Thursday, July 31, 2008

turning lemons into lemonade...and more...

yesterday was one of those days. you know the kind i mean. i was functioning on a far less than ideal amount of sleep, compliments of a painful stabbing sensation in my ears that kept me up during the wee hours of the morning. a trip to the doctor's office...with three kiddos in tow (my two and miranda) revealed a bad case of swimmer's ear. of course, being squeezed into the schedule at the doctor involved kate skipping her morning nap. interestingly enough, the melties didn't rear their ugly head until much later in the day...right around dinner time in fact...and kate spent much of the evening alternating between fussing and comforting herself with continual thumb-sucking (an activity she typically reserves for nap-time). when i had all three kiddos settled for naps and was just settling into the quiet, i stepped in the laundry room to change a load to the dryer and face the dauntingly massive mounds of clean laundry. my plan was to sit down with a diet coke, listen to a sermon on CD, and fold, fold, fold. i took one step into the laundry room and immediately noticed my toes seemed wet. "hmm...that's strange. maybe elizabeth spilled some water in here," i thought. but alas, as i reached into the massive mountain-o-clean clothes i was greeted with a wet mess...ugh! somehow the drain pipe from the washer had popped out of the hole it is supposed to drain into...leaving a load worth of water on my laundry floor.

by now you might be looking back at the title of this post and thinking, "where's the lemonade?!" well, here it is. on top of all that stuff (or perhaps in light of all of that) i was simply feeling worn down, frustrated, and discouraged...and so i stopped....stopped to regroup and refocus on what was important. and, oh how faithful God bring peace in the midst of chaos, perspective in the doldrums, and smiles when you are on the verge of tears.

-swimmer's ear leads to a prescription...which leads to...a $10 gift card from CVS for filling a new prescription. and you all know how far $10 can take me at CVS!

-a dauntingly massive mound of ready to be folded clean laundry does a FABULOUS job of absorbing the water from the wayward drain pipe...saving me the hassle of moving everything, drying, etc. the only clean up involved re-washing and drying the mound. last time this happened (yes, it has happened before!) the water flowed into the vent and down through the pantry...ugh! also, this time i was able to quickly fix the problem and deal with it on my own, as opposed to having a broken washing machine and wet laundry room greet my hubby when he came home from work!

-an exhausted kater gator led to a bit more snuggling at bedtime...something my sweet "baby" is often too busy for these days.

-a reminder in the form of my "free after ECB" dvd movies from CVS. i made one of these for each of the girls...and in the middle of the the height of my discouragement, i popped them in the dvd player and watched the images of my precious daughters flash across the screen. talk about perspective...sure...there are always going to be those days...but they pale in comparison to the giggling, smiling, playing, loving, and watching these sweet girls grow. time passes to quickly to get bogged down in wet laundry rooms, painful ears, and cranky babies. before i know it i won't have teeny-tiny laundry to wash and fold or a cranky baby to snuggle against my chest.

and are some of my deals and "steals" from CVS and walgreens this week. i typically steer away from walgreens, since, as i've mentioned in prior posts, their customer service at the store near me leaves much to be desired...BUT there were some free after rebate items too good to resist...especially combined with clearanced pampers and the one day only $5 off $20 purchase coupon! for those who are considering dabbling in the world of CVS...this is a GREAT week to get started!

CVS (the results of about three separate trips--mind you, i can only do that many trips because it is less than a mile from my house, meaning we often walk!)

3 kodak picture DVD movies--$9.99 (FREE after $9.99 in ECBs)--limit three
2 maybelline define-a-lash--$5.99 each (minus 2 $1 off coupons)...FREE after $10 ECBs
4 christophe hair products--B1G1 (they ended up being free after 4 $5 off peelies on bottles)
1 band-aid ultra strips--$2.99 (minus $1 coupon)...FREE after $2 ECBs
1 revlon limited edition blush $9.99 (minus $1 coupon)...FREE after ECBs
1 benadryl strips ($1 off coupon)
1 mylanta ultimate ($1.50 off coupon)
2 neosporin (2 $1 off coupons)...received $10 ECBs for the benadryl, mylanta, and neosporin
1 tums quick dissolve (FREE plus overage after $2 off CRT and $2.25 coupon)
*i'd say this was a GREAT week for me at CVS!
**i highly recommend the photo DVDs...a great gift (or simply for your own collection of memories) easy to make (just take a CD or USB into the store with your 60 pictures loaded on it. you make it in the store, and receive it in minutes! NOTE...don't buy all three of these in the same transaction, or you end up with a $29.97 ECB, which might be hard to use in the future. i did one per visit/ i paid $9.99 for the first one (i used ECBs i already had), then used the $9.99 from the first one to "pay" for the second...etc.
WALGREENS (two transactions)
Transaction #1
1 pert plus (used $2 off coupon--this is a free after rebate i got $2 overage)
3 olay ribbons body wash ($3/10...used 3 $2 off coupons...received a $3 register reward (like a coupon to be used on your next transaction))
2 bioinfusions products (these are free after rebate)
1 jane mineral powder brush (used $2 off coupon...this is a free after rebate i had $2 overage)
Used a $5 off $20 purchase coupon from here (good TODAY ONLY!)
TOTAL $17.56 (plus a $3 RR for my next transaction)
**i will receive $20.76 in rebate for this transaction!
Transaction #2
2 ultra tuf tall kitchen trash bags (B1G1...$5 rebate for purchasing two...FREE after rebate)
2 boxes of pampers cruisers--140 diapers! (clearanced $15.99 a box...used $4 off coupon and $2 off coupon)
Used a $5 off $20 purchase coupon from here (good TODAY ONLY!)
Used $3 RR from transaction #1
TOTAL $25.21
**i'll receive a $5 rebate for this transaction
GRAND TOTAL--after rebates i spent less than $18 for the two boxes of diapers (which were originally priced at around $22 a piece!)...PLUS i got shampoo, trash bags, a blush brush, and body wash...not too shabby!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ten smile tuesday

we rolled back into our driveway late yesterday afternoon after a long weekend full of memories...some tearful, some joyous, but all of them full of smiles. you see, this past weekend was the memorial service for my bapa...who, as many of you may remember, died at the end of may, just after we returned from spending a week of vacation with him (and GG too!) in florida. the service itself held a few tearful moments, but truly, they were tears of joy and not sadness...tears as we lovingly and fondly remembered our beloved bapa. there was also laughter and reminiscing. how delightful to see so many faces from the past...including our old summertime play-mates...who seemed SO much older than my sister, cousins, and i at the time...and now, well, so strange to talk to them as adults and realize they too are stay at home mommies. and after the service, how delightful to have some time with extended family at my parents' house....eating, swimming, chatting, remembering. and that was just the filling in the oreo cookie of our weekend...sunday, the day of the service was sandwiched by a saturday spent swimming, playing, and hanging with aunt shell and uncle richard and GG (and grandmommy and poppy, of course!). then monday was spent with my dear auntie phil and uncle art...visiting from the great state of arizona...perhaps two of my most loyal blog-readers. how precious to finally introduce them to miss e (as they call elizabeth) and kate in person as opposed to photos sent via the internet. how delightful to sit and chat with watch my hubby sitting on the porch with uncle art, chatting away, to capture sweet pictures of elizabeth resting on uncle arts lap and kate squealing with delight in the arms of auntie phil. oh what a blessed weekend! and now that i've already gone on and are the smiles!

1. my sister...her willingness to love on the girls and watch them while mike and i grabbed a quick dinner and ice cream wednesday night. oh how delighted elizabeth was by her new favorite baby-sitter ever...her ice-cream serving, swing pushing, tricycle steering aunt shell. then, of course, there was our girl time...a trip to the salon...and then a wonderful afternoon of hanging out with the girls...playing, enjoying each others company. it was time together that won't be forgotten! love you shell!

2. renting "boom blox" for our wii on friday night...and staying up way too late playing and laughing with my hubby.

3. having mike home on friday...and our trip to the county fair. elizabeth and kate loved seeing all of the animals and people...and libs was especially thrilled when she got to touch a real live cow!

4. elizabeth's newfound bravery and absolute LOVE of the water. seriously, she has been so tentative the past few visits to the lake, but aunt shell helped her find her inner-fish...after that i could barely get her out of the water. sunday night she was shivering and her teeth were chattering, but she wasn't remotely interested in getting out of the lake. too cute! i loved spending some special time with her in the water.

5. mohawk kater gator...seriously, who could resist a face like this?! and, of course, she continued in her water bug ways!

6. the chance to celebrate bapa...i was reminded anew of how blessed we were to have spent that last week with him...of the memories, the laughs...oh how precious was the sweet voice of my elizabeth declaring, "that's my big bapa!" as a picture of the two of them flashed across the screen during a slide show.

7. the chance to see the delight on my grandma's face as she watched elizabeth and kate play...and the fact that the girls have the chance to get to know GG more as she is in indiana this summer

8. auntie phil....

9. ....and uncle art

10. ...and oh so many more precious memories....too many to here are some pictures!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

a glimpse...

...of our fun with aunt shell! the day included haircuts for the big you like our kind of matching new cuts?! last night aunt shell watched the girlies so mike and i could enjoy a quick date. needless to say, she was elizabeth's favorite baby-sitter E-V-E-R! i mean, who could beat the best aunt in the aunt that pushes her on the swing, takes her tricycle riding (who knew the secret to tricycle riding would be unlocked by a visit from aunt shell!?), and best of her a tasty bowl of ice cream before bedtime! as for katers...well, she simply loved aunt shell...grinning, giggling, loving her! we love you, aunt shell...and don't worry uncle richard...we haven't forgotten you...elizabeth is super excited to see you at the lake on saturday! :)

it took me about four shots before i could get michelle in the frame as well!

i think mike took this as a joke...but i kind of like it...
and is the full view of the hair cut

coming soon! (and check it out!) sister helped me take the plunge...i officially have an etsy shop...though there isn't actually anything listed for sale yet! but keep your eyes peeled...and once i have some stuff to fill it with i'll even do a big giveaway to kick it off. if you want, you can check out my empty shop though! a Gator a Monkey and a Pug

in the could stop by my sister's etsy shop, LazyDogPottery, and browse her awesome pottery!

and now...i leave you with a picture. mostly because i'm showing my sister how to enter an image on her blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ten smile tuesday

as i start typing this it is 11:38 i've still made it for ten smile TUESDAY as opposed to wednesday! and no, i wasn't actually planning to be up this late posting my smiles...the plan was to put them up tomorrow morning...BUT i can't sleep, so i figured i might as well get them up now! so without further ado...

1. the very reason my smiles weren't posted earlier. i spent much of the day working on these dresses...a trip to jo-anns--where i spotted the fabric, cutting, sewing, and creating...and voila! and guess what...i spent less than $10 on the entire project!

2. kater's new mentioned in yesterday's post.

3. bath time...seriously...these girlies LOVE the bath...and when they're happy...well, that just makes for a happy mama too!

4. my little craft monster. libbers is SO into crafts right now (and, of course, you all know that i am SO into that!)...yesterday we made a castle, which she was SO into. of course, kate sat on it...but no worries...i fixed it. mike was at a meeting during all of the castle-sitting excitement, and i was telling him the story as he was watching some video i'd taken of kate tooling through the living room with the walker. so elizabeth is proudly displaying her castle for the camera, and you can see kate (king kong jr.) making a bee-line for it, and then the screen goes blank. mike's comment, "oh totally should have gotten it on video. that would have been hilarious!" more thing that would make me a front-runner in the mom of the year contest....sitting behind the video camera and cracking up as kate (clothed only in a diaper) demolishes the castle and elizabeth bursts into uncontrollable wails of distress...yeah...h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s!

5. a stable and functioning potty. well, better yet...the husband that fixed said potty. apparently the toilet in the half bath was missing some screws...meaning it occasionally tilted a wee bit. but no more tilt-a-potty in our bathroom thanks to my man. and along with that he fixed the toilet paper thing-a-majig so that the toilet paper no longer falls right off...and installed a new shower head in our bathroom. its been a big week!
6. having my sister here with us saturday. it was actually a unique visit because i was just my sister and clover (her puppy). since she lives out of state i often see her in conjunction with the whole fam...and not that i don't love the fam, but it was really nice to have some time just with her. we hung out...went shoe shopping...grabbed some was fun. and better yet...she is coming back tomorrow, and we have hair appointments together thursday morning...and she offered to hang with the kiddos for a bit tomorrow so mike and i can go on a date. we L-O-V-E aunt shell! (sorry no pictures of aunt shell or clover...BUT i do have a picture of the fun the girls are having with the bin o' legos she brough them!)
7. the fact that while this lego scattering was happening i was out shopping all by myself...and not just grocery shopping...nope, cruising the aisles at jo-anns, picking out fabric for our MOPS baby gifts, crafting on someone else's dime...well, except i did find that fabric for the girls dresses. AND when i got home from the crafting, well, i got to read stories and be lavished with hugs and kisses...and then walk downstairs to a nice clean living from legos and peek-a-blocks and dog toys and books and......have i mentioned that my hubby is swell!

8. this sweet, juicy, ripe watermelon...fresh from the farmer's stand not far from our house. i've been watching and waiting, anticipating their tasty fruits and veggies, and they opened last week. hooray!

9. my dear friend lora asked us if elizabeth could be the flower girl in their sweet is that. i haven't told libs yet because i know she is going to be SO excited...she'll probably ask every ten minutes from when she finds out until the moment of the wedding..."is it today?" "do i marry 'uncle keif' today?" (apparently i should wait to tell her until right before i coerce her (oops....i mean she walks) down the aisle)

10. a few moments of outdoor fun. with vbs and some super steamy weather we haven't been outside too much lately, but we did catch some swingset time saturday morning. and then i caught these shots of the girls enjoying the sunshine while i grilled some hotdogs ( i feel like i mention us eating hotdogs a lot...we aren't hotdog fact, until last summer i had kind of sworn off hotdogs forever...and then i met beef hotdogs...and the love affair began).

11. one final bonus honor of kate's rapidly approaching first birthday. gators galore! seriously, i am on the hunt for alligator paraphenalia...and our stash of gator gear is adding up. just last week i discovered Gater Tots (you really should stop by...such cute stuff) and i might have been sucked into buying a gater t-shirt for the birthday girl. then i found alligator squirters at the dollar tree...and i told elizabeth she could pick out a tube of wrapping paper at the dollar tree...what does she select (on her first try too!)...wrapping paper with alligators (well, and monkey and lions and tigers...but the gators are there too!). let me tell you...i'm going to have to take lots of pictures of this gator party so that someday kate will know we did it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

where oh where...

...have my baby girls gone?!

today kate decided to start walking behind her little walker toy...big, unsteady steps...but nonetheless, she made it across the room and was even able to negotiate some turns. perhaps the funniest part was her reaction when she came to an obstacle (like one of the MILLION peek-a-blocks or legos!)...she'd tuck her head down and push with all her might. i think this may just be a sign of what's to come...seriously, it is so funny to watch how different the girls personalities are...kate's as gung-ho as elizabeth is tentative! but i'll admit that it was a little bittersweet to pack up the exersaucer (sweet blessed hunk of brightly colored plastic!) and store it away for the possibility of another "baby yak" seems each vestige of baby-hood is slowly making its way into boxes and closets...making way for toddler-hood.

it was a comedy of errors to try to get both alex and kate to stand and look at the camera!

this was one of the first successful trips...a bit blurry...but that just proves she's movin'

just to prove it wasn't a fluke she showed of her skills again at home...notice she is sans clothing...yes, my friends, that is a whole different stinky story!

and then there is elizabeth, who is at this very moment laying in her bed singing "zaccheus was a wee little man" quite loudly...presumably to her monkey. elizabeth...potty trained and trading in her sippy cups for "big girl cups"....elizabeth, running, jumping, singing, questioning, crafting, growing like a weed...hard to believe that she was once where kate is now...those faltering steps behind the walker...on the brink of a first birthday celebration.

these are most definitely the days to treasure...and savor, because boy do they blow by ever so quickly!