Wednesday, September 26

Pink Gives to a Good Cause

The ladies over at 5 Minutes for Mom are having a great giveaway -- a PINK Dyson vacuum! Even better, Dyson and Target are donating $40 of each vacuum to breast cancer research.

Now, I just happen to be in grave need of a new vacuum (as in, my vacuum deserves to be buried underground, never to see the light of day again)...and since I have grown into a love of pink, I'm adding my name to the raffle. Part of the entry deal is that you blog about the giveaway (or promise to talk about it with other friends if you don't blog).

If you fall in love with the vacuum and don't win the giveaway, you can always buy one at Target (if you have a spare $399). Yay!

Pass the word!

Tuesday, September 25

To Share or Not to Share

I recently read this post about what and how to teach your kids about sharing, and I found it quite interesting. Prior to this, we've always done the "who had it first?" thing. Now my whole philosophy is changing! All because of one post! Well, okay, actually two.

For the most part, Kaden doesn't usually have a problem with sharing his toys. However, the older Delaney gets (and the more interested she becomes in his things), the more territorial he's getting. Oh, and Laney? Yeah, um...not a sharer. She's a feisty one, I'll tell ya. If she has a toy, she does not care whose toy it is. It is hers. And that's the end of the story. She doesn't have a lot of words, but she has ways of getting her point across. So we have a few things to work on with Laney and sharing.

I'm thinking these new ideas on "some toys are his, some toys are hers" -- and that they get to decide what happens with their own belongings -- might help.

Any comments on this one?

Sunday, September 23

The Saint Who Was Also a Priest

I have another traveling story, for good measure. On our first flight, we didn't get to preboard (as parents traveling with small children usually do), because the plane was very full and, as I mentioned yesterday, we were flying standby. However, they did allow me to board with the kids after all the "A" people boarded. (Yay!) There was one row left in the way back that had three available seats, so we headed for that one, hoping against hope that we would be fortunate enough to secure one of the few extra seats. Laney was technically a "lap child," but since she doesn't understand that concept, it is really helpful if I can score a little maneuvering room for her. That hope for an extra seat was later dashed, but that's another story.

When we arrived in our seats, Kaden quickly spotted a friendly-looking chap in the row behind us, and he struck up a conversation with him. As is his new custom, he started the conversation with this: "Hey, who are you?" This time he added, "You're on my plane!" I could tell this guy was good with kids when he replied, "Yes, well, thank you very much for letting me fly on your plane." Kaden thought that was pretty cool. This guy obviously understood how this was going to work.

The man made small talk with him, asking the usual questions like what is your name (Kaden's answer sounds like "KadaWallceHessee," which usually earns confused looks); how old are you (Kaden holds up three fingers and says, "This many!"); and where do you live (K: "I'm going home to Daddy!" Man: "Where's Daddy?" K: "My home." M: "Oh, where's that?" K: "My home." M: "Ohhh, I see.").

Turns out the friendly guy in the back row was a man named John, who lives in Murfreesboro (near Nashville) with his wife and four kids. John told Kaden all about his three daughters and one son, and he told us how much he missed them and that he couldn't wait to see them. His story of missing family sounded very familiar to us! John instantly recognized the fact that I had my hands full, and he kept Kaden occupied in conversation for quite a long time. He also made silly faces at Laney, which thoroughly entertained her.

The seat belt light stayed on for most of the flight, so we didn't talk to John much through the short flight to Baltimore. However, we reconnected after our landing, and we found out that he was on the same flight home to Nashville. We walked with him for a while to our new gate, and he told me that he was an Orthodox Christian priest and that he grew up in Tennessee, went to seminary in PA a few hours from my parents' house, and then moved back to the Nashville area to serve in a church. He was a very kind, gentle guy, and I could tell that having four kids of his own had made him very comfortable conversing with preschoolers.

Fast forward a few hours. We boarded our second flight, and Kaden insisted on sitting in the last row of the plane, just like his new friend John had done on the first flight. At first I protested, not wanting to walk to the back of the plane with Laney and our 4 carryons in tow, but Kaden had his heart set on it, so off we went. After a while, we saw John coming down the aisle, and he parked himself right in front of us. Thankfully, this flight was very empty, and we got a row to ourselves. John got his own row, too! Anyway, Kaden started talking to John again right away, and they chatted back and forth until the plane took off.

Toward the end of the flight, Kaden decided he wanted to sit in John's row until we landed. John asked Kaden about all of his "favorites": favorite color, food, animal, etc. It was really cute to see Kaden interacting with an adult. He's very talkative at night (maybe he's a night person like Daddy?), and he was really talking up a storm. I was proud of the way he held up his end of the conversation. John told Kaden that he has a son named Jonah, and he asked Kaden if he knew of any other Jonahs. Kaden thought about it for a few seconds, and then replied, "Yeah, I do!" John said, "Is it from a Bible story?" Kaden said, "Yup, he got on a boat and then he got lost!" John chuckled and said, "Yeah, I guess he did. And he had some pretty uncomfortable accommodations for a few days, didn't he?" Kaden shook his head in agreement. I'm not sure he knows what "accommodations" are, but I guess he thought that sounded right.

As I was thinking about our travels yesterday, I realized how thankful I was that John was there on both flights. He didn't do anything amazing, but he was a friendly face, someone who understood the trials of traveling with children, and he found little ways to help me out on both flights. Just talking with Kaden and helping to pass the time was such a blessing. I doubt John will ever read this post, but I just want everyone to know -- I think he's a saint!

P.S. If you see parents (especially one parent!) traveling with kids and you're able to lend a hand or strike up a conversation with a child to entertain them for a few moments, please do it! Father John was a definite God-send to me, and you could be that blessing to someone else!

Saturday, September 22

My Day, MasterCard Style

I realized a few days ago that I haven't updated my blog in quite a long time. Well, the short story is that I've been in PA since last Thursday night. Here's the longer story...Josh's grandparents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in a full-out ceremony, and we decided at the last minute that we could get away. We arrived around lunchtime on Friday and left after the ceremony on Saturday night. We drove through the night to my parents' house and arrived around 2am on Sunday morning. Josh took off after breakfast to drive home (because he had to work on Monday), but the kids and I stayed for the rest of the week. I was planning to fly home on Wednesday or Thursday, but I decided to stay until Friday because my brother's birthday was Thursday and also because I wanted my sister-in-law to take some pics of the kiddos, and she was only available on Thursday evening.

So that brings me to Friday. I was flying standby again (thank you, Luci!!!), and I had quite an adventure traveling with two toddlers. I think it was the truest test of patience I know. And yet -- we made it! No major meltdowns, no injuries other than a scratch on Kaden's leg from the people mover, and best of all, I still have my sanity. To summarize, in MasterCard style, here's my day in a nutshell:

Time we left my parents' house: 9:45am EST
Time it's supposed to take to get to the airport: approx. 2 hours
Letter on my mom's gas guage while sitting in gridlock traffic on a bridge: E
Time when I realized I wasn't going to make my 1:40 flight: noon
Number of times Kaden peed into Oma's empty tea bottle while stuck on bridge: 4
Temperature inside the car with A/C off due to lack of gas: 1000 degrees (give or take a few)
Sign on gas station door after finally making it off the bridge: No public restrooms
Route number we went the wrong way on (but eventually made it back to the highway): 60
Number of times Kaden asked, "Are we at the airport yet?": approximately 85
Time it actually took to get to the airport: 4.5 hours
Number of flights I missed while sitting in traffic: 2
Total number of hours I singlehandedly entertained the kids while waiting for flights: 4.5
The name of my new best friend: Mr. Toshiba DVD Player
Number of times the three of us trekked into the potty for Kaden: 3
Number of chicken nuggets to satisfy 2 hungry kiddo bellys: 8
Number of times Kaden approached a stranger and said, "Hey, who are you?": 10
Number of times I gave Kaden the "some strangers aren't nice" speech: 3
Number of times I said, "Kaden, keep up with Mommy!": 25
Number of times I said, "Kaden, don't run too far ahead of Mommy!": 30
Number of times I said, "Kaden, please just keep your hand on the stroller!": 35
Number of times Kaden rode the people movers with his arms draped over the handrail: 14
Number of Starbucks stops for Mommy: only 1, but the caffeine did the trick!
Time we boarded our 2nd flight from BWI: 9:25pm EST
Number of carryons (not including one stroller and one baby carrier): 4
Number of minutes it took Kaden to fall asleep after takeoff: 3
Number of minutes Kaden slept before peeing his pants by accident: 2
Number of Kaden potty stops on 2nd flight: 3, including the intial panicked, wet pants trip
Number of times Laney puked on herself: 2 (her belly was upset, I guess?)
Number of times Delaney pooped up her back on the 2nd flight: 1
Number of wipes I had left at this point in the trip: 0
Flight attendant who gave me wet paper towels to wipe the bum: Christine (Thank you!)
Kaden's question to the pilot on our way off the plane: "Hey, are you the pirate?"
Number of hugs, kisses, and squeals of delight when we saw Daddy (and cries of utter relief from me!): At least 3 from each of us!!!
Time we arrived home safe and sound (Praise the Lord!): 1am

A day with both of my angels, stuck in traffic, stuck in airports, stuck in confined spaces?

Priceless. :-)

Tuesday, September 11

Newsweek on Celiac

For anyone who's interested, Newsweek just ran an article on celiac disease. It's always exciting to receive national press on the condition/diet that I deal with every day. Check it out if you're interested! Oh, and FYI, I heard the print version has more callouts with lists and other sources of info.

Monday, September 10

So You Want to Be an Author?

Have you ever wanted to see your writing in print? I know I have! Well, that dream may be closer than you think. Check out Blurb, a really neat company I found through another blogger that lets you create your own book from your blog. How neato is that?

And it's not just for blogs. They make photo books, cookbooks, portfolios, poetry books, text only books, etc. -- just about anything you could need or want. And the prices are very affordable (especially softcover books). I haven't created a book yet, but it's definitely on my "to do" list. If anyone out there has used this company, I'd like to hear about your experience! Once I get caught up on our family photo books (mainly Delaney's baby book), I'll move on to printing my blog. ;-)

That could take a while...

Saturday, September 8

Super Saturday

In lieu of Thankful Thursday, I'm bringing you a belated grateful list. I didn't forget, and I didn't have a million things to do this week...I just didn't get it done! We have had a really lazy week. Josh took a week off before starting his new job, I don't have a project, and we've just been enjoying some time at home with very little agenda. I told Josh yesterday, "We should have gone on a trip!" He's going to get very little (if any) vacation for the first year, so it was nice to have some quiet days at home before we start this new phase.

So here are some things I'm thankful for this week:

1) I finally hung up our family pictures in the stairway to downstairs (see the pic above)...and we've only lived here for (almost) two years!! These pics have been collecting dust in a box in our room, so it's defnitely much nicer to have them out where we can enjoy the memories that these pictures represent. I'd like to get a few more frames for some other pictures to add to the collage, but the project it mostly done. Check!

2) We finally bought a new 500G hard drive that we can back up both of our laptops to ... on a regular basis! We lost data from two hard drives last year (including all the pictures from Laney's first 5 months of life), so we have learned our lesson that backing up is important. Especially since we do so much of our personal and professional business on computers, it's important for us to back up all that data. And particularly all those precious pics of our children! Five hundred gigs should last us for a while.

3) My son likes broccoli. This is like the news flash of the century!!! For those who have been reading for a while, you know that Kaden is not a veggie lover. However, we persisted -- we continued putting veggies on his plate and requiring him to at least have one bite. And then, out of nowhere, he decided he likes broccoli. He even asked for seconds! (And there was no cheese sauce in sight!) I'm really not sure what happened, but I'm enjoying it for as long as it lasts. Perhaps we can parlay this success into other veggies!

4) Kaden started preschool this week, and we had such a quiet Thursday with just Laney at home! He has a great teacher, and I'm looking forward to everything he's going to learn this year. I'm very grateful b/c the director was flexible with us in letting us send him only one day a week, which is the perfect amount for me. I like the experience and socialization and learning that's happening at school, but one day is enough for us at this point.

5) Our friend Jeremy came over on Thursday night and it was really, really great to reconnect with him. We hadn't seen him since May, and our visit was long overdue. I was really grateful for the chance we had to sit down and get caught up.

6) We found out this week that Josh's restaurant is discontinuing their Sunday brunch, which means that he will continue to be free on Sunday mornings. We thought that he may have to miss church occasionally in order to work the daytime shift, but now that they're cancelling it, work won't interfere with going to church as a family. That was a big praise this week!

Well, everyone -- I hope you have a great weekend. Josh starts work tomorrow night, so we're about to start this new phase of life!

Wednesday, September 5

The Invisible Woman

I received this story as an e-mail forward from my friend Stephanie, and I really loved it. I'm copying a portion of it here, but since it's from a book, I'm going to post the link to the rest of the story, where it was reprinted with permission (I'm not sure what the rules are on this copyrighted stuff!). The article is by Nicole Johnson, a speaker and author who travels with Women of Faith as a dramatic sketch artist. I believe the material is from her book of the same name: The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees.

This is a story for all of the invisible cathedral-builders, commonly known as mothers...

It started to happen gradually …

One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, "Who is that with you, young fella?"

"Nobody," he shrugged.

Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh my goodness, nobody?"

I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like "Turn the TV down, please" - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing.

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking.

That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me.

I'm invisible. Read More.

A special thanks especially to my mom and to the other special women in my life who became invisible for me, working behind the scenes and sacrificing to meet my needs and help me succeed. And now, I've taken up my own cathedral-building work. Thanks for inspiring me!

Monday, September 3

Funny eBay Post

I saw this on another blog about a week ago, and I just had to share it here. This lady cracked me up! You may have already seen it -- sorry for the repeat if you have!

Funny eBay Post - Mom Selling Pokemon Cards

As a sidenote, this is my 100th post on Blogger. Cool, huh?!

Have a great day, everyone!

EDIT: When the eBay post expires, that link above will no longer work. Here's a link to the author's blog where she has copied the eBay auction text.