Google Dollops of Diane: 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Henry's First Lost Tooth!

Henry has had a big couple of days. He turned the big FIVE on Friday and then lost his first tooth last night. His bottom two front teeth have been loose for a couple of months but I didn't realize that they were THAT loose. Last night, I said goodnight to the kids and had barely made it to the bottom of the stairs before Henry started yelling/crying "Something happened to my tooth!!" I ran up to find him in his bed with blood all over his shirt and hands. Umm..hadn't I JUST left the room. How did things get so messy so quickly?! I assured him that sometimes it bleeds when your tooth falls out and that he was fine. Then the excitement kicked in and he was psyched. Santa and your first visit from the Tooth Fairy in less than a week? That's the kind of stuff dreams are made of.

Something's missing!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Fifth Birthday, Henry!

 

Today my sweet as can be boy turns five years old. He's going to spend his day bouncing away with his friends at his Jump Trax birthday party! Five - Can you believe it?!

Keeping with the tradition I started a few months ago for Isabelle's birthday, here are the keepsake questions for Henry:
Henry's 5th Birthday: December 27, 2013

Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Show: Ninja Turtles
Favorite Thing to do Inside: Play with GI Joe's, superheroes, my pirate shark, and my stuffed Wolverine
Favorite Thing to do Outside: Run around in the backyard
Favorite Snack: Fruit Snacks and Pirate's Booty
Favorite Meal: Pizza, Pancakes, and French Toast
Favorite Song: "Afro Circus/I Like To Move It" from Madagascar 3
Favorite Thing to do with Dadda: Play dinosaurs
Favorite Thing to do with Mamma: Go to the library
What I Want to be When I Grow Up: A Scientist
If I Had Lots of Money I Would Buy: Legos

Want to take a trip down Memory Lane? Check out Henry's Birth Story HERE and one of my favorite Henry posts HERE.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Having It All Project



My blogger turned real life friend, Cheryl, hosts weekly guest posts on her Busy Since Birth site called The Having It All Project. What does it mean to have it all? Well her project has proved that it's different for everyone. According to Cheryl, the project is "a space where we can talk about how we actually make life happen: the tips and strategies, the things we hope to accomplish, the failures that sometimes happen along the way to finding whatever "all" means for each of us." 

Click HERE to read my post on how I'm Having It All. 

(Hint: It includes television and Facebook)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Do!

Last night, I headed out for a long overdue hair cut. This morning, I am feeling light and curly. Watch out preschool drop off, soccer class, and Trader Joe's - me and my new hairdo are coming for you!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Big Tree in a Little House

When we were a newlywed couple and looked at our house we thought it was perfect. Six years and three kids later we are busting at the seams. We have no plans to move and we remind ourselves that when the kids move out this will once again be the perfect size house for us. Until then we will keep it full of love (and dust bunnies). 

This year we are in charge of my husband's side of the family's Christmas party. We like to entertain and we love to see family so we are looking forward to it. However, it leads to the problem of not only where will we put the people but where will we put the Christmas tree? Our living room is tight just with couches never mind a tree. And even when we pick the smallest tree in the lot, it's still big in our house. So this year we went for something new - we moved our table and put our tree up in the dining room. We figure that will give more room for people to mingle in the living room and people generally don't hang out in the dining room anyway. 

Once I got over the fact that it's kind of ridiculous to have it there I actually kind of like it. The kids and I spend a lot of time in there since that's where we eat, color, do crafts, etc so it's nice to see it sparkling. Henry also said he's going to leave arrows from the fireplace to the dining room so Santa knows where to leave the presents. So we've got that covered.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Ninety Plus Cellars Wine

Until recently I had not heard of 90+ Cellars which is somewhat surprising since they combine two of my favorite things - wine and a good price! 90+ Cellars was created in the summer of 2009 with the goal of selling good wine at a fraction of the original cost. Each year the 90+ Cellars team tastes hundreds of wines from all over the world, selects the best for the 90+ Cellars label, and offers them at up to 50% less than the original label’s price. Pretty cool, huh? I recently took several bottles to our Thanksgiving celebration and they were a big hit with my family. White is always my favorite but they have red, white, rose, and sparkling wines so you're sure to find one that fits your likes. You can buy them at a store near you or also order online.

90+ Cellars has also recently started a Wine Club. With membership to the wine club, you receive four quality shipments of wine that represent their best each season. You can choose if you'd like red, white, or a combination of both. They also include tasting notes and additional wine information for each shipment to enhance your drinking experience. Plus, you also receive 15% off any orders at the online store outside of the wine club. Being part of the wine club might help to get you out of the rut of just grabbing the same bottle at the store each time. I like that you get to try wines that you may never have thought to purchase before. Plus, with the 90+ Cellars brand you can enjoy a really nice wine without breaking the bank. A win/win!

Stuck for a gift idea? Think about giving the gift of wine club. Have to grab a bottle of wine on the way to a party? Keep an eye out for the 90+ Cellars label!

*I received a complimentary box of wine to help facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.*


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Easy, Natural, Homemade Power Bar Recipe

I often eat breakfast while doing a hundred other things in the morning so I don't have time to make a "real" meal and sit down to eat it. Therefore, I've grown to rely heavily on power bars (especially mornings that I exercise). I recently did a gluten free challenge and then a sugar free challenge which has opened my eyes to all the added ingredients in lots of products including my beloved bars.

I briefly looked into making my own bars but got scared off when I saw lists of ingredients that I had never heard of never mind had in my house. Then my boot camp instructor made some and shared them and  they were good. So I decided to bite the bullet and make some of my own this weekend by tweaking her recipe. I was able to find all the scary ingredients in the Natural/Organic section of my local grocery store without any trouble at all. So without further ado, I give you Diane's Nutty Power Bars which contain only natural ingredients and sugars.


Diane's Nutty Power Bars

Ingredients:

1 Cup Walnuts
1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds
6 Pitted Dates (roughly chopped)
2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed Meal
1 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
1 Ounce Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped or you could use chips)
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grind Walnuts, Almonds, and Sunflower seeds in a food processor. Transfer nuts/seeds to a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients to bowl and mix well. Spread into a 8x8 (or similar size) pan and bake for 20 minutes. When you remove from the oven, bars will not be fully hardened/formed but will set together as they cool. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting into squares.

There you have it - easy, peasy and yummy. Do you have a power bar recipe that you love? Feel free to share!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Visiting Plymouth, MA

Isabelle has been coming home from Kindergarten for the last couple of weeks schooling me on facts about the Pilgrims, Mayflower, and Native Americans. Clearly, they are in full blown Thanksgiving prep mode in school and never to be outdone I thought I would blow her mind today and take her to the "real" Mayflower (or a replica made in 1955 - details, details). Of course, knowing I had this great idea, Mother Nature decided to give us a huge cold blast this morning but that didn't stop us. Plymouth, home of the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, and other historic landmarks, is only about 45 minutes from our house so we bundled up and headed out for a girls' adventure.

When we arrived at the waterfront it was so cold - like freeze your buns off cold. We headed for the Mayflower first and the windchill in the teens scared off most other people so we had the boat largley to ourselves. They had several "pilgrims" on the ship to answer our questions and tell us stories. After the Mayflower, we walked over and checked out Plymouth Rock. By then my face was stinging from the wind and I had tears pouring down my face so we walked to the car and drove to the Pilgrim Hall Museum which was a couple of blocks away. They had lots of cool artifacts, historical information, and a fun scavenger hunt that Isabelle loved to do.

I actually learned quite a lot today. Although I knew the history basics and had been to Plymouth a bunch of times when I was younger, there were lots of new facts I picked up today that I didn't know or had forgotten. I think as an adult I also have a greater appreciation for the story and the struggles. I mean these people sailed on the boat for two months and then continued to live on the boat several more months while the colony was built in the WINTER. It was close quarters, bumpy, cold, dark, and wet. It's no wonder that half of the Pilgrims died before the first Thanksgiving. So my main takeaway from today is that I would have been one of the first Pilgrims to die. Did I mention how cold I was? There's no way I could have handled it.

Pink Ladies on the Mayflower

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sprout Organic Gobble and Grow Todder Snack Giveaway!

Over the summer, my family had the opportunity to review Sprout's Organic Toddler Snacks and we gave them a thumbs up. You can check out the full review HERE. Well I'm excited to once again be partnering with Sprout Organic Foods for their Gobble and Grow Giveaway.



What does this mean for you? You get the chance to win one of fifteen prize kits including Sprout Organic Toddler Snacks, both the Fruit & Veggie Crispy Chews and Fruity Yogurt Bites!

Enter via the Rafflecopter Form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
*I received a complimentary box of Sprout products. As always, all opinions are my own.* 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Capron Park Zoo in Winter

Okay, okay, it's technically not winter yet but it sure feels like it today. I wanted to do something fun and outside with Daniel while the other two kids were at school so I thought we would get another use out of our membership and head to the Capron Zoo in Attleboro, MA. When we arrived the temperature was 28 degrees with a "feels like" 21 degrees taking into effect the windchill.

When we got there and there wasn't another soul in sight I started to think maybe I had made a big mistake. It only took a few steps inside the zoo to realize I was actually, unknowingly, a genius. The zoo was GREAT. I had never seen the animals so active before. The animals in both the outside and inside exhibits were rocking. They were awake, running, bouncing, and strutting their stuff for us. Daniel could also run around like a mad man from exhibit to exhibit without being in anyone's way. It was awesome.

So if you're looking for something to do, don't let the cold weather scare you aware from the zoo. We had a blast!

Checking out the lions!



Friday, November 8, 2013

The No Sugar, No Booze Diet

I'm a sucker for a challenge. I just can't say no. So when I was recently asked to participate in a Game On! Diet challenge, I quickly looked over the rules and said yes. There is a book with all the rules but I'm participating in a Facebook group with one expert (Hi Susan!) who answers all my questions. Anyone who knows me knows that I'd have lots of questions since I'm a stickler for the rules.

So yes, the rules there are a ton of them, but the main points of the diet are that you can't eat any sugar (including any products made with sugar) or any sugar alternatives (like Splenda, etc). You also can't have any alcohol or snacks (except cucumbers or celery). The game is scored on points which you earn for:

  • Eating 5 small meals a day (including a minimum of 2 servings of vegetables daily)
  • Exercising for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week
  • Drinking a minimum of 3 liters of water a day
  • Sleeping for a minimum of 7 hours a night
  • Maintaining a healthy new habit
  • Letting go of a bad habit
  • Communicating with your teammates daily
You are allowed one day off a week though where you can eat (and drink) whatever you want and one meal off a week, too. Those days are like godsends.

So yeah...I started the challenge last Friday so today marks one week. It has definitely been a challenge and eye opening. For anyone who doesn't know me well, let me make this clear - I LOVE SUGAR. I am a eat brown sugar out of the bag kid of girl. Oh, and did I mention this challenge started the day after Halloween? Do you know how much trick or treat candy was in my house with three kids?!

Basically, since you can't eat any sugar it really makes you eat food in its natural state - meats, nuts, fruit, veggies, etc. If you check the labels on just about anything else you will see some form of sugar in it. Also, some brands have sugar in their products while others don't. For example, the salsa we had in our fridge listed sugar as an ingredient. However, at the store I found another brand that didn't. Before this challenge I never would have even bothered to check for that. Conveniently, I had recently finished another crazy challenge where I couldn't eat any "bread" products so that helped prepare me for this challenge. I found that a lot of the gluten free products that I purchased do not have sugar in them so I am able to eat them. In general, I've found that the organic and more natural products do not have as much sugar in them. Of course, they are also more expensive though!

The no alcohol thing has been manageable since I can still drink one day a week if I choose. The main thing that has been a killer for me is no Diet Pepsi. I drink Diet Pepsi each morning as if it were my coffee so the first few days were hard. All I could think about each morning was how I wanted a soda! It has been getting easier each morning though. I do miss having something else to drink besides water though. I drink a ton of water anyway each day so I always meet the requirement but I miss having something different to drink each day. I was so desperate the other day I even drank a flavored seltzer water (ick!).

Soooo...anyway, that's my latest, crazy health kick that I've been working on. And I must say - it is working. I weighed in this morning and had lost 3 pounds in the last week. I really think the main reason I'm losing is because I can't snack on anything. I mean I guess I could eat celery but come on now, let's not be ridiculous.

Yum?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Awesome Family Portrait

Henry is the Star of the Week this week at preschool. One of the things he needed to do to prepare was to make a banner that showed off him - his family, his likes, and whatever else he wanted. So Henry got to work on it immediately and I almost died when I saw the family picture that he chose...


Yup, that's Henry, me, Daniel and Isabelle. Oh, wait..what's that? Well that's TIM, my husband, that Henry drew swimming in the background. Ha!

And here is the completed banner...

 
Please note that the superheroes are holding his favorite foods. Seriously, does it get any cuter? I think I want him to be four forever.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Skeleton Daniel, Rainbow Butterfly Isabelle, and Wolverine Henry!

Happy Halloween from my family to yours!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

RIP Red Tail

Our totally ignored beloved fish, Red Tail, passed away on Saturday after over a year with us. I came down in the morning and noticed him laying on the rocks at the bottom of the bowl. I wasn't that surprised since he hadn't been eating as much and I think it was just too cold in the house for him. He was a Beta fish and wanted to be swimming free in the tropics not held up in a bowl on our desk with only a Spider man figurine to keep him company.

So Saturday morning I did what any busy mom does and totally ignored him and carried on with the day while waiting for a kid to discover his demise. You know what? No one noticed. So that night I flushed him down to the big open sea (or our septic - details, details). I then washed out his bowl and put it in the basement. That was Saturday and it's now Tuesday afternoon and still the kids have not even noticed that he's gone. Poor, poor Red Tail. I assumed Isabelle would be the first to notice but I think she's been preoccupied with all her birthday festivities and after school activities. Henry has no excuse since one of his classmates today even asked him what his fish's name was. You'd think that might encourage him to go give Red Tail a hello when we got home but nope.

So the desk remains a bit emptier and I'm just waiting for someone to realize it. Henry's school friend is coming over Friday for a playdate and at this rate I think she'll be the first to notice. Poor, poor Red Tail - swim on my friend.

RIP

Monday, October 28, 2013

The No Bread Challenge

A couple of weeks ago my boot camp instructor challenged us to go two weeks without eating bread. At first I scoffed at the idea but I can't pass up a challenge so I went for it. I envisioned just not having sandwiches for lunch and I'd be fine. When I agreed I didn't realize that "bread" is actually everything that I eat. Suddenly it meant I couldn't have bread, pasta, crackers, pizza, or Cheez-Its (gasp!). The first three days of the challenge were HARD. By the late afternoon each day I was feeling miserable. Two days I thought I would vomit and one day my hands were shaking. I think my body was literally going through detox! Once I started day four of it though I was good to go and I'm happy to report that I went the full two weeks without "bread"!

So how did I survive?

Nuts - I think I've eaten more nuts in the past few weeks than I have in my entire life. They were my go to snack since they are easy and portable. Nuts (and cheese) kept me going.

Make Ahead Meals - One of the things I found the most challenging was having meals ready when I needed them. Before I would just whip up a PB&J while I made the kids their lunch but that wasn't allowed anymore. I found that it worked best if I made a dinner the night before that I could have leftovers of the next day. I ate a lot of chicken and steamed veggies and you know what? I didn't hate it. Veggies are always a struggle for me since I don't like them. Cooked I can do but raw in a salad - ick. If I didn't have a meal made ahead I would whip up some scrambled eggs with veggies since that's pretty quick.

Fruit - If you run into me now I will most likely have a banana or an apple in my bag. Before this challenge started I wouldn't have been caught dead with fruit in my bag (the kids bag - yes, but not my bag).

New Foods - Since basically everything in my prior diet was on the "do not eat list" I had to find new things to eat. Much to my husband's dismay I brought home things like edamame, quinoa, and kale chips. Although I didn't love everything new, I was proud of myself for trying them and would eat some again.
And these don't even taste bad - who knew?
I'm now a week or two out and am still loosely following the diet. I'm not being as strict about it but am trying to keep up with the habits I formed over the challenge. I don't think it's reasonable (for me) to completely exclude "bread" but I have been eating more healthy as a result and do want to keep that up. Some people say that they feel worlds better after not eating bread but honestly I didn't feel a huge energy boost or anything like that. However, I did lose a couple of pounds and I feel better about what I'm eating so I'd call that a win!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Sixth Birthday, Isabelle!

Today my craft-a-holic, clean-a-holic, amazing little girl turns six years old. On Friday night, we had a special girls night out with my cousin Janet where Isabelle got to pick out her own present and have dinner out. Today we had her party at a local bouncy house place with her friends. There were 21 kids hyped up on bouncing and cupcakes. Needless to say a good time was had by all!

If you need to find us, Isabelle will be at the dining room table for the rest of the day working on assorted craft projects that she got for presents. I'll be staring across the table at her wondering where my toddler went.

Also, I'm starting a new tradition of asking questions on each birthday as a keepsake to see how they change from year to year. I have them written down to go in her "special box" but figured I would share here as well.

Isabelle's 6th Birthday: October 27, 2013

Favorite Color: Pink, Purple, Yellow
Favorite Show: Sofia the First
Favorite Thing to do Inside: Crafts
Favorite Thing to do Outside: Ride bikes
Favorite Snack: Cookies
Favorite Meal: Cheese and Wheat Thins
Favorite Song: "Hello Song" from Music Class
Favorite Thing to do with Dadda: Yardwork
Favorite Thing to do with Mamma: Go out for dinner
What I Want to be when I Grow Up:  A Baker
If I Had Lots of Money I Would Buy: A Groovy Girl

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Good-bye, Papa

Papa's 85th birthday party in February 2013
Last Wednesday, my grandfather passed away. While he had ongoing heart issues, the end came more quickly than I think anyone in my family expected. Before his death, he and my grandmother were still totally independent. Even at the age of 85, he was still living in the house with my grandmother that they had raised their four children in. He went to the hospital a few days before his death after battling a cold the week before. It turned out it wasn't a cold and was fluid around his heart. Although, my family was told that fluid buildup would ultimately be his demise it didn't appear that the end was so imminent. He was recovering in the hospital and they talked about sending him home shortly.

On Tuesday during the day, my cousins saw him and he was his usual self. He was giving the nurses a hard time, trying to get people to bring him a soda, and talking about going home. He then took a quick turn for the worse and passed away during the night. I was able to see him Tuesday night before he passed away. He was unresponsive but peaceful. When all is said and done, although we never want to lose anyone, this is how we want people to go. It was fast and peaceful. After watching my mother slowly deteriorate and have a horrible final week, I can really appreciate this ending. I would never want my grandmother to watch her husband of 62 years slowly fade away in front of her. Learning to live a life without him will be hard enough for her.

In times of struggle though I'm reminded of the amazing people in my life. I have friends that I don't need to ask for help because they've already offered. Friends that rearrange their days and schedules so that they could babysit for his services. Friends who leave wine and chocolate at my doorstep. Family who sends flowers and cards. These people shine the light in the darkness. These people are incredible and give me the time and tools to mourn an incredible man. So to everyone who has helped me this past week either in person or sending positive thoughts and prayers, I send a big thank you to you. It is most appreciated by me and my family.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Electric Run 5K at Gilette Stadium

 
Last Friday night, I laced up my sneaks and headed to Gilette Stadium for the Electric Run 5K. I honestly was not excited about it. In fact, I was pretty much dreading it. If you've been following along you know that I ran my first 5K ever this summer and then the Diva Dash last month. The problem is that I keep signing up for races but when all is said I just don't like to run. Plus, during the races and after I just feel down on myself. I want to be a better runner. I want to be faster. I want to like it - but I don't.

So when the Electric Run arrived (which I had signed up for a while ago), I was expecting another torturous race. They also had 15,000 registered runners and I envisioned traffic and parking being a nightmare. Much to my surprise though I actually had a really good time! I easily parked, met up with my friend the Maven of Savin and her sister, and we headed to the starting line. The atmosphere was so fun that it would be hard not to have a good time. There were no timing chips and not even a clock at the end. The vibe was all about having a good time. Some people ran the whole thing, some walked the whole thing, and some did a combo of both (that's what we did). The course went around the parking lot of Gilette and then into the actual stadium. At the end they had a stage with music and glow sticks galore. The whole night was a lot of fun and I MIGHT even *gasp* consider doing it again sometime (someone please stop me).
Feeling Electric

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mother's Therapy Organics

 
If you're anything like me, you go through lots of hand sanitizer. I have it everywhere - kitchen, bathroom, car, bag, you name it. With back to school in high gear and cold and flu season creeping in, I know I'm only going to be using more and more. One of the problems I have though is dry hands. It doesn't matter how much lotion I use those puppies just can't seem to stay hydrated. Cold weather plus hand sanitizer equals very sad hands for me!
 
That's why I was excited to try out Mother's Therapy Organics products. They are a woman owned company that uses natural and organic ingredients in their products. For their hand sanitizer they use natural alcohol in addition to aloe vera, Echinacea, goldenseal, and lavender oil. The end result? 99.9% of germs are killed and your hands are still soft. A total win/win. The products also have a light cucumber scent as opposed to a chemical smell which is nice. I also really like the Germ-Fightin Hand Lotion. It is non-greasy and a little goes a long way.
 
Mother's Therapy products are currently available exclusively through Amazon. You can purchase them HERE. Now they are more expensive than regular hand sanitizer but the price is comparable if you compare it to purchasing an organic/natural product.
 
So with the help of Mother's Therapy, I'm hoping to keep my hands germ free and hydrated over these upcoming months!
 
*I received complimentary products from Mother's Therapy Organics to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.*

Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm Losing My Mind

Yesterday, Henry and I arrived to pick up Daniel at his school's playground. A friend of Henry's came running over talking about a picnic. Henry asked if we were having a picnic and I quickly replied no. I then looked over to see my friend standing near a picnic blanket and remembered that we had set a date to have a picnic with the boys. We had talked about it, emailed about it, it was on my calendar and yet I totally forgot about it. I am usually so good about being on top of things and remembering everything but lately I keep slipping.

On vacation, our house was part of a community that you needed passes to use the pool, bus shuttle, gym, etc. On day two I lost all of my family's passes as well as our family friend's. I was SURE I had left them at the pool the day before since I had no recollection of seeing them after we checked in at the pool the day before. The badges couldn't be replaced unless we shelled out over $100 so there was lots of calls to lost and found, retracing steps, arranging different transportation to the beach, and stress that followed. Later that night, Isabelle found the missing badges - in my bag.

The other day I got to the gas station only to find that my credit card was missing. I had used it the night before at the grocery store and started to panic that I had dropped it there. I arrived home where my husband told me that Daniel had found it - on the kitchen floor.

I had been looking for my sunglasses for weeks. Every soccer practice when the setting sun was blinding me, I'd comment on how I wish I knew where my glasses was. Daniel found them yesterday - in my car exactly where they belong.

Sooooo yeah...I appear to be losing it. I guess my brain has just reached maximum capacity. I blame the kids. Goodbye with-it Diane, it was nice knowing you.

Me and my crew who I affectionately say "You, whatever your name is!" to each of them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When Ear Tubes Fall Out

Daniel had ear tubes put in a year ago in February. Since the spring, they have been out of his ear drum and hanging out in his ear canal. I guess the average span for them is 1-3 years so it's normal. Clearly, I was hoping for closer to the three year mark as opposed to one but what are you going to do. Since they've been "out" I've been somewhat obsessively looking at them in his ear and waiting for them to fall out completely. And by looking I mean making him stand there while I poke and prod his ears while holding a flashlight. I am sure that's not the doctor recommended approach. Apparently, I didn't need to obsess about it so much because the other morning Daniel casually handed the tube he had pulled out of his ear to my husband. The hubs was grossed out by it (in his defense it was gunky and gross) but I was psyched to see it. All I could think was how I could put it in his baby box. Now, I say baby box because as the third child he doesn't have a baby book but rather a Tupperware box that I randomly throw things in for him!

So tiny yet so wonderful
It's really amazing how such a tiny, tiny tube can make such a difference. These tubes were LIFE changing for us. He went from having an ear infection a month (at least) to only a few over the year that he had the tubes. I'm hoping that this fall/winter he does okay without the tubes and we don't go back to infection after infection. We are currently still in the throws of inhalers and nebulizers since he was sick on vacation so I'm hoping that's all we have to deal with this winter. Well in a perfect world we wouldn't deal with either but I'm a realist so I'm thinking that might be too much to ask!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kicking Butt

I try to enforce a pretty strict no potty talk rule in our house. It's how I was raised and I feel like the world is full of bad words so let's at least limit them at home. We don't even pee in our house. We tinkle. So the other day we were driving and playing the fire hydrant game. What is the fire hydrant game you ask? It's a game where you shout out "fire hydrant!!" every time you see one. You then bicker with your siblings over who saw it first and who it actually "belongs" to. Anyway, I was playing with them and was doing a pretty amazing job (who cares that it's an easy game - I was winning). Without thinking about it I said, "I'm totally kicking butt." As soon as I said it I knew what was coming next. Henry gasped and said, "Mamma, you said potty talk." Yup, "butt" is potty talk in our house. We refer to that part of our body as our bum. So I said that in the context of that sentence butt wasn't really bad to say. Can you guess what I've been hearing non-stop since? Oh yeah, the kids are kicking butt at everything. I never would have even imagined you could kick butt at so many things in a day but they sure are. Note to self: Don't use potty talk again.


"I'm kicking butt at making silly faces"



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Staying Fit for Fall #Fit4Fall

Since the spring, I've been working on getting fit. I've been exercising and eating better. It's become part of my daily life and minus some hiccups here and there I've been pretty good about being accountable for it. The hard thing about life changes like this is sticking with it. So when Planet Shoes invited me to join their Fit 4 Fall Campaign I jumped at it. They are running a six week (9/9-10/20) challenge where you set your fitness goals, share updates, and if you meet your goal you're entered to win a $500 shopping spree. Pretty cool, huh? To find out more details about the program or to sign up click HERE!

So what's my fitness goal? To run two 5Ks this fall. Yup, you read that right, the girl who had a miserable (yet awesome) first 5K experience is doing it again. Actually, I'm already on my way to completing my goal since last weekend I ran the Diva Dash 5K with obstacles.

"I Run for Wine"
I actually was excited about the obstacles sine when you're doing obstacles you aren't running. The running gets me every time and this time was no different. I ran with a friend and it was great to have someone there to tell every second about how horrible I felt while running after we hit mile 2. Gotta love friends!

While overall I enjoyed the race, I hate that I get down on myself for not being a great runner. I know that I should be proud of myself for even doing races but in the moment I find it so disappointing. I hate that it continues to be so hard for me. I even told my friend during the Dash that I thought I was going to bail on my next 5K. But I'm not - I'm going to do it. When all is said and done I know that I need to learn to silence the doubt and negativity that shouts at me when I run. I tell myself that if I keep running that I will like it more. Honestly, I'm not sure that that is true. I guess time will tell.

Are you local and thinking of making the plunge and doing a 5K? Join me on October 4th at Gilette Stadium for the Electric Run.

Electric Run is the World's Premier Nighttime 5k run/walk experience, where the participants are an integrated part of the show. Featuring immersive "Lands" of light and sound that transport the participant into an electric wonderland, Electric Run promises to transport the mind, body and soul to a new world in a healthy and drug-free way. Participants are encouraged to join in on the art by lighting up with glow sticks, LEDs and anything else their imagination can conjure up.                            

Just think - I can tell you in person how much I hate running and we can pretend to be dancing while we actually are gasping for breath. Doesn't that sound fun? Join the team I'm on HERE!

*As a Fit4Fall blogger, I received a complimentary pair of sneakers to help me on my fitness journey. As always, all opinions are my own.*

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Isabelle's First Day of Kindergarten


Yesterday, was Isabelle's first full day of kindergarten. As I wrote about earlier this week, I'm pretty scared about the whole process. Well, I'm happy to report that she and I both survived the day.

Now I'm actually not an emotional person at all. I'm not a crier - sentimental things don't tend to get to me. However, at orientation the day before there were a few moments that I felt something. I felt like maybe if I let it happen, water would fill up in my eyes. Crazy, huh? I assume this happens frequently to others but not me so it made me nervous that seeing her off on the bus would cause me to ACTUALLY cry (imagine?!). Isabelle has been very excited about school so I assumed unless there was some last minute freak out (which is always possible with kids) that she would be fine. And you know what? In the end, we were both totally fine.

When the bus pulled up, I snapped a few pictures and without missing a beat she started climbing right up the stairs to board the bus. She had actually made it up a step or two before she turned around and said goodbye to Henry and then to me. Yup, not only did she almost forget to say bye to me but she also didn't even say bye to me first! When she got on she already had a friend from pre-school sitting on the bus waiting for her. I saw her sit down with her friend and they were off. She never even looked out the window to waive to me. It was so natural. It felt like she had been doing it for months. I knew in that moment that she was right where she belonged - right where she needed to be. How could I even be sad in a moment that felt so right?

She returned home a long seven hours later (which seemed SO long) and was still as happy as when she left. She had a great day, met new friends, and had no complaints (minus not having enough time to eat the cookie I packed her for lunch!). All in all it was a great first day (for both of us!). She was up early again this morning and excited for day two. What more could I ask for?




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

King Richard's Faire with Another Giveaway!

On Sunday, the big kids and I headed to King Richard's Faire. It was meant to be a whole family trip but the driving rain that morning held off our departure which meant Daniel would have been a bear there in the afternoon with no nap. So the big kids and I headed out with rain coats and umbrellas in hand but the rain held off and the sun even came out. Clearly, King Richard ordered it that way.

Last year was our first year going (click HERE for some great tips before you go!) and the kids remembered little bits and pieces of it. Well I'm happy to report that we had a GREAT time this year. Henry, in particular, loved every single minute of it. He was mesmerized by everything. One of the great things about the Faire is that there is never a dull moment. There is always something going on everywhere that you turn. The kids and I took in "The Voice of Choice" (a musical style routine by the King and court), Maypole, "The Mud Show,"  Daniel the Duke of Danger, plus a bunch of other things. There was singing, dancing, acrobats, flame jugglers, and pretty much anything else you can think of. It was such a fun day for us and a treat for me to be out with just two kids!

This purple guy is Henry's favorite

Do not attempt this at home.
I gotta get me one of these for the house.
Were you bummed that you didn't win the tickets to the Faire in my last giveaway? Fear not - I have another chance for you! Enter in the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win two tickets. It's a quick one so enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*My family received complimentary tickets to the Faire. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Kindergarten Scares Me

Isabelle has orientation tomorrow and then starts full day kindergarten on Wednesday and I'm pretty scared. She is ready. She is beyond ready, so why the fear? She is my LITTLE GIRL. To start, I'm going to be sending her off alone on the bus into the big bad world. That world is scary. Those people are scary. It's all so scary. The bus is full of kids. Kids who can be mean. Kids who's potty talk will demolish her innocent little ears. Her classroom will also be full of kids albeit at least her own age. But these are new kids. Will they immediately like her? Will she make new friends? These are my fears - not hers. She is excited for the bus, she is excited for new friends, she is excited for everything. I am terrified.

Until now I've been the primary influence in her life. With the exception of half day preschool that she did three times a week last year, she spends 24/7 with me. She will now spend more time with her teachers than she does with me on a daily basis. I have absolutely no doubt that they can teach her way better than I ever could but still she's MY little girl. I know everything about her. I know how she's feeling. I know what she likes. I know what she needs. I am sure that they will figure it out and Isabelle will be totally fine in telling them but it still worries me. Isabelle is a planning, to-do list making, control freak and that is all to my credit (or fault?!). I (unintentionally) molded her that way. How will they mold her?

I know that at the end of the year she is going to be a totally different child. I know she will grow and learn and even that scares me. I'm not sure that I'm ready for that. I already see the changes happening and I want to freeze time. I want to keep her with me forever, just like this - young and innocent.

So tomorrow I will take her to kindergarten orientation with a smile on my face because I am happy. I'm happy that she loves to learn. I am happy that she is so excited to start this new chapter in her life. Inside, however, my heart will be breaking a little.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Living in the Deep End

Last week on vacation, the house we were staying at was in a community with a couple of pools. Isabelle has turned into quite the water child this summer so she was loving it. Water can be a struggle for me though given that I'm usually alone in the water with a 5, 4, and 3 year old none of whom can swim completely independently. Isabelle was close but she felt that she still needed a bubble. I knew that she could swim on her own if she gave it a chance but she hadn't mentally come to grips with it yet - until last week. I think extra time in the pool and my husband being in with us gave her the confidence that she needed. We arrived on vacation with her still wearing a bubble and left with her swimming alone in the deep end, jumping in the deep end, and swimming underwater. Once she realized she could do these things there was no stopping her. She was in her glory and loving every minute of it!

So proud in the deep end!
Jump!

Like a fish!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Starting off Vacation at Urgent Care

Why is it that kids always manage to get sick on vacation? It's like their bodies know all the time, energy, and money you've invested in having the BEST VACATION EVER and their immune system gives you the middle finger.

The week before vacation Daniel had a minor cold - basically a runny nose for two days and that was it. It really didn't impact us at all although I did fear that the other kids would get sick from it. But what would it matter? It was a MINOR cold. Fast forward to last Friday when we are driving 8 hours away from home and he starts coughing. Still not really a big deal though. Fast forward to the following night though when he's up throughout the night coughing and wheezing like crazy. He has wheezed in the past with colds but nothing to that extent. By Sunday morning the poor kid couldn't even say a sentence without being out of breath and you could hear him breathing from across the room.

So Daniel and I headed out to check out Delaware's finest urgent care clinic. We were literally standing at the door when the nurse came out to unlock it so he was the first patient seen. When we got there his pulse ox was reading between 89-91 (normal should be around 98-100) so we spent a longggggg day there. He had several nebulizer treatments, steroids, and there was talk of admitting him to a local hospital. Ummm...can you say nightmare?!  

Luckily, Daniel was in great spirits even amongst his lack of oxygen. This worked to our advantage when hours later he was bouncing off the walls and singing and dancing in the hallway. His oxygen level was up to 95 and given his appearance (which I think was partially drug induced!) they felt comfortable releasing him. Thank God!

So we were then off to wait a couple of more hours at two different pharmacies to get the medicine and nebulizer machine that he needed. I was almost in tears when the first pharmacist said we would need to go somewhere else (after already waiting 45 minutes). Nothing is ever easy even on vacation. Daniel didn't seem to notice though since he was glued to my iPhone which he's usually not allowed to play with. 

When all was said and done though, a few days of treatment worked wonders for him and we were able to enjoy the rest of our vacation (more to come about it in later posts!). Also, he at least planned his urgent care trip to occur on a rainy day. He's considerate like that. 

Before

After!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Minivan Mamma

Two weeks ago my husband was in a car accident. He was actually in a parking lot and a woman (clearly going too fast) ran into him and totalled his car. He was fine (thank God) but we've been dealing with the annoyance of the accident ever since. We had both cars paid off and no intention of buying a new car anytime soon. So we went back and forth on what to buy. Should he get a small commuter car since the kids rarely go in his car? Should he get an SVU that could fit the kids in it if needed? Should he live out his dreams and get a truck and make his weekly Home Depot trips magical? I said (and honestly meant) that he could get anything that he wanted. 

I've made it no secret that my next car without a doubt will be a minivan. Knowing that I would need a new car in a few years, his practical side won out on his decision. What did he agree to do? He let me get a new minivan and he's going to drive my Mazda 5. Yup, he's not so bad.

So he picked up my new ride last night and brought it home. It's a 2013 Toyota Sienna and it's pretty amazing. I went outside to check it out while the kids finished dinner. I sat in it alone and in the quiet and debated if I would ever get out of it. Inside it was the kind of place that my dreams are made of. Shortly after, the kids came out half dressed with dirty hands and faces and jumped like crazy around in "their" new car. My magical moment was gone but it was pretty nice to see them so excited about it. People can say what they want about minivans but gosh darn it I love them. The doors, the space, I just can't get enough of it. I almost slept in it last night. 

She's a thing of beauty

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Boy And His Ties

For Henry's last day of school ceremony he insisted on being "fancy" and wearing a tie. No problem except that he doesn't own a tie. How many four year olds do? I assumed he would forget about it but when he didn't I borrowed a tie from a friend. He proudly wore it (while sporting Spider-Man flip flops) at his ceremony. But the tie obsession didn't stop there. He continued to ask to wear them long after I returned the borrowed tie. After spending some time on YouTube researching how to tie a tie, I then let him wear my husband's ties for a  while. But alas, the phase didn't end so I gave in and bought him a couple of ties of his own. He loves them and wears them all the time. I'm not gonna lie - it's a pretty cute phase!

Cool dude wearing one of his dad's ties!

Looking fancy on the way to the grocery store

Ties add sophistication to our day
Anyone else have a tie lover out there? What about another "odd" accessory?

Monday, August 12, 2013

King Richard's Faire: Ticket Giveaway!

King Richard's Faire will soon be open weekends from August 31, 2013 through October 20, 2013 (including Labor Day Monday and Columbus Day Monday) in Carver, MA. Have you been to the Faire before? Last year was our first year going and if you're a newbie or need a refresher be sure to check out my post "Things to Know Before Bringing Your Family to King Richard's Faire." It's filled with tips to make your trip a success!

Isabelle and Henry checking out the Cyclops last year. You never know what you'll see there!
Not familiar with the Faire? Well here's some more information for you! 

Entertainment, exciting rides and skilled games abound on the enchanting 80-acre site of King Richard’s Faire. Hundreds of talented entertainers perform non-stop throughout the day. Visit any of the eight vibrant stages and be enthralled by acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, minstrels, dancers, fire eaters, puppeteers and exotic tigers. Witness the rare liger, beautiful white lion and cute tiger cubs. You’ll gasp as the King’s mounted knights battle on horseback, and laugh as bawdy beggars compete in mud. Strolling performers will engage you all day long as you frolic in our forest and try your skill at the Gaming Glen. Epicurean pleasures will tantalize your taste buds with the Faire’s unbelievable choices of truly scrumptious treats. Satiate your palate with spit-roasted giant turkey legs, boules of chowder and stew, ringlets of fryes, champagne, wine and brew! Discover over 100 talented artisans who journey from all over the country to display and hawk their magnificent wares. You will be delighted and intrigued by the fantastic glass blowing, portrait painting, hand-spun pottery, sword making, fabulous jewelry, leather and armor, period clothing, moccasins, perfumes and scented oils, face painting, and psychic readings.

They also have lots of great contests to enter as well such as these great kid pleasing ones: “Children’s Fairies & Pirate’s Costume Contest” Saturday, October 12th at 4:00 PM on the King’s Stage and “Prince & Princess Costume Contest” on Saturday, September 28th at 4:00 PM. You can check out all the special events and contests by clicking HERE

Sound like fun? Well one lucky Dollops reader will win two adult tickets to the Faire (a $56 value). Enter with the Rafflecopter form below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: My family receives free tickets to the Faire. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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