Thursday, May 31, 2007

Have You Seen?

Katherine's post on making your comments more user-friendly with blogger? Two brilliant little tips so that you can respond to comments by email AND know who you are responding to. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bringing Home Baby

As pretty much anyone who reads this journal knows, we welcomed our third sweet daughter into our family a little over three weeks ago. She was a c-section delivery, and you know, you don't just jump up running from those. :-) We got out of the hospital on a Tuesday, I had Travis home with me for Wednesday and Thursday, my Mom for Friday, and then a weekend at home for our family ... but then I was on my own the following Monday, when E was just 9 days old. If I had a dollar for everytime someone expressed shock that I was already at home with the three girls by myself ... well, let's just say I wouldn't have to worry about finances for a while.

I don't say this to boast (I hope I don't come across that way!), but to offer encouragement. :-) I knew that I didn't have much time with (adult) help at the house so I had a little game plan that I used for that week and for when I was on my own. I share this with those that are pregnant and looking forward to that time of transitioning in a new family member - one who has trouble figuring out whether he or she is crying because he's tired or hungry, and likes to be held a lot! :-)

1. While you have help, get SLEEP. That's what your help is there for! :-) I tend to forget, especially when someone like my Mom is over, that I don't need to entertain her or talk to keep her company. I have three little girls there for just that purpose. :-) I need to remember to take advantage of the help and if I need to catch a nap between feedings, then do it. Most Grandmas are more than happy to hold the new baby and play with the other kids while you doze for a few minutes. They know you are the one that will be up at night with the baby while they are hopefully getting a full night's sleep.

2. Have a plan for breakfast. Don't worry about dinner, your husband will be home to help you with that, and lunch is usually something that can easily be put together. But breakfast was my downfall. After being up for two or three feedings, I wake up in a fog and the last thing on my mind is what to feed the starving 15 month old that is frantically pulling on her highchair saying "Eat, eat, eat!!!" So, think ahead. What is easy and or can be made quickly for breakfast and you don't have to think long and hard about it? We do lots of toast right now (cinnamon toast to be exact), granola bars, pancakes and french toast. I also usually throw out some fruit - whether it's fresh or applesauce from a jar.

3. Get sunshine. While there are all sorts of medical reasons why sunshine is good for you (vitamin D and all), it just makes me happy. :-) My husband is great about loading all the kids up in our van and taking us all for a long Saturday afternoon drive about a week after I've been trapped, stuck housebound with the kids. Sunshine revitalizes me like nothing else, and if there's a cold Diet Coke in the drink holder it's just that much better. :-) Plus, it gives me a chance for a little adult conversation with Travis while (usually) all three snooze in their carseats. I try and get outside in our backyard a couple days a week, too. Sunshine works!

4. Do the next thing. There are very few things that HAVE to be done those first few weeks at home. Laundry can wait until your husband is home, or the kids are in bed (really, it can!) but you have to feed your kids lunch and you have to change a diaper now and then. Focus on the essentials, and don't worry about the stuff that isn't high priority. That helped me so much as I was looking at projects I wanted to get done, things I wanted/needed to clean, and just had no energy or was just too sore to tackle. It can wait and will still be there after you've had two or three weeks to heal and rest.

I could post so many more thoughts on this, but I'm going to stop. :-) These are tips that Work for Me and I hope they help and encourage you!

For more WFMW ideas, visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - May 28

Monday:
B: leftover breakfast cassarole
L: quesadillas
D: grill chicken, salad

Tuesday:
B: leftover French toast (if all gone, oatmeal and toast)
L: mac & cheese
D: Taco Hot Dish

Wednesday:
B: oatmeal/toast
L: mac & cheese leftovers
D: dinner being brought over by a friend!

Thursday:
B: oatmeal/toast
L: quesadillas
D: Sticky Chicken (CP)

Friday:
B: oatmeal/toast
L: chicken nuggets
D: pizza

Saturday:
B: oatmeal/toast
L: leftovers
D: Church Picnic

(Most of the lunch stuff is just ideas for the kids ... we have lots of leftovers from meals usually that get served first. These ideas are just back-up in case it's something that the munchkins won't eat).

Head over to Org Junkie for more Monday menu inspiration!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

A few photos and then I'm off ... N1 is at her first Chuck E. Cheese birthday party with her Daddy and I'm home with the babies. Hoping to get a few things done once they are down for morning naps.

We had a little photo shoot with my Dad last weekend in the quest for a family photo and one of the three girls together! The goal was really a picture of the girls, but when I noticed that Travis and I were both in blue and red like they were, well, I had to try for a coordinating picture. I was so excited with how they turned out! And, yes, we bribed N1 with a piece of candy to sit and pose like that. :-) The middle picture below of just the girls will go with E's birth annoucement so that our friends can see how big the other girls are getting. I like including all the girls somehow when I mail out a picture and annoucement of the new baby.

Have a great weekend!

Our family:

Our Family - May 07

Our girls:

Our Girls - May 07

The big girls:

'The

Friday, May 25, 2007

24

Found at Becky's:

What was on your mind yesterday? N1 had a headache (a first) and I was a little worried what was up with that.
What is on your mind today? Do I get out of the house with the girls or not? I could run a couple errands, or we could stay in .... what to do!
Do you like bonfires? Yes! But only if it's chilly out. A summer/hot weather bonfine (been to one of those before) is just wrong!
Have you lived up to your parents' expectations? In some areas. :-)
Are we more likely to find you in a coffee bar or a nightclub? Coffee bar.
Do you gamble? No.
Have you ever ridden a horse? Several times. Those were all adventures that ended Very.Badly. For me. Not the horse.
Do you drink alcohol? No.
Turn your head to the right -- what do you see? Baskets of pens and my calendar. *happy sigh*
How tall are you? Almost 5'5" (5'4½")
Describe your last date: Um, we went out for Mexican food and saw Spiderman 3 the night before E was due ... and then I started having contractions at the movies and we ended up heading to the hospital about midnight!
Do you have rhythm? Yes when it comes to playing an instrument or singing .... none at all when it comes to dancing.
What web browser do you use? IE.
What time zone are you in? Central
Do you wear a wristwatch? All.The.Time.
Are you clumsy or graceful? It's about even.
Do you like to spy on people? Not really. :-)
Are football players paid too much? Yes.
Does time always kill pain? No.
First kiss? The husband. :-)
Are you complicated? Sometimes.
Do you believe in heaven? Absolutely.
Are you free with your feelings? With my girls and husband, yes! With others, not so much.
How much money do you have in your wallet right now? 26 cents. :-)

If you do this, leave me a comment so I can come check it out!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In my cart...

Inspired by Cheri's last post. :-)
  • generic fruit loops
  • generic corn chex
  • 3 boxes of fruit & grain granola bars (generic raspberry, apple & blueberry)
  • Mission Tortilla chips
  • bread (3 loaves)
  • bagels (1 dozen plain)
  • Swiss cheese
  • light cream cheese
  • Big K (diet/caffiene free) and assorted drinks for the husband to take to work
  • coffee (Folgers breakfast blend - Travis' favorite)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 gallon 2% milk
  • 2 box mac & cheese (generic)
  • bag salad
  • bananas
  • Creating Keepsakes June issue (a little Mama treat) :-)
  • green bell pepper
  • red bell pepper
  • Glad press & seal (I do NOT skimp on plastic wrap!)
  • grape tomatoes
  • 2 cans tuna w/ water
  • curry paste (for Travis' especial stir-fry)
  • 2 crescent rolls
  • breakfast sausage
  • bacon
  • 1 thin round steak (for fajitas)
  • popcorn (loose kernals)

How cool is this?

Five Minutes for Mom is having another great contest - this one is for a tutu from Tutu Fantasy. I post this link with some hesitation. :-) If we won this, N1 would want to wear this 24/7 and I'm not sure how I feel about that. LOL

Anyway, head over to 5MfM if you want to enter!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Menu Plan for this Week - May 21

A little late, so I'm not going to even bother linking to Org Junkie's Mr. Linky this week. :-) We're are still supposed to have a couple more meals brought to us from church folks (woo-hoo!) so I've made a rather fluid menu that can be changed if I don't have to cook.

Monday:
Dinner: Pizza

Tuesday:
Dinner: hamburger helper (yum!), green beans, salad

Wednesday:
Dinner: chicken stir-fry

Thursday:
Dinner: meatloaf or spaghetti, salad, bread

Friday:
Dinner: chicken soft tacos (in the crockpot) with all the fixin's

Saturday:
Dinner: crescent roll breakfast cassarole (new recipe) and fruit salad

Sunday:
Lunch: family lunch (at the grandparents); dinner is a lovely assortment of leftovers from the fridge that might still be edible before it is purged for Monday's trash day.

I didn't bother to do breakfast and lunch because the cupboards are BARE! and the untraditional breakfast and lunches that I have been making do with do not need to be posted! The girls (yes, all 3) and I are going to attempt Kroger's this afternoon to restock the necessities which is greatly needed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Yuck

About 2 1/2 years ago I had my first online meeting with folks I met through the Women at Home site. This lovely lady was one of those women. We share a deep love of Diet Coke and books and I've watched her walk through some huge personal struggles in the last few years.

Today I found out she has cancer. A really ugly kind. Pray for Nattie. God is on his throne and He is sovereign.

Friday, May 18, 2007

5 Minutes for Mom Contest!


Want a year's supply of bandages?

Head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom for a chance to win!

N1 has recently discovered that a bandaid heals all wounds ... even those that are invisible to the naked eye so this would be a huge help around our house! And the fact that there are Little Einstein bandaids. Excellent!

A Sign

that I am a true Mom of girls:

A true sign that I'm a Mom of girls

I can find a passie to match even the most challengine of outfits!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thankful Thurday - May 17

I was sitting outside with N1 this morning while the babies were both sleeping and did some of the first journaling I've done in months. As I wrote, what came across my page was amazement at where my life is today. Truly, I say to you, I had no idea that this is where God had me headed. As a teen, I would have been the first to tell you that I didn't think I would get married. Not because I didn't want to, but because I was too (insert undesireable characteristic here) for anyone to want to marry me. And, while I dreamed of my very own babies, I figured I was set for a life as a perpetual babysitter. Very fun and fulfilling being the favorite babysitter with one minor drawback - you have to give the babies back. :-)

However, God has surprised me in ways that I can hardly believe and that take my breath away when I think about it. He has walked beside me through a season so rough and painful that "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD." (Psalm 27:13) Amazing how when you are at the bottom lowest spiritually, emotionally, and even financially, you start to learn how to depend even more on God! :-) I'm so thankful for that lesson even though I have fears about ever having to relearn it.

All that said, I am so thankful this morning for the gifts of my family in my life:
  • My husband, who provides for us so faithfully, disciplines and loves his daughters amazingly, and takes care of me so wonderfully. (And let me sleep until 8:30 this morning!) :-)
  • My N1 ... all she wants is my attention and I am amazed at my selfishness in giving it to her. She is bubbly, inventive, and oh so BUSY!! I'm so thankful for her, and how much she loves her little sisters.
  • My N2 ... my cuddle-bug and our hugger and kiss extrordinaire. She has the best belly laughs.
  • My E ... our newest girl, with dark, dark hair, eyes like mine, and a button nose; with a love of being wrapped up tight and held close. We had a rocky start together, but she is finding her niche here in our family and is going to be so adored and spoiled by her sisters and Mama and Daddy. We can hardly stand how yummy she is.

So, so thankful.

For more thankfulness, visit Iris.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Day 3

  • We've been on our own at home for three days now.
  • It's going REALLY well.
  • I hope I'm not speaking too soon, but it really is. :-)
  • I'm not pushing myself, and we are just having lots of good girlie time.
  • I had my first cup of coffee yesterday since the baby was born. Yum.
  • But I haven't had a real diet coke yet. Not.One.
  • I do miss them, but I wanted to make some changes in my caffiene intake and what better time that when you are in the hospital and semi-cut off for four days straight.
  • But, my fantabulous husband has bought me some caffiene free for home, and I'm trying to only have one (or two) a day.
  • The rest of the time, I'm drinking water or decaf iced tea. It's iced tea weather round these parts.
  • The baby is eating about every 2 hours during the day, and every 3 1/2 to 4 at night. A very unusual schedule, but it's working well.
  • Did I mention that she had some jaundice issues?
  • We've been sunning her by our big window and the doctor is pleased with her progress.
  • I think she's definitely our most mellow baby thus far.
  • I haven't mentioned our Mother's Day that we had.
  • It was nice ... and very low-key. :-)
  • Travis took us for a long ride on Saturday in the car (mostly to get me out of the house for a bit).
  • On the way home, he stopped and bought me my Mother's Day present: two deck chairs for our back deck!
  • I've been wanting a couple chairs for two years now so I was very excited!
  • On Sunday, we went over to my folks' house for lunch and lots of time to pass around the baby.
  • My Dad even took a few head shots of our E-girl for the baby announcement.
  • This one is the funniest:

Funny Face

  • I'll save the good one for when the baby announcement is done. :-)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - May 14

I'm starting to realize that with three there will need to be much more planning and organization around here! :) This morning we had E's 1 week check up at the pediatrician's and I was somewhat curious how it would go trying to get us breakfast, dressed and out the door and at the dr's by 9:15 a.m. As I was thinking about that last night, I remember that I had some make ahead breakfast recipes in my Simple Centsible Breakfasts e-book that I bought from Biblical Womanhood sometime ago. Literally, in five minutes, I had a batch of pancake batter in the fridge ready for breakfast and it was done. Now if I can just keep this up! :)

For this week:

Monday:
B: pancakes
L: quesadillas, grapes
D: provided by someone from church - yeah!

Tuesday:
B: leftover pancakes
L: grilled cheese, yogurt, carrots & dip
D: lentils and rice in the crockpot (Leann's recipe) served in tortillas

Wednesday:
B: cinnamon toast, yogurt/applesauce
L: hot-dogs
D: provided by someone from church - woo-hoo!

Thursday:
B: French Toast, make ahead
L: quesadillas
D: Sloppy Joe turnovers, veggies

Friday:
B: French Toast leftovers
L: chicken nuggets, etc.
D: provided by someone from church - woot!

Saturday:
B: breakfast burritos (eggs, sausage, cheese)
L: leftovers
D: potato soup/biscuits

(Most of the lunch stuff is just ideas for the kids ... we have lots of leftovers from meals that folks are bringing us that we are working through mostly. These ideas are just back-up in case it's something that the munchkins won't eat).

More menus, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

1 Week Old

We're one week old today! E really is such a good baby ... her mellow nature that I enjoyed during pregnancy is very evident so far in her demeanor. She has to get pretty hungry before she really starts to cry. :) This first week has been one of great up and downs. At some point, I would like to type up her arrival story, but I'm not sure I'm ready to do that yet. :) The short-short version is that compared to previous epidurals, I do NOT like spinals; all manner of milk and latching on issues have occured, but I just might be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, thank you Lord!; and the hormones are slowing down somewhat, although I'm still really bummed that Travis has to go back to work on Monday. I love having him home!

However, we are so blessed with our newest girlie. I've been able to sleep soooo much better since she has arrived, too. It's made such a difference just NOT being pregnant. Sigh. And being able to sleep in my own bed after the hospital is always a fabulous improvement. The dr. has given me strict words about getting pregnancy again anytime soon ... baby #4 is not out of the question, by any means, but having N2 and E so close together and probably combined with my age and such, means my body needs a good long break before the next pregnancy to refuel itself. I am, down deep, thankful for that. I love having babies, and know that my body really needs a break - I realized that I haven't slept through the night in over a year and half! Trust me, the first night I get about 8 consecutive hours, there will be much whooping and hollering around here. :)

Wishing you all a wonderful Mother's Day this year!

Natalie and Elizabeth

Noelle & Elizabeth

Snoozing and getting a bit of sun for our jaundice

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It's a girl

We had the baby earlier than expected. Stephanie starting having contractions after we got back from the movies on Friday night; the doctor said to come on in. Elizabeth Diane Shepherd was born at 3:24am Saturday, May 5, 2007. She weighed 10 pounds 10.6 ounces and was 19 inches long.

DSC_4555

Friday, May 04, 2007

Adios!

Making this the last post pre-baby. I don't think there's much more that we can do around here to get ready. The girls are going to Grandma and Grandpa's tonight and then Travis and I have BIG plans to go see Spiderman 3 at the movie theater. I'm looking forward to the evening out, a last meal of movie theater popocorn and diet coke, and hopefully some sleep before we head to the hospital in the morning. We're scheduled for an 11:30 section, but I'm not sure when we'll be able to get the blog updated so be patient with us. :-) (My sister will be letting the Women at Home board know when she can get online, too).

In a little bloggy news, it looks like my little blog may have a new home in the near future! Last night, Travis unveiled for me our new family blog/site over at my new Punkin' Press domain! We had had the website for my stationary/card making business some time ago, but then had to let it lapse for a bit ($$$$). It's back online ... needs some rebuilding ... but we will probably be moving my blog over there. I'll give plenty o' heads up when it happens ... and with a new baby, who knows when that will be! :-)

Off to think about some lunch for me and the girls, and then finish getting their gear together for the grandparent pick up later. Prayers for a safe delivery and a healthy girlie would be much appreciated ... and if you remember, I usually have HORRENDOUS nausea during my c-section and for about 24 hours afterwards. Just the way I react to the drugs I supposed, but it would be nice if it missed me this time. :-)

Much thanks and blessings. We'll share news soon. :-)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A definite sign that I need to have this baby!

My brain is just not working anymore!

We (the girls and I) went to have lunch with my Mom and sister today ... we try and hook up once a week. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. Anyway, we were unloading the girls from the car - I had just changed N2's diaper - and my Mom was pulling out one girl and my sister took the other. I took care of just getting bags and sippy cups and all the paraphenalia one needs for a one hour lunch at Jack in the Box.

While inside, my sister kindly took N1 to the bathroom and when they came out, N1 needed a change of clothing. (We sometimes have aiming issues ... who knew with a girl??) I ran out to the car to get another change of und*rwe*r and when I got near my van, I thought I heard a humming sound like the engine was cooling off or something. That's weird, I thought, but didn't really think anything of it, until I opened the car door and realized that I had left it RUNNING in the parking lot, keys in it, the whole bit. I was so busy unloading girls and things that I completely forgot to turn the car off, and if N1 hadn't needed something, I'm sure it would have sat there running until we got done with lunch. :-)

Proof that I have about completely checked out of reality and need to have this baby. :-)

Share the Love, from May 2


Share the Love - May 2
Share the Love - May 2

The one where I answer your questions...

And also remind you that it's delurking week around here. We are down to two days left before the BIG day. No, I haven't broken it down into hours yet for counting-down purposes. :-) So, leave a comment if you haven't thus far (especially if you tend to lurk) just so I know who will be meeting our newest little when we can get it posted on here!

Anyway, back to regular stuff. :-)

Nancy asked me about the camera that I use for our photos. I have to say, it's pretty great. My Dad is quite the photographer (when he's not preaching at church) and I had serious picture envy of these great pictures he was taking of the girls. Right about the time N2 was born, I mentioned (in passing) to Travis that when the time came that we had money and he thought it would fit, I would like to upgrade to a better camera ... he fixed me up for Valentine's day last year and I haven't looked back! :-) The camera is a Nikon D50, which is a SLR digital camera. (Simple definition: not your basic point-and-shoot camera ... you need a lens to go on it, an extra flash sometimes, etc. It doesn't fit in my purse anymore.) :-) That's the only drawback to the camera to me ... it's bulky and when you are already carrying a purse, one or more diaperbags, and usually toting a child, the camera is just one more thing to haul. But, the pictures are worth it.

Next, Lauren asked some scrapbooking questions and rather than fill up her entire comment section, I thought I'd answer them here:

Do you crop your pictures with fancy edges, or just use the cool edges on paper?
I don't tend to crop my pictures with fancy edges ... I'm more into a square/block type look on my pages when I lay them out as you can see here. Not saying I never use a decorative edge, but to me, it's easier (and faster) to just use a straight edge.

Sophie Marigold challengelayout1 challengelayout2

What are your favorite websites for layout ideas? Magazines? Blogs?
Um, way too many. :-) I subscribe to Simple Scrapbooks Magazine and Paper Crafts Magazine and I pick up Creating Keepsakes at the grocery store when I have a little extra money. As far as blogs, there are quite a few scrappers' blogs I read, but for actual artistic inspiration, I would steer you towards Ali Edwards, Donna Downey, Kristina Contes (can sometimes be PG-13, be warned), Shimelle ... and this is just a start. Cheryl is writing for a new blog called Scrapbookist that I've just scratched the surface on, but it looks like it has some cool stuff for inspiration. (More of my favorite scrapper blogs are listed in the Blog-Love list in the left column).

I also keep a creativity/inspiration notebook that I put layouts, ideas, and such in and when I need some creative juices, I pull it out and flip through it.

Do you journal by hand or type out your journaling?
I'm a handwriter I would say 95% of the time, and computer journal maybe 5% of the time. I like my handwriting so I don't have a problem using it on my layouts, and I love seeing handwriting on other's layouts. It's just so much more personal to me than type no matter what your handwriting looks like. Plus, to me, it's more work to stop what I'm working on and go get to the computer, figure out what paper I'm going to use, find a font, type it out, print it, redo it because I've found a mistake, etc. :-)

Whew. Going to stop now and get us geared up for a morning of errands. We have 2 family birthdays, Mother's Day for both grandma's, and a baby shower (for a friend, not me) happening in the next 2-3 weeks and these errands will not be getting done after Saturday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Picture Post

Travis had to work late last night so we had an extra hour or so to kill before dinner time. The girls and I went out to our freshly mowed backyard and they had a great time wandering around and checking things out. I think it's the first time we've been outside for an extended period this spring ... it was the perfect temperature and I was able to get a few good pictures. :-)

Posing

15 months

15 months (2)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Yummy

Remember this is de-lurking week here before the newest little arrives. :-) So far, I've delurked a few newbies-to-me (and gotten a few other fun comments as well from some "knowns.")

Thought I would share a yummy recipe we tried last night ... Travis had seconds and around here, that's saying something. :-)

Doritos Casserole
Hat tip: The Aldi Queen

Bag of generic Doritos, any kind (you can also substitute these with regular tortilla chips)
3-4 cups cooked ground beef (optional: cooked in a taco seasoning packet, following directions on packet)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar or taco cheese

Layer a 9×13 greased pan with the following. Layer of crushed lightly chips, layer of chopped meat, another layer of chips, a layer of cheese, a layer of the soups and tomatoes mixed together (heat them lightly), and then top finally with a cup of chips and another cup of cheese. Bake the casserole at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Yield: Six Servings