Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway

Photobucket

When Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer agreed to host another Bloggy Giveaway, I wonder if she realized she would have more than 500 submissions!!! (I think I am #500 on Mr. Linky if links don't get deleted!!!) There is a lot of stuff being given away and I am so glad I get to be a part of it! I can't even guess how much time I've spent today browsing blogland and making new friends.

I decided to get in on the fun and have put together my own little giveaway. Since the idea is to give something away that relates to who you are in blog land, I decided to do something about baby girls and breastfeeding. Here is what you might win (all items are new, unopened, and with tags):

1 pack of Playtex Nursing Pads
1 "Worth the Wait" message onesie (3-6 months)
1 On the Go Bottle Warmer
1 Carters Snuggle Blanket
1 Hallmark Baby's First Christmas Ornament
1 Gumdrop newborn pacifier
Plus any other random things I might find!
(Most of these were things I have duplicates of from my own baby showers last summer.)

Just leave a message in the comments with your favorite baby story, either yours or someone elses. I'll choose a winner using a random number generator when the Bloggy Carnival ends on Friday, Feb 1st. Sorry, open to US residents only.

Good luck!

EDIT: Here are some of my favorite giveaways (check back for additions):
A Beautiful Apron from Lovin' Our Large Family
Mustard Seeds Game from Home But Not Alone
Burt's Bees Baby Pack from Jenn's Den
$5 CVS Card from A Call to higher Places
Adorable Pantaloons by Handmade by Cole
Two Home Organization Books from Heart at Home

EDIT: As of Saturday, February 2, at 3:10 pm, this giveaway is now closed. Go here to see who won.

Big Day

I've known for a couple of days that Charlotte is capable of rolling over from her back to her tummy. It's just that, she wouldn't let us see her do it. Until today. And let me tell you, once she started... she didn't want to stop! We hope you enjoy the video.


Entered in the Silly Day, Silly Picture contest.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Suck

Bad too. I had no idea just how out of shape I had gotten in the last year. About 1 year and 2 weeks ago I ran the majority of a half marathon. Now? I can't even keep up with my old running buddy during her walking warm up. How sad is that? Very, very sad. I gave up after 20 minutes when she graciously directed us back to her house. I stretched and left. She's super dedicated and climbed onto her elliptical runner.

A former student of mine asked me if I would go to Curves with her and while I wasn't planning to go back, I think it is much more my pace right now. I'll never be a runner, but I should be able to walk at a brisk pace without losing my breath and heaving!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vision Forum

You might remember a few months ago I posted about a book I wanted called Passionate Housewives. That book was published by Vision Forum and now they are offering another giveaway, via Biblical Womanhood. This time, you can enter to win a $100 gift certificate for their online store. I think this is a great giveaway and very encouraging.

I browsed all over their site and decided that if I won, I would like to get Charlotte started in their Beautiful Girlhood collection. It is like American Girl, but based on moral or Christian characters. Priscilla Mullins is my favorite character.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ooh lala mon cherie

Our little girl is growing up! She is working very hard on learning to sit up on her own. Once put into a seated position, she can stay there for several seconds occasionally and about 2-3 seconds most of the time. Charlotte is learning to hold herself up if she starts to lean forward as well. It is so cute to watch her try to balance herself when she starts to wobble. We tried reading her book again today, but she got caught eating it instead. The look on her face is priceless! Oops! I did it again!

In other news, I haven't forgotten my list of goals for 2008. That post is almost done.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kitchen Cabinets

We spent about 5 hours at Home Depot tonight picking out things for the SabinDome. We are using their bid process and will find out tomorrow how much it is going to cost us. One very exciting thing is that our kitchen cabinets have been selected. Here is a grainy picture of their sample that I took with my cell phone tonight.

We also picked out sink faucets, towel bars, toilet paper holders, paint, light fixtures, flooring, and a few other items. Most of this will be stored for a few more months until we need it, but the price was too right to pass it up. Fortunately, the attic in the dome is done and we can store a ton of stuff up there.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Idea

To all of my wonderful blog readers (I have about 22 a day according to Google Analytics), I have embarked on a new culinary adventure. I hope you will join me at Eating It Up. It is an exciting way for me to begin combining my desire to be more frugal and to be more creative, culinarily speaking.

Hairband Cuteness

Okay, so Grandma has a thing for buying hairbands for Charlotte. And, even though I think hairbands on babies are silly, I like to indulge the old lady every now and then and put one on her (Charlotte, not the old lady that is).
Baby Girl

But even I have to admit she looks uber cute sleeping in her car seat like this.



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sleeping Baby

As time marches on, I learn more and more about the preferences of my darling daughter (who is now 5 months old!). My newest discovery is that she will sleep longer and more restfully if I put her on her tummy. Every day when I pick her up from nursery school I ask how she was that day. They almost always tell me about some long nap she took, so long in fact that she missed her bottle. I don't mind since her eating on a schedule isn't my preference. I'd rather they wait for hunger cues, but understand with 7 other babies in the room, they need some sort of schedule to get everyone fed, changed, and played with. Besides, it is only 2-3 bottles a day and she doesn't seem to be the worse for it.

But I digress, back to naps... she is usually put down to nap on her tummy at nursery school so I decided to do it at home too. And it works. I don't have to swaddle her when she is half asleep in my arms and risk waking her up. Putting her on her tummy has an effect similar to swaddling.

For example, last night on our way home from the grocery store, she fell asleep in the car. When we got home, she woke a little, so I carried her inside and laid her down in her crib. She stayed there for about 2 hours. That might not sound like a lot to some of you, but a 2-hour nap is a big deal for her when she is at home. Usually we get 45-60 minutes tops. When she woke, I took her to bed with me and nursed her for about 45 minutes. Once she was done, I laid her down in her side-car bassinet, again on her tummy, and she slept until 1:45 am! That was almost 4 hours. It is so rare that I get more than 2 1/2 hours of sleep at night before she is up again wanting to nurse.

I hope this pattern continues. She's taking a morning nap right now... on her tummy. I heard her stir and talk about 30 minutes ago, but she fell back asleep with no crying from her or attention from me.
**For all of the people who might want to call DCF because I put my daughter on her tummy, don't worry. The risk of SIDS is pretty much past now that she can do a mini-push up on her arms.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Waning Crescent Moon

I have had fun pointing the moon out to Charlotte when we happen to see it, at night or during the day. There is even a little 'thing' I say to her when we see it in daytime. It goes something like, 'Little moon, little moon, you came out too soon.' (I think I read it online somewhere.) With her middle name being 'Moon,' it makes sense that we would point it out to her often. I even made her a plate with her name on it.

Tonight, I looked up in the sky and saw a beautiful waning crescent moon. Bruce pointed out that it was like Charlotte Moon (on the plate). And that gave me a wonderful idea. This is the Charlotte Moon. It is delightful to look at and I hope it will give Charlotte a smile every time she sees the moon in this phase. We will tell her that her daddy named it the Charlotte Moon, after her. Moon 2

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blog Design

Since Scribbit made me think of it... here it is, my notes list of what I like about various blog designs. Don't laugh, this is the raw, unedited version. It isn't pretty. :-)

If any of you have spare time and want to look at these as well, let me know if you notice any themes. That might make it easier for me to communicate with whoever I choose to hire.

Ideas from The Blog Cafe:
· I like the color palette & the layout of the graphics and title of this site – http://www.flickr.com/photos/32819938@N00/908431210/.
· I like the simplicity of the scene, though I don’t want a beach scene, and I like the toned down color palette here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/32819938@N00/906638688/.
· I like the way this scene is stylized, but not the business-y part or the bubbles of it… it would need to be of a home-setting w/ a baby on the floor. If there was a desk in my design then it should have a picture of my family in it – http://www.flickr.com/photos/32819938@N00/906638638/.
· I like the way the family is depicted in front of the window - http://www.flickr.com/photos/32819938@N00/952584787/in/set-72157601020400044/.
· One might think I would like this one - http://www.flickr.com/photos/32819938@N00/952664683/in/set-72157601020400044/ - but the palette is all wrong for me and I don’t want to be seen changing a diaper, though I do like the way the woman is sitting.
· I like the font on this one - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelmommy/920776762/in/set-72157601043462542/ and this one - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelmommy/919902987/in/set-72157601043462542/ and this one too - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelmommy/919824969/in/set-72157601043462542/.
· I like how the design is asymmetrical and comes down on the left, while the blog starts higher up into the design (does that make sense?) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelmommy/920701966/in/set-72157601043462542/.
· I like this layout, it is very elegant - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelmommy/920661430/in/set-72157601043462542/.
· I think this is my favorite design from The Blog CafĂ©. I love the background and the woman at the top without a face. I would prefer a woman with an apron (vintage style) and a baby - http://www.flickr.com/photos/32819938@N00/966215196/.

iStockPhoto
Busy Mom - http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/how/style_and_design/illustrations/2444614_busy_housewife_and_mother.php?id=2444614
Parents Holding baby - http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/object/4278938_parents_holding_baby.php?id=4278938

Blue Bird:
I like the peacefulness of this design - http://feistels-in-taiwan.blogspot.com/.

Organized Doodles - maybe I should just have my own picture drawn???

Worth the Wait

I have a confession...
A little over a week ago I had bad thoughts when I read our church newsletter. There was an announcement that a new committee had been formed (yeah, I know that should set off bells all by itself). The purpose of this committee is to organize the church for a new directory, you know, one of those books with pictures of all the perfect church families that has their name and contact information. I am sure every other person who read this letter thought, "cool, we're doing that again." But no, not me.

What upset me was realizing that every name on the list was that of an older woman in my church. Not a single young person under 50 was listed. I resented that. This is just the type of project I would enjoy working on and no one at that church had thought to ask me if I was interested. How rude!

When I pointed this oversight out to Bruce and started into my usual rant about how the church doesn't take advantage of 'young people' enough, he reminded me that I just had a baby and probably wouldn't have time for a committee committment anyway. Yeah, okay, whatever.

Well, I knew my attitude wasn't right and I have been trying to scale back my committments anyway, so I prayed about it. Finally, after a couple of days, I repented and was at peace with the situation.

Then, today, I got a phone call from a lovely lady named Paulette. She had a favor to ask of me. I won't bore you with the details, but I get to make a brochure for our church that will be professionally printed, i.e. it will be on cool, glossy paper. :-) The professional printing is one of the perks we get when we sign up a minimum number of families with the directory company. That's cool. I get to help with the committee's work.

Paulette and I got to talking and I shared my confession of an unkind spirit with her. She told me that I was actually considered but they didn't want to burden me right now since I had just had a baby. She had been a SAHM and knew how hard it was to keep everything in order and suspected that I probably wouldn't have said no to this type of project. They thought the brochure project would be more my speed since there is a long deadline and it is definitely within my skill set.

Not only was being asked to participate such a blessing, but realizing that, after I repented of my sin, God gave me a reward anyway. I was rewarded with the blessing of getting to know another woman in my church better, being asked to help spread the news of the work God is doing in our church, and with remembering that God knows what our future holds before we do and sometimes holds things back so we can know He is in control.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Cute Foot

Charlotte has one of the cutest habits. I just love it. Whenever we are nursing she likes to put her foot high up on my chest. I don't know why she does it, she just does it. This is just one of her quirks that we are still learning about. She also likes to do it when she sleeps, as seen in this Christmas Eve photo. Since she sleeps in bed with us, this has made trying to slip out of bed in the morning more difficult. I am getting a little better at it and discovered if I can slip my pillow in the place where I was sleeping it is easier. She has the support and she has something that smells like me. It also helps that when she reaches out, there is something for her to touch instead of air.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Header

For Christmas, my wonderful husband bought me the gift of a professionally designed blog layout. It is not a joke when I write that I have looked at over 100 new blogs in order to figure out what I liked and what I didn't like. And I still haven't decided on a design, or even on who I want to make it.


I decided to fiddle around myself and came up with what you see here. What do you think? Does it capture my blog? Is it too plain? Should I jazz it up some? I am wide open for suggestions.


Sippy Cup Practice

We have been trying to work with Charlotte using a sippy cup instead of a bottle. I don't think we are anywhere close to making the switch, but we are getting there. This is a video of her trying to use it today. Bruce picked a time when she wouldn't be too hungry to concentrate but she was alert enough to try a new thing. I also think she is getting ready to roll over back to tummy soon because she keeps arching her back, like you'll see in the video.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Reading is FUN!

Charlotte and I read every night because I want her to grow up to love books and reading as much as I do. Here is Charlotte enjoying her current favorite book, Happy Baby Words, by Roger Priddy.And this just in... I put Charlotte to bed with a new lullably sound machine she's been using since she got it for Christmas. You can't see Charlotte in this video, but boy, you can sure hear her! I just had to share this with you.

The image you can see is the projection from the sound machine. We are still waiting for the translation... I think you can hear her saying 'hallelujah.' By the way, we can hear her accross the house. She is loud! Like mother, like daughter. Maybe Charlotte is singing? I hope she turns out a better singer than her momma. For your sake.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Gratitude

"It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation."
Robert Benigni, in Newsweek

For the vast majority of people, Thanksgiving 2007 is already a distant memory covered up with stories about Black Friday, last minute shopping, the presents they got and gave on Christmas Day, and now their New Year's soirees. Even for me, that day, like all Thanksgivings past, has faded into obscurity. I have only a blog post to remind me.

The quote above from Benigni though brought Thanksgiving day back to me and all I have to be grateful for this year. Even more so, it reminded me of most of the modern church and how we approach God. And I know deep inside of each of you is a burning desire to know how I made that connection?

Well, let's break it down word by word. What is mediocrity? It is being average, lacking desire to be better, wanting nothing but the status quo for ourselves. Isn't that how most Christians approach their walk with God. Don't we just want to leave things as they currently are? Upsetting the apple cart might mean we have to sell all our possessions and move to Africa. Or that we might have to confront our hidden sin and finally deal with the consequences that have come our way. If it ain't broke, don't fix it? Right? Wrong? We are all broke and there is only one person who can fix us.

And how do we demonstrate gratitude these days? If we were trained well, we write a polite thank you note telling the recipient a little something about their gift and remembering to mention it by name. What about how we demonstrate gratitude to God for all he has done for us? Romans 6:23 tells us that the "wages of sin is death." How many of us really believe that and then fall on our knees expressing unworthiness of the gift of eternal life so that we must not experience the pain of hell? Could it be that we don't actually believe that our sin is worthy of death?

All things in moderation? That is what the world would want you to believe. However, God calls us to something higher and more noble than "moderation." He calls us to a total surrender to him, a complete sacrifice of self to serve him. There is no room for moderation in a life called by God.

"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth."
Revelation 3:16 (CSB)

Random Thoughts

Charlotte slept so well last night! I attribute that to the wonderful swaddling technique I am now using. It might sound obvious to seasoned moms out there, but I finally figured out how to keep her from breaking her swaddle. I left 1 arm out. Simple, I know. It took me 2 nights to figure out which arm needed to be out, but I got it. She stirred last night when she was hungry, but otherwise slept all night. I think I woke up more than she did. Yeah!

This morning I did a good mommy thing and went out and got the car started a few minutes before we had to leave. As I lifted my daughter out of her exersaucer to leave, I felt a certain dampness on her backside. Yep, you guessed it… she blew out her diaper, right through her outfit. And it was a cute outfit too. It was plaid and footed with little embroidered hearts all over the peter pan collar. The hat that went with it was adorable too! Now though, I had to get her out of that outfit and into something clean, including a new diaper. It delayed our departure another 5-7 minutes and the car was super-toasty when we got in. That was after Bruce went out and turned down the heat so we wouldn’t be too hot. Just goes to show that at this young age, babies dictate our schedules instead of the other way around.

I am hoping that by being back at school we can settle into a routine again. After a full week of constant attention from 4-6 adults, Charlotte did not handle the quietness at home the last couple of days as well as I would have hoped. She had a high need to be held and cuddled. Between Bruce and I we met that need quite well but my house isn’t as neat and tidy as I would like. Oh well, that is part of the surrender I have decided to make to have a life with children in it.

Last night, I did take a big step towards making my life what I need right now. I stepped down from serving as the media person for our church’s praise team. It was a decision I have been agonizing over more a few months, but wasn’t sure I could make. I truly enjoy helping out but being away from home an extra night each week is hard. Especially now that I am trying to establish a bed-time routine that coincides with the time of practice. Also, I need to concentrate on fulfilling the requirements to earn my Professional Teaching Certificate. I’ve slacked on that for more than a year and I really need to get it done ASAP (by May).

I have some goals for 2008 that I want to share, but am still working on deciding which ones are the most important. I know I can’t accomplish all of them so I am still thinking about which ones are most important. Do you have any suggestions for what I should be working on this year???

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Year in Review

Before moving on to 2008, I want to take a moment to reflect on the changes that life brought us in 2007.

JANUARY - I didn't have a blog yet, but can remember that we announced our pregnancy to close friends and extended family. I also began helping direct the middle school color guard at FMSHS.

FEBRUARY - Still no blog... I passed my Professional Certification exam for teaching though.

MARCH - The world still had to wait one more month before getting to ready what was on my bloggy mind. I don't remember much exciting happening... except having my first Spring Break since college!

APRIL - My blog, Jenn's Journal, arrives! Here's the first sentence of my first blog post: "Oh my... I've wanted to try and get into keeping a journal of my pregnancy for a few months now."
Here's my favorite picture from my blog in the month of April: This is Charlotte at 28 weeks.MAY - First Sentence: "Even though Bruce thinks he is being clever by publicly suggesting the name Theophilus, please know, it is not under serious consideration."
Favorite Picture: Us at my brother's wedding.
JUNE - First Sentence: "Wow, I have only 10 weeks left (roughly) until I get to meet Baby Sabin face to face."
Favorite Picture: Bruce goofing off at Universal Studios.


JULY
First Sentence: "There, I said it - I love being pregnant!"
Favorite Picture: Me pouring over the many blessings we received at our 3 baby showers!
AUGUST - First Sentence : "Baby Sabin isn't even officially here and I am beat."
Favorite Picture: I think this is one good looking family!


SEPTEMBER - First Sentence: "Wow, it sure has been a while since I posted a blog!" (This is also the month I began blogging at FamilyMusings.com.)
Favorite Picture: (Okay, I'm cheating al ittle here... this is a jumpcut video with lots of pictures.)
jumpcut movie:L-O-V-E Charlotte

OCTOBER - First Sentence: Infant Potty Trainings - This is soo.... not for me!
Favorite Picture: Charlotte's 1st visit to Bok Tower.




NOVEMBER - First Sentence: "Charlotte has shoes for months to come due to a GREAT sale I found online at Darling Shoes. " (By the way, this was my bloggiest month with 24 posts.)
Favorite Picture: Grumpy & Charlotte hanging out.
DECEMBER- First Sentence: "There are lots of blogs in the blogosphere that give away stuff." (Mine isn't one of them!)
Favorite Picture: Charlotte's first Christmas ornament, from Grandma.



I must say, this post took me a lot longer than I expected. I got caught up reading all of my old posts. Things that I thought were really witty, funny, or insightful at the time don't seem so much anymore. I think I've gotten better as a blogger since I first started in April, but I know I have a long way to go until I really get good. In the mean time, thanks for bearing with me and have a happy new year!

Pottery Pictures

As mentioned earlier, we spent some time at the Art Cafe in Hilton Head, SC. Here are pictures of some of the pieces that we made.



At the top is the piggy bank that Grumpy painted for Charlotte. I must say it is most adorable! What makes this bank even sweeter is that it continues a legacy. You see, Grumpy's grandmother painted him a piggy bank for him when he was about Charlotte's age. I'll have to ask Grumpy for a picture of it to share someday.

Next, is the cross that Bruce painted for Charlotte. He choose Heavenly Blue as the background as a reminder to stay focused on the reward and he chose Red as the color for the letters as a reminder of the blood of Jesus.

And the large blue plate is something I made to decorate Charlotte's room. I came up with the idea a couple of months ago and am fairly pleased with how it turned out. I think it was pretty clever of me to use the moon as the 'C' in Charlotte.

Finally, my mom made the most awesome Christmas ornament to commemorate our vacation. Alas, I neglected to take a picture of it before we left it with them.