Monday, April 30, 2012

Ah, the weekend.

I cannot get enough of this child.

I took a vacation day Friday, and Jack and I roadtripped with our friends down to Austin to visit one of my college friends and her little. We had a great, relaxing time, complete with a two hour nap for the two of us. The little boys did great on the trip with a little help from Sesame Street on the iPad the last 40 minutes or so both going and coming. What did parents do before those?

We got in Saturday afternoon, deposited our stuff, and ran back out to meet our friends for supper club. Now, any other day I would play super woman and home-make the salsa in 20 minutes before running back out. Not this weekend. The thought of going to the grocery store was just too much (Too much!) therefore I outsourced, and it worked out just fine.

I try not to have too much planned for Sunday after church because I want to keep the Sabbath holy, but sometimes (especially when we're out of town half the weekend) sitting around and doing very little is just not possible. Somehow God multiplied my time this Sunday, and I managed to get all the laundry done and put away. And the groceries bought and put away. And I made it to a Sunday night meeting at the church, cleaned our bathroom, and felt like I got to play with my both my guys. I didn't feel rushed, and my house is ready for the week. It was simply an afternoon that God blessed. I'm praising Him for that today, because nothing starts a Monday better than feeling like you kinda have it together on Sunday night.

I hope your Monday is blessed!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Weekend.

This young gentleman and I are out on the Texas highways this weekend to play with friends. Three mamas with 3 littles, all within 6 months of one another. Should be a party!

My best wishes for a very relaxing and fun-filled weekend to you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sippy Cup Wars: The Victors

Wow, has this become a mommy blog or what?

Forever ago (or two months, whatever), I mentioned my quest to find a sippy cup that won't leak in my handbag. The comments from that post were very helpful and full of wisdom and suggestions from those who have gone before. Thank you, my Internet friends, for that. I thought I would take my findings combined with those comments and compile them here for any mommies starting sippys or totally frustrated like me.

One thing is for sure: the Jack-boy stayed very hydrated through our test phase.

From L to R: Munchkin Flip Straw cup, Nuby Easy Grip with Super Straw,
Playtex Lil Gripper, Klean Kanteen, Nalgene Grip 'n Gulp

The straw cups. Jack quickly picked up on drinking out of a straw (after a series of restaurant visits where I forgot to take a sippy.) As Leslie commented, straw cups leave a bit of liquid in the end of the straw so when you flip it out, beads of milk get everywhere. This is no bueno, my dears. We use it, but just at home and usually with water.

Playtex Lil Gripper. Against all odds, I picked this one up at Wal-mart. I was adamantly against this cup due to the word "Lil" in the name. Think what you will, but it's true. Despite its name, it is a great sippy as long as you have the valve thing placed just so in the lid. But as I cannot be trusted to consistently place them in just right, they cannot be trusted in my handbag.

The Klean Kanteen with Avent sippy add-on. This one looks so cool, and I wanted to love it. And I do. However. My Jack has a habit of knocking (sometimes throwing, we're working on it) his cup off of the high chair, and this dents the cup. I don't know if you can tell, but it's leaning a bit towards the Nalgene due to swan dives onto my tile floor. Also, this comes in pretty awesome colors, but they're not recommended to go through the dishwasher. I picked the stainless because mama is done hand-washing bottles. For now, at least. I liked this one because it has a lid. This is genius.

The Nalgene. Hands down the best of the best on our list for leak-proofness. I should've known this as I keep a Nalgene filled for myself everyday, and it never leaks. Never! One thing to note about this sippy is that it's a little big (as several of you mentioned) and sometimes it pains me to see my boy have to throw his head back and that tall cup up to get the last sips of his milk/whatever/whathaveyou. But he's growing into it, and it's our all-star.

This concludes my very scientific research. Nalgene for the win.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Air Travel with Children

I guest posted for Ashley at Happiness Is a few weeks ago on air travel tips for little ones on the go. As I have mentioned ad nauseam, last week was baby's first airplane ride, and I thought I'd do an update on how those tips worked for us.

Everyone is having a GREAT TIME.

1. Bring baby's birth certificate. Absolutely. They checked Jack's both going and coming. If your child will be riding in your lap, they want to verify age, otherwise you'll be buying baby a ticket. Make sure you have it!

2. Know your air carrier's bag check policy. This goes without saying. No one wants sticker shock at the ticket counter. Most carriers will let you check at least one piece of baby gear for free. If we had taken our car seat, we would've checked it for free.

3. Check it if you can. Yes, yes, and yes. I went through security with a stroller, handbag, and tote. This worked well for me as I would not want to have wrangled a rollaboard suitcase in place of the tote bag.

4. Pack an umbrella stroller. I was so glad I did for many reasons. We actually got to the airport in Charleston an hour earlier than necessary and right in Jack's morning nap sweet spot. I was able to recline that sucker all the way so he could catch a comfortable nap. I can't say enough good things about the Uppababy G-Luxe. Actually, maybe I can, but in another post. Anyway, gate checking was no problem, and each time we exited the plane, someone from the airline (on one flight, the Captain!) had already unfolded the stroller and had it waiting to go. Love that kind of extra mile service. One thing to note on the stroller--you must collapse it and send it through the baggage X-ray at security, which I'm sure the travelers behind us loved, but there were plenty of other lines from which to choose.

5. Pick your seats well. We sat at the back on both our outbound and inbound flights. We had smooth air and plenty of time for the young man to get up and charm our fellow passengers. He did great! Going out was during his nap, and he did just that. (aww, baby snuggles.) Coming home was during his lunch hour, so that wasn't as much fun for him, but he was a trooper.

6. Rent what you can when you get there. This worked so well for us, but I will admit I brought a crib sheet from home because I am that mother. And I probably will always do that because I am that mother. We rented a car seat from the rental car company, which was so-so. It was the $40 Cosco model from Wal-mart (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with), but if we plan to be in the car more on future trips, I would probably check our own car seat for the comfort factor.

Other item of note: one thing I was particularly pleased about regarding our security experience is that even though I took baby food that was over the allotted 3.2 oz, all I had to do was declare it and remove it from the bag to go through (just like you would separate your ziploc baggie of liquids from its parent bag). They tested it, and we went on with our day. I did purchase milk in the concourse though, so I didn't have to deal with it in the line.

This concludes the most boring post ever. Wake up!

And have a lovely day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Kiawah Island?

This will be the last of my vacation slide show. Although I have tons more pics, I'll spare you. (Jack on the plane on vacation! Jack playing with toys on vacation! Jack eating food on vacation!))

So my husband loves golf. Watching it, playing it, shopping for it, researching it, loves it. And the Kiawah Island Ocean Course happens to be the site of the PGA Championship in August 2012, so when our friends invited us along, he/we jumped at it. (Me? I just like to go anywhere.)

That is the ocean in the background--hence "The Ocean Course." I love these people!

The last day we were there, the gentlemen played The Ocean Course. After breakfast, we headed over there with the babies to check out the clubhouse and do a little shopping ourselves. The clubhouse was this beautiful traditional southern building with wide porches, rocking chairs, and of course, a haint blue ceiling. I'm disappointed I didn't take a better picture of it. They have just finished a little clean up in preparation for the tournament. It was really pretty!

On the practice green just off of the wide back porch.

I love dropping random sports knowledge into conversations that make Mr. G and the guys I work with think I know what's going on. Also, this trivia knowledge comes in handy when one is playing a game like Battle of the Sexes. So now ladies, when your man turns on the PGA Championship, you can say, "Oh yeah, they're playing the Ocean course this week."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekending at the Fort Worth Zoo

I have had a wonderful weekend, for the most part. I say for the most part only because my husband worked quite a bit of it--late on Friday evening and most of the day Sunday with a break for church and lunch. But considering that those were times that I spent hanging out with my male mini-me, fluffing our home or napping or reading Pride and Prejudice (yes, again,) he really didn't miss much on the homefront. My husband is also an engineer, and he and I both know that these busy seasons ebb and flow. It's just part of the job.

So when I wasn't polishing our home and he wasn't working, we took our Jack-boy on his first trip to the Fort Worth Zoo. And for that matter, it was my first trip to the FWZ as well! My parents graciously gifted us with a family membership for Jack's birthday. While children under 2 get into the zoo for free, their parents do not. So for now, I am a photo-ID card carrying member of the zoo. I can see us using it so much. The walk ways and exhibits are very shaded, so hopefully even in the blazing Texas heat it won't be too bad. Either way--we need to get tough since we live in Texas.

In fabulous first-time-mom fashion of capturing the beautiful moment of my son's first visit to his hometown, top 5 in the nation zoo, I absolutely left my camera at home. And also, my cell phone. So I forced confiscated wrangled borrowed Mr. G's cell phone to grab some snaps to remember the day.

Happy claps for the unintentional social media disconnect!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Weekend.

I'm more than a little bit tired right now trying to get back into the groove of our normal schedule. Today would normally be my "day off," but in an attempt to get caught back up at the office, I'm going in for a few hours today. After that, I plan on coming home and taking a nice long nap, if the Jack-boy cooperates. Somehow, all the laundry is caught up so for that matter, I'm going to nap any time possible all weekend long. And get caught up on some blog commenting. And possibly think of some blog posts with, you know, some content.

Best wishes for caught up laundry to you and a happy weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vacation at Kiawah Island, SC

We just returned from a wonderful, relaxing vacation to the beautiful golf resort of Kiawah Island, about an hour outside of historic Charleston, South Carolina. I am not a golfer, but I do excel at resort dwelling. Plus, there was a spa. I was in.

Some friends of ours in Houston actually organized the trip, so all I had to do was pretty much pack my bag (and the little man's!) As I am the resident travel agent in my family, it was especially nice to just show up.

There were so many firsts for my little guy. The full weight of it hit me as we drove into Charleston one night. First airplane ride, first time to dip his toes in the ocean--heck, the first time I probably even mentioned the word "ocean" to him--first family vacation, and I'm sure many more that I can't even remember because I'm too tired right now.

Looking like such a big boy and a travel pro.
"Mom, you look like a tourist."

We stayed in a condo right on the beach with a breathtaking view of the island and the Atlantic. Not too shabby of a breakfast table each morning. Our friends' little boy is only 2 weeks younger than our Jack, so they were perfect playmates The gentlemen played golf in the mornings while we played with our little boys, ate breakfast, and shopped, and one afternoon the ladies escaped to The Sanctuary Spa.

He LOVED the water.

This was a great vacation with the babies. A condo afforded us the ability to have meals on hand that they would eat, plus bedrooms to put them down for the night while the adults could stay up and visit or watch TV. Not only that, but the island was beautiful, especially if you are a golf fan, which I am by marriage. We would definitely go back. Even as a non-golfer, it was truly lovely.

Next week, I'll be reviewing and adding comments to my traveling with babies post at Happiness Is. I've got some lessons learned for you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back to MAC

My favorite bronzer in the color Golden. It makes me look exactly that.
(At least, in my eyes!)

I haven't paid for lipstick in a long time. And I don't lift the displays either. I usually get my lipstick through the Back to MAC program.

What is Back to MAC? It's MAC's recycling program. For every 6 plastic MAC makeup containers (lipstick, lip gloss, blush, mascara, eye shadow, etc.) that you take back to the MAC counter, MAC gives you a free full size tube of lipstick in the color of your choice with the exception of the Viva Glam line. If you're in an area with a MAC pro store (we have one at NorthPark in DFW), they will allow you to pick out a tube of lipstick or lip glass.

This program is so much better than any special free gift offers they could give out. You would be surprised how quickly you can rack up 6 makeup containers, especially if you use their mascara. (In particular, their plush lash in plush black is one of my favorites, and it's not much more than drug store brand.)

MAC is one of my favorite makeup brands because their products have such great pigment. Hands down, their eye shadow is the best I've ever tried (sorry, Urban Decay), and it comes in every color you can imagine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thoughts on a Friday

Here's what's on my mind today, at the end of this 5 day work week:
  • Jack may be over his illness, but his mama is not. I haven't caught up on any sleep lost while he was up in the night being sick. Mama is tired.
  • Gap boyfriend roll up shorts. Super comfy, long enough to be totally modest. They are darling, and in store, they have the most brilliant shade of neon pink in this line. Your 3rd grade self needs some neon pink in your wardrobe, yes? I think this weekend GAP may be running a buy one get one 50% sale on shorts in-store, but don't quote me on that. Run, don't walk.
  • Why is it that I always want Chick Fil A on Sundays?
  • I made Jack an Easter basket. It was filled with things he needed like a shirt, some swim trunks, a little bag for traveling, and one thing of bubbles. I meant to post a pic, but never got around to it. Oh well!
  • I want a new pair of either white or colored jeans for spring and summer, but I can't decide what I want. I mean, skinny or boyfriend? That is the question. I do not know the answer.
  • This is one of the cutest fashion bloggers I know. Her name is Caroline, and she graduated a few years behind me in my hometown. (And she's an Aggie.) Her style is a bit high fashion for my super casual day job, but it's so fun to read about her adventures and success in the big city.

And that's all I've got for today. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mid-Week Supper

Monday and Tuesday were fairly busy days at work since I was out unexpectedly the end of the prior week. It goes without saying that there is no where else I would've been but home with my sick boy, but that doesn't eliminate the catch up this week.

As such, when I came in this evening (an hour and a half late,) I pulled out one of our "emergency" freezer meals. We love this Bird's Eye skillet meal. Just add half a cup of water and heat. The nutritional value is pretty good too, and it's even little man approved.

And of course, the little man was right in under me when I came in the door, playing in his very own drawer of plastic containers. The way it should be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

Despite the fact that my sweet little baby was sick most of last week, we did have a lovely Easter weekend, spending time together. Friday night we rented Moneyball which we enjoyed, and Saturday I was just being Mrs. Gentry--shopping and keeping my house. This weekend's target was the junk drawer. I was tired of junk falling down into the cabinet below anytime I opened one of them to dig for something.

That probably never happens at your house. It no longer does at mine. For a few days, at least.

Anyway, Sunday we took Jack into church with us. He had been fever free for two days, but I didn't want people to see his terrible rash and judge me for being the mother who plunked her sick kid down in the nursery (despite the fact that the doc said he was no longer contagious.) So he got to come to Big Church, followed by Sunday school with mama. Being a special occasion, we figured, why not?

SIDE NOTE: Do other Christian denominations call the main worship service Big Church when referring to it with little kids, or is that a Baptist thing? I'm sheltered in this respect, so please help a sister out with the knowledge.

Easter road trip.

After church we headed down to Corsicana, my hometown, for lunch with my parents, grandparents, and aunt and uncle. Traditional ham, of course. Next year, Jack will be old enough to hunt eggs, so hunt he shall.

I know a lot of smoke is blown around new Easter outfits (I had one) and candy and bunnies and such, but for the Christian, this day celebrates the foundation of our faith. Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, fully man and fully God, walked the earth, was crucified for our transgressions--the wrath that I should have suffered for my sins, poured out on Him on the cross--dead and buried, but now alive! And I am forgiven. I loved this post that Melissa wrote on the Living Proof blog about examining and dwelling on the separate events of that week, remembering God's ordained time to save His children. It is major.

Our Redeemer is risen, indeed.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Under the Weather

I'm guest posting today over at Happiness Is on air travel with babies. Click on over and leave me some love and good advice!

My sweet Easter boy.

The radio silence has absolutely been the result of a terrible virus that attacked my little man. His wonderful caregiver called me Wednesday morning to ask if he had gotten into some ants, by chance, because she was noticing some spots on him. Well, of course I had my bag on my arm and was out the office door before we could complete our phone call.

I called the pedi's office from the road and asked for a nurse to call me back, just to ask her one million questions about what might be going around, what I should look for, should I bring him in, should I drive straight the ER, oh my gosh, should I panic? (etc etc). The pediatric nurses at our office are always so gracious on the phone--God bless them. The calls they must receive every day! She had me take pics and e-mail them for the doctor to look at. (We love our pedi for reasons like this and many others.) Benadryl and tylenol (yep, fever too) were the prescribed treatment and to bring him in if it did not improve.

By the next morning, he was not better at all, and actually, terribly worse, so I took him in to see the doctor. It was confirmed to be viral, and it would have to run its course. And the words, "It will get worse before it improves" were said. I was so very sad for my boy.

His fever finally broke sometime Friday morning. He was such a trooper through the whole ordeal, and he and I spent hours just wrapped up on the couch trying to make him comfortable. I'm happy to say that he is back to his happy self today, but with his rash still healing.

I think my mommy heart is still bruised today too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Saying No to This Face

This is the face of a boy begging for his mama's chocolate milkshake. It's incredibly hard to tell him no when he bats those eyelashes at me. I hear that as they get older, it's not as cute, and it's easier to not give in to every single thing that they want.

He totally got the milkshake.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Working Mama Updates

I made it through my late night just fine. I actually came in on Friday to find that my husband had read this post and had done all laundry, except mine. What a great thing! That man, he is smart. He shrunk one sweater of mine when we first got married and learned not to touch my clothes. I'm a-okay with this. Anyway, it freed me up to take care of other things. Like forgetting Easter baskets before egg hunts.

Mr. G had to work late last night, which gave me some great one on one time with my boy. We ran to the mall for a few things and ate at Chick Fil A in the food court. He decided it was more fun to eat with his feet propped up on the table, so that was a constant, um, disagreement between the two of us. He would prop them up and smile so adorably at me, at which point I corrected and re-directed. Multiple times.

I seriously better finish that Dobson Bringing Up Boys and quick.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baby's First Easter Egg Hunt

Clockwise from top left:
A sweet buddy helps Jack out by gathering a few eggs, with Granddaddy,
Mom & Dad guiding the Easter egg hunter, throwing eggs from the basket
to the ground (bonus points for those that broke open).

Of course, in usual form, I didn't stop to get a good picture of my little family together at the Easter egg hunt. I always forget to take a picture of the three of us. (See: baby's first birthday.)

{I'm not irritated at all. Can you tell?!?}

Our church's Easter egg hunt was at a park near our house, and some of our neighborhood buddies joined us. I got cute pictures of some little boys that will likely grow up together. I think I've mentioned it before, but within a 2 house radius of ours, there are 3 other little boys Jack's age. Fun, right?

My parents came in Friday night and treated us to supper and went with us to the hunt. About the time we pulled into the parking lot, I realized I forgot Jack's Easter basket. Awesome. But I did have towels to wipe the wet grass off of our feet because I had noticed how dewy the ground was. How did I forget the basket?!? Thankfully, we were 5 minutes from the house and only 1 minute late for the hunt. (And in the toddler section the eggs weren't snatched up all that quickly.)

In other weekend news, the baby began demonstrating his use of the word "no."

Night-night time!

Come to mama!
No. (as he crawls to mama)

Want a cookie?
No. (as he opens his mouth for a bite.)

Now I know that when he gets really defiant and yells no at us, it won't be all that funny. But for now, we have to turn away to keep from laughing. That boy is something else.
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