Friday, October 30, 2009

Things I've Learned Along The Way

Moving 630 miles with three young children has been an adventure to say the least. We've had some good times, some sad times, some happy times, and some exhausted times. Here are a few things that I have learned that I'd like to share with anyone else who might be in the same situation:

*Getting a hotel room for one night is a good idea. While simple for most, for my family it involves carrying in two infant carseats (with infants); one toddler; a suitcase; a laundry basket packed with more clothes; a basket containing bottles, sippy cups, baby cereal, baby food, formula, and snacks; three pack and plays; a booster seat, and a contraband dog.

*A pen can keep a two year old busy for hours while strapped into a carseat. He'll write on paper, blankies, body parts, and clothing. But he'll be quiet and not ask for anything else so it's worth it.

*Packing with any sort of organizational strategy is overrated: when the moving truck arrives you will grab a box and throw anything and everything that isn't breathing into it.

*Sleeping in a new place 5 times within one week will hurt your back. A LOT.

*Gone are the days of a quick stop where you pee, get something to eat, get gas, and get back on the road. Now we have to unload all children, pee, change diapers, feed babies, feed toddler, feed ourselves, pee again, get everyone back in the car, and then drive away. It will take at least an hour.

*You will eat more fast food during your moving out/moving/moving in process than you usually do in a year.

*You will miss people before they leave your arms, but you'll be glad when the goodbye is over and you can look forward to your next visit.

*And lastly, focus on the big picture. Moving is hard. With children, or without. Emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting, it's hard. But its worth it to start a new adventure, make new memories, and enjoy life with your family.

Friday, October 16, 2009

HappyBaby Foods Review and Giveaway

HappyBaby is a great little company that produces an all natural, 100% organic baby food line. They have meals for toddlers, wholesome baby and toddler snacks, frozen baby food cubes, cereals, and more. HappyBaby has been kind enough to provide my family with some wonderful food samples which I am excited to review. Joey has really enjoyed his Happy Bites Mac and Cheese. It is organic, has protein, and hidden vegetables! How awesome is that?

The babies were really excited over the Happy Bellies Oatmeal Cereal, (much less binding than the standard Rice cereal. It has DHA too!)

paired with Sweeter Potatoes and Purer Pears. Yum, Yum, Yum.

In a couple of weeks, we are going to try out the Happy Puffs with them too! So not only are these foods super good for our kids, they also have adorable names. That's why I'm so excited to be giving away a package of HappyBaby Foods to a lucky reader. In the package you will receive vouchers for one of each of the HappyBaby Products, as well as a voucher for YoBaby Organic Yogurt.Most of the products can be found at any grocery store, so no need to go to a fancy store to pick up your free stuff! This giveaway will be open for until November 4th, 2009 at 11:59pm. Winner will be selected via and notified via Email.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye

With only a week and a half left before we make our 600 mile move, it's time to start saying goodbye. I'm excited about our new beginning and all of the new adventures in store for my family, but when I think about all of the people, friendships, and traditions that we're leaving behind I just feel sad.

Today I started to say goodbye to some very good friends that I have spent a lot of time getting to know in the last two years. It was supposed to be the last event that I attended, but I decided to squeeze one more in during the week so I can see many of them just one more time. Really, I think I'm just trying to put off saying goodbye. I am the worlds biggest procrastinator. I am dreading the hugs, the tears, and the goodbyes that I see in my very near future.

In order for anyone to understand what this group of friends means to me I need to back it up a bit and share the story of finding them:

When Joey was about 6 months old I found myself at home alone a lot of the time feeling bored, cooped-up, and lonely. When talking to my mom about needing to find some new mommy friends she jokingly said, "post an ad on Craigslist that you want new friends." (she is so helpful sometimes!) A few weeks later I was still thinking about how I could meet some other moms, and out of sheer curiosity I decided to "just browse" Craigslist, and see if anyone actually posts "friends wanted" ads. They do! Somewhere in my browsing, I came across an ad about a great site for meeting new people: So I guess in essence, my mom's advice was right. Again.

Anyway, I visited the site, found a mom's group, and joined. I went to a playdate that same week and knew right away that I had found the right group. I just clicked with these ladies. The group was just starting off, so it was easy to join and we were all searching for the same thing: support, activities to do with our kids, advice, and friendship. I found all of this and more in this group. If ever I was having a bad day, someone was always there to listen, offer support, meet up for a walk, glass of wine, playdate, or Moms Night Out. When I had a question about my kids, everyone always had gentle advice, suggestions, and helpful ideas. When my twins were born, my family didn't have to cook for a month because so many of these wonderful women brought delicious meals and goodies our way.

I've never felt out of place, unwanted, or insecure at any of our group events. I've never felt like I had too many kids to go to a playdate. OK, well I know I have too many kids, but these ladies are always there to help get everyone out of the car, find Joey a snack, watch him in the pool, or hold a crying baby while I hold the other one. Recently, our life situation became tougher than we ever imagined, and these ladies provided me with a place to talk, cry, laugh, and find a shoulder to lean on. I love them dearly and would not have been able to survive the last two years without them.

This afternoon Ron and I took the kids to one of our Seasonal parties for the group. The group does this a few times a year, and it is a nice way to get everyone (even the dads!) together. It is always a pot-luck style backyard BBQ that is sure to have great food, tons of sweets, and activities for the kids. We had a great time, as we always do, and it reminded me of how lucky I've been to get to know this group of families. And while I know that this move is the right thing to do for our family, it made me realize that I'm leaving behind my huge support network in this life that I call mommyhood.

I know that we will be happy in our new home and maintain the important relationships that we are leaving behind, but it is still terribly sad and scary. I hope to find a group of ladies that will welcome me and my children in the way that this group has. I hope that the activities are fun and exciting, and not lame or boring. I hope they like to hold babies because I've got more than enough to go around. I hope that they like to take pictures of all the kids as much as this group does. I hope for a lot of things from this move, but mostly I just hope to find a few good friends to add to the many that I will take with me in my heart.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Many Happy Returns

I love shopping. I really, really love it. I love the buzz of a new store. I love pushing my cart around and filling it up with random stuff. I love the calm, quietness that I rarely get to partake in while browsing the clothing racks alone. I love clipping the tags off a new shirt and wearing it for the first time. I love picking out new adorable clothes for my kids to wear. As I said, I really love shopping. There is one small aspect of it that I don't love though. I hate that shopping always leads to a return.

It doesn't matter if I'm shopping for myself, Ron, or the kids, there is always an item (or twelve!) that needs to go back to the store. Wrong color, size, flavor, style, whatever. There is always something. The problem with this situation is that I'm really bad at just going into a store to return something. Like I said, I love shopping. So, as I enter the store to return the unwanted item, I usually end up finding something on my way in or out that I purchase and bring home with me. I can usually rationalize the buying part with the fact that I'm returning something, so it's like spending free money. And what good is free money if you aren't going to spend it? I know it doesn't really work that way, but just play along, OK? So anyway, buying while returning usually just leads to another return. And the cycle repeats itself. Over and over and over.

Today I put the babies down for their naps and headed out of the house with an armload of stuff in various store bags to be returned. I hit 7 stores within a 10 mile radius in 2 and a half hours. When I walked back in the house with a new armload of stuff Ron looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "Were the stores not taking returns today?" I simply replied, "Oh, no, they were. I just picked up some things that we needed while I was out." Being the ever-loving husband that he is, he just shook his head and left it at that. He gets me. God bless that man.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back to Reality

The wedding was amazing, beautiful, and perfect to say the least. Kate and Justin were beaming, and their love radiated through every aspect of the day and night. Ron and I thoroughly enjoyed our time away from the chaotic life known as ours. Apparently our kids did great (at least that's what the babysitters told us), even Olivia survived and held out for breast milk for a whopping 12 hours!

Sunday morning we decided that we would pick up donuts to share with Mollie, Andrew, and company. As I buckled Joey into his car seat I was concerned that his nose was bleeding a little bit. He had been coloring earlier in the morning, and in my hungover haze I seemed to remember Ron saying something along the lines of "If there was a crayon in his nose we'd know it, right?" "Yes," I responded, "we would definitely know if there was a crayon in his nose." I figured it would be pretty hard to miss a 3 inch piece of melted wax hanging from my child's face.

As I wiped Joey's mysteriously bleeding nose, Ron again spoke up: "I never did find that little piece of crayon." WAIT A MINUTE... little piece of crayon? No one ever told me there was a missing little piece of crayon. Upon investigation with a flashlight and household tweezers, sure enough the little piece of crayon was in my son's nose. Operation Sunday Morning Donut Stop aborted, begin Emergency Room Visit with mischievous two-year old.

The staff at the hospital was very understanding, and was sure to give me the "these things happen all the time" vibe. They even gave me pointers for what I could try at home next time my son puts a foreign object in his nostril. Next time? We are already planning for next time? Given his history, I wouldn't put it past him (remember the noodle incident?). However, I'm hoping that four doctors holding him down while one shoved a long needle up his nose to fetch a crayon was traumatic enough that Joey will think twice when he's having one of those "I wonder what this feels like in my nose" moments.


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