Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Olivia Sleeps?

A couple of weeks ago (so, it took me a bit to gather my proof) Olivia crawled into my bed early one morning.  I did my best to pretend I was asleep but it got harder and harder the louder she herself.  So I finally rolled over and opened an eye just enough to see if she was looking at me.  Of course she was.  Waiting with baited breath to ask me the most important question of the morning.  "Mommy, can you get me some juice?"  Ugh!  Instead of saying what I was thinking, I asked her in the nicest of voices, "Olivia did you sleep good last night?"  She very pointedly answered, "Mommy, I didn't sleep (long pause), I just laid down real hard."  Needless to say I was off for the juice because I was about to laugh til my belly hurt.

So, if you know Olivia she has been telling people from the time she could talk that she doesn't take naps.  She has told me for years now she doesn't sleep at night even...stays awake all night.  So, this latest comment really got me to thinking that she probably does feel like she lays down really hard.  You might feel like that too if you were caught sleeping like this:
at 1 year...

at 4...
Then there was the night I went to "tuck" her in and found this...
Only to realize I passed her as I came down the hall sleeping here...
Yes, behind the chair passed out!
And this was just a week ago...I figured I better get more recent proof for Miss Smarty Pants.  I was starting to think she was getting to be a little more normal until I went in the next night to find her with her feet on her pillow and on top of her completely made bed.  I am not sure who to "blame" for this behavior???

So my dear do sleep...although it is not very do sleep...just a little.
I love you,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Had A Hopping Great Easter!

 It really wasn't until two years ago, when we moved to Texas, that I realized the true undertaking of creating a memorable holiday for your family.  Even after we had Olivia we would still travel home to my Mom's for holidays, since she was only three hours away.  I grew up celebrating holidays with my grandparents and wanted the same for my kids.  So, it was such a blessing that we were able to create those same memories for Olivia for several years.  

My first couple of holidays in Texas, I can admit, did not go over well for me.  It just didn't feel the same and I had a hard time getting dressed up and fixing up the house just for us.  The hardest part was realizing that my kids were perfectly happy and content and really didn't know the difference while I was miserable about the whole thing.  But...I am turning a corner!  I set my mind to Easter being a special time and doing the work to make it extra special for all of us.  We started by decorating our tree with Easter ornaments.
Then I noticed that the top half of lights were not working...but I did not let that get me down.  We sent Daddy into the attic where another set was stored, behind the 500 pound Christmas tree I bought last year :)  He dutifully retrieved them...I am not so sure it was with a smile though...OOPS!

Then, we had another slight issue to take care of.  Because I could not decide on find an Easter dress anywhere for Olivia, we were down to the wire on taking Easter pictures to send out cards.  People...I don't do last minute...I HATE it and it makes me a wreck
nervous.  So, two Fridays before Easter I had planned this extravagant photo session with Fancy and was super excited.  I wake up to cranky pants, Olivia, who is NOT getting her hair done or her picture the last minute.  Addison is so excited and stands poised for hair and dressing up...even though she was a little disappointed when I explained that dressing up was not going to be in the Fancy Nancy outfit she brought to me.  After a major Mommy meltdown that concluded with Olivia not having her picture made and every other stage mom response I could have had---don't judge--I am being honest here---Nate comes home and asks have I seen the weather outside.  Uh, is a beautiful, slightly sunny day.  He explains that he means have I noticed that the trees are about to blow over.  Oh we go again..that is Texas for you.  This is not ordinary wind people.  It is Texas sized wind but I am woman and I am determined and it was the last minute and I had to get those cards out!
So, we were off...with Daddy in tow...bless his heart.  He even convinced Olivia that taking her picture was what she wanted to do.  Here are a few we captured...
 Clearly we have one into posing and the other one...well, not so much.

  Once that was over we were on to the more traditional Easter activities....first we had to color our eggs...I love this part!  Nate is getting more into it every year with a little less focus on the mess!  Guess which egg was Nate's?

Do you see it?  Way back there on the left?

And of course the final day arrived for the bunny to visit us, a trip to church, and Easter dinner!
The Easter Bunny!

The Winston-Salem, NC Bunnies!

The Charlotte, NC Bunnies!

We hope your Easter holiday was as special as ours!

Military Life, Family Life, and A Little Sewing: Home Cookin'...Cause Nothin' Else Tastes the Same

Military Life, Family Life, and A Little Sewing: Home Cookin'...Cause Nothin' Else Tastes the Same: Cheesy Mashed Potatoes...Oh YES we did!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Smarty Pants

So all parents do this and if you say you don't then I am picking my feet up off the floor right now!  We all resort to ultimatums, threats, etc.... when we are  d.e.s.p.e.r.a.t.e  to get our kids to do something.  Right???  Well, tonight I was in The girls' rooms cleaning up and Nate was trying begging them to brush their teeth.  Addison complied and ran into the bathroom but Olivia did not.  Soooooo..... Nate says to her, "Olivia, you need to get in here and brush your teeth or the Easter Bunny won't come."

Olivia looks back at him and very simply states, "That's ok Daddy, then the Tooth Fairy will come."  

Get it???  Miss Smarty Pants herself.  We are in for the long haul!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Want to Save a "Load"?

This thing called budget consciousness was somewhat of a foreign concept to me until I had our first daughter, Olivia.  In my attempt to either A.) be like my mom or B.) impress my husband...I always bought name brand everything.  I mean if I am honest, I could not believe my eyes at times when I would go to my grandmother's house and she wasn't using TIDE and DOWNY...You know...the only clothing cleaners on the market?  Or so I thought.  Among many things that went out the door with my strategically colored hair and manicured nails, when Olivia arrived, was my ability to only see the name brands on the shelf.  I was used to doing three loads of laundry each know...the whites, darks, and sheets with towels.  Yes, I know it is hard to remember that far back now that we are all swimming in laundry daily but there was a time when our clothes bathed in money!

At first I just started shopping around for the best deal on these items that, of course, smelled good.  That is the first qualification don't you know?  For years that is how I rolled.  Yes, I was the one in the laundry aisle opening all of the containers and smelling them...and getting some on my nose.  Go ahead and do it too.  Then I met my friend, Texas Amy...I call her that because she oozes the big jewelry, blingy know...she is Texas and I love it!  Our kids go to preschool together and I was new in town.  In small talk, after we first moved here, I asked her what she had done in her "Mommy Time" that day and she said she had gone to a coupon meeting.  I was hooked.  I had already read two books on this and those books did not tell you how to buy $200 of groceries for $25...but her girl knew the way.  I signed up.  So, we went and it was awesome.  I am still "couponing" today with fantastic savings.  We thought she was so great that we had her come to the local Enlisted Spouses Club meeting and teach her tricks to all the gals.  Well, the giveaway that night was homemade laundry detergent and it smelled gooooood.  :)

With the recipe in hand I was off and I have never, ever turned matter how great that coupon may seem cause guess what?  I make laundry detergent two times a year for less than $15 total!  And folks...I wash a butt load LOT of clothes!  I am talking 4 people and up to 8 or more loads a week...easy.  Oh yes....I can see you scrolling quicker now....your eyes are getting close attention because you don't want to mess this up!  Just is easy as pie...well that might depend on what kind of pie, but for the sake of this we will assume it is an easy pie or you know how to bake really well.

76 oz. of Borax
55 oz. of All Natural Super Washing Soda 
(The soda can be hard to find.  Do not be fooled by the orange box that looks very similar.)
1 bar of your favorite smelling soap
(I happened upon this Zote soap in the laundry aisle and tried it.  You can use any bar but it is suggested not to use a white bar.  Also, I can tell you that my sister-in-law had to always buy the All Free Laundry Soap of whatever brand so she just used the soap for sensitive skin that they bath with and it worked.)
Next, grate your soap with your cheese grater.  Just will be super clean when you are done!  If you go the Zote soap route, you only need half the bar, maybe less...but I am anal and used half even though that was more then a normal soap bar.
After you are done sneezing you will take a long spoon and stir it all together while you think about what you can buy with all of the money you are saving :)
Oooh doesn't it look pretty?

Now, for the dipping part.  The instructions I was originally given were to use one tablespoon per load.  Two tablespoons if the clothes are really dirty.  Um, I have two kids and a is two scoops every time and it still lasts 5-6 months.  I can also say that I pour some Oxyclean or equivalent (on sale and with coupon) into my white loads cause I am anal like that.  I still use some smelly fabric softner, a good smelling one of course.

As I was preparing in my mind about writing this I knew I was going to have the crowd of liquid users who can't remember the last time they poured powder in their washer so I was so lucky when my friend Robynne posted her recipe for liquid.  Click here to see her recipe: Liquid Soap Recipe
Reading through her complete recipe I see she has an idea for fabric softener replacement...maybe I can convince myself soon.

Then I knew there would be the crowd who says, "What about my fancy energy efficient, front loader that says I can only buy the box that cost $15?"  All I can tell you is that I have talked with people who have used these recipes and had no problems, but maybe you spend a few more minutes, instead of the repair bucks, to google this or call the maker.  

So all I have to say to you is Happy Saving or, if you choose, Happy Washing Your Clothes in Money...whichever one floats your boat!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meme + Popi + Dallas - Mommy = FUN!

There are two trips a year to a doctor that I actually look forward to believe it or not.  Because we are based in nowhere land and I, um, "passed" on the o.n.e. dermatology doctor in this town who took my insurance I have to travel two hours away at least twice a year to see the acceptable dermatologist.  This means two things - I have to travel two hours one way and I get reimbursed to ride to a town with out-of-this-world shopping and eating!  So I figured out more then a year ago that if Cowgirl could get a sitter for her kids and Nate could watch the girls I could have a companion on this trip.  Cowgirl was all in and if you only knew the extremes we have gone to to make this work you would either be a mom or you have participated in these extremes for us.  These visits are typically, precisely, 6 months apart and they are on our calendars that far in advance. 

So, about a month or so ago I get an email from my mom who hasn't seen her grand-babies in almost 5 months (a record I am sure) to see if we could meet her in Dallas this past weekend for a rendezvous on her way back from a business trip to Seattle?  Is it so bad to admit that I actually had to think about this for like more then just a minute?  Yes, this was the weekend planned 6 months ago and Cowgirl and I had even planned an overnight!  Like double shopping days...with NO kids!  But as we all know, time with Meme and Popi will outweigh anything except shopping for mommy who has no clothes for her 5 year old for summer because she planned to buy them on this trip because we live in nowhere land.

So, I have this one condition that I have to go to the doctor and then I HAVE to shop.  Oh my how excited she seemed about this prospect.  You know, no mom around to "regulate" anything with the kids or question or say, um, no occasionally.  As we all know that word does not exist in the grandparent vocabulary.  So, her only request was to set up some stuff to do with the girls, which I was happy to do for them.   So, we got all primped to go to Dallas...

Let's see...the girls would LOVE to "eat" at American Girl, which just happens to be located above the store with the five thousand doll items.  Yes, this most definitely sounded like a Meme kind of place.  We could test her "no" know what I mean if you have been in that store. 

Well, let's see that was not going to last forever so in my attempt to book the train from Grapevine to Fort Worth I noticed that Legoland was opening the week before we were to be there.  Yes, no train but we can go to Legoland.  So, off we went from American Girl to Legoland while Mommy would shop.  You must have a ticket to enter so I only got a few shots from the outside.  They were in there for almost three hours of constant entertainment and pure fun!  They LOVED LOVED LOVED this!
These were the animal balloons that came after the train and carousel rides, oh and Legoland???
As we crawled to our car that night I could not imagine how we were going to rest enough for a full day of fun at the zoo the next morning.  We somehow managed some rest and after meandering through the craziness of the Dallas construction we made it to the Fort Worth Zoo! 

Let me just say, the zoo plus 80+ degree weather is not for the weak at heart, especially since the 5 year old was the most tired and needed to ride in the stroller?  Where was her father might you ask...working...and then well... 
not "exactly" working, although he would tell you this is work!

Here I will take a moment to promote a lifesaving will save your sanity, patience, and many more of those annoying endearing moments that you so much look forward to on long trips with your kids.  Books on audio...I checked these out from the local library and they are like MP3 players.  You plug in your headphones and SILENCE!  
I am stopping now because I know you are half way out the door to the library are welcome!

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