Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How We Learn Our Letters

Little Philip knew his alphabet backwards and forwards very early in life. Sometimes people would ask how we did that. We don't have an answer other than these foam bath letters that he has had in the tub since he was a little older than Helen. We think that Helen will learn quicker through osmosis. I guess this is what happens when you bathe with your older brother.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Was Tagged

The rules...

1.) Go to the place on your computer and choose the 4th folder.

2.) Choose the 4th picture in that folder.

3.) Explain the photo.

4.) Tag 4 others to do the same.

Sincerely tagging Kelli, Renee, Margaret, Taylor

This is from a 2006 Memorial Day weekend trip to Sandestin, FL with our friends the Cotners. Their son, Matthew, is a few months older than Little Philip. Matthew had just recently turned one and Philip was soon to be one in July. The two of them were so cute, waddling around the beach, poolside, and condo. One of the sweetest and funniest moments was the two of them on the screened porch, eating watermelon in their diapers. Looking at Helen now, it is remarkable how much she looks like her brother!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Kisses Take One, Take Two

I absolutely die laughing when I watch these two videos. We were trying to get Helen to give us kisses but our delightful Little Philip wanted to encourage Helen as well so she kept looking over at big brother rather than at the camera. So we deleted that take. Then we told Little Philip to please be quiet and just watch for a second. He couldn't do it so we deleted that one too. Then we told him to hold his finger on his mouth to help him be quiet for just a few seconds. If you listen in the first posted video below, you can hear him trying so very hard to stay quiet. It's just so hard when you are such a good big brother!

Too Long, No Post!

It seems like forever since I've posted anything concerning my family. They still exist, and all members are accounted for. Helen is just past ten months, army crawling, and close to real crawling. She refuses a bottle as usual, and if she could talk she would tell you that the sippy cup is straight from h**l.

Little Philip is hilarious these days. He's talking up a storm about random things. He takes everything literally and then pounds any topic you can imagine into the ground by repeatedly asking that infamous three year old question: why? We are 99% potty trained. Praise God. Yes, that was a real praise prayer. And, he is totally in love with his new Geotrax train set Santa brought him. He also really loves his new swing set that NeeNee and Poppy gave him. I would post pictures but, again, we didn't have a camera over Christmas (sniff!). My sister and brother-in-law took pictures but I think I'm going to need to give them a vital organ to get them to send me the pictures. Ellen and Robb, consider this a really big, world wide web hint. Each time Little Philip has success in the #2 department at school, he is allowed to pick out a new piece of Geotrax train. I've been buying used pieces off of eBay from families that have either outgrown their train set or the set has outgrown their small homes. As you can see, we are probably not long from being in the same position. Unless we can get that elevation track set and ramp the tracks off coffee tables, and dressers, and...
We have a women's retreat coming up at our church and I am bound and determined to go. The only problem is Miss Helen who still carries the greatest love and devotion to yours truly for all her necessary liquid nourishment. While I am super proud that I've made it this long still nursing, it is time to start the weaning process. This is not because I don't want to nurse, but rather, because I messed up big time just after I quit work this past June by not continuing to give her a bottle every now and then. So, tonight I was fed up and figured we have two weeks to get Helen to survive without me for the 24 hours I will be gone on the church retreat. When Little Philip refused to take whole milk at twelve months, we found this awesome whole organic strawberry milk at Publix. We started giving him that in a sippy cup and gradually cut it with white whole milk until the strawberry was not needed anymore. We thought we would try that with Helen but Publix doesn't sell that stuff anymore. So what did I do? I melted vanilla strawberry swirl ice cream and put it in a sippy cup. Helen loved it. Melted ice cream soup. She takes after her mama!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Overheard at the Dinner Tonight

Daddy talking to Little Philip:

Philip, Mississippi State is about to play Vanderbilt in basketball. Who are you cheering for?

Little Philip:

Mommy in the kitchen yells:

Little Philip:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Thrifty Are You?

I just pulled a corn casserole out of the freezer for dinner tonight and I realized that I'd reused some foil to cover it before I froze it. Despite my best intentions, I have officially become my mother.

So how thrifty are you? Here are some things around the house I do to pinch pennies.
Reuse foil (if it did not have meat on it the first time)
  • Wash and reuse zip loc bags (if they did not contain meat the first time)
  • Save gift bags and tissue paper
  • Mash old bars of soap with new bars of soap in bathtub
  • Use spatula to get the last of anything out of a jar (i.e. peanut butter)
  • Save plastic containers from yogurt, sour cream, etc to use as tupper ware
  • Use old burp cloths to dust rather than disposable paper towels
  • Wash sponges in washing machine to use them until they fall apart
  • Only use cold water cycles for laundry
  • Keep the same old tub of wet wipes and put in soft refill bags.
  • Make stained knit clothing my newest crafts or dust rags.
  • Make soup out of just about anything and chicken or beef stock
  • Make my own bath and body scrubs/salts (not that I've had time or ability to sit in a bath anytime recently).
  • Excercise as rarely as possible so as to preserve the tread on my New Balance tennis shoes (purchased in June of 2005, just before Little Philip was born - Big Philip had to tie the laces for me since I couldn't bend over)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting Crafty

Six months ago I quit work, a painfully emotional decision but one that provided invaluable time with the little ones and time to discern what else I can do in life to earn a modest living. I secretly want to be an amazing chef and seamstress. I lack a kitchen in which to learn the skills to be a chef and to be a seamstress I need to learn to sew first. Since I was limited to buying milk, eggs, and bread at the grocery yesterday I'm guessing our family budget does not allow for moving to a larger house or a nice kitchen renovation. Given that, I am starting sewing lessons tomorrow night! I'm nervous because my sewing machine is old and nothing fancy, and I don't want to be "that student" who constantly has to ask for personal attention in a group class setting. Tomorrow night's class is a basic introduction, no machine required. That's good. Ease me in gently.

I've taught myself some basic skills, thanks to the worthy instruction of a few friends and family. The result is a few appliqued shirts I've completed this week and listed for sale on my new fave site, I even added a link on this blog in the right sidebar (see? right there------> ). Since I can now smock some basic and moderate smocking patterns, I'm thinking of completing some inserts and placing them on etsy as well. I don't know how to make the inserts into completed garments yet so that will be my next skill to gain.

I still have a few more quilted honeycomb pieces and after a fun window shopping day with my sister, Ellen, I have some ideas on how to use them. We went to a great little store called Naked Art on the Forest Park area of Birmingham. The earthy chic that has lain dormant in me for some time came screaming out. What a cool store! Homemade and recycled everything turned into functional and funky art and clothing. Who would have thought to use shrinky dink sheets to make nightlights! I was especially drawn to the night lite of Birmingham's statue of Vulcan. We do need a nightlight in the front bathroom now that Little Philip is potty trained(ing). I would like to say that class and discretion kept me from buying it but again, the groceries were milk, eggs, and bread this week. If we can't even afford lunch meat, I certainly wasn't coming home with a shrinky dink nightlight of a naked iron god.

Anyway, it was a great inspirational trip and my head is swimming with ideas, not to mention the joy of simply hanging out with my little sister. If I can transfer those ideas into reality and earn a little income for the family, I will be thrilled. After all, I have always been blessed to love my work, and I pray that whatever work I do in the future, will continue to be something I love doing.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2009 Resolutions - from Renie

In case you missed last year's resolutions, click here for a review.

Renie's 2008 Report on Resolution Achievement

1. I did stop biting my nails. This is a huge achievement considering I obliterated my nails all but the last six months of my 34 years.

2. I do stop to breathe, usually pray, but definitely have decreased my anxiety and stress in life. I'm still working on it but who isn't.

3. Still working on the correct order of priorities. I really need to put God first in my life, and mean it. I think the key is to start a regular routine each day so there is no excuse for not getting my quiet time with God.

4. Send birthday greetings to friends and family. I failed miserably at this about the third week in January. The result? No one got cards or greetings unless you are on face book (since it prompts me to tell you every time you log in). So if you were one of the lucky birthday cards those first two weeks in January, consider yourself lucky. Everyone else, I'm sorry and I really will try to do better this year.

5. Helen was, indeed, less than nine pounds at birth, weighing in a 7 pounds 12 ounces, mind you, almost a month early. If not for that pesky stomach bug that prompted early labor, I am pretty confident I would have given birth to another Thanksgiving turkey.

6. Achieving world peace seems even more impossible given the headlines these days. Just another reminder that anything and everything is possible with God, rather than as a result of my futile efforts.

Renie's 2009 Resolutions

1. Quiet time, every day, without fail.

2. Baby weight must be gone. Goal? 20 pounds shed by Moss Beach Reunion, first week of June.

3. Learn to sew drapes and garments. I'm already taking my first real sewing class this month. By the end of the class I should be able to sew a Lucy a-line jumper for Helen. I also want to learn how to put in a smocked insert to the Lucy jumper and how to put together a bishop dress that has been smocked. My goal? To make some money to add family income...once I learn such skills.

4. Potty train Little Philip. Seriously, folks, we are so close. Philip rarely has an accident anymore and it is usually out in public rather than in the house. However, if he sees you typing on a computer, please excuse him when he asks you if you poo pooed on the potty. You see, he gets 20 minutes of computer time every time he poo poos on the potty so he naturally assumes you did the same. Just say yes and enjoy the high spirited affirmation from a three year old for controlling your bowels.

A Christmas wrap up post is coming, once I gather pictures from all the family members I nagged to take pictures for us since our camera is in for repair. Without giving too much away, we traveled a lot, and celebrated with family, a lot. More to come.