Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Sweetness

What could be better than a baby girl in ruffles?

A ruffle wearing baby girl playing pat-a-cake with her big brother!

Just like her big sister, Elsa is smitten with Sam!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.

So much to be thankful for this year, most of all the makers of these handprint turkeys.

Inspired by Lori.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

If I had time to blog....

* I would write about how we are finally being consistent with using a chore chart and giving the kids an allowance. We've tried many things over the years but it requires so much discipline on the part of the parents that it's sad to admit that we've always let it fall by the wayside after a week or so. Not this time! We are closing in on a month of consistency.  The kids are developing good HABITS and I'm so proud of them!!! They earn $1.75 a week if they do the following every day: homework, setting/clearing the table, feeding the cats, picking up 10 things on the main floor, putting shoes away/picking up the hallway upstairs. I'm still waiting for the day they don't leave their stuff laying around in the first place but it's a start!

* I would post pictures of what Sam and Julia are interested in these days and not just photos of Elsa in her basket: Sam and a friend from school were playing ninjas for the past few weeks so lots of drawings have come home of ninja fighters. Oh joy. He's moved on though since they completed a project where they made cards for soldiers. Now it's huge, elaborate drawings of bombers, destroyers, submarines, and aircraft carriers. Julia is cranking out art projects like there's no tomorrow. I can hardly keep up with her some days! I keep saying we are going to celebrate the beginning of winter with a brand new box of crayons because the ones we have are about shot! Her favorite thing to do is play 'school' with Daddy. She asks every single day and he's so good to take the time to do it. Love him.

* I would write about how we are slowly trying to cut out more processed foods and especially refined sugars. We went two weeks with only whole foods and it was rough. The kids hated it more than we did, but I was inspired to start being more careful about what 'foods' are in our home. No more sugary granola bars!!!

* I would write about how I'm using a three ring binder to organize my weekly menu, shopping list,and coupons. I've always stunk at making a menu but I've finally found a system that works for me.  Two websites I recommend: and (All Recipes has an app called Dinner Spinner which is really really handy!!!!)

That is if I had time to blog, but since I don't....I better get off the computer!

Elsa Louise at 20 weeks

Her chubby little dimpled fingers reach for everything now, including the wisps of my hair that don't quite make it into my ponytail. ouch!  She had lots and lots to say this week which put us on the receiving end of lots of smiles from strangers who were drawn to the squawky/talky in the stroller.

She had a touch of a cold again for a couple of days but rather than keeping her up at night, it made her sleep more than usual. I'm enjoying longer stretches of sleep and since she's not eating every two hours anymore I can get quite a bit done in the mornings before she and I sit down for some quiet time together. If she eats around 6am it can be 10 before she wants to eat again which with two kids who have two different start times for school that comes in real handy!
She is all smiles when she first wakes up and will often entertain herself with her fist, thumb, or edge of her swaddle blanket for an hour before I need to go in and get her. Yet another reason I love, love, LOVE having a video monitor!!!  I keep saying I need to write a post about my favorite baby gear because eight years after the first time I purchased baby items I look at the baby aisle with a completely new perspective!  Actually, I rarely go in the baby aisles anymore. We don't buy disposables and I buy her clothes second hand so there isn't really a need, unless I'm down to one pacifier. Then I can guarantee you will find me smack dab in the baby section of Target with yet another new package of those blessed pieces of silicone and plastic in my cart!

For the record, the day after I took this photo we received our first dusting of snow. Elsa will only be five months old this Christmas but Sam and Julia are excited to share the wonder of the holiday with her and so am I!

Elsa Louise at 19 Weeks

Yikes! Time is getting away from again! Elsa will be 21 weeks on Friday and I'm just getting to write about her 19th week. It was a breakthrough week for our little cub so it was easy to remember what I want to write about.
Silence. In. The. Car.
Oh my is that nice to be able to say! Sure she still cries sometimes when she's had enough of being carted around but those times are fewer and far between and it all started in her 19th week. It helps that she can reach out for the toys hanging from her carseat. She loves the noisy lady bug and I added the horse, also from Aunt Sharon and Uncle Jamey, to spice things up for her. Finally we can sit with her on our laps without having to bounce or constantly entertain her. She's so much more interested in the world around her and content either on her gym or in her Boppy. I would LOVE to hold her all day but my back can't handle the strain and even babywearing has its limits.

I do enjoy holding her for naptimes when I don't absolutely have to get something done. I have the messy house to prove it! I know how fast the time slips away - just look at how much she's changed since her first Bear Hat photos.  Before I know it she'll be wearing the Julia's purple version that Lindsay made for us!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alphabitty Moments - The Letter B is for....

Beads...specifically the ones from B. Are you familiar with their products? We have a few of them and I've got to tell you, they get used a lot. We gave Julia a set of their beads for Christmas last year and she still plays with them almost daily which says a lot in my book. She loves to create crowns, necklaces, bracelets, rings...she also used the beads as food for animals when she plays with her brother. Speaking of animals...Grandma and Grandpa gave her this vet kit a couple of years ago - also a hit. They gave her the microphone for her birthday last year and we also have the art table that really helps tame the art clutter that tends to overtake our home.

None of these toys have broken parts despite heavy use. I have nothing but good things to say about them with the exception of a couple features I feel are missing from the microphone (it only plays music, doesn't amplify or record your child's voice. Bummer.)

The only thing Julia wants to ask Santa for is this B. product. I've seen it in action during one of our trips to Target. I'm not usually one for toys that require batteries, but this is one exception I'm completely willing to make!

Sure I HATE finding the beads, but some day I'm going to miss having evidence of her creative mind at work (and her mission to move on to the next project before she cleans up from the previous one!) In the meantime I'm working really hard to take this saying to heart and to remember that these little things are what we miss the most when they are grown!

What Alphabitty Moment do YOU want to remember this week?  Go ahead and leave a link in the comments...

The opinions of the B. products in this post are mine and mine alone. I wasn't compensated in any way for mentioning their products. I wrote about them because I love them and want to share good quality toys with you! If you have a favorite B. toy feel free to share! I'm sure there are lots of people looking for gift ideas this time of year!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Elsa Louise at 18 Weeks

Same basket but new location. I will have to remember this spot next year as it was just gorgeous the day we went to play at the other playground in our park. Elsa didn't mind the breeze one bit as you can tell from her smiles. She's jabbering more so the shot without the hat is more of a mid-jabber face, but I still love it. It's her. It's her personality shining through. It's obvious she recognizes us now. She has different grins for each of us. The ones that melt my heart the most? The smiles she gives her siblings. The flip side is that she is starting to be timid around strangers and since she spends most of her time with just our little family, she cries for pretty much everyone else. Her little lip comes out and she looks back at me to be rescued.

By the way, does the hat she's wearing look familiar?

Her new thing this week is blowing raspberries. Not that she needs to produce any.more.drool. but it's still adorable to hear her making her new noises on the changing table. The other thing I want to remember about this week is the time both PapaBear and I were sitting with her. Her eyes went back and forth, back and forth, taking us both in, marveling at the fact that we were BOTH doting on her at the same time. Don't get me wrong...she get's lots of attention, but we often tag team in order to get other things done around the house.

Autumn is fading here in BearCountry, in fact the first flakes fell yesterday (Nov 10th) but I tucked a few of these yellow leaves away for my BabyBear so we can hang on to a piece of her very first Fall.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alphabitty Moments - The Letter A is for....

Welcome to Alphbitty Moments! This is the meme for preserving the every day things of childhood one letter of the alphabet at a time. Click over on the button on my sidebar for more information and inspiration as you record your family's memories! You can also grab the code to add the button to your post. Every Thursday I will post a Mr. Linky so we can share our word/photos/memories with each other. I used to create a scrapbook page every week, but I've learned that for me it's easier to stick with just the photos I want to use (and a note to myself about where to find the photos later) so that when a deal comes along via Mixbook, Picaboo, Blurb, Shutterfly, Snapfish, or any of the other book making sites out there I can quickly put one together. I think it also helps me to have all my ideas together before I begin creating that first page. Sometimes I use a two page spread for each letter and other times I only use one word per page to save money.

Feel free to post a complete layout or just the photo(s). And this is an important part so read carefully. IT IS OK TO MISS A WEEK! Believe me, I've done it and it's not the end of the world. Catch up the next week or fill in the missing words/photos when it's time to make your book. No matter what you will still be ahead of the game if you participate as often as you can because you won't have so much work to do at the end.  Ok...enough rambling....let's see what A stands for this time:

A is for.....Animal Artwork
photos filed under: Elsa 18 weeks

I know you aren't suppose to pigeon hole your kids by saying "she's the artist in the family" but it's the truth. The rest of us don't hold a candle to Julia and the creative things she comes up with.  In the last year I've noticed a trend in her work...there are lots and lots of animals.  Perfect for 'A' week!!!

What Alphabitty Moment do you want to remember this week?
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alphabitty Moments - Y & Z are for....

Welcome to Alphabitty Moments! I'm wrapping up this round with two letters this week. Y is for Yoga and Z is for Zoo Animals. The kids love to join me in a yoga session so I picked up a kids yoga tape at Goodwill a while back. It's pretty corny, but it's so worth it to see them exercise and enjoy it! And the zoo animals...simple toys but the kids use their blocks or Lincoln Logs to create a zoo for them. Animals are a huge part of their imaginative play. h.u.g.e.

What Alphabitty Moment do YOU want to remember this week? 
If you were waiting to join us when I got back to the letter A - NEXT WEEK IS YOUR WEEK TO START!!!!  Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Elsa Louise at 17 Weeks

Elsa turned 17 weeks old this past Friday and 4 months yesterday. So why does it look like she fits in the basket all of a sudden? I removed one of the blankets so our little chunk could fit in it a tad bit longer. I like my basket pictures, what can I say? Speaking of chunk - she weighs 19.5 pounds (97%) and is 24.5 inches long (75%). That makes her almost a pound lighter than her sister at this age.

So what's new this week? This:

Also, she's finally stopped screaming when we set her down. Hallelujah! It is so fun to hear her 'talk' to us - it's more of a squawk/squeal but it's music to my ears.  She learned to reach for toys this week too. Her favorite hangout is her floor gym. I think her hair is getting longer, but you'd never know to look at her bald head under her hat. I try to write in her journal at least once a month so I'm gonna save the mushy stuff for there....

Beginner Knit Hat Pattern

I've been asked so many times if there is a pattern for the hats I make,  but I was too busy filling Christmas orders...