Friday, October 31, 2008

Because I couldn't resist...

I had to show this because, darn it, it was just too cute.
Here's is Ivy's school Halloween/Harvest costume. They had to go as farm animals today and so I shamelessly ripped this idea off from Martha Stewart. I LOVE how it turned out!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Things I've had to say...

Get your lollipop off the window.

That little minivan is for Barbie to sit in, not YOU!

Just tell your feet to talk quietly please.

No, you can't change your mind and be a French Fry for Halloween.

Stop brushing your teeth with mashed potatoes!
(this one is my all time favorite. don't ask.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: One tired kiddo

I swear this girl has a comfy bed to sleep in...

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Baby on Board!

Expecting a baby with a 2 and 4-year-old in the house presents plenty of challenges. But, one of the easiest to fix has been answering their curious questions about what exactly is going on in mommy's tummy.

Obviously, there is a great deal we don't/can't share with a two and four-year-old, but I have found a way to allow them to be involved without freaking them out too much.

On my first visit to the dr. I got the requisite package of freebies and giveaways designed to convince me to buy a certain brand of formula/maternity magazine/etc.

Generally, I toss those things before I even get home, but I decided to take it this time and create an "Our Baby This Week" poster board to show them how our little one is growing and changing. I keep it displayed on the family lockers in the kitchen so they never miss any new developments with our little one.

It was pretty easy to do (I just cut out the pictures for the appropriate week and the description) and replace the previous week's pics on the poster each week. The girls love it because they can't wait to see how the new baby is growing and I love that it keeps them engaged in the pregnancy. It's a win/win for everyone! And, I'm thinking it might actually make the wait to meet their baby brother a little less frustrating since they get to see all the ways he is changing and growing.

For those of your pregnant with baby #1, this is a great way to keep a dad-to-be in the loop, too!

So, that's what is working for me this week. For other cool tips from moms across the blogosphere, check out Shannon's Dryer for Works for Me Wednesday!

Total Truth Tuesday

Want me to be totally truthful today? Here you go.

I am SO over politics right now.

Not shocking I know but, people, I am done. Done, done, done.

I don't blog political things here because I just don't feel like it. It might lead some people to believe I don't have anything going on upstairs or that I don't care about important issues. I do. But, I am not so ridiculous to think that anyone who reads my blog is doing so to find out what I think about hot button issues.

You're here to listen to me tell stories about frightening children with livestock, right?

Yeah, I thought so.

But, today I have reached my limit in political posts, tweets, Facebook updates, etc. I am ready to move on past this. I'm ready for our country to STOP arguing. I am ready to stop sitting in front of TV news while surfing news sites on my computer. I am ready to stop obsessing over this news story or that featured article.

And so, tonight, I am going to vote. Then I'm turning off political news, chatter, articles, etc. I'm going to take my responsibility to vote seriously and then I'm moving on to something really important.

Like, you know, Halloween...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dear Honda...

Dear Honda,

Let me start by thanking you for making perhaps the greatest mommy van on the planet. The Odyssey's ability to withstand such preschool art materials as crayons, markers, pudding, etc. is just fantastic. Who knew a headliner could be so resistant to chocolate pudding stains? And giving moms a carpet that can absorb both orange juice and jello simultaneously while maintaining that lovely shade of grey is just heaven sent.

But, might I add one slight improvement? I think a pane of soundproof privacy glass between the front and rear seats might be just what the Odyssey needs to ensure it's place in the "History of the Best Inventions for Mothers." It could take it's place right under the epidural.

And, you know, I'd be happy to test that improvement for you. Consider it market research. I won't even ask that you give me credit for the idea.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things I didn't need to hear this week.

Friendly Tip of the Day: Always assume a pregnant woman is not as far along as she looks. And NEVER argue that she must be closer to her due date than she says. Really, it's for your own personal safety.

Over the last week or so, I've heard:
  • So, are you due, like, any day now?
  • I'll bet you're ready to have that baby by now.
  • Wow! You really are big for 5 months!
  • Yeah, I knew when I saw how big you were that you were having a boy.
  • Your doctor must be wrong. Mark my words, you'll be having that baby in January.
I'd like to note that these things were said by 5 different people on completely different days. And, also for the record, I have lost 17 pounds this pregnancy and I am still wearing my regular jeans. Which I am saying only to make myself feel less like the huge pregnant whale I apparently resemble.

Though according to my husband, I look less pregnant now than I did before I was pregnant to which I say, Gee, thanks?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And the winners are...

Sarah Lyn and Kelly Mac!

I'll be dropping both of you an email to get addresses and you'll be getting your Everybody's Nuts Pistachios in the mail soon. Prepare to be addicted!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You have to see this.

Thanks, Thomas for sending this my way. Check out the site here.

Our Little Monsters

Okay, so Martha Stewart I am not. 'Cause I'm guessing she wouldn't be caught dead decorating for Halloween with pipe cleaners and googley eyes. But, then again she doesn't have a 2-year-old and 4-year-old to decorate with, does she? So, geez, stop being all judgy Martha. We can't all be super human creative geniuses.

(P.S. Martha, you're still my hero so give me a call sometime. I'll introduce you to a whole new world with pipe cleaners. I'm just sayin'.)

Anyways, we got bored last weekend and decided to make use of these funky gourds we bought at the pumpkin patch last week. I had a million cool ideas that I found in a certain someone's awesome Halloween magazine, but my girls are a little behind in the carving skills department so we opted for something a little more preschool.

So, cue the googley eyes. We let the girls use q-tips, Elmer's glue, pipe cleaners, and eyes to make these bumpy, crazy gourds into bumpy, crazy monsters.

I'd give you a how to, but it's pretty self-explanatory so I won't insult your intelligence. But, if you're looking for a fun and easy way to let kids make some unscary Halloween monsters this might be right up your alley.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Everybody's Nuts (Giveaway!)

I suppose it's only appropriate that my first real product review is for a company called "Everybody's Nuts" seeing as how that is very nearly my family's motto. Welcome to the Land of Lovings where everybody's nuts. It just seems to fit us, right?

Still, when the folks over at Everybody's Nuts offered to have me try their Pistachios and give my honest unbiased opinion I couldn't resist. I mean, when was the last time someone actually asked for your opinion and offered to give you free food for it?

Plus, I really, really love Pistachios. I mean, second only to a bag of hot boiled peanuts they are hands down my favorite nut of all time. But, I'm not really a Pistachio snob and I always pretty much assumed a Pistachio is a Pistachio. Which is probably why I used to buy those packages of red Pistachios at the gas station and never tried any other kind.

But, people, I was missing out. For real. I got to try all four of their flavors and, um, yeah...a Pistachio as it turns out can be quite delicious. They have Unsalted & Roasted for the ultra healthy folks, Salted & Roasted for the traditionalists, Salt & Pepper for the adventurous, and European flavor (Salt & Vinegar) for our continental friends.

These were hands down the best Pistachios I've ever had and, best of all, my kids loved them. When I was trying to sample them one afternoon during a controlled taste test (which really means: keep them to myself while watching Dr. Phil) I was constantly interrupted by chants of "Nuts! Nuts!" from my girls - which was just weird on its own, but also because I've never been successful in getting them to eat any other kind of healthy snack without bribing, threatening, or trickery so I was pretty stoked that they actually showed an interest in something other than Cheeto's and chocolate chip cookies...

So, now, here's where you get the chance to benefit from a freebie (and who doesn't love one of those?). I will be drawing two lucky winners from the comments off this post and each one will receive a package of Everybody's Nuts Pistachios in the flavor of their choice (in case you're curious, European is my personal favorite!).

Just leave a comment with the flavor you'd most like to try and I'll draw the 2 winners on Wednesday at 12:00 am E.T. Good luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The story of how one adorable pair of heels thrust me into an abyss of self-pity

Here's an important lesson we learned last night: No matter how much your husband needs a new dress shirt for an important business meeting the next day it is NEVER a good idea to take two sick kids and a sick pregnant chick out to help find one. Though this was 100% my idea, I am completely willing to admit it was a terrible one. Because it ended in a complete and total meltdown for me and the kids...

It all started when I tried on an adorable pair strappy suede heels while distracting the kids at Marshall's. Oh, the shoe was beautiful. And sexy. And flirty. And I looked in the mirror at my unwashed hair in a messy ponytail, my sloppy blue jeans that had been worn one day too many and my husband's dress shirt (I'm currently in denial about my need for maternity clothes) and suddenly the proverbial ton of bricks hit me hard. I may never ever need to wear cute shoes on a regular basis again. Which actually somehow translated to: I may never be cute or relevant or flirty or cool again. I may never be useful or socially valued again. I may never be anything but a sloppy, grungy SAHM with chronic crankiness issues and no lasting impression on society.

God help me, I almost started bawling right there in the shoe aisle at Marshall's. But, I didn't. I pulled it together. And having not found the holy grail of men's dress shirts, I grabbed my wiggling kids and headed off to our next high class destination. You guessed it. JC Penney.

So, there we are in JC Penney. Sick and miserable and wrangling wiggling kids while picking out the perfect dress shirt for Thomas' important interview. And he says to me, "Hey they're having a great sale. Should we go buy some stuff for you?" To which I automatically reply, "No. You're the one with a job. Let's don't waste the money."

There you have it. In a nutshell. It would be a waste of money because, well, what do I do besides wipe noses and butts all day? But, I still didn't lose it because I had two wriggling whining kids to corral while the other shoppers tried unsuccessfully to disguise their disdain for my noisy snotty-nosed children.

And, here's where I actually lose it. At the counter, one shirt rings up at regular price. The next shirt is supposed to ring up at 88 cents because of this big sale (pretty amazing sale, right?) but it doesn't. It rings up at...$4.90. GASP!!! Apparently the promotion didn't apply to clearance items. Which prompts some angry rant against the pitiful cashier about how ridiculous it is that they would rather discount a $42 shirt down to 88 cents than a $4.90 to 88 cents. Because at this point I'm desperate for someone to understand that I have a brain that works and is valuable and the only way I know to make that clear is by pointing out a glaringly stupid (not to mention financially unsound) policy to some girl who probably is making $7 an hour and would like nothing more than to finish her shift with as little drama as possible.

I was rude and ugly and just, honestly, a bitch. And I did it all while wearing sloppy jeans, my husband's dress shirt, and a hideously unwashed and unkempt ponytail. Not to mention, trying as hard as possible to get my seemingly unruly and snotty-nosed children under control. Not my finest moment.

All of this is how I came to be sitting in the front seat of a messy minivan at 8:00 on a Wednesday night crying all the way home and listening to my children bawl at the loss of their "mall cookie privileges."

I wish I could say that I came home and my kids said something deep and profound that made me realize I would always be a valuable member of society even if not in a way that is immediately obvious or that makes cute shoes a necessity but it didn't happen that way. In fact, I felt even worse about myself for failing at the one important job I do have.

So, this story has no happy ending. At least not one I can tie up with a pretty bow. Because, honestly, this is my constant struggle. It is easy to feel left behind by the rest of the world when you're home washing clothes and changing diapers. But, I know what I am doing is important even if it feels thankless and unimportant some days. I just wish it wasn't so hard to remember that on a daily basis.

And, if I'm being honest, I wish the required footwear was a bit more glamorous as well...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Should it bug me...

that to see my doctor for an unscheduled sick visit (as in I didn't plan on getting sick) I have to call a week in advance, talk to her mean secretary, beg for an appointment that works with my schedule of schlepping kids around, pay $120-$160 (remember high deductible HSA plan here), wait 45 minutes past my appointment time to see the doctor, and get rushed out with a prescription never to hear from the office again?

'Cause it does.

Especially when I was able to drop into the Walgreen's clinic yesterday with no notice, wait 5 minutes to see a NP, get treated like a human being, pay $59, and walk away with a prescription for antibiotics (that I got for FREE at Publix!) and they called me today to see how I was feeling!

I mean, come on. I've been seeing my regular doctor for 3 years now. Don't you think I could get a little bit of love from her office? I guess that is asking a bit too much...

Total Truth Tuesday

Ever have a cough or a headache or a strange colored birthmark on your skin? Are you able to endure them without immediately thinking you have 3 months to live?

Then you're way ahead of me, people. Because I am a big fat hypochondriac.

I think I've pretty much been one all my life. I'm convinced that a brain tumor is lurking behind every headache. And, it doesn't stop there. I actually remember as a kid seeing a commercial for a horoscope/psychic hotline where they listed people's birthdates and upon seeing my sister's birthdate under the title Cancer I was sure that meant she was going to get Cancer. I became obsessed with her health. I think even as an 8-year-old I realized that there was a deep end and that I may have just gone off it.

And when I'm not pregnant? I convince myself every other month that I have gotten myself pregnant unexpectedly. If I could get back all the money I wasted by peeing on sticks I'd have enough for Kai to go to college. I just can't seem to stop myself.

But, with the internet, it has gotten worse.

First, let me say, if I haven't been posting as regularly lately it is because I have felt like death warmed over for the last 3 weeks. I have some horrible cough and cold and have been all shades of miserable for almost a month. And last week, I decided to Google "persistent cough." Word to the wise, don't do it. Ever. Especially don't move on and Google the symptoms of Tuberculosis. That is never a good idea.

Because, for about 12 hours last week I was sure I had TB. The symptoms?
  • Common cough with a progressive increase in production of mucus

  • Other symptoms include the following:

    • Fever

    • Loss of appetite

    • Weight loss
It doesn't get much more general, does it? I have a cough. And had a fever. And nothing sounds good to eat. And, I've lost 17 pounds in the last couple months. All of which are caused by a combination of a cold and being just out of my first trimester.

But, that didn't stop me from being certain that TB was the only answer. Luckily, I have a few people who are guaranteed to pull me out of this insanity. Unfortunately, it only lasts long enough for the next sneeze or suspicious freckle to manifest and send me Google-ing all the possibilities.

So, on I go trying and failing to avoid WedMD and other less reputable sites where people like me congregate to convince each other they do or do not have Bird Flu or Ebola.

What about you? Have you ever Googled medical info you wish you hadn't?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kai-versations: Classic Prayer

I couldn’t resist sharing the prayer that she said at lunch today:

Dear God-

Thank you for this food and this family. And, God, please let Sunday be my birthday because I really, really want it to be my birthday.


Hey, God, if you’re so inclined I’d really like it to be my birthday, too...

From the Land of Lovings archives. Originally published November 27, 2007.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

My name is Jenna. And I'm addicted to the internet.

Okay, there I said it. I know this has to be a BIG shock to everyone. Especially my husband. I hide this addiction so well. (okay, not really.)

I blog. And Twitter. And Facebook. And email. And read about a bajillion mommy blogs a day. And I even wake up in the middle of the night if I hear my BlackBerry tweet an email alert. I just can't help myself.

But, this technology obsession really hit home the other night when our family went to yet another county fair and toured this one room prairie house that had once housed a family of 13. Yep, 13. The whole house was about the size of our living room. But, I thought to myself, well, I suppose I could handle this if I had to.

And then I was showing Kai around and explained why they didn't have a bathroom in the house which she thought was the most amazing thing ever. But, then the representative from the historical society asked us whether we'd rather have a TV in the house or a bathroom and it really got my wheels spinning. Because, it occurred to me that a toilet might not be first on my list of basic "needs."

That is when I realized that given the choice between a toilet and a wi-fi connection I would probably choose the wi-fi. Because, after all, I could always Google tips for surviving without indoor plumbing and find some useful info to make it easier. And then, I'd go Twitter about what I found out. But, if all I had was the toilet then I'd just do you know, and then come back in and sit on my log floor in complete boredom. Yeah, I think wi-fi might actually rank above indoor plumbing. And, that, I know is a really sad statement to make. Oh well, maybe there's an online support group I could join for that.

So, what would you choose? Wi-fi or indoor plumbing? Am I totally alone on this?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gone, Baby, Gone

Okay, I swear the Loving family is not as granola and green as we might sound. Not that there is anything wrong with being granola or green, but I just don't want to sound like I think I'm doing anything huge for the environment when, in fact, I don't deserve that much credit.

Anyways, that said, we made the decision to ditch my favorite kitchen appliance this weekend. It's taken me a few months to finally do it and I'm a little scared to see whether we can make it without it. But, folks, we did it. We axed the microwave.

To be honest, it always kind of creeped me out. My relationship with the microwave was always love/hate. I love the convenience. I hate the idea that I am doing some horrible damage to my family's health by microwaving every thing they eat.

And, in the end, it was some ridiculously funky smell inside that finally pushed me over the edge. I suspect I microwaved one too many bowls of spaghetti-o's and that's what accounts for the smell. Though, with my kids, there could be a million reasons for a mysterious smell to appear in my microwave.

Either way, it's gone. Well, gone to the basement (just in case I change my mind). And other than a meat thawing conundrum we had this weekend, we haven't missed it all that much.

Did you know you can heat spaghetti-o's on the stove? Amazing!

So, how about you guys? Anyone get rid of a modern household convenience that they discovered they didn't need so much after all?

Friday, October 3, 2008

How to terrify an entire room full of preschoolers the Loving Family way

Did I mention that Ivy's teacher asked me to bring in a chicken to show the class today as part of their unit on Farms and Farm Animals? She did. And for some insane reason I agreed to do it.

Yet another of those "What on Earth was I thinking?" moments I have come to know and love.

It started out fine. The chicken was tucked sweetly beneath my arm. The children were excited. Then, the teacher asked to hold it. And the chicken must have realized that this was someone she didn't know 'cause about 20 seconds into being held in the teacher's lap she bolted. The teacher tried to grab her back but only succeeded in pulling out a handful of tail feathers and freaking her out more.

Of course, the children being in a circle were pretty much well-positioned for the greatest amount of freakout potential. The chicken half-ran half-flew across the room right into Ivy's lap. Which set off a scream that terrified both the chicken and the other children who basically perceived the flight into Ivy's lap as an attack that would be targeting each of them next. The more the children ran and screamed the more terrified the poor hen was. She flew, they screamed. Then she got scared by the screaming and ran away and they got scared by her running and they screamed some more.

God help us. It was insane. There was screaming and crying and shrieking and me chasing this chicken across the room and finally grabbing it and clutching it in a death grip beneath my arm.

Afterwards, the kids were still screaming about how much they didn't like chickens and begging me to put her back in the cage and I'm pretty certain that they will all go home and tell their parents about the "Giant Chicken of Death" that Ivy's mom brought to school today.

Guess the parents can pretty much count on chicken nightmares tonight...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Guess what?


Because I am terribly impatient I called today to book my gender determination ultrasound and they told me not only was I far enough along to come in at this stage of development, but they also had an appointment open tonight. And, you're crazy if you think I'm not the type of person to JUMP at the chance!

And, you could have knocked me over with a feather when the woman told me we were having a boy! I was certain it was another girl. It just felt like a girl. But, there was no mistaking the boy parts and so a boy it is. The first in my family.

Now, if only we could come up with a name that won't get him pummeled on the playground!

And, I know these pictures look a little bit like some kind of bad mashed potato sculpture, but I thought I'd share on the off chance that I'm not the only person who can make out our little man's face.