Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaBloPoMo -- Take 3

Wow! Another year has come and gone already, and it's that time again! NaBloPoMo! Or, for you newbies, National Blog Posting Month!

The challenge is to post to your blog once a day for the entire month of November--and it is challenging. November is a busy month for me EVERY YEAR, so finding the time/internet access to update the blog has proven tricky, but I've been successful two years in a row. We'll see how we do this year.

Tomorrow, it begins...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

11 Weeks of O...Juuust right.

This is that last week that Oscar isn't allowed in the nursery. I am so VERY ready to let the nursery workers dote on him while I go to Sunday school and church. For. Real.

Last night, Oscar went to bed around the same time as Elsie stopped screaming (7:30?) and didn't wake up until 5 a.m. It really is becoming the norm these days. (I'll update in the morning if I'm wrong..haha.) I am soooo blessed to have good sleepers. I don't think I could do everything I do (work, work, housework) if my sleep were of poor quality. Thank you Elsie, thank you Oscar, thank you God (who has blessed me with these two bundles!). Oh, and thank you Eli for ignoring the excessive snoozing, accompanied by the most annoying alarm clock, in the mornings.

So, tonight was Auburn downtown trick-or-treating. We went with our neighbors and walked around. The kids are too young for candy, but it was fun to see all the costumes, particularly the babies. Have I become a baby person?? Don't think so. But, but, but. Nah.

Aunt A (who we love and adore) sent O the cutest costume, so we built our family theme around his costume. So, here we are:

Did you guess it? Yep. We went trick-or-treating as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I know. We're so clever, I just can't stand it.


And Baby Bear:

And Goldilocks and her favorite Tiger (and favorite neighbor):

We stayed out for about an hour, but ended up having to come home as Elsie had a meltdown in downtown. It was the hour of delirium (what we lovingly call the hour before bedtime) so we knew we were pushing our luck. Glad to have had the opportunity to spend time with our neighbors.

Finally, two shots of Goldi as herself. Okay, so she's actually impersonating Jack Horner, except with raspberries:

And the final one is from tonight right before I came in here to update the blog. Elsie has learned how to use zippers, and let's just say I'm glad this wasn't a leisure suit, and I'm glad she doesn't have a hairy chest. :)


Monday, October 25, 2010

New Habits and a Kitchen Sink

Well, after the meals stopped coming after O's birth, we started back on our E-mealz plan, but we weren't 100% consistent with it, as some weeks we were too exhausted to make a trip to Wal-Mart. Here are some things I have learned in the last couple of weeks:

1. If we don't go shopping together, it probably won't get made. One, because I am not going shopping with the two kids by myself--takes too long, and there's no room in the cart. Two, if there are substitutions or omissions, I want to know about them otherwise I'm looking through the pantry trying to find something that just doesn't exist in my house. Which leads to lesson #2:

2. If we don't have all the ingredients on hand, then it probably won't get made or WILL get made and will taste weird because I do not have any time to run BACK to the grocery store to run in to get ONE item while toting two kiddos. Just not gonna' do it. So it pays to really pay attention to the shopping list (particularly the "staples") and not leave anything off. (This week we couldn't find lemon juice at Wal-Mart. Weird, I know. So, I really hope that that particular ingredient is not a necessity, but it probably is...)

3. You cannot substitute anything else if the recipe calls for "chili sauce." Though I'd never heard of it before, I'm assured that it is irreplaceable in recipes.

4. Corn starch is not that same as flour or corn meal. And even if the Internet site that Google brought up when you search for "corn starch substitutes" says that they make good subs, they do not.

5. Bisquick is also considered "All Purpose Baking Mix." Who knew?

6. We ate out more if we didn't make dinner and that led to purchasing school lunches because I didn't have leftovers to take. And I know this is totally stupid coming from an adult, but I HATE making sandwiches. And if I don't automatically put leftovers in disposable-if-you-leave-them-in-the-car-to-become-moldy-but-reusable-if-you-don't lunch containers, then leftovers will go to waste.

7. Eli hates doing dishes. (Seven years of marriage and I never really suspected. And no, I'm not being facetious.)

Which leads to my next update:

Back at the end of the summer, I bragged about cleaning up my kitchen and living room every night before bed, focusing on maintaining. After Oscar was born, it was much harder to do and many nights over the last eight weeks or so I would go to bed knowing I would wake up to a mess. Then Eli found out that his military law school dates that would take him away from us for 13.5 consecutive weeks have been set for spring (he leaves early February and will be back just before Elsie turns two). This lit the fire under me to start thinking about survival in those months. I started asking people about routines that I could have in place by then to manage the house, the kids, the yard, the work, the stress, the chaos--the LAUNDRY!! And am I surprised that I didn't find a lot of help out there? Not really. I think we all secretly live in chaos and without routines. We just put on a good show and get by as best we can until the machine breaks down completely.

I had heard about the Motivated Moms planner, and actually ordered one a few years ago that didn't get used (oops) and I considered it again. It is a fabulous idea and would work much better for me if I were either a SAHM or already had my butt in gear, but honestly, I'm just not there yet. So, I looked a little more, and I came across Totally hoky. Totally cheesy. Totally what I need. Baby steps (just like Dave!) and encouragement to develop habits and routines. Because guess what? Epiphany? I won't just magically turn into Super Mom once Eli leaves! If I try to do everything at once, I will definitely have a melt-down. I have to actually learn and use these new routines before then. So, Baby Step 1: Shine your sink. And that's where I am folks. As I'm trying to get everything done that needs to be done on a daily basis, I'm starting with a shiny sink. Every night before I go to bed so it greets me in the morning. And from there I'll add some more, little by little. But this is actually pretty challenging in and of itself. So, as a final thought, I give you...

my sink.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Today we took the kids and went to a local pumpkin patch. Why? Well, I hear it's what you do when you have kids and it's this time of year. Oh, and it's a great excuse to get out of the house. :) My full album is on facebook, but here are a few of my favorites from today.

And of course, for your O fix:

(This was taken today, before the pumpkin patch. Didn't I tell you about his smile?)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Missed It (10 weeks...I think?)

I'm not sure exactly what to say today since we went to the doctor on Tuesday. So, how about this:

Both kids are consistently going to bed at 7 o'clock. Yes, I said both of them. Oscar goes down for his long sleep and will sleep for an 8 hour stretch. Yes, that means he wakes up and needs to be fed and changed at 3 in the morning...but EIGHT HOURS! It blows my mind. I love that little boy.

Also, in the last week or so, he has spent more time awake and happy, or at least quiet. He still has his fussy times, but previously most of his awake time was spent fussing.

Elsie, on the other hand has done the other thing. My sweet, sweet girl is spending more and more time being cranky. She's teething again. And this time for real. More dirty diapers today that she's had in one day any time since she was little. Terrible diaper rash for the first time in her LIFE. In my mind it's adding up to more teeth. But I'm not sure.

So glad it's the weekend. I'm hoping to clean my house up (and get some help doing it) this weekend. We'll see what my energy is like tomorrow.


**I'm coming back on Saturday morning to update this to say that Oscar does not sleep eight hours at a time *every* night, but I would say it happens about 70% of the time (though last night was not one of them...sigh). And it's almost 8 a.m. and Elsie is still asleep (there's a first time for everything!). I think she's trying to make up for Oscar.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2 month visit, belly buttons and kisses

This morning I took Oscar to the doctor. We went to a new pediatrician today, one that Oscar had seen in the hospital. Our primary pediatrician is a part-time physician and full-time mother, and as our visits to the doctor become more and more infrequent and coincide with my days off of school, it's harder to see her, because she's home with her kids when I'm off work. Anyway, Dr. Taylor has agreed to be our secondary pediatrician. I like her a lot, too. She's not SST, but she's great.

Stats for Oscar at 2 months (9.5 weeks, actually)
Weight: 12 lbs, 15 oz. (almost 13 pounds!!)
Head: 16 inches
And I blanked out on his height, but he's growing and he's in the 75th percentile all the way across. "Equally proportioned" she called him.

One incredible blessing for today is that as I was leaving for the doctor today, I said to myself, "I don't have the $30 to pay the copay for this visit." But as parents, we do what we need to do for our kids, and I was ready to put it on a credit card. As I checked out, the girl didn't ask me for my copay, so I double checked with her. This couldn't be correct, could it? She told me she just goes by what's on the paper and the paper said no money owed. In a small stroke of divine intervention, when my copay on my teacher insurance went up on October 1, the whole plan changed so that well-visits and immunization visits for children are covered with NO COPAY! Wow! They both had appointments on Sept. 13 and I paid two copays that day. Oh, if I had only known... And all maternity care is paid for--no copays! (Not that I'm going to take advantage of that again anytime soon--God willing.) So, if Oscar has just waited six more weeks (ha!) he would have been completely free!

To change the subject, earlier today, I had my camera out and was playing with the different modes. This video does not have sound. My little Nikon doesn't capture sound. But I only asked once, "Elsie, where's your belly button?"

Where's your belly button?
Originally uploaded by Beaver Family

And in this one, you can see Elsie trying to share her shirt with the cat, and then Oscar. At some point I told her to give Oscar a kiss, and she did. And then she blew me a kiss. :)

Kisses for Oscar, Kisses for You
Originally uploaded by Beaver Family

Also, check out these baby blues. My babies.


Monday, October 18, 2010


This update is about all kinds of progress, so let's start with Miss Elsie.

Elsie has cut two more teeth. I think they are molars, but I don't know anything about baby mouths. Visualize this: she already had her four top front teeth, and now, if you skip a space to either side, it's the NEXT tooth on both sides that cut through this past week. And that brings her teeth total to...(drum roll)...eight! She is a little off balance, though, because now she has six on the top and only two on the bottom. Probably the only time in her life she'll be top heavy. Haha. (Little inside family joke...right sisters?) Progress.

And she's firmly associating "mama" and "daddy" with us. The other morning it was still too early to get up, but Elsie was awake (of course), so Eli went and got her and put her on our bed, in between the two of us. She looked at me and said "Mama." I said, "Good morning," or something like that. She said "Mama" again. And then she turned to Eli and said, "Daddy." It was sooo cute. She also will repeat "Elsie" but it sounds like "Eh-see" and Oscar sounds like "Uh-guh" (not to be confused with Uga, the UGA mascot). Progress.

On a family front, the month of October has been busy indeed. The first weekend of October, right after Eli's surgery, he had drill. In March we had purchased tickets to see Dave Ramsey LIVE in Atlanta for the same weekend, so I found someone else to go with me--JMS. My FAB-U-LOUS friend JT offered to watch Elsie while we took Oscar. I don't think she knew what she was getting into, but I was/am so thankful for her willingness!

The DRL session really reignited my desire to get out of debt and stop spending money on stupid stuff. Basically, it was FPU in a nutshell: a good refresher for alums and a good preview for newbies. I'm so glad we went!

Well, here's the good news: tonight, after Eli gets home from work and we post the payment together--MY STUDENT LOANS WILL BE PAID IN FULL!! WAHOOOOOO! This is really going to get the Debt Snowball a-rolling! The loans are from undergrad and graduate school that I consolidated in 2006 into a new, low-interest, 20-year loan. I just got paid for my summer job with NWP, and that lump sum will take care of the low, low balance--SIXTEEN YEARS EARLY! PROGRESS!!

In housing progress, Uncle R came from SC this weekend and installed built-in bookshelves in the sitting area of our bedroom. It was just a big empty wall, but after he was done with it, it looked like this:

And then, after we were done with it, it looked like this:

(You can click for a close-up if you really want to see what books we have.)

We desperately needed cabinets to store linens, so that's what's on the bottom. Plus the cabinets keept the bookshelves from being a stepladder for a toddler. As you can see, we have very little room to grow and keep our books on these shelves, so this weekend was a good exercise in thinning down our book collections. "Do I really need this?" and "Will I ever look at this again?" and "Did I even remember that I had this before just now?" were key questions. As a result we have three boxes of books to donate. Yep. Three. Progress.

[The original design allowed six shelves in each case, but our books are bigger, so we have only five shelves in each case--and four extra shelves sitting on the floor. We may have to commission Uncle R to build another bookcase for Elsie's room so that we can use those shelves and shelf pins.]

The introduction of bookshelves to our bedroom introduces, well, our bedroom floor to us! Tons of square footage no longer covered by piles of books. And we'll be able to move our entertainment center where it goes, and then get the TV off of the night stand and back next to the bed. Progress.

Finally, on a happy note, Friday night the new Auburn basketball arena was opened and we went to the pep-rally thing being held to celebrate. I know, I know. We're Alabama fans. But, we're also Globetrotter fans, and it just so happened that this famous basketball team was present to help celebrate. It was awesome. I wish my students could have been there to see it!

Okay, time to go continue making progress around the house (and go get groceries) since today is Fall Break for me, and the kids are at the sitter. Teehee. I'm getting things done around here (dishes, laundry, cleaning out the car) and it feels good. Progress.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

9 Weeks of O

Finally. On the day. We're here, gearing up for a long weekend for me and the kids.

Had a great girls' night at G's tonight. It was nice to get out of the house. At one point I realized I was the oldest, most under-dressed person there, but you know, what is age but a number that makes you feel like it's a bigger number than it really is? Haha. I'm SO old! (That could be the theme of the blog this month.)

And have I mentioned how much I LOVE our neighbors? Tried out the double stroller that I want (she has one) and took the kids on a walk around the neighborhood after school today. By end of the walk, the toddlers decided they wanted to sit in the other stroller from the one they were in. Figures. They always end up switching water cups and sharing snacks, too. I wish I got to keep our neighbors for more than the next two years. :(

I can't wait to tell you about our tomorrow adventures, but first we have to get to tomorrow.

Goodnight and cheers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2 Months of O (and one day) and Bowl-a-rama

This whole (and one day) thing is probably getting old, but seriously, I'm doing pretty well to get this puppy updated!

Oscar started out as a really good sleeper, but has improved considerably. Last night, as if in celebration of being two months old, he slept from 8:30 to 5 this morning. I woke up at five to his little cry thinking, "Did I sleep through it?!?" Nah. He just slept all night. :) I don't think I'll get lucky with his sleep again tonight, but we'll see. His 2-month appointment is on Monday morning (when I'm off school), so I will take him, and then take him to the sitter, so stats to come.

On another note, today was the seventh grade first quarter incentive trip: bowling. Last year when I went, I bowled a respectable 106 and 116. Today teachers fit in 3 games, and I tore it up. You wouldn't believe that I hadn't been bowling since last year's trip. Today's scores? In this order: 131, 134, 139. My combined score of all three games was the highest out of ALL the teachers...not that it was a competition or anything. Haha. (It's ALWAYS a competition.) I was really tempted to take my personalized bowling ball to intimidate my colleagues, but the holes are sized for my 13-year-old fingers...from EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO!!! Oh. My. I'm so old.

But just so I have a log of it next year, I started bowling my best when I used the 10-pounder for my first ball, and the 8-pounder for 1-pin pick-ups (10 pounder for 2+).

Oh, there's so much more to share, but it is bed time, and I've learned that while getting up before the sun is tortuous, not getting up on time has consequences. Yikes.

Good night and cheers.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I've been working on this all day, so here it is:

Eli went this morning to help get things ready at the hunting camp, and I was left with the kiddos. So, last night I left Eli with both children and went the the Kids Clothes Connection fall consignment sale. I was looking for a toddler bed frame (we already have an extra crib mattress) and a double stroller. Alas, the toddler beds were all gone, but there were double strollers. Now, I didn't get the double stroller, though, because I'm not 100% sure what I want. There were two Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem strollers, which I looked at and really liked (particularly that the children can face each other for amusement)--one of them was $150, no discount, and the other was $200 with the potential to be 1/2 price on Friday. BUT, I've also been looking at the Baby Trends Sit N Stand Double Stroller. It doesn't let the kids face each other, but it does have two snack trays and cup holders for the kids, and two cup holders for the parents. I can only find it new at Target, but it's less than the Kolcraft.

So, I will wait until 50% off day, which is next Friday, and see what's left, then decide.

Some things I keep meaning to share about O:
1. Oscar is doing the blond-root thing that Elsie did before she lost all her hair and became blond. I'm a little sad. I wanted a brunette to call my own.
2. O's clogged tear duct has cleared up. I don't know when it happened, but the other day I realized that I haven't had to clean green goo from his eye in a week or two.
3. O is already outgrowing 0-3 month/3 month clothing. I've already put him in 3-6 month clothes some days and he probably only has 2 or three weeks left at the smaller size.

I had some updates about Elsie, but I just can't remember any of them right now. Because though this post says it is afternoon, it's now almost 10 p.m. and I'm going to bed.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

17 Months of E, and 8 weeks of O

On the same day!

We're still here. Busy, overwhelmed. TIRED.

I'm going to bed. And yes, it's only 7:30. Bot kids are mostly asleep. Now it's my turn. Maybe you'll get a better update soon, when I'm not broken (in the brain).


Friday, October 1, 2010

7 Weeks of O (and one day) and back to my roots

It's Friday. I was supposed to go back to work today, but decided against it for several reasons, so I'm home and able to blog about O and other things.

Yesterday O was seven weeks old. It does not seem like that much time has passed since the first week of school, i.e. the week of Oscar's birth, but, alas, it has. I took him up to the hospital yesterday to weigh him. A whopping 12 lbs, 13 oz!!! I don't have any stats on Elsie for 7 weeks, so I don't know how he compares, but can I say that he is now big enough to fit into size 2 diapers? Size 2?? But, that's because there's an overlap between 1 and 2, so we're in our last box of 1-2 diapers now.

On a different note, Eli was still pretty drugged up yesterday, so I drove us to Montgomery so that I could get my military ID card and he could buy some uniform pieces. First we went to the HQ for the Alabama National Guard where I got the card "cooked up." The sargeant pulled up my social security number and asked me to surrender my previous card. You know, I probably have it somewhere, but I haven't carried it in the decade since it expired. Plus, it has the wrong name and sponsor on it now (I'm officially an Army wife!!!) That turned out to not be a problem. The other weird thing that happened was that the sargeant was confirming our address, and he said some address in Mobile that I didn't recognize. Eli did. Haha. It was the address of their house in Mobile when he was a kid and his dad was in the Army Reserves. The phone number, too. I asked Eli if they had confirmed his address when he got his military ID a couple of weeks ago, but they had not. Beaurocracy. Ha.

And about ten minutes later I was able to use that ID (I don't think it had even cooled yet) to gain access to Maxwell AFB. Eli told me that I was way too giddy about this entire outing, but honestly, it was so familiar, so comfortable!

For instance, at the HQ, as we went on post, there was a sign that said "ThreatCon Alpha." That brougth back so many memories, and I started telling Eli about being in ThreatCon Charlie during the Gulf War, when every car was stopped and searched coming on base, with the big mirrors under the car to make sure there weren't any car bombs, I guess. That was a way of life for a few years.

The path onto post was also a maze of zigzagged poles, like an autocross course, that I'm sure were meant for cars with power steering (which we did not have). That made it interesting. :)

Then later, I got to show my ID to get on base, but I noticed that there weren't soldiers at the gate. Private security. Weird. Probably commonplace, now, but still weird to me, who has not been around a military culture in over a decade.

On our way to the BX, we passed by the Shopette. The SHOPETTE! All these memories flooded back to me. Memories from Sembach. Memories from Altus. Probably Eli just wished I would be quiet, but I kept running my mouth. Haha.

I did not have to show my ID to get into the BX. That was weird, too. We walked around and it was not particularly exciting, but just the ambiance was enough to put a smile on my face. Eli was tortured because there were two taco trucks parked outside and he desperately wanted some, but no. I looked in the kids shoe section to see if they still carried the Athletic Club brand of shoes ("Air Chickens" we called them growing up) but they didn't have them anymore. Oh, well. :)

In the end, the base was drab and not very nice, but it was tainted with the happy memories of my childhood that couldn't put a damper on my day.

When we got back to town, I took Oscar to get weighed, yes, but we also visited the last baby we're expecting to be born this year. Welcome, AJB!