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Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Wagon Story

I already mentioned that while my parents were in town they brought down the wagon for Aiden's birthday. It's a truly beautiful gift and I was SO excited to get it because it would make our casual afternoon walks outside a lot easier. (Not to mention the thing has as many cup holders as the Xterra. I kid you not.) I believe I also mentioned that we put the wagon together and took Aiden for a ride to the park. But I have left a very critical part of the story out until now....

The wagon was freshly assembled and still sitting in the living room when I loaded Aiden in and - thank goodness - buckled him in tightly. We were about to leave when I decided to run to the bathroom and called for my parents to "hang on really quick". My mom never listens, especially when she is excited about something. While I was in the bathroom, she wheeled the wagon out onto the front porch and *BAM!* I heard the wagon crash and Aiden let out a real scream. I came rushing out to find my mom holding Aiden, him crying loudly and a look of total terror in his eyes. She had wheeled the wagon straight off the huge porch step while Aiden had his fingers in his mouth and when it landed with a massive thud that tossed and rattled his poor little body, he had bit his tongue or his fingers - we weren't sure - but he was extremely upset. (After a few more tears, he actually did let us take him to the park in it, for the first and last time.)

Fast forward to the next day, which was Thursday. I put Aiden in the wagon, wheeled it about a foot and he starts crying. By the time we reach the end of the driveway he's screaming so loud, the neighbors six and seven houses up are staring at me. I figure the incident is still too fresh in his mind and decide to put it off until later. Friday I try again. By the time I pull the wagon veeeery slowly over the tiny lip of the garage, he's bawling. I thought that maybe once he was out & about he would quiet down and enjoy the ride. Nope, he screamed the whole way down to the end of the cul-de-sac and back. The wagon got put away. Brian and I tried again this morning and he started crying as soon as Bri stood in front of it! We did manage to get him buckled in but he was so distraught we didn't have the heart to even pull the wagon out of the garage.

So there the wagon sits, all pretty and new, for the little boy who is deathly afraid of it because his Grandma is a bad driver!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hurricane Kits

I know lots of us down here in Houston have our 72-hour Hurricane Evacuation kits made. Last year we had an awesome presentation on how to put together a GOOD kit, with food you would actually be willing to eat, and tips on what to do for pets & babies.

I was at HEB yesterday, using a handful of coupons for random baby snacks, when I noticed they had the Gerber Graduate ready-to-eat meals on sale for 89¢. I picked up several for Aiden's hurricane kit and a few for fast dinners when we need them. (He's beginning to refuse to eat baby food. And by "refuse" I mean violent spitting of any I put in his mouth!) I have also loved the HEB snack packs of Unsweetened apple sauce for him. It's $1.36 for six lunch box size plastic apple sauce packs that don't expire until October of 2009. PERFECT for his kit, too!

For anyone who hasn't tackled the daunting task of getting your family evacuation-ready by May, the first month of hurricane season, here is what we did last year that made it SOOOOO easy:

Buy the 2.5 gallon slide zipper ziplock bags. These are big and you'll use one bag per person plus one or two "family" bags that have extra items in them.

For each adult & child family member over two, pack:

SIX tubs of ready to eat soup/Dinty Moore beef stew/chilli *with a pull-tab lid* PER PERSON. This can be Campbell's Chunky Soup, Soup at Hand, Progresso , Hormel Chilli tubs....any of them. No condensed cans - you need the ones intended to be packed in lunches. These go on sale frequently and $1.50 or less per can is a fair price. If they are $1 per can, GET THEM! Six tubs will provide lunch & dinner for one person for three days.

If you can't bear the thought of soup and chilli for three days, supplement with some of the Chicken Salad & cracker kits that are available. They're more expensive but the change of flavor might be worth it to you.

SIX Packets of Instant Oatmeal PER PERSON in your family's favorite flavors. This will allow for two packets per person to be eaten for breakfast so make sure you have two pouches of each flavor. You will need to add a plastic cup and a plastic fork and spoon to your kits as well. (Even if you don't pack oatmeal as your breakfast.) NOTE: Babies 9 months and up CAN be fed any type of instant oatmeal. Aiden frequently eats it for breakfast and has since he was 8 months. This is an excellent food to pack.

If you absolutely cannot stand oatmeal, you'll need to pack breakfast bars with a long shelf-life instead. Or something like instant cream of wheat or instant Malt-O-Meal.

SNACKS: You and your children will need these to keep your energy up. I selected various granola bars, breakfast bars, fruit snacks, fruit roll ups, Slim Jims and such for our family. When we were taught how to pack our kits, we were told to actually select special snack items you don't normally buy, especially if you have children. This way, when everyone is stressed and frightened, you have something fun and distracting to offer. Cram as many extra little snacks as you can in the ziplock bags. You'll want them! Don't be afraid to remove items from their boxes to save as much space as possible.

CANDY: Again, this is to curb your appetite and keep your energy up in high-stress situations. Smarties were strongly recommended to our group and that is what I packed. Give each person six candies. (Two per day.)

DRINKS: Pack three bottled juice or sports drinks per person. Water will be one of your "family" items so select something with flavor for the kits. We chose Welches fruit punch & grape juice while Aiden has apple juice. KoolAid KoolBursts, Capri Suns and other lunchbox-intended drinks are perfect.

FAMILY BAGS: This is where you should pack the extras your family would need. We have a food bag that has a box of Ritz, a small jar of peanutbutter, a box of granola bars, a roll of paper towels and a small box of plastic utensils. In another we have a first aid kit, a weatherproof vehicle bag that can be tied to the roof rack on our Xterra, a Red Cross battery-or-hand-crank emergency radio with a cell phone charger built in, flashights, and sanitary items because you KNOW you'd get your period in the middle of an evacuation! LOL! I need to update ours and add headache & cold medicine. Your family water should be stored with the kits.

For Babies:

0-9 Months: Aiden was three months old and still nursing exclusively when I packed his kit last year. I'm happy that I went ahead and packed the kit because by the time hurricane season was over in November, he was eight months and was eating more than he was nursing. Here is what you will need for babies in this age range:

*Small box of Rice Cereal/Baby Oatmeal (if your child will eat this)

*6 tubs of Gerber Stage 1 Baby Food in various flavors - it comes in plastic contaners. This is important. NO GLASS. I would recommend fruits & veggies.

*Sample can of baby formula, even if you're nursing exclusively. This ensures your newborn can eat NO MATTER WHAT. (Ask your pediatrician for a free can. They have tons.)

*1 or 2 containers of Gerber Fruit Puffs. These can be crushed in the mouth of a five month old and easily eaten by seven month olds, despite the label directions. (Aiden is 10 months and won't hardly eat the things now.)

*1-4 Small bottles of juice. Get the Gerber Baby Juices if you're most comfortable with that.

*9 ounce baby bottle

*travel size baby hair & body wash (put this inside the bottle)
*two feeding spoons (put these inside the bottle)
*sample size diaper rash cream (goes in the bottle, too)
*wash cloth
*sample packs of baby wipes for after meal clean ups
*baby Tylenol (a tiny bottle of Mylicon drops would be a good idea for babies under 5 months)

9-18 Months:

*9 ready-to-eat meals (baby food tubs, Gerber Graduates meals, apple sauce packs, etc.)

*Packs of instant oat meal or anything else that your baby would eat for a meal

*Snacks: Gerber fruit puffs, animal crackers, snack size bags of goldfish crackers, baby fruit snacks, baby fruit strips, etc. As many as you can squeeze in

*Plastic feeding bowl (or plan to use an empty gerber tub to mix in if you don't have room)

*1-4 Small bottles of juice

*Sample can of baby formula, even if you don't give formula (Toddler formulas for babys 9+ months. Remember, there probably wouldn't be any access to fresh whole milk and your baby would desperately need the calories.)

*9-11 ounce baby bottle or sippy cup

*travel size baby hair & body wash (put this inside the bottle)
*two feeding spoons (put these inside the bottle)
*sample size diaper rash cream (goes in the bottle, too)
*wash cloth
*sample packs of baby wipes for after meal clean ups
*baby Tylenol

Next to the baby kit: Have a full package of wipes and a brand new pack of diapers. Rotate out the diapers as your baby grows into different sizes.


You will need a small size bag of their food. Check e-bay for coupons for free bags or google "free dog food". The bag of pet food should be packed in a jumbo zip lock with two bowls (one is for water) and small chew treats.

NOW, store all of these items together. Brian built me a second high shelf in the laundry room and it is dedicated entirely to hurricane kits and water storage. If we need to evacuate, I could have clothes packed, the external hard drive disconnected and us loaded in the car in about 30 minutes.

I hope this helps at least one person with their kits! I know the class last year was a huge advantage to me and I can rest so easy knowing we are prepared. Now all I have to do is shop sales for the items that can go stale, like oatmeal & breakfast bars, and swap them out to update our kits.

Scrap Break

Notice how I haven't posted a layout in ages? Even my blog header is now out-of-date. I have only been on the computer to check e-mails and to do the most basic tasks, like online bill pay. I just haven't scrapped much. Probably because I don't have many pictures that I'm dying to scrap right now.

It's been interesting that I have felt like such a good mom when I'm not scrapping! (At least during the daytime.) Aiden & Major have been on lots of walks, my house has been more clean, the play room is coming along and the party planning is well under way. In fact, before it starts raining, I think I'd like to take Aiden for a quick wagon ride because he's refusing to nap. Stinker!

I'll collect some great photos and start scrapping again soon. I'm afraid my camera needs repair. It's been taking blurry pictures and I think the focus gears are out of whack. Fixable, but sounds a little expensive. Yet another errand I need to run!!! LOL!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Twenty Seven (And I Know Everything)

Not really, but I certainly do know more about myself, life and what I want to accomplish than I did a few years ago! As silly as it sounds, I have been SO EXCITED to be in my "late twenties". I have always thought this would be one of the best times in life and I was right. I feel confident, self-assured and educated enough to be the wife and mother I have always envisioned. It's so funny how free you feel when you outgrow some of your old thoughts and ideas!

So what does one with a Valentine Birthday do? Well, here's the funny thing. We actually NEVER go out to dinner on Valentine evening. I, of all people, have much more of a right to be taken out to dinner but since everyone and their dog is trying to eat out at the same time, we postphone my birthday dinner until later when we can enjoy ourselves and not battle any crowds. (This isn't as bad as it sounds. Prolonging your birthday celebrating can be fun!) On Valentine morning Brian always has a surprise for me. This morning it was a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a MASSIVE box of Godiva chocolates (that are staying in the box until my diet is over!) and some very sweet cards from him and Aiden. Aiden gave me some candy, too, but was careful not to out-do his dad, since he's already cuter than his dad - or so the card said! LOL! (Like anything could trump Godiva.....) LOL! I love you, Brian! Thanks for the best chocolates in the world!

Yesterday while my parents were in town, they brought the wagon they bought for Aiden's birthday because they just couldn't wait to give it to him! We put the wagon together and then all took Aiden for a walk up to the park. My dad commented a couple different times about how pretty the neighborhood was and how lucky I was to be able to stay home with Aiden. (I wish Brian could have heard him.) After the second or third time he said something, I began thinking about how right he was. I really am living a dream. We own a darling house, I get to stay home with my beautiful baby all day, we have wonderful friends that I see nearly every day, there are gorgeous parks and places to go for a walk and I have the opportunity and Brian provides the ability for me to have multiple hobbies and do so many fun activities. What a life! And babe, even though I sometimes may seem ready to pull my hair out by the time you get home, I really do love all of it! Thank you so much for everything. Happy Valentine's Day. And I hope you're looking forward to March 14th! ;)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Modesty Makes a Comeback

I really do love the clothing styles that are in right now. Extra long tops, boot cut jeans that are slim through the thighs....things that actually look cute! The funny thing is that when a girl wears something that fits well and covers everything, people imagine her body looks MUCH better than it really does underneath her outfit. I have learned that it's looking good in clothes that counts, not how you look in a swim suit. (Because if you've put your body through the trauma of having a baby, no one wants to see you in a swim suit any ways! LOL!)

I have been hitting some of the clearance sales at my favorite online retailers and have loaded up on some trendy layering pieces. Now I just need a few more cute tops to go over the tanks! And a pair of jeans in a slightly smaller size. YEAH!!!

Here's a sweet deal I got in on this morning when I placed my order at

Use coupon code SC07 when placing your first internet order (or first online order using a new account set up with a second e-mail address you use). THEN use Personal Shopper code BOW6466 for an additional 10% off your order! I saved $13 after these codes and got 7 new things for $60! That's roughly $8.60 per item! It's really helping me increase my wardrobe while I'm still working to loose this weight. (Nevermind I still have several things from TheModBod that I ordered on sale last year that just now fit! I wouldn't mind if they had a sale about now....LOL!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

What a Weekend!

Sorry it's been forever since my last post. Time flies when you have company in town! Brian's parents came in town Thursday night and I spent most of Friday with MaryAnn. She came over with some FABULOUS old 1930's & 1940's photos of her mother that she had scanned. Some were in desperate need of photoshopping. One had been touched up with a photographer's paint some decades ago (used to be, this was all they could do) and the white paint had turned brown and the black paint had turned light gray. Other photos had terrible grains that needed to be removed and some just needed to be re-cropped. It truly was an exercise in my photo editing skills but we got them done and I must admit, the end result looked true-to-life and was a drastic improvement. (Some of the photos had the COOLEST tints. I was taking mental notes the whole time about how to get some of Aiden's pics to look that way!)

Of course Bob & MaryAnn enjoyed seeing Aiden. Bob had recently been to an energy company convention and had tons of giveaway toys for him to play with. I have a VERY busy son - you have no idea how much any new toy is appreciated! Bless his heart, that child can hardly hold still for a minute. It takes an army of playthings just to keep him occupied for the few moments I need to shower, put away laundry or go to the bathroom!

After the Silver's left, my sister and her new hubby stopped by to spend Saturday evening with us. We let Aiden stay up a little late to play and we ended up talking until 1 am before they hit the road to drive home to College Station. Brian and I were exhausted when we went to bed and none of us woke up the next morning until 10:30 - we had slept all the way through church! OOPS!!!

Brian and I had a lot of fun this weekend picking out and ordering our birthday gift to Aiden. There are a couple of boys Aiden's age that live on our street and I have a feeling we're going to be playing outside a lot this summer. He's getting some really cool outdoor toys and I can't WAIT for them to arrive!!! I think first birthdays are more fun for the parents & grandparents than they are for the kiddos! Still, I just can't believe my sweet little baby is going to be ONE! How is that possible? Too fast. I have GOT to get better about taking movies of him. We have gobs of pictures but not that many videos. I know I'll regret it later.

Okay, I have got to go get some errands run because my folks will be in town this week for my birthday and I need to have this stuff done. Oh, and then I'm going shopping for new clothes. Because I am significantly lighter than I was just a few weeks ago and I need smaller clothes!!!! WHOO-HOO!!!!! (But I'm still not telling how much I have lost until the diet is over.)