Wednesday, August 25, 2010

(Hopefully) The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

Disclaimer: Jessica is not hitting John. She is actually patting him on the head!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Going on a Trip, and I'm Going to Take....

Remember playing that game as a kid? Where you take something that begins with every letter of the alphabet, and you have to remember all of them at the end? Well, I don't think we are going to be able to pack quite that much in our Firebird! We will take: clothes for 4 people (adults get 5 full outfits, kids get 10), MANY cloth diapers, a camera, tools (to fix the car...just in case), multiple carriers for the kids, the netbook, and that's it! My mom already has some space set up for the kids to sleep, and we will not bother with any gear. When Jessica was a baby, I would also take a pack-n-play because you had to lay her down and leave the room or she would not sleep. John I could lay down on a towel to sleep, but since Mom eventually bought a pack-n-play for Jessica, John can just use that. Jessica has some special accommodations set up just for her! More on that later!

Keeping Kids Entertained in the Car

Let me just start out by saying, "We don't have a dvd player in the car." There I said it. Maybe some day we will get one. Perhaps I will even find it a necessity for traveling with a later born child. However, for Jessica it is generally not necessary. Actually, I am kind of glad that we don't have to have a dvd player for her because otherwise we would not get to experience moments like this:

Note the Potato Head ear in her ear!

I really do enjoy the quality time with the kids and the creative ways she finds to keep herself occupied! So, what do we generally do to entertain ourselves for 9 hours (one way) in the car? I always pack a bag of toys for Jessica. Usually these are not noisy electronic toys, and I make an effort to choose toys that she has not seen in a while. Occasionally I will also buy or pull out a "new" toy. We also eat snacks and listen to cds or the radio. Here lately I also include some craft supplies (not crayons, markers, glue, scissors, glitter, etc). This time I plan to include a magnetic paper doll set and an old Gameboy color, both things she has never seen before. I will also include some stickers and Color Wonder markers as well as some soft toys that she might enjoy (I am trying to make sure there is nothing that could hurt John if she throws it)! John will get a picture taped to the backseat to look at as well as a few toys hung on his carseat. Once we get where we are going, the toys are immediately put up until the trip back so they are still novel then. But, the real trick (at least with Jessica....we'll see what John thinks about it) is to drive for about 4 hours, stop for a nice long lunch, hop back in the car, and don't stop until we get where we are going. If we stop more than once, Jessica throws a huge fit about getting back in the car and seems to start "melting."

Road Trips: Packing the Front Seat

As there is a limited amount of space in the front seat of our Firebird, there are only a few travel essentials allowed up front: snacks, music, a small diaper bag, and the mending (or sometimes a stack of bills that I pay by phone using my cell phone -- hey! Every minute counts!)

Protein: Hummus, Veggies: Carrots and Celery, Fruit: Grapes, Dairy: Cheese, and Grain: Flat Bread -- All low mess, easy to pass out, and low prep. I'll pack a plastic knife to spread hummus on the bread. Everything else will be pre-cut.

I try to pack well-balanced, healthy snacks since when you travel you are more likely to do more eating out or at the very least eat differently from what you are used to. You will notice that drinks were not on the list. My mom worked for a doctor before I was born that had 4 children. He said to always pack grapes instead of drinks so the kids are less inclined to have to go to the bathroom. Words of wisdom from someone who obviously knows! All of this goes into a small ice chest. I am also planning to pack John a bottle this time. Usually we just stop to feed the baby, but sometimes he gets pretty exercised so I thought it would be nice to have a bottle to try if he starts fussing (since there is absolutely NO WHERE to stop for at least an hour and a half at points -- No, seriously, you know it is bad when you get excited about the gas station that is an hour and a half away -- The Buckatunna gas station actually really does have nice bathrooms -- Yup that's where we are going with two small children....the absolute middle of no where!!!! I think we will actually be eating lunch in that gas station.) I digress...

Music-wise, we usually pack a selection of children's cds -- most especially a cd of ocean sounds and a lullaby cd. This proved to be a necessity when traveling with Jessica as a baby. We also pack an iPod that we can play through the radio because for at least an hour of the trip we can only pick up maybe 4 channels (and that's on fm AND am)! Oftentimes we will listen to Christian music and podcasts. I think this time we will hear a lot of Big Big House by Audio Adrenaline. Jessica LOVES to sing along with Mommy... "big, big, big, big,..."

The small diaper bag contains one cloth diaper, a blanket, a change of cloths for Jessica (since she is potty training), a plastic baggie (for soiled items), a small container of wipes, powder, and a pacifier. This bag can be refilled as needed by digging things out of the trunk, but I have found it very useful to have a small bag ready to go in case we need to make an emergency stop!

The mending I plan to get done this time includes: finishing embroidering John's name on his diaper bag and finishing altering one of Jessica's dresses from last year. Thankfully, I won't have any bills to pay this trip! :-)

Me and My Car

This is my car. I have had it since I was 17 years old. While I was in college, I once took a weekend trip with three friends and all of our stuff in this car. Together me and my car have traveled almost all of Interstate 40 (except for a little bit of California and North Carolina).

David took this picture of my car when we were in Nevada.

Today, my car routinely has 2 car seats in the backseat. In the very near future, I will be packing up my car for our first family road trip since we got pregnant with John. Packing up the family and all of our gear into our little Firebird is always a bit of an extravaganza. However, there are some benefits: 1) It's paid for! 2) I can reach every person in my car from any seat! and 3) The Firebird gets close to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Stay tuned to hear how we take 2 children on a 9 hour (one way) car trip in a Firebird! :-)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear, where are the bungee cords?

I called my husband at work Friday to ask him where the bungee cords I could secure this...

my very own redneck dryer, I mean inside laundry line made of cotton yarn and attached to the wall with bungee cords. I have been trying to get back in the habit of line drying all of our clothes because our electric bill has gone through the roof since John was born. Some of it is the air conditioning, which I can't do anything about because of the kids' heat rashes. I think a lot of it is the dryer though because it vents through the roof, which makes it terribly inefficient. I have to dry loads for at least 2 full cycles! There is a special fan we could get, but I am kind of on the fence about it at the moment and would like to see how much we might potentially save with the fan versus line drying. So, I have been line drying all this month with the exception of two cycles; however, due to all of the tropical storms and intense humidity this has proven to be quite difficult. It is a sad day indeed when you hang wet clothes out to dry and they won't dry because it is too humid!!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mini Me?

Jessica started out looking like a carbon copy of David. As she has gotten older, she has begun to sprout a few features from my side of the family, most notably my dad's big blue eyes. At first everyone thought John looked just like David as well; however, after the first few weeks, we couldn't figure out who he looked like!

Here are some pictures of David as a baby.

Here are some pictures of me as a baby.

Here are some pictures of Jessica as a baby.

And here are some pictures of John.

What do you think?


Last night I was finally able to do some sewing while Jessica played in the office without getting into too much!!! Usually I have to wait until both children are sleeping (and I don't have anything else pressing) to do the mending. BUT last night, I repaired two diaper soakers, one pair of my pants, finished a baby doll diaper, got half way finished with another car seat swaddling blanket for John,

repaired a dress for Jessica that my mother made for me when I was 4 years old

and turned a pair of worn flannel pajamas into soft short sleeved and capri pajamas!

Aren't you impressed? Now I only have 2 dresses to alter for Jessica and the carseat swaddling blanket left in my mending basket. Perhaps it is time to go find some of those other projects that have been put on hold recently... :-) It was really nice to be able to get a little sewing done while enjoying having my little girl under foot!! I am truly enjoying the 2.5 year old stage!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Photos!!

We had a nice relaxing weekend with my parents, my sister, Katie, and my brother, John! They stayed in a nice little condo on the beach about a mile from our house, and we went to visit them during the day! Most of the photos are on my parents' computer, but here are a few!!

Jessica enjoying the view from the balcony.

Aunt Katie got in some quality time with Jessica before we come to Memphis and she has competition!!

Jessica hanging out with one of her favorite people: Pa Pa. All weekend long all I heard was "Pa Pa, Pa Pa, Pa Pa...." You get the idea!

Jessica and Aunt Katie had great fun designing clothes with a special sketch pad Katie bought at the Village Toymaker!

My mom and John getting a little cuddling time in!

Uncle John and Baby John getting some special bonding time in!

Definitely one of my favorite pictures of John

Pa Pa with both of the grandkids!

Jessica went to a Princess Birthday party while the family was in town. She went as Cinderella wearing the costume Pa Pa had picked out for her.

Uncle John and Jessica had a lot of fun together too!

Especially when they pretended to be pirates! ARRRGGGGHHH!!!!!

John decided to wear Jessica's sunglasses.....definitely not his best look!

And finally, an adorable picture of John from a few weeks ago! This was his first time going to the church nursery, and he really enjoyed the lesson!!

Monday, August 9, 2010


So it's been a while since I was able to post on here. I hope to remedy that situation soon, but in the meantime here is a brief update about what has been going on here.

1) I have had some mild anxiety. It seems to be a reimnent leftover from the melanoma experience. It seems to happen when I have too much caffeine or am not getting enough sleep or am not spending enough quiet time at home. In other words....self-inflicted torture from not taking care of myself. It seems to be much better now.

2) I have been cleaning out closets like a maniac trying to find ways to utilize the space we have best. I am making excellent progress, but I still have a long ways to go. Maybe I can finish that and painting the doors in the back hall by Christmas....maybe....

3) I started consulting with the school I was consulting with last year. It is a really neat school with a great teacher, and I am really enjoying myself. However, we do have a lot of work to do!!

4) I worked at the school today and managed to get myself dehydrated. Felt pretty darn awful tonight, but I seem to be doing much better now!

5) Carseat Swaddling Blanket = Stroke of Genius!!!!!!!!

6) Jessica went to her 10th birthday party Saturday and is apparently invited to her 11th on Saturday! Need to make/get a gift...

7) My parents are coming to visit Thursday night!!!!! Well, actually they aren't coming to visit us exactly....they are coming for a brief summer vacation before school starts back, and they decided to stay close to us so they could also see us!! They are also bringing one of my brothers and one of my sisters!!!!! They won't get to stay long though and will be leaving Saturday night.

8) BUT....we are going to see family for Labor Day!!!!!! We have seen very little family in the past year (pretty much just our parents and a few siblings....although I got to see David's grandmothers he has not).

9) John is a very different child from Jessica. He loves to talk and be talked to. He screams when he is tired not when he is hungry. He is much bigger than Jessica at this age!! He is iffy on whether or not he likes the long as he is swaddled and you are moving it is fine. Red lights are evil! They do both love to be swaddled.

10) Assuming Jessica does not assert an opinion between now and then, I have chosen a theme for her birthday party!!!!! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!!!!!!! I think it will be adorable!!!!!!! It might throw a few of the little girls that will be invited for a loop, but that's ok. They all seem to like Jessica just fine even if they prefer different kinds of toys. (I did consider a tool party, but I came up with too many fun ideas for a turtles party. Also, since this is probably the last party she will have without expressing an opinion about what she would like, we will do what I want to do!)

Bonus: Guess what my mom found in the attic this week????? My Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer!!!!!!!!! (with figures) We will be picking it up when we visit family for Labor Day!!!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What I did with the rest...

of the helicopter fabric:

Pee-Pee Tepees!!!! Yeah, I know I could just use a rag or be prepared and change the diaper super quick.... But this tutorial was super easy and I had just the right amount of fabric leftover from the Car Seat Swaddle Blanket!