Friday, December 23, 2011

Blog Name Change?

I've been Facebook free for almost a year. For the most part, it's been just fine. I haven't been chomping at the bit these last several months to rejoin. I've pretty much enjoyed being free from the gossip (okay that's kind of a lie. I still receive the occasional juicy bit of info via text lol) and drama and mean-spirited posts. And of course, the most important reason I quit FB was to spend more time with my children. I think I've improved in that area, but I'm still not the most attentive mom I could be. It always seems like there's something to be done that takes me away from them. (Today we spent a lot of time snuggling on the couch watching Veggie Tales. That was pretty amazing. 80) )

Anyway, we're getting a new microwave. Hopefully I won't use it for every last thing. Also, I'm rejoining Facebook on January 1st. That will be a full year without social media. (unless you count blogging?) My biggest fear is that I get sucked in and addicted again. So, I need to pray for strength and self-control! I know there are many people (I can't give you a number, but I'm pretty popular, so like, a lot) that have been nagging me to get back on and that they miss me. But the main reason I've decided to get back on FB is to help the home business I'm going to be starting. Shortly after the new year, I plan on consulting for Scentsy. If I want to keep in easy contact with customers, it just makes sense to be on facebook, especially since many of my customers will be friends and family (at least in the beginning). I really hope that I'm successful! I'll definitely be blogging about it!

So this leads me to my question: Should I change my blog name? Life During Facebook? Life With Facebook? Life in Spite of Facebook? Life Trumps Facebook?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Goose is Getting Fat

I've officially gotten into the Christmas spirit.

Our decorations are up, including our first normal sized Christmas tree! Years before, we put up a little "Charlie Brown" tree that sat on a table in the corner. Well, my parents had an extra one they didn't need, so they gave it to us. It's just perfect for our little living room! Last Thursday, Justin put it together (I understand that going out in the cold, chopping down a real tree and hauling it home is a bit more manly, but I'm content with a fake one.) and strung the lights. He also did the garland at the top of the tree and put on the star. I did the rest of the trimmings. I also put out the Nativity set and other Christmas decorations.
I made this Advent calendar for the kids, along with a bunch of little ornaments to put in the drawers. Each day they get to open a drawer and put the ornament on the tree. I don't have 25 ornaments yet. I may have to substitute candy or other treats for some of the drawers.

Don't worry, the clashing table cloth didn't stay.

In addition to the decorations, there are some events coming up. I know that a lot of people get stressed out and annoyed by all the Christmas/Holiday events they're obligated to attend, but I'm excited! We have a friends' Christmas party this weekend, a cookie decorating party and exchange next week. There's a visit to Ohio to see my family, as well as the Farno Christmas exchange. Later in the month, we're having our mommies group Christmas party, part of which will be here. Christmas morning will just be our little family, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Judy will come up at the end of the month, which is when the kids will have a million more gifts to open.

I'm done buying gifts for the kids - but that's easy when you only get 3 for each. I do have some more shopping to do, but I'm not stressed about it. I'm hoping to get almost everything without physically entering a store. We'll see how that goes.

Unlike the vast majority of families around the country, we do not celebrate Santa Claus. There are just a few Santa ornaments. I don't think the idea of Santa is evil, especially since I know he's based on a real guy. Plus, I believed in Santa when I was little, and I turned out all right. ;0)  I just don't want to deceive my children about anything.  Obviously, we're going to make Jesus the emphasis of the season. At the same time, I want them to enjoy the "magic" of Christmas. I want my children to be excited about the gifts under the tree, and for a few years at least, wonder who and where they came from. One thing's for certain, I don't want my kids to ever think that they get gifts because of their behavior. They get gifts because we love them.

All in all, it's going to be a wonderful Christmas!

Speaking of wonderful, I wonder when It's a Wonderful Life will be on TV. There's another tradition I'll have to start with the kids...

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I really should be better at blogging about my kids...

Josie is 2 days shy of being 3 years and 5 months old. Other than the occasional accident, she is fully potty-trained, and is even sleeping in undies at night! It's funny how awful the process was a few months ago. Looking back, it doesn't seem like such a big deal. ;0) I've also learned that it's better to reward the positive than punish the negative, at least for her. Now we keep a small container of marshmallows that I give to her when she goes in the toilet (that is, when she reminds me haha).

Josie is still seeing a speech therapist once a week. There has definitely been a lot of improvements, and she really likes Julia, her therapist. She's gotten much better at saying that she wants something instead of whining or having to show me and point to whatever it is that she wants. This would probably seem bratty for other kids to do, but Josie points to herself and emphatically says, "I want X." I know that this is her way of learning how to properly express her needs/wants, so it doesn't bother me at all. However, we are working on adding the word "please" to that sentence. She's also gotten better at making choices. One choice we give her a lot is: Do you want help or do you want to do it yourself? She has become a lot more independent, and very often says, "do it self!" We're also working on yes and no questions, as well as open-ended questions. The latter will take more time, which I'm okay with.

Josie's main issue is not her expression of language. She repeats things very well and generally speaks pretty clearly. She struggles with the comprehension of language. So, she doesn't exactly have a speech problem, but a language comprehension problem. I've had to emphasize to myself that she doesn't follow instructions because she's a bad/disobedient child, but because she just doesn't understand. She needs a lot more repetition, visual assistance and follow through than most children her age. 

In the next several weeks, Josie is going to be evaluated by a group of "experts" from the local schools in order to determine what is the next step in addressing her language delays. She'll be evaluated by a school psychologist, an early childhood teacher, a speech and language pathologist, and  social worker. Justin and I are planning on homeschooling the kids, and I really hope that I don't have to put Josie in school. I will if that's the BEST thing for her. I don't want to cause her to be delayed more than she already is. On the other hand, I would love to be able to homeschool AND receive help from the local schools. We'll see though.

Josie's speech therapist suggested that she needed more interaction with other children her age. Last Tuesday morning she had her first tumbling class. It was a parent and tot class, and I think she really enjoyed herself! There are only two other children, and they are both significantly younger than Josie, but I still think she is going to learn a lot. One thing that I think will improve is her ability to follow instructions. I also hope her physical abilities, especially jumping and standing on one foot, will improve.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it previously, but Josie got a new bad a while back. She is now sleeping on a twin bed. The first few nights were a little rough, just because it was so unfamiliar, but she has really gotten used to her big girl bed. Also, she has learned how to open her bedroom door. It's an old, tricky handle, but she's figured it out! It's only a matter of time before she learns how to operate the remote control and make her own breakfast...

Deuce is almost 22 months old. It's hard to believe that in just a couple months, he's going to be 2 years old! He really is a sweet, sweet boy. He loves giving hugs and kisses, even to his sister! However, he has recently started utilizing some wrestling moves on Josie. I have yet to see any submission holds or much "ground and pound" action, but Josie seems to think it's pretty funny right now.

Deuce's vocabulary is definitely improving. I actually think he's a little delayed in his speech as well, but he seems to comprehend language a little better. He talks a lot, but most of what he says is a completely different language. I have yet to determine what that language is, though. haha But anyway, recently he's been labeling things a little better and even putting a couple words together. For example, he says, "Good job!" and "All done!" and "Uh oh spaghettios!" ("spaghettios" sounds more like "W") and "More milk? and "Thank you!""

I'm wondering if I should get ready to potty-train Deuce. He has seen his sister go many many times, and often sits on the little potty while she's on the toilet. And he has started informing me when his diaper needs to be changed, either by grabbing at it or saying, "poop." I think that I might need to start potty-training him soon. The bigger I get, the harder it's going to be. And after the baby is born, I'm just not going to be able to for awhile. I just need to pump myself up for it again.

The boy has definitely developed some questinable habits. For example, the very first thing he does in the morning is grab the TV remote and say, "watch watch watch?!" He also has been prone to a few more temper tantrums lately. He seems to get frustrated easily. I hope that isn't a trait that he takes into adulthood. I don't want my kids to be high strung!

Generally Josie and Deuce play well together, but they've begun fighting over their toys more. I've made a point not to emphasize what toys belong to whom, because I don't like the whole "mine!!" stage that kids go through. I rarely say, "That's Josie's toy." Instead I say something like, "Deuce, Josie is playing with that right now. You can play with it when she's done." And vise versa. Or I'll say, "Why don't you play with 'this' while you wait?" If that doesn't work, I usually end up taking the toy away entirely.

I've been working on my consistency with discipline lately. I've gotten pretty fed up with the whining, so if either of them are carrying on for more than 30 seconds, I say something like, "that's enough crying/whining. You need to be all done now." And if they don't stop, I say, "do you want to go to bed/your crib?" Or "Do you want a spanking?" Usually they'll shake their heads "no." If the fit doesn't immediately stop, I tell them they have until the count of 3 to knock it off or they get the consequence. The key is to actually follow through with the consequences.

I am about 22 1/2 weeks along. You'd never know that by looking at me, because I look much bigger than that! We had an ultrasound right around 19 weeks, and everything looked good. The baby is also measuring as expected. Oh yeah, we also found out the sex of the baby. We're having another girl! Justin was really pulling for a boy. He's not sure he can handle the stress of having more than one teenage girl. (In the words of our friend, Tim: "When you have a boy, you only have to worry about one penis. When you have a girl, you have to worry about all of them." lol) We've decided to name her Margaret, after my sister. It so happens that one of Justin's favorite aunts was also named Margaret. Her nickname will be Margo. We are not sure on the middle name yet. I have some ideas, but we'll see what we end up deciding on.

She's gotten a lot more active in recent weeks, and I just love that! She hasn't started abusing me internally like Deuce did, but I'm sure that will come in due time. Also, I have not had horrible acid reflux. I really really hope I don't have to deal with that!

We are planning on another homebirth. I really can't imagine doing this any other way. I have chosen a different midwife, and so far I like her a lot. My last midwife was very knowledgeable and good at what she does, but I want a different "bed-side manner" this time. My closest girlfriends will be there to support me, and I'm really looking forward to that. I know that Justin likes having others there to ease his stress a little bit. He is so supportive and wonderful during labor, but I know that inside he's a complete wreck. Believe it or not, I do like the process of giving birth. It's very hard, but exciting and so fulfilling! And of course, I'm really looking forward to meeting our little girl!

But anyway, now you have some updates. That should hold you over for another month or so. ;0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I've been feeling more pressure to get back on facebook. I told one of my friends to get 100 signatures on a petition to have me rejoin, and I would. She convinced me to decrease it to 50. Haha. Even though I like the idea of not being a total conformist, I miss the interaction. There are pictures I don't see and stories I miss out on because I'm not on FB. Plus, all those facebook events I don't get invited to. haha But, I also save myself from plenty of drama and negativity and gossip, not to mention how much time I could be wasting.

Recently, our microwave died. It involved a little smoke and an electrical fragrance. So, for the past couple weeks, we've had to use the stove and the oven for all of our cooking. It definitely takes more time and planning, but I've noticed that the food tastes better! Even though I'm required to put forth a little more effort (and have more patience), the results have been yummier for sure. We're going to get a new one eventually, but I've actually grown to like cooking the "old-fashioned" way.

Facebook is like a microwave. It's convenient and does what it's supposed to, but it might not be the most healthy and satisfactory tool.

Now I'm not saying that facebook is bad or that radiation is involved. I'm just wondering if it affects the quality of relationships, because it's too easy. People don't have to put forth any effort. They can just look at their iPhone or hop on their laptop, read some status updates and post a few comments.

Facebook is a great tool, just like a microwave is. But it shouldn't be the only tool we use in fostering relationships. Sometimes we have to plan a little more and put forth more effort to get the best results. That might mean picking up the phone or mailing a letter (support the USPS! lol) or driving over to someone's house and talking to them face to face as alternate ways of communicating. It might mean *doing* something for our friends and loved ones to show our appreciation rather than just saying something on facebook. I can't give you a hug or hold your hands while praying with you or bake you cookies or share a meal with your family or babysit your kids or go to the zoo with you on facebook.

While typing this blog, I've realized that I probably haven't been putting forth the best effort over this last year. From now on, I'm going to plan a little more and take more time to foster relationships with my family and friends.

However, this isn't to say that I'm opposed to rejoining facebook one of these days.... ;0)

PS I'll post updates of my life in another blog soon, but right now, I need to go spend some quality time with my children.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Life is but a Vapor

Today I found out that one of my classmates (from kindergarten to high school graduation) died as a result of childbirth complications. I'm from a small town, and there were less than 80 students in my graduating class. So everyone knew everyone. Mandi was her name. She had an identical twin sister named Abi. I haven't been in touch with either of them for a long time. I suppose not being on FB has something to do with that. For some reason, when I heard the news, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried a lot today. I don't know any details about what exactly happened. One thing I know is that the baby survived - a girl they named Abigail after her aunt. It pains me to think about what her husband, parents, sisters, brother, in-laws and close friends are going through right now. I'm upset as a result of empathy for her loved ones, not because I've lost a good friend. Although, I have always liked Mandi. As far as I can remember, she was always nice to me and to others. I also think this hits a little closer to home, not only because I knew her, but because I'm pregnant. Maternal mortality rates were always a statistic that meant little to me. I guess that's how statistics are: pointless until you know someone who is a statistic. I know that pretty much all death is tragic, but is there anything worse than going to the hospital with your wife, expecting your first baby, and then losing your wife in the process? The emotional rollercoaster has got to be almost unbearable. I pray that God would give everyone close to Mandi peace that surpasses understanding, that they would find comfort that defies logic and that their hearts would heal soon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


It's not like *nothing* has been going on these last few weeks; I've just lost motivation to update my blog lately. And even if something interesting happens, it might not be interesting to anyone else. It's hard to say when I don't know who (if anyone haha) reads my blog. I'm not sure if I've even been missed. ;0)  Anyway, let's see if I can share what's been going on lately.

I'm 17 weeks pregnant. We should be able to find out the sex of the baby soon. I just need to make an appointment for an ultrasound. I've gotten to hear the heartbeat twice, at two different appointments with the midwife. Speaking of midwives, I have a new one this time around. She seems very nice and motherly. I think she'll bring a different dynamic to this next homebirth. I still haven't decided who I want to be here, besides Justin and of course, the midwife. I don't feel like I need a natural birth expert, because I pretty much know what I'm doing. But on the other hand, I don't want nobody to be here (that's a double negative, but I meant it that way haha). I know I'm the one doing the hard work, but it's a very stressful time for Justin, and sometimes he needs to be able to step away for a few minutes. So, I'd like at least one other person to be there, just in case. I'm going to keep thinking and praying about it before I make a final decision. (I jokingly suggested to Justin that I have my three closest friends here while he and their husbands hang out in the backyard. He thought that was a fabulous idea lol.)

My parents came to town last weekend. Well, they were here from Thursday to Sunday. It was a nice, but quick visit. Justin and I and my parents went out to dinner while Alana, Justin's sister, watched the kiddos for a few hours. Then on Friday, while Justin was sleeping, the kids and I went to Brown Deer where my parents' hotel was. We hung out, went to a pumpkin farm/petting zoo, the kids swam in the hotel pool (with Grandma and Grandpa), and then we went out for pizza. It was a very full day! Saturday was pretty low-key. My parents took the kids up to the park and spent plenty of time playing with them throughout the day. We had dinner at our house, which I cooked (except Mom helped with the mashed potatoes). And then on Sunday, I skipped church. We went out for brunch instead. Then afterward, we went mattress shopping, and bought Josie a big girl bed (ie twin) and bedding! And by we, I mean my parents bought it, which is totally awesome. Her room looks great now, I think! Anyway, they left Sunday afternoon. All in all it was a really great visit. I just wish they didn't live so far away.

Oh yeah, Sunday was my birthday. I turned 32. It was pretty uneventful. I got some nice gifts from my parents, including a gift card to Archiver's! I can't wait to go shopping! Justin has given me permission to get a pedicure, so I'll take advantage of that soon too. I think I'm finally starting to look my age. I'm noticing more wrinkles on my face and a few grey hairs. Honestly, I don't mind the grey hairs too much unless they're right at the front of my hair line and sticking straight up. Those suckers get plucked out of my head. For now at least, I don't want to pluck myself bald. haha

Justin turns the big 4-0 in February, and I'm working on a big surprise for him. I know he hates the idea of being the center of attention, so I'm not throwing him a party. I've been saving up and earning money on my own to pay for this surprise. I've been baking cookies and bread and selling them to anyone interested. I've also been saving most of my spending money, which hasn't been easy. But between now and the end of February, I should definitely have enough cash for what I'm planning. (I know Justin doesn't read my blog, but I don't want to say exactly what my plans are, just in case.)

I've really been enjoying church lately. The kids are getting better being in service, and hopefully, they're getting a tiny nugget of truth here and there. Another great thing about church is all the friends I have there. And they're not just friends because we hang out, but friends that hold me accountable and pray for me and are good examples of Christ for me. I am so very blessed!

We had "revival services" the week before last, and they were fantastic! I didn't get to go to every one, but the ones I did attend were really awesome. I especially liked one message, which was mostly about rejecting the Holy Spirit. I haven't been moved that much by a sermon in a really long time. I did listen to it later online, and wasn't moved to tears again, but there is a lot of good meat for sure. Here's the sermon, if you're interested in listening to it.

I'm leading a mother's group called Mommies of Blessings, and it's been quite successful so far. I missed the last meeting, since my parents were in town, but the September meeting was awesome. (I can't remember if I blogged about it or not.) There are about 12 or so women that get together once a month to get to know each other better, pray together, and discuss a different topic at each meeting. We're also trying to meet on a different day with our children for a fun activity once a month. I've taken on quite a bit of responsibility preparing for the meetings, but I've learned that it's just as good (if not better) to go with the flow. I'm really looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in and through this group of Christian mommies!

I'm sure there is plenty I could say about my kids right now. But since this is already a pretty long blog, I'll write about them a different day. Hopefully, it won't take me three weeks to blog again. But if it does, assume it means I'm living life to the fullest with my wonderful family! 80)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day at the Zoo

We were supposed to go to Swan's Pumpkin Farm today with a bunch of my mommy friends. I was really looking forward to taking the kids on a hay ride, petting the animals at the petting zoo, and picking out pumpkins. But one after another, for various reasons, people started canceling. So, two other moms (Marie and Mo) and our kids went to the zoo instead. It was such a gorgeous day; we couldn't waste it!

I've really enjoyed the zoo with the kids this summer. I brought the wagon today, which is easier to get the kids in and out of than the stroller. I let them have some freedom inside the buildings. They love getting close to the apes, big cats and especially the aquariums. While Josie was looking at a Mandrill (looks like a baboon), he ran up to the glass and hit it. She wasn't sure how to react at first, and then she cried. It didn't take her too long to get over it. I fibbed to her, telling her that he was just saying, "hi," when in reality he was probably being aggressive.

Here's a picture Marie took of us by the giraffes.
Can you believe both kids are looking toward the camera?!
All in all it was a great day! Now, we just need to reschedule the trip to the pumpkin farm...