Thursday, March 26, 2009

Camping and a Big Boy Bed!!

So when Philip and I got back on Thursday he offered to take Friday off to be with us. We decided to take this opportunity to go camping with Ethan for the first time. What stinks is that my camera had died sometime on Wednesday at the Boudreauxs and so the only pictures I got were from my phone. What really stinks is that I didn't know how good the pictures from my phone were and so I only took two pictures. We went camping up at the Obed wild and scenic river campsite. One of my favorite things about this campsite is that it has a river that runs right near most of the campsites so there is a nice white noise effect (more on that later). Philip and Ethan walked down to the river and Philip was showing Ethan how to skip rocks into the water.
He could have thrown rocks into the river for hours. He even pitched a fit when we told him it was time to go back to the camp site.

Here he is by the fire with his sippy cup.

We did buy him a sleeping bag before we left Knoxville and he did great in it! When it was time for bed I changed him into his pajamas and told him to lay down in his sleeping bag. I think that the noise of the river helped him, but within 15 minutes he was fast asleep. The only problem with our little excursion was that the low that night was 31 degrees! I barely slept because the whole night I kept thinking that Ethan was cold. In the morning when he woke up he did not want to get out of his bag and when I stuck my hand in he was nice and toasty! Of course then we had to get up to eat breakfast and such. I dressed him all the clothes that I had brought with us but we still couldn't keep his little hands warm. Finally at the end he would stand by the fire for short periods of time, but ultimately we packed up and went home.

Even though it was cold and we had to leave early we had so much fun and we are looking forward to our next camping trip! When we got back on Saturday I decided that with such great sleeping habits it was time to move to a big boy bed. Try as we might, we could not find the guard rail for the crib. I know that it is in the house somewhere, but we have yet to find it! I went ahead and converted his crib anyway and he did fall out the first night, but he hasn't since. For those who think that sounds barbaric please know that his mattress is less than two feet high.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break

Ethan and I took a little trip down to Louisiana for my Spring Break last week. We flew down on Sunday and I did learn what not to pack (like 6 books) and what to definitely have (one train book). I used my emergency bag check list to create my carry-on bag and it was great! My parents and Nanny took us to lunch at Popeye's where Ethan ate his first chicken leg! I wish I had a picture but I was also eating fried chicken....

Then we went with my parents, sister, and Nanny to the zoo. I planned on buying a membership there and then using the reciprocity with the Knoxville Zoo to get in for free for the next year, but alas, you have to actually live in LA (or a surrounding state) to be a member of the Baton Rouge zoo. I guess I'm not the first one to think of this :) Pop and Ethan had a great time together. Here they are in the prairie dog tunnels. There weren't any prairie dogs but I think they had fun just being in the tunnels.
Ethan's favorite part might have been the snack that he enjoyed while in his stroller.
I take that back, his favorite part was riding the train around the zoo at the end of the day. I didn't get any pictures but he was so tired he just sat there in a daze once the train started moving.

On Monday we spent the day at my Mawmaw and Pawpaw's and Ethan enjoyed his first crawfish boil that night (notice the newspaper on the table). He ate a few crawfish, but mostly he enjoyed the boiled potatoes:
Tuesday my sister spent the day with us and after we got Ethan's hair cut we went to the Children's Museum. It hasn't changed much in 10+ years and I was worried that Ethan wouldn't have much fun, but he had a blast! At the first station when you come in you can build a bug with little magnetic pieces.
Then we went on to the grocery store where Ethan got a cart and picked out 4 items to buy (we helped him with the counting). Then he unloaded his groceries at the register.
Next he waited patiently while I rung him up! Two heads of lettuce, a lemon and a box of rice =2.19.
He took the receipt from me, but then he just gave it right back! Of course then he put up all the groceries and put the cart back where it belonged. We then went down to Cafe des Enfants where he worked "behind the scenes" in the kitchen.
Notice the hot dog on the oven burner. When we got there another child had left some dishes in the sink and before we left Ethan had put them all up. I love this child!

The bubble station was next. I didn't get one good picture with my camera which stinks, but I bet my dad did. Danielle did get this good video:

video

Wednesday we went to Duson to hang out with Philip's family. Ethan had fun hanging out on the front porch. He also loved walking around with the family in the back yard.
Our flight back was also great. I had less things in my carry on and he did just fine! My next post will be about our first camping trip!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

No paci!!!

So I have a whole lot to share including our recent trip to Louisiana and Ethan's first camping trip this weekend!

Until then though, I have to share our big news! A couple of weeks ago I picked up Ethan on a Thursday afternoon from Preschool and his daily report said, "Congratulations to Ethan, one whole week without a paci!" I turned right around and went back to his room to talk to his teachers. Apparently for a couple of weeks before that he wasn't even using his paci to go to sleep, he was just throwing it down by his mat. Then on the Tuesday of that week Jessica couldn't find his paci in his bag before he was already asleep. She assumed I had taken it away and they didn't even look for it on Wednesday or Thursday of that week. Even though Ethan was not using one at preschool I didn't even try to take it away at home.

Then last Friday Ethan spent the night at our friend Betsy's house. I had related the above story to her so she took Ethan's paci from him for his nap the day that he spent at her house. I couldn't believe he just went to sleep with out it so when we got home that day I did not return his pacis to his bed for his afternoon nap and he went right to sleep! He also went right to sleep that night. Incredible! Since then we have been paci free. He has only asked for it a couple of times and he has started to put his fingers in his mouth when he is idly doing something (reading or watching TV) but we are staying on top of that. Half the reason I gave him a paci as an infant was so that he would not suck on his fingers.

Although I'm making this sound easy it definitely wasn't (for me at least)! It is really hard not to give something to your child that you know gives him comfort. I even teared up when I had to tell him "There are no pacis, they are all gone." We rejoice whenever our children reach a new milestone; crawling, walking, feeding themselves, etc. but to watch Ethan give up his bottle and now his paci is bittersweet in that he is a little less of a baby now. Do any other moms out there struggle with these steps? I want him to grow up and I definitely am grateful that this hasn't been a really bad struggle, but I still mourn the loss of his infanthood.

Happier posts to come! In the meantime I have created a new site on shutterfly. It allows us to post an infinite number of posts and projects that I have created. If you can't view the site let me know.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Picture taking

At our last MOPS meeting we had a guest speaker. She was a local photographer and she had great tips including some I put to use today. First of all, find the LIGHT! Go outside or at least to a room that has a lot of sunlight streaming in. When your camera flashes it usually washes out the people you are taking a picture of. Second, take a ton of pictures instead of trying to wait for the perfect moment to take one. I love this idea! Several times I have gone to get my camera and thought that the "perfect moment" was lost. Instead today I took over 30 pictures in just over 10 minutes and I got several keepers and I got to delete the rest without feeling guilty that it was the "only one". Here are some of my keepers:

This is a "Whatchadoin?" face for Daddy.

Pushing his "pick-up" truck.

I love this one!

She also talked to us about using black and white. A good time to use this feature is when the colors in the picture distract you from the subject. Here is my example (I just used Microsoft Office Picture Manager to edit the color):

You can see some of my others on flickr.com

After dinner we all enjoyed some pudding. Some of us enjoyed it more than others.

This was the face we got when I asked him to
show us his mouth, "Ahh!"


I had to strip him down before we went up to take a bath.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Debt Free Call

I got this over a week ago, but I didn't know how to share it on this blog until tonight. Before you listen you should know a few things:
  • When we went to see Dave live the T-shirt we got said, "Change your family tree" on it. I am excited to be able to pass on our debt-freeness to our son and to teach him NEVER to borrow money (Proverbs 22:7)
  • When talking to callers about borrowing money from family Dave often says, "The Thanksgiving dinner is going to taste different." That is where I got that phrase from.
  • When I say that people should "fight the fear" I am mainly just talking about this myth our culture has that we "have" to have a credit card. My sister had a friend in college that was just aghast at the thought of living without one. "What about your credit score?" the girl asked. What, the 'I love debt' score? We could all learn to hate debt a little more, don't you think?
I think that is all you need to know....enjoy listening.

Download Dave Ramsey - Dept Free

What is so cool about my call in to Dave was that our friend Sara heard me on the radio just by chance because she left early from work that day. Then my mom heard me in Louisiana that night as she was driving home from having dinner with my grandparents. My mother-in-law also turned on the radio "just to see" if Dave Ramsey was on and got to hear me that night. And later that night another friend of ours who lives in Louisiana heard me as she was driving across town.

I really just want to give thanks and praise to God who inspired and enabled us to become debt free. He is good!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Challenge!

So, my pantry challenge is coming along nicely. Ethan had soup for lunch today and I had chicken salad. Between the two of us we removed two more cans from the pantry and one container (of veggies) from the frig. Now granted, there was some soup left over, but he's only 20 months old I can't expect him to eat an entire can of soup, half a can of veggies, and half a can of chicken!

So I did buy some groceries today to make spaghetti sauce with the meat that I defrosted from my freezer. I plan on now for the next two weeks focusing on only buying one or two ingredients for each recipe I want to make so that I can continue to widdle down our stock pile.

In the meantime I have gotten serious about shopping for sales! My friend Betsy showed me last week how to look up sale flyers from our local grocery stores online. I don't have time to clip coupons, but I am always online and it just takes a few seconds to pull each store's ads up and plan my menu from there. I even pulled up Walmart's flyer this morning and found Gala apples on sale for .99 a pound!

She also sent me cool blog sites where these SAHMs write about their serious coupon habits! One of the best ones was about this family who was living on $1500 a year for groceries, medical co-pays, and one other category. Sadly thier blog has been removed from the internet because of threats to the family. How weird is that? Anyway, one of the cool things she had on her blog was a maximum price list for things she often bought at the grocery store. You could tell she was really intense because a lot of the maximum prices were $0.00. She acheived those prices through sales, coupons, and stores that double your coupons (who knew?).

I tried to start my own price book to get an idea what normal, sale, and over priced prices look like, but since I lean towards the technology end in all areas of my life I've decided to start my own price book in an excel spread sheet. The neat thing is that it will show me the max price, min price, and average price for the things I buy most often at the grocery store. You can even have a look at what I have so far.

Let me know if you find some good deals in the Knoxville area and I'll add them to my sheet.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pantry Challenge!

Recently the Flylady inspired me to de-clutter my life and I'm starting with my pantry. In a few weeks I'm going out of town and I want to make sure Philip has plenty of meals in the freezer before I go. To do this I'm going to do a bit of power cooking on Friday. This just means that I will spend the day cooking, assembling and prepping for 10-20 meals for our family and then freezing them until later in the month.

Part of my plan for having enough money to buy all the groceries I need for these meals (and for decluttering my pantry) is that I am taking a pantry challenge. I am a hoarder of food and I can't remember the last time I could see the back of my pantry. So this week I have challenged myself to feed the family only from what I have in the pantry and freezer. Surprisingly this is way easier than I thought it would be, and I might be able to go for two weeks!

So far I have these meals planned:
  • Today I made muffins for Ethan's snack and lunches
  • I also made Jello jigglers to use up some of the Jello I had in the pantry
  • Tonight we will have Breakfast for dinner (waffles, pancakes, etc.)
  • Tuesday will be spaghetti from the pantry with garlic toast (made from bread we have already)
  • Wednesday will be chicken pot pie from the freezer
  • Thursday we will have leftovers
By Friday I will be power cooking (and going out for dinner) and I will have next week's grocery money available to spend!

Other than milk, tea, and pastry for the chicken pot pie I have not spent any of our grocery money yet this week. Yeah!