Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday Follow Ups: A Rambling Post

An interesting week. We played around with a lot of the routines in our household this week, most of which have made life much better.

This is one of those posts where I am just trying to sort through the events of the week. It has felt REALLY long. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

As I mentioned on Monday, Aaron was having accidents pretty much constantly last week and into the weekend. I started reminding him to use the bathroom pretty much every hour on the hour, if not more frequently, and he has been accident free all week. I was worried that maybe he was sick but I think he was just too busy to stop and use the facilities.

The issue we were dealing with Noah with staying up way too late because of his sniffling was another one we tackled this week. At my SIL's suggestion, we changed him from Claritin to Zyrtec. I was a little worried because instead of $3 a month, it will be $13, but it has made such a difference, that it may be the best $13 I spend each month.

Another change I am making is moving Aaron away from taking naps during the day. We had been having a lot of trouble keeping him in bed at night and had even confiscated the bed from him for awhile. For no other reason than pure selfishness, I was putting off quitting naps. I loved that time to myself. But in the interest of what Aaron needed, I instead have allowed him to sit on his bed and look at books instead of going to sleep. It has served the purpose of falling asleep quicker at night, and not fighting with him every day to settle down at quiet time.

After 10 days of being diet cola free, I am falling asleep way better than I ever was before, and staying asleep in the night. I still crave it every day, but I know it is a good change that I am already seeing the benefits from.

I spent the latter half of the week sorting clothes and toys and getting ready for next week's garage sale. It has been a challenge since we have no space to put the stuff we're planning to sell, even after it's sorted. I hope we can make enough to get Noah a bike. Both of them have grown out of their current ones and bike rides are not comfortable for either of them.

Steve spent most of the week trying to find a missing piece to Noah's old training wheels to put back on the bike when we give it to Aaron. I think we're going to have to bite the bullet and shell out $15 for a new set of training wheels for that bike. He also was dealing with the loss of a co-worker who suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep this week. Kind of freaky that someone our age, with two young daughters, can just be gone like that. Makes you appreciate how precious, and short, life can be.

After three practices, Noah actually STILL likes baseball. I am hopeful. He is worried about when they start games next week, but as long as he keeps having fun, I think it will be okay.

An elementary school a mile from our church closed this week because of suspected swine flu. The kindergartner had had relatives visit from Mexico over spring break, and a number of other kids from the Spanish immersion school traveled there for spring break as well. It should be interesting to see where it goes from here. I'm not going into a worry mode, but I am double checking the kids that they wash their hands a little more often than usual.

Wow, lots to report. Sounds like Aaron is done with his "quiet time" and it's time to start some more toy sorting. Have a great weekend. We have a superhero birthday party to go to on Sunday. Should be right up the boys' alley.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: The Castle

I wish I could take credit for today's T13, but alas I cannot. My dad is the true photographer in our family. While we were there this weekend, he gave me a CD he had made of the pictures he took while we were on vacation. I struggled with the settings of my camera and never could capture the beauty of the lights changing against the castle, and the fireworks as well. He did an awesome job so I had to share.

Here are 13 of my favoprites that my dad took. I love some of the angles.

Begging For Your Vote...Shameless Plug

Want to see a nasty picture? These are the nicotine spots that constantly return to our bathroom ceiling each week AFTER I wash it. We are non smokers who have lived in our home for seven years (to the day next week). This is all remnant of the previous owners. I have tried everything to try to clean them, but the keep coming back. We have been told that the only way is to scrape all of the paint and start over again.

On top of this, all of the paint in the bathroom has chipped and peeled off all the way to the plaster.

Needless to say, like everyone else these days, we do not have the funds to fix our bathroom. Then I came across a "stinky room" contest. It istright up our alley. I have entered the contest but I need your help. The winner revceives a special odor reducing paint as well as money to fix the room in need of repair.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE got to the website and vote for me. If you go into "view all rooms" and then select bathroom from the list, I am listed as "Kristina" from Wyoming, Michigan. When you vote, you get entered into a drawing to win four gallons of paint of your own. It's a win win situation (I hope)

Thank you. I would be glad to return the favor someday if you let me know. And wish me luck!

The Big Shirt

After a string of accidents last week, Aaron had yet another one of my parents house on Saturday. As upset with him as I was, I HAD to take a picture of how cute he looked in Grandma's sweatshirt while he was waiting for his clothes to be washed.

He got upset when it was time to put his own clothes back on because he was so cozy.

I was thankful that he didn't have another accident all over the sweatshirt.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday: The Animal Zoo

I haven't actually posted a REAL Tackle It Tuesday in awhile, probably because most of my tackles lately have been personal, not house related. But I tackled several real projects around the house last week.

I have tried so many different ideas to try to corral the growing stuffed animal population in our household.

I have tried to sell them in garage sales, but most of them seem to find their way back into our house before the three day sale is over.

I have tried hanging them, but it doesn't work because the kids love to actually play with the animals, not just look at them.

I also tried a huge hamper. THAT didn't work because they were just overflowing the bin and I still needed another spot.

Then I saw an article in the family fun magazine last month. I usually see these great ideas in that magazine, but never get around to actually following through on the ideas.

Then I went upstairs to try to start sorting Aaron's room, preparing for our garage sale in a few weeks. Want to know what the first thing I saw was?

I am thrilled that my boys love to sit and look at books for a long time, but they NEVER seem to make it back on the shelf.

So I wondered if it might be time to try that idea I saw to corral the stuffed animal in one spot and figure out a new solution for the books.

Aaron was fascinated when I headed upstairs with a hammer, nails, and the glue gun (of course).

I started by nailing piece of elastic to make "bars" for the cage.

Here is Aaron "helping" with the nailing process

Then I used the glue gun to cover the nails with beads that I got out of our craft cabinet.

Next came time to start piling the animals into their new home.

And I even sent a picture of the finished product to the magazine.

I still need to figure out a solution to the book problem. For now, they are in baskets on the floor, making them accessible to the kids, but easily picked up off the floor.

I am quite proud of this tackle. I would love to hear any suggestions you have for the book dilemma. What a great problem to have, huh?

Have a great Tuesday.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Top Five

Interesting weekend weather wise. 85 degrees and beautiful on Friday, cold and rainy the rest of the weekend, until Sunday nigh. Bell practice on Sunday was awesome and Peace Sunday in church helped me to remember to pray for peace when I am feeling personally overwhelmed in any aspect of my life.

Here are the Top Five from the weekend.

5. Noah's School carnival

I volunteered to run a game for Noah's carnival so we went Friday night, planning to stay for the entire hour and half that it was open. It was actually a very fun night.

When they bought the tickets for the games, each kid got a plastic bag to put all of their prizes in, which I thought was a great idea. The boys had fun playing a a lot of the games and made their tickets last ALMOST a half hour.



I was worried that they would wander around complaining about wanting more tickets for the hour that was left. I needn't have worried. Noah hooked up with his friends from school

and also went over and asked to help with the fishing pole game, and they let him.

Aaron, always the charmer, has made friends with these two 7th grade girls in Noah's school over the last few months, and managed to spend the ENTIRE night going from game to game with them, even using their tickets. I offered the girls money to cover their cost but they were actually having fun and loved it.

So while I was running around taking pictures, guess who ended up running the game the entire time? Yup, that's my hubby!

Of course, he found other ways to keep himself entertained while there were no players for the game.

I had the mothers of three different girl come up to meet me since their girls all wanted play dates with Noah, my OTHER little charmer. How nerds like my hubby and myself ended up with Mr. Popular for a son, I will never know.

4. Night Out With Deb

We hadn't been out for quite a few weeks so we decided to head out on Friday night after I got the kids in bed. Usually we got out to buy things that one or the other of us need. This time, we both needed to got to the mall to pay cell phone bills, so we went and actually spent the time walking two full laps of the mall only briefly stopping into one or two stores. It was nice to be active while we were talking and then we both could feel it when we got to the car to go for yummy Wendy's ice cream treats (so much for actual exercise...oh well). I enjoyed the time walking and talking with my friend who is struggling with a few big stresses in her life, and I hope I will be a comfort to her in the weeks to come.

3. Fun Day with Grandma and Grandpa
Since my parents just back from their trip down south, we headed over for a few hours on Saturday. The popular activity of course again was the Wii (Aaron says "weed"). The boys had a good time boxing against each other and even Steve and I took a turn to battle it out. I was shocked at how much of a workout the boxing was and Steve was remarking about his arm being sore seven hours later.

We also got to see some slide shows of their trip, which I really enjoyed, and I even got my dad a Facebook account started. We came away with some more stuff for the garage sale too.

A very fun day.

2. A Little Bit of Yard work

An on going battle with our yard continued this weekend. I have done so many things to try to make the front of our yard attractive, and have arrived on lilac bushes for the most part. We had received a cherry tree last year as a gift and had planted it in the front, but it just didn't look right to me.

So we have an open area in our backyard that doesn't seem to want to grow grass no matter how many times I try, so Steve was willing to pull the tree and replant it in the back just as the Saturday morning storms rolled in.

I also had time to drop some left over fertilizer I found in the garage from last year. The rain lasted about 36 hours, so poor Steve will likely be pulling out the lawnmower for the first time next weekend :(

Now I just have to find something to fill the hole

1. Evening Downtown Grand Rapids

I received a gift card to a popular restaurant building downtown Grand Rapids as a gift from a friend at church as a thank you for all the work I did with bells this year. We decided to make an afternoon/evening out of it on Sunday after church.

We started out, as usual, at the children's museum

Aaron "catching" a bubble

followed by dinner at the BOB. I enjoyed walking through downtown back to our car, because we passed Rosa Parks Circle. It was fun to watch the boys run around in the downtown in the amphitheater, knowing that in a couple of months, my bell choir will be performing here. Pretty exciting.

The Week Ahead
The biggest tackle I will face this week is dealing with a little situation that has arisen with Aaron. For the last week or so, he has started wetting his pants every day. He has been potty trained for two years now, and he is now going in his pants every day. I will be concentrating on this heavily this week. Other than that, a field trip for Noah and two baseball games as well.

Have a great week.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Saturday Review: Kaboom website

I love it when I am asked to do reviews for products that really seem to be beneficial to me. And this one was cool. It's a website designed to list play spaces throughout the country for kids.

They are trying to build a database of 100.000 playspaces in 100 days. At the time I write this, they are at 12,299 playspaces listed with 68 days to go. They need a lot of help.

Here is what I know:
KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and creating play spaces within walking distance for every child, has embarked on a nationwide mission to help communities build playspaces. This proves critical for those many children living in neighborhoods without playgrounds or playspaces, or unable to use existing ones because of rundown conditions or dangerous neighborhoods.

For every play space entered into the KaBOOM! database on behalf of the Mom Central team, $1 will be donated to Jumpstart, a non-profit that brings at-risk preschool children and caring adults together to improve literacy. It's something to feel doubly good about!

I had fun looking at which parks around us were listed and even added several myself. I think it's cool that it is nationwide so if we go on vacation somewhere, we could look on the website and find a fun place to play. I strongly encourage you to visit the Kaboom website and check it out

I actually discovered a few around our home that I didn't know about, and we have been in this house for seven years.

And if you add another one, you can know that you also made a donation to a worthy cause.

This review was written on behalf of Mom Central

Friday Photo Story: First Baseball Practce

We have been through many extra curricular activities with Noah, trying to find his niche. There always seems to be something that just doesn't click to make it an activity that he wants to continue.

We tried soccer


We tried self defense


We've tried gymnastics


We don't want to force anything on him, but we also want to give him a chance to try different things to find something that he might enjoy and possibly excel.

So Wednesday night we tried another...Little League.

I was worried that it would be like all the rest....novelty wearing off and seeming like too much work for him to want to see it through.

I was also worried that he would be behind the rest of the kids in his age group since it was his first year. I thought maybe he would be the only kid using a tee while the rest of the kids used the pitch machine and I feared that he would be out playing the sand way more than he actually paid attention to what was going on.

I MAY have been worrying for nothing. We may have found one that is going to stick with.

We got there late since I had gone to the wrong field for practice. But it was okay and he jumped right into playing catch with the other kids on his little team.

Then it was time to start batting. He was a little confused when it was time to put on a helmet

but once he got up to the plate, he was open to stance help from the coach.

And after watching a few of the pitches go past him,

he made amazing contact with ball and got it out toward third base.

I like how the coach had the practice structured. The each got two turns to bat and then rotated around the infield waiting for the ball to be hit to them.

I was so surprised at Noah in the "outfield" as well. I expected him to spend his entire time doing this:

But surprisingly enough, each time a kid hit the ball, he hustled to be the first one to pick it up and throw it to first base.

It was so much fun to watch him. I will miss his Monday night practices since I'll be teaching, but you can bet I'll be one of the loudest cheering on Wednesdays, and I am looking forward to when the games start (even though I have no idea when that will be yet).

The coach ended practice by letting the kids "run a home run" around the field twice, which other moms have told me ends up being the kids' favorite part of practices.

So of course, after a great first practice, there was only one way to celebrate...

I have no idea if this will be "his thing" or not, but right now he is eager to go back on Monday and that's about all I can ask. I was so proud watching him tonight and you can be sure that I will be subjecting you to MANY baseball pictures in the weeks to come.

Have a great weekend.