Time for a Haircut!

Little Guy has been looking a bit shaggy lately, so we decided it was time for a trim.  Hubby cuts his hair at home, and this time we decided to go quite a bit shorter than we had in the past. 

Before the Haircut....

and After...
Hubby and I love the new shorter look.  Little Guy isn't so sure.  His first comment after looking in the mirror was "I don't look like William anymore!" We think he'll come around eventually...probably just in time for the next time he neeeds a trim!



Little Guy goes to a small in-home daycare/pre-school.  His teacher is fabulous!  She takes time for each child one-on-one, helping them to grasp various topics at their own pace.  Our fella is thriving there.  He loves going so much, that sometimes he gets upset to find out its Saturday and he doesn't have "school".

Recently he was assigned his first ever presentation.  The theme of the month for January has been dinosaurs and Will's assignment was to talk about the Brachiosaurus Dinosaur.  We were asked to help him come up with five or six facts about this dinosaur which he could memorize and tell his class-mates.  We were also asked to help him create some kind of visual aid to support his presentation. 

I took a copy paper box, cut it down with a box cutter and Little Guy and I painted the interior of the box to look like an outdoor scene.  Then on colored paper, he drew a sun and trees and I cut them out.  He glued those around the walls.  We put two rubber brachiosaurus toys that he had in the middle and also added a couple stand up bushes.  Around the outside we put a picture of the dinosaur which he'd colored as well as a few other little pictures.  I helped him, but he did a lot of the work himself and I'm very proud of him for it. 

Today I talked to his teacher (the presentation was yesterday).  She said he did great, and didn't need any prompting.  She had build a little stage and podium for the kids and Little Guy loved every minute of it.  On the way home, he asked if we could build a stage at our house.  Ha ha.

Brachiosaurus facts that we've learned this week:
  • taller than a T-Rex
  • very slow walker
  • ate plants and leaves
  • front legs longer than hind legs
  • nostrils on top of his head


Mama's Boys

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through a day at the office is staring longingly at the pictures of my boys that hang in my cubicle.   Sometimes when they are both snugly tucked into their beds, quietly sleeping… I have to go into their rooms just to look down on them in awe.  Sometimes, I hope the baby will wake up in the night, just so I can get a bonus snuggle (even if it does mean a long tired day to follow).

I never knew that being a mother could so fundamentally change what matters to me, but it did.  I adore these two tiny fellas more than anything.  They (and their Dad) are my world and I love them so much….

  • I love that Little Guy looks more like me, and that Baby Boy looks more like his Dad
  • I love that Little Guy says he can’t wait till his brother is big enough to share his room and bunk bed
  • I love that Baby Boy watches his big brother’s every move – as if he’s taking notes for future adventures they’ll have together
  • I love that they each have a very distinct personality – that they are most certainly not interchangeable – that they are wonderful and unique little boys.
  • I love that when Baby Boy is mad, he furrows his brow in exactly the same way Hubby does when he is mad
  • I love that the baby now gives me kisses (the big slobbery ones that only babies can get away with)
  • I love that my three year old still gives me hugs and kisses too (I know the clock is probably ticking on this)
  • I love that they both smile a lot.  They are truly happy kids (hard to tell from these pictures I know, but Baby Boy has figured out what the camera does, and as soon as he sees it he now stops smiling and waits for the flash...then the smile returns.  haha)
  • I love their little toes and fingers
  • I love the sound of their giggles

  • I love that my life is filled with dinosaurs and fire trucks and trains and Legos and baseball cards and pirates and play-doh and sand boxes.... and that it will be for a very long time

Mama loves her boys!


Finnegan the Bear

I wanted to do something handmade for Baby Boy for his Valentine’s Day gift, and decided I’d make him a bear.  Up to this point, I had not made any critters for our youngest, though Little Guy has several different ones that I’ve made for him over the past few years (though never a bear).

My Mom had recently given me some yardage of heavy brown felt which she didn’t need.  As soon as I saw it, I just knew it would be perfect for the bear project I had in mind. 

I made my own pattern, sketching out the bear shape I was wanting on a big piece of drawing paper.  I cut out the brown felt for all the big pieces.  I used doll face velour and scraps of felt for facial features (all from my stash).  I did buy a fat quarter of brown stripey cotton for the ears, tail and belly, but everything else I already had.  I stitched him up on my machine (except for the tail, and the belly, which I did by hand).  The belly part covers the opening I used to stuff him. 

He’s cuddly and should be machine washable.  There are no buttons or other bits that Baby Boy could choke on.  Total cost was $1.99 which is what I spent on the one fat quarter.  This took maybe four total hours to complete.  Overall, I think he is a success. 

I call him Finnegan, and I hope he makes my Baby smile. 

Front View

Rear View


A 50 Pound Bargain

What we came home with....
Everyone has their weakness.  Maybe yours is chocolate  or shoe shopping or Facebook. 

Mine is bargain hunting, and recently Hubby and I hit the bargain jackpot.  Our city boasts a “Goodwill Outlet Store”, which we visited for the first time on Monday (we both had the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the boys were in daycare).  To say we were a little bit leery would be an understatement, but we’ll try anything once – so off we went.

Don’t be put off by the idea of an outlet for second hand items.  We don’t know what criteria they used to determine what goes to this outlet versus what goes to the traditional stores, but we know that we are definitely going back again!  The quality was surprisingly good.  The store was clean.  The employees friendly and helpful. 

The set up is much different than any other store you will ever visit.  Rows of long tables (which are really more tubs than tables) stretch across a warehouse of a room.  Each of the tables is full of stuff.  Everything is mixed together willy-nilly.  Toys, books, movies, dishes, holiday decorations etc all jumbled together.  You have to dig for the good stuff.

And dig, we did.  By the time we were ready to check out, we each had a cart full.

Instead of being priced by the item, shoppers are charged by weight.  There are price breakpoints, so the more you buy the less your per pound price is.  The first time we went to the check-out, the (very nice) cashier suggested that we might go back and get a little more as we’d end up saving several dollars by collecting enough to reach the next break point (our loot was just shy of 50 pounds at that point!)

We did indeed go back to the tables and found enough to put us over that 50 pound mark.  Don’t quote me on this, but I think we ended up paying 59 cents per pound (before tax).

Are you curious about what we found?  Well, here’s a partial list of our take for the day:

Roaster pan
Pyrex bread pan
Thomas the Train Wooden Railway pieces: 2 engines, 2 cars, & 18 pieces of track
Fire truck (with lights, sounds, extending ladder and hose that really shoots water)
Toy Fireman bullhorn (siren noises)
Toy Fire extinguisher
Toy Ambulance (w/ lights and sounds)
Six children’s books
Two purses
Child’s Pumpkin Halloween costume
Christmas ornamental train (lights up – still in original box – never opened)
Christmas tree ornament
Vintage Peanuts Christmas wrapping paper in original package
Bag of embroidery floss in many different colors, all in original paper bands – never opened
"Santa Collector" sign
Baby Bib
Baby keys
Three photo albums
brown pitcher (pottery – simply lovely)
Bugs themed magnetic book with magnets
Brain Quest: America set
Rubber Brontosaurus
Winter hat for Hubby

So, what are we going to do with all this stuff?  Well, we have two little boy birthdays coming this summer, and some of the better stuff is going to be held till then.  Other items are going to serve as Potty Training and other Good Behavior reward items.  Others may end up on eBay.  Some of the items are for us, and we will use them soon (Pyrex bread pan -I'm talking to you).  Even if a lot of these items end up in the garage sale we're planning to have this Spring, we'll more than get our money back.

If you live near one of these outlets, I'd highly recommend checking it out.  If your experience is like ours at all, you will not be sorry!

Note: The puzzles had all their pieces.  Everything that needed batteries, had them and all worked!  Every item was in good to excellent condition, many items brand new.


Cookies that ROAR!

For Christmas my Mother-in-law bought me a big box of cookie cutters  (100 to be exact).  Every shape and size imaginable was included. 

When we got them home, Little Guy immediately wanted to make trains, dinosaurs and footballs (this kid is ALL boy!).  It just so happened that a co-worker was having a birthday, and our team had decided to bring treats to the office to celebrate.  The guy with the birthday is probably well past the stage where he’s easily impressed by frosted sugar cookies, but that’s what I took.  

Dinosaur cookies!  They aren’t decorated excessively.  I go all out for Christmas cookies, but just didn’t have the time to go crazy with these.  I frosted with tinted green frosting and topped with candy sprinkles and an M&M eyes. 

Perfect?  No, but my Little Guy sure liked them, and I think my co-worker seemed to think that they were okay too. 

One cookie cutter down, 99 to go.  It will be a fun (and sweet) year indeed.


Cowboy Boots

The old boots...
Little Guy loves wearing his cowboy boots.  He’s worn one pair or the other since he first started walking.  We’ve always gotten lucky, finding a new pair just as he started to outgrow the last.  Recently we started to notice that he didn’t want to run around as much as usual, and in fact was asking to be carried much more often than was his norm.

At first I thought maybe he was sick, but he seemed to feel fine.  I asked if his boots hurt his feet and he adamantly said, “No!”  I believed him at first, but soon began to suspect that he was fibbing.  He just looked like someone who’s feet hurt. 

I think he’d decided that if he complained, he might have to give up his beloved boots, and since a new pair had not yet materialized…he wasn’t willing to take the chance.

We took him to the mall and had his put his feet in one of those things they have to determine accurate size.  His old boots were a size 8.  His shoe size, according to the shoe store chart, was ten!! 

Poor Little Guy!  No wonder he wanted to be carried around.  His little tootsies must have been screaming with each step.  I felt terrible for not noticing sooner.  Chalk it up on the long list of mistakes this Mom has made so far.

We ended up going to several stores before finally hitting pay dirt!  His old boots featured the characters from Toy Story.  That was not a requirement for the new boots, but when we found a comparable pair on sale for half price (oh, and with litghts too), the choice was clear.

When Little Guy walked back out into the mall, wearing his brand new (comfortable) cowboy boots, his smile was electric!  Never was there a boy more happy to go shoe shopping than he. 
the NEW BOOTS!!!


{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama to share one moment...via a single photo - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember...
Little Guy and his buddies at school...he's on the far left.


Your Vote Matters!

When I was growing up, my family was never really into sports.  Instead of cheering over a Final Four game or a World Series match-up…my family had politics.  Election Day was our Super Bowl, and the caucus – our playoff game.  When those big events roll around, you’ll be hard pressed to find us NOT at our local polling places.  When the polling is over, you’ll find us glued to our respective television sets, channel surfing between all the news casts, and watching the returns.  We bond over this in the same way some families do over box scores.

My Mom and Dad taught me early on to embrace my right to get involved in the political process.  They urged me to research the candidates carefully before choosing where to cast my ballot.  I was always taught that every vote counts, and every voice matters.  I suppose that during my college years, when I rebelled and joined ‘the other party’ for a time, Mom and Dad were a little disappointed.  However, they still believed in the system and always encouraged me to get involved and make informed decisions (regardless of my party affiliation). 

I live in Iowa, and if you pay attention to US politics at all, you will know that we had our caucus this week.  The American caucus and primary season gives the presidential candidates a bit of a sneak peek at how their campaigns are shaping up.  As the first of its kind in the presidential election cycle, the Iowa caucus offers its registered party voters a unique opportunity to get involved right at the beginning of what will (undoubtedly) be a long and drawn out contest.  In my opinion this is quite an honor.

Though many Iowa residents can caucus (every registered Republican or Democrat is eligible) many don’t.  I personally talked to several folks who chose to sit this one out.  They chose to do so because they were tired of all the phone calls (granted, there were MANY), or because they thought they had better things to do or because they felt their vote didn’t count. 

I disagree.

Even if a person doesn’t believe that the caucus itself makes a difference (and this can be argued – and is, by many – just do a Google search for “Iowa Caucus Relevance”), I believe that involvement is always a better choice than apathy. 

I still believe every vote counts. 

Over 120,000 voters turned out to caucus in Iowa this year.  Yes, I know – that’s a small number when you look at the big picture, but do you know how many votes separated the two guys who came in first and second place?


Eight votes!!  Eight people!!  That’s crazy.  All it would have taken was the action of nine “my vote doesn’t count” folks, to bring about a different outcome.  Wow!  For the record, I’m not saying any of this in an effort to support one candidate or begrudge the win of another.  I’m saying it to remind you that ONE does matter.  It always matters - not just in politics, but in life as well.  It is the folks who choose to get off their couch and DO something with their lives,  who have lives well lived. 

One vote does matter. 

One person does matter. 

I am reminding myself of this as I embark on a challenge in my own life.  I need to lose weight.  I know it’s cliché this time of year to vow to eat better and diet, but I have come to a point in my life where inaction is no longer acceptable.  I need to get healthy and I need to do it now.  No more “One more cookie doesn’t matter…”  or “One more day avoiding a workout won’t matter”.  Just like those caucus votes, these decisions (these “life votes”) also matter. 

All the little things in life add up to the big things, and I want 2012 to be a year in which I embrace that which I need to “vote” for in life. 

I vote for healthy eating, and exercise.  I vote for sharing my challenges and experiences with others who know what I’m going through (as well as those who don’t).  I vote for my boys to have the kind of mother who feels like running around the backyard with them.  I vote for a better, improved version of myself.

I challenge you to vote with me.  Vote in elections if you can, but also vote in your daily life.  Vote by working toward your goals (even when that road is rough).  Vote by standing for what you believe in (even when it isn’t easy or convenient or popular).  Vote by taking chances when it matters most.  Vote by being a good example to others. Vote by being courageous and loyal.  Vote by staying strong.  Vote with your faith.  Vote with your integrity.  Vote with your passion. 

Your vote matters.  It matters a lot.


Random Thoughts on the New Year

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you.  You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.
~Mary Pickford

I love calendars.  I love picking out the perfect one and jotting down all the important birthdays and anniversaries.  I love noting doctor’s appointments and other miscellanea of life.  By the time December rolls around, my calendar has become a mini-journal of the closing year.  I find it fun to look over the pages and remind myself of all that the last year has brought my way.

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
~F.M. Knowles

I am no better at keeping resolutions than the next person, and yet I find myself making them year after year.  This year will be no different though I’m calling it a “promise to myself to change my life in some way...a promise which is randomly coincidental with New Years Day" instead of a “New Years Resolution”.  Maybe I’ll succeed.  Maybe I’ll fail miserably.  Either way, I’ll learn a lesson and maybe gain some insight into my self in the process.

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. 
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I find that each New Year brings an excitement that I can’t quite explain.  It is some odd combination of losing the old and venturing into the new; and it fills my heart with joy.  Never mind the fact that ‘last year’ has always been good to me too.  I have after all, been very blessed. 

This past year in particular was quite wonderful.  We welcomed our second sweet little boy into the world and he makes our hearts full and our family complete.  I don’t regret a single moment of 2011, and yet I still face the new year with the same happy anticipation I remember having on the first day of every school year growing up.  The feeling of wonder may fade in the months ahead (much like it did back in the school days of my youth), but today it feels like new teachers and new locker combinations and new friends in new classes.  Ah, the joy of the new!  What fun we shall have!!

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.  ~Benjamin Franklin

What exactly is that song Auld Lang Syne about?  I wonder every year….but not until right now have I ever bothered to look it up.  Are you as curious as I was?  Check out some background HERE.

I hope you have a fabulous New Year full of good health and happiness.  God bless you and yours!
-Wicked Happy Christy


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