Life... Health... Reviews...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ahhhh... a moment of quiet - or not

I've been enjoying a relaxing and busy Saturday. I know that sounds contradictory, but when I don't have to rush out of the house and I am able to accomplish more than one thing at a time I find that relaxing. And, of course, it keeps me busy.

Yes, that stack of papers is on my desk.

I've been processing paperwork, doing research on the Internet, going through email, doing laundry and taken care of the children. I started all of this around 9 a.m. this morning and I started to get a little tired around 2 or so. The three younger children were napping and the teenager was out, and I thought it was the perfect time to take a shower and wash my hair.

My teenager was so nice (yes, I'm being a little sarcastic) to keep me company while I sat at my desk trying to get some work done. The toddler was so kind as to run back and forth to tell me the same thing over and over again. Aren't they sweet?

As soon as I IM'ed Frankie and told him I was about to move away from the desk one of my little people strolled in. It was my 4-year-old daughter. She's pretty reliable when left to her own devices (alone!) and she decided to color while I showered.

I went in the bathroom, got the water to the perfect temperature, stepped in and was about to say, "Ahhhhh" when the 4 year old opened the bathroom door: "I need to boo boo."

It was a momentary interruption, but a reminder that I shouldn't take a long lingering shower, but focus on what I was supposed to be doing. And, the number one priority was taking care of the children.

My little miss went back to coloring and I was able to finish my shower in peace. Afterward I was relaxed enough to continue with the mounds of paperwork, the mountains of never ending laundry and the noise of four children home for a long weekend.

The best part right now is I'm about to goof off a little and watch the season finale of Criminal Minds that I recorded on the DVR. If you've watched it already don't tell me what happened. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

New friend, award

My new friend at "A Woman Remembers..." recently gave me an award, which I really appreciate. I'm going to add her to my blogroll...

It's the One Lovely Blog Award and I think it's really pretty.

Here are the rules of the award:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I have been to quite a few new blogs lately and, unfortunately, I don't remember them as I pass by. Some I know I'll go back to again and think, "Oh yea! I really like this blog." If you know me then you know my memory is about as long as an ant is wide.

So this is what I'm going to do. (Yes, I know it's cheating.) If you know - remember! - that we are new blogging friends, please accept this award with love and blogging respect. :D And, also, forgive me for not naming you personally.

Have a great weekend.

Trip around the world

Today I had the pleasure of going on a little trip around the world. The school my two middle children attend had international day at their main location (the county's headstart program), and each class was assigned a country.

The children dressed up and carried items to represent their country: Andre's class did a superb job representing Haiti and Amareah's class was excellent as China. The children from each class, about 20 or so classes from three locations, paraded in front of family, friends and supporters. Other countries represented were Columbia and Japan. Unfortunately, I couldn't see everything from where I was standing and I was trying to help keep the children together.

Everyone kept telling Miss Amareah how beautiful she was. The robe she's wearing (which, actually is from Korea, if I remember correctly) belonged to my oldest daughter when she was that age. Her godfather had robes made for us while he was stationed there.

I thought Andre looked so cute in his straw hat and jean shorts. That's the first time he's worn a "wife beater" t-shirt and he thought it was so cool.

That's Andre's assistant teacher... She's really sweet and always looks after him.

That's a good portion of the class. ... Not everyone made it. See my beautiful baby all the way on the right?

They also had a stilt walker (I'm not sure of the exact name). Amareah was so enthralled by him that she asked a million questions and I looked it up on the Internet when we got home so she could see more of them. This stilt dancer was very entertaining and talented.

There was music, vendors and food. It was a busy, fun day keeping the children together, making sure they were dressed, directing them to use the bathroom, handing out snacks, answering questions, taking pictures, serving lunch and assisting the teachers. I was so worn out from my "trip" that when I got home I laid down to rest and ended up taking a nap.

I am so glad and blessed that I am able to participate in things like this with my children, but - honestly - taking a trip around the world is extremely tiring. Most importantly, the children enjoyed themselves and they learned quite a bit today.

How was your day?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stubborn lil potty trainer - update & product review

As a parent there are times when our children get the best of us, and although we shouldn't we sometimes give in. Potty training is not one of those times, but it seems like my baby is winning the battle.

I'm sure you remember when I told you about potty training my youngest child - my fourth! This little angel is the one that makes me think I've never been a mom before. She's stubborn, opinionated, determined as well as smart, funny and sweet... she's a few days shy of 2 and she isn't potty trained.

I originally started potty training her the same way I had trained my second and third children. It's the way that my daycare provider supported me in and between the two of us (well, three of us with their father), we were able to have potty training success. Right now, I am no where near success.

Even with the chance to test out the Baby Signs® Potty Training Complete Starter Kit, I still haven't been doing a good job. The kit comes with A Parent's Guide to Potty Training Made Easy with the Baby Signs® Program, the All Aboard the Potty Train DVD, All Aboard the Potty Train Lift-the-Flap Book, Job Well Done! Stickers and the All Aboard the Potty Train Conductor's Whistle.

Like I did with the other children, I began by keeping track of when Anna was using the bathroom and started putting her on the potty at those times, which is right in line with what it says in Chapter 2 - Laying the Tracks - of the book, "Discover your baby's signals and schedule of elimination." Little Miss Anna in all of her stubbornness and detective-like activities, deliberately changes her potty time and that ultimately results in my inconsistency.

Consistency is key. "...parents do need to be consistent and take the lead in establishing a regular routine that includes potty time - starting around 12 months of age," said Linda Easton who summarized the Baby Signs material for me. Easton is Baby Signs Director of Product Development and explained, "Some people think that if you take the lead like this, you might be pushing a child to do something he or she not ready to do. Dr. Acredolo* makes this analogy to help parents understand how "waiting" to start potty training doesn't make a lot of sense: She points out that because of our concern for our children's health, we start teaching babies at a very early age to wash their hands. Babies are getting a lot of help at first, but eventually, they learn to do more and more of the hand-washing routine independently. We don't wait until children are ready - or more importantly - interested in washing their hands before we start teaching them. We just treat it as a part of everyday life."

*Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn are the founders of the Baby Signs® program, which is the leading sign language program for hearing babies. They are developmental psychologists who brought their program to potty training and have discovered that it's possible to start and finish potty training before age 2.

Anna loves everything about the program. She enjoys watching the DVD over and over and asks for it almost everyday, she has fun reading the book again and again (notice how she's intently reading and making the choo choo sound), and the sound of the whistle makes her laugh, clap and jump. She even knows the signs.

And still no luck. Now, I'm not going to give up, but I must admit that I'm waiting for life to slow down a bit so that I can be extra consistent. It could be because Anna isn't home with me during the day and that's causing the delay with the program working for us. It could also be because she's away from me every other weekend. Whatever it is, I need to figure it out soon because not only is buying diapers expensive, but I don't want her to be the only child in kindergarten that's not potty trained.

Okay, it's late and my imagination is running away again. :)

Overall, believe it or not, I am extremely impressed with the Baby Signs® program. Anna is enthralled with it and as long as I can get my act together she should be potty trained any day now. Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed.

Here are my other potty training posts.

Protect, defend

This is a little off subject from what I normally write about, but I just couldn't resist having a little fun. I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, that told me about one of his second jobs. He freelances as a bodyguard for celebrities and regular rich folk.

He normally has to wear all black and accompanies clients to clubs, dinner or wherever they want to go. And, of course, he carries his gun. (Don't worry, he's licensed and experienced.) Sometimes he tells me about the gigs that he accepts and the ones he doesn't. The other night one of the guys he works with got into a fight after the man he was guarding started mouthing off to someone else. My friend said he was glad he wasn't there, but I got a picture in my head of him wearing tactical pants, rolling like Rambo and pulling his gun to take down the threat. ... Yea, I have an active imagination.

Block those rays - product review

As the heat of summer rises most moms are thinking about protecting their babies and young children from the sun. I know that's what I was thinking about as I noticed that my children, who have been insisting on spending more and more time outside, were already getting darker and it's still Spring.

That's why when I got the chance, as a BzzAgent, to review Neutrogena® Pure & Free™ Baby Sunblock SPF 60+ I jumped at the chance. My youngest daughter is almost two years old and she's the lightest of the bunch. Not only did I need to protect her skin, but it's necessary to protect all of my children (and myself!) from the harmful rays of the sun.

Some people may assume that darker skin tones don't need to be protected, but that isn't true and it especially isn't true of babies. Research shows that a baby's skin is 10 times more sensitive to the environment. And that's where the Neutrogena® sunblock comes in.

It's touted as being the only sunblock that protects with Purescreen™, which is a blend of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both are naturally-sourced sunblocks without irritating chemicals. Purescreen™ forms a physical barrier over delicate skin and reflects and scatters UVA and UVB rays before they touch the skin.

Now that's effective sun protection.

My experience
I have tried the Neutrogena® Pure & Free™ sunblock lotion on my three youngest children who are 5, 4 and a week shy of 2. One of the best things about it is it's fragrance free. So I can apply it to their skin before school - just in case they go outside to play - and not worry about annoying everyone with the smell that typically comes with sunblock. It also rubs into the skin really easily and a little goes a long way. However, I've noticed that it leaves a slight white look especially on my middle daughter who's a darker brown than the rest of the children. If I use just a small amount then I don't notice the white look as much, but when I'm rushing I'm not always paying attention to how much I squirt into my hand.

Overall, I am really impressed with a sunblock that I can use on a daily basis and not have to worry about my sensitive-skinned children breaking out or smelling like sunblock. It retails at about $9.99 to $11.99 and you can find it in the baby care section or sunscreen aisle of your favorite store.

I'm going to continue protecting my children from the sun so I don't have to worry about the time they spend frolicking outdoors. Don't forget to do the same.

Take a look at some other product reviews.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Hello?

For more WW pics visit 5 Minutes for Mom, but check out my other WW posts before you go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coupons are a mom's best friend

Have you gotten on the coupon bandwagon? If not, then you don't know what you're missing. Saving money by using coupons is not only a way to stretch your budget, but it's also a way to add a little fun into your life.

I get pleasure from using coupons while shopping at the grocery store, but my ultimate pleasure is when I can purchase something "special" that isn't in my current budget. For instance, not too long ago I had a coupon to a department store and was able to get a pair of cute summer wedge sandals, which were regularly $22, for $1.50.

Yup, you read that right.

How did I do it? The shoes were on sale and the value of the coupon was $10. There are two things that make this deal even better: 1) I needed a pair of summer shoes. 2) The shoes were similar to ones I wanted at Payless ShoeSource, which is one of my favorite stores to shop for shoes.

I'm pretty excited about my savings, but what I'm more excited about is the fact that because I saved some money I can still get a Payless coupon and buy another pair of shoes there. Now it's your turn. Take a few minutes to search for your own coupons and you'll be well on your way to saving money too.

What's going on?

My health and weight loss journal

(FYI: If you're new here you can learn a little more about me by clicking the links in this post. Each one is to a previous post.)

Every once in awhile real life interrupts my virtual life. Unfortunately that means I will miss visiting all of my favorites sites and blogs, my comments and visitors will wane a little and I'll may miss out on paid posts and whatnot and I'll get behind on checking my email. However, I'm going to try to keep up as much as I can.

Concerning my weight: I think the scale made a slight movement from 164 to 163 1/2. Yippee! If you remember, I've been at 164 for more than six months. So any movement on the scale is an accomplishment. Although I'm not going to complain since I've kept 35 pounds off for quite some time now.

On the health front: Things have been a little rocky. Although I have been feeling pretty fibro normal (if you know what I mean), the last week or so I have been feeling more pain, aches, burning, tingling... extreme exhaustion. Not to complain, but it can be a lot.

I'm also a bit stressed over the pending divorce and all the paperwork as well as finances, but who isn't these days. Unfortunately for me the stress results in more pain. I'm exhausted despite getting more sleep than I usually do. Well, that's not counting the day I went to bed at around 1 a.m. and for some reason woke up around 5 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep 'til late that night.

Yesterday and today I was at the Veteran's Hospital for most of the day - right up until it was time to pick up the two middle children. That's one reason I missed doing my Monday's Muse, which I really love to do. It's also why I'm late posting today and haven't been dropping lately.

The one thing most interesting about all of my doctor's appointments was the one with the rheumatologist. I am getting a bone survey, which I had done years ago, because of some of the results of my blood work and to ensure that I'm being treated for the correct thing. One of the medicines that I am on is not something she would normally prescribe for fibromyalgia so... well, that's why my VA primary care referred me to go there so we'll see what happens.

It could be, according to the doctor, that one of the other illnesses or diseases that presents like fibro is the culprit. Or that I have more than one thing going on.
All in all, I guess it's pretty par for the course around here. How's your week going thus far?

Update on the update: It took me all afternoon to write this because the two middle children kept coming in from outside to ask something, do something, get something. Then my middle daughter got herself stuck up a tree and stung by a bee all at the same time. I climbed the tree to get her down, almost fell because I just started climbing without taking off my slippers... it was her screaming that made me think she was being attacked by a swarm of bees. Luckily, neither one of us fell, she's not allergic and the swelling is already going down. And... to top it off: While trying to clean up her hand and get her calmed down I broke my cell phone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More of prom night

The moment you've all been waiting for... More pictures from Amber's prom night. Enjoy.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reign her in a little

Want to help me with a little parenting dilemma? I knew you'd say yes. :) Just head over to my From Toddlers2Teens blog to read about my youngest child, view another cute photo of her and leave your advice.

Here's a preview, "...five minutes later, as I try to sit her on the toilet for her routine please-pee-pee-in-the-toilet moment she turns into another person. ..."

Parents have to stick together, right?
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