Friday, May 22, 2009

Vacation in Myrtle Beach :-)

We are back from our lovely vacation to Myrtle Beach and although I am glad to be home, I am equally as bummed that we are not there anymore.... We stayed in a fantastic condo called Towers on the Grove on Cherry Grove Beach. My mom went with us to help with the kids and babysit when possible so we could run off to the beach with C or out to dinner on a date :-). Plus she cooked some yummy food and made a killer dessert! So, overall, we had some much needed time to walk alone on the beach at night, go on a wonderful date, and spend some one on one time with our 3 year old while the baby napped up in the room.  

Unfortunately, the week started out way too cold to even think about going to the beach. I was seriously bummed to open up our balcony doors on Monday morning only to be hit with a wall of 50 degree air and wind gusts up to 20 mph! It was freezing and didn't even get up to 60 degrees that first day! The cold air hung around half of the week, but the winds never left. By Wednesday afternoon, we were finally able to hit the beach while the air was in the low 70s but the winds nearly blew us away. If we stayed dry or stayed submerged in the heated pool we were okay but don't even think about walking around wet! Brrrrr! Fortunately, Myrtle Beach has some great attractions that do not involve a swimsuit or water. We visited the Ripley's Aquarium and Alligator Adventure. Both were totally cool and kept us busy and warm...well, after buying C a sweatshirt (in MAY!). Check out these pics of us there! The Alligator Adventure was by far one fo the coolest attractions I've ever visited :-) These are just a few of our Ripley's pics: 

C and Daddy looking from INSIDE a tank!

Holding onto Daddy while the sharks swam overhead.

These next pictures are from Broadway at the Beach were we wandered around after the Aquarium. Take note of how bundled up we were because it was so cold! Remember, this was on May 22 (SHOULD have been much warmer). 

These next few pictures were from Alligator Adventure. I would HIGHLY recommend this attraction if you ever venture to Myrtle Beach.

Okay, I will have to finish our vacation post a little later. I have so much to write about and many more pictures to share. We did actually make it to the beach later in the week and had a blast despite the windy conditions. I'll post more asap - hopefully later stay tuned!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Favorite Things

Oprah has a "My Favorite Things" show every once in a while where she gives away one of all of her favorite things to every member of her studio audience. That would be a fun day to be in her audience although I don't think it would ever be me because I don't really care for Oprah that much. I probably wouldn't ever go see a live taping of her show.  But, I do have my own favorite things!!!

I was thinking about this topic this morning when I was getting D up from his bed. I unzipped his sleep sack and thought, "this is just the greatest thing!" So, that thought is now becoming a blog post!

Number one on my list is of course, my Halo Sleep Sack. I used one of the sleep sacks that comes with a swaddle wrap as well when D was a newborn and sill loved to be swaddled. It was a life saver since it held together with velcro so he couldn't "break free" and get all upset. Plus I felt confident that it wasn't going to come unwrapped and get all over his head and face and suffocate him. The big sleep sack that I currently use zips up the front and has plenty of room for him to kick and move all around. It is essentially a wearable blanket and is the only blanket I would even think of using for my baby. I take every precaution to reduce the SIDS risk...and this is a biggy! Speaking of that...I always keep a small desk size fan going in D's room when he sleeps. This supposedly further reduces the SIDS risk by up to 70% (or so said my PARENTS magazine) - something about the air continually moving  in the room reduces the risk!

Another one of my favorite things would be the combination of my 4 cup coffee maker/ Folgers Chocolate Silk coffee and liquid carmel chocolate creamer. I can make just enough coffee for myself and it tastes like a caffeinated dessert every morning with the added chocolate flavors. Yum!

My newest favorite thing is of course my cloth diapers. I have several different ones but so far, my favorites are my GroBaby and my SposoEasy diapers. Check out the links from the words if you want to see what they look like.  I am loving every minute of these things and am so excited about not having to buy nearly as many disposables diapers (I will probably still use them here and there so I do expect to buy some over the next couple years).

Way up on the list of favorite things would be my Chrysler Town and Country minivan. I never thought I'd want a minivan but honestly, this is the best purchase we have ever made! I know most young people say they'll never have one, but my advice to people starting a family and looking for the best family vehicle is to just go look at one and weigh the options. Think about how easy it is to walk between the nice it is to slide open the door to get the carseat out (in a crowded parking lot where someone is parked waytoclose to you, it is IMPOSSIBLE to open a SUV door wide enough to get the infant carrier me...we have an SUV too!). Also think about how wonderful it is the just fold the seats down, pop them out, or flip them into the floor when you are trying to pack and travel with the million things you "need."

I have more favorite things than I thought apparently. 

I also LOVE all Carter's clothes for my kids. I am not a name-brand-junkie for my kids but I truly believe no other brand is made as well, holds up as well, and fits as well at Carters does. My kids have all sorts of different clothes that were purchased at all different retailers (from Wal-Mart and Target to Gap and Gymboree), and with very few exceptions, their Carters stuff is always my favorite! If you get the chance to go to a Carter's store, my advice is to go and stock up! The stores are always marking their stuff down and is just about always on some big sale because they are constantly getting new stuff in. I love to shop at the Carter's store near my parents house. I have to get a sitter for my kids so I can spend some serious time there planning and arranging as many outfits as possible for the least amount of money :-)

Hmm, 2 other things that I use daily and love every time I use them are my kids' car seats. C has a Britax Marathon in a cute pink and yellow floral print in one car and a Graco Nautilus (her's is pink) in the other. D has a Britax Boulevard in one car and his Graco Safeseat Infant seat (his is a very nice grey and green) in the other. I don't think I could pick a favorite. They are all wonderful and my kids always travel happily and seem comfortable. I would reccomend these seats to everyone!

This is getting much longer than I had expected, so I suppose I'll cut it off. Apparently I have a lot of things that I use everyday that I love! Yay for great products that are easy to use and promote safety for my family :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

Well, today was my day - Mother's Day! It wasn't a "traditional" Mother's Day though, haha. You see, yesterday was my little girl's 3rd birthday party so we had my husband's family in town to help us celebrate her birthday and his coming home from South America. I'll get to the party in a different post, but wanted to chat about Mother's Day first! 

This being said, we didn't do the typical Mother's Day morning that you would expect on TV although B did get the baby up and feed him his bottle while I lounged in bed for about 15 extra minutes, and my MIL (Nana) made a lovely breakfast..and I got to start AND finish a whole cup of coffee, yay! My wonderful husband got me a cute card expressing his gratitude for me :-) and a gift certificate to Bath and Body Works (which I fully intend on using to get some relaxing bubble bath, ahhhh.... sounds nice huh?). The only thing that I missed from this morning was heading off to church to celebrate Mother's Day with all my Mommy friends and getting to stand up so everyone at church can clap for us, haha (JK...sort of). Oh well, by the time all 6 adults got cleaned up and dressed and both kids were up and dressed, it was approaching late morning. I thought C would enjoy getting outside to run around so we all headed for a great playground on the air force base around here. She had a blast and we all enjoyed watching her run around, swing, climb, and only take one nose dive down some equipment :-) Plus, all the other kids (and parents) were entertaining to watch as well! Thats usually my favorite part of the playground...does that make me weird or stalkerish? Maybe just nosy, oh well. 

After the park, we grabbed a quick lunch at Captain D's - which also happened to be my first time at the on-post establishment - since we had eaten a great big "Mother's Day" dinner last night at Texas Roadhouse, of course.  My in-laws and sis - and bro-in law packed up and headed home when we got back to the house and then my hubby began packing as well. He had to head out for the rest of the day and night as well.  But, this time, he'll only be gone about 24 hours. 
After he left, C and I just hung out and ate party food leftovers (cheese cubes, crackers, lots of strawberries and fruit dip)!

It was a lovely Mother's Day, but I will admit, I am happy to have both kids in bed now. I love my evenings without them. I still need to fold laundry and clean up a little and will inevitably be on the internet hunting down good cloth diaper websites and reading reviews on different diapers. I am so addicted to this! Oh, I did want to add a few new pics that don't specifically relate to anything, but I think you may enjoy them!

This is the first time Little D was really sitting up pretty well unassisted. He is so cute! And the last one is my big girl being a total goof ball playing in the living room with her step and a tutu, haha. I love her!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cloth Diapers? Yes, CLOTH DIAPERS!

I thought I'd grab just a minute this morning to blog about my new interest - cloth diapering :-). I have a friend from college who I have remained in contact with through the wonderful world of facebook who uses cloth on her kiddos and even keeps a great cloth diapering blog. Out of curiosity, I began to check it out here and there but didn't really think it was something I wanted to do...that is until one day I found myself reaching into D's closet to open up another pack of disposable diapers (at $15.99 a pack!) so I could change another diaper and throw it into the silly diaper pail - which needed to be emptied AGAIN! (Which reminded me, I was just about out of the diaper pail liners and probably needed to run to Babies R  Us to pick up another pack of those too.... they are about $17)

Anyway, it got me thinking about how frequently I have to pick up a pack of diapers when I'm out and how often I have to empty the dreaded stinky diaper pail and throw them out into the outside garbage. Now, I typically buy the best diapers I can for D (I am a huge fan of the Pampers Swaddlers for newborns and Pampers Cruisers for older babies) because my theory is, if I can spend an extra $2-3 a pack on something that is going to be more comfortable and less plastic"y" on D's bottom, then it is worth it. To me, buying the cheaper store brands is not worth the red marks they may leave on his legs or the diaper rash he tends to get more often without Pamper's "cloth like weave" on the inside. So, I typically spend about $15.99 for a pack of 52 Pampers Cruisers - this makes it about $0.30 a diaper...that I eventually throw away.

I am not going to do all the math on here for how much I am spending on diapers monthly or on how much I will spend in the next 18-24 months of D's diapering life. It is A LOT though...there are plenty of websites that do the math for you -it is well OVER $2000 per child! 

All this got me thinking about using some cloth diapers. I read all over my friend's blog and then starting looking into some cloth diapering websites about what kids of diapers there are, how much they cost, how you wash them, etc...I decided to order a sample pack and give it a try. So far, I LOVE them. First of all, they are adorable and go on just like a disposable. The fabric up against D's bottom is so soft and whisks the urine right away into the microfiber super absorbent layer beneath it, so no real wetness stays against his skin. It is great! I found the detergent that works with cloth diapers at the commissary and it was pretty cheap too, yay!  Washing them hasn't been a hassle either - one short cold wash or rinse, one nice long hot wash (which includes an extra rinse) and I'm done. Anyway, the point of all this is that I think cloth diapering can be pretty great. I ordered two more of a different brand the other day and then bought two more off a woman in my neighborhood whose kids were potty trained and no longer needed their wonderful quality cloth diapers! There are several different kinds of cloth diapers, but so far I have only experimented with ones that are very similar to disposables. They have either velcro or snaps and have the absorbent part and the waterproof part are all attached. This eliminates the need for an additional waterproof cover. I would be happy to tell you all about the exact diapers I have and have just ordered if you care to know :-)

So, thats my new interest! So far, I am loving have something so soft on D's bottom and loving not having to buy nearly as many disposables (at the moment, I am still using them because I don't have a large enough cloth stash to go all day, haha), plus, I am doing something good for the environment and making purchases that I can use on subsequent children ;-) Yay!

Friday, May 1, 2009

He is home!

It's a been a few days since I have stopped to write anything, but there certainly has not been a shortage of things going on around here! 

The greatest news is that my lovely husband came home on Wednesday night, the 29th from a 6 month deployment! He arrived home from South America around 9:40pm after a full day of plane hopping from down South. Fortunately, I was able to have a friend come and sit at my house while the kids slept so I could go pick him up when he got off the bus. It was so wonderful to finally see him and give him a  great big hug :-) Of course he couldn't wait to go peek in at the kids while they slept. Little D was just 15 days old when he left and now at 6 months old and 18lbs, he is quite a different baby! Unfortunately, I would not let him pick either one of the kids up and run the risk of waking them up, haha. So, in the morning when C stumbled in my room at 7:00 as she normally does, I whispered, "come here, I have a surprise for you..." She rubbed her eyes as she came over and I picked her up and lifted her over my body so she could see her dad on the other side of the bed..."DADDY!!!" and a  great big bear hug followed. She was immediately wide-eyed and bushy tailed! She was so excited to see him and even though I had told her plenty of times he was coming home, it didn't really sink in until she saw him. 

Little D on the other hand didn't have quite the same reaction. When B walked in there to go get him out of his crib, D just stared at him. He wasn't afraid and didn't cry or anything - just stared at him long and hard, haha. Even when B picked him up, D moved his head back so he could get a better look at him - so funny. Fortunately, D wasn't afraid and went right to him from then on without any problems. He is such a happy and easy going baby!

It has been fun getting readjusted as a family of 4 again. C doesn't want to let B out of her sight...she cried when he had to go into work that morning (no, the Army couldn't give him even ONE day off after being away for 6 months! Too much to do I suppose) and every time he walks out of the room, she asks, "where's my daddy?" He has had to explain every time he leaves for work - which is every couple of hours since he gets to come home for breakfast and lunch - that he is coming back TODAY, haha. Poor little girl just doesn't understand. We went out to her favorite place, Texas Roadhouse of course, last night and C had to sit on his lap the whole time. :-)

Obviously, I have had a wonderful time having some help around the house and having someone to talk to after the kids go to bed. And, I even got to go to the commissary (the on-post grocery store) last night by was wonderfully relaxing! 

Overall, it has been amazing having him back home. I am currently doing the second of what will probably be about 10 of his loads of laundry, but I don't really mind. I also don't really mind seeing his clothes on the floor in our room and smelling the smell of his ACUs (his uniform) when he comes home after working all day - always smells like dust for some reason, haha.  Sometimes the things that can seem "annoying" can really be comforting after their prolonged absence. Sure, they may get old after a while again, but I will have to remember that he will likely deploy again in the Fall and  I will miss those things that only he does :-) For now, I will do his laundry and pick up his shoes...and use his toothpaste that is written in all spanish (SO COOL!).

Oh, and in these pics, D is in his very first CLOTH diaper. I decided I wanted to try it, so I ordered 2 diapers to see how I like them. I will write a post later about why I wanted to do this and how it is going...but for now, check out how adorable he is and how cool the diaper is! It is not your mama's cloth diaper...they are WAY cooler nowadays!