Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Christmas Update Through Pictures

This time of year is always so crazy but ours has been topped with Madison getting by far the worst cold she has ever had and then sharing it with Stella and I. I guess I can't complain 'cause I'm always telling her she needs to share. Anyway I'm trying desperately to get our home in order and back into a routine (which includes blogging).
Christmas was great despite the fevers, coughing and runny noses. Madison was the only one under the weather Christmas Eve but she seemed to rally so me made the decision to go to Justin's grandparents with the rest of the family. Christmas Day was spent with my parents hanging out in sweatpants and eating way more than any human being should. It was really nice having a low key day complete with an afternoon nap 'cause I think we all needed that. We have been hanging home ever since trying to make everyone better. It is nice but so strange because I think the last time I have ever been home for so many days straight was when I gave birth to Madison! Justin originally had a week vacation but since we can't do any of the fun activities planned and he is not sick he opted to go to work. We miss having him home but since he is technically getting paid for two weeks (vacation and work) this week I can't complain. Here is a recap of the past week in pictures. Enjoy!
Stella's favorite new spot to hang.
Visions Of Sugar Plums Danced Through Their Heads!Christmas Eve. Somehow the only pic of them together. Didn;t even get a family photo :<Madison and cousin Kayla
Whoa! Santa came!
Trying to wait patiently for Stella to wake up.
The only Christmas pic of the girls and I!Poppy (my dad) and Stella

Stella and baby cousin Mackenzie (please ignore the red eyes)

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Have A Winner!

Happy Holidays everyone! I haven't been blogging lately 'cause life has been crazy to say the least! Between the girls, Madison being sick, Christmas and looking for a dog to adopt (yep I caved) I really haven't known which end is up. Now instead of catching some z's while the rest of the fam is sleeping I stayed up late to play with the family's new Wii (so addicted to Mario Kart) and let you know who the winner of my My Baby Can Talk giveaway is. Congrats to abcdbanda for winning! As always if the winner does not contact me within 3 days I will select a new winner.
That's all for now folks. I'll catch up with on the holidays, my new do and hopefully a new dog soon I promise! DOn't worry there will be lots of pics to go along with the update too!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Winner And An Awesome New Giveaway!

Congratulations to Elsie for winning the $25.00 gift certificate to Beadedbling.etsy.com!

Now for everyone else how about another giveaway? This time it is for the little guys. Baby sign language has always been something that has intrigued me. I bought a book on it when Madison was an infant and signed with her a little. The result was her knowing how to sign "more" and that was about it.
This time I've taken a much more active interest with signing with Stella and have already begun introducing some basic signs to her. I've also decided to use only ASL (AmericanSign Language) signing with her that way she can not only communicate with us but also friends of ours that are non-hearing. What is really fun to watch is Madison's interest in learning to sign also. One morning she inquisitively asked "Whatcha doin' non?" when I was signing with Stella and immediately wanted to learn too. It turns out she has already been learning the ASL alphabet at school!
I know that some parents don't agree with teaching babies to sign. They feel that this will prolong them from speaking. I disagree. Personally I beleive that babies can communicate much earlier than they can form words and signing allows them to do so. Many times toddlers throw temper tantrums and parents get frustrated because they can not figure out what the baby wants and the baby can't tell them. Having a baby that can sign may be able eliminate or at least reduce these types of tantrums! Here is a story and a video of my friend Danielle's baby Eliza signing that help to prove my point.
I recently got a collection of DVD's and Board Books in the mail from My Baby Can Talk. This collection is ASL based and has loads of awards. The books and dvd's were created for babies 10 months and older. Madison loves to watch the DVD's and both girls enjoy looking at the vibrant pictures in the books. I personally love the signing for dummies sections in the books. Every sign has diagram of how to hold your hand as well as directions as to how to move them. Trust me I need them!
Wouldn't you love this collection for your little one? Well lucky you 'cause I have one to give away too! The My Baby Can Talk collection includes...
  • 3 dvds First Signs, Exploring Signs and Sharing Signs
  • 3 board books First signs, Sharing Signs and Exploring Signs

If you were to purchase this it would cost over $75.00. It is well worth the cost but isn't everything better when it is free? To enter this giveaway...

  • please post a comment about who would be using the collection and why you want to sign with this little person.
  • Receive a second entry by blogging about this giveaway linking back to me and commenting letting me know that you blogged about it.
  • Make sure to leave me a way to get back to you.
  • The winner must contact me within 3 days of being announced or else I will select another winner.
  • This giveaway will end on Christmas Eve next week.
  • The winner will be announced Christmas Day.
    Good luck to all that enter!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stella Update

Stella was checked out by her pediatrician after the incident on Friday and she is fine. In the meantime we have begun cereal with her. She has taken to it like a champ and after just a couple of feedings is already opening her mouth and lunging towards the spoon. This is completely different from Madison who was such a tough baby to feed. That has all changed now 'cause the kid will even eat sushi (no raw fish) and seaweed salad!
I didn't really get into the details of how the restaurant handled the situation the other day because ultimately none of that matters but for inquiring minds.... All of the wait staff immediately rushed over to see if Stella was okay. At that point I couldn't even tell you what the waiter looked like because I was too preoccupied with the baby. My mother noticed the guy making pizzas behind the counter looking over but he never stopped to see if Stella was hurt. After the initial shock the waiter came back several times to offer his heartfelt apologies and to even offer any personal information that we may need from him in case something was wrong with the baby. At the time I just wanted to scream get the F%^$ out of my face! Now I feel for him because accidents do happen and being the mother I should have never placed Stella into a situation where she could potentially get hurt. No manager or owner EVER came over willingly! Justin stopped the hostess and demanded to speak to the owner or a manger. She explained that her husband owned the restaurant and she went to go get him. Turns out it was the guy making pizza! He lied through his teeth and said he didn't know anything had happened and his wife said she came over to check on the baby but she seemed fine. I'm not sure if she did or not because I was in complete shock. Now we are not the suing type but as a business owner don;'t you think it is in your best interest to make sure no one is hurt and to demand a doctor be seen to CYA? I'm just saying. All the guy kept saying is dinner is on us! We didn;t care about who was paying for dinner. We just wanted someone to acknowledge what had just happened. As we were leaving the owner finally got out an accident report and filled it out once we told him we were going to the emergency room. Again all he kept saying is the bill is on me. Okay buddy we got it. The accident itself would not have stopped me from going there again after all it was an accident. The owner's behavior however has made us decide to completely write off this restaurant (If you need a name I'll be happy to email it to you). It is not like decent
Italian restaurants in NJ are hard to find!
My blogging has been scarce to say the least but we are neck deep in Christmas here. All the gifts are bought and wrapped, the house is decorated and Madison is wired! If we could only harness her energy I'm sure we could solve the world's energy crisis! I've even attempted to bake a few Christmas cookies although it doesn't seem like there will be any to give out this year. The first two batches were eaten almost instantly on Sunday and I either forgot to add flour or oats to the third 'cause the results were not pretty. If the weather isn't too bad today we are off to the mall for pictures with Santa. I'll admit I'm completely exhausted doing all that is Christmas with two kiddos but I remember how special my mom made Christmas for my brother and I and I want to do the same for my girls! Thank goodness the breast feeding has stopped because I am surviving on Rock Stars at this point (yes I know waaaaaaaay unhealthy)!

Don't forget today is the last day to enter my Beaded Bling giveaway. I'll be posting a new awesome giveaway either today or tomorrow so keep checking back!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Most Important Post Ever... Please Pass Along!!!

With presents to buy, cards to send, cookies to bake and decorations to hang it is easy to get lost in everything that is commercially Christmas. I'm not going to lie I've been guilty of it myself. Consumed with what has to be done before the big day as if the world might stop if it doesn't. Ultimately none of these things really matter. The only thing that truly does matter during this time of the year as well as every other day of the year is that your loved ones are happy and HEALTHY.

This reality check hit me last night while we were out to dinner. My parents, Justin the girls and I all went to one of our favorite little Italian restaurants. There was no booth large enough to accomodate all of us so one of the restaurant employees turned a high chair upside down and a placed Stella (who was sound asleep) and her carseat on top. No big deal. I've done it dozens of times before and have seen hundreds of other parents do the same thing. We all munched on bread, ate salad and were waited for our entrees when CRASH! A waiter knocked into the high chair holding Stella and her car seat. the chair fell over and the car seat fell floward, upside down with her in it. Before it was even settled on the ground Justin and I had it picked up and were checking out our little girl. She was slowly waking up with a look on her face like what the heck happened and why is everyone in my face? Not a single tear. Thankfully everything seemed to be fine but we wanted her checked out just in case. After all she did fall to the floor upside down in her car seat!

We took her to the hospital where we were quickly greeted by a rather gruff doctor. He diagnosed her as fine even before looking at her because she had been strapped securely in her car seat. He examined her quicklky (I think just to appease me) and we were released. In and out of the ER in under 1/2 and hour. She seems completely fine, not even a scratch but I'm taking her to the pediatrician tomorrow to put my own mind at ease. (Yes Danielle for the first time ever I am overreacting. Probably).

Although I beleive in God I don't tend to be very religious, I'm not the best at getting up and going to church every Sunday or even remembering to say my prayers. I know though that God was looking down on us and kept our baby safe from harm. This situation could have had such a tragically different ending. If her seat had hit the table or if she hadn't been strapped in I can honestly say I don't know if she would be with is right now. I'm sure that we are not the only family that this has happened to but it is not something that is ever really discussed or addressed. I know that there are car seat slings that can be used at restaurants but they could have been knocked over just as easily. There has got to be a better, safer way to hold car seats and as parents it is up to us to demand something. If you could please share my story with other mothers or maybe even link this post to your site I would really appreciate it. People need to be made aware so that this does not happen to them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take A Picture It Lasts Longer

After nearly a day of decorating and already having to readjust just one day later I've decided to take a picture of our Christmas tree. Madison is much better about not touching this year and even insisted that we wrap some gifts to place under the tree "to make it look pretty". I'm still not convinced that the tree will go untouched through the whole season and fingers are crossed that it doesn't come crashing down this year. So I've taken this picture of what the tree looks like now JUST IN CASE!

P.S. Thanks MckMama for your ISO lesson. I played with the shutter speed and turned the flash off. I liked this pic the best although my skills need some more practice!
P.P.S. Make sure to enter my giveaway for a $25.00 gift certificate to Beaded BLing before Dec. 17th!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Giveaway Especially From Me

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but one of my favorite pastimes (when I have time to pass) is jewelry making. A couple of years ago I said up an Etsy shop called Beaded Bling. I've recently relisted some jewelry pieces and am about to add a bunch more. Did you happen to notice my mini shop in my sidebar? In the spirit of Christmas giving I've decided to give one lucky reader a $25.00 gift certificate to Beaded Bling.
Here is how you can enter into my drawing. Just check out Beaded Bling then come back here and tell me which piece is your favorite.

Remember to leave me a way to get in touch with you in case you win.
This giveaway ends next Wednesday, December 17th.
Get a second entry by blogging about this giveaway, with a link back to my post and a comment letting me know you blogged about it.

Good luck to everyone!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sooooooooo Embarassing But What The Heck

Okay so let me start by saying if you are at all easily embarrassed, super conservative or under 18 please do not read this post. There is no explicit content in this post but it does discuss some adult topics.
On the other hand if you are easy going, don't shy away easily or need a really good laugh by all means read on!
A couple of weeks ago while out with some friends we got involved in a very adult conversation. During this conversation the couple that we were with Highly recommended a certain toy that they use in the bedroom. My hubby thought he would surprise me with this toy as an early Christmas present. He didn't however present it to me in person when we were alone. He sent it to the house via UPS. Assuming that it was a product for a giveaway or review on my blog I opened the box in front of my mother. Luckily I read the packing slip before unwrapping the white plastic bag around it (something I never d0). I quickly explained that it was a Christmas present for Madison from family in Colorado and I would show it to her later. As far as I know she bought my little white lie. I was seriously seconds away from being more mortified than any other embarrassing moment in my life. If my mom had seen it I'm sure she would have laughed and rolled her eyes but still some things are better kept unknown. All I can say is thank goodness it is almost Christmas and if my hubby thinks there will be any playtime tonight he has got another thing coming!

More Kiddy Tunes

We recently received another new cd for the kiddos and love it! Baby Loves Salsa produced by Aaron "Luis" Levinson and "features some of the biggest and brightest stars in contemporary salsa music including band leader and singer Jose Conde. It is the story of a group of kittens and puppies (gattitos y perritos) from the streets of new york city who go on to become the best salsa band in the land." Madison took instantly to this cd and "Bailar Rapido" has quickly become her new favorite song. I love that she has begun to sing along in Spanish even though her Spanish vocabulary is limited at this point. I am sure this is a sign of bigger and better things to come. We also love to read the board book that came with the cd. It is about a gato(cat) named Otis who lives in Nueva York (new York). He makes a special salsa for his birthday in Central Park which turns out to be a salsa band. Not only is the story entertaining and educational its illustrations are also brightly colored which even gets Stella's attention. This cd and board book set has been a hit all around! Make sure to check out Baby Loves Salsa's website where you can sample some of the songs from the cd.

Friday, December 5, 2008

25 Christmas Things About Me

Ok I stole borrowed this from Lori at Teacher Turned Mommy Not As Easy As It Sounds.Please excuse any typos 'cause I'm holding an overtired, cranky, squirmy baby as I do it!

Welcome to the Holiday edition of 25 Things About Me.

Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy this entire post and paste into a new post. Then change all the answers so that they apply to you.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? gift wrap. Ours must always be different from Santa's
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. I grew up with artificials but Justin insists on a real one every year. Pretty but VERY
3. When do you put up the tree? The week after Christmas
4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day but last year it came down December 19th before we went to Colorado. Very depressing taking down a tree before Christmas!
5. Do you like eggnog? Yum! But never drink it 'cause I think it is about the most fattening thing in the world
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Cabbage Patch Kid. I waited a whole year for it. My parents couldn't find one the first Christmas so my Mom made me a fake one. My mom is seriously awesome
7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad and my father in law
8. Easiest person to buy for? Kids. I love buying them toys and clothes
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, Willow Tree. My parents buy me a new piece to the scene every year.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail. I love getting Christmas Cards to open!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A fish pillow wrapped in a super market type wrapping to look like a real fish. Just 'cause my hubby likes to fish doesn't mean that is the decor in our house!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's A Wonderful Life
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? If I see something interesting throughout the year I'll pick it up but usually in October and I'm done by Black Friday so I can enjoy the holidays without the stress of shopping. Didn't work this year.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies
16. Lights on the tree? Yes, colored this year. we're crazy like that
17. Favorite Christmas Song? Santa baby
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Grandparent in laws on Christmas Eve and my parents Christmas Day. Last year was Colorado
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dancer, Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid Donder and Blitzen... oh yeah and Rudolph I just copied Lori's
l20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Grandparent in laws Christmas Eve, ours and parents' Christmas morning and in laws a few days later.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? trying to do more than any one person can
23. Favorite Ornament theme or color? My Swarovski collection that was started when I first dated Justin but the tree fell over last year and broke most of them. This is the only time I have cried over a possession
24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Prime Rib
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Not exchanging gifts this year 'cause we are saving for Disney but I would love a DSLR or a Wii

Sleep, Sleep, Why won't you sleep? and my giveaway winner!

It is official Madison has her first major stomach virus! She is nearly 4 years old and has a few rounds of diarrea but this is the first one paired up with major vomitting. I know nice mom for sharing that with your kid! She already seems to be doing better this morning and through the whole thing keeps insisting she wants to eat in between barf trips to the bathroom. It also hasn't stopped your amped up, count down to Christmas, warp speed, bounce off the walls attitude that has appeared since Thanksgiving.

In the meantime Stella has decided that there is something she definately doesn't like and that is SLEEP! The child simply won't do it. We lay her in her crib and she screams until she throws up and starts choking, we hold her until she falls asleep and the second we lay her anywhere including the swing her eyes pop open. She then stares at us with a look that screams "You didn't seriously think this would work?". She has also stopped sleeping through the night. Up until this whole sleep boycot thing started 4 days ago she would go sown around 9:00 and sleep through until 6/7 am. Not anymore! Now it takes until about 11 to get her down, she is up by 2 for several hours and than it is anything goes from there!

I've been blaming her teeth because she is sooooooooo close to cutting the first two. I really thought they would have been there for Thanksgiving. The only thing that makes me question this beleif is that she is rarely fussy! When she wakes up she just smiles and coos and wants to play. It is me that seems to be throwing the temper tantrums and having meltdowns. Like everything else I know we will get through this lack of sleep thing. Madison did it too. I think it was around the time she was teething but I can't really remember. In the meantime I'm just slightly cranky and would love any tips that anyone can think up for us to try. I'm positive that if I let her snuggle into our bed she would have no problems but I've got to tell you that is not an option! We just got our bed back from Madison and I'm not about to give it up again. Besides I don't feel comfortable with someone so tiny sleeping in our bed yet. There is also a really good chance Madison will find her way into our bed in the middle of the night and not knowing Stella is there hurt her.

Anyway now onto more important news. No I didn't forget about my Keurig Platinum Brewer giveaway. I was just a little overwhelmed yesterday. Congratulations to Jim! He was randomly selected (name out of hat) to win this awesome prize! I know you'll love it and it may even become your favorite kitchen appliance like mine has recently become to me!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

There is only how many shopping days left?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yes, I am Still Here

Nope I didn't hang up my blogging towel and head off to some tropical, Carribean Island. I was lucky enough to have my sweet students share a very nasty stomach bug with me just in time to end my Thanksgiving break! Luckily I didn't get sick until the weekend was almost over so I still got to enjoy all of the fun plans we had!

Thanksgiving was great. This was our fifth year having my family and in-laws to our house. We had a nice time and dinner was delicious (if I do say so myself) but we are thinking of changing up the plans next year. Possibly volunteering at a soup kitchen that our favorite restaurant runs or going to the city to see the parade. We'll see what happens.

Yes, I was one of those crazy ladies who got up at 3:30 and waited online at Toys 'R Us for an hour on black Friday. I was in and out within 15 minutes and had everything on my list. Then I went on to Target where I was also in and out in 15 minutes. Then I made the mistake of going to Wally World. I don;t know why I did it. This store seriously aggravates me on a regular day so why in the world would I decide to go there on black Friday? After finding the 2 gifts that I wanted to pick up I got on one of about 25 crazy check out lines that wrapped throughout the store. I kept watching the clock and making deals with myself like if I don't make it to a clothes rack 15 feet ahead of me in the next 5 minutes I'll leave. Well I never left and after an hour on line I did check out with both gifts in hand. Hard part is over right? Wrong!!! It took another 45 minutes just to get out of the parking lot! What the heck was I thinking? No toys are that important.

Next year I'll definatly hit up a few stores first thing again because there are really great bargains to be had. I think the key to not turning into a stressed out crazy woman is to know what you are going in for, get in and get out. Most importantly don't make any extra stops!

Justin and I also went to this awesome little restaurant that my brother and future sister-in-law have been raving about. Their recommendations really did no justice to this restaurant. if you live near NJ or are visiting you need to check out Bistro Ole in Asbury. It is a Spanish/Latin Infusion restaurant where one dish is more amazing than the next. I had their signature Sea Bass dish and it was AMAZING! It is a BYOB which we are all about these days 'cause I would much rather spend a little more on great food than have half our bill go towards whatever we drink. The cool thing about this restaurant is that if you bring your own wine they will make sangria for you. Let's just say that it was my first drink in a long time and I did not stop at one, two or three glasses! Saturday was painful to say the least.

That was pretty much our holiday weekend. Too bad it ended with me being sick. If you haven't done so yet don't forget to enter my giveaway for a Keurig Platinum Brewer. Today is the last day to enter! Good luck to everyone!