Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lauren's First Haircut

Age 29 months - almost 2 1/2. Lauren finally got her hair cut! She had so much fun choosing which chair to sit in - the plane? the rocket? the motorcycle? the horse? After much back & forth, she settled on the horse. She talked throughout the entire haircut and was rewarded for a job well done with a sucker. They gave me a cute little card with some of her hair, a Polaroid of her after her first cut and a little certificate. What a fun morning!




Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Bloggy Giveaway:
One Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. This is GOOD STUFF, ladies! No more racoon eyes in the morning - just a soft swipe of this stuff over your eye makeup and voila! Gone! Retails for $14 plus tax.

It can be YOURS - just leave me a comment on this post (if you are not a blogger - leave me an email address so I can contact you if you win) and I'll randomly select a winner on Friday, February 1. The winner will be announced sometime over the weekend. Contest will close on Friday at 12:00 p.m. cst. Contest is open to US residents residents only (sorry - maybe over time I'll get saavy enough to ship a giveaway internationally - but not yet).

This contest is part of the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. Make sure you stop by Bloggy Giveaways to find more fantastic contest to enter this week. Click on the button below to get over there!


Shots stink!

Grant has been screaming all day today - irritable yesterday after shots - I've given him Tylenol, rocked him....I'm guessing this is from his shots yesterday? This sucks.
Travel Tales...

We traveled again last weekend. This time we headed to southern Illinois to visit Mark's family. We had a wonderful time visiting Grandma & Grandpa Whitsitt, Uncle Scott & Aunt Mary, Aunt Charlene & Uncle Lynn, cousins Troy & Kelly and their kids - just a really good time. The kids traveled well on the way there and slept well at the hotel. (SHWEW!) They basked in the ample amount of spoiling that went on and all-in-all were great kids.

We ate out as a LARGE group at a buffet in Decatur. It was a very nice gesture on Mark's Dad's part - to take us all to lunch - and we appreciate that! But - as a blogger - it just wouldn't be right if I didn't share with you some of the sights and sounds of the southern Illinois buffet scene. Here are a few highlights:

* The table next to us was filled with a retirement-age couple toting several grandkids - all sporting the buffet's complimentary thin plastic bib. The Grandpa was decked out in all camo. Overheard from the Grandma? "Y'all remember to push your sleeves up now."

* Seen at another area of the dining area - a man with an entire dinner plate filled with baked beans and hot dogs. (What was Clark Griswold's brother-in-law's name?)

* An unnamed pre-teen who wouldn't have a glass of milk because she looked at the handle/dispenser and said "they really should wash that."

* Seen at the same serving buffet table - Chinese orange chicken next to macaroni & cheese. hmmmm.

Ok - so it was a good meal (I went with the orange chicken and a couple chicken wings), and again - we were so thankful to get together as a family and it was so nice of Mark's Dad to pick up the tab!

Later that day we saw this puppy - and now we want one. Insane? Impulsive? Yes - but we want one. As my aunt Pam said...."Are you nuts?!" "You don't have enough to nurture in that house? Not enough chaos?" Yeah - but we want one.

Then we headed over to Troy & Kelly's house to visit with their family and Mark's aunt & uncle. They spoiled the kids with Christmas gifts - and since Aunt Charlene already gave her Christmas gifts at Christmas - she had Valentine's gifts at the ready. I'm thinking her love language is gift-giving - anyone? =-) We love hanging out with this brood - they have two young boys so Lauren was in heaven ripping around there in her sleep-deprived/over-stimulated state. Grant enjoyed all of the snuggling and Bailey enjoyed her new American Eagle clothes and the pizza and just hanging out with people that love her. Troy & Kelly have an amazing open floor plan - just perfect for get-togethers like this.

The ride home was beautiful! 50+ degrees, sunshine, a BEAUTIFUL sunset and well-behaved kids, until the last 30 minutes of the trip (cue scratching record sound). Enjoy the video below.

52 Blessings - Week 4 - and 4 months old!
Oh, Grant - my one & only son. You are so great! Who knew having a boy would be so wonderful! (besides all of my friends who already have boys). You are such a sweetheart - it is already apparent. You are a good baby and have the happiest smiles. You are almost rolling over, have really discovered your voice (screeching and squealing) and you GIGGLE now! yeah! At your 4-month check-up yesterday you weighed 15 lbs, 1 oz and were 25 1/2 inches long. You are a healthy boy and I love you so much. I'm so glad you are my son!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pimp or Lauren's princess playmate? YOU decide. poor baby.

Posted by Picasa
Are you KIDDING ME?!$%^&

Live Conditions 7:54 AM
Des Moines International Airport
Wind Chill: -23°F

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A friend of mine has an AWESOME Web site for families in my town. It is so helpful when you are looking for something to do with the family. It partially relies on local parents to share their experiences, expertise and advice on area restaurants, attractions, events and more. It connects area parents, supports Mom & Dad businesses and spotlights other families in the area. I've just started reviewing children's books for the site. Check out my first review here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Grades are in....

and we have an Honor Roll girl again!

Grades slipped a little in the 2nd quarter, but the semester averages have her on Honor Roll again. Here they are (semester 1 grades - not quarter 2...if that makes sense:

7th grade band - A- (a miracle, since she seems to be a lesson-skipper and I haven't heard the sounds of flute in the house all year...come to think of it...haven't even SEEN the flute).

7th grade chorus - A

Industrial Technology - C (this was a C+...c'mon, is SHOP...we know it's because you just don't like it....not a very good excuse)

Language Arts - A

Math - B+ (down from an A-)

PE - A

Science - A- (down from an A)

Social Studies - A

World Cultures - B+.....with a note from the teacher that says "Working below capacity" (grade school memories flooding back to me now)

Good work, Bailey!
Quote of the Day...

Lauren - after going on the big-girl potty (and I"m not talking about the dribble-ey variety here), says...."I'm SO PROUD of me!"

Boon makes AWESOME products for babies and toddlers! I found an awesome Boon giveaway over at "Our Seven QTpies" - just post a comment on her blog after visiting the Boon web site and you are entered to win a really cool interlocking plate & bowl set. Check it out!

Monday, January 21, 2008

First Belly Laughs!!!

Grant Steven - 3 1/2 months old

Mommies get no respect...

While trying to screw the lid back on to her Thomas the Train AquaDoodle pen-thingy that draws train tracks, the following conversation occurred:

Me: "It doesn't seem to be working, honey - I think it is broken."

Lauren: "How 'bout Daddy do it?"

No respect.

It has been awhile since I participated in Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. I need to get back at it though - it saves so much time, energy and MONEY. So here goes. This week is lame - I don't want to have to buy groceries before we travel again this weekend - so I'm working with what we have on hand. I'll do better in the future.
Lunch - Grilled cheese & yogurt
Dinner - Hamburger/rice casserole, peas
Lunch - Chicken fries, pineapple, mixed veggies
Dinner - Meatloaf, fried potatoes, corn
Lunch - Mac 'n Cheese/hot dogs, applesauce
Dinner - Fish, rice, green beans
Lunch - pancakes, bacon
Dinner - Pizza omelets and/or egg sandwiches
Lunch - On-the-go, traveling
Dinner - Traveling - probably pizza w/relatives
52 Blessings - Week 3

Lauren Elizabeth - my 2nd born, my little firecracker. YOU are a blessing in your Mommy's life! You are so smart, so funny, so on-the-move. You are so loving to your brother and sister (so far - ha), you are Daddy's little girl and Mommy's little helper. Your smile lights up the room and your personality fills everyone's heart with joy. I love you, little monkey.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Little Boy & his Big Sister... (3 months & 12 years)

Lauren received TJ Bearytales for Christmas from her aunt Pam. She loves it! Anyone know where I can find more stories/cartridges on the cheap?

What a DAY!!!!

Yesterday was a big and busy day! (and artic cold to boot). We had a babysitter at our house by 7:15 a.m., so we could take Bailey to her show choir competition by 7:30 a.m. Thankfully, the hair rollers worked out very well and so the morning preparations were minimal. She looked great and was ready to COMPETE! This competition was for show choirs ranging in age from 7th grade through high school. Schools from all over the state (Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Atlantic, etc.) - even an Omaha school was there. I'm happy to report that Bailey's school WON THE COMPETITION in their age category. WOO-HOO! These kids deserved it. Their performance was AWESOME - accurate, enthusiastic and fun. They have worked so hard all year long...and their efforts paid off.

THEN...later that day, Mark & I headed out for a DATE - a real DATE! We went downtown and had dinner here - yum! And then we headed to the Civic Center where we saw this guy. Mark won tickets on the radio awhile back and our seats were GREAT! We were in about the 10th row CENTER. Perfect. His act was crude at times - but all-in-all it was a good & funny show.

It was a long day - a COLD day - but a fabulous day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A My Cup Runneth Over Moment...

During Lunch today I hooked my iPod (thank you for the awesome Christmas gift, Mark) to the speakers and put on "Gravity" and danced in the kitchen with Grant. He held my hand and layed his head on my shoulder - slow dancing with his Mommy. Lauren finished up her meal and came to join us...she grabbed my other hand and I twirled her around. While slow dancing in the kitchen with my two smallest children, Lauren looked up at me with a smile that revealed her happiness in that moment - her love for me - and my cup runneth over....
This morning I'm trying to win an Insignia® - Pilot 4GB Video MP3 Player with Bluetooth Technology and a pair of Insignia® - Bluetooth Wireless Behind-the-Head Headphones from 5minutesformom. They are giving it away Feb. 5th...hope I win!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So I told you awhile back that I started a Bible study at church, The Patriarchs. Since Grant was up at 4:22 a.m. and back to sleep at 5:30, I decided to stay awake and actually DO my homework this week. I always thump myself in the head after spending some time in God's Word....duh! Why don't I do this daily? The wisdom is so timely and so relevant - always.

I can't summarize as eloquently as Beth Moore, but I'll do my best. This morning I was reading in Genesis about Sarai and Abram (Sarah & Abraham). If you aren't familiar with the story, God promised Sarah & Abraham more descendants than there are stars in the sky, despite their elderly age. When God makes a promise - He keeps it. However, Sarah & Abraham grew impatient and tried to take matters into their own hands. (sound familiar? I know it did for me). Sarah suggested they use one of her servants (Hagar) to bear a child for them. (surrogacy). This was common practice then. When Hagar became pregnant with Abraham's child, things turned ugly. Sarah became resentful and blamed Abraham. Abraham basically told her to "do with her whatever you think is best." (Now ain't that the typical male/female dynamic happening here?). Hagar was distraught and ran away...but God found her. Actually, we know God always knew where she was - but the words FOUND her implies that when we are lost - God is SEEKING us...he's ALWAYS seeking us.

Anyway, Hagar calls God the "God who SEES me." Now isn't that the TRUTH? God SEES us...He KNOWS us...He KNOWS our suffering. Now there is much more to the story - but I'm going to stop here to say that what I've relayed so far is a great lesson in being faithful.

God makes promises to all of us - all we have to do is be faithful to have faith that God will do what He says He'll do. When we don't - as Sarah and Abraham demonstrate when they tried to hurry things up and take things into their own hands - discontent and disaster ensue.

So, the lesson for me is....when we are feeling discontent in our jobs, our marriages - feeling mistreated by friends or relatives - are we waiting on God - showing faith in His promises? Or are we jumping to take the reigns as Sarah and Abraham did? And as Dr. Phil would say...."How's that workin' for ya?" I think we all know the answer to that one.

I'm going to leave you with a few wonderful points that Beth Moore makes:

* God never oppresses people. People oppress people.
* We are not an afterthought to God. We are the point of His involvement with this planet. He doesn't just tolerate us, He PURSUES us. He SEEKS us.
* God has a wonderfully stubborn commitment to covenant - to keep His promises to stubborn, faithless people.
* He has a plan, even when we leave it.
* God sees when no one else cares to look. He sees through the smile we wear when we're dying inside. He sees our hurt when we're mistreated. He sees us when we cry into our pillow because we feel unloved. He sees beyond our sin into the depth of our need. He sees when we're hiding. Running. He sees when we continue to sow the seed of His Word even in the floodplain of our grief. He is the God who sees YOU.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Weekend Trip - Part II (The Final Chapter) - The Schlafer's

I'm about blogged out on our weekend trip, but as promised, and not to short-change the Schlafer side of the goes.

Saturday evening and Sunday morning was spent with my OTHER Grandparents. My aunt Pam & Uncle "Scoop" drove up from Joliet, my Dad and his son, Tom drove in from Morrison and my Grandma & Grandpa were there to visit us. We had a make-shift Christmas celebration, although they'll be doing that again next weekend without us when my brother and his family visit, as well as my sister and her boyfriend visit. Since we can't come next weekend, they are opening gifts twice.

It was so nice to see everyone. We met at my Grandma's condo. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago, been through hell and back with surgery and chemo and today - still kickin' and spittin' fire, that one! She still HAS cancer, but it is very slow-growing and not showing up on scans...but they know it is there. I appreciate every day I get with her and am SO grateful she is feeling well today and causing trouble like normal.

My Grandpa is in his 80's and doing great. He had a rough month last month when he had a mild fender-bender and then on the way home the car wasn't working right and it caused him to FLIP HIS CAR - UPSIDE DOWN! He came away unscathed...but the car was only a few weeks old...and now totaled. A week later a tree fell and ripped out his electrical system in his house...and then an ice storm caused him to slip and fall - what a horrible month! But now he has an even newer car and is going to physical therapy for his back and was still able to join us for our "Christmas". I just love watching him laugh at the antics of the kids. He's such a lovable guy - can't think of anyone that doesn't instantly love him.

And Pam & Scoop...generous, loving, funny, successful, giving, thoughtful and amazing!
My Dad & his son, Tom (yeah, that'd be my brother...and he's four) nice to see the Schlafer boys spending time together. My Dad has been the inspiration for MANY of my prayers for MANY years. But I have faith that God is listening....and He'll answer His own time and in His own way. (sigh). It was nice to see my Dad though - and he gave us VERY thoughtful and kind gifts. I love my Dad...I just want him to figure out what is really important in life...and I don't think he's there yet. (and he obviously doesn't have a computer or Internet access - so I can say these things without hurting his feelings).

I need me one-a these! You can have one too...just visit Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and order one! (or you can win one here. Just look how many pedal cars they offer - lookey-here! Good ole-fashioned fun for the kiddos...i want one for both of my little ones!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Our Weekend Trip - Part I - The Niedermeier's

Our first stop on our weekend getaway was my Grandma & Grandpa Niedermeier's house. I have so many wonderful memories of being a kid at their house. Fishing, feeding the calves, running through a lawn sprinkler, playing cards with Grandma and more. Now that I am grown, married and have children of my own, I absolutely love taking them to my Grandma & Grandpa's house so they too can experience a little bit of the love and beauty found in such a rural farm setting. They have been married over 65 years (can you imagine?!) and they have so much love for their family. The family isn't perfect - noone's is...but even in the flawed moments, they have nothing but love to give.

Grandpa still helps out on what is now my uncle's farm, so he was more than happy to take the two girls down to the farm to look at the cows. (something my city-boy husband thought was pretty gross). For me? In a sick and sordid way, the smell of cow manure and silage brings back warm and wonderful memories for me...memories of Grandma & Grandpa's house. Now my girls, too would get to experience a little of this. The best part? I'm sure the walk with Grandpa.

They loved all of my kids, of course, but I seem to have snapped the most pictures with Grant in the shot. Maybe that's because Lauren doesn't sit still long enough for pictures? Here are a few:

Grandma Niedermeier w/GrantGrandma & Grandpa with Bailey - look at those million-watt smiles!
Grandpa Niedermeier w/Grant Grandma invited her two sisters over to see our family too, Aunt Josie and Aunt Barbara. Aren't they pretty sisters? I hope I got me some o' those genes!

My Uncle Ross, Aunt Cris, Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Cliff, cousin Angie and her family and cousin Michele and cousin Kyle all dropped in to see us too. Lots of love, didn't I tell ya?

Weekend trip - part II on tomorrow's post.