12.30.2010

Teething...

So I'm pretty sure Thaddeus is teething.  He's been sticking things in his mouth for awhile now (totally normal, I know), but in the last week he has started chewing on his hands like it's going out of style.  The poor kid is drooling and chewing so much that his little hands are chapped.  We've tried Tylenol and now some Orajel, but I don't think any of it is helping much.  I just feel so bad for the little guy.  I'm not sure how quickly they'll come in, but I'm praying they come in fast.  Oh and it's not his bottom front or top front, I'm gonna have a little vampire on my hands...lol!

What do you do for teething? Any ideas?  Maybe a little nightcap before bed? ;)

Purex Insider = Awesome! *UPDATED GIVEAWAY PRIZE*

Recently I was chosen as a Purex Insider (Yay! ::insert happy dance::) - which means I'll be getting the inside scoop on fabulous new products and passing this info on to you!  As of Tuesday, Purex released it's newest product, Purex Complete Crystals!


Now I've had a chance to sample these little babies, and boy or boy, do they smell good!  I was a little skeptical at first of how well these would work, but all doubt was pushed aside after the first use.  Unlike messy liquids, waiting for rinse cycles, and annoying dryers sheets (to give you that fresh scent) that you can find stuck in your clothes while in the middle of your workday (this has happened to me...multiple times), these amazing little things go directly into your washer, with your detergent!


And the best part?  They're 92% natural!

According to Purex, Purex Complete Crystals Softeners are safe for all laundry and will not harm, wear down or discolor your fabrics like oil-based softeners. Safe for all fabrics, including baby clothes, athletic wear, towels, and whites. Unlike other softeners, Crystals WILL: 
• Preserve the flame retardant benefits of your children’s clothes
• Retain your athletic wear’s wicking ability which draws sweat away from your body
• Maintain your towels’ built-in ability to absorb water
• Keep your white clothing from yellowing and graying vs. using traditional softeners
The product won’t harm your clothes and is safe and convenient for the entire family.

Purex Complete Crystal Softeners are available in three scents; Fresh Spring Water, Lavender Blossom, and Tropical Splash.

WIN!

Three of my lucky readers are each going to win a FREE BOTTLE  bottle of Purex Complete Crystal Softeners (which is awesome considering a bottle retails from $3.99 - $5.99).  

MANDATORY ENTRY:
All you have to do is tell me you want to win!

EXTRA ENTRIES:
  • Follow me publicly on GFC.
  • Follow me on twitter.
  • Tweet about this giveaway. (Leave me the URL. 
    • #Win a FREE BOTTLE of the NEW @Purex Complete Crystals from @elffamilyblog (3) Winners Ends 1/6 http://bit.ly/gbakxG
  • Subscribe to my blog via email.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Winner will be chosen using random.org on 1/6/11.  Winner will be notified via email and announced via blog post.  Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.


Disclaimer: I am a Purex Insider.  A sample product was sent to me to use and review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

12.27.2010

Silhouette Machine

Do any of you have a Silhouette machine or anything like it?  My older sister is an amazing scrapbooker and I would love to create designs that rival hers.  I'm not even kidding.  She has three boys and has multiple scrapbooks for each of them.  I.am.jealous.  I'm hoping that the Silhouette machine would help me accomplish this.  I've seen others (errr...Cricket, etc.), but this one really excites me.  I'm hoping to learn how to make those cute little vinyl wall decals also.  If you're as interested as I am feel free to enter the Silhouette giveaway from Familylicious!

WINNER! Udderly Smooth Giveaway



Congratulations to LocalFunForKids! 

I just sent you an email.  You have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.  Thanks to all who participated and congratulations once again!

12.26.2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!! We went to my parents' house on Friday, the hubs' family on Saturday, and hung out today before the hubs went to work.  Our internet modem died Friday, hence the lack of posting.  I'm actually using one of the neighbor's wireless connections right now (thanks for not securing your network)!  I'll be back as soon as I get a new modem (hopefully tomorrow).  Don't forget to enter the Udderly Smooth giveaway!  On that note, I'll leave you with a quick pic from our Christmas morning.

Like the 1960s effect?

12.20.2010

Britax Carseat

Britax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat

Hey all,

If you're like me and your little one is growing out of their car seat very quickly (and you're totally overwhelmed by all the options) check out Amanda's review over at Natural Mommie.  You can also enter for a chance to win a Britax carseat.  Don't you just love this one?

p.s. Apparently I have a thing for cow print...lol.  If you don't know what I'm talking about checkout my giveaway posted below.  =)

12.19.2010

Udderly Smooth {Review & Giveaway}

No.  I do not own cows (although I did grow up in farm country).
Don't let the name fool you, Udderly Smooth is made for people.  

Family owned and operated, Redex Industries, has manufactured Udderly Smooth® products for over 30 years.  Udderly Smooth® Udder Cream was originally invented in Ohio use on dairy cows under harsh conditions. Now used for dry and chapped skin on people worldwide.

Growing up in farm country, I remember a classmate of mine talking about Udderly Smooth in junior high.  She swore by it.  She used it after shaving and never had any rashes or bumps that are sometimes caused by fragrences in lotions.  I always thought she was crazy.

Cute packaging right?
Not any more.  I was sent a box of Udderly Smooth products to review: Udder Cream - 4 oz., Moisturizing Lotion - 16 oz., Shea Butter Foot Cream with Pump - 10oz., six sample packets of Body Cream, and some coupons.



The first night, I used the moisturizing lotion on my son.  He has eczema and the doctor had told us to grease him up three times a day using adult lotion.  I figured I'd give this a shot.  The moisturizing lotion is the thinnest of the lotions and I felt it almost had a watery feel to it.  However, it wasn't greasy and didn't leave you wanting to wash your hands off after using it.  I did notice the moisturizing lotion has a slightly different smell to it then the others, a little more fake and not quite as pleasant.  I ended up using the Udder Cream on him instead and really like how it kept him moisturized and helped his eczema spots smooth over.  

I used the shea butter foot cream on my feet, legs, and belly.  After shaving my legs one night, I applied a liberal amount and rubbed it in.  There was no stinging, no greasy feeling, and it kept my legs moisturized without causing any irritation (I have sensitive skin and have had problems with lotions before).   

As for the smell, I was initially worried that it was going to stink, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It reminded me of a fresh, outdoor scent, and it wasn't overwhelming.  Now I've heard others say, they don't care for it, but I myself didn't find it offensive to the senses.  

After using Udderly Smooth for a couple of weeks, I have to say, I'm very impressed with the product's ability to keep my skin moisturized, especially during these cold, dry, midwest winters.  I really like that it wasn't greasy (I hate greasy lotion - which is why I don't use it half the time).  Udderly Smooth is also reasonably priced.  For those of us with a love of animals, you'll be glad to know that Redex Industries does not engage in animal testing or contract others for animal testing.  

One of my lucky readers is going to win their own 
assortment of Udderly Smooth products!

Mandatory Entry: (This must be done for any extra entries to count.)  Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect and visit the Udderly Smooth website and tell me what product you would like to try.

Extra Entries:  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  If an entry is worth two, please leave a separate comment for each.  The mandatory entry must be completed before any extra entries will count.
  • Follow @UdderlySmooth on Twitter. (1 entry)
  • Like Udderly Smooth on facebook. (1 entry)
  • Follow @elffamilyblog on Twitter - leave me your username. (1 entry)
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.  (1 entry)
  • Post my button on your blog and leave me the link. (2 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. (3 entries)
Giveaway will end on December 26th at 11:59 PM CST.  Winner will be chosen using random.org and emailed.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Please leave your email address or make sure it is in your profile so I can contact you.  

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experience and is my honest opinion.  I was given the products mentioned above to review at no cost.  No other compensation was received.  Thank you to Udderly Smooth for providing the giveaway prize!


12.16.2010

MIA...

Sorry I've been MIA.  We've been hit with this viral sickness crap.  Thad on Friday and the hubs on Saturday.  The hubs recovered after just over 48 hours, but little man is still struggling.  Lots of watery poop diapers - awesome. 

Monday included little man sick and me busting a student for being high from smoking pot and drugged up from another kid's ADHD meds. 

Tuesday was a long night.  My parents were in town and my dad got sick.

Wednesday back at school, waiting on doctor calls and dealing with stupid insurance companies.  Oh and did I mention having to report two kids for having sex in the school?  Yep.  This is the type of week I'm having.

Write soon.

p.s. Why can't I upload a video to blogger?  I swear it hates me. 

p.p.s. My sister the dental hygienist in training tells me that my son is tongue tied. Nice. That would have been helpful to know during my 5.5 week stint of breastfeeding.  I'd probably still be nursing. Ugh, next time, I planning on asking her and everyone else to make sure he's not.  The things you learn.

And on a positive note -- keep your eyes peeled - my first giveaway will be making an appearance soon! 

12.11.2010

Sh*t or get off the pot...

that's what I need to do.  Figuratively of course.

Cloth diapers.

This is my dilemma.  Before Thad was born I was so excited to give cloth diapers (CD) a shot.  However, I never really had the chance to go out and purchase any and since he's been born, I haven't really taken the time to go get some.  And in all honesty, I am completely overwhelmed every time I look into it.

It should be easy, right?  Ha.  No, it's not.  Google (using swagbucks of course) and you will come up with a ton of hits. Nothing like having a million options available and having no idea what would be best.  And then the thought of putting a bunch of money into CD and then not liking it scares the crap out of this frugal mama.

Now with the hubs gone 90% of the nights, I'm worried about getting Thad to bed, finding time to eat, and heck, even getting my own laundry done - how would I find time to wash diapers?

So if you're a CD mama, I need help.

Please.

Simplify CD for me.
  1. How many CD do I really need?
  2. How many inserts do I need?
  3. What's your favorite brand? (of CDs and inserts)
  4. Wouldn't it be smart just to get the ones that have adjustable snaps and they grow with your baby?
  5. Did your water bill go way up?
  6. Do you have that fancy hose on your toilet to wash off your diapers before you throw them in your wetbag (and what kind of wetbag do you use)?
  7. Do you take disposables when you go out? or do you take CD liners (I think this is right?) and a wetbag (again, what kind of travel wetbag is best)?
  8. If your babe is in daycare, do you CD there or do you take disposables?  
  9. If you're a working mom, do you feel overwhelmed with CDing?
  10. Oh and aren't most cloth diapers set up so that there is a "shell" and then a "liner" and the "liner" is what you replace when you change the baby?  (Yes, this may be obvious, but I have no clue.)
That's all I can think of for now.  Feel free to add any other advice you can think of.

I really wish there was a place that would send you some CD to try so that you can decide if it's a fit for you before you invest a bunch of money in a bunch of different brands.  Hopefully, I can win this to give me a start.

If you don't cloth diaper, did you ever consider it?  Why did you chose not to?  Did you ever try CD and then not care for it?  

HELP!

12.09.2010

Let's talk money... ::gasp::

I know.  It's one of those topics - that according to my husband is off limits.  Along with politics and religion, oh well.  Time to break the ice.

Me.  I'm a saver.  The hubs.  He's a spender.  We grew up in two totally different households and were raised in very different ways.  I was raised in a traditional home and taught to save and plan for tomorrow.  If you wanted something, you worked hard and saved for it.  The hubs on the other hand, was raised by drug addict parents (divorced shortly after he was born, mom got clean, dad is still struggling to get that way).  Money was a hot commodity in his house growing up.  He spent his school years living with his dad and often didn't know what he was going to eat for dinner.  Many times he'd come back from visiting his mom for the summer and toys (like his Power Wheel) had gotten sold so his dad could get a fix.  His dad lost his house when the hubs was 17 and he was forced to grow up quick.  If you had money, you spent it before someone else spent it for you. 

It's taken awhile for us to merge our thoughts, but we both have the same goals.  We just differ in our opinion of how to get there.  Recently, we've decided that it might be best two have two checking accounts (one for him, one for me) and to divide up the bills (based on how much each one of us makes) and we're each responsible for a portion.  This way he can do what he wants with his "extra" money and I can do what I want.  I'm tired of feeling guilty when I want to go buy a pair of pants (and I'm not talking expensive here either) and he's tired of being nagged about his random purchases.  We will still have access to all accounts, so it's never been about privacy and a portion of each of our checks will be put into savings.  In all honesty, I'm hoping the hubs realizes how much he spends on crap (like pop at the gas station, fast food for lunch, etc.) and maybe I'll realize that I don't have to be quite so tight with money.

So...if you're willing to join in on this taboo topic:

What are the finances like in your house?  Is one of you responsible for managing and balancing the bank accounts?  Do you always see eye to eye on money matters?  Do you have seperate bank accounts?  Do you have one account?  Do you wish you were handling money matters differently?

12.07.2010

4 Month Stats

As of yesterday, my baby boy is now 4 months old!  Where has the time gone?  I swear it seems like yesterday that I was stumbling around recovering from surgery and adapting to life a with a baby and now I'm back at work (and missing the little guy like crazy) and watching him grow before my eyes.

Yesterday's doctor's appointment went well (well, as well as one can expect when your 4 month old is getting shots).  Thad still has a flat spot, although it has improved dramatically thanks to his new head pillow.  The doctor thinks that as his brain grows it'll push the rest of it out and we should have any permanent flat spots.  ::sigh of relief::  Yes, I'm paranoid about that.

Random phone shot - showing off the battle wounds from the doctor's office.
Thad also still has a cold.  He can't shake the stupid thing.  We're now on that endless winter cycle of good week, better week, crappy week - repeat.  His pedi said to expect it to last throughout the season.  His lungs still sound clear, he's just a snotty little boy with a small annoying cough from time to time.

I also had the doc look at the poor little guys penis.  He had a little red spot on it the night before and it looked so.  Sure enough, he has a small adhesion from being circumcised and it was trying to pull itself apart.  The doc said there isn't any need to do anything about it right now.  He said it's nothing that "time, a good erection, or Playboy" can't fix.  Lol, yep.  That's what he said.  This guy cracks me up.  I'll quit worrying about that for now, but it still sucks.

As for the stats, we now have a 17 lb. 4 oz. -- 26.5 inch long -- 4 month old.  What a chunk!  Although, the percentiles were actually smaller than I had anticipated.  88th for weight and 92nd for height.  So maybe he's not that chunky after all?

Oh and of course we had to talk about sleep.  Doc wants to know if he's sleeping through the night.  We had an AWESOME two weeks of perfect sleep, but now he wakes up once a night and wants to play and then when we don't play back he gets pissed and wants to eat to calm down.  Doc told us that now is a good time to start sleep training him.  Put him down awake and let him cry if he needs to.  "One hours fine, four is better."  Lol, right doc.  I'm gonna let him cry for four hours straight.  We've been doing a little bit of sleep training, but nothing too programed.  At night after I put him down, he'd wake up a couple times in the next hour or two.  I've started waiting five or so minutes before going to him and he usually puts himself back to sleep.  The same goes for the night feedings (which are very random and not even close to every night).  Last night went a lot better than expected.  I put him down after his last feeding and he was awake and moving around.  He whimpered off and on for about 15 minutes and then passed out.  He was good until about 4:30 this morning.  Cried off and on for about an hour (I comforted him twice just by rubbing his belly and sshhhing him).  He finally knocked himself out once he calmed down the second time I comforted him.  I'm hoping tonight is better.

And then we had the food talk.  Doc says we can start rice cereal, but I'm not so into that.  I really want to wait until he's 6 months old to introduce solids and even then I really want to try baby led weaning.  (And thanks to my awesome winnings over at Tales of the Wife I can now research and read the book all about baby led weaning.)

So, I want to know -- what are your best secrets for sleep training, starting solids, etc.  Oh and any ideas on how to incorporate more tummy time?  We only really get a chance to do this before bed and that maybe lasts 10 minutes before we're crabby and tired and ready to eat, read, and hit the sack.

All tuckered out after the doctor's appointment. {phone photo}

12.05.2010

Before & After

When I first got pregnant, I was so excited to look pregnant and couldn't wait until I finally had a baby bump.  Those first few months I wanted to wear a sign that said "I'm pregnant, not fat." as I slowly gained weight, but didn't quite look pregnant yet.  As I got bigger and bigger (and bigger) I began to wonder what on earth my stomach would look like after I delivered.  Oh and since I'm a google addict (now a swagbucks convert -- see side bar) I saw my fair share of before and after pictures - some inspirational and offering hope and others that scared the shit out of me -- so much so that I'd end up crying about how horrible I was going to look.  (I know, vain much?  Lol, oh well - I blame the hormones.)

While it's normal in my family (sister, mom, grandma, aunts) to gain 60-ish pounds, it was still hard to swallow as I watched the scale creep higher and higher.  According to the good 'ol doctor's office, I gained 62 pounds.  If you ask me, I gained 82.  (Granted, 10-15 of those extra 20 showed up within a week of quitting the pill - weird side effect and we never figured out why.)

Anyway, the Tuesday before I delivered I was in the office for my weekly check and weighed in at whopping 222 lbs.  (My "normal" weight was 140-145 at 5'8".)  I was terrified.  No longer would I be able to use the "I'm pregnant (and sweaty, swollen, and hormonal)" for how I looked.  On Friday, we went in for our scheduled c-section.  While I asked to get up and walk around, I never needed to go to the bathroom since I was still cathed from the c-section.  However, the next day I was finally able to get into the bathroom.  Alone in the hospital bathroom I pulled the gown aside and I was mortified by what I saw.  Nothing says sexy like mesh undies, a massive pad, a stained belly (from the pre-op iodine), massive stretch marks, and legs (and ass) full of cellulite.  While I was overjoyed by the birth of my healthy, handsome, little boy - I was also devasted by what was left behind.  It would take time (and a five week bootcamp) before I finally started to feel confident about myself again.

While I am nowhere near where I want to be, I have a lot to be proud of.  I've lost 47 lbs. so far and hope to keep losing.  However, my biggest priority isn't how I look or what I weigh.  It's taking care of my son and every day I am reminded that I would do it all over again - all 82 lbs. - to have him in my arms.

So for all you inquiring minds out there, here are a few pictures:

My face was so fat during pregnacy.  The first picture was taken about 3 months before I got pregnant (and after I'd chopped off my hair - that's another story...).  The last shot was taken the morning of my c-section (it was 4:15 am - excuse the extremely sexy glasses and sleepy face.)












And I'd do it all over again for this little guy!



12.03.2010

I can't put my arms down!

No, not really, but I found that fitting for this time of year (think A Christmas Story).  Poor little man, he can never see by the time we get out of the car.  I put the hat on and he can see and I go to get him out of the car and he's been blinded by the hat.

Please excuse the quality, it was taken on my POS Blackberry.
On another note, I've decided that I hate fluorescent lights.  I went out after work to try and find an outfit for my cousin's wedding tomorrow.  Yeah, no such luck and thanks to the fabulous mirrors and fluorescent lighting, I now want hide behind a paper bag and wear a potato sack.  Ugh.

And to end on a funny note, I call this "my saggy ass" as one of my students referred to it today.  Yes, I said student.  The girl that said it has been a student of mine for three years and has a shitty home life so I've kind of become a mentor.  Hence, her insanely comfortable attitude in telling my that my ass was "saggy" today...lol, thanks.  (But in all fairness, it was.  Lol, I bought these jeans about 4 weeks ago and they fit.  They were my first post-baby jeans after I quit wearing maternity jeans.  Well...my pre-baby jeans still don't fit and I'm cheap and refuse to go buy another pair yet...oh well, I guess I'll wear my saggy ass proud for a little while longer.)

Once again, excuse the quality of the POS camera phone. (Can you tell I hate this thing?)


12.02.2010

Awww....shucks. ::blushes::




Talk about exciting! I logged in tonight to discover that Mika from Mika's Pantry had  award ELF: A Family Blog the Stylish Blogger and The Versatile Blogger awards!

I am just tickled pink! Thanks Mika for sharing your inspiration for food and passing these great awards on to me. I've just recently stumbled upon your blog want to thank you for sharing your recipes (and so does my hubs) and your life.



Now there are rules that go along with accepting these awards and they follow:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded this to you.

2. Share 8 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great blogs.
4. Contact those bloggers and let them know about their award.


Eight things about myself.........hmmm......let me think.

1. I am a first time mom to a wonderful little boy. (Who will be 4 months old on Monday - where has time gone?)
2. I am a high school special education teacher and reading teacher.
3. I met my husband while I was student teaching and working as a server at Applebee's.
4. One week after we met, my husband had bought a ring (I didn't know it) and one month later we were engaged.
5. I have a wonderful family, who is extremely loud and stubborn.  I blame my Italian and German roots for those traits.
6. I love to read.  I read at work, at home, in the car, and yes, even in the tub (when I can).
7. I hate vegetables.  I really need to overcome this problem before Thad is eating food.
8. I have two wonderful dogs, a husky-malamute named Dante and a shih-tzu named Lily.

Now to pass these awards on to some of my favorite blogs.........

A Life Unexpected
The Stauffer Shenanigans

Thanks for all your wonderful blogging efforts.......it is very appreciated!
Now off to contact all these inspirational bloggers!


Staying fit tips?

As a full-time teacher and a full-time mom (lol, like being a mom is anything but a full-time job), I don't really have a lot of time to squeeze in a workout unless I want to get up at 4:30.  The hubs is in school full-time during the day and works full-time at night.  I feel like I have no time to workout.  Thaddeus is still too young to really entertain himself for very long (like in a bouncer or jumparoo - I mean come on, he can't even sit up on his own and we can barely tolerate tummy time) so it's not like I can work out after school while the hubs is gone.  I'd just be getting into a sweat or song #2 and we'd have a meltdown on our hands.  I need to know - how do you do it?  How do you make time to workout?  Do you workout or have you given it up?  Do you get up at 4:30 to fit it in?  If so, aren't you exhausted by the end of the day?  HELP!

12.01.2010

Christmas


Holly And Jolly Christmas Card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.


Check out the Christmas card for this year.  The hubs helped to decide on the layout, but we both agree we wish we had a better family photo to include.  Oh well, maybe next year.  

Texas Roadhouse is bad for my waistline.



So the hubs recently got a job cheffing at Texas Roadhouse.  I'm not sure how many of you have ever been there, but they've got your typical steakhouse foods (fried appetizers, steaks, burgers, etc.).  They also have these killer rolls that they bring to your table and serve with cinnamon butter.  (YUM!) The hubs is allowed to eat as many rolls and as peanuts as he wants.  Good for him (the skinny little turd).

I really have to say that I think the rolls are were probably my favorite part.  However, I've recently been informed by the hubs and by some fellow TR employees that eating two rolls is equivalent to eating a Big Mac or a Whopper.  Yep, awesome for my waistline.  A Big Mac has 580 calories, while a Whopper has 670 calories.  So I can assume that eating two rolls would be equivalent to eating about 625 calories (the average of the two burgers).  That's ridiculous!  I don't eat 625 calories for lunch, how on earth is it fair to eat 625 calories before your meal is even served (and that's if you can stop yourself from eating more of them)?  Not.cool.

Needless to say, my TR roll days are over (or should be over.)  I am not happy about this.

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