Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Got Purple Highlights

Purple highlights were something I had been considering for a while. And finally, I did it. They make me happy every time I see them. Even though they seem super obvious in these photos, I don't think they are. It was just really bright outside when I took the pictures.

To get these highlights done so they would be a bit subtle, I had the rest of my hair dyed back closer to my natural color. It looks darker than most people are used to because I had all over blond highlights before. To get such an intense purple (the color you see is after 5 washes), Elysia had to first stripped the color out.

I am very happy with these highlights and definitely will be brave enough to experiment with color some more. Who knows, maybe I'll get a tattoo or some piercings next! Who says 32 is too old to have fun?!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Courtesy Note

For those of you who read my blog solely for stories about Charlotte and Mary (even the ones about potty training), I wanted to let you know that in a couple of weeks, there will be a pretty big birthday event on this blog. It will focus on toddler/preschooler birthday ideas and so far there are 16 giveaways planned, with more in the pipe waiting for the details to be ironed out. It will roughly run for the first 2 weeks in August, but there will be some Charlotte and Mary stuff in there, because they will be helping me review the products. I need a 3 year old's opinion on some of these things!

For those of you who read my blog because you like the stories about my girls AND you like the chance to learn about new products and possibly win free stuff, then stick around! Share it with your friends! Subscribe in a reader or by email (links in the sidebar)! Leave a comment!

I really am excited about what is coming up... and I think you should be too! More sneak previews to come!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Family Love Languages

Yesterday in my post about potty training Charlotte, I mentioned that I think her love language is Words of Affirmation. I am only assuming this based on experience as I haven't read the book about children's love languages and how to determine what they are.

But I do know that understanding the love languages of the people in your house is so important. Knowing which love language my husband speaks helps me serve him better. The fact that he also knows my love language is primarily Words of Affirmation also helps our marriage be stronger. He can speak to me in my heart's language instead of watching me languish, feeling unloved.

I know a couple that has completely opposite love languages. They have to work VERY HARD to speak one anothers language. Their love for one another comes at a personal cost. Fortunately, they are a dedicated couple and have a strong desire to see their marriage not only survive, but thrive.

Do you know your love language? (Your choices are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.) Do you know your spouses? What about your children? How do you think your life might be better if the people around felt loved in a way that spoke to their heart instead of your heart?

Imagine the husband whose love language is touch, but his wife's is acts of service. He is constantly trying to be next to her and hold her hand, and all she wants is for him to take out the trash with out being asked. That would really ring her bell and instead she is trying to swat his hand off her behind every 5 minutes. He isn't just being a 'typical' guy, he is trying to express love in the way that feels most natural to him - in his own love language.

By no means am I a marriage or love languages expert. I just know it has helped me in lots of relationships in my life. While browsing to get more info about children's love language, I saw they have 30-question quiz you can take to find out your own love language. That is a good place for any of us to start. I've embedded it below for you to try it out. The information about children's love languages is coming soon according to their site.

If you click over to the Assessment tab on you can see there is also a quiz for determining your Apology Love Language. I didn't even know that existed! Now I have some more learning to do myself.

I hope you found this link and quiz useful. I'll also add the quiz to the bottom of the blog (it is too wide for my sidebar) so you can share it with your friends. Please leave a comment sharing your own love language or experience with using them.

(Disclosure: Since I do so many other reviews on this site, I wanted to let you know that this review was prompted entirely by my own search to learn more about Love Languages. I was asked by nobody to share the quiz or website with you.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Potty Training Take 2

Way back in January, we gave potty training Charlotte our first serious go. I was even naive enough on Day 2 to begin declaring victory over diapers. Ha! I made moms all over laugh out loud with that one I am sure.

Now though, as we near Charlotte's 3rd birthday, it was time for us to begin again. Charlotte was missing out on some things because she was still wearing a diaper. (Yes, you read that right - a diaper. I gave up on Pull-ups since they are so expensive and we just went back to a diaper 24-7.) And I really thought Charlotte was ready this time.

Let's fast forward from January's dismal results to 2 weeks ago. We tried again and this time, there were no pull-ups involved during the day, just big girl panties. (Can I just pause here to say how cute her tiny hiney looks in big girl panties? She thinks so too because her new favorite pasttime is to look in the mirror and slap her bottom. Don't ask where she got that from. I have no idea!)

She only had a few accidents total for the first 9 days and 1 of them was while the babysitter was watching her on day 7. We stopped using pull-ups at night time after 9 days also and she has only woken up wet 1 time since then.

For this 2nd round of training, I eschewed all rewards other than verbal praise, high fives, hugs and kisses. She hasn't missed the stickers or chocolate chips one bit. And it is way easier on mommy to not have to remember to give them to her. My daughter's love language may be Words of Affirmation since this is working so well for us this time.

One example of the success we are having occurred this morning. We went to play in the local splash pad and I needed to put a swim diaper on her since her 2T swim trunks would fall off otherwise (yes, she is rail thin). I really kind of expected her to get distracted playing and to just pee in her diaper.

But she didn't.

She told me when she had to go and she waited until we walked all the way over to the bathroom.

And she went. Just like a big girl! I'm very proud of her for not getting discouraged by her few small accidents and for learning to listen to her body in this way.

Here is a short video of her running around at the splash pad this morning. You can see how her swim trunks barely stay up even with the swim diaper!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review: Pro Flowers

I suppose you could say that one of the perks of having a blog people read is that companies want me to review their product and share my opinions about it. It happened again last week when I was offered a chance to review a birthday basket from After looking over their site, I decided that if someone was going to send me a basket for my birthday, I'd like One Sweet Mix.

The box waited for me when I came home from a playdate, just a couple of days after I ordered and exactly on the day they promised. I love fresh pears and chocolates so didn't waste any time getting it open. Everything was securely packed and the fruit was perfectly ripe. None of it really lasted very long (because we ate it!), though we do have the caramel popcorn still because I am saving that as a bribe for Charlotte, for when I really need it. I even got to teach my husband how to eat a pistachio and remember how much I enjoyed their flavor.

Seeing as I am back on Weight Watchers, I really only had one problem with my gift. The nutritional information included did not entirely line up with the items in my box. It is a picky detail really, seeing as the content's listed on the website matched what I received. But since I count points and need the nutritional information, it was something I noticed. In encouraging news, I did contact to give them a chance to address the issue and they apologized and admitted it wasn't very professional of them and they would strive to do better in the future.

One neat feature on their site is the ability to choose your basket based on when you need it delivered. This is particularly useful I imagine if you need to have something delivered quickly. They have a rush delivery feature that, even as I finish this post at 10:24 pm, it says my item will be delivered tomorrow. I'd have to choose from a select group of items, but there is a wide variety even in that group. All that being said, if you asked me where you could find a quality gift basket online, I would tell you to go to

Irony in Previous Post

I was just reading my previous post about Random Happenings at the Family Musings House when I realized the irony from posting these two pictures right next to each other.

I guess these pictures are kind of like my weight loss efforts... I operate in the extreme baby!

Random Happenings at the Family Musings House

Charlotte was in a cupcake eating contest. She came in 4th place. Out of 4 kids. I think she was confused by what she was supposed to do. She just worked on the frosting mostly. If she is going to be a competitive eater, she better practice some more!

Mary enjoys eating a wide variety of foods, unlike her older sister who just wants animal crackers, pretzels, or goldfish most days. She tried snow peas this week and really liked them.

Oh, and she has 4 teeth now. And enjoyed some blueberries.

Daddy was in a pie eating contest. He came in 2nd place out of 8 people. His efforts were valiant but he couldn't keep up with the guy twice his size who won 1st place.

We still like going to First Friday in downtown Lakeland. That is where Bruce and Charlotte made their amateur competitive eating appearances. And we check out the old cars every month, even though they are always the same cars.

I made an pretty decent at home version of my favorite Buffalo Chicken Wrap. Angela would be happy with it, and that's important.

For our date night in July, Bruce and I both took a step closer to cardiovascular disease. It was worth it.

 We also took time to pose for a picture. Flying Tigers games are one of our favorite dates. They are cheap ($5 per person) and we get to talk while having something mildly interesting to look at.

Mary can fall asleep in Daddy's arms pretty easily. It's cute.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mary's Baby Dedication

You may have already read how it took me nearly two months to share Charlotte's dance recital with you. I'm equally behind on sharing Mary's dedication service with you. It happened the next morning and we were blessed to be joined by so many family members in dedicating ourselves to raise Mary in the Lord. Below is the text that Pastor Mark read for her parent/baby dedication, which was written collaboratively by Bruce and me. And below that is the less than 5 minutes video of the service.

Luke 18 tells us of a time when people were bringing their babies to Jesus to receive his blessing. His disciples, however, tried to shoo the people away, probably thinking their busy teacher had more important issues to worry about. But Jesus welcomed the children and used that opportunity to teach about the faith that brings people to God.

The parents bringing their children to Jesus understood their responsibility to raise children to the glory of God. As Dt. 6:4-7 commands us:

"Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on their children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

In the same way, Bruce and Jennifer Sabin bring their daughter, Mary Mitchell Sabin, presenting first themselves and then Mary before God. Accompanying them to witness this commitment are her sister, grandparents, great-grandfather, aunt and uncle, and close friends of the family.

Bruce and Jennifer have tried from the very beginning of Mary’s life—even before she was born—to point Mary toward God. That’s why they gave her the name Mary Mitchell. They named her after a 19th century missionary—a person most of you have probably never heard of, but who invested her life to show the glory of God and help other people enjoy him as much as she did.

And, today, Bruce and Jennifer bring Mary before this church and for two reasons. They want to make a commitment to God, in front of all of us, that they will seek to raise Mary in the discipline and teaching of the Lord. And they seek our commitment, as their church family, to walk along side them in their task.

Bruce & Jennifer by coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and Mary to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment in the presence of God and his people (Wife hands child to husband as a sign of his spiritual headship in the family).

So that Mary may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you Bruce & Jennifer vow by God's help and in partnership with the church, to provide Mary a Christian home of love and peace, to raise her in the truth of our Lord's instruction and discipline, and to pray for her and encourage her to one day trust Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord? ("We do.")

Finally, I ask that the church make a vow as well. As believers in the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to teach the Gospel story to our younger generation. In fact, the Old Testament prophet Joel commands us to tell of God's work "to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation" (1:3). So I direct my questions now to the congregation.

Being gathered together before God today, do you hereby declare yourselves to be the children of God because you trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life? If this is true, please respond by saying "we do." ("We do.")

Would you please stand?

Having come freely, I ask now that you make the following commitment before God and those who stand before you: So that Mary may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you vow by God's help, to be faithful in your calling as members of the body of Christ, to help Bruce and Jennifer be faithful to God, and to help teach and train Mary in the ways of the Lord so that she might one day trust him as Savior and Lord? If you accept this responsibility, please respond by saying "we do."

(Closing prayer by Pastor Mark)

Charlotte's 1st Dance Recital

Um, so, yeah. Charlotte was in a dance recital. And I'm such a good mom blogger, that I am sharing it with you now, almost two months later. One of the things I love about Florida Dance Theatre (where she took classes) is that their recital for the 'Little Stars' is at the studio and free. There is little pressure on the girls to do anything other than have fun. Charlotte was by far the youngest girl in the class; the only two year old. Ms. Terri was the dance instructor and she was always encouraging to Charlotte, even when Charlotte wasn't as attentive as Ms. Terri would have liked. Ms. Terri's patience with my little girl was special to me.

And without further ado, here are the pictures.

Before the recital:
Loving on her friend Lydia... the one who got us into this class.

 Standing like a "flingo," which is what Charlotte calls a flamingo.
 Cheesing it up with Lydia.

During the recital:

(Sorry for the poor quality, this was the night we first discovered my camera's problems, as we walked out the door!)

After the recital:
Charlotte loved this balloon and chased it all over the studio. We still have it and I'll probably re-inflate it for next year's recital.

I have some videos, but they aren't that great and would take quite a while to upload... and seeing as it took me almost two months to show you the pics, well, don't hold your breath!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mary Is Clapping Now

Bruce has been telling me for 2 days that Mary was clapping. And every time I came around the corner to see it, she would stop. Finally though, this evening, I got to see it and encourage it. Bruce should feel lucky that he got to view this milestone first since he doesn't usually get to see them before me!

Mary is now a clapping fool. That is probably because of how excited we all get when she does it!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Mary is 10 Months Old

I can hardly believe that Mary is now 10 months old! While some days have been painfully slow, these last 10 months really have gone by so fast. I've made lots of new friends and mostly adjusted to being a mom of 2.

Mary has been growing in so many ways:
  • She is pulling up on anything we let her get near and even started taking some steps along the couch while holding on to it. 
  • Her pacifier is still a constant companion. 
  • When she sleeps, her legs are tucked under her and her arms go under her body. It is funny to watch her each night as she settles into such an odd position.
  • She can laugh like crazy if you catch her just right. Mary especially enjoys watching other people make a fool of themselves. Crazy faces and noises illicit the best laughs.
  • Turkey and Vegetables is her favorite jar food. She sucked down an entire jar in about 2 minutes just last night.
  • When she drinks her bottle she is all business. It is rare for her to stop until the bottle is dry. But when she is done, she is really, really done.
  • Without a doubt, Mary's favorite place to sleep is right next to me. I don't complain though. She is super snuggly. Other people can get her to sleep too though.
  • Her hitch crawl is almost gone, though she does use it for the first and last crawl often.
  • Antoinette, her physical therapist, is pleased with her progress and thinks that after our appointment next week, Mary will just need to come every other week. Speech therapy is already every other week.
  • Paper is still Mary's favorite toy. She likes to crinkle and tear it. This isn't good news for Charlotte's coloring books, but it pleases Mary.
  • When Mary is tired or hungry, holding her is a must if you want the room to be quieter. I think if you are holding she knows sleep or food is coming, but once you put her down she doubts it.
  • Another of her favorite past times is pulling our "shoe bucket" off of its shelf and scattering ALL of the shoes around her. (She's doing it right now as I type this up.)
  • Mary doesn't have stranger anxiety, and for the most part, as long as she can see see either Bruce, Charlotte, or me, she is fine. Sometimes though, if I am leaving, Bruce has to distract her in another room until I am gone. Then she is fine.
  • Mary's smile is beautiful. Her hair is growing in slowly, and looks to be fine and thin with a slight wave, just like her big sister's hair.
  • She likes to grab her sister's cereal bowl. Even when we try to put it up on the couch. Mary's reach is getting longer. 
  • Hair is a new passion for her, either pulling mine or pulling Charlotte's. Hopefully this is just a phase.
  • Mary can sign milk, but that's about it. We'll be working on the sign language with her more soon because she still hasn't decided to talk much.
  • Last week at the park, Mary sat on our blanket for 2 hours without getting into anything, happy to just watch the people around her. The other moms were a little jealous. :)
 We love you Marykins! Please don't grow up too fast.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Repost: What Kind of Mother Am I

In June 2008 I wrote about mothering and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Charlotte wasn't even a year old and some of the points just didn't play out yet. So I thought it would be a good exercise to see how I stack up against what my mothering type is "supposed" to be.

Here is what it says about my type as a mother:

ESTJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging)

“We’re the mothers you like to carpool with. Not only are we on time, we organize the driving schedule for everyone.”

  • Organized and comfortable being in charge, the ESTJ mother knows “how to” get things done, make things happen, and accomplish much on behalf of her children. Whether she is encouraging them to get involved in organized activities or talking with them about their personal concerns, children of the ESTJ mother learn “how to” succeed in life.
  • Upbeat and matter-of-fact, the ESTJ mother is intent on her children having the best. She puts her skills and talents to work to this end, from planning trips that supplement their studies to raising funds for new playground equipment. She is happiest when her efforts produce concrete results — children who try out for teams, participate in academic competitions, or are leaders among their peers.
  • The ESTJ mother runs a tight household. She is apt to have predictable expectations, consistent routines, standard procedures, and well-defined boundaries, all of which help her children feel protected and secure.

Now that Charlotte is almost 3 years old, I can read this description and still feel pretty confident in its accuracy. I am an involved mom. I do like to plan things. (Like summer playdates for all 65 of my MOPs friends!). And I have to add, thankfully there is no expectation within my type of having an immaculate house. Because that ain't going to happen!

If you know your Myers-Briggs Type, you can click over here and read about yourself. My EdD husband reminded me that the MBTI is copy-written so you can't take it online, but there is a similar version of the test here if you don't know what your type is.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Blog Designs

Did you know I have two daughters? Not from looking at my blog design you didn't. It's sad y'all. Mary turned 10 months old yesterday and I still don't have a new design to reflect the foursome that our family has become. 

Seriously, I need to redesign my blog. The task seems huge. I have so many ideas and really no ideas all at the same time. (Ok, that makes sense in my head!) I'd like to know, who did you use for your blog design? I want something simple, that I will still be able to play with and adjust as things change around here. But I don't want to spend a lot of money.

Can you help a mom out and point her to some quality redesign companies?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Fun Times With Friends

Have you ever met that family that seems to mesh so perfectly well with your own you are just waiting for them to decide to leave the state? You know, the one where the husbands share similar interests? The kids all get along? And you feel like you've known the mom forever?

Honestly, I didn't think that family existed. But God decided that the Sabin Family needed to meet the Williamson Family. And boy am I grateful! This weekend we got our two families together for a late night picnic in downtown Lakeland so we could all enjoy the fireworks together.

Charlotte and Porter (whom I not so secretly hope she will marry... if her dad ever says it's okay!)

Me and Bethany! Isn't she adorable?!

Bethany & Richard

See how she loves my kids! When she is around I practically have to wrestle her to hold my own daughter!

This is Lydia... Charlotte will tell you that this is her best friend.

And finally, the crowd we were trying to keep our kids out of!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Something Big is On the Horizon

Just wanted to give you a heads up... I've got something big planned for my blog coming up in just a few weeks. And it may or may not have anything to do with a certain toddler's 3rd birthday and presents for my blog readers!

Make sure you are subscribed to the RSS feed by clicking one of these links:

You'll need to be subscribed to participate!

I Lost Something This Morning

This morning was a great morning to run. By 6 am there was just enough light to see where I was going. The day was filled with promise and hope. By 7 am when I was done, it was clear this is going to be an overcast and rainy day.

And somewhere between 6 am and 7 am, about the time I hit the end of mile 2 on my run around Lake Hollingsworth this morning, I lost something. It wasn't something I really liked anyway. I won't even miss it. And honestly, I hope it dove into the lake and drowned.

It was a little part of the old me. She just decided she couldn't keep up with my new, faster pace. She wanted to walk. I wanted to run. So we parted ways. With it, she took her head first, hunched should running posture. I kept my feet first, push off on the toes running stride. What a difference that made!

Saying good by to the old me feels good. Really good.

What are you saying good by to this week?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Mother vs. Wife

I recently read an article online written by one John Rosemond. It was a response to a husband who was unhappy with how much mothering and how little "wife-ing" his wife was doing.

It brought out a seriously strong reaction in me. It made me mad. Go read it. It might make you mad too. In it, Rosemond says no one ever questioned him when he was speaking to a large group, so therefor everyone agrees with him. Most likely, they were being polite and didn't think shouting disagreement in a large crowd was the right place to do it.

So, I'll address him here.  He says,"So, at speaking engagements, I say to my audiences, who average 60/40 female, "Raising children is the most stressful thing a woman will do in her adult life, more stressful than running a major corporation." And then I ask, "Anyone disagree?" When no one disagrees, and no one ever
has, I up the ante: "Raising children has become bad for the mental health of women. Anyone disagree?" No one has ever disagreed. I go on to ask, "Why are women submitting to this? Certainly this is more oppressive than a glass ceiling or having other professional doors irrevocably shut. No?" No one disagrees."

First - I agree that raising children is more stressful than running a major corp, though I've never done the later. It just seems that way. If a corporation fails, people lose money. But if a mother fails, a life could be ruined.

Second - I vehemently disagree that raising children is bad for the mental health of women. Some women are not as well prepared for it, but the fault for that lies with the surrounding culture. Women are increasingly told they can "have it all" and then, when it doesn't work out all that well, they feel bad about themselves. They aren't able to live up to the standard the world has set for them.

Third - children are NOT the new glass ceiling. They are human beings that we (for the most part) willingly bring into the world. It is not fair to blame them for the mental health status of women. Even in cases of PPD, we do not blame the children.

I've ranted a lot already... anyone else have any thoughts about what Rosemond said???

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Couple More Family Pictures

My friend Abby really did a great job, and some of these photos have received a lot of comments on Facebook, so I thought I'd share them here as well.

How I Became a Stay At Home Mom

As a young girl (school aged), I never envisioned myself as a stay at home mom. If I ever even thought about being a mom, I was going to be a working mom. My mom had worked during my middle and high school years and things were fine. We still had family dinners most nights and she was still active in my life (sometimes a little too much, but that is a different post).

As I prepared for college, I chose a career in broadcasting. At one point, I even dreamed of owning a small AM station and living in the middle of no where, with a friend and some animals maybe. I was a fairly independent teen and made most of my own decisions. Even about college. My parents were mostly concerned about paying for it and let me choose where to go.

It wasn't until my Junior year of college, when I had a serious boyfriend that the idea of working and being a mom really became an issue for me. The guy was a deep thinker so it didn't really faze me that we kept talking about working moms. He also like to read. So he bought me two books, "Mommy Where Are You," and a "Busy Mother's Survival Guide."

As part of my own exploration of the issue, I spent a day with a mom who worked in television and had the job I wanted. Between that, reading the books, and the conversations with my then boyfriend and I had, I eventually decided to become a stay at home mom, but only after I had worked for a few years.

That was almost 13 years ago. It took me 10 years to finally become a stay at home mom because I worked for the first year of Charlotte's life. I never regret giving up my teaching career to be home with my girls. Though, to be honest, there are days I miss the salary.

An interesting side note to all of this is that the boyfriend who kept talking to me about being a stay at home mom was doing so because he did want to marry me. He knew he wanted a wife who would stay home. I'm certain that some days I don't live up to his expectations of how that would turn out, but I am grateful that he cared enough to allow me to change my mind instead of telling me what he wanted and asking me to choose. That was so wise for him to do at 20 years old. Chances are pretty good I would have told him whatever he wanted to hear if I knew marriage was on the line! We've been married 12 years now!

If you know a young lady in need of some wisdom about how to approach her college years in light of marriage and kids, I highly recommend you pass this link onto her - It is a conversation about how 2 woman might advise a young lady desiring a career in medicine.