Posts in December 2011

Year End

5 months

I didn’t realize how much I needed this break. We’ve mostly read, spent time with family and played on the floor with Wes. I’m pretty sure Wes needed this break, too, because he’s slept much better at night (daytime sleep is still iffy) AND he’s finally rolled over! And to top it off, he decided to take it one step further and is sitting up really well. Of course we have pillows all over the place for when his balance sways, but it’s so much more fun now that he’s able to grab his toys while sitting. We can entertain him for a pretty good amount of time this way!

Christmas was so fun. Wes was a little overwhelmed by it all, but he enjoyed watching all the paper thrown around everywhere, the lit candles and eating apples, bananas and sweet potatoes for the first time. Santa was super generous this year.

My To Do List for the week was pretty simple (that way I could actually accomplish everything and not feel guilty if it was too overambitious). In no particular order:

– clean bathtub/obliterate rust stains

– take down tree & put Christmas decor away

– find homes for Christmas toys & gifts somewhere in the house

– take Wes’ 5-month photos (I didn’t have the nice camera, so I had to take them outside. It was snowing and made super cute shots!)

– update Baby Journal

– work on Joy’s House calendar design

– spend Christmas money on clothes for me!

I’m proud to say that I have nearly all of these items accomplished with days to spare! I feel productive, which is important for me even while on “vacation.” Now I’m looking ahead to 2012 and how to make it as successful, efficient, productive and fun. Some of our Christmas presents (and Pinterest, of course) helped me shape what I want to focus on for the coming year.

1) We got a deep freeze from my parents! WHOA, I know, it sounds crazy ridiculous, but I’m waaaay stoked about this. We had to be creative on how to maneuver it into the basement, but there it sits, humming away, and it makes me want to FILL it with STUFF to STORE. I’ve known since I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to make baby food when the time came. I’m all oodles excited now that I have ample space to cook tons of food and freeze it to use as needed. I found some really amazing sites, like this one, through Pinterest, to get me started. Who knows if I’ll get geeky nuts about it, as it appears this blogger is, but regardless, it’s happening. My parents, along with my sister & her husband, are all going in together to buy half a steer, too. We’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but we really didn’t have the space before. EEEEEE, now we do! Lots of fresh beef a-comin’!

2) More visits to the Children’s Museum and Indianapolis Zoo. Wes is becoming much more aware and responsive, and I can only imagine how he’ll enjoy these two favorite venues, now that we have memberships (and grandparent memberships) to each. We’ve gone to the Children’s Museum a couple times with him before, but he was a “blob” then and slept the whole time. I want to make sure to set plenty of family time aside for us.

3) Read aloud more often. As much as I enjoy reading, I really haven’t done a very good job of reading to Wes. My neighbor purchases a new book for her 3-year-old daughter every month. This is an easy way to build up his library and make it fun as you build up.

4) Teach Wes to sign. Not much to say about this – I just think it’s fun, educational and most likely streamlines communication between kid & parent. (Also hoping for less tantrums!)

5) Personal resolutions:

– Practice contentedness. I’m tired of complaining and wanting, only to GET and still not be satisfied.

– Trust. Worry is written all over my face and all over my heart. It’s a no-brainer to just let God handle it.

– Pray for wisdom. I already do this, but not nearly enough. God has promised to give wisdom to all who ask – who wouldn’t want this amazing gift?

Mr. Chubs is awake now, so I am off to play blocks and cars on our freshly cleaned rug. Watching him learn is thrilling. Here’s to an exciting 2012!

Posted: December 30th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Christmas Vacation

Since neither Steven or I had to work today, Santa came early for Wes. He “opened” his big present so that we could spend the day playing together. I’m pretty sure this Fisher Price Step n’ Play Piano is a hit.

Did you notice the Poop Face? Yeah, that was the first of a series of looks as he ridded himself of the sweet potatoes that Grandma fed him yesterday.

Christmas Vacation is off to a great start. Besides the piano thingy, we’ve enjoyed Starbucks, a slow morning and Papa Roux for lunch (where Wes took a nice, long nap). An episode of Ellen, some Metroid and some cookies & fudge later, we’re just enjoying our little family before Christmas begins tomorrow at my parents’. We’ll spend Christmas morning at home and then head out to Troy, Ohio, for the Shattuck Christmas.

And then… we have the whole next week off! Both of us! It will be glorious.

I’m gonna go heat up some leftover sesame chicken and pop in Love Actually to further bask in Christmas-goodness.

Posted: December 23rd, 2011
Categories: Leah
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5 Months (A Letter)

Dear Wes,

Happy 5 months! You certainly are a happy child – as long as you don’t have teething pain and aren’t suffering from a fever like the last few days. Somehow, even in your confused state of what-is-wrong-with-me, Daddy can make you smile from ear to ear. And your giggles are just too much. They continually make Mommy’s heart melt. All those hours of consoling you when I have no idea what to do are totally worth just one of those gorgeous laughs.

Within the next few weeks, that beaming face will show off two little bottom front teeth. The caps have finally peeked out over your gums, and soon they will grow into sparkly, white, adorable baby teeth. Will we keep them when they fall out in a few years? It’s unfortunate for you that they decided to make an appearance so early on because you’re JUST now starting to hang on to toys. Keeping a teether in your mouth is next to impossible – you’d much rather chomp on your bib or thumb. But, it’s rather fortunate for you that they decided to make an appearance so early on because you’ll be over Mouth: Stage 1 before your 6 month birthday!

As I write this, you finally clonked off to sleep. Tylenol certainly helps dull the pain and your pitiful whimpers. This stage of your life may just be about the hardest for Mommy thus far. Daddy is a champ and takes everything in stride, but I worry endlessly about how to comfort you. I’m still learning how to fully trust the Lord, so when you cry, I cry, too. It will get easier – or, different, I guess – as we learn each others’ signals over time. And most importantly, how Mommy relies on God to get over the current bump in the road.

You’ve become such a natural part of our days and lives. Mom & Dad enjoyed our 4 married years as just the two of us, but you have brought us into a family. Jake & Lucy will always be our “kids,” too, but your flesh & blood is pretty remarkable. You have changed the relationships we have with others and how we interact with our parents, friends and neighbors. We love you tons – like, it’s hard to describe. And how fun is it to see bits and pieces of relatives and genetics with each expression you make?

I am so thankful for you. You’ve made me a softer, less selfish, more understanding person. I thank you for being the reason I complain less. (Or, rather, my complaints are now in a different category!) We are proud of your rapid growth and development. And those lovely thighs. I could eat them!

I’m looking forward to spending a special moment with you, Daddy and the dogs on Christmas morning this week. Let us remember to be grateful for everything given to us from our Father, to celebrate our friends and family and give to those in need this season and always.

You da man!

Love, Mom

Posted: December 19th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Tis the Season

A first Christmas has got to be one of the most entertaining of all things for parents. I love this time of year anyway, and it’s even more fun with a super jolly & round kid. Stick a Santa hat on an infant, and BOOM, instant adorable.

We went to see Santa today after brunch at Dufour’s in Irvington, a yummy spot for fresh-squeezed orange juice and the 5-for-$5.50 breakfast menu. I could hardly contain my excitement, since obviously, Wes isn’t yet old enough to be itching for the annual chance to sit on the Big One’s lap! My parents still tease me about how I had to wear my best dress to visit Santa each year. It was a fancy ordeal. Wes was a champ. He looked at Santa in confusion and amazement, then let a grand smile for a cute photo.

The tree is up, most all the presents are wrapped and stockings are somewhat full. Cards were mailed today. Maybe I’m going a little overboard, but I’m loving it. And having Mondays and Fridays off this month are fantastic to get Christmasy things finished and still have time to watch Ellen and give undivided attention to my almost-5-month-old.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Posted: December 10th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Frugal and Freebies

Steven says I’m lucky. I may jinx myself with this post, but I have to brag a little about my contest winnings as of late. I guess it all started during our Chicago 2010 trip when I so desperately wanted a Swatch after visiting a Swatch store. We said we’d return the next day to purchase one, the morning before we left home, but we ran out of time. I was so curiously upset about this that I started researching opportunities to lay my hands on a Swatch. I even emailed the company to see how to start a franchise in Indianapolis (creepy, I know!). Following on twitter, I saw a contest to win a Swatch from – all you had to do was email them a photo of your watch.

And then, the day came. It arrived! Steven took video to capture the moment of me opening the winning piece. I look like a complete idiot, as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. This meant I could win other contests, too! So now, I enter contests all the time. I have separate email and twitter accounts so that I don’t get lots of spam and annoy my followers. I know, it’s ridiculous thinking, but luck has been on my side the last few years. Here’s just a few things I have won in the last two years:

  • Swatch watch
  • OK Go tickets (AWESOME concert, by the way)
  • movie passes
  • cloth diapers
  • laundry detergent, diaper pail refresheners & liners
  • cloth diaper accessories
  • Crabtree & Evelyn smelly good stuff (lotions, scrubs, etc)
  • miir waterbottle (I’m still waiting for this to arrive, 4 months later…)
  • and most recently…

Melissa & Doug package worth $130 from! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. It came tonight, hence this post, via UPS. I got chills as I heard the UPS man walk up our front porch steps. I know, another creepster comment. Anyway, it’s pretty rockin’. If you’re not familiar with Melissa & Doug, they’re pretty much the most amazing wooden toys available. And yes, they have other, non-wooden toys, too, but I love, love, love their wooden puzzles and food sets. I know Wes will eventually grow into these toys, as they’re mainly toddler-age, but hehe! I also have to throw in that I also received my free* $90 jeans from today!

So what is the “frugal” portion of this post? And how can YOU get in on this stuff? Um, just sign up for things and enter contests as you see them. The best place for contests is twitter. Try searching the hashtag #twitterparty and see what comes up. Seriously, few people enter contests because of the “hassle” and everyone’s afraid of getting junk mail. Well, yes, you may, but just use a different email address. Besides, you usually get coupon codes sent to you, which I love! Pay attention to deals like “free credit upon signing up” and free samples. I find some of the best sources are reviewer blogs – especially for cloth diapers. Manufacturers send samples for critiquing, and many times the bloggers give them away. Two of my go-to blogs for freebies and deals are Bargain Briana (local) and The Budget Mommy. I also heavily reference Slick Deals.

*I signed up for earlier this summer when they had a free $20 credit with new registration. I had saved the credit until now, as they are offering free shipping during the holidays. Scoring a pair of BLANKNYC jeans for $19.90, I didn’t have to pay a dime!

Posted: December 5th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

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