March 29, 2010

Taking It All In

My boy is one of those who just gets into everything. I basically have to be on my guard during his every waking moment. Naptime and bedtime can be quite blissful for me because I get to unwind a little bit and not be constantly worrying or wondering about what he's getting into when he's out of my sight.

Our pantry gets emptied throughout the day, paper bits get torn and scattered all over the floor, baking pans find their way across the kitchen linoleum, the second the bathroom door opens he makes his way in there and if someone forgets to close the door on their way out he will, inevitably, be found splashing in the toilet. He falls off the table, off the chairs, off the school desks, off the bed, and down the stairs. The TV, computer, and video game systems are his favorite toys and he takes every opportunity that we might forget to put things out of his reach to grab and destroy. He pulls chairs into the kitchen and has been found, on many occasion, wielding a butcher knife and chopping away at the counter.

This evening he pulled his little rocking chair into the kitchen without me noticing until I heard the sound of liquid spilling onto the floor. I turned toward the kitchen to see him splashing in the tea from my teacup which he had dumped out onto the counter. Arrrgggghhhh! So frustrating! Instead of my usual anger I responded with a bit of laughter and grabbed my camera. Really, how could I not?

Sometimes he really exhausts me. I think he demands a lot more of my attention than the girls did at this age. He's a pretty happy and content little boy, but he is just always busy and very curious. I am so blessed... so very, very blessed to have him in my life. I say a prayer of gratitude to God every night before I lay him in bed. This family I have, it's really pretty special and amazing.

Make each day count!

March 28, 2010

Springtime for Hitler and Germany

Oh, Spring has sprung and I couldn't be happier! The kids can finally play outside without taking 30 minutes to get ready and even though I have to deal with muddy clothes and lots of baths, I'm okay with that. Another thing I'm loving this spring more than previous years is that I am more in shape than I have been in previous spring seasons and that means I feel more up to going out and playing with my kids.

I'm starting up running again, though I do need to get new shoes, and while I can't run for 30 minutes straight like I could in August, I am still going to start up the Couch to 5K program again. I'm excited to be starting in March rather than May like I did last year. It should mean that I'll be ready to run some 5K fun runs this summer! Marah and I even ran to the park today while I pushed Alex in the stroller and I was still able to run and play on the field while we were there. Maybe that seems like a small thing to some but, at 200 lbs. (and working on it), it's a big deal for me!

So this spring has started out with lots of this-

and this-

and this-

Marah got hit in the face with a soccer ball

reminds me so much of my cousin, Scott

the faces this kid makes... cracks me up!

Jenna has a new friend from the apartments behind our house.

I think I'm out of my funk... and I'm loving it. :)

Make each day count!

March 23, 2010

Quick Snapshot

I have been keeping busy trying to get my home in order and get out of my funk so I just wanted to pop in and update with a few little snapshots of what's been going on around here the last week.

It was Girl Scout birthday week and Jenna's troop had a party for which we were responsible for bringing the cake or cupcakes. They all loved what we did with the cupcakes and Jenna's troop leader told me that she knew I'd do something creative! That made me feel like a good mommy :)

Eric surprised us with this little note the other day to which I replied "awww..." and to which Jenna replied with the bottom sentiment, including the beating heart with veins. heh....

As you can see, our yard is quite a lovely sight at this time of year! Doesn't stop Marah from playing out there or Alex from watching intently from the living room window.

The girls do adore the little guy. When he's not sneaking into their room for a good ransacking, that is.

Alex found a bag of buns and sneaked a few. I found him sitting contentedly in this chair with his snack and Spongebob.

Eric is busy with school and work and when he's home he plays Xbox or PS3 or snuggles on the couch with us to watch TV or movies. Jenna keeps busy with Girl Scouts and Awana and speech therapy and drawing and video games. Marah is always talking, loving Awana, learning so much and surprising me with what she knows every day. Alex cracks me up all day long! He makes life so much fun. He is all boy but still loves a good snuggle and giving kisses is one of his favorite things to do. Gotta love that.

As for me, I'm in spring cleaning mode! The sun has been coming out to play more and more often and the anticipation of God's green magnificence has begun to fill me up. I've been working on spending less time in front of the computer and more time with my family. I've also been reading a lot more often. I'm thinking of trying to start running again but I don't know if my feet will be up for it.

Oh anyway, I really should get going. The day awaits! Make it count :)

March 18, 2010

What's With All This Funk?

I don't know what is going on lately but I seem to just be in a bit of a funk. Last week I was feeling pretty good and managed to get a lot accomplished. This week I don't want to do much of anything. I'm wondering if the changing weather has anything to do with it. It's such a tease, I tell you! The air is getting warmer, snow is melting, I should be able to go out and enjoy it, right? However, I can't! I can't get excited about muddy ground, dirty snow, huge puddles on the sidewalk, brown grass, bare trees. I just can't! Everything just feels dirty and depressing right now. Sometimes I do wonder how I am able to stand living here. I just have to keep the faith that here is where God wants me... but hopefully just for now. I sure would be happy to move. I suppose every location comes with it's own set of pros and cons though.

I've been itching to get my sewing corner set up again. I have so many things I need to work on. Where will I find the time? I would love to be able to make things to sell but I just can't settle on what I should make. I really enjoy crafting of all kinds but I want to have a particular focus so people don't get overwhelmed by what I offer!

Oh anyway, I really don't have much to say today. I'm just tired, have a headache, and feeling like a lump. Now, aren't you glad you stopped by to check up on me? :)

I need to follow my own advice and...
Make each day count!

March 17, 2010

Rockin' Green Winners!

Here are the winners of the Rockin' Green samples chosen by an online random number generator.

40- earthlymama
20- Misfit Momma aka Missy
3- Jessica

Congratulations winners! Please email me at ashtinafayelou at gmail dot com to claim your prize.

Thanks to all who entered! I hope you might be inclined to give Rockin' Green a try. Look for more giveaways in the near future.

March 15, 2010

Giveaway: Rockin' Green Samples

About a week ago I wrote a little blog about things I'm loving lately. If you read that you should recall that I raved about a detergent called Rockin' Green. I cannot tell you how much I love this detergent! Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it smells awesome, is made by a mom in her own kitchen, and makes my diapers smell lovely and fresh with no build up and soap residue! This stuff rinses so clean and gets so much of the dirty grimy stuff out of your laundry! I can't believe the nasty state of my laundry water after I let it soak. I do use this stuff on my towels too because I figured if it was getting my diapers so clean then it should be great on my towels too! Of course, I was right. I have come to expect nothing less from this detergent!

Well, I recently had a little shipping issue with my order of Rockin' Green and some of my detergent was leaking from it's packaging. I decided to contact Kim, the awesome creator of Rockin' Green, so that she would be aware of the problem. My intention was to bring it to her attention so that she would be able to work out a new packaging solution and I thought maybe I would be able to get a small amount of detergent to replace what was lost during shipping. Kim promptly replied and let me know that she would mail me a new bag right away! I let her know that a full bag was not necessary and that 1/4 bag would be more than enough. So imagine my delighted surprise when I opened my mailbox and found a glorious full bag!

Since Kim was so generous to me I want to give a little something to others. So here is what I'm giving away- 3 samples of Rockin' Green Classic Rock detergent in Grape Soda scent. Please be aware that I am only giving samples from my own supply and that is why I can only offer the Grape Soda scent. I cannot send Soft Rock (unscented) or any other scent. If you are interested in checking out all the yummy scents that Rockin' Green has to offer, please check out the website and order some samples! They are reasonably priced and smell awesome! The samples that I send will be enough for two full loads of wash.

Here is how to enter:


Make each day count!

March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I think I'm going to like Wordless Wednesday. Takes the pressure off :)

Make each day count!

March 8, 2010

A Family Vacation

We haven't been on a family vacation since our trip out to California nearly 4 years ago (oh my goodness, I can't believe it's been that long since we saw my family) when Marah was 1 1/2 which is about how old Alex is now! So when we got our tax refund this February I had originally hoped to buy a new serger and some lovely fabric and maybe go on a little getaway with just my good looking husband to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. The thing is... I changed my mind. I'm good at that, you see? So I thought about it and decided that I would rather splurge on a family vacation and enjoy a few fun filled days with the four people I love most in this world.

That is how we ended up in the Minn/St. Paul area also known as "The Cities" to anyone around here. Now, I may live in a little po' dunk town now but growing up I was a big city girl through and through and so it's pretty crazy when I think about the fact that I have lived here in NW Minnesota for 8 years and never visited The Cities. The thought depressed me everytime it popped into my head and so I was very excited to finally get to go!

I had an agenda. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted it to be both fun AND a chance to introduce a bit of culture and education into my poor, big city deprived, children! So what do you think we did as soon as we pulled into the metro area? Check in to the hotel? No. Eat something? No. We went straight to the Minneapolis Institute of Art! I had no idea what to expect as it was a free museum and I think in my mind I was just stuck in rural Minnesota and did not remember what a real art museum was like. Oh, how my children have been deprived!

Marah's expressions during this entire trip were so fun and just made every bit of exhaustion so worth it!

To get an idea of the size of this painting, check out the people underneath it!

Seriously, do they come any hotter than this? :)

Had to get a photo of this gorgeous embroidery.

Making Valentines in the art center.

Marah literally pet the man's privates twice... it was hilarious and embarrassing.

Jenna was so exhausted.

Alex was just on the go as usual.

I can't explain how much this picture makes me wish that A.) I had worn make-up while travelling and B.) I hadn't accidentally shaved off half my left eyebrow.

The Korean Drum Dancing performance allowed the children in the audience to come up and learn how to play some of the drums. This little blonde haired, clearly not Korean, girl was so sweet with Marah and cracked me up as she encouraged her with a very sweet voice and told her how good she was.

We ended this Sunday very, very tired and slept very well in the hotel that night. The next day I was adamant about my desire to go to IKEA and so that is where we headed first, with the intention of going back to the room for a nap for Alex afterward and then heading over to the Mall of America with a well rested brood.

We had lunch at IKEA after we roamed the store shopping. Jenna ate Princess Cake which had raspberry and creme filling and a marzipan coating on top. It was delicious!

Alex enjoyed the Swedish meatballs.

Marah ate her usual chicken strips and fries :)

At this point it was evident that Alex could use a nap.

Eric just seemed wired. He, unexpectedly, enjoyed IKEA very much!

So, at this point Alex fell asleep in his stroller and, about 20 minutes later, we left the store to head back to the hotel room. Once we put Alex in his carseat, however, he was wide awake and I knew that it was pointless to go back to the room because he probably wouldn't nap anymore. Plus, we were literally right next door to the mall and to go all the way back just seemed ridiculous. Looking back, I'm glad that we didn't try to fit in a nap and a trip to the mall in the same day BUT I think we should have just gone to the mall the next day and had more time. But oh well. We learned a lot on this trip, including how to save a lot of money next time. Yeah, it nearly kills me to think of how much we could have saved if we had planned a bit better and if I had remembered my coupons from the hotel room. I just had to remind myself that the memories were worth it... and they were.

So we headed to the Mall of America and went straight to the Underwater Adventure Aquarium. The aquarium is overpriced in my opinion, but the kids did enjoy it. I know I enjoyed the Monterey Bay Aquarium so much more, but I guess we live in Minnesota, not on the beach, so it's to be expected, right?

I love this picture because I have a very similar one of myself with my dad at Sea World trying to touch a sea star in the tidepools.

The last known place that we had Alex's precious silky blanket. Later that night, when we discovered it had gone missing, I had to give Alex a pair of my satin underwear to sleep with (luckily I had some with me, luckier still that they were not yet used). The next day we had to buy a new silky blanket at Target.

Marah hurt her leg on the escalator and we had to have a security guard called to give her a band aid. She was devastated.
A trip to the Build-a-Bear Workshop cheered her right up!

One of my very favorite pictures from the trip.

The workers have you rub the heart all over your body to warm it up, make the bear smart, strong, etc.

Stuffing Alex's bear. He didn't really get a say in it ;)

Jenna's rubbing the heart on her muscles to make her bunny strong!

Giving the animals their air bath.

Dressing the puppy. Marah chose a Greek goddess costume and Jenna chose a Girl Scout uniform. We chose a Minnesota Twins shirt for Alex's bear. I forgot to get a picture of the kids with their fully dressed new stuffed animals. I'm lame.

Next we headed over to Nickelodeon Zone where the girls rode several rides, Eric and I rode a few, and Alex sat in his stroller getting more and more restless every moment.

The girls first ride was Diego's bus. Marah got super excited after this ride and wanted to go on everything!

The Lego Store was right next to the park so we stopped in there for a bit so that Alex could get out and burn off some energy.

Um, wipe the tear from my eye! My two favorite boys just being boys. Love.

Seriously, it doesn't get much cuter.

See how much Marah loved this ride? She's the one on the right in the pink sweater with her arms flung out!

The girls weren't scared to go on the roller coaster with us. I'm so glad they're not big fraidy cats like my brother and I were at this age!

You can barely see the girls with their dad in the ferris wheel bucket on the bottom there.

Jenna tries her luck at a game. She didn't win.

Check out the tongue action :)

Jenna and I wait in line for Jimmy Neutron's Atom Collider. That ride was seriously intense! I was screaming and laughing the entire time!

Oh my, the eyes. Oh, I can't take it!

After "losing" his pacifier and then finally finding a store that had one left in stock for only $8.00 (ugh) we made our way to the Rainforest Cafe with three tired but reasonably well-behaved children.

You would never know how crabby he had been just minutes before!

Ha! Couldn't help but post this one.

The flash nearly made Alex invisible!

It is a big beer. It was a long day.

Eric thought he'd be funny and take a candid shot of me. Nice one. It reminds me of a photo I took of my Grandmere when she didn't have her teeth in LOL (I do, however, have my teeth in haha)
A photo in front of Marah's favorite Backyardigan, Tasha.

I hope you can see the sheer terror in Marah's face in this photo! It cracks me up!

Eric hops onto the Splat Zone! ride (one of those towers that drops you into a free fall and then takes you back up and drops you again over and over).

He was a little freaked out. I went too and we were both so proud of ourselves :)

Last ride of the day. So fun :)

The next day we decided to take it easy. We went to Benihana for lunch and then let Alex have his first real nap of the trip. Afterward we headed out to a different mall so that the kids could play at the bookstore and the indoor play area. We got lost on the way there and so the drive took us about 3 times as long as it should have. Still a good day overall.

The girls wear their Benihana chef hats.

The hat stayed on for about 1/2 a second!

"Take a picture of me with my smoothie."

Finally, on Wednesday it was time to head home. But first I wanted to take the kids to the Children's Museum. This was something I had to insist on and Eric was a trooper even though his back was killing him (he hurt his back while loading up the car to go home). Parking was a disaster and we had to walk much too far, but it was worth it. The museum was so cool! I wish we could have stayed longer but at lunch time it was time to pack it up and make the long trek home.

Getting dressed up in the community workers area.

Stayed on for about 30 seconds. :)

These next two photos crack me up! Check out the little blonde boy and then how Jenna is so into her guitar that she doesn't even notice!

Marah cooks in the Korean restaurant.

Oh, the difference of a boy! They just know what to do with dinosaurs! LOL

The water play areas were Alex's favorite. He enjoyed sticking his face in the water and drinking up all the germs! Of course he got sick as soon as we got home. I knew he would. Fun.


Whew! Finally got this post done!

Make each day count!