Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Imaginary Friends

I can't believe I am telling this story but I feel the need because of something that happened today. When I was younger, I don't really remember how old, I, like many other children, had an imaginary "friend". Her name was Jennifer and she hung out with me quite a bit. That's not really all that unusual, but my "friend" was  a little different. You see, my sister used to pick on me and could get a little mean. Pretty much like all older siblings really. I still worshiped my sister regardless and wanted to be like her--in every way. Drove her nuts, but well, that's what baby sister's do, right? So anyway, my imaginary friend, Jennifer, was more of an imaginary little sister to me (I actually say now that she was an imaginary enemy) so I spent my time being mean, fighting, arguing and bossing her around. My family still makes fun of me to this day, which is why I probably shouldn't even be telling this but oh well. I had to explain so that people could appreciate today. After dropping Troy off at school, Will was playing. I was busy cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry but all of a sudden I heard him yelling. He was carrying on a full conversation with someone and it was mainly yelling and bossing. I asked Will who he was talking to and he said, "Just a baby". So I think Will is following in his Mama's footsteps and creating his own little sibling to boss around. Great. Let the teasing commence....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Showering Baby with Love--Get Creative!

I love love love love baby showers. I just love seeing all the beautiful outfits and cool toys or gadgets that others give. I love showering these tiny little babes with love and things they need or things parents could use.  I often hear comments that bother me though. "Showers are for welcoming a woman into motherhood and only for 1st children". "Why is she having ANOTHER baby shower? She already has 2 (or insert another number here) children." "She already has everything she needs so why is she having another shower?" "I swear some women have children just so they get gifts." (And yes, I really have heard someone say that) "I think it's tacky to have a shower for someone if it's their 2nd (or 3rd or 4th...) child". And so on and so on. These comments bother me because why is only the 1st child okay to shower with love? Why shouldn't EVERY baby be celebrated--regardless of the mother's situation? Remember, showers are about the baby who had no choice in the situation so why should the 3rd or 4th (or more) baby be slighted? And people who make the comments about the mother having children just for gifts, let me ask this. How many moms actually organize their own shower? Usually it's someone in their life that wants to do this for them. Now, there are some exceptions and you run across a mom who organizes her own or demands someone throw a shower for them, but that's a whole different post. What I am referring to are showers given out of love and kindness for whatever pregnancy this may be. Of course, the question still remains about gifts. What if the mother truly has everything they need? Well, then you just have to get creative. Here are a few ideas I have run across in my years of going to many showers. Maybe just maybe one will help you if you ever run into this issue!
1) The gift of the major (and truly very expensive) necessity. Find out the diaper brand the mom prefers to use and bring a package in the various sizes and a package of wipes. She's cloth diapering? No problem. Find out what she has or needs and you can add to their collection! Or do a GC for a site that sells cloths and accessories like www.thanksmama.com. Or get the supplies they need to launder them like Rockin Green soap.
2) Pamper Mommy gifts--Get the mom things that could help her relax or help her when the baby comes. Think spa type GCs with free babysitting if you are able(or money to pay a sitter). Plan to have someone come in and clean (if the mom is okay with this) or again, arrange for childcare if the mom prefers to do it herself (not that I know anyone like that.........).
3) This was something a friend of mine did and I thought it was awesome. Help the mom by giving the gift of ease. Prepare 1 or more meals ahead of time that can be frozen and then she or the hubby could just pop it in the oven for a yummy meal that required little to no effort.
4) Gift certificates for a photo shoot or GC to a site like Shutterfly or Snapfish. You know mom is going to appreciate the gift of pictures!
5) If you know the mom will relish some time out with hubby, think about GC's for a Date Night. Again offer or arrange child care, and get them a night out to eat or to the movies or whatever.
6) Does the mom like scrapbooking? Get an album and some supplies for her so she can do it without having to fork out the money. That stuff gets expensive so help her out!
7) As a person who loves books, the gift of books is always welcome. So get the baby started with a wonderful assortment--think board books, the classics and ones they will enjoy as they get into toddler or preschooler stage!
8) And these are some of the cutest things I have seen and I would have loved them for my boys to show growth month to month: Culpeper General. There are also some cute shirts for the expectant moms!
I am sure there are tons of other creative ideas out there so if you have other great ideas that aren't the "norm", share! We all know the basics, but what have you done or seen that would be an awesome idea???

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I Love Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for such a long time. As a child, of course Christmas was my favorite, but as I got older, I started looking most forward to Thanksgiving. There are so many reasons why and I know my family and close friends are thinking it has to do with the food (which is HIGH on my list of reasons why, but is not the main reason). Let's look at some of the other holidays.
Christmas--I love Christmas. It's fun and festive and exciting. Having children makes it even more exciting as you get to see it through their eyes. However, the true meaning of Christmas is often ignored. Sure, people go to church or see a play about the birth of Jesus and remember why we celebrate, but it's become so much more about getting the "right" gifts. What should you get this person or that person? Will your children be disappointed because you can only afford to get them 1 or 2 gifts when their friends are going to get so much more? Will this gift be meaningful enough? Is it the right size or will you offend someone (and yes, this has happened in my life)? Did you ship your gifts in time for people to get them on the holiday or will they even get there??? It becomes so much more stressful and people forget the joy of the season (yours truly included). Many people say that it doesn't matter and they will appreciate whatever they get but we ALL know people who complain about what they did or didn't get, so you know they not everyone appreciates the gesture.

Valentine's Day--I hate this holiday. Period. I personally would rather my husband say on Jan. 10 that he loves me and is so happy we met than HAVING to do it because of a holiday. I get the meaning behind the day but again, it becomes more about getting the "right" gift, doing the "right" thing. I worked in a Florist for a few years and this holiday was almost a joke. Poor men running in at 4:45 because they forgotten to order something early and having to take home a bouquet of yellow and orange carnations knowing their loved one was going to be disappointed. This is why I have always told boyfriends and of course, my husband that gifts are not exchanged. Period. Our anniversary is Feb. 15 and people who don't know me well always say that was horrible to do that to Jay. "Oh the pressure you put on him to get your VDay gifts AND an anniversary gift...." Got a secret for you--I don't believe in anniversary gifts either so he actually has it pretty good. All I ask is that we go out just the two of us and do something fun somewhere around our anniversary. To me, it's about quality time, not gifts.

Easter--pretty much the same as Christmas. The holiday can be so wonderful and a time for Christians to really celebrate and again, what happens? It turns into gifts and candy and what are we doing on Spring Break. The meaning of the season is pretty much forgotten. Not by everyone of course, but in general

Before I continue, let me say that I love the holidays. I enjoy the gift giving, seeing the excitement in my children's eyes and being together to celebrate. I love picking out things I think family and friends will enjoy. I am in no way a Bah Humbug person, no matter how it sounded, but in my opinion, Thanksgiving is simpy the most wonderful holiday. It's about being with family and friends reflecting on the many blessings in your life. A time to get together and eat some really yummy food (yes, I said it was a big reason, just not the main) and there is no pressure with gifts. It's about fellowship and that all important , quality time. Yes, I know that there are stresses associated with Thanksgiving, but if you look at the big picture, the holiday is just fabulous! I personally cannot wait for Thursday to spend time with my spectacular family, watching football, catching up with those I don't see often enough and just enjoying the true blessings in my life ♥ THAT is why I love Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This 3rd week of November, I am thankful for....

Music and Laughter! And in our house, there is lots of it. My two boys absolutely love to dance and sing and just be silly whenever possible! Want proof? Here are a few examples of music in our home and lots of pictures of the boys just being silly ♥

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This week, I am Thankful for....

This week, I am thankful for everyday heroes. Those people that serve our communities day in and day out ,risking their lives to help others. These are jobs that scare me to death and although I would be so worried about my boys if they pursued one of them, I would be so very proud as well. Obviously, I am talking about police officers, firefighters and EMTs/Paramedics. My boys are obsessed with these professions and we have a full emergency garage at our house. It's full of fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, rescue helicopters and anything else the boys feel should be available to serve in any emergency (4 wheelers, tow trucks, "rescue" motorcycles....). We have played "911. What's your emergency?" a number of times and the boys have saved people from accidents, burning homes, hazmat situations. They have rescued animals from burning barns or from people trying to steal them. Troy has given numerous talks on fire safety to children and he has a full staff of "fire kids" trained to help him. Oh and we can't forget that Buffy was the "fire dog" when she was with us. Plus, I cannot tell you the number of tickets they have issued for traffic violations. As you can see, the boys take their job as hero very seriously and are the first to notice any vehicle with sirens and must analyze what they could possibly be dealing with, where they are going and such each time we see one. We are also very lucky to have so many friends and family that work in such professions so this thrills the boys and their eyes light up when we say "Did you know that so and so is a firefighter (or police officer or EMT...)" It's such a look of admiration that warms my heart. It helps also that everyone we meet is so eager to talk with the boys, show them around the equipment or let them help in some way! These people are truly heroes in our eyes!
And to show the love my boys have, here are some pics. You will notice there is a favorite though...
Troy had to be his hero for Halloween
 To the left is there Emergency Vehicle garage. You can't see just how many we have, but trust me....a lot
 Because every fire station has a pole
 Getting the tour....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday my sweet Will!

Last year I began writing letters to my boys on their birthday. This was what I posted last year just before your 2nd birthday, and so today, my sweet boy, you are 3 years old! And what a year it has been! I thought I would share some favorite pictures of the past year to show what all you have been up to
Being a silly boy
 Enjoying some farm fun!
 The 4 wheeler was a huge hit this year
 Playground adventures galore!
 Trying hard to be like your big brother ♥
 Driving the boat at the Islands with Aunt Karen
 Seeing the animals at the Luray Zoo
 Pool time!
 Riding your first amusement park ride
 One of many pictures of you getting into stuff :)
 Learning to pedal!
 Dying Easter eggs ALL ALONE!
 You started using the big boy swing
 Finding out you LOVE to paint
 And that you LOVE music
 And with your favorite "women" as you say! You are such a Granny's boy

To my sweet 3 year old boy,
I want to thank you. Thank you for all the joy you bring into our lives. Thank you for constantly keeping me on my toes and not allowing me to get bored. Thank you for the laughter you bring each day! Whether it's through your silliness, saying things that are just hilarious, or the things you do where we just have to laugh because "only Will" would do it. You brighten any room you enter as we notice every time we take you anywhere. All eyes go to you and people just smile ♥ And if we happen to go somewhere without  you, everyone asks about you. You have learned so much this year and I am just so proud! I adore you my sweet boy and hope you always know how much we love you! And to quote another friend, I thank God for allowing me to be your mother ♥

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My weekend of thanks!

I didn't get to post this weekend on here so I will do a weekend of thanks. I definitely am thankful for my wonderful husband. We met thanks to my cousin in Dec. of 1999 and have been together since. Has it been easy? No, of course not. Like any relationship there are ups and downs, but every time I look at the big picture, I know how blessed I am to have such a wonderful, stable, intelligent, hard working husband who is an amazing father. I have had so many issues (which we don't need to get into....) and he's been supportive every step of the way and I truly believe that many others would have given up a long time ago so for all of these reasons, I am very thankful for this handsome man in my life ♥

I also have the most wonderful and supportive friends. I have always been a bit shy and reserved so making friends has never been the easiest of things, but as I have gotten older, I have realized how important it is to have true friends.  I have a few friends that have been with me for years that I rely on and I am so grateful for and feel like I can turn to them for anything. After becoming a stay at home mom, I really wanted to meet other moms, so I attempted to start a group in my town. That didn't go far, but I did meet a few mothers that I have stayed close with so although I was disappointed the group didn't continue, I am thrilled that I made such great friends through the attempt! I also made an awesome decision a couple years ago to join a training program for the Charlottesville Women's 4 Miler. This was one of the best decisions I have made because I have met so many wonderful women that are so supportive and simply amazing. It's been such a blessing getting to know so many of them and I have come so far since then because of them! Lastly, there is also a group of women that I have gotten to know online through a site called www.justmommies.com. I went there when Troy was 6 weeks old looking for help on sleep issues and have stayed there since. I know many people are skeptical, but I have had nothing but a great experience and received a lot of support and love. As a stay at home mom, I have used this site as a way to have adult conversation and talk about the kids and life in general, when I didn't have other options. I was very lonely in the beginning, so this group of online friends has helped me tremendously.

And lastly, this weekend, I am thankful for my church family. I have been going to this church since I was little and although I left when I moved away for a few years, I always have come back to them. It's a small church, but it has a huge heart with the wonderful congregation  we have. The support they give to the members and the community is so wonderful so for them I am very thankful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On this 3rd day....I am thankful for....

My in laws. Yes, you heard me. I adore all my in laws--mother in law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law....Yep, I realize what a rarity this is to enter into a family and really and truly love everyone. Again my biggest complaint is that we just don't see each other enough. (Or is that the reason why I love them so much.....???? :) ) We only get together once a year as a group with maybe a scattering of visits when it's possible, but with the crew spread out all over the country, it makes visiting more often a challenge. This is why we love our vacation to the 1000 Islands in NY so much because it's the only time we are all together so not only is it a vacation, but it's a chance to visit and catch up. Thank God for email, blogs, cell phones, and texting because it does help us to share stories, pictures and just chat! These are pictures from our trip in 2009, and not everyone is there, but just a sampling :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2 of Being Thankful!

I must admit that I have the best family--immediate all the way to distant relatives. I love when we have family get togethers and enjoy spending time with each different side of my family. I definitely know how lucky I am that this is the case since not everyone has such wonderful relationships. My only complaint is that we are unable to get together as often as I would like. There are so many people I would like to mention but given that I have a large amount of cousins, aunts, uncles.....that would take forever and a day, so I will just say to all of my family--you know who you are ;)--thank you for being wonderful and supportive! And since I am horrible about taking pictures at such gatherings since I am always running after 2 kids, here's the best that I have (still pretty great, but I have left out quite a few)
Anaka and Antonio ♥ with my boys
My Dad ♥ with Jackie and Anaka♥
 Mom and the boys ♥
 Aunt Zelia, Jenny, Joy, Hannah and Kristen ♥
 At last year's joint bday party with Aunts and Uncles and Friends♥
 Brandie and Lucas♥
And just in case those on Jay's side of the family were curious as to why you weren't part of this....stay tuned for tomorrow's ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's that time of the year!

I absolutely love Thanksgiving. Always have and always will. It's just such a wonderful time of the year to truly reflect on all the blessings. It's been a rough couple of weeks for me and I really have been very negative and frustrated. That all ends today. Will I still have my rough days? Sure. I can't say my entire attitude will change since I am still unable to do so many things, but when I find myself getting negative and grumpy, I will know it's time to think about all the wonderful people and things in my life! Today, I want to talk about my boys. Parenting is in no ways easy. It's downright hard, but these two boys are so very special to me and I adore them. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with 2 healthy children and hope they always know how much I love them!