love sporks?). I know we'll be using our insulated lunch bad this coming weekend when we go to the beach!


How do I enter, you ask? Because I KNOW you're just clamoring to win this!

It's simple. And I'll even give you the chance to have up to three entries!

First entry: Leave me a comment on this blog and tell me what you and your family eat for everyday breakfasts.

For a second entry: subscribe to my blog on Blogger or through a feed reader and leave me a comment telling me that you're already a subscriber or that you have subscribed.

For a third entry: mention this giveaway and link to it on your blog or on Facebook and leave me a comment with your blog post link or that you FB'ed it.

Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry, as I'll be using Random.org's Integer Generator to pick the winners.

Good luck to you all!! Enter by Monday August 24th at 8pm. I'll be announcing the winners Monday night.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sleep Deprived?

Well, I can't truly say that I am sleep deprived, because one night of bad sleep hardly constitutes that. Last night didn't go so well in the "big-girl" bed. I mean, we've never done this before, so I don't have much to compare it to, but it was quite a night. Let me preface this by mentioning that Jillian is a great sleeper. She's always done pretty well, and for months now, she has been sleeping a good 12-13 hours at night and taking a solid 2-3 hour nap during the day. Seriously, no complaints here!

Last night was a different beast. She went down for me after some fussing, mostly due to her seeing me up the baby gate up at her door. It totally flipped her out and then we spent almost a half hour settling her back down for bedtime. So, nix the baby gate. Because THAT's what I want...a toddler in a bed that she can get out of and come into our room roam the house. Anyway. When she went down the first time, she stayed in her bed for somewhere between 15-20 minutes, then came downstairs. I took her right back up and put her down again. Success! (or so we thought) She stayed down for about three hours! Shortly after I went to bed sometime after midnight, she woke up and got upset. Obviously, the house was dark. It didn't occur to her to come into our bedroom. I finally realized she wasn't going to crawl back into her bed without some assistance. I found her downstairs looking for us. Great.

I stayed up and down (mostly up) with her until about 2am when I gave up and baby-gated her room, hoping that she'd just play in there, or crawl back into her bed, or something QUIET. My wonderful husband took over for me at that point for a couple hours. I went back in with her around 3:45am and got her back down for the rest of the night. Well, for four hours. Ugh! Clearly this made for a sleepy Jillian and a cranky mommy today.

This morning we met up with our mommy friends at the tire playground. I didn't take any pictures, but Lindsey and Emily did - thanks ladies!!

Jillian likes getting dirty. I mean, really dirty. Have I mentioned my dislike of mulch? I hate mulch. It sticks to everything (especially sweaty babies) and has an uncanny ability to get inside diapers.


It was HOT outside today, even this morning! Jillian does some serious sweating, just like her mommy daddy.


As we were leaving the park, Jilly's "twin", Cady, wanted to hold hands. It was SUPER sweet.


After a HOT fun morning playing with our friends, we ran a couple errands and came home for lunch and a nap. Jillian went down for her nap well and only got out of her bed once. She went back upstairs on her own (after some instruction from mommy) and slept in her bed for about two and a half hours. I took the opportunity to catch a couple winks myself. I am going to have a hard time getting used to waking up from a nap with her cute little face looking at me! I really did like those few minutes after waking up to, well, wake up, before going to fetch her out of her crib.

Completely unrelated, but still part of our day, I made a yummy dinner tonight. Thanks Jo-Lynne for the recipe - it turned out great! If any of you out there are interested, the recipe can be found here. The end result was even picture-worthy! And for those of you who really know me, yes, that IS a salad on our plates. And I DID make the dressing myself (pats herself on the back).



And back to that whole baby-likes-to-get-dirty thing...Jillian smeared sour cream all over her face and in her hair. "Why?", you ask? Clearly because we had a shower right before dinner. Nice.


If you followed all that rambling, thank you! I did start the post by describing our lack-of-sleep-night! Check back later this week when I'll be posting something more coherent a giveaway!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What I Learned This Week, Vol. 11

I learned a couple random things this week. Really random. But here we go again!



1. I learned that I can get along with my husband's ex-wife and her family if I have to. If you want to read more about that adventure, you can do so here.

2. I learned that zip-ties are one of the best things EVER to have around the house. What unlikely use did I find for one this week? Toddler bed rail. Yeah, I'm that kind of mom. Go here for a picture of my handiwork.

**ALERT: if you are reading my blog and are male, you may not want to learn what I learned next. Consider yourself warned.**

3. I learned that when meeting a deductible for your health insurance, the full charge for a pap smear at LabCorp is $298. And I thought the pap itself was the painful part. YEOOOWWWWWWCH!

And that's all I've got for you this time around. What did you learn this week? Head over to Musings of a Housewife and join up with the carnival!!

Not Me! Monday - Bedtime Edition




If you read my blog with any regularity (or follow me on twitter, or are my friend on Facebook, etc.), you know by now that Jillian climbed out of her crib for the first time a few days ago. There was no repeat performance, but the thought of her climbing out when she wakes up one day all stumbly and sleepy concerned me.

After getting some good suggestions, from a crib tent to putting her in a big-girl bed, it wasn't me that decided to go with the least expensive (and my least favorite option) and convert her 4-in-1 convertible crib to the "transitional" bed.

It was not me that gave the baby a second allen wrench to "help" mommy put re-construct this thing after nap time today.

It was not me who, when lowering the crib mattress last time, stripped the hex screw on one of the corners.

So with a clearly not stripped screw, it wasn't me that realized it would be impossible to use it as one of the three fastening points for one of the rails.

Got all that? Allrightythen.

That all leads up to it never being me that used a heavy-duty zip-tie to substitute that third fastening point. I would never rig anything like that. Never.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of Jillian's new "big-girl" bed. (If you look really close, you can see the black zip-tie on the bottom corner of the rail at the head end...don't worry, the rail is screwed in securely at two other points!)



Have any "not me's" you're just dying to share? Head on over to MckMama's blog and join in!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Aw-kward!

Today we spent the afternoon at my mother-in-law's house. She hosted a birthday party for my stepson Josh. Really it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but if I had to make a list of my ten favorite things to do, this wouldn't be anywhere on it.

In attendance were...
Me
John
Jillian
MIL & husband Charlie
Charlie's son Joey, Joey's girlfriend, her daughter
John's Aunt Barbara and cousin Stacey
FIL & wife Lisa
John's ex-wife
Ex's father and mother
Ex's mother's daughter from first marriage, her husband, and their daughters
Ex's mother's son from first marriage
Ex's brother
Ex's other brother & his girlfriend
Ex's sister and her niece
Ex's sister's friend of the family
One of Josh's Cub Scout friends

We all joked that we needed a "family tree" with pictures to show relationships!

Thank goodness 10th birthdays don't happen every year!

Jillian played outside pushing her John Deere lawnmower toy that we bought at the fair, swinging on the swings (while I got bitten at least ten times by mosquitos), and apparently picked up some of my anti-social tendencies and retired to MIL & Charlie's bedroom to watch the NASCAR race with Joey, et al, and play on their bed. She had a blast crawling around, covering herself up with the comforter, and pretending to sleep on the pillows. She got my shades at some point and I quickly snapped a picture of the cuteness.


Phew, what a day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This is a Story About a Girl...

...who learned how to climb out of her crib.

Jillian and I went over to Bridgeway's Buck-a-Bag this morning and picked up some good stuff for her for this fall, a sweater for my husband, and a couple tops for me. All in one bag. Which means, the loot cost $1. Thanks for the tip on this Tammy! We then did some driving around and ended up at Babies 'R Us. Don't ask how that happened, but we slipped in to pick up a booster seat for the wee one. I'm not sure how we ever lived without one, but we bought this one and already used it tonight at a restaurant. I have a feeling it will be $23 well spent.

Unfortunately, Jilly fell asleep in the car before Babies 'R Us. Not for long, only about 15-20 minutes. After our shopping, we went to Chick-Fil-A for a big lunch, me hoping that a full belly would help her crash out good for that big afternoon nap when we got home. This was not the case. She "talked" in her crib for a good hour before I decided to lay down. Since she wasn't fussing, I was going to let her have quiet time for another hour while I caught a few quick zzzzzzz. Just as I was drifting off, I felt something around my hair/face. I figured it was my cat and opened my eyes. And there was my precious toddler's face looking at me. My first thought was that I was dreaming, my next thought was that perhaps my husband came home from working while I was sleeping soundly and got her up. But no, reality set in and I realized that Jillian, in fact, did climb out of her crib and come downstairs. Nice.

So now what? Do I wait and see if she does it again? Do I start baby-gating the door to her room just in case? Do we move her into a big girl bed? I was hoping to hold off the transition to a big girl bed off until we move (long story...we haven't found a house, but did find a lender crazy enough willing to pre-qualify us, so we've spent a couple evenings driving around looking...). Clearly, I could have held for my "Need to Know Tuesday" post this week, but I'd like to be armed with some solutions in the event that she keeps it up.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day. My stepson Josh turned the big 1-0 yesterday and we're having a dysfunctional birthday party for him. We're having it at my mother-in-law's house. It will be him, his mom (aka: my husband's ex-wife), his mom's parents, my MIL and her husband, my FIL and his wife, some of his Cub Scouts friends, a variety of other family members on my husband's side (and former side) of the family, and no alcohol. Don't you wish you were me?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fun Stuff!

I spent nap time Wednesday re-organizing our pantry. It's a good sized closet but is set up terribly. Shelves aren't deep enough and the door is one of those hinged doors that pulls out, so NO storage space on it. I took advantage of Target's back to school sales and bought some organization containers. And now our pantry is organized! I put our food storage containers and baby stuff (bowls, sippy cups, bottles, utensils, etc.) in the bottom. My plan was to baby gate it off and hang a couple panels of fabric up as a "door". And of course my spare baby gate is too wide for the doorway. I may scratch that idea anyway and just put up some fabric so it's not quite as obviously a pantry without a PITA door. Jillian clearly enjoys playing with the containers and such that are within her reach!


Today we headed to the Eastern Shore to visit with a friend who has a farm out there. We stopped by the funeral home where I used to work for a quick visit on the way. When we got to the farm, we played in the pool and Jillian did really well! I haven't had her in a pool all summer, but she used a little inner tube (of course I held on to her) and kicked her little legs and paddled her little hands. It was great! No pictures, I was busy keeping my hands on Jilly. Then we had a yummy lunch during which Jillian had a major temper fail. She must've seriously tired herself out in the pool, because she was asleep before we were five minutes away and slept the whole way home. We were going to stop by the Queen Anne's County Fair on the way home, but her attitude indicated to me that I should probably just let her sleep. She slept a little when we got home, too. After her nap, we laid low and I let her watch her new favorite movie "Babe". Clearly she was still a bit on the tuckered out side!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Day in the Life of...

...us. Well, a couple days really. At the end of last week, I gave my two week notice at the part-time job I've been doing for almost two years. Phew! I've not really been happy there it for months now, but it has been flexible and provided us with just that "little extra" we've needed to make ends meet.

Starting at the end of August I will be babysitting two days/week (Wed & Thur) for a friend of mine's eight month old baby boy. Actually, it ended up starting this week due to her current sitter being sick. So I watched Nicholas on Tuesday and I will watch him again tomorrow afternoon for a half day. I'm very excited about this opportunity! It will give Jillian a chance to be around another baby regularly. Note that I said "baby" here...I want Jilly to learn to interact with a baby younger than her since I'm starting to have those "I want another one" pangs. She did wonderfully on Tuesday. I was VERY proud of her. This opportunity also allows me to stay at home 'for real'. Instead of running from store to store a couple days a week. Even though I will still have plenty of running to do, at least it'll be for "fun". And lastly, I'll be making more money doing this than I was before. So it's truly a WIN for me.

For those following the house saga, it looks like we're going to be where we are for a bit longer. I mean, there's always a chance that something could come through with financing, but in our current situation with John working part-time, and now contracting only, it just doesn't look good from a bank's point of view. And besides that, *sniff* the second house we looked at that we prematurely fell in love with is off the market. I knew a place like that wouldn't last at such a low price. I know that there will be another place we fall in love with and it will be the right home for us, but for now, in our townhouse we will stay.

What that means for me is...fall cleaning. I took advantage of the back to school sales at Target today. They have all of their storage stuff on sale and I took advantage of Jilly's nap to clean out and organize our pantry. I already feel better. I sure do love throwing stuff away! I also organized the cabinet under the sink. Oh yes, MUCH better now! And since I started, I must finish the kitchen. By this time next week, I'd like to have all our kitchen cabinets cleaned out and organized. I can't wait already!

We also took a trip to Sherwin Williams this morning to pick up some paint samples and figure out what color schemes to choose for each room. I want to paint our bedroom, the living room, and the bathroom first. Then I'd like to do the kitchen. And Josh and Jillian's rooms. Of course, while painting is the easiest and cheapest way to give an interior a face lift, it's still not SUPER cheap, so I will tackle one room at a time as our cash flow allows. And as my mom is available to keep Jillian for a day here and there. Because I'm guessing that toddlers and painting don't mix.

I'm totally missing my mom friends since last week I had a vehicle fail and this week I babysat spur-of-the-moment, but hopefully next week will less eventful. Thank goodness for blogs so I can at least keep up with what's going on!

In a nutshell, that's what we've been up to. Just so ya know.

Wordless Wednesday

The Stills



The Videos (no toddlers were harmed in the making of these films)


Monday, August 10, 2009

Blocks

Jillian hasn't been much into blocks until recently. Now she's figured out how to stack them...and knock them down. What fun!