Tuesday, November 29, 2011

megabloks mommy party

I finally got to host my first mommy party, sponsored by MegaBloks. It really turned out to be a lot of fun for the kids, and the parents, too. MegaBloks sent 10 goody bags for the kids who came to our play date. The kids were so excited to be able to take home their very own set, and the parents all had a great time helping them play! We had just enough block sets for each child who came, it worked out perfectly.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

pregnancy update: week 29

I know on my last pregnancy related post I promised that I didn't like to complain too much. But if I can't complain here, on my own blog, to you, dear readers, who the heck can I complain too? Nobody else wants to hear it. Besides, pregnancy gives us so many excuses, doesn't it? I think so. You don't want to argue with a pregnant woman.

So, it's week 29 and I'm right in the thick of pregnancy hell. You know, the pregnancy hell that punishes us for all our pregnancy sins. Sins like eating too much, eating too late in the day, eating the wrong foods, doing too much around the house, walking or standing too long, and other sins of the maternal flesh. Even though this is the fourth time I've been through this, I always wait until its too late to repent. Now, I'm suffering the consequences. Pray for me. I am trying to still hold on to the beautiful part of this journey. I feel it most when I lay, alone, and feel the little one moving around. She needs me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

adventures in self-hood: volume 1

This attempt at writing about myself has been brewing inside me for quite some time. Years, maybe, but I started writing it back in September. It is a commentary on a tale of a personal evolution, one that progressed without the realization that it was even happening. Then, when I realized it was in fact happening, it was here. I changed. I grew. Of course I understand that this process will not stop here. I am experimenting with who I am still. I am like a ball of clay in the hands of those closest to me. I am being molded in many directions. Sometimes, like a only a surreal Dali painting might be able to capture, my own slender hands extend from the ball of clay and I attempt to mold myself. I am still growing with them. It's quite the adventure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

weaning a one year old

Every nursing relationship eventually comes to an end. Weaning an infant under one year of age is different than weaning an older baby or toddler. In this post, I am talking about weaning an older baby or toddler and when that time comes, so many different emotions can come into play. These emotions may range from negative emotions like resentment, apprehension, sadness, guilt or they may also include positive emotions like relief, pride, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of closure.

 Maternity - Pablo Picasso

When you start the weaning process, things can be easy or they can be downright difficult and seem impossible. After successfully nursing 3 children for a combined total of about 4 years, I can definitely say that every experience is different. These are a few things I have learned in my varied experiences, with very different babies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

third trimester woes

I try not to complain too much, I honestly do. But this is getting out of hand. I'm now 28 weeks pregnant and in my third trimester. I have to say that these third trimester aches and pains are the worst I have experienced so far, after having 3 other babies. Heck, the first trimester morning all day sickness made it sort of awful from the beginning. I was throwing up almost every single day. I did feel better after, but I mean, I couldn't even walk from one room to another without consciously trying to fight back the urge to throw up. And actually going out and doing anything was torture. Grocery shopping was the worst! All the sights, sounds, and smells irritated the life outta me. It was as if I was on sensory overload and had to stop, close my eyes, and put my hand over my mouth just to stay in control. I threw up in the Albertson's bathroom at least three times. I tried Sea Bands, those seemed to give me a headache. I tried sucking on hard candy, but that was only a temporary fix that made me feel slightly more nauseous after. The only thing that truly helped was laying down, particularly on my right side. You can imagine what that did for things on the home front. I didn't want to get up to do anything! I would sometimes let an entire day pass without cleaning one thing. Finally, relief came with the second trimester. I had a new found sense of energy, I was able to do everything I needed. My house got the attention it deserved, my girls realized that mama would get up to chase them if I needed to lay the smack down, and I could get up and make Erik's lunch at 3:45am without feeling like I was going to die. Life was good, for now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

funny friday: vol 2

Yes it is late, but here we are again. I started off trying to write something with meaning and purpose but I'm fresh out. I'm just happy its Friday! Thought I'd share some more funny pics with you guys. They made me laugh this morning. Have a great night and a great weekend! No drinking and driving!!! I'm serious!!

I'll be sitting on the couch for some "me" time, watching movies, pigging out, and maybe even falling asleep while doing one of those. I'm happy.

 Not that I have a problem with excessive Twitter use, but it is pretty funny.

 This made me laugh out loud. That's not hard to do. I'm laughing now. 

Just a reminder that things can always be worse.


Goodnight everyone! Be safe.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

our radical christmas

When I think of the Christmas celebrations we have already had and when I think of how many we will have in our family lifetime, I think, why not throw a little curve ball in there? Just for the heck of it, try something new and see how it flies with the troops. Not that they have a whole lot of say or anything. So, it didn't actually unfold in this linear thought progression, it kind of just sprung itself on me one afternoon while I was planning some crafting projects for my girls. Homemade Christmas gifts? I started seeing cute little games I could make, jewelry, a doll house someone made from recycled materials. Think bookshelves and old wood pieces not aluminum cans or  plastic bottle type recyclables, I mean, I don't want them turning into bums. Basically, I just saw really cute homemade Christmas gift ideas that cost a fraction of what popular commercial toys cost and knowing my girls, they would love some of these handmade gifts, especially if they knew it was made especially for them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

party time!

I keep adding more things to my plate week after week, but I just can't help but take up some of these opportunities. As I've mentioned before, I was selected to host a MommyParty. The first one will be the Mega Bloks party coming up this weekend (still have room for about 2 kids). I have also been selected for two more which will take place over the next few weeks as well. If you live in Bakersfield and are interested in participating, you can let me know by commenting on my facebook page or here in the comment section. So, why would you want to attend these parties? What exactly are they? Well, these parties offer an opportunity for you to learn more about a few exciting brands, take part in some cool activities for you or your children, walk away with your own free products, coupons, and the opportunity to take part in the giveaways that each individual party will have. All it costs you is a little time. I hold these parties at my house, with no more than 10 people, so it is a relaxed atmosphere. You will not be asked to buy anything. These are the details of the upcoming parties, which I need people for:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

pink style

Let's pretend for a moment that I have an extra few hundred dollars just laying around and all I could do is spend it on clothes that I love for my girls. Wait, shhh...I'm still pretending. If this were true, I'd pick up a few items from one of my favorite brands of children's clothing EVER. Who has won this prestigious title? Tea Collection. I have been admiring their clothes for years and years now, but for some reason, I can't commit to clothes purchases. Ask Erik. I will walk around a store, find things I like, but I always find a reason to put them back. I just can't do it. I have a kind of love/hate relationship with clothes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

funny friday

Veteran's day. I know quite a few so I guess the polite thing to do is to say "Happy Veteran's Day" or "Thank You". Hopefully, if you served, your experience was a positive one. I will always be an extreme idealist and wish we lived in a world where the military was not needed.

I have been running around the house like a wild child today. My nephew is visiting and that means an extra couch jumper, sippy cup to fill, diaper to change, and heathen to yell at child to love on. Something interesting I realized was that if you have to yell from the kitchen for a 2 yr old and a 3 yrd old to be quiet every 2 minutes because the baby is finally napping, you are probably contributing a whole lot more noise to the environment. Just let it go.

The weather almost got me feeling gloomy but I shall fight til the death. In light of my uncharacteristically optimistic outlook on today, I thought I'd post some funny pics from around the web. I actually found them on Pinterest which makes browsing anything so much easier. I hope they can bring at least a partial smile to your face.

 I have to refrain from scaring the hell out of my children with the truth about life sometimes. This reminded me of that.

 Looks like another one has a case of the children.

 I am a grammar geek even though I still make mistakes. This is one I refuse to make. 

 Enough said. 

 Dedicated to the one I love. 

 This is funny. For my pregnant peeps.

Real life lessons from Star Wars.

I hope everyone (including me) has a great Friday and a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

toy story birthday party

Our DIY Toy Story birthday party turned out great. Emme had a wonderful time and we were pretty stress free. Only the last 30 minutes of preparation got to me because the icing I bought from Albertson's failed on me. But, it worked out fine. Emme started planning her party months before the occasion and I already had a pretty good idea of what we were going to have. Luckily for me, Erik was more than willing to help make this a DIY party and he really contributed a lot to the design element of it all. If we would have purchased a big party pack of supplies for this party we could have easily spent a few hundred dollars. Instead, we hit the fabric stores, the Dollar Store, 99cent store, Walmart, and of course, Target. We did a lot of printables to help with the theme and basically just did everything ourselves. The only commerical Toy Story products we purchased were a few of the party favors and a tablecloth. We already had tons of Toy Story figures for decoration. Emme's grandpa also rented a jumper for this occasion so that kept the kids busy, as well as her other grandpa's gift a few months back, our awesome backyard playset. We asked the kids to dress up, and a few did. Of course, Emme wore her Jessie costume. Her dad and I wore matching Alien shirts from Target.

Our main idea was to have 3 different themed areas. The gift table was meant to resemble Andy's room, one of the eating tables was meant to represent more of a cowboy/cowgirl theme, and the food table was tied in with Pizza Planet. For our Toy Story party menu we served pizza, chicken wings, potato wedges, salad, fruit, cake, and cookies.

 For the gift table, we bought the blue and yellow fabric to make the background and banner. We printed off letters for her name and the clouds. We hung the banner from a rod and string. I just had to sew a long tube for the rod to fit in. The banner was glued to yarn.

The cowboy banner was made with bandana print fabrics from fabric store. Again, I glued it to yarn.

 A close up of our Pizza Planet station where we put our pizzas. Erik made a rocket out of craft foam from Walmart. He printed out a picture of Woody, the Aliens, Buzz, and the Claw to make it look like a scene from Pizza Planet. I found a font similar to the one used for Toy Story products and printed Emme's name. We printed a 3 from the Toy Story 3 ads. We also glued glow in the dark stars to the board. The board was a pre-colored science project board from Walmart. We added some green star balloons from the 99cent store, a Toy Story Alien tablecloth from Walmart and some green polka dot napkins and star napkin holder I already had. 

 For the gift bags, I covered a small standing shelf I had in my kitchen with leftover cow print fabric from Emme's costume. We strung up Army men on yarn on this table and the Pizza Planet table. They looked like they were sliding into combat. 

We also had extra seating for the little ones down in the family room. We added a few printable Toy Story drawings to make it tie in with everything. As you can see, we used 99cent store star balloons in different colors to make everything feel more festive. The stars added the extra fun element as opposed to regular round balloons.

Next, are our Toy Story party games. I searched and searched for some good ideas and found something similar but we made our own variations. We knew they had to be easy enough for at least a 3 yr old to do. They all worked out perfectly. Our first game was "Toss the Snake in the Boot". I bought a laundry basket (could have used one we already had but let's face it, I could use a few more laundry baskets) from the 99cent store and a few rubber snakes from Walmart. Erik drew and cut out a boot from foam bought at Walmart, also. We let the little kids stand closer, but everyone basically had 3 tries to get as many snakes as they could into the basket. If there were ties, we would have gone into tiebreaker mode, but one of my little cousins made all 3. It was fun to see the children and their skills, or lack thereof. They all had fun trying though!

Here is the birthday girl trying to make a snake in the boot!

The next game was "Shoot Zurg" which was basically a dart game variation. Instead of darts, we used a cheap Nerf dart gun that was small enough for the little ones to hold. Erik had to help a few kids, but they all had a fair shot at getting the best score out of 4 darts. We printed out a picture of Zurg and taped it to the back of a cheap target set we got at Walmart. My 3 year old nephew won that game. The prizes were simple Target dollar bin prizes. One was a paddle ball set and the other was Silly Putty. They both went nicely with our Toy Story theme.

Big sister took the game quite seriously.

My nephew Keston. He almost won!

Just so there were no sore losers, we had little gift bags for the kids to take home. We decided against candy because Halloween was only last week. The bags included Toy Story stickers from 99cent store, slinkys from the Target dollar bin, a few Army men from the Dollar Store (one pack of 60 cost a dollar!), and a few random toys from a Toy Story favor pack from Target. These included a Toy Story maze page, kaleidoscope, plastic alien slinky, Woody sticker, and I'm sure there is something else I am forgetting. I put them in simple brown lunch bags from Walmart and threw on a few extra Toy Story stickers and that's it. I could have taken more time to add detail but I had no more time and the bags were just trashed anyway! I lined the bags up for display, but out of reach, on one of the tables and they fit in nicely.

While I was researching for the party, Emme got sight of the Jessie Hat cookies and just HAD to have them. So, I had to make them. The came out pretty good. The kids gobbled them up.

For the cake, we bought a white sheet cake from Walmart. It came with some flowers on it, but my aunt helped me scrape them off. We then added our own decorations and had a really awesome cake. Couldn't have asked for better, especially considering the money we saved on having a custom cake made that might be half as cool as this.

She was in awe of her cake.

All in all, our party turned out fabulously. We always put a lot of work into our girls' parties but I never document them! That stops now. I am so happy to have captured these memories for Emme and I know she will look back and remember this special party. I think Erik and I enjoyed putting it all together almost as much as she enjoyed spending this special day with her family and friends. She got TOO MANY awesome gifts (that I am still trying to find room for) and she is so grateful for everything she got. That makes it all worth it.

 Even before the presents she was so thrilled. 

A picture with mama and daddy. Happy Birthday to our angel.

For those looking to create their own Toy Story party, I have a lot of links on my "Emme's 3rd" Pinterest board. Head on over, click here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

dear emme

On this day, three years ago, my beautiful angel came into this world, appropriately named, Emme Angel. Her first few days were marked with a little bit of worry as she had to undergo phototherapy treatment at home for a high bilirubin count, or jaundice. She looked brown, but really was slightly bruised from delivery, which can cause the high count. She handled this treatment like a champion. After a few days of worrying her father to pieces, she came out from under the lights and brought with her, her very own bright light that we see every time we look into her little sparkling eyes. My mother says her eyes resemble marcasite stone, and I agree. They just shine.

Our little girl is such a sweetheart, sometimes I just can't believe how tender and loving she is. Every child is different, and although her sisters also crave and require lots of affection, Emme offers it back to those closest to her. Not a day goes by that she doesn't tell me how beautiful I am. She says, "I love you, my beautiful mudder" (she means mother) or other things like "Mama, you are just so pretty, my sweet mama". She is such a grateful child, always thanking us for everything. Not just with an instilled value of politeness that we want all of our children to have, but she has this unique grasp of true gratitude and it shows on her face and you can hear it in her voice. She is just appreciative by nature.

Her favorite thing to do is to play with her daddy. She loves rolling around on the ground while he tickles her, balancing on his feet, standing on his back, riding his back like a horse and ever since she was baby, with no fear, she'd sit in his hand and bask in the feat. I could cry just thinking about how much her daddy loves her and I am so grateful that I know she will grow up with a good man in her life that will always show her affection and tenderness. It already comes back tenfold in her personality. She calls her younger sister her little sweetheart, or a princess baby, with the most precious sounding soft voice.

Of course, she is a child, which means she is as perfect as can be. She has her whiny days. She drives us crazy like all children do so well. She shrieks like a baby banshee sometimes, and boy is this child loud. We thought my oldest was loud before Emme came, but she takes the cake, for sure.

She's growing up. She is maturing. She is starting to act more like her older sister, and looks to her for companionship that I can only appreciate from the outside, since I never had a sister-sister relationship. But I know it is so special. As concerned as I get that she climbs, when I walk into their room to check on them in the night, and I see that Emme has climbed into Luciana's top bunk, my heart melts. No matter how many toys they squabble over, no matter how much they argue over who gets what place mat or who is touching who, or looking at who, at the end of the day, these sisters want to be together, like friends, looking for an intimate comfort that only a sister can offer.

So today we wish my baby girl, Emme Angel, a very happy birthday. We love her more each day.

Emme had a great time at her Toy Story birthday party. I will post more pics tomorrow of her special day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

..must sleep..

I can't believe I just freely gave up two extra hours of sleep to play Xbox. Ok, maybe I can. The new Lord of the Rings game released this week and we had been waiting for a few months. So far, so good. Its definitely more of a challenge for us than the last LOTR game we played a few years ago. But we both like it. In fact, I can't wait til tomorrow night to play again. Tomorrow is Emme's birthday party and it is going to be a lot of fun. I'll definitely be taking lots of pictures and will share them asap.
Ok, off to sleep I go. I am going to be so tired in the morning!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

...coming soon to pink...

I'm loving the whole blogging gig. Sure, I might not be making cash from it, but it has already opened up some doors for me and I have already gotten some very cool opportunities that show me the future only gets brighter from here. I have some fun stuff coming up so I thought I'd share. Maybe this list will help me to remember everything too, because this pregnancy brain has me living in a fog most of the time!

• MegaBloks MommyParty - 11/18

• Pregnancy 2.0 MommyParty - TBD

• Learning Link Technologies   Giveaway valued at $600

• DIY Holiday Season Series

These things have me so excited. In the next few weeks I'll be looking for attendees for my Pregnancy 2.0 MommyParty where I'll have some awesome products from Britax and BabyPlus with something very cool to give away from them! I will also be starting my review for a breakthrough educational product from Learning Link Technologies where I will able able to give one away to a reader, and I'll be unveiling our radical Christmas plans and subsequently starting a cool, yet totally doable, DIY holiday gift series for anyone interested. I might even throw in a few giveaways for those items too!

I have been really busy with holidays, party planning and just the general mom duties so I was kind of lagging on the frequency of my posts but stay tuned because the next few months should be fun and you might be able to win something for yourself!

Stay updated by liking my page on Facebook or following me on Twitter!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

homemade halloween

Here are a few pics of our homemade Halloween. This year I tried my hand at making the costumes and it turned out great. I didn't make them all from scratch, but I bought as little as possible, fixed them up myself and saved a lot of money. A lot. Luciana was the Corpse Bride from Tim Burton's movie, Emme was Jessie from Toy Story, and Roslyn was a ladybug.

For the Corpse Bride costume I hit the thrift stores to find a wedding dress look-a-like. I found a perfect dress and veil combination for $8.99. The Walmart bride dress was about double that. All I did was rip it up a little, make it look dirty with some black face paint I already had and she threw on her boots and a  $5.00 black wig. So, her costume was about $15.00 total. She loved it.

My little Corpse Bride

Now the Jessie costume took a lot of work. But, I didn't mind because this was a three event costume. First, she wore it to the Toy Story on Ice show here in town, then there was Halloween, and next she will be wearing it to her Toy Story themed birthday party this weekend. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), she LOVES Toy Story and especially the Jessie character. For this costume, I found the pants at Walmart for $5.00. The shirt was on sale at Target for under $10.00. Then, I purchased a yard of $2.99 cow print fabric (could have bought half a yard but I needed extra for her party) and yellow print fabric. I bought a $2.00 strip of belt material and a $4.00 pack of foam to make her belt buckle. The hat was around $10.00 (if I remember right) from the Halloween Spirit store. So, for her costume I spent about $35.00 (subtracted some for the second use of fabric). All I had to do was cut out the yellow shirt chest and wrist portions and sew it on with my machine. Then, I also used my machine to add the red embroidery detail (which you can't really see in these pics) which really set it off. The cow print chaps were hand sewn. I just cut the shapes and voila, the cutest chaps in town. The Halloween spirit store had a "Deluxe" Jessie Costume for around $40.00 but it was so cheaply made and had a plastic hat that I knew wouldn't make it in this house. So, all in all, this was an awesome homemade costume that saved us money and turned out better than the store version, for sure. 

Jessie the Cowgirl

Little Roslyn definitely had a "just-throw-it-together" costume. She didn't mind though. For her costume I bought a red long sleeved shirt and pair of black leggings each for $3.88 from Walmart. She can wear them both again. I bought a pair of $3.00 clearance antennae from Carter's. I went to F&M fabrics and got red and black tulle on sale for $1.00 a yard  and I bought a yard of each. I made a new-sew tutu and added some black and red ribbon. The wings were found at the Dollar Store for, you guessed it, a dollar. Her costume cost about $14.00 total. Could have spent less if I already had black tights for red shirt but her winter wardrobe needed some new pieces anyway. Also, if I would have bought a tutu as cute as hers, it would probably set me back around $40.00 at a children's boutique. So, I win. 

Our lady of bugness

So, the pics I got weren't all that great quality. I blame the eager kids who could barely wait for me to finish getting them dressed and the family members waiting at the foot of my driveway while I scrambled for my own shoes. I didn't dress up, unless disheveled pregnant lady counts? Next year I will take some great shots before the commotion starts.  Maybe even the day before. Someone just remind me next year please.
And here is one more picture with a few stragglers that I thought were important enough to make this a collage heavy post. Again, I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I am beginning to see this holiday as a day when I just send my kids out to collect candy for me, because they barely eat any and already have forgotten we have it hidden. Score. Jokes on you, kids!

Did anyone else make their costumes this year? Or am I the only crazy one with loads of extra time on my hands?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

happy november

Where did October go? Halloween flew by so quickly! I will be posting a few pics tomorrow of the costumes I made. I didn't get the best pictures because we had family over and the night was kind of hectic. By the time I was ready to take pics all they wanted to do was eat candy. And guess what? They pretty much forgot about the stash already. Yay, extra snacks for us after their bedtime! I hope everyone had a great time and made happy memories. So excited for the upcoming holidays!! Is everyone as excited as I am?