Last Wednesday, my mom took Kyle with her on a short trip to Colorado to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and their girls (all FOUR of them!). I'm guessing my brother got a much-needed little testosterone boost, especially since Kyle is definitely our most rough-and-tumble boy of the three. (After all, his first word was, "Hi-Yah!" I kid you not.) Anyway, they got back this evening and I had to take the other kids to meet my mom and pick him up. They were watching a movie in the van and as we got close to home, Kyle said, "I want to watch the rest of it!" I told him they could watch it tomorrow. Alec said, "Me and Joey can watch it on our way to school tomorrow." Kyle replied, "When I'm 5, I can watch it on the way to school, too." Very matter-of-factly, Alec replied, "Well, it'll be over by the time you're 5." HA! Indeed. Ultimate Blog Party 2009 with 5 Minutes for Mom has come to an end. But blog-hopping and meeting new friends doesn't have to stop! If you happen by and didn't see my party post, you can read it here and find out a little bit about me. My final thoughts....
This was my first UBP and I really did have fun. My party post received 15 comments, and while I had hoped for more, it's at least 6 or 7 times the number I usually get! Of course, I was also fashionably late to the party ;) And, at least that is a pretty manageable number, so I am hoping to continue to drop in on those ladies that were kind enough to stop by and take the time to leave me a comment. Those with Entrecard will see me in their drops inbox ;)
I enjoyed visiting new blogs and "getting to know" some new people. Although, it's so big and I visited so many blogs that I'm not sure I remember who all I visited. I'm going to have to start adding some to my blog list so that I remember to check in with some of of the lovely ladies I met, and in turn they might remember me and stop by once in awhile. The main reason I joined the party was because I'd love to make some new friends and boost my readership.
If you've read my profile, you probably noticed that there are 4 blogs listed there. I don't have 4 blogs. One of the things I have been tossing around in my head is the idea of starting a separate blog for mom reviews and giveaways. I deleted 2 of them after deciding against their titles and thought they'd be gone forever. But it appears that Blogger did some updating that now lists the deleted blogs, too. The other I'm hanging onto "just in case". But I don't know how some of these ladies do it. One day, I was browsing the buttons on my friend Angie's blog, as I often do when I'm visiting, and checked some of them out. She belongs to so many things that I don't know how she keeps track or has time to manage them all. AND she has 5 children, homeschools, and runs a design business! Some of the blogs I subscribe to have one to several new giveaways posted each day. It looks like a LOT of work!
So, for now, I am going to keep my personal little corner of the blogosphere here. I need to boost my readership before I could launch something like that anyway, even if I could figure out the time management part of it. I also don't really know much about how to get started or get connected with the right people. Maybe in time.
Oh, and the BEST part of this week....I WON A GIVEAWAY!!! WOOHOO!!! I totally didn't expect it. I won a beautiful necklace from Amy Manning with Lia Sophia over at the Jensen Family blog. I LOVE necklaces. I don't wear much jewelry besides my wedding rings, but I always like to have a necklace on. Thanks, Anne, for such a great giveaway!
Today, the bedskirt I bought on Ebay for Lauren's new room arrived. YIPPEE!!! It was perfect, just what I had been looking for. Plus, it's the kind with the elastic band, not one that you have to put under the mattress. That is THE best invention in bedding ever! So, of course I couldn't wait to try it on the bed. It worked great, easy as pie to put on, and it looked adorable. I just left it on the bed.
We went about our day and I went out this afternoon to do yet some more running around. Shaun took the kids with him to a couple of stores, but he put Rex in his kennel this time and put him out as soon as they got home. I came home, gave Lauren and Alec a bath. I took Lauren into her room and laid her on the bed to get her pj's on just like I always do when my foot slipped on something wet. At first I just thought I had some water on my shoe from the bathroom. But I kept slipping around and I stepped back to see a puddle on the floor right by Lauren's bed. I was like, "What the....where did that come from?" Right about that time, Shaun came in to see what was going on and said, "He peed on the bed." I looked and saw that Rex had peed on the NEW BEDSKIRT! AHHH!!!! Seriously?!?!
I don't know what we're going to do with this dog. Shaun said he was going to pee in Rex's kennel. HA! this post, you will recall that we've had some issues with K-9 Rex since he retired and we moved to our new house. Actually, he's been doing much better lately. He hasn't peed by the sliding glass door in awhile. However, today he's lucky he's not pushing up daisies.
I've been working on Lauren's room, trying to get something accomplished in this house to make it more of a home. A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon this DARLING shabby chic quilt at Home Goods for $40. (An Ebay seller was selling the EXACT SAME quilt with a sham for $114.95! I think I'm in the wrong business.) Last week, I picked up a cute shabby chic rug at Target for $35. But, I have been waiting to put these things in her room until I get all the pieces I want and can put everything together. In the meantime, I've had the quilt and rug sitting on the floor in our bedroom. I bet you can see where I'm going with this...
Rex has never really peed anywhere but by that door, other than the Christmas tree and a couple of trash bags of stuff I had sitting in another room once right after we moved in. He's been sleeping in our room at night. Since he hasn't peed in there and he sleeps in there, we sometimes close him in there if we leave for a little while or something. So, when I went to pick the boys up from school today, that's what I did. Except, we didn't come right home. No, I really wanted to go to a couple of places to try to find some things I've been looking for. We didn't get home until about 6:00.
I had Joey go get Rex and put him out right away. As I was bringing some stuff I bought into our room, I saw it. He had PEED RIGHT ON THE QUILT AND RUG!!! AHHHHH!!!! Up until just the other day, I still had the quilt in the plastic bag it came in, but I had taken it out to put in on Lauren's bed just to see how it looked with the new paint. Dummy me didn't put it back in. Granted, it had been awhile since he had last been out, but I'm doubting that's what it was. I mean, dogs stay home all day while their owners work and don't pee in the house, ya know? Even so, WHY did it have to be on $75 worth of BRAND NEW stuff? I could have cried. Actually, I did a little as I scrubbed the rug out in the bathtub.
Lucky for Rex, I stain treated everything and washed it right away, and it appears the dark yellow pee all came out. I've never been particularly fond of him sleeping in our room, but now I am definitely insisting that he just sleep in his kennel, and that we put them in there whenever we leave, too. I'm just not going to have him ruining our stuff.
A little while ago, I won a $25 gift certificate for Suzi Homemaker from a giveaway on Buy by Mom. Suzi has a variety of unique items, and everything in her store can be personalized, a great touch for gift-giving or just to make that item for yourself more personal and unique. I especially love personalized items for baby gifts and my own children.
It just so happened that when I won this gift certificate, Joey was in desperate need of a new lunch bag for school. His old one had definitely seen better days. Even though there were probably at least a dozen things I wanted on her site, when I saw that Suzi had lunch bags available, I knew that's what I wanted to get with it. She even had a camo print, which is PERFECT for Joey. He is all about anything having to do with the military.
So I contacted Suzi to tell her what I wanted. Let me tell you, she is one of the most wonderful people to work with. She was always prompt to respond to my emails, and just as pleasant as can be. In fact, believe it or not, I kinda forgot about having won the gift certificate and SHE emailed ME to make sure I got my order in! The lunch bag was actually several dollars less than the amount of the gift certificate, and I told Suzi that that was okay, she could just forgive that amount. But Suzi responded and offered to include one of her cosmo bags to match as well. I just thought that was so kind. I'm sure there are many business people out there who would be happy to get off a little cheaper, but not Suzi. She wanted to make sure I was happy with my prize. But rather than get that for Joey, too, I decided to get it for myself. It will make a great make-up bag, especially for someone who is always digging around in her purse for her lip gloss! And not only did she include the cosmo bag, but she embroidered it for me, too!
Suzi's prices are very reasonable, and the quality of the items and the embroidery is excellent. Joey LOVES his new camo lunch bag (though perhaps I should have had her embroider G.I. Joe on it instead!), and the monogram she embroidered on my cosmo bag is very classy. I really need to clean out my purse so I can put all those things I am always searching for in my cute new cosmo bag and never have to dig around endlessly again.I highly recommend checking out all of the great items at Suzi Homemaker, whether you're looking for something for yourself or a unique gift for someone else. You can get to her site through any of the links in this post or her button in my right side bar. Good luck choosing! ;)
Yeah, I'm a couple of days late. (What else is new?) It was a busy weekend around here. Friday I spent all day painting Lauren's room (it is going to be SO cute when it's all done!), Saturday I went to my mom's for my gram's birthday, and Sunday was busy with church and other stuff. But, I figured that since today is my birthday, it's a good time for a party anyway! 5 Minutes for Mom is hosting its Ultimate Blog Party that runs through this Friday, March 27th. It's all about getting to know other bloggers, bringing people to your blog, and even winning cool prizes! This is my first time joining the party and thought it would be fun to meet some new bloggers as well as (hopefully) get some new visitors here. Click the link in this post or the button in my sidebar and join in the fun if you haven't already!
For those who don't know me, my name is Natalie and I'm the stay-at-home ringmaster here at The Kummer Family Circus. (By the way, it's pronounced Koomer.) I'm married to my dear husband Shaun who is a police officer and we have four beautiful children who drive us crazy. Joseph is 10, Alec is 5, Kyle is 4, and Lauren is 2 1/2. We have joked for a long time that our house is like a 3-ring circus (it is, you should see us when we are all getting ready to go somewhere). So, when I started this blog a few months ago, I thought the name was only appropriate ;) The circus theme music is also my cell phone ringtone when someone is calling from the house, LOL!
I haven't been blogging very long, but I am hoping to make some new connections and friendships as I go along and grow my blogging network. I first learned about the valuable friendships you could have through the internet when I started visiting message boards when we were trying to get pregnant with our second child. Although I have kept a few of those friends to this day, something that I never would have expected and am most grateful for, most of those connections have faded away over time and I miss the discussions and advice I used to get from the larger group of women. I also love to give advice when I have some. Being a mom his hard work, and no matter how many children you have, there are still surprises! I'd also love to start doing some of my own product reviews and giveaways in the future.
More stuff about me:
* I'm 33 years old today!
* I've been married to my husband for 11 years. (12 at the end of May!)
* I have a degree in elementary education.
* I enjoy baking, decorating cakes, SHOPPING, learning new things, seeing new places, decorating my house, gardening, and making hair bows.
*My favorite color is PINK!
* I'm NOT a morning person. (Of course, that could also have something to do with me staying up too late, LOL!)
* I have a MAJOR sweet tooth. (Er...teeth?)
Feel free to browse my blog and old posts to learn a little more about me and what this blog is all about. For my fellow Entrecard droppers, you will see my widget near the top in the right sidebar. If you drop on me, I'll be sure to return the favor! I hope some of you will come back and visit me often.
As I mentioned, there are TONS of great prizes for the blog party. My top choices if I won are:
#58 - Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer from Moms Who Think
#89 - $100 Home Goods gift card from HG Open House
#22 - $50 Target gift card from Beginner Baby Blog
#118 - $25 Old Navy gift card from Manic Mother
#123 - $20 Kohl's gift card from The Grotto
Other Prizes I would love are: #26, 91, INTL 3, INTL 15, INTL 30, INTL 58, USC 11, USC 15, USC 45, USC 47, USC 56.
You can probably see a theme with my selections, LOL! But, of course, I would be happy with anything I won. I'm not very lucky when it comes to contests like these, so I'd be thrilled just to win. If it happens to be something I can't use, I will happily pass it along to someone who can.
We have always believed Alec was smart. I mean, we think our other kids are smart, too, but Alec has struck us as exceptionally bright. I know, I know....all parents think their children are especially smart, right? Well, yesterday we got the results from the Iowa Tests that the boys recently took at school. The summary of his test scores is as follows: "Alec's Core Total national percentile rank of 98 means that he scored higher than 98 percent of kindergarten students nationally. His overall achievement appears to be high for kindergarten." Now, I'd say that's some affirmation of our assessment, wouldn't you?
I think Lauren is a smart little cookie, too. Yeah, of course I do, right? Sunday on the way to church we were about 1/2 mile from the exit where we get off when she said, "We're almost there!" I was surprised that a 2 1/2 year old would realize where we were and how close we were to church. I don't know if that qualifies as above average or not, but it certainly impressed me! ;)
Even as a conservative Catholic mom, I can't say there is really anything "wrong" with this version of Dora. I actually think she's cute. And, in fact, I have similar types of outfits for my 2 1/2 year old daughter, long tops with leggings. My issues with this are of a different nature.
First of all, I have to say that I am pleased that parents are paying attention and voiced objection to what they perceived as a threat to their young children. Unfortunately, it seems that one of the times we do manage to object to the sexualization of our culture and victimization of our children, the objection is largely unwarranted. We have to accept some responsibility for the very reason there seems to be a "necessity" for more grown-up versions of things for younger and younger children. Hello? WE create the environment they live in. WE have control over what they are and are not exposed to and when, even though my experience has been that many parents seem to think we are powerless to control it. And if we do try, we are "sheltering them" from the world and not preparing them for the world around them. We do just as well to be informed about what our kids are doing, but not really get in the way of it. How much sense does it make to object to an older version of Dora when people allow their children to be exposed to sex education programs as early as kindergarten? Or buy baby versions of adult women's clothing like teeny bikinis and backless tops for their little girls? What about the Bratz dolls? Does it bother anyone that many children seem to be outgrowing Dora at the tender age of 5? Or that somehow 5 to 10-year-olds are being considered "tweens"? We need to ask ourselves why.
I think it is also an example of how unimaginative our culture is today. Rather than creating new wholesome characters for our children to love, we just repackage the same old ideas. Strawberry Shortcake didn't grow-up when I was a kid, and it was okay for me to move on to something else when I outgrew her appeal. Although, I think the problem today is probably that there isn't much for kids to move on to.
Of course, what about all of those other things that children can do? What about classic books, characters, and games that we can use to entertain and educate them? We've replaced other types of fun with TV and video games and decreased the appeal of good old imaginative play. In some regards, I am no less guilty of this than others. My children have a gazillion toys and games, yet will come to me and tell me they don't know what to do. It is something I have to work on in our family, too, and it concerns me greatly. When I was a kid, I remember happy days of playing on the swing set, in the woods behind our house, trips down to the creek, and roller skating in the garage. I want that for my kids, too.
I don't know what the impact of the new Dora will be and I don't really care. Clearly we cannot rely on toy companies or television producers to care about what our children are exposed to. Their primary goal is to make money anyway, and we have to be mindful of the fact that if there were no market for this stuff, it wouldn't be produced and sold. And if we're going to worry about a 10-year-old Dora who is at least modestly covered, there are a whole lot more pressing issues we better start making noise about. Lands' End is having a sale on select styles of their swimsuit separates for $5 off each piece. Now, their suits aren't exactly inexpensive, but I know Lands' End has excellent quality. And every item they sell is backed up by a full guarantee, so you can return any item for any reason at anytime. Plus, I've tried on some of their pieces at Sears and know how they fit. I usually shy away from buying clothes online or from a catalog because I don't know how things will look on me. Unfortunately, Sears only carries a small selection of the suits Lands' End has available, so I would have to order the one I like from their website. But I can feel comfortable doing so since I was able to at least try something on from their line.
I haven't bought a swimsuit for myself in several years, and have had my eye on one of theirs. What I like about their suits is that they have a great selection, you can mix and match exactly the pieces that you want, and they have modest styles that are hard to find elsewhere. Modesty is important to me, and, well, after 4 children and lack of discipline where fitness is concerned, I have some "stuff" I want covered anyway. And since I haven't bought one in years, I know it will last me a long time, so I figure the investment will be worth it. When I went to look at the suit I like again today, I saw that they are having a sale for $5 off each piece, so I'm thinking I will go ahead and order. If you're in the market for a quality new suit, head on over to Lands' End and check out their cute separates. But hurry, the sale ends TODAY!
You see, we've now had the "poop issue" with 3 out of our 4 children. I started potty training Joey a couple of months after he turned 2 and after a couple of frustrating weeks, he'd pretty much mastered peeing on the potty. Poop was a whole other matter. That child would not poop on the potty, and he didn't care if it was in his underwear. He would play and go about his business (literally) with a lump in his pants and he DID NOT CARE. What do you do with that?!?! A few times he fooled me into thinking we were finally on our way by going on the potty several days in a row, only to then revert right back to stinking up his pants. AHHH!!! This went on for A YEAR after the initial potty training. Finally, when we went to Florida to visit Shaun's parents, we had a break-through. Joey became known as "nature boy" because he ran around naked most of the time. I figure since he'd been potty training so long, he must have had some sense that without pants on, he had no choice, and from then on he pooped on the potty.
Alec was the only one who did both around the same time. In fact, if memory serves, he actually pooped in the potty more consistently first. But then we had issues with Kyle, too. And now....Lauren. I have heard so many times that girls are easier to potty train than boys. When we first started out, I thought it must be true. We had been familiarizing her with the potty even before her 2nd birthday, sitting her on it, etc., but had not started actively potty training. Because we had also just taken the "flower" (pacifier) away, I thought I'd wait a little bit until she was over that before embarking on a big change like potty training. Well, she showed me up and actually initiated potty training herself a month or two after she turned 2. AWESOME!!! None of the boys had done such a thing and I bragged about her every chance I got.
That was last August or September. She trained pretty quickly and rarely has an accident, but she is still in a diaper at night and WILL NOT poop on the potty. We have had some successes here and there over the past months, but nothing has stuck. She will usually do it in her diaper in the morning, or sometimes even her underwear. I was putting her in panties for naptime for a little while there, but if she hasn't done a poop, I've been putting her in a diaper again because it is generally much more heinous to clean up an underwear poop mess. I don't know what to do with her, I just don't get it. Why is pooping on the potty such a big ordeal??? She's not constipated and, as far as I can tell, not scared of it. I sure wish that after a certain number of children, you earned some kind of elite knowledge that less experienced parents don't get because....WE DESERVE IT!!! I've paid my poop dues, thank you very much.
Maybe getting her exclusively into underwear will help? Because, while she will occasionally do it in her underwear, she does seem to prefer to do it in the diaper (unlike Joey). Either that, or we're hoping to travel to Florida again this summer....
When they came out with adjustable waist pants, I thought, "Great! This should solve my problem." But it usually doesn't. Even adjustable waist pants are frustrating because they are so big to start out with that you have to cinch and cinch, and even then they are still too big. Not to mention they also usually look too bulky up front, even if you can get them to fit in the waist. And then there are the long pieces of elastic left hanging down in their pants, which can't really be comfortable. This is the problem I run into with Kyle, who turned 4 in November and can wear size 4 tops but appears to be somewhere between a 3 and 4 on bottom. I wonder how much money I would have if I had a dollar for everytime I've run behind one of my kids to pull up their pants!
It's been no different with Lauren than with the boys. Actually, it's probably a little more difficult with her because she has always been below average with her weight. At her 2-year check-up she had just finally hit the 10th percentile for weight. She will be 3 in July and can wear a 3T in most tops and dresses, but I still have to buy her a 2T in bottoms. Even then, they are almost always still too big. I went to Kohl's last night to take advantage of their sale and picked her up several pairs of these cute capri leggings and pants they had. I like to have comfy things that the kids can have just for around the house or go out and play in so they don't ruin all their cute things. I could tell by looking at the capri leggings that even the 2T would probably not fit. They looked like they were made like women's pants these days with the low-rise waist. WHY??? These are supposed to be for TODDLERS. But if I go any smaller, the length will be too short. And forget about buying most outfits that come as sets. A 3T top will be fine, but she'd drown in the 3T bottoms.
Sure enough, when we did our "fashion show" to try on the new clothes this morning, every single pair of bottoms were too big in the waist. Last week, I bought her a couple of cute little skirts at Wal-Mart in size 24 months and they were way too big! What am I gonna do with this little girl? I have seen Dapper Snappers online and am thinking about trying them for all the kids, but the problem with those is that they only work with pants that have belt loops. For elastic waists, I will have to pin or stitch the waistband. Sometimes this works okay, other times the clothes don't wear quite right because they just weren't made with that in mind. And what if the pin pops open and sticks them? AHHHH!!!! Maybe she will just have to wear dresses all the time.
Wow, we haven't even been here 3 months yet and we've already been to the Urgent Care here 3 times! At this rate, we'll have to have them reserve us a room.
Needless to say, he was hurt. Luckily not his head, which he manages to bump too often already, but right away he complained about his foot. Shaun says it's his heel, not his ankle, but whatever. The child will NOT walk on it at all. We've been having to carry him around everywhere since yesterday. Today he got a little more inventive and is crawling to get around the house. I decided if he still wasn't putting any weight on it today that I want to have him checked. With a 4-year-old, anything is possible. I know from experience that sometimes any amount of pain will keep a child from using the injured appendage.
It could be a bad bruise or a sprain. But I also know from personal experience that it can also mean something is fractured. After all, I fractured my wrist twice, my collarbone, and my ankle by the time I was 12. Since I'm not a doctor and I don't have X-ray vision, I just can't be sure, and I'd rather be safe than sorry. Shaun may not agree (after all, there is no bone protruding through Kyle's skin), but unless Kyle starts walking on it before he gets home this afternoon, he will have to go to the ER. Kohl's is having a Grand Opening sale beginning Wednesday, March 4th. Sale prices range from 15% - 60% off, plus if you use your Kohl's charge, you can receive an ADDITIONAL 15%, 20%, or 30% off in-store or online! Clearance items are 60% - 80% off! If you have a Kohl's card and didn't receive a peel-off coupon in the mail, they usually have them in the stores, just ask for one when you check-out.
I have a Kohl's charge that I got a few years ago to help out when I need to stock up for the kids. When they have a sale with additional savings for using your Kohl's card (card holders receive coupons for extra savings 12 times a year), what I like to do is take advantage of the sale using my card and then pay it off right away to avoid those nasty finance charges. Of course, we know this can be a trap, but if you're careful, you can save extra money. Just make sure you actually have the money to shop so you can just pay it off. Joey is in need of some clothes, (plus I don't think I'm done with Lauren yet) so I'm going to head on over there on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, kids don't stop growing just because the economy does! So, we gotta save where we can. You can preview the Kohl's Grand Opening sale here.
Also, if you sign up for their email alerts, they will send you a coupon for $5 off in-store and 10% off online. I do not know if this can be combined with the other discount offer.
Target is currently having FREE shipping on many items for orders of $50 or more. I don't order from them online very often, but once in awhile they have something I really want but can't get the right size or can't find it in the store. I just had this happen with a couple of things I wanted for Lauren and a couple I wanted for myself. One of the things I like about Target's website is that you can check an item's availability at your local stores. That way, you don't have to go driving all over town only to find the other stores don't have it, either. And if you can't find it nearby, right now you can take advantage of their free shipping offer and get what you wanted delivered right to your door. I did!