Monday, April 30, 2012

Do you know her?

Another Locks of Love Donation

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Swimming time is almost here!

Swimming time is almost here folks.  I plan to be in the pool by Tuesday.  That means it's time to stock back up on sunscreen.  I know the best sunscreen is to stay out of the sun during "peak" hours, but that's not always avoidable, so we wear our swimshirts and this year will be trying out some safer sunscreens.

I knew last year based on data from EWG's Sunscreen Guide that the spray on sunscreens that are OH SO CONVENIENT, but OH SO BAD for you and we stopped using them.  I still had some Aveeno Active Naturals, SPF 85 and some Aveeno Baby, SPF 55 left over from last year.  Unfortunately, the Active Naturals rates a "7" on the toxicity scale.  The Aveeno Baby is also rated a "7"  It is listed on the site in the "Hall of Shame"

Basically, if your sunscreen has Oxybenzone in it, don't use it!


OXYBENZONE
active ingredient 6%
Data: Fair
Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Endocrine disruption, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes, Use restrictions(meets restrictions and warnings based on EWG review of company data)


The most common ingredients in non-mineral sunscreens are oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, and avobenzone found in 65, 58, 57, and 56 percent of all non-mineral sunscreens on the market, respectively. The most common, oxybenzone, can trigger allergic reactions, is a potential hormone disruptor and penetrates the skin in relatively large amounts. Some experts caution that it should not be used on children.




Today, I bought some Blue Lizard Baby sunscreen to use on our family.  It's rated a "2" on the toxicity scale.  There are other brands like Badger and California Baby that we could use too, but the Blue Lizard is less expensive (but still 2-3 X more expensive than the chemicals we had been using)  After we've used it for a while, I'll let you know what I think.  Does anybody else have safe sunscreen recommendations?!?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fishing Time!

Today, Chandler got his Birthday fishing trip from Granddaddy Bob.  He's really been looking forward to this and although it was a little cool with a chance of sprinkles, they decided to head out.  Mom hurriedly packed lunches and snacks for Dad, Chandler, & Brighton and they headed out before 9 a.m. this morning.  I heard that they boys caught about 30 fish each and had a wonderful time.


Chandler caught the first fish about 10 seconds after casting his line in.  I think expectations for fishing have been set very high.  The boys had fun and that's what matters.  Of course it helped that they could hardly throw their line in without immediately catching a fish.


Cute picture


Dad and Brighton

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rain Delays....

This week there were a few rain delays with the house construction.  Oh well....bound to happen.  Monday, not much happened since it was a big mud pit from the rains on Sunday.  Tuesday, they began to dig for the footers and were finished by Wednesday and it looked like this:


Too bad it POURED Wednesday night and these lovely trenches were now moats that surrounded our home.  It rained a little more on Thursday and so nothing much more got done.  On Friday morning they were shoveling out the rain and getting ready to pour concrete.  It took several hours to get all the water out, but by noon, we had passed inspection and got ready to pour concrete.  By 3:30 p.m. on Friday, it looked like this:


Here's a front view of the house.  Not much different except a few more bushes are gone.  Unfortunately we forgot to remove a porcelain yard frog who crushed remains were found under some mud.  I had him sitting peeking out from under the largest azalea in the front.  I told the guys to remove that bush since they needed to get there to pour concrete and didn't remember about Mr. Froggy until later that night.  Oh well....


Hopefully next week they will dig out the crawl space and lay the bricks for the foundation.  On a plus note, we got the pool heater hooked up and will hopefully be swimming next week!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Raising Hippies


Here's a picture of my boys wearing their new baltic amber necklaces

I had read about these necklaces before and wanted to try them out, so when I saw a local mom had 4 for sale on Craig's list, I jumped at the opportunity to get them for all three kiddos.  Maverick has a 13" and the big boys have 14" ones.  Of course they don't sleep in them.  Baltic amber is known for it's analgesic properties and is often called a "teething necklace" for toddlers for that reason.  

Not being educated about it, I thought the children actually "teethed" on them.  I don't think Maverick can get it in his mouth, but he hasn't seemed to notice it yet.  Luckily, if the necklaces do break there is a knot between each bead, so the beads won't scatter and get swallowed.  Baltic amber has historically been used as a natural and traditional remedy for many ailments.  When it is worn on the skin, the skin's warmth releases trace amounts of healing oils from the amber.

The boys like them and they look cool, so why not give it a try and see how they "work".  When Chandler put his on, he said, "I feel better already" so there you go!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's like I never left...

Today I went back to work at my old PI job that I had before (and slightly after) Chandler was born.  I've been gone for 4 years, and it's like I've never left.  Since I won't be homeschooling in the fall and Chandler will be in Kindergarten, I thought this would be a nice way to bring in a little extra cash.  Of course my hours will be very limited (think 3-5 hours per week).  But hey, it's something!

My mom has graciously offered to watch Maverick on the days that he's not at Mother's Morning Out (starting on Fridays in the fall) and Derek will watch B & M during naptime so he can work from home occasionally.  We'll see how this all works out.  My mom watched M today and said it went great and she even sent me home with this yummy stew beef.  What a great first day back.  Thanks Mom!


On an unrelated side note---diaper and clothing changes for Maverick have hit the stage of awful.  Now that he can crawl all he wants to do is flip over and get away.  I'm seriously not really considering this neat contraption that is like a baby straight-jacket for diaper changes, but it certainly seems like a good idea.  Why didn't they have this thing or didn't I know about it with all my boys so I could justify the cost for very little use.  Oh well.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Special Days


Today was just an ordinary Sunday.  Although it's been raining on and off for most of the day which makes for some interesting times keeping these guys entertained.  We did head to church this morning, but I had something special planned for this afternoon.  Since Dad was home I decided to take Chandler out to the mall during "quiet time".  I don't get to spend time with my boys one-on-one often (besides with the baby at the time ;)

I decided to have Chandler's name embroidered on his Kindergarten bag since I just HATE writing on things unless I absolutely have to.  Plus, the embroidery just looks so nice.  Chandler and I dropped off his bag to be embroidered and then spent some time shopping.  We went into Bath and Body Works and picked up some much needed hand soap.  I also treated Chandler to a blue Icee (notice the blue lips)  We looked around the Lego store and Disney store before heading home.  Overall it was a fun time.

On a side note, the Lego store blew me away.  Chandler is not really into any one toy or any one "thing"  I'm sure this won't last forever, but I'm glad he's happy with most any toy he gets and grateful (usually) for it.  I couldn't believe the prices of the lego sets in that store.  A cheap one was $50!  Most were $79, $89, $99!  For LEGOS???  That's close to our entire budget per child for Christmas and Birthday and any other gift holiday combined.  Right now my motto is: buy used and save the difference.  Hopefully I can continue to do this for gifts for a few more years and not disappoint anybody!

Friday, April 20, 2012

We are Underway!

Construction Demolition has begun!  Here's a before shot of the driveway:


The first step in our construction process is to remove the driveway.  The large bushes in front of the van were cut down yesterday and will be hauled off on Monday.  Part of the fence was taken down so the driveway could be demolished today.  This machine had a jack-hammer attachment and that was the first step.  It was SO LOUD (sorry neighbors!) and I had a sinus headache.  Luckily we could vacate for most of the day.  Here the machine is making piles for the crusher that will grind all of this into gravel.



Here's the holes made by the jack-hammer before the machine above would scoop it up.  Please excuse my non-specific machine names as this is not my forte.


Here's the rock crusher that barely fit in our driveway.  It ground up our entire driveway into 3 giant piles of gravel that will be used for fill, etc...during construction.  This was also very loud.  The boys were loving every second of it although Brighton preferred the view from inside since it was a little quieter.  They estimated it to be about 75 tons of concrete.  Seems like a lot to me.  


Here's the after picture.  Let's just say with all the rain on Sunday, we had quite the mud-pit in our front yard.  There was literally a moat where our front sidewalk used to be.  Derek is taking daily pictures to show the progress and I'll try to update each weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Play (T) Ball!

The (big) boys are playing T-Ball again this spring.  This is more of a learning skills class, but it's perfect that both boys can play together.  We are learning that Brighton is our "lefty" although we sometimes have to remind him of that!  Generally our boys will partner together and that's always not the best thing because Chandler will get frustrated that Brighton can't throw the ball as perfectly as Chandler would like.  Oh well, they work it out (generally).


Here's Brighton throwing one into the basket.



Maverick can sometimes be hard to keep entertained for the 45 minute lesson.  A bowl of Cheerios helps, but he loves to get down and explore now that he's crawling.  


Here's Brighton running the bases.  Notice the stuck-out tongue!



Batter up!


Here's Chandler at bat.  They really enjoy their lessons and especially going to Earth Fare afterwards for free kids meals.  It won't be long before they'll be playing a real game.

Monday, April 16, 2012

One Month left: 30 Before 30 Update


30 Before 30
  1. Purchase a beginner piano book and learn a simple song- I have the piano now, and plenty of songbooks.  How good does my playing have to sound to count?
  2. Take a train ride --This is still a work in progress.  Hard to coordinate with naptimes :(
  3. Walk through a corn maze
  4. Write 5 handwritten letters to friends
  5. Fly a kite with my boys See picture below from 4/10/12
  6. Plant daffodil bulbs in front yard
  7. Take a meal to a new mom
  8. Pay it forward 
  9. Visit Connor See picture below from 4/6/12
  10. Try out a new recipe
  11. Go Christmas Caroling  
  12. Post my 500th blog post  
  13. Donate to a charity  
  14. Have a party (not for my children) So this one is definitely NOT happening before I'm 30.  As soon as the house is complete, it will happen!
  15. Take a good friend to lunch Technically it was dinner, but that's even more expensive than lunch, and I treated, so I'm counting it.
  16. Do something nice for a neighbor  
  17. See a movie at the theater with Derek - Can you believe this still hasn't happened?  Well, I have free tickets to an IMAX documentary and "To the Arctic, 3D" opens on 4/20.  Let's shoot for this one before 5/16!
  18. Decide where Chandler will go to Kindergarten -- Chandler will be going to a great Montessori school!
  19. Visit a new city - So this one isn't happening before the big 3-0 either.  Unless you count Hurdle Mills, NC (where Connor now lives).  That's okay, because the family and I are heading to CHICAGO in late July!  My friend is putting us up for a week in a furnished 2-bedroom apartment.  Sweet!  We can't wait :)
  20. Read one book for fun
  21. Update our mailbox - Another one waiting until the house is done.  It will be the "finishing touch" on our new house.
  22. Figure out how to upload videos to the blog  
  23. Have a progressive dinner party - Ok, so there's a theme building up here.  This one is also going to have to wait for our new house.  I tried to organize one this winter, but plans never came together from the other people involved.  
  24. Bring a meal to somebody who is sick/has sick kids
  25. Try a “fancy” cupcake 
  26. Volunteer at the preschool
  27. Bake & Decorate cookies with my 3 messy boys
  28. Have a live Christmas tree for the first time in 10+ years  
  29. Visit the Biltmore House, or at least plan the trip - Still hoping this will happen for our anniversary this year, along with # 30.
  30. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride, or plan it!
So, to recap with one month left:
19/30 completed!
5/30 should be completed before 5/16
3/30 have to wait on the house to be completed
3/30 should be completed before the end of the year (travel related)

I think that's pretty good.  Hopefully I can get the 5 on the list crossed off before the big day and that only leaves 6 to do!





Here's a picture of me holding Connor where he lives now.  I never did blog about the fact that we had to give Connor away.  It was a very hard decision, but I knew it was the right thing for him and us.  He is a very sweet bird, and has a wonderful home now.  I was able to drive out and visit him.  He wasn't too sure about me at first, but would warm up to me when his new "mom" would leave the room.  It's like he was confused as to whom he should be loyal too.  



I know this isn't the best picture, but it's the best I could do with my Iphone and keeping the kite from crashing into trees, houses, etc....while Chandler flew it.  I wasn't sure this one would happen since I had hoped to fly a kite at a more ideal location, but you work with what your given!  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Year Ago


One year ago today....

An Angel went to heaven.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about my grandmother.

I hope she is happier now than she is in this picture.  I hope they are celebrating one year of her being with Jesus.  I know I will see her again one day.  I miss you very much!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

We Love our Neighbors!!

I admit it.  We love our neighbors!  Our neighbors are some of the best people we know and that is one of the reasons we are adding on to our house instead of moving.  Borrow a cup of sugar, sure.  Come help for a few hours to move a gigantic playset, why not?!?

I had been looking for some time now to find a fort/swingset for the boys.  We already had one Craig's list find back in the fall that turned out to be not so great once we saw it in person.  This set was a WoodPlay set so it was definitely expensive (think thousands) when it was purchased new in 2006.  I went and saw the set on Friday and struck a deal that if we'd get it moved today that we could get it for the price I was offering.  Done deal.

Now the only problem was finding a "crew" to move it for us!  We borrowed a truck from Grandma's work and that certainly made it easier by not having to dismantle the entire thing.  I e-mailed and called several people to help us and couldn't find anybody available.  Luckily three of our neighbors agreed to help out.  What a life saver!  We couldn't have done it without Vince , Jacob , and Thomas!


The goal is for this playset to make it to the backyard.  This may not happen until the house is done.  So for now, it's in the front yard.  Hopefully it's not too much of an eyesore.  It does need a good sanding and re-staining and also a new tarp roof.  It came with a few swings, mainly for toddler age, so we'll need to get some more swings (there are four spots).  Overall we are very pleased with it.


The boys had a great time on the slide until it was time for bed.  It's like they had never seen one before.  I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Babies


We have a bird house that hangs on our front porch and we've been watching a pair of chick-a-dees, build a nest, lay eggs, and now take care of their young.  We counted 5 eggs and sometime just before Easter they hatched.  It's been 5 days now, and this is what they look like.  Chandler & Brighton love to peek inside, but I only let them do it about every 4-5 days so we don't bother them too much.  They've changed so much already and are starting to get their feathers.  I hope they will be ready to fledge before we start tearing down the porch!


I love watching mother animals care for and raise their young.  I wonder if God looks down and sees the same thing in me.  I hope so!



Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter!

Happy Easter!

Derek and my Dad were celebrating Easter in GA at the Masters Golf tournament.  That left me flying solo for getting all of the boys up and ready for church.  It probably would have gone a little smoother if not for the Easter bunny getting everybody up at the crack of dawn and ready for candy!  

It really wasn't that bad, but don't sign me up for that fun again anytime soon please!  I was also aggravated that the camera wasn't working properly and so the only Easter/candy photos are on my phone.  My Mom did join us for church and we snapped a few picture of everybody in their Easter best before heading out:




We had a nice time and later on that day, Grandma & Nanny came to join us for Easter dinner.  Luckily they did all the food and I only made the dessert.  It was hard to get a word in edge-wise at the table as all 3 boys were vying for attention.  I was glad to see Derek when he got home Monday morning!

Here's a picture of the cute party favors from Chandler's party.  They were a mixture of bunnies and eggs with either a "5" or "Chandler" on them.  Yum Yum!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Party!

Chandler's 5th B-day party was Saturday and we couldn't have asked for better weather.  It's a good thing too, since we were having an Easter egg hunt and I didn't have much of a backup plan :)  

We took one last family picture at our front porch.  Demolition will start as early as one week (Eeek!)


The crowd (it was 50 + parents and kids) gathered on my neighbor's driveway who graciously offered up their oversized yard for the egg hunt.  They even decorated just for us and hid all the eggs.  How awesome!  Once I yelled "Go" it was everybody running for eggs like crazy.  How fun!


After the egg hunt it was time for games.  We did potato sack races and also a bean bag toss.  Most of the bigger kids were able to do the sack race without falling, but the three and under crowd all fell down (at least once!)


Next it was time for cake.  I ordered a full sheet cake.  It was HUGE, but there wasn't much left over, so it worked out great.  I've never ordered a cake before, but with this large crowd and Easter right around the corner I cut myself some slack.  It was delicious and everybody enjoyed it.  


After cake, Chandler opened his presents.  Last year, we did a "book swap" so Chandler was really excited to get presents this year!  He got so many nice things!  For anybody that asked me, I said he loves outdoor toys and art supplies and that was the majority of what he got.  There are many "crafty" type items and I'm as excited to try them out as he is!  Thanks to everybody for showing him how much he is loved.


After presents we did one more game.  A classic egg-in-spoon race.  Brighton figured out that it's much easier to run fast if you hold onto the egg in the spoon.  He ran much faster this way :)


It was a wonderful party, and it was over too quick!  Chandler had an excellent time and felt so special to be the Birthday Boy.  What a great day for my Big 5-Year-Old!  Here's one last picture of the cousins.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

5 Year Stats

Chandler had his five-year check up today.  Stats are as follows:
Weight 41 lbs 6 oz, 70 %
Height 43.9 in", 70 %

He had to get two shots, an MMR booster and the chicken pox vaccine.  I had held off on the later since age one hoping he would catch it the old fashioned way, but it's a requirement for Kindergarten so my hands were tied.

He passed all of the other screening tests for eyes, ears, social, and development questions.

In other news, the bike that we got him for his birthday, he is riding now with not much help from us and NO training wheels!  We are so proud and amazed to see how much he is growing up.

video

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nostalgia for age Five

Wow!  My baby is five today.  This is such a mile-stone age (at least for me).  It's entering the world of school and boy-hood and leaving the ways of baby-hood behind.  Last night, I read the boys "Are you my Mother?" and "God Gave us You"

This morning, we woke Chandler up by rolling his brand new (to him) bike into his bedroom.  He was so happy and grateful.  He thanked us many, many times.

We had doughnuts for breakfast and went to the indoor playground with our friends the Nameys.

They joined us for a picnic lunch and cupcakes.  They even brought Chandler's present over and he loves it.  A new remote-control car.

The day just keeps getting better for my Birthday boy.  At 3 p.m. a firetruck stopped in front of the house (they were checking the hydrants) and we got the royal treatment.
 


Where did five years go?  Happy Birthday, I love you Chandler!  

Love, Mommy.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mischief maker & Egg hunts

My little mischief maker is finding everything out about our house now that he is mobile.  Loves include the dog water bowl, the bathroom, and the pantry.





Luckily there were no April Fool's jokes played today!


We did get to go to the church's annual egg hunt.  Derek stayed home so Maverick could nap and the "big boys" came to church to hunt eggs, and make crafts.  Fun was had by all.