Jan 30, 2010

I'm Mommy now

For quite some time, Gavin only said dada. No mama....just dada. Then, dada turned into daddy, but still no mama. Finally this past summer, he started calling me mama. Even though I refer to myself most of the time as mommy, he still called me mama. We spent a lot of time playing this game where Gavin would call, "Daddy? Mama? Daddy? Mama?" over and over again. Well....last night, I became mommy instead. He still is calling me mama off and on today, but mommy is now part of his vocabulary. I loved being 'mama' though. It sounded so cute coming out of his sweet mouth.

But, I'm not just mommy, I'm a Motivated Mom. I feel like I do so much with Gavin since becoming a stay-at-home-mom. I love that I'm very active in our playgroup and we spend a lot of time doing toddler stuff. Finally, I'm getting back into my crafting, and getting caught up on my scrapbooks and starting my Journal Jars. But, I often felt like I didn't do enough around the house. Granted, it's clean, but I couldn't help but feel like there are little things that I don't do that as a stay at home mom I could do. Then, I read online about http://www.motivatedmoms.com/ and I had to check it out. I'm such a list person, so it's right up my alley. I'm sure I could have created the lists on my own and saved myself the $8, but I probably would have spent hours just trying to figure out what to add to the list, and left off half the things they came up with. I'm really impressed so far. I thrive on seeing my accomplishments; checking things off as I go is a big motivator for me. I printed them off in the weekly format and posted it on the fridge. When Jarrod came home yesterday, I was very excited to show him the list and tell him how I'd cleaned all the refrigerator door shelves. His response: "But the whole fridge needs cleaned." I guess the look on my face told him it wasn't the right answer, because it was immediately followed by, "That's good, though...Baby steps, Jen." :)

Jan 29, 2010

Cooking with Mama

Yesterday, after a bath and changing into clean pajamas :) Gavin helped me make Rice Krispie Treats. I love having him help me in the kitchen. Jarrod and I love cooking together, and I can remember making dinner one night while I was pregnant and us talking about how we couldn't wait until Gavin was older and we could cook as a family.

I measured out the marshmallows, but some spilled out so he had to pick them all up one at a time and put back in the cup before dumping them.

Once the marshmallows were melted with the butter (which we did in the microwave so he could still add the rice krispies and because he loves to push the Start button now on the microwave), we added in the cereal.

I spread them into the pan and tried to get a final shot with Gavin. Apparently now I either get a smile or we get to see his eyes. He can't do both at the same time anymore.

I tried to get him to try them. He investigated them for a while; touched them; watched mama take a bite....no such luck. He apparently doesn't like Rice Krispie Treats right now, which means I have a large pan of sweets to eat. :)

Jan 28, 2010

Still alive....

It's been a loooooong week. Jarrod's gone all week and we've both been sick all week = NO FUN! Actually, we've only been out one time all week, and that was to grab more milk and I got a sandwich for lunch. Gavin's been in his PJs all week. Heck, who am I kidding....I have to for most of the week. :) I've been slacking on the blog, but let's face it. We haven't done much that's worth writing about and snotty noses don't make for the best pictures.

But, I still had to find things to keep us busy. I found this craft idea online, and tried it earlier this week. Gavin looks interested, but in all honestly, he wasn't that into this. I thought it was fun and turned out cute, so we're doing it again next week with a friend. :)

That's clear contact paper on the table. I cut out a heart frame and small squares of tissue paper and let Gavin put them inside the heart. Not sure why he sticks his belly out like this when I tell him to look at the camera. :)
All of a sudden, the tissue paper squares reminded him of cookie monster so he had to pretend to eat them.
Then he got tired of putting the squares on one at a time, so he just dumped them out. So impatient....wonder where he gets that from?

I layered another sheet of clear contact paper and cut around it. We punched a hole and hung it in the window. Ta-daaaa! Our stained glass Valentine heart. :)

Jan 26, 2010

Ready for this to be over...

I'm so ready for Gavin to feel better....ready for me to feel better....ready for Jarrod to be done in Syracuse and actually be home! Ugh!

Gavin's croup has turned into a bad cold and of course, he's passed it to me. We're both a snotty mess this morning. And for whatever reason, he thinks it is fun to wake up an hour earlier than normal. I didn't find it funny... :)

Jarrod's in Syracuse again this week. Since January 6th, he's slept here 8 nights. The only upside to this whole situation is he's really racking up the rewards points for us to get a hotel stay for our New York City vacation! I think he said he gets 4,000 points per night. Hopefully we'll actually get to go to NYC this spring and not have to pay for the hotel stay. Wouldn't that be nice?

Jan 25, 2010

Some food for thought

This might get a little long, but I thought it was worth sharing. This was in my latest Tastefully Simple Gazette...our founder and CEO shared it in her letter to all the consultants.

I heard a story about a medical school professor who stood before his class holding a glass of water. He asked them to guess how much it weighed. Their estimate was about 8 oz. "What will happen to me if I hold this glass like this for one minute?"

The students responded that nothing much was likely to happen.

Then he said, "What if I hold it for an hour?"

"Your arm would start to get tired and ache," his class said.

"And if I held the glass for a whole day?"

The students responded, "Your arm could go numb, you might experience severe muscle stress and even paralysis."

"But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?" the professor asked. The class agreed that the water would weigh the same 8 oz. at the beginning of the experiment as it did at the end.

"And yet it feels so much heaver the longer I hold it," the teacher noted. Then he asked, "What should I do to relieve my discomfort?" The class responded unanimously. "Put down the glass!"

"Exactly!" said the professor, adding, "Life's struggles are sometimes like this. Hold them for a few minutes in your heart and you'll be fine. In fact, you might even gain a little strength by exercising your problem-solving muscles. But when you hang on to your probelms for a long time, you'll begin to feel an ache. Eventually holding on to those heavy burdens can even paralyze you so you won't be able to move forward. That's why it's important to think of the challenges or problems in your life....but even more important to put them down. That way you'll be free and strong enough to tackle new challenges and opportunities."

Jan 23, 2010

Croup update

I took Gavin to the doctor yesterday, and the croup diagnosis was confirmed. She gave him prednisone to help prevent him from getting to the can't-catch-his-breath point when coughing. He didn't like it one bit....for the first time ever, I had to hold him down to get him to take medicine. The rest of the day was a typical sick-kid day. Lots of whining and cuddling. The doctor had warned me that night #2 was going to be worse, but she also made the comment that perhaps that was night #2 for him. I didn't think it was since he slept fine the night before....was up earlier than normal, but wasn't coughing and didn't seem sick. Well, apparently it may have been his night #2 with croup because last night he slept through the night and slept great! He's still hoarse, and a bit cranky, but he is doing a lot better today.

Jan 22, 2010

Oh what a night!

Gavin and I went to The Sandbox yesterday and played with our friends. We had a great time...Gavin was acting totally normal! We came home and played some more, chasing each other around the house, laughing....you know, typical toddler boy stuff. He took a nap and Daddy came home while he was sleeping! Yay :) When he woke up, Jarrod surprised him and went in to get him and he immediately sounded hoarse. His lips were really chapped, too. He was still acting fine, though. He played with Daddy, ate a great dinner....just an occasional cough.

I had a party last night so it was 'Guy Time.' Ice cream and Sesame Street....the typical night together when Mama is working. Jarrod said he went down fine. I came home around 10 and he said he still sounded bad when he'd cough. About a half hour later, he was standing in his crib crying. I went in to get him and he sounded awful. It was like he couldn't catch his breath....like he was gasping for air. We tried hot steam in the bathroom, and tried to get him to drink some juice. Of course, nothing calmed him down except Sesame Street. We called the doctor on call to see if we should take him to the hospital and she said it sounded like croup.

She told us to do the hot steam for 10 minutes or so, and then to bundle him up and walk around outside. The hot steam in the bathroom just made him cry more, cough more, and gasp more, so I just took him for a walk and it helped a lot. We watch more Nick Jr. On Demand until after midnight when he finally fell asleep on me. We were up and down all night...I'm guessing maybe a total of 3 hours of sleep. I took him outside two more times and spent a lot of time just walking around the house. I'm waiting for the doctor to call me back to see if I should bring him in today or not. The doctor on call did say night 2 is the worst, so I'm not looking forward to tonight at all! At least Jarrod will be home from Syracuse for the whole weekend. Our poor little bug!

Jan 21, 2010

Some motivation

I've done really well on my scrapbooking resolution. My "Journal Jars by Jen" endeavor is well underway. My February calendar is booked with 5 parties...I'm making progress on my resolutions! Well, some of them at least....

I haven't been good so far with my eating and exercising to lose weight. Especially with Jarrod traveling so much. I tend to eat ok for my meals (like I'll buy turkey or ground chicken, which we don't tend to eat much of if Jarrod's here) but it's the snacking that gets the best of me when he's not around. I just feel like snacking all the time! But, I've been inspired!

My parents and Megan all started going to the gym. Megan has been going for a while. She might take a "break" every once in a while, but for the most part, she does well with her exercising. When the weathers nice, my mom would go for walks or bike rides. I'm glad she's getting back into the routine of working out and going to the gym, too. My dad, though, is the inspiration. (Hi, Dad!)

We've all been on him to take better care of himself. He's making us all proud. Today when I talked to him, he told me he's lost 11 pounds. But, what surprises me even more was when he told me what he ate today. Oatmeal....yogurt...I don't know if I've ever seen my dad eat either of those. I'm proud of you all! You've got me motivated. :)

I know if I post here about my journey, you'll get me on track. My goal is to lose 15 pounds. I want to get to my pre-baby weight finally. And I'm going to do it with your help! Starting today! :)

Jan 19, 2010

Gavin's favorite books

For both of my baby showers, the hosts requested a book for Gavin in place of a card. It was the greatest thing they could have done! I currently have all the paper-page books in a box in the garage so he doesn't rip them, and his bookshelf is filled with nearly 75 board books that he goes in and looks at all the time!

Even though he has so many books, every night before bed, when I tell him to pick out some books to read, he picks the same books! I try to pick something different, but while I'm in the middle of reading a new book, he always gets up to grab one of these and starts reading it himself.

This is what he calls his "Pooh" book. He really loves the page about the shapes, and searches for the circle immediately. There's also a page with different shoes for the different characters, and he loves that page.

His "Monny" book! (That's Barney in Gavin-ese) This book has taught him so much. The first page have a bunch of different farm animals. He finds the animals when I say them, and then tells me what they say. There is an aquarium page, which has taught him the word 'octopus' or 'ahhh-pus.' I really like the ABC page. There are animals hidden under each letter of the alphabet. He's learning the alphabet, and can find certain animals if I say the letter. Plus, he knows new animal names, such as 'newt' and ' yak.'

"Peek-a-boo!" Gavin loves the book Angie bought him. So much so that one of the pages no longer has the red ball flap, and the page with the curtains is about to be ripped out, too. He loves lift-the-flap books.

This is the book that Gavin calls "Up." Mama bought him this book because the photos of the dogs were so cute. He laughs at the silly dogs, and he knows when we get to the page with 'down' and 'up.' He loves shouting 'up!' after I say 'down.'

Gavin grabs this book off the shelf and says, 'Night Night!' This book was a gift from Heidi and it's so cute to read before bed. Each page says good morning to a certain animal and then Gavin opens the flap and we say good night to them. The last page is a little girl. When Gavin opens the flap, he put her blanket on her and says, 'night night!' and sometimes blows her a kiss.

I think Gavin likes this book because he gets to point to all the things he knows. There are many different theme pages. Food, colors, body parts, family members.... I started out pointing to the photos and saying the words. Now, I can just say most of the words and he points to them. :)

Gavin ~ Mama and Daddy are so proud of you. You're such a smart little boy and we love reading with you. We hope you continue to love books as much as you do now. XOXOXO!

Jan 17, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well, you know one of my resolutions this year was to get caught up on my scrapbook. I hated that I'd been staying home with Gavin for 6 months and I hadn't done much scrapbooking at all. In fact, I think there was only one picture of Gavin in the scrapbook. I must say, I'm really proud of how much I've done. First of all, since Jarrod's been traveling so much, I've been leaving my stuff on the dining room table and working on it little by little. I sooooooo want a craft room someday. Then, I've also been scrapping with Danielle more (and one night with Tracy). It keeps me motivated when people come over to scrapbook. So, I was talking to mom about all the pages I've done and she really wanted to see them. I took a picture last night of some of them. It's rather time consuming to take the pages out of the page protectors, etc. so you're only getting a peek at some of my favorites. Ignore the carpet....I was tired and didn't take the time to do a 'set-up' to take the pictures.

Belly Pics

Maternity Shots that Megan took of us
One of the layouts from the hospital
One of my favorite pictures EVER of Gavin and Daddy
Those darn first shots!
Hilton Head beach pictures

Whenever we scrapbook, my friends and I always are sure to share new pages when we would have girls' weekends. I miss sharing my pages with them. Here are some of them. If you want to see what else I've done, you'll have to come visit! :)

Jan 16, 2010

Such a big helper

I love how observant Gavin is. He is always watching us and trying to imitate us. I love how his little brain works, and that look in his eye when you can tell his gears are turning. With that being said, I thought this was adorable the first time he did it. I had to sprint out to the dining room to grab the camera so I could get it on video. When Jarrod got home, I couldn't wait to show him. He's so smart! He's such a big boy! We were so proud of him!!!


And then, the next day came, and he wanted to do it again....and again....and again. It wasn't so cute anymore. He throws a tantrum when I tell him no. I know he feels like he's doing something so important and he's proud of himself, but I try to tell him he's going to make Shirley sick if he keeps feeding her. He doesn't know how to unlatch the bin of dog food; he actually takes the whole lid off. So, I got packing tape out and put a piece on both sides. Ummm.....he figured it out and took the tape off. I'm afraid he's going to knock the whole bin over and there will be dog food all over our closet! The mug in the video has already been broken and replaced with a plastic cup. Oh, the joys of toddlerhood. :)

Jan 15, 2010

Play time with Evan

Gavin and Evan play so well together! I love when we get to have playdates with him and Danielle. Gavin isn't shy at all...takes his pants off right in front of company! :) We spent a lot of time playing with blocks.

Then we took some silly pictures on the couch. They were having a blast 'dancing around.'

Time for a break. Crackers, Thomas the Train, and two content boys. Priceless!
And of course, playtime wouldn't be complete without time in our new ball pit. Though they don't look extremely happy, they sure did have fun in here.
I'm not sure Evan likes coming here or not. Whenever he's here, I'm constantly snapping pictures of him to play around with different settings on the camera. It's nice to have a different subject other than Gavin :) Here's one shot that proves he gets sick of me taking pictures of him! "Seriously, lady! Put the camera down!"

Jan 14, 2010

Jan 12, 2010

Tastefully Simple Anniversary Event

Time sure flies when you're having fun! I can't believe I've been with Tastefully Simple for a year now. This whole year has been amazing thanks to all my fabulous clients and hosts. Thank you all for everything! To celebrate my anniversary, I'm having a special event to celebrate!

My Mystery Host Anniversary Event is taking place now through January 22, and YOU are invited! Here's how it works. You must CALL or EMAIL me your order. Orders placed at my website will not be counted toward this event. Everyone that orders will earn at least one ticket. A name will be drawn on January 23 to be named the Host of the event and will win all the rewards that you would have earned if this had been your party. Here's how to earn tickets:

~Place an order, get 1 ticket.
~Place an order of $50 or more (before shipping), get 2 tickets.
~If you refer someone to me to place an order, host a party, or become a consultant during this event, you'll earn 5 tickets! They just have to give me your name :)
~Pick a party date of your own (or agree to host an online catalog party) and you'll earn 10 tickets!

On top of that, you'll have a chance to get some FREE PRODUCTS!
~Check out our new slow cooker sauces!!! Buy all 3, and you'll get a FREE mini Garlic Garlic (1.05 oz. jar)!
~Order a combination of Bountiful Beer Bread (or Savory Wheat Beer Bread), any soup, and any dessert and you'll get a FREE Itty Garlic Garlic (2 Tbsp packet). Turn your bread into the perfect garlic bread instantly!
~Order any drink and receive a FREE Itty Bitty Chai (an individual serving of our Oh My! Chair, which can also be stirred into a tub of Cool Whip to make an awesome dessert topping!)

Lastly, here's an awesome dessert to try! Enjoy!
Oh My! White Chocolate Chai Popcorn

3 (35oz) bags microwave buttered popcorn
2 (6oz) boxes of Baker's white chocolate
2 scoops Oh My! Chai

Pop popcorn as directed in the microwave. Spread popped corn on greased baking sheet. Melt white chocolate as directed on package. Stir in Oh My! Chai. Pour chocolate mixture evenly over popcorn; stir gently to coat. Let stand until set. Break apart and enjoy!

If you have any questions, just ask! Happy Anniversary to ME! And Happy Shopping to YOU! :)

Jan 11, 2010

Why I blog and a Winter Wonderland

I started this blog over a year ago as a way to keep in touch with my family and friends and keep everyone involved in our lives here in New York. It took me a year to realize (I know....I'm slow) that not only am I keeping everyone involved, but I'm documenting memories and photographs that Gavin and any future kids will hopefully be able to look back on one day. I have tried my hardest to keep Gavin's baby book up to date. Finally, I'm getting caught up on his scrapbook. But, I'm horrible at writing down the cute little things that I hope I'll never forget. Like how I just went in to cover him up and his arm is hanging out between two slats of his crib and his cute little mouth is wide open. Or, the serious little talk we had at 5am today, right Dad? :) I realize that everything I blog about may not seem significant at the time, but I know one day, I'll be thankful that I wrote it. And I also realize that some of you receive email updates when I add to the blog. For that reason I've tried hard to limit my entries to one per day. However, forgive me if I begin to blog more than once in the same day and fill your inbox with memories I never want to forget. :)

Ok....enough of the sentimental stuff. On to the winter wonderland that is Rochester these days. Seriously, winter here is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. I remember visiting last winter and being so amazed. It's so normal here that I know some people probably thought I was crazy when they saw me walking around yesterday taking pictures. But, it's so gorgeous and I wanted to share it with all my Ohio family and friends. Here are some of my favorites. I know there are a lot....but it was so hard to choose!

Look at these icicles! And believe it or not, these aren't even the longest ones. Some of them on other buildings are reaching the middle of the first floor windows. I noticed them coming into the parking lot today but didn't have my camera.
Piles of snow are everywhere thanks to the plows, which are really bulldozers.

If you look closely on the left side of this picture, you'll see the plow. That will give you some perspective....well, that and the fact that the snow pile is higher than those doors. Crazy, huh?

I tried to find our snowfall totals thus far, but was unsuccessful. The last time I saw it on the news, we were at 37.7 inches. I'm guessing we're probably around 43-45 inches so far. Much different than southern Ohio :) How many days until spring???