Thursday, December 8, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Ever wonder what it's like to be a Stay at Home Mom?! Well, here's a rundown of what my Wednesday was like...

Up at 4:00am...potty break...7 months prego & can't go back to sleep...finally get out of bed around on our budget since it's payday

Cole up at 6:00am & Owen up at 7:00am...breakfast and cleanup (it's craziness, but I'll spare you)

Our goal for the morning is to purge toys that the boys hardly ever or never play with anymore. Christmas is in two weeks and it'll be like Toys R Us up in here.

All hell breaks loose.

Timeouts. Spankings. Disciplining for hitting baby brother. Endless.

As I put up toys that we are going to keep, the boys are right behind me taking them back out...argh!

Time to get ready for gymnastics. I take a half shower (no time to wash my hair...oh well, the other mommies understand). During my whole 5-minute shower, the boys have managed to throw my shoes EVERYwhere...on the floor, shelves and in the laundry basket. Then Cole says "mommy's undies stuck on the shelf!" What?! Yup, he found a pair of my undies and somehow got them stuck up on the top's about 7-feet high (or something like that, I'm short so I dunno know). They're still stuck up there today.

Get Owen dressed...onto brushing our teeth. Owen climbs up the step stool before I get in there and he's using Cole's toothbrush. Moving on. As I'm fixing Cole's hair, I look over to see Owen reaching his toothbrush into the toilet...I squeal. He stops. Must stay one step ahead of this little guy!

I FINALLY get Cole dressed (he's entered this phase of not wanting to get dressed...boys). We're out the door. Oh, I made sure to take him potty before we left. I KNOW he has to poop, but I don't DARE put him in a pull-up...he's been potty-trained way too long! In the middle of gymnastics, his teacher comes running towards me carrying Cole. Oh crap. Literally. She says they were jumping on the trampoline and worked it right out of him. Crap. I practically throw Owen at his instructor and run Cole off to the bathroom. Get him cleaned up (hooray for an extra set of clothes and undies in the car). Back to class. Thankfully the instructors are understanding and say they have dealt with MUCH worse. I don't even want to know.

As we leave the gym, Owen decides to have a meltdown. Oh joy. Hard enough to handle those when I'm not prego, but after having Braxton Hicks all morning, carrying a screaming squirming 18-month old is going to make me drop one of these babies, if you know what I mean.

We make it home. Yay!

As I'm making lunch, I hear a crash and a muffled "mom, hurry over here" cry. Owen has fallen head-first into a small toy box we keep in the living room. It was full prior to the toy purge, but afterwards, it was hard for him to reach the toys at the bottom. Cole promptly tells me "Owen real stuck!" I look over to see this...

I'll spare you the details of all the boring tasks I completed during naptime, but let's just say it's a whirlwind once the boys fall to-do list seems to grow rather than shorten so I have to work like a madwoman.

With all the craziness aside, my boys certainly have their moments of sweetness and compassion. For instance, when Cole gets up in the morning (the boys now share a bedroom in preparation for baby #3), he quietly closes the door leaving it slightly cracked so that Owen can continue to sleep :) So sweet! And in the middle of the toy purge, I decided to lower a bookshelf full of text books (I've done it a million times trying to get it just right), but this time the shelf tipped and all the books fell on my head and around me. Before the books were done hitting the floor, Owen was by my side (as close as he could get without being smashed himself), whimpering hysterically. He then starts frantically grabbing at books trying to get close to me. Poor guy needed more consoling than I did! But it sure put a smile on my face to see how concerned he was. Sweet boys! I love them and all their craziness!

And even though I am one pooped puppy at the end of the day, I sure get joy out of making my husband laugh as I share the craziness that happens in our house in a day :)

Friday, December 2, 2011


Deuteronomy 15:10 - Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

Every Christmas we try to give some sort of gift to those in need. This year, I decided we would give in a few different ways. One gesture we are keeping secret (except for the recipient), the second gift we donated this past week (discussed below), and the third we plan to go in with other members of our family & adopt a child or family from the Angel Tree. The reason I share this is in hopes that it encourages you to give if you don't already, I absolutely believe that you will be blessed many times over for even the smallest gesture! And for anyone who is still skeptical about couponing, maybe this will help sway you towards the coupon side (and save you some big bucks!).

So, I decided I wanted to take a set amount of money, work my coupon magic and donate items to a local charity. Here's how it went. I took $105 to CVS and purchased $185 worth of items...that is a 43% savings! I called a local charity to find out their needs at this time and tailored my shopping to what they needed most in their stockpile.

Transaction 1:
(4) Pantene $6.97/for 2 (on sale) - $3/off 2 & $1/off 2 = $9.94
(9) Jumbo packs of Pampers @ $9.50 (on sale) - (4) $2/off 2 bags = $77.50
(1) Jumbo packs of Pampers @ $9.50 (on sale) - (1) $1/off 1 bags = $8.50
(1) Tide $5.94 (on sale) - $0.50/off 1 = $5.44
(3) Puffs $0.99 ea (on sale) - $0.25/off 3 = $2.72
(3) Dawn dish soap $0.99 ea (on sale) - $0.50/off 1 & $0.50/off 1 & $0.25/off 1 = $1.72
SUBTotal before tax = $105.82
*Special Promo this week, for every $30 you spend on specified products, you get a $10 gift card, I received $40 in gift cards because my balance BEFORE coupons was $120.82.
*I got (1) $10 gas card to donate and $30 in CVS gift card,
so onto...

Transaction 2:
(2) Always $6/for 2 (on sale) - $1.00/off 1 & $0.50/off 1 = $4.50
(1) Glide floss $4.29 (on sale) - $0.50/off 1 = $3.79
(1) Crest 6oz toothpaste $4.69 (on sale) - $0.75/off 1 = $3.94
(1) Crest double pack 8oz toothpaste $8.29 (on sale) - $0.75/off 1 = $7.54
(2) Crest mouthwash 500mL $4.89ea (on sale) - (2) $1.00/off 1 = $7.78
SUBTotal before tax = $27.55 (I then used the $30 CVS GC and owed $0.30 out of pocket to cover tax!)
*Special Promo this week, for every $10 spent on Crest ProHealth, get $5 ECB, I earned one $5ECB (I goofed and came up $1.24 short to get my second $5ECB...but had the boys with me so I didn't have time to go back). So onto...

Transaction 3:
(2) Old Spice deodorants $5/for 2 (on sale) - $1/off 2 = $4
(1) M&M (impulse buy to keep boys from running out of patience, plus needed to get to $5 to use all my ECB) = $1.19
SUBTotal before tax = $5.19 - $5 ECB = $0.71 out of pocket to cover tax!

BOTTOM LINE...had I just walked in and bought all these items on a random day, I could have paid up to $184.35 before tax
If I got lucky on my random day and the items were all on sale, I would have paid $141.82 before tax
However, I did about 30 minutes of planning with coupons and promos before going to CVS & only paid $105.82!!! That equals a 43% savings from retail and 26% from sale price!!

Anywho, my point was to give more than just cash, but to use something I've been practicing and am enthusiastic about to give even more than I imagined! Good luck to you & I hope you find some way to give this Christmas season!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Being Green(er)

So, last Friday (I tend to post on Fridays, anyone else notice that?!? Maybe I'll write about that one day!) I posted about recycling. But, there are many other ways to be green around your home (and thus teaching your children about being green). It's about making it a habit. If something is a habit, you're more likely to do it regularly, right?! Well, here are some simple outside-the-usual-recycling-box things that we do around our home to do our part in being green:

1. Use reusable shopping bags. Now, although I preach this, I am terrible at remembering them at the store, especially the grocery store! Once in awhile I will remember them if I'm going clothes shopping or something, but for some reason it slips my mind at Target & Wal-Mart. Anyhoo, I decided to place them in the front seat of my car in hopes that I will remember :) Plus, Target gives you $0.05 off for each bag you use and Whole Food gives you $0.10!

Say "green"

2. Reuse your dryer sheets!!! Who woulda thunkit?! Those little suckers are packed with a lot to give. With Bounce sheets, I will dry two loads of laundry, saving the sheets from each load and then use those two for the third load instead of grabbing a fresh sheet. If I'm using a cheaper brand (will remain nameless, ha!), I will use three sheets to get the softness I'm looking for (I'm very picky!). I can typically reuse a dryer sheet about two - three times before I've decided it's been beat up enough.

3. Unplug appliances. We have some lamps we use daily & those stay plugged in at all times (along with the televisions). However, all of my small kitchen appliances (even the ones I leave out on the countertop) stay unplugged unless I'm using them. Same goes for the boys' humidifiers, iPhone chargers & computers.

4. Purchase & use cloth napkins. For some reason it really bugs me to use paper napkins! I'm quirky like that. I will even save the extra paper napkins from restaurants. Anyways, I purchased some cloth napkins & they have worked out great! I just throw them in with my usual towel laundry loads and it doesn't create any extra loads (better for the environment and your wallet)! They quickly paid for themselves. Plus, they just look nicer on the table :)

Speaking of laundry, Baby O likes to get into things...

There are other things we/I do that have become so much of a habit that I can't think to name them here. When I do, I'll share for anyone interested in doing their part :) If you have any ideas/suggestions for being green(er) around the home, please share, I'm always looking to improve!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Being Green

And no, I'm not talking about being Green with envy or the color of Kermit the Frog or wishing you had more of it in your wallet :) I'm talking about being Earth-friendly!

After spending nearly a decade in Austin, TX, we picked up some Green habits, one of them being recycling. And while Tulsa offers curbside recycling, I opted-out because they only accept a few of the many recyclable items in their bin. Thankfully, Tulsa also offers a great resource for recycling household goods...The Met

So, I created our own little "recycling center" in our garage...

Doing their part!

Excited about recycling!

Here's how we have it set up...
  1. We separate out all the recyclables (as preferred by the recycling center). Items that the BA location accepts include:
      #1 Plastic
      #2 Plastic
      Paper Goods (magazines, newspaper, office paper)
      Paperboard (boxes that Kleenex, cereal, toothpaste, etc. come in)
      Aluminum Cans
      Batteries (household batteries - not just car batteries!)
      Plastic Lids
      Plastic shopping bags - reuse asl trash bags or take to Wal-Mart for recycling
      Paper shopping bags - I reuse almost all of what I have

    When we use up a Plastic, Glass or Aluminum item, we rinse it out (if needed), remove any outer stickers or paper/plastic wrap & place it in the corresponding bin. With Paperboard, we remove any inner plastic bags or attached plastic (like with cereal & Kleenex boxes).

  2. Once a month we take Paper Goods to our church and dump it in their Green paper bin (looks like a dumpster). Many schools and churches have these in their parking lots and they get money for recycling paper goods. So not only are you helping the environment, you are helping your local school/church! A tip: usually these items do not need to be separated, you can simply dump all your paper items into the bin.

  3. Once a month the boys and I take the remaining recyclables to The Met in Broken Arrow. There are usually people there to help unload the items and place them where they need to go (this is nice when the kids are in the car with me). This particular location works with the Gatesway Foundation...again, not only are you helping the environment, but you are helping a local charitable organization and others in need!

  4. Note: The Met doesn't take Plastic Lids, but Aveda in the mall accepts them.

Recycling is a small thing we can do to make a big difference - it provides products that can be broken down and reused as well as minimizing our landfills and leaving the Earth a better place for our future! Check out The Met for the closest recycling location to you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Try, try again

Proverbs 4:25: "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you."

Goals. Does reading that word make you cringe?! My confession...sometimes setting goals makes me cringe...identifying area(s) that I would like or need to change within myself and then holding myself accountable. Cringe. It can be hard! However, other times I find it energizing to challenge myself to be a better person. Depends on the goal and what mood I'm in :)

Cole playing with a glittery spider...I'm a bit phobic of spiders but I'll take one for the team...cringe!

While in Nursing school, I learned more than just how to be a nurse, I learned a lot of lessons that can be applied to life in general. One of those was setting and measuring goals.

Tip #1: How to create goal(s)...first, assess what it is you want to change. Then determine what you would like the end result to be, make a plan for change and implement that change. Lastly, evaluate the progress and continue the process until you reach your goal.

Tip #2: Goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART). In other words, it's not very effective to say "I want to change the way I eat." It's much more effective to say "I want to eat healthier by eating all my meals at home for one week." You see the difference?! Confession: Craig and I used to be guilty of creating overly-general goals. They proved themselves to be useless.

Tip #3: It can help to write your goals down and/or share your goals with someone. Something about seeing it on paper can really increase your motivation and sharing your goals with someone holds you accountable. I also like to assign us a "grade" based on how we are doing. This helps us measure our progress and identify areas for improvement.

Too fun not to share this one!

Overall, we feel as if we've done a good job at setting BIG goals and meeting them. But in the process of working on these BIG goals, the little ones have gone by the wayside (something about working full-time while going to school full-time and "working" part-time at clinicals all while having a newborn)! Things such as exercising regularly, eating at home, keeping a clean house, etc. just weren't as important at the time.

So, fastforward almost three years and we are finally revisiting our smaller goals. Each Sunday, Craig & I review the week ahead and have begun discussing what we want our weekly goal to be. Our first goal was to eat out less...and to make it SMART, it was to eat every dinner at home and allow one lunch "out." The first two weeks, I gave us a C and a B+. This week, we get a HUGE A+!!! This has been a long-running challenge for us and now that we have children, we want to set a good example. And the point of today's title is that even though you may not accomplish your goal on the first try, try again!

Owen loves corn on the cobb...I wish I had a pic of it after he was done!

Next week, I plan to write about being Green (aka Earth-friendly) of my goals that I've had for my family for a long time (and actually something that we've successfully stuck with over the years)! BTW, it's also one of my quirks :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Howmuchfunween!

The ToT Group - Lou, Owen, Cole & Bailey

I've always loved this time of year! First comes Halloween (I admittedly was one of those teenagers who continued to dress up and trick-or-treat well past the acceptable age...thankfully I look young for my age so I pulled it off easily). Next comes Thanksgiving with all the yummy food, time with family & cooler weather. Then there's Christmas (undoubtedly the BEST holiday of the year) with more yummy food, family time & of course the celebration of Jesus' birthday! And then there's New Year' exciting it is to begin a new year of life and feel as if you get a "fresh start" every 12 months! Well, I don't want this time of year to go by too fast, so back to Halloween :)

Cole was Thomas the Train at the church's Trunk or Treat...silly boy!

And Owen with his wobbly waddle made a perfect Frankenstein!

Anyhoo, I thought I would post some pics of the boys enjoying Halloween (and especially for our out-of-town friends...which btw, I need to see pics of your kiddos dressed up know who you are!). The boys had a BLAST this year! Cole finally understood what it meant to Trick or Treat and really enjoyed dressing up! Owen just wanted to be like big brother, so he quickly followed suit :)

Last-minute change...Cole decided he wanted to wear last year's costume as Nemo...ended up being a huge hit!

And my little Franken Baby!

Between treats from Mimi & Papa and Grandma & Grandpa, Trunk or Treat at our church, Pumpkin Town with Mimi & Papa, and then a potluck & neighborhood ToT with neighbors and friends, we had a T-O-N of fun!!! So much fun that Cole had a "Halloween Hangover" the next day :) We hope everyone had a fun & safe holiday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

IT'S A...


Cruel, I know, and not like me to tease. But now you know as much information as we do! Yes, it's true, we will not be finding out the sex of baby #3 until he/she makes his/her arrival in February. It's funny, when I tell people that we aren't finding out the sex of this baby, I get one of two very enthusiastic responses:

1) Oh, that is awesome! I wish I had/I want to do/I did do that with my kid(s)!


2) What?! Why?! That's going to drive me crazy!

The second response always makes me laugh because it should drive ME crazy being the mom, right?! Yet it's driving others crazy :) I should've expected this since we kept the boys' names a secret until they were born (which drove family and friends bonkers). And yes, we will keep the tradition running strong with this one! Maybe we have names picked out...and maybe we don't. Ok, I'll throw you a *small* bone, we're fairly certain we have decided on the names (one for a boy and one for a girl), but my lips are sealed...don't hit me!

Here is another pic from yesterday's sono...the little bugger was stubborn & wouldn't give us a good face shot but he/she did give us a high-five!

So, why do we (or mostly I) not want to find out this time when we found out with both the boys? I think there is something special and a bit romantic about waiting nine whole months to have that moment of excitement in the delivery room! And with the boys we were in a different place in our life where we felt we needed to be able to plan ahead. This time, baby #3 was a huge surprise in itself :)

And another pic with a thumbs-up (or the hitchhiker thumb LOL!)!

And to answer a commonly-asked question, I really do not have a preference on what I want it to be...a boy would be great, we think we have the boy-thing down(along with all the boy "stuff") and a girl would be fun because it would be something different! Also, I really have NOT A CLUE as to what we're having...I keep joking that it's a boy but we'll see...the ultrasound tech didn't even bother to look so she nor my doctor knows what we're having! It's gonna be fun!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fiber, it's what's for dinner

Owen Owen Owen (as I shake my head). The boy will pass up mashed potatoes, steak, chicken, mac & cheese, pbj, you name it...kid-favorite or adult-favorite, he'll pass it up at dinner. Then he wants down from the table to promptly go to the bowl of food that he really wants...the dog food. Yes, my son passes up a great meal to eat dog food. Gross! I actually caught him eating it the other night WITH A SPOON! He must've grabbed the spoon from the dishwasher while we were cleaning up. And then one day after lunch, Cole was handing a piece of dog food, one at a time to Owen and to Zoe and feeding them "lunch." Hey, with all that fiber it keeps him regular, right?! And then there is Cole. I can summarize his eating habits into one word...picky. I shouldn't expect any less considering he comes from a family of picky eaters, especially myself! But he loves his milk!

So here's a recipe that we LOVE, even Owen! It's one of my favorites from my Grandma Mayfield and super quick and easy (works best if you prepare it during naptime and that way it can simmer until you're ready to serve dinner):

Hamburger Soup (for my vegetarian friends, you can substitute a couple of things to make it Tofu/Veggie Soup)

3 Tbsp butter
1-1/2 lbs hamburger meat (or ground turkey for a healtheir option or tofu for even healthier)
3-4 carrots cut diagonally
3 ribs of celery sliced
2 cans beef buillion (or beef stock or vegetable stock)
1 can onion soup (I buy the packet of onion soup & fix it before throwing it into the recipe)
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
1 can tomatoes, including the juice
1 bay leaf
2 cups water

Melt the butter and saute the carrots & celery (I do this in my stock pot)
Meanwhile, brown the meat (or sliced tofu) and drain any excess fat
Throw everything into a large pot and simmer for a couple of hours or until veggies are soft or you're ready to eat. If it starts to lose too much liquid, just add a cup of water.

*Forgive there being no picture. I have a hard enough time getting pictures of my kids!

I serve with French bread & a salad. And believe it or not, Owen scarfed down a bowl of it and especially liked the veggies :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad habits die hard

I have this "leftover" habit from college where I read multiple books all at the same time. I call it a "bad" habit because it takes me forever to finish just one book :) Here's a picture of my current reading list...

...all but two I am halfway through...eek! The other two I would like to read before baby #3 makes his/her arrival. You see, I spent a little over 10 years in college. Yes, ten. For the curious cats out there, I studied full-time for five years to earn my Bachelors degree (Texas and it's extra government/history requirements), I studied part-time for two & a half years for Nursing School pre-requisites and then again full-time for three years to earn my RN and Master's degree. So, over those 10 years, I continuously read multiple books for my classes. I suppose I haven't dropped the habit yet :) Here's my current reading list:

1. Bible (life application) by God
2. Boundaries (already read it once, needed a refresher) by Cloud & Townsend
3. Know the Bible in 30 Days by Lang
4. Understanding your Child's Temperament by Carey
5. Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey by Demer & Wheeler
6. Touchpoints (another re-read, keeping up with the development of each boy) by Brazelton
7. Your Journey Through Pregnancy (my insurance company sent me this, I'd like to read it) by UHC
8. A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth (a book from Nursing school-another want-to-read) by Enkin et al

I try to read books to the boys, but with my scatterbrain self, I don't always think to read to them (does that make me an awful mom?!). Oftentimes the boys go get books on their own and bring them to us. I love it! Who knew that children at such a young age would be so interested in books? And Cole loves to choose books from the public library while Owen just squeaks and squawks as he wanders aimlessly among the shelves and tables and chairs. Cole's favorite book is Trucks (and he's learned what a fender, hopper, chute, etc. are on big rigs, cement trucks, etc). Owen's favorite book is a Mickey Mouse book (mostly because he gets to push buttons that make noise). I hope they continue their love of books. There's so much to learn and enjoy by reading! We're always looking for good books to add to our home library, so what are your kid(s) favorite book(s)?

And I just had to post a couple of cutie pie pictures...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So, this week we realized that with each pregnancy, I have landed in the ER for some reason or another. With Cole, I had a very persistent pain one night that turned out to be gall bladder spasms. And with Owen, I came down with an awful stomach bug (actually thought it was the beginnings of horrid morning sickness...oh the irony) and landed in the ER for fluid and phenergan. And this baby, well, its no exception. On Monday, I tried my best to avoid going to the ER, even went to Urgent Care first hoping to resolve the issue. But alas, the Urgent Care doc (and my OB) sent me to the ER. Darn. After lots of tests and an 8-hour ordeal, it was determined I had an infection and was dehydrated from the awful morning sickness. The combination of those created some symptoms that indicated something else could have seriously been wrong. I'm so thankful that it was simply an infection and dehydration. So, I got some fluids, antibiotics and once again, anti-nausea meds. Anyways, we got a laugh out of my pERgnancy visits. And I would like to thank my family and friends who stepped up to care for the boys, feed us dinner and call to check on me this past week, I appreciate all the kind gestures and feel very loved :)

Talk about emergency (ok, not really), but Owen is my little daredevil. He pretends that he's going to propel himself down a slide head-first (I just know that one of these days he's actually going to do it too)! He climbs, he gets into things he shouldn't, he's stuck his finger in an outlet and gotten shocked...actually, he sounds like most toddlers, right?! Well, I was in the laundry room last week and kept hearing this odd noise. I peeked my head around the corner into the bathroom to find Owen, with one of those huge plastic straws (like from the cups you get at the fair or zoo) DRINKING WATER OUT OF THE TOILET! Oh. My. Goodness. It was one of those moments where I thought "do I call poison control?!" I had a mommy freak-out moment! I realized the toilet had been flushed, so the water was "clean" (ewww) and I don't use those things that stick to the toilet and continually have cleaner in them, so I figured he'd probably be ok and I didn't need to call the doctor or poison control. He didn't have any tummy issues or grow a third arm or anything...yet! But I'm still totally grossed out!
Here's my little daredevil chasing me because he wanted to play with the camera...and he's mad...

And you would think there is an emergency when Cole says something and we don't understand. You see, Cole in just the last couple of months began putting sentences together. I can understand most of what he says, but sometimes he has to say it two or three times for me to get it. And boy, when I don't understand it right away he gets M-A-D! He kept saying "I light on" or that's what I thought. He got impatient with me after a few attempts and finally went quiet and wouldn't talk to me. Kids! He tried again and I finally understood "I like some!" Aha! He wanted a bite of my snack :) That's part of being a parent, having to interpret toddler-speak and deal with the short fuse of a 2-year old!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Giving thanks

Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

*I intended to post this last Monday, but I was far from feeling well and the post just wasn't appropriate at the time ;)*

So, maybe I should've saved this one for the Thanksgiving holiday, but why not celebrate a little early?! It is my second-favorite holiday. This week I would like to give thanks to the good Lord for getting me to the 16-week mark. I can't believe I am almost halfway through this pregnancy already! I also want to give thanks to my family and friends who have prayed for me, checked in on me, made me laugh and have supported me over the last 10-11 weeks as I experienced some super duper morning sickness (or "suckness" if you read my earlier post). *Fingers crossed* I believe I am past the worst of it! And for that, I am very thankful.

Here is me at 16-weeks with baby #3...there is no hiding a 3rd pregnancy :P

More about giving thanks: we feel it is important for our kids to learn manners *gasp*! There are so many kids (and adults) today that just flat-out do not have manners. We may be in the minority by saying "please" and "thank you" for the simplest things, however, I think it is very important to always give thanks for what we are given, no matter how big or small. It was a proud day for me recently when Cole began saying "please" and "thank you" without any prompting from daddy or myself!!! I had to stop and just let myself smile :) Now he gets VERY upset if he says "thank you, momma" and I don't reply promptly with a "you're welcome." I mean very. Upset. It's kinda cute, actually. And Owen, well, his first true words after "dadda" were "thank you, momma." That was the ONLY way I could get him to say "momma!" LOL! Now he hardly says anything besides "dadda" and "dis" ("this" as he points to what he wants). He's more focused on getting his waddle-y/penguin-like walk down to a science versus learning to talk! That's my boy!

Here is my sweet Owen, he grabbed the camera and I found some very blurry pics on there!

And here are my sweet sweet boys on their first day of Mother's Day Out...what a blessing that is for a SAHM!

Anywho, may you find your life full of moments and blessings to give thanks for :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Chesser Family Whirlwind Tour

It's been almost two years...actually, 22 months to be exact...since we made our big move from Austin, TX to Tulsa, OK. We didn't make a trip last year as we had hoped, and needless to say, we were long overdue for a visit! So, we planned a long weekend vacation over Labor Day and drove to Texas with the boys in tow. We left on a Thursday evening and arrived back home, dark and early at 2:00am on Tuesday morning. We stopped in three cities-Dallas, Austin, San Antonio-and visited with over 40 friends in our short trip. I would call it a success! We had a wonderful time and are so glad we had the opportunity to go back, catch up with some fantastic friends and visit one of our favorite places in the world...Longhorn Country! For being stuck in car seats in the car for some 10 hours each way, the boys did awesome! Want to know our secret? It was snacks, fruit boxes, toys (mostly those that made noise and lit up), books (also those that made noise), a very silly mommy (aka Me) and a DVD player (however the brand-new thing pooped out on us in San Antonio, so our trip back was sans-DVD player but we survived!). Also breaking up the trip on the way down there and then driving back at night while they were sleeping helped a lot. Along with catching up with friends, we enjoyed some much-needed family time and had some fun silly times together :) Here are some of the highlights of traveling with our toddlers:

~ Cole had some of the funniest things to say on our trip. It gets bumpy along Hwy-75 and one bump sent us bouncing up & down, and out of nowhere Cole replied with a loud "whoops!" Had us rolling! Later, as the sun set during our drive, Cole told us it was "getting dark and don't be skeered (scared)." So cute! He also told Craig to "not go faster." What? Is this really my kid? I love to go fast! And my favorite Cole-ism of the trip was calling our friend's dog "Grandpa"...his name is "Rambo" LOL!

~Oh the joys of a potty-training toddler. As we're attempting to enjoy a lunch with some friends and their little one (the boys were getting very restless by this point), I saw the look on Cole's face that says "I have to poop." I thought to myself "crap" (appropriate, huh!). We go running to the bathroom to discover the only Ladies room is locked. Crap. Again. So I said "to heck with it, we're going in the Men's bathroom." Must say that was a first. Whatever it takes when you have kids!

~And then there's Owen. My sweet, cranky, stubborn Owen. He refused to sleep the first night when we were in Dallas. Seriously, because of him, all four of us only got two hours of sleep that night. He was much better the remainder of the trip. I think he was just excited to be in a new place! And boy that kid can eat! He even ate the salsa at Chuy's (which is rather spicy!). It sure gave us and our friends a good laugh to watch the expression on his face! He is so ticklish too, if he started to get fussy in the car, all I had to do was tickle him and it made us all laugh! Such a contagious laugh and smile!

~Cole is obsessed with trains. Points out every railroad crossing or train that we see. Owen is right behind him in loving trains (although I think it's more to do with the fact that Big Brother loves sweet!). Since we were visiting Austin, we decided to take them on a ride on the commuter rail. This was a huge project that Craig worked tirelessly on before we moved. The project finished up in October of 2009, but the rail didn't officially open until the following Spring, so Craig never got to see the finished project in action. Let me say it was a very special moment for him to see the commuter rail in person and to ride along with his train-loving boys!

~One of the best moments was when we were leaving campus and Craig says "someone is taking a picture of us!" Come to find out, a car behind us and in the other lane had backed up, the passenger pulled out her iPhone and they were taking a picture of our Oklahoma license plate that says "Hook Em." Yup, if you see that license plate around town, that's us!

It was a wonderful trip and we're so thankful to have seen everyone, we truly feel blessed to know each of you! Next time we will try to make the trip longer so we can visit with everyone and those friends that we missed this time around. Happy vacationing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

Multitasking (MTI). It's a beautiful thing. When you actually accomplish something! I wrote a post when Owen was a newborn, something about breastfeeding while doing two or three other things and I asked if it was MTI (multitasking) or TMI (too much information)?! LOL! As moms we have to MTI. Answer the phone while changing a diaper and letting the dog outside. Or folding laundry with one hand while holding a baby in the other and changing the channel to entertain the toddler. Problem is, my MTI doesn't get anything accomplished anymore! At the end of the day, all I have are half-completed chores all around my house. And yesterday I couldn't remember what year it was...seriously. I was filling out our enrollment forms for gymnastics while trying to keep the boys entertained and looking up our pediatrician's phone number (for the paperwork) and honest to goodness could NOT remember what year it was. Yikes! I was so embarrassed and overwhelmed at that moment that I didn't dare ask someone what year it was! Thankfully the paperwork said "For the year 2011-2012"...whew! Once upon a time I rocked at MTI. At my first "real" job after graduating college, I could answer the phone all while typing up a note in a student's file and grabbing handouts for another student standing in my office. And I think I did a fairly good job at it! Not anymore, I really think I have developed ADD since becoming a mom. Problem is, I get started on something just to get interrupted shortly into the task and then I forget to return to finish it. Or I start a chore and notice something else that needs attention and is a higher priority. So, my house is always halfway cleaned, laundry halfway done, two hours worth of ironing piled up, clean dishes still in the dishwasher, etc. etc. etc. So, I've decided it's time to change it (or at least try)! There is some psychology behind this (yes, I'm a bit of a psych nerd) and I wanted to choose a goal that I considered "easy" so that I would have a quick success to keep myself motivated for change. However, I always bite off more than I can chew so I told myself to pick one goal for this week. So, what do I do? I chose two. It's just one of my be an overachiever :) My goals for this week were to 1) plan out my week by writing down specific to-do's on specific days, and 2) really focus on keeping the house picked up by cleaning up after ourselves and doing a quick pick-up after the kids go to bed. So far I've been doing ok. I've been marking off my to-do's like never before and the house is somewhat picked up *wink* I would give myself a "B"...I think I would've been more successful had I just stuck with ONE goal this week LOL! I believe it all comes down to self-discipline and setting realistic goals and I think it's going to be a lifelong work in progress!

So, onto the boys! They are truly so much fun. On most days. Cole is working on his vocabulary, he still pronounces "octopus" as "applesauce" and gives a really awesome attempt at "hippopotamus!" It's interesting to watch a child in the two-to-three year old stage. I always thought the "terrible two's" meant the child continuously misbehaved throughout the 2nd-3rd year of life. Instead we are more like on a roller coaster ride. Sometimes it's smooth sailing, he behaves well, he's sweet and caring and minds. Other times we are up and down with tantrums and back-talking and just down-right bad behavior. It's interesting to watch them grow because you know they are developing and learning about their boundaries when they begin to misbehave...I see his little mind asking "how far can I go with this and what can I get away with?" Toddlers are moment he's kissing baby brother good night and the next he's coloring in the white flower on my rug with a pink marker. Thank goodness it's a washable marker! I seriously wonder what possesses them to do these things?!?! LOL! And Owen is our little eater! The kid eats everything and won't turn down any chance for a snack :) He's at the stage between baby and toddler where everyone stops to talk to him (he's still got that cute baby-ness about him, yes I made up a word, but he's not quite to that obnoxious toddler stage that strangers run from)! And he just eats it up! He's not really saying many words besides "Papa!" I remember Cole doing this too...he started saying words and then completely stopped. Owen was saying "thank you" "mama" "dada" "zoe" "dog" but now he's back to babbling and pointing (he points at my dad and says "Papa" at least!). He keeps us entertained and on our toes (he gets into things faster than I can blink an eye-he threw his blankie into my mop bucket this morning and now it smells like vinegar...pretty sure he won't want to sleep with that!). He also LOVES his big brother, wants to be just like him and do everything he does...I think it's sweet. Cole can't stand it! And yes, I signed them up for gymnastics. You're probably thinking " gymnastics?" I say, "why not?!?!" My sister-in-law first introduced the idea to us when she enrolled our nephew in it several years ago and then we attended a few parties at Tulsa World of Gymnastics and they loved it! We tried out a class for free yesterday and I had to DRAG them both out, both protesting, both wanting to stay and play! Totally worth it to me to see them so excited over an activity! Anyways, here are a couple pics (please forgive my terrible photo-taking abilities):

Friday, August 19, 2011

Morning suckness

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Confession: I HATE vomiting...morning sickness turned morning suckness

No, that's not a typo and no, you didn't read that wrong. I have had a case of "morning suckness" with this third pregnancy. It's been awful. To give you an idea, it hasn't been just the regular 'ol nausea and vomiting, I have felt possessed! It was like having an exorcism every time I ate. Fun times! With the boys I had nausea and a handful of trips to the bathroom (well, with Owen I had a stomach bug that landed me in the ER, but that only lasted 48 hours). And with the boys I was working with nurses, which was a wonderful support because nurses have this innate ability to look at someone and say "sit down, you're looking too green." My boys, well, they don't quite understand what "looking green" indicates. To Cole, the color green means it's our turn to go through a light or the color of a crayon or the grass. But they don't understand it means mommy is sick! There was one morning I was in the bathroom, Owen cheering me on (he got a kick out of it!), Cole was SCREAMING at me in the hallway (wanted milk or something, who knows, I was too busy performing my daily exorcism), and Zoe was scratching incessantly at the backdoor (I was just praying my geriatric dog could hold her bladder until I could get to her). Again, fun times! I just had to laugh! And let me say, even though I have been sick as a dog, I have been H-U-N-G-R-Y! Imagine living with a very hungry pregnant woman who can't eat. My poor husband! Lived off of popsicles and sherbet for a few weeks. I never want to eat either of those again, or at least for a very long time. I seem to be past the worst part of it, still have some nausea which I expect to hang around for another month if it's anything like with the boys. But, I can handle that as long as I'm not feeling possessed any longer!

And to my real confession: at times I've been angry at God, asking why me? Why am I one of the "special" ones who gets to enjoy morning suckness? But, I've realized it's not very helpful to ask 'why me?' And when I made myself take a step back and listen to my supporters, I heard wonderful messages that have encouraged me to get through this. I do understand that morning sickness is maybe not so great for me but really good for the baby and that in the grander scheme of things, it lasts only a short time in a long lifetime. Ok, so now that I have my head straight (for the time-being!), I hope I haven't caused you to toss your cookies, well, pancakes since it's still morning :) And hooray for our "bonus baby!"

Friday, August 12, 2011


James 5:16 NIV "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

Confession. It's a powerful thing. And important. And necessary. For our souls to be fulfilled. To feel free. To walk on our path towards everlasting life. It's a beautiful thing! Therefore, I have to confess something...lately I've been a slacker, a procrastinator, and lazy. I haven't kept up with house chores, paying bills, yard work...the list goes on, but it's embarrassing to share. It's because I haven't felt well in weeks (we'll get to that another day), but that's no excuse. I do not like admitting that about myself. I've always been a hard worker. It's killing me to feel this way about myself. To feel like a hermit. To feel like a failure as a mom even though I know I'm not. But it's hard to not feel yourself and you don't feel like you're taking care of your kids to what you know is the best of your ability. However, confessing it and confessing it out loud gives me hope for a turning point for me to change my attitude. To get me started towards a more positive outlook regardless of things I cannot control. So, step one here is for me to start blogging again. It's been a long long time! But there is something therapeutic about writing and sharing and hearing other people's experiences (so please share anything anytime!). When I logged into my blogger, I didn't realize just how much I had been writing! I have a list of posts I've written over the last year (one was from when Owen was 3 weeks old). So, I hope you enjoy what I have to say! And for my far-away friends, I hope you enjoy seeing the boys even if just online!

My munchkins...they love to eat, but really I think they just love feeding our dog :) Forgive us for eating lunch in our's Friday and well, just one of those days! Cole is now 2.5 years old and talking like crazy! He says some of the funniest things and we really have to watch what we say. He repeats it all! He loves playing outside and pretending to be like daddy with mowing the lawn, etc. Owen is 14 months old and walking full-time now. He eats. All. The. Time. Seriously, he can eat a whole meal and still eat a snack afterwards. And he's into EVERYthing, a very curious little tot! He's my little snuggler too :)

Monday, May 23, 2011


So, I know I haven't posted in my blog in forever, but thought this would be an easy way to answer some questions about couponing. I've never really shared my coupon secrets because I really didn't think anyone would be interested! Every time I used coupons in the store, people behind me groaned & the checkers just seemed annoyed. After seeing some friends get really interested, I'm realizing maybe I need to share my secrets! I first started using coupons in high school when I took over our family's grocery shopping. My mom had introduced them to me & I thought it was fun saving money! I used coupons off & on throughout the years & thanks to the help from some friends & family (Amanda Torres, Kristy Morrison, Jessi Mayfield) and other mom's across the US, I've been able to step up my game now that I've become a full-time SAHM. Also, I very rarely pay full-price for clothing (only when it's something I'm in dire need of or absolutely can't live without). Here are my "secrets:"

1. ALWAYS work from a list when shopping. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've gone grocery shopping without a list. It saves lots of money when you know what you need & you're not buying off the cuff. Plus, you won't end up with a mish mash of stuff when you get home & then wondering what concoction you can make out of what you purchased! HOWEVER, if you come across an item that you KNOW you would use or use often & it's on sale, I buy it. Yes, you may spend a little more than what you planned, but then it saves on future purchase(s), so in the end, really you are saving money!

2. Get organized. I've had my faithful purple coupon wallet for 10+ years & I had my mom's before that. Getting organized at the beginning makes it easier to stay organized. It means you can find what you're looking for in a fraction of the time. Recently, I upgraded to a 2" binder. I used dividers with labels (beverages, breakfast, fridge & freezer, etc.) and baseball card holders. I upgraded because my coupon stash was getting so big I couldn't fit them in my wallet anymore! I got my wallet at HEB (grocery store in Texas) but I'm sure you can find them at Walmart or probably any grocery store (mine was plastic & about the size of a checkbook wallet and had dividers in it). And of course the binder, dividers & baseball card holders can be found about anywhere. I sort my coupons by category & then put them in date order so that I use the ones that will expire earliest first.

3. Take baby steps. I've always used the Sunday paper coupons. Those are pretty straight-forward & easy to use. Just make sure to read the fine print (ie buy the appropriate quantity, item size & follow the rules per the manufacturer like 'only 1 coupon per item'). Once you've got that down you can start taking more baby steps :)

4. Start clipping, printing, texting & trading coupons. The Sunday paper is a staple in my house. And now with the internet, you can print coupons online! I use scrap paper from my husband's company so I don't have to buy paper, just refill my ink! BTW, if you go to Cartridge World (or someplace similar) you can get your ink refilled for WAY cheaper than buying new! They usually offer frequent buyer cards too & you can even earn your way to a free refill. And yes, they work just the same (unless you ahve a high-tech printer with computer chips in the ink cartridges, they aren't able to replace those so your printer may tell you your ink is always out when it's really not, a small price to pay for cheap ink IMO). Plus, you will be recycling (which anyone who knows me well knows I'm a freak about recycling). Here are the websites I use weekly to print coupons from:

Also, if I find a coupon on one of these sites that I would like more of, I either google it to find another site that will allow me to print or I print from someone else's computer. Many times, the coupon sites limit how many you can print based on your IP address. Coupons are also going mobile if you have a smartphone. Target offers them & texts you approx. once a week. Just make sure to take your phone with you & remember to have them scan the barcode! I tend to forget this one :P One last suggestion, find a friend or two who coupon & agree to trade! I clip every coupon in the paper (I don't really print extras online) & give them away. I also get some in return & keep passing along the ones I don't use.

5. Find a website or blog that can be your guide. The one that helped me get started was Also, I've used and I've heard fabulous things about It can be overwhelming trying to navigate more than one when you first begin. I say pick one website & get to know it before adding another. Or if you find that one website works, then stick with it! What I liked about them is they show you how to get the deals. Keep in mind though that sales & coupons vary by geographic area so although it may describe a 'deal' it doesn't always mean that your store will offer the same. I've also come across many of my own "finds" that weren't advertised. Now that I know how to get the deals, I don't rely on the websites so much. This past week, I only scanned them to see if I missed any deals while planning my shopping trip & came across a couple extra coupons I wouldn't have known about (they were on the product's websites).

6. Learn the rules. Each store has their own coupon policy & the websites above should have them listed on there & the stores themselves should have them online. For instance, Target allows you to use 1 manufacturer coupon plus 1 Target coupon per item! If you find something on sale & have coupons for it, it's usually a great deal!

7. Know your unit cost per item. I started figuring this out some 10 years ago when we debated purchasing a Sams or Costco membership. I always heard buying in bulk could save money but I wanted to know if it was true. It may be if you don't use coupons, but when you use coupons & break down the cost to unit, you find buying in bulk does not always save money. I started a spreadsheet (yes, I'm a nerd) that lists common items I purchase, the quantity (like with diapers & wipes) & the store. It then computes the price per unit rather than item (for example, even though the store brand diapers are cheaper than Pampers, if you use a Pampers coupon & figure how much you pay PER DIAPER rather than per box, you find that Pampers is cheaper!). I've found this to be very common among store brand versus name brand. But coupons are the key to saving money! Also, you'll find that price can vary greatly depending on where you buy it. Sometimes Target is cheaper than WalMart (this surprises a lot of people!).

8. Stock up. And I'm not saying you have to be the extreme people on TV with a garage full of stuff. But start a stockpile of items that won't spoil. When toothpaste, toilet paper, kleenex, canned goods & the like are on sale, buy a few! Not only will you have enough Kleenex for when everyone in your house catches that cold, you'll have stuff to donate when you get that Reasors bag in the mail to feed the needy :)

If you have any questions, please ask! Happy shopping!