Wednesday, March 31, 2010

she likes to read...

while sitting on her dad.

and who can blame her? he's kinda comfy.

here's her 12 month stats.

weight: 23 lbs. (60%)
height: 29 in. (30%)
head: i don't know the actual measurement but let's just say her noggin was in the 85%.

so she's short and round with a big head.

the perfect combo of mom & dad.

sidenote: the numbing cream i wrote about in this post? it did work with the first shot, but i'm sadly reporting that it doesn't work with the MMR shot.
does. not. work.

poor baby.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

there's a new sheriff in town....

oh, this picture kills me.

it's an oldie but a goodie, taken last year at a friend's birthday party.
caleb was near-meltdown, then put on the mustache.
and it fit perfectly.
(not just his upper lip, but his mood.)

all day he walked around with this "don't mess with me" face.
and thank the heavens, nobody did.

Friday, March 26, 2010

a love story.

my MIL asked each of her children write down their "story" and send it to her.
but how do you sum up 13 years of history? i thought and thought.
this is what i sent to her:

the story of bensey.

it was 1997.

it was also a freezing january day in kaysville, utah.

i was 17, and just starting my first day at a new high school. as i opened one of the brown double doors and entered 'the commons' of davis high, i could hear it. faintly. it seemed to be carried on the wind, whispered on the mouths of my soon to be schoolmates. i tried to make out the words. standing still, listening. straining my ears. but i couldn't understand. after a few moments i sighed, shrugged and gave up.

what i know now, but didn't know then, was that the day i entered that high school was the day that i had taken a step forward, toward my future.




three months later on a rainy day in march i was sitting on a couch at my friend jen's house when suddenly, there was a knock at the door. as it swung open, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and angels from heaven broke out in the "hallelujah chorus." sun streamed over his brown, fluffy, curly, overgrown hair. rays outlined his tie-dyed t-shirt, wide leg jeans and skater shoes. i had to shield my eyes for fear of suffering from burned retinas as i squinted to make out his facial features. i saw brown, happy eyes lined with dark lashes. and then i saw his smile.

and at that moment, i knew.

as my friends said the words that i had sensed on the wind of my destiny just a few months prior, my heart started to pound with such a mixture of fear and excitement that my knee pits started to sweat profusely. i closed my eyes for a moment and saw flashes of laughter, joy, friendship and love.

ben strader.

my future.

of course i couldn't admit that i knew the truth, our truth. so i sat quietly, watching ben as he joked with my other friends. he made us all laugh with his humor. he was easy-going and kind. self-confidant without an ego. so unlike the other boys my age.

i knew i would have to be patient. that for the present time i needed to keep him at a distance and just remain friends. we couldn't date in high school or it would ruin what we were to become.

and so i waited. we maintained an easy friendship that lasted even after high school ended. everything was flawless. and it all had to happen in order to be able to meet up 5 years later, fall in love, get married, have children and eventually allow him turn me into the vampire i longed to be so that we could spend our eternity on earth running barefoot through forests hand in hand.

the end.

happy weekend everybody!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

connect the dots,


does anyone else know this song? it's one of those i know from my childhood, but i can't remember where it's from.
for some reason, i hear elmo's voice singing along with the song.


it's what continuously goes through my head when she's wearing these jammies.

and giving me this lovely view.

products that save my bacon daily...

1) the boon spoon.

whoever invented this, i would like to give them a smooch. well, at least blow them a kiss from a few feet away. this baby feeding spoon rocks! you just unscrew it, dump in the rice cereal/baby food/ yogurt, close it up and it seriously helps with mess. so your kids don't end up looking like this:

i love that i can just put pop the cap on and put it in the fridge if leah hasn't finished all of the food, and is GREAT to travel with. seriously. get one.

2) the stick vacuum.

a friend blogged about this several months ago and said that she loved it for her apartment and i had no idea how much it would simplify my life until i got one. i thought just having the big ol' honkin regular vacuum was fine. but enter leah, who started crawling at 6 months and wanted to pretty much chew on everything and anything she could get her hands on...including the day-old mac & cheese noodles that had fallen below caleb's chair.

i love that it's lightweight (in case you have to hold a 25 lb. child at the same time), quiet (in case that 25 lb. child is taking a nap when you need to clean the floor), and works great on tile & linoleum (in case the 25 lb. child likes to also venture into the kitchen and entryway for new crunchy crumbs to munch on). make sure to buy the cord-free with a rechargeable battery. just to make things a little more simple.

ben thought it was an 'unnecessary purchase' until he actually started using it.

and the best part??

it's also easy enough for a 4 year old to use. caleb is now in charge of the morning vacuuming and he absolutely loves it and does a great job.

this isn't the exact one that i have, but it's even a little cooler because just look at that handle! so nice for under a table, couch or bed.

***also make sure to buy one with a swivel-head. it turns sideways or flips around backwards. genius!

3) bumble & bumble's surf spray.

for a gal who has whined about her hair waaaay too many times, i finally found something that helped me out. i have naturally wavy/curly/frizzy/not cute hair. if you think i am lying, it's because i have to work hard to get it to look normal. i've made this reference before, as an analogy of what i look like if i go to bed with my hair wet:

ben has witnessed this event a couple of times in our marriage. the one word that came out of his mouth when he saw me?


and not in a good way.

so when i got a coupon for 30% off, i decided to try out a new product. and seriously, the surf spray has been awesome. i can get out of the shower, put in some leave-in conditioner, spritz on some surf spray, scrunch my hair a bit in my hands, and wha-lah!

the result goes a little something like this:

not the best picture of it, but you get the idea. it has simplified my life so that on those days that i don't have the time to blow-dry and style, this stuff saves the day.

4) the magic treehouse books on cd.

these little babies have saved my sanity in a major way. every day caleb has an hour of quiet time....and i always plan it around leah's nap time. since we don't have a yard he can just go out to, or a big toy room, we set him up in his room to play by himself and listen to some books on cd.

do you want to know how this started?

he got one in a wendy's kids meal and we turned it on in the car. i thought he would be bored out of his gourd. but instead he loved it! so i bought some more off of amazon and now we have quite a collection. caleb loves hearing about the adventures of jack and annie, who visit different countries, solve riddles and always find their way back home. (it kind of freaks me out when i come into his room and he has memorized all 10 chapters of each book and is talking along with the cd's. but it also lets me know he's actually listening.)

so he gets to pick out whichever 2 cd's he wants to listen to for the day during his quiet time, and he knows that quiet time is over when the cd's are done. and i get an hour of peace and quiet to myself, while he's getting to use his imagination. a win-win.

5) downy wrinkle releaser.

my friend marie blogged about this, and as a woman who HATES to iron, i had to give it a try. it SERIOUSLY works like magic. many a sunday morning i'm running around trying to get myself and the kids ready (when ben works overnight) and i'll realize that i've forgotten to iron my skirt or caleb's shirt or leah's dress. as long as the fabric isn't too heavy (cotton is great. denim? not so much.), all you do is spray this lovely product on, smooth out the wrinkles and wait for about 5 minutes for it to dry. magic.

so in church i can loudly sing, "glory glory halleluia!" without having to worry that everyone is staring at my frumped-up, wrinkly skirt.

6) lidocaine prilocaine.

i know there are many out there who are anti-vaccinations, but when caleb contracted meningitis at 2 months old and had repeated seizures for 3 days because of this illness, we got on the pro-vaccine bandwagon.

my kids get pretty fussy after the shots and usually have one rough night of sleep. but the hardest part for me?

the initial shots.

when my friend aubrey told me that she uses this lidocaine cream to numb the area on her daughter eve's arms or legs before she gets her shots...and that eve doesn't cry or whimper or anything now when she gets them...i knew i wanted to give it a try. (FYI, aubrey's mom is a nurse and was the one who told aubrey about it.)

i asked my pediatrician about it, and questioned why it isn't offered to all kids before they get their shots to prevent pain? he answered me that he felt it didn't work, because the shot actually goes into the muscle and still causes pain, so it really wouldn't help anything.

i asked him for a prescription anyway.

and i'm here to tell you.

it does work.

i gave it a try on 9 month old leah after i got the prescription, rubbing the cream on a couple of hours before her appointment. when we came in and i told the nurse and the doctor that i had put it on her, they both looked at me like i was that psycho-over-the-top-can't-bare-to-see-her-kids-in-pain mother. both told me not to be surprised that it wouldn't work.

after her 6 month shots, leah howled for about 10 minutes after the shots were administered.

but at her 9 month shots, with the lidocaine?

she didn't even flinch. seriously. i realized as the nurse was putting on the band-aid that i had been holding my breath, and i let out a big sigh.

the nurse remarked that she had no idea that it would actually work. i told her that since she now sees that it does work, why not let the doctor know and start recommending it to parents?

so just in case they're not, i decided to. it's awesome stuff.

***i'm not sure how well it works on the deeper-muscle shots like the MMR because leah hasn't had that shot yet, but i do know that it works on the routine 2/4/6/9 mos shots. at least for us.

***make sure that you ask your pharmacist or pediatrician how to use it properly. it needs to be put on about 2 hours before the shots, and also needs to be wrapped in saran wrap & taped. also make sure to find out exactly where to put it on. you don't want to be numbing up parts that don't need it. anyway, just ask the experts. they'll tell you.

7) eye concealer by smashbox.

i have no idea how sleepless moms look so good without this stuff. i know for me, when i haven't gotten enough sleep, the first place that shows it is my eyes. i'm not the best at accessorizing outfits, but i do know enough about it to say that sporting dark under-eye circles is not the way to go.

the lovely sephora worker tried this on me after i told her that i needed a miracle cure for my sleepless-nights eyes. while she didn't take me up on my offer to have her come and stay awake at my place every night while i slept, she did offer this product. as she put it on, i watched myself transform.

who was this bright-eyed creature looking back at me in the mirror? and what is wrong with her hair? (this was before the surf spray purchase.) i bought it right away, and have loved it.

because even if my tramillion yawns give away my exhaustion,

at least i look rested and refreshed, right?

yep, it's pricey. but the good news is, i bought mine almost a year ago and still have it. i don't use it every day, but you only need to use such a small amount to make it work that it lasts forever. also, sephora and ulta are constantly offering coupons. so take advantage of their deals.

so there are some things that i love, that have made my life better and more simple. and no, i didn't get paid for blogging about any of these things. but if anyone wants to offer me money for writing this posting i would absolutely be happy to accept!


what are some of your favorite things??

seriously, i love hearing from other people what works for them.

so blog about it & let me know so i can check it out!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

lucky to have....


and them.

i know everyone celebrates st. patrick's day for different reasons, and i appreciate those too,
but this is what i kept thinking about today.

our life isn't perfect, we have our trials just like everyone else does
(this last month has been a bit tough),

but i'm lucky.

and thankful.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

fighting the plague & enjoying the company

here's a summary of what life looked like for us last week:

first caleb, then leah, now me. there have been a lot of sleepless nights going on.

we made it through caleb's highest fever since his grand mal seizure and let me tell you i was a bundle of anxiety. it's nice to see that he's more resilient now, and also nice to know that i wasn't the only one who was worried. even though i hadn't voiced my fears aloud to ben, he told me the morning after caleb's high fever that he had fully expected me to wake him up in the middle of the night to tell him to call 911.

it sounds nuts, writing about it know that it has been 3 years since that night and yet it came rushing back to both of us when caleb's fever got so high and we couldn't get it to come down.

it's nice to have that behind us now.

so the kids are feeling better (even if i'm not so much) just in time for my sister's family to come for a visit. we've been looking forward to this for a long time! caleb just loves his cousins, they are adorable and so much fun.

since all of the kids have birthdays around the same time, we threw them a combined birthday party.

tomorrow we're heading out to enjoy the weather and the company. i'm really hoping that my sense of taste and smell return quickly. i've become obsessive about brushing my teeth and wearing good-smelling lotion because i'm paranoid that i smell like one of leah's dirty diapers and have absolutely no idea.

oh, and i almost forgot to mention that they went to the ostrich festival.

they all had a blast while i stayed back with leah & tried to get control of my whooping cough/black lung/scarlet fever. at first i didn't think i would be too sad to miss out on a bunch of people racing ostriches, but they had so much fun and came home with some pretty hilarious pictures, that i found myself a little jealous.

i mean seriously. ostriches.
what's next? a flamingo parade?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

getting cheeky.

countless times a day leah and i have disagreements.

"leah, no! don't pull the laptop charger out!"

she smiles up at me and continues to tug on the cord.

...3 minutes later...

"no! leah, don't touch the outlet!"

(the outlet which prior to this had been plugged into our laptop charger that i hadn't popped the outlet safety blocker into yet.)

she looks at me defiantly and continues to reach out a chubby finger, heading straight for the outlet.

...5 minutes after that...

"leah! no! stop bending the blinds!"

yet she continues until i have to once again stop what i'm in the middle of doing and pull the blinds up halfway so that she'll stop.

...20 minutes later...

"noooooo....leah, please don't shove your apple into dad's xbox."

this time she looks up, stops for a second, then lets out a defiant yelp and resumes the attempt at cramming the slice in.

this is how my days go. i can't leave her alone for a second because she is attracted to danger and is curious about everything. even though saving her life and preserving household items from going the ways of the dumpster countless times during the day can be exhausting, i'm grateful for her curiosity and determination.

what i don't appreciate?

her sassy attitude toward her mother.

the lack of communication is difficult. she sees me as someone who's not allowing her to explore the world of possibilities around her, when all i'm trying to do is make sure she lives to see her 2nd birthday.

more often than not i have to physically pull her away from whatever new kamikaze act she is attempting, and when i do i am faced with her looking me straight in the eye, yelling at me and then throwing herself backward to try to stop me from taking her away.

sometimes she'll literally yell out, "nononononono!" which at first was funny and cute. and now is not so much funny. or cute.

good heavens. if this is the way things are going and she's just turned 1, i don't want to imagine what the terrible 2's look like. and don't even get me started on this girl as a teenager! my life immediately flashes before my eyes.

one of the owners of the group home we managed often told me that she felt like through her experience working with difficult teenagers was God's way of preparing her for her own son (who was giving her a hard time as a teenager). and maybe that's something i can chalk that year in north carolina up to.

preparing me for my cheeky daughter.

something tells me that time-outs for this lady are just around the corner.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

road trippin'

yesterday we went down south to visit the goldings for their son tyler's 5th birthday party. we had also been invited further south for a dinner with an old high school buddy and his family.

since our time in the car was about 4 1/2 hours, we considered it a mini road trip and decided to make the most of it.

good tunes, heartfelt conversations and don't forget trying to keep calm a gal who doesn't like to be confined for long periods of time.

we had a lot of fun, came home tired, but i considered it our first successful trip of 2010. no vomiting and getting to our destinations without an ounce of trouble. let's hope this trend continues.

the driver:

the passengers:

and we can't forget our 3rd child, bear:

the birthday boy:

the guests:

playing games:

andrea and i:

leah and the streamers:

the proud papa bear:

the cake:

the leapster!:

dinner with the slivkas:

we all woke up looking a little like this:

but we had a great time. thanks for the fun, friends!