June 23, 2008

Sara's First Haircut

Forgive me for the posting of old news but Sara got her very first haircut EVER last month...She got about 8 inches of sweet baby curls cut off. Right before my very eyes she's making the transition from toddler to pre-schooler...in her looks, in her interests, and in her behavior. We are so blessed!

Garden Update

Spring is my most favorite season. I love the break from the long cold winter. I love how everything slowly comes back to life. I love the vibrant colors of Spring found in new leaves, flower blooms, and growing grass. Recently, alternating bouts of heavy rain with warm sunny days have really made everything in my garden just explode! The incredible rate in which everything seems to be growing has really caught Sara's attention. She often asks to go watch the garden grow. The past few weeks almost makes it seem like you could see the plants actually growing if you stood there for a minute! Sara is learning that plants need sun and rain in order to grow. I tell her this is just like her needing food and rest to grow. We checked out a book from the library called Inch by Inch that is a sing-song rhyme about growing a garden. She can practically sing the whole thing by herself. We sing it together when we are working in the garden or flower beds.

Here's how my garden looks now...please don't mind the decking materials, etc, in the background...that may be a topic for another post. Remember that my garden is only 4ft by 8ft and that I loosely plant according to the Square Foot Gardening method. According to this method, I really could have fit a lot more plants into my garden...I just ran out of ideas and the stores' supply dwindled as I decided I really could fit some more.

Here's an inventory of what I planted this year...
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 bush cucumber
2 bush beans
2 yellow bell pepper
2 red pepper
4 green pepper
3 cherry tomato
6 regular tomato
5 okra (1 of one kind and 4 of another)

Oh, and GREAT news! My sister-in-law has caught the gardening bug too! I am looking forward to her success!

June 20, 2008

Babyhawk Carrier

I am so crazy for my new Babyhawk baby carrier! I ordered it upon the recommendation of a friend who blogged about it here. Since it is pricey, I knew I needed to try it out first before I shelled out the cash...it was a big hit! Rachael fell asleep in minutes! Maybe it was just timing, but any Momma can appreciate a device that will sooth those little ones into a snugly slumber. I raced home and ordered my very own the next day. Since I HAD to have me one IMMEDIATELY because of its sleep-inducing properties, I chose one of the patterns they had in stock. For those who can stand to wait two weeks, the company has a great selection of patterns to choose from.

This is Maria and I with our youngest babies.

Here's another thing I just love...I can just as easily carry my 2 1/2 year old as my 8 month old. Either child does equally well on the front or on the back.

So if you are a new Mom or a Mom to many little ones, give yourself a treat and check out the Babyhawk baby carrier!

June 19, 2008

Give Her Time

Yesterday, my sister-in-law and I were chatting and she asked me what I would do with a time all to myself. My first thought was that my husband had put her up to it so she could report back and he could surprise me with a great day out. While that would be nice, that wasn't at all her motivation for the question...at least I don't think so. She really, truly wanted to know. What would I do with time all to myself?

A great question from a Mom to another Mom. I admit it...I sometimes feel desperate for time alone. Sometimes I feel exhausted, emotionally spent, and behind on almost everything in my house. (The being behind part is more than a feeling...it's REALITY!) But even as I daydream about how nice it would be to have Scott send me out of the house with instructions not to return till after nap times, I am struck with a sense of loneliness. I simply adore the company of my children. They are sweet and energetic, funny and inquisitive. They make sure my full attention is on them...exactly where it should be.

But lets face it, there are things that are easier done sans 2 year old and 8 month old. Should the opportunity ever arise for a several hour period without children and I enter a bumbling state of deliriousness in my driveway at the endless possibilities, I have made myself a list of possible ways to spend my time...
take a quilting class (I actually checked into this one but it will have to wait till fall)
browse the library (My current strategy is to request books online and pick them up right as we are breezing through to check out the last unchewed cardboard book in the county!)
try on clothes (Though I have to admit...watching Sara try on my-sized bathing suits with me the last time I attempted clothes shopping with kids was awfully cute!)
clean my house with no one else there (Would this even make a difference? I'm willing to think it might!)
grocery shop (No more super duper school bus cart for me...it's the four wheeled cart or BUST!)

How do you spend your time away from your children?

June 16, 2008

Budget Busters or Blessings?

Budgeting is something I have never really had to do. There always seemed to be enough money to pay the bills, and that was all that mattered. Money came in. Money went out. Not a whole lot went into savings, but we were getting by very comfortably.

Around the beginning of this year, we had decided that the fact that we were still paying on school loans given our income was kind of silly and we really just need to get rid of them. To that end, we have been making substantial additional payments each month. I am proud to announce that we paid off Scott's loan as of last month! WOOHOO, does that ever feel good! We still have two of mine to go and I was all ready to put the additional monthly payment toward the next loan...but...

we had a car scare on the way home from a trip to NC two weeks ago...think 105 degree heat, I-95, no AC, a car that won't go above 30, a toddler, and a baby. You get the idea...not pretty. The car that we were planning to replace in about a year became the car that now must be replaced in a month.

Fast forward through an entire week of car dealership hell...don't get me started--I don't even want to go there...and we are now the proud new owner of a 2005 Ford Expedition.

Sooo, now the real question comes back to the budget...you remember, that never-to-be-written-down style of financial planning that has sufficed for the first 5 years of our marriage...I think I might have to pick up the pen and paper and do some work. Can we manage the car payment in addition to the additional payment we are sending to school loans? Are we willing to give up anything to continue to afford both? How in the world were we even doing the extra payment before?

I am a truly blessed person to even be faced with this dilemma...as I write down a budget for our family for the first time in my life, I will be in thankful prayer to God, asking for the best way to use the blessings He has provided.

My Daddy is...

I am not one to buy cards for really any occasion. I would much rather put the several dollars toward to present. My Sweet Sara, however, just loves to pick out cards (read: rearrange the cards and throw as many as possible into the cart). A quick trip to the grocery store turned into a time management black hole as I set to indulge her in choosing a card for her Daddy for Father's Day. She found a card with a cute little animal on the front...it said Daddy is my HERO! Good enough so far. Below it there was a place for the child to fill in the blanks...think Mad Libs...here's what Sara came up with...

My Dad is...
stronger than a puppy dog.
smarter than a toothbrush.
braver than a lion.

So there you have it...according to Sara, Scott is officially smarter than a toothbrush!

June 9, 2008

May SHARE Package

I have talked in posts before about the SHARE Food Network so I wanted to share with you what came in the SHARE package for the month of May. Yes, I know that was soooo last month, but better late than never, right?! The first pic is the regular package, and the second was their monthly special. The food in each of the pictures costed $18.00 a piece, for a total of $38 for all the food pictured.

The distribution site is a church about 25 minutes from my house. A very nice gentleman always meets me at the door of my car to help me shuttle the girls inside and then helps me carry the food/kids back out to my car. Cheap food and great service...you can't beat that! Well...maybe cheap food, great service, and a more timely post about the whole experience might be better :) I will work on that for next month, as well as I am hoping to begin a series on how I incorporate the food I get through the SHARE program into our menus throughout the month.

Word of the Day: Foodtude

food·tude (noun)
a negative or hostile state of mind due to lack of adequate sustenance

Readers beware, I am often prone to foodtudes...so much so, it seems, that this state of being got its own new word in the English language courtesy of my dear husband.

The first step in dealing with something is to give it a name...

June 4, 2008

Port Discovery Pics

Several weeks ago, I took the girls to Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore. I was loving how even Rachael had a great time! I was afraid she would still be too little. And of course Sara had a blast as usual! Enjoy the pics!