Saturday, October 31, 2009

And the winner is...

Stepping in for a sec from our Halloween festivities to let you know that we have a winner in the Fab Bag Giveaway!
First of all, thanks so much for your bloggy love and support! Giveaways are so fun and I enjoyed reading all of your comments and meeting some new BFFs (blog friends forever). Without further ado, the winner is...
{Jennifer, I left you a comment on your blog! Please email at babblingabby (at) gmail (dot) com!}
Happy Halloween, y'all! I'll post pics later :D

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Totally random Thursday.

Yaaaaaaawn.

I'm posting from my bed today, where my icy Diet Coke is on my nightstand to my left and a bowl of cheesy flavored whale crackers are to my right. And I'm trying hard not to get either on the laptop keyboard. I had my little speaking engagement this morning, and the preparation and stress of it all has literally worn me right out. The minute I put Beck down, I decided I needed to go to bed in order to combat the overwhelming urge I had this morning to throw my lesson plans out the window and curl up in a bean bag and let the kids have an all-day indoor recess. And, yes, I literally could have slept through all of the chaos that indoor-recess brings {those of you who teach and loathe a rainy day when you're subject to indoor recess know exactly how tired I must have been.}

Not that I need to make up more excuses for my prolonged indoor nap (but I might as well since my husband is probably reading this wondering why I'm not doing something more productive), but I also have a site-based council meeting at 4pm followed by a PTA meeting at 6pm. It's one of those never-ending days, and another reason why I'm desperate for the FIVE day break that Thanksgiving will bring in a little under a month.

And, stop the world, they are playing Christmas music on one of the stations I listen to! Geez Louise, it's not even Halloween yet! I'm not prepared to listen to Deck the Hall and White Christmas yet, so I've had to eliminate that station from my daily listening. While I do love and adore Christmastime, and it is by far my favorite holiday of the year, I'm just not ready to sting up lights and spread Yuletide cheer right now when there is a ghost on my front door and a pumpkin on the porch.

Having a kid makes time speed up times a zillion, and I'm trying real hard to slow down and treasure each moment of Becks' little baby life. Even though he's more of a toddler with his own agenda that often includes begging for candycorn from the jar on the kitchen counter, and mimicking every thing I say like my own little parrot. Anyway, I'm living in the now and really just want to get to Halloween which is on Saturday.

And, no, the costume still isn't made. But I work best under pressure anyway, so I know it will get done. If it doesn't, I could always try to find one of those stiff, plastic coveralls with the matching mask. Do you know what I'm talking about? Surely I wasn't the only stiff, plastic My Little Pony in 1989.

Anyway, I best be getting that boy child up and shipped off to his Nana M's for a little bit so I can go hash out school policy for two hours. Joy of all joys...

PS. I shredded again last night and am hurting for it today. I am embarrassingly out of shape, and can barely laugh since my abs are finally getting a workout again. In fact, they're probably laughing at me and the condition I am in. Two days down, 28 to go...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just call me Shredder.

Well, I totally did The Shred tonight. Complete with Rotel cans in hand because you know I don't own a pair of standard weights. I'm sure at some point I did own a pair, like when I went through a phase my sophomore year of college and jumped on The Firm bandwagon along with a couple of sorority sisters. I don't even think I did it for a month before I was merely using the steps as a stool to reach things in my closet. And then I donated the complete set to Goodwill sometime this past summer when I couldn't even sell it in a yard sale.

I'm determined to become shredded or whatever verb you use to infer that you've completed The Shred. Jillian's promise is 30 days, so we'll see if I can make it. The best part is, is that it requires only 20 minutes of your time - which really isn't anything - and doesn't involve expensive fitness equipment. As I said, a pair of Rotel cans or Campbell's soup will do just fine. An old, creeky hardware floor on which to pretend to jumprope is complete optional and not recommended since it could very well awake a sleeping baby.

And I am not even embarrassed to tell you that anything heavier than a pair of Rotel cans would have likely caused my arms to detach from my body. I have zero upper body strength and the amount of shaking that my biceps were doing during the three-minute strength phase was enough to jiggle my old lady arms right off. Not even kidding you. It was embarrassing.

Additionally, because he loves me and thought I needed encouragement through my first session, my dearest B joined me in shredding and together we suffered through 279 push-ups (I'm lying but it felt like 279). Love him.

So, maybe by Christmas I'll have abs like Jillian. Or will at least eliminate some old lady arm jiggle. Or have an excuse for eating an extra serving or two of peppermint chocolate at a Christmas party...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on raising a boy: Part 1073

{Don't forget to enter the FAB BAG giveaway!}
* * * * * *
Well, Beck had a big time this weekend. We went with my parents to their Lakehouse and he learned to throw rocks in the lake, which is pretty much the coolest thing when you're 16-months old. All was fine and dandy, until my nature-lover-of-a-husband discovered A SNAKE. A real, live, snake that might as well been an eighteen foot long boa constrictor, even though it was barely two feet long. Regardless of length, it was still A SNAKE.
Then, in a stroke of genius, he encouraged MY SON to touch the SNAKE. And Beck practically squeezed its guts out while I freaked on the shoreline, threatening my husband from afar by pointing and shrieking wildly about salmonella and germs and rabies and cooties and any other nasty thing that snake skin may contain.

Is this what it's going to be like to be the mother to a son? Because I don't think I'm prepared for snakes. Or any other species belonging to the amphibious or reptilian families. Ugh.



Moving on, it's going to be one of those weeks for like the next four and a half weeks. The kind of weeks where I wonder if we'll have clean clothes or milk in the fridge. Not only is Halloween five days away (and I still haven't finished Beck's costume), but I have a door and pumpkin to finish decorating, a speaking engagment before the entire student body on Thursday, and report card season and parent-teacher conferences are on the horizon. Sigh.

{Doesn't it sound a lot more important for me to say speaking engagement rather than a five minute spiel about poptab collection for the Ronald McDonald House? Either way, it's in front of 800 people and that. is. a. lot. Even if most of the audience will be 10 and under. I talk fast and tend to trip a lot, so say a prayer that I do okay.}

And, lastly, you should know that while I sorted through things in my classroom today, Beck occupied himself by removing tissues from an entire box of Kleenex and stuffing them into a jar. I didn't feel the least bit wasteful for it either. I needed those three minutes. He is a stinker. Love him.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Over the toppish

{Don't forget to participate in my}


Thank you to my lovely sorority sisses (and fellow mommies) Brit and Suz for the award!

{Admission: I am really bad at completing these, so please don't be offended if I haven't claimed one that you've sent my way! I am so sorry!}

So here are the rules: you can only use ONE word to answer the questions. Then you must pass this along to your favorite bloggers. Alert them that you have given them this award and have fun!

1. Where is your cell phone? MIA
2. Your hair? Clipped
3. Your mother? Inspiring
4. Your father? Personality
5. Your favorite food? Chocolate
6. Your dream last night? Unknown
7. Your favorite drink? Diet Coke
8. Your dream/goal? SAHM
9. Favorite TV Show? The Hills/The City (I absolutely CANNOT choose.)
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Death
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Cumberland
14. Something that you aren’t? Negative
15. Muffins? Mmmmmm.
16. Wish list item? Photoshop
17. Where did you grow up? Here
18. Last thing you did? Fruitlooped
19. What are you wearing? Clothes
20. Your TV? On
21. Your pets? Leland
22. Friends? Lots
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Mondayed
25. Missing someone? Nope
26. Vehicle? Passat
27. Something you’re not wearing? Boots
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? Black
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? AFHV
32. Your best friend? B
33. One place that I go to over and over? Nursery
34. One person who emails me regularly? B
35. Favorite place to eat? Bonefish

I tag...all my readers! So many of you have already won this, so I just pick all of y'all!

PS. A picture-laden piece to post tomorrow. I'm way to lazy to go fish the camera out of our luggage...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fab Bag Giveaway Day!

Surprise!!! We're having a real, live GiVeAwAy today at Babbling Abby!!!! I am so pumped!!! See, look at all the exclamation marks I am using!!!!!!!

{Deep Breath. And...release...}

So, let's begin by discussing something crucial to motherhood. Like a key piece that keeps you forever organized and you usually don't leave home without it. And, if you do, you either wind up with a dirty diaper on your hands with no supplies to take care of it - OR - you're stealing Goldfish off the endcap at Kroger, silently scolding yourself for leaving that key piece at home containing your baby occupying treat. Oops. (And, P.S., I always pay for the Goldfish before we leave. Ahem.)

Yup, sweet readers, I am talking about THE DIAPER BAG.

I love and adore mine and find that it has pretty much taken the place of my purse for the past sixteen months of Beckham's existance. I own a very simple, black one that I carry everywhere. It has multiple pockets inside and outside, it's lined with a decorative plastic liner, and it came with a changing pad. It's functional, yet classy, and has been the one thing that has remained a staple during every phase of Beckham's life so far.

Soooooo, when I was contacted by a representative of CSN Baby, I was more than excited to host a giveaway of one of their fine products. CSN Baby carries a wide variety of baby-related products, from nursery decor , to strollers, to furniture. I recognized most of the brands they carry and have used many of them in my own home. Further, their prices are competitive, while lots of items seemed to be on sale or discounted to a great rate. Major bonus!

They let me choose {within reason, of course} the object of my desire and I decided that all moms - whether you're expecting or already are one - could use a fab bag to lug around. And, even if you don't have childen yet, you could still enter this giveaway for your future peanut or the peanut of a friend, right?

So, without further ado, here's what we're giving away today on Babbling Abby...

This is the Carter's Big Dot Tote Diaper Bag in Black & Lime. Totally fab, huh?!

It's modern pattern is super cute, and you can't beat the adjustable shoulder strap, accompanying changing pad, cell phone case, and accessories bag. Such a sweet combo. It's a $39.99 value and it can be your's FREE!

If you would like to take part in this giveaway, here's how you play...

1. Leave me a comment using the phrase fab bag anywhere in your comment.

2. To double your chances, leave a comment AND become a follower. Be sure to let me know in your comment that you're new follower or if we're already BFFs (blog friends forever.)

3. To triple your chances, leave a comment AND become a follower AND link up to this post on your blog. Again, be sure to let me know in your comment.

It would be helpful to include your email address if you don't have a blog so that I can get in touch with you if you win.

You have from now until next Thursday, October 29th to play. At that time, I will use a random number generator to select a winner. The winner will be announced on Halloween!

Yay! Please join in! Happy Thursday, y'all :)

{Disclosure: This giveaway is being sponsored by CSN Baby. }

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guilty Pleasure Day

This little guy, on the other hand, has no trouble pulling off yoga poses between bites of oatmeal. If only we all could have our feet and eat them too.

So, today. Today I am lazy in my sweatpants, watching The Hills & The City webisodes, while life just kind of piles up around me. There is no way that an empty tub of whipped cream cheese {that I dipped pretzel sticks into} and a carmel apple pop wrapper are sitting on the table next to me. And I'm positive that's not a wet diaper rolled up on the floor. Since Becks is the master diaper throw-away-er I guess I'll just wait for him to awake to take care of that. I'm just going to go right on being lazy.

Or not. We're going out of town this weekend, so there's actually plenty to be done around here. {Not including laundry and making my bed, both of which I do on a consistent basis these days. Seriously. That is not a joke. Be proud of me. Very proud. I'm sure it's going to be a short-lived phenomena and I want to enjoy it while I'm still motivated.} I could be making dinner for my boys, but since my MIL invited them over for dinner tonight I'm covered there. I'm off to schmooze at a service learning recognition banquet on behalf of my school. I'm wearing a cute black dress, so that's exciting. Or at least a step up from my sweatpants.

Do you know how many black dresses I own? A few too many, that's for sure. I just can't pass them up though. Especially when you find them for $24.95 at Target and they call to you from the rack, Abby, Abby....over here. On the hanger. TAKE ME HOME. And so I give in and add another little black dress to my ever growing collection. And my husband says, Oh where is that from? and before I can speak the little black dress is doing the talking and saying things like This old thing? Don't you recognize me? while I cinch the belt a little tighter willing it to shut up.

Actually, my husband has seen this particular dress before, so no secrets here. The shoes I'm wearing, on the other hand...

In completely other, non-related news, who here has done Jillian Michaels' The Shred? I've reserved it from the library and am anxiously awaiting it to arrive. Did it work? Did you do the full 30 days? Did you see results? If so, what kind? Was it fun? Did it seem like exercise? Did you sweat?

I'm just looking to tone up a little bit during the colder months. Now that I'm not nursing I don't have an excuse for eating pretzel sticks with cream cheese without compensating for them with a little physical activity.

Can't go turning into Flabby Babbling Abby, now can I?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Feliz Navidad. In October.

It is a great Monday here at Chez Babbling. The sun is shining and warm, tea is steeping on the stove, and I'm wearing tights and a sweaterdress. All combined make it a rather perfect fall day. Sigh.

My goal for the afternoon is to lesson plan, but I often find that Mondays are great days for catching up. Doing a little laundry, tidying up a bit, checking in on some of my favorite blogs, and kind of getting things resorted from the weekend. Lesson planning might be taking a backseat to slow living today...

I don't know about you, but I think the messiest day of the week is Sunday. It has to stem from the chaos that is getting ready for church, which probably shouldn't be chaotic, but it always is. There are always clothes that need ironing, coupons that need clipping, and - truth be told - it takes my husband years longer than the rest of us to get ready. So, while I'm applying a little lip gloss, baby on hip, ready to head out the door, he's sauntering out of the shower lazily admiring his stubble in the mirror and wondering if he should shave.

IT DRIVES ME CRAZY.

Many a Sunday morning argument have centered around leaving the house at 10:45am and not a second later, only to find Beck and I buckled into the car for 5 minutes before our driver decides he's ready to go. Then, we're scrambling to get Beck into the nursery while worship is beginning and I'm shooting daggers through the holy air at my husband. It's a good thing we live less than a mile from church.

I pretty much remember Sunday mornings at home when I was younger to follow similar suit. Trying to coordinate five showers (at one point, three teenagers who had to shower) was difficult, as was not being the last person ready to go after having searched entirely too long for a missing Esprit purse (tell me you weren't all over Esprit purses in middle school). Going even further back, to the days when my mom had three heads of hair to brush, braid, and bow was even more of a challenge. There may have been more Sunday morning arguments then than there are now. Oh, to be the mother of three girls under the age of six. Oy!

So, anyway, Sunday mornings are a bit of a disaster. And Sunday afternoons are now football and lesson planning, which is why it is my goal to have my plan done way before then. So I can actually enjoy the latter half of my weekend, and maybe take a nap or do something else besides pour over picture books for three hours.

Oh, and we did shoot a rather phenomenal family picture this weekend for my parents' annual Christmas card. All was well until we scanned through the digital images to select our favorite. Yup, that would be my husband there, sticking his tongue into my brother-in-law's ear. His talents never cease to amaze me...

PS. Did I really just say Christmas card? Where has 2009 gone?????

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Timberdoodle's Bubber!

{Disclosure: This is a Mama Buzz Review. The product was provided by Timberdoodle for this review. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer for Mama Buzz, please visit their site!}

So, the title is a mouthful, huh?

I recently had the opportunity to experiment with Bubber in my classroom - a pretty swell modeling product offered by Timberdoodle. The best way to describe Bubber is as a combination of playdoh and marshmallow - if that makes any sense! It's texture is smooth, but somewhat grainy, it's weightless (almost as if you're sculpting with a less-sticky marshmallow), and it holds its shape similar to playdoh. Bubber has the ability to be maniupulated in many different ways - pushed, pulled, squished, cut, imprinted, stretched, and sculpted.

It's a perfect addition to any tactile learning center and it will guarantee to fascinate your students and/or children - even just grasping it tightly in their hands over and over was entertaining! My kiddos absolutely adored it and continued to squish and squash it thoroughly during their visit at the creation station. They loved the different molds sent with my 5 oz bucket of Bubber and quickly learned how to use the Mirett to shave and cut into this silly substance.

Now, while I did think it was a pretty cool product, and one I might be interested in using further in my classroom, I did notice some negative aspects. If you're planning on having multiple users, it may become dirty quickly. The color I was sent - yellow - would likely turn dingy pretty fast in my classroom of 23 students if used daily, especially when using their tables as a play space. Thus, if I was ordering it again, I would choose a darker color, like the purple or blue that Timberdoodle offers. (I had no choice in color for this review.)

Also, the Bubber I was sent was kind of crumbly, and didn't hold together quite as well as other modeling substances might. I'm not sure if this is the nature of the product or what, but it does say on the website description that it "never dries out," so I was kind of concerned about that. I'm all about quick and easily clean up, and found that several bits wound up on the floor - which is not good for clean-up and wastes the product.

Overall, it was a very unique product that held the interest of my students during their morning center activities. I would recommend this product to teachers and parents alike, as all children will find this substance play-worthy and a great alternative to the run-of-the-mill playdoh. Heck, my husband and I even enjoyed it :)

Here's some more information on the product, provided by Timberdoodle:

Cost
Bubber = $10.50
Castle Molds = $4.95
Mirett = $2.95
Spoon/Knife = $.95

Ages
Timberdoodle recommends kindergarten and up - but I think that as long as they child playing with it knew to keep it out of his/her mouth and was supervised, they would be fine :)

[Pictures to come!]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm going to be trite: Stop and Smell the Roses

Shoo. Glad yesterday is over. I was beginning to wonder if I should have renamed that post: It's a Pity Party, and you're invited...

But, hey, that nasty spell was sooooo yesterday - even though the car still isn't back and I'm still not sure how I'm going to afford grad school and Beckham still isn't napping right now.

The car drama is just part of life. I know Becks will eventually sleep again. And I just have to have faith that God is going to solve the whole graduate school finance issue. Or he's going to shine a huge old spotlight onto whatever I need to do to make it happen. The waiting part is the hard part. Waiting to see what God's plan is. This is a tough concept for those of us that need to know right-now-at-this-very-minute, and I'm very much that kind of person.

Psalm 37: 7 - Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act...

{Yes, the pic of Beckham riding the big, pink snuggle bunny at his Nana K's house is totally irrelevant to any part of this post. I just know some people only come here for the pics of sweet precious. }

In other news, I have tea steeping in the kitchen because it is suddenly arctic here. Like flurries are in the forecast. Is that legal? In October? I really wanted to enjoy fall this year, not speed into an early winter. I'm already afraid that Christmas is going to be here Buzz Lightyear fast and I'm going to be all Wah? 2010? Gahhhhh!

Along those same lines, I recently read an article in the November issue of Parents magazine entitled Life in the Slow Lane by Doug Most and it was all about a new movement towards chilling a bit when it comes to kid-raising. S-l-o-w-i-n-g D-o-w-n. I have never been one to hop on the latest parenting trend (in my whole 15 months of parenting...). I'm not a hipster or a devout baby-wearer, and, honestly, I didn't read to Beckham in the womb but maybe once. I didn't hook up headphones to my belly hoping to influence his intelligence with Beethoven or Bach, and the only reason we own a Baby Einstein video is because it was given to us as a gift. {Though I tried to get him to watch it as entertainment so that I could, you know, do something for 15 minutes without interruption, but he was so not into it. }

Anyway, the article goes on to say that, "the days of hyper-parenting are on the wane...I think the pendulum is now swinging in the other direction. More and more families are yearning to put on the brakes, to back off, to stop treating child-rearing like a competitive sport," ( p.138). I couldn't agree more. There is nothing that drives me more crazy than being a part of or listening to two parents stack their children's stats against one another. Oh, well, Baby X already knew 75 words at 11 months or Baby X can already identify the colors according to ROYGBIV.

Here's my response to that: WHOOP-DEE-DOO.

I'm perfectly content that Beckham does a lot of babbling these days and that unless you spend lots of time with him you're probably not going to understand 95% of what he says. Did you know that a guh-guh means good girl and is what he calls our dog? My point exactly. He would rather walk around tapping the TV with two paper towel rolls masking-taped together than listen to an educational toy spit out the alphabet. And I'm going to let him. "Slow parents give their children time and space to explore the world on their own terms," (p.139).

And honestly, what are those talking toys good for at this age besides adding lot of unnecessary background noise? {I swear to you, Beckham had like four different noise-making toys going at once recently and I about lost it!}

Another good point I found in this article was regarding the helicopter parent. This is the parent that cannot for a second let their child do something independently and must intervene if the consequence is not acceptable in the parent's eyes. While I agree wholeheartedly that a child's safety is top priority, I also agree that, "We all need to relax a little bit before the next generation of kids grows up without ever turning one cartwheel without adult supervision," (p.139).

Allowing our children to scrape their knees every once in a while is a good thing. Scraping their knees can metaphorically be interpreted as many things - letting them make the choice to not study for a spelling test and then dealing with the resulting consequences and feelings of failure, for example. It's a less is more mentality - the less you do to intervene in your child's life, the more enriching an experience can be for the child's independence. Plus, they need coping skills - the bitter taste of failure, rejection, and disappointment all make success, acceptance, and excitement that much sweeter.

Was that a soapbox I was stepping off? Um, maybe. It was just an interesting article I wanted to share my thoughts on. Not to try to convince you that it's a better way than any other way.

Also, before I sign off, it should be noted that a) Beckham has been sleeping for almost an hour now (yay!) and b) I'm sporting some super sweet patterned purple tights today. Try to say that ten times fast.

Happy Thursday, Internet!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just tellin' it like it is...

Sour little apple. Literally and figuratively.

Beck has been a fussy mess lately. And I don't know why. Nor do I know how to combat it besides some good old fashioned patience.

My once two-a-day napper has suddenly decided to dramatically decrease his morning nap (expected), and give up on the afternoon nap too. Today he "rested" - a combo of kicking his feet against his crib, babbling to himself, and sleeping I presume - for two hours. His morning nap was only an hour, so I know he needed to rest/sleep/whatever.

He's into this grunt/whine-until-I-get-what-I-want thing right now too, which is hard for both of us since I am trying to instill manners in the young lad and insist that he say please before I will give him what he wants. And that's really hard when I know that just giving him whatever he wants would be a quicker solution. Then, I think about the long run, the run in which I don't want to raise a spoiled child who is demanding and whiny.

Believe me, it's really trying. And, often, by bedtime, my tolerance level is shot. I'm looking for the towel to throw in, but it was shredded to bits around 4pm. My nerves are in a similar state. I keep chalking it up to a phase. A really long, sigh-inducing phase.

Additionally, I applied for grad school yesterday, and that, too, has added to the head-spinning feeling that I have. (Carrie, are you ready to go back with me???? Puh-leeeeeease????)

{Backstory: Back in 2005, when I graduated from UK with a BS in psychology, I took the dreaded GRE and applied to UT and UofM in hopes of pursuing a Masters in Social Work. Then, after being accepted, and then after graduating, I freaked out and decided to not go. I spent the months of May and June in a state of limbo before deciding to go back to get my degree in education - another bachelors since my state does not have a Masters program for elementary education. Point being, that my GRE scores expire in February of 2010. Like, 4 months away. And, because I don't want to have to retake that pointless exam nor waste any more money on it, it was imperative that I go ahead and apply and at least take a course or two. }

So, that's where I'm at. Now I just need to find someone or something to fund it because the last thing I want to do is to take out more student loans. So, it's either save save save or apply for scholarships/grants which seem to be few and far between. If you know of any, let me know.

We're also amidst a slew of car trouble. B's car has been in the shop since Friday, so we're driving a loaner - a sporty little station wagon called an M3. We lovingly refer to it as the Mousemobile. The repairs are extensive, of course, and I'm dreading the bill. Add to that the fact that once we returned from the dealership my car died in the driveway behind the loaner, and you've got yourself a slew of car trouble. New battery. Installed by my husband in the rain on the day he took off to take us to the pumpkin patch. Sigh...

Did I mention that the furnace was also repaired a couple of weeks ago for $500? Yeah, it's been a fun month. A month in which I thought the extra paychecks would pay off the Jetta. The car that we're paying through the nose for right now as it takes a spa vacation at the VW dealership.

Yup, I'm complaining a little bit. That's life. Not always easy. But, I'm just tellin' it like it is...

ETA: My state requires that all teachers attain a Masters degree. You must start it within five years of graduating from undergrad, and finish it in 10, so my reason for applying now is serving dual purposes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Way down yonder...

I'm just going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
{Blogger has zapped all my creative energy trying to upload and organize all these pics...}

















Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've got nothing.

I've got nothing.

Nothing of real imoportance to tell you, that is. Other than it's rained the entire first day of my fall break. And, really, I'm okay with that. Because I felt accomplished today, all holed up in my home, spending time with Becks. And the washer and dryer, of course. Because, well, I had heaps and heaps of laundry to befriend me on this washed up day. Everyone will now have clean undies tomorrow for the first time in a month. Yay! {J/K} I'm thinking I should retitle this blog something that pertains to laundry...and maybe Diet Coke. Since I talk about both so frequently.

{Is anyone else watching Grey's right now and taking note that every shot of Meredith is from the chest up to hide her baby belly?}

Like I said, I've really got nothing tonight. I could detail our plans for tomorrow. But I think I will wait until I have pictures to go along with a post. Here's a hint: it rhymes with sumpkin satch. And Becks will be bedecked in orange to match the sumpkins we will be searching for. Actually, he calls them "mah" for reasons unknown to those of us older than 15-months. My best interpretation is that I bought him a very, very small one at the grocery store a week or so ago and he says "mah" to indicate "mine" and that I shouldn't touch it unless I ask him first.

To end my post about nothing, I will leave you with a cute pic of a little something...


He's suddenly taken to eating apples and watching Sesame Street. In a chair. Like he's a big boy or something.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Drama for your mama...

This is going to be a listy post about The Hills & The City because I just can't bring myself to create something cohesive out of the insane amount of drama that goes on between those two shows.

  1. Did you catch the opening credits where KCav is in the convertible BMW? Eerily similar to LC's convertible BMW, no?
  2. Audrina and her sister Casey have the exact. same. teeth. For real.
  3. How nice of Lo to meet up with KCav in Audrina's absence...
  4. Was the look on Steph's face not absolutely priceless when she saw JB and KCav smoochin' in The Playhouse or whatever it was called? They may not have shown it, but I'll bet money she sent out a mass text within seconds of seeing that little bit of gossip-worthy eye candy.
  5. And how about that sweet little dance between a hairless JB and KCav. HA! Sorry, stifling laughter here. Snicker, snicker.
  6. "I can barely be around adults - how am I supposed to be hanging around with kids?!" a classic and incredulous quote by Spender.
  7. Um, how RUDE was Spencer to the little neighbor boy?! I know, I shouldn't be surprised.
  8. The preview for next week suggests that JB stands up little Miss Ego Trip. Again, not surprised.
  9. Go visit my newly married BFF for more wit and wisdom surrounding this week's episode of The Hills.
  10. And here is my brief commentary on The City: I am scared of Kelly Cutrone. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

These boots are made for walkin'


So, the Beck-man has a slight obsession with my boots. He will go to the closet and pull out every pair and then bring them to me and say, "Booooooo!" very loudly. It's pretty cute. And then, today, we're at the grocery store and he notices a similar pair of boots on a teenager. He loudly proclaims "BOOOOOOO!" for at least five minutes. I try to distract him, "Ooh, Beck, check out this milk that mama's going to save $1 on," but he continues with the "BOOOOOOO!" conversation.

There's not really an end to that story. That's it. Just needed an excuse to post a cute picture.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thrifty Weekender Recap

I ran into good deals all over the place this weekend.


It all started quite innocently when my mother and I ventured into The Gap Outlet. Now, I know what you're thinking, The Gap Outlet store is really just overstocked items sold at full price or slightly discounted. Well, not our Gap Outlet. In fact, located right here 15 minutes from my house is the real, true Gap Outlet store. The only one in the world like it. I'm not even kidding you. There are racks upon racks of clothes by Gap, Banana, Piper Lime shoes, and Old Navy all under one roof. You could spend hours in there just combing through everything.

My goal was to find Beckham some fallish clothes. I scored big time with a cute Halloweenie Old Navy tee for $1.99 and a pair of size 7 Converse {velcro!} kicks for ten bucks. Totally precious and totally worth every penny. I also got him a really cute tobaggan that he refuses to be photographed in because, well, he'd much rather rip it off an throw it on the floor where it belongs, mom. And, go figure, the only pic I have of him in the new tee is one where he is throwing a fit after being shooed out of the bathroom while daddy got ready for date night. Guess the bathroom can only handle one stud at a time. So, here is Becks fleeing the scene all in a tizzy...
Next on the list was a pair of skinny jeans. After looking through literally hundreds of pairs, I came across the most perfect pair of Gap dark denim skinnies you've ever seen for - stop the world - $9.99. They fit great and I pretty much haven't taken them off since trying them on over my leggings in the middle of the store. I'm risque like that (or the line to the dressing room was just really long).

So, after my outlet winning prices, it was on to Kmart to pick up some random things like a shower curtain and bar soap...lest I be distracted by a rack of clearanced clothes for $2.99 which led to the discovery of about twelve other racks also of $2.99 clothes. So, a five minute trip turned into an hour long shopping spree as I piled my cart full of some really cute pieces.
And, I really have to hand it to Kmart - they've picked up a new {trendy} line called Piper and Blue that definitely could compete with F21 when it comes to quality, affordability, and trend. I hadn't heard of them until my $2.99 quest led me to stumble upon many cute pieces, including the ruffly tank that I wore out on date night later that day. To make a long story short, I bought 16 items for $50.81 (which is comparable to, what, one piece on sale at other retailers?). And my husband didn't even balk when I walked in the door holding an enormous bag of clothes. Love him. Pair all of this with my recent Target sale trip, and I shouldn't need to shop for a long time. Or at least until Christmas. Maybe.

So then there was date night at The Bonefish Grill which was absolutely divine. B and I booked a babysitter (thanks Nana K), and off we went to enjoy drinks and dinner alone. It was wonderful and we've decided it's going to be a monthly occasion. So good for the marriage. Believe it or not, our convo didn't even center around the baby for once, which it often does when you're sitting next to someone with mashed bananas in his hair and who is also extremely cute.
Sunday morning I had the opportunity to go to a going-out-of-business yard sale at a local preschool where school supplies we aplenty. While I could bore you with the many books and manipulatives I bought, the real gem was the purchase of my very own - brace yoursef - PERSONAL LAMINATOR. I know, I know! I'm a nerd! But, you all, when you are a teacher and 85% of your planning period is spent running construction paper through a cranky old machine, this is like a gift from God! For $8 I was sold.

So now, I guess, I'm a skinny jean laminating queen.

Happy Monday, BFFs :)

Pretend Play!

When I was a little girl, I spent countless hours holed up in the basement with my sisters, playing house between several bedsheets strung from the wooden beams in the ceiling. The basement transformed instantly from a concrete cave into the most spectacular place to "play house." Since it was rare that boredom was a good reason to watch TV, we were often shooed to the basement to get lost in a good old game of make-believe.

As a kindergarten teacher, I really feel that our kids lack imagination today, and cannot encourage parents enough to deter their children from the TV long enough to invent a make-believe game that requires more thought than pushing a button repetitively. Who needs to swashbuckle pirates on a game console, when a wooden spatula, old bandana, and a shoebox of old pennies can suddenly make you Ye Pirate of the Blue Sea defending his treasure from his tyrant of a brother? I mean, seriously, we need to encourage our kids to do this kind of stuff.

At a recent education conference I attended, it was called to my attention that children even have trouble independently visualizing an image because they are constantly bombarded with eye-candy from multiple sources. The shows they watch, the games they play, and the digital images on the computer all lend themselves to a lazy imagination. Think about this for a second: if you're waiting in a doctor's office and poor mom had to drag along her school-aged child, is that child enthralled in a chapter book or pecking away at his Nintendo DS, oblivious to his surroundings. I'll take Nintendo DS for $1000, Alex.

And here's the worst: Mom, Dad, and child out to dinner at Bob Evans, and no one is talking as they wait for their meal. Mom and Dad alternate sips of their iced teas, while child avoids all human relation in exchange for beating Mario Kart. That is RIDICULOUS you all.

My point is this: Kids need to play. They long to play. You need to make them play. And by play, I don't mean tethering them to their X Box live where they play virutally with their neighbor three streets away.

Arrange play dates. Encourage inventive behavior. Buy toys that promote imaginative play.

Take for instance the Grande Gourmet Corner Kitchen recently released by KidKraft. How many of you played house or restaraunt? (Me, me, me! Raising my hand real high!) My sisters and I played this frequently - and toys have obviously come an awful long way since I was little (not that I'm old or anything because I'm so not.) Would you not have died to have this little kitchen as your very own?! I mean -wow- this thing is every little kid's dream! From the pastel pink detailing to the cute cloth curtains hung behind the sink, I can only imagine the fun that could be spent preparing pretend cupcakes or pbjs here. You can run a load of clothes in the built in washer/dryer combo, bake a batch of cookies, and boil soup on the stove all at the same time. If looks aren't impressive enough, the wooden construction along with the fact that it can fit in the corner of a room, will surely require a second glance. Plus, cute little metal accessories are included so that your little one can play along with you as you work in your own kitchen.

Playing house is only one of many activities that children could play with this kitchen - think restaurant, lemonade stands, or bakery! The possibilities seem endless, and I really think that this type of toy is educationally sound. It promotes creativity, socialization (it's big enough that more than one child can play at a time), fine motor skill development, and fosters independence - a skill that is important when the I'm sooooo bored's hit on snow days. And it beats sitting in front of a television any day.

This particular piece is currently priced at $194.95 and seems to be comparable to similar play toys. Be sure to check out Pretend Play Kitchens to see this play kitchen along with a great variety of other play kitchens that come in multiple colors.


Whether or not you're in the market for a sweet little kitchen, I beg of you, as the potential kindergarten teacher of your child, please encourage your child to play! The benefits of pretend play are worth your investment toys that encourage just that.



Sooooo, what was your favorite thing to play pretend when you were little? Were you stringing up sheets like me and my sisters were in 1992? Or were you riding your big wheel all over kingdom come in search of bad guys?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Edition 1: The Hills and The City Wrap-Up

The Hills

Let's just say I'm intrigued. Not a big fan of the f bomb being dropped by KCav every other word, or her can't-fit-it-in-the-room ego, but she's definitely going to amp up the drama factor. I think we're in for an interesting season. And, is she not gorgeous? I really think her and Audrina are stunning.

Fortunately for us loyal followers, there are still the familiar awkward pauses that we all love about these semi-staged reality shows, thought I really do miss LC and don't think KCav is an equivalent replacement.

I'm not sure what's going on with Audrina. She pulled the whole don't-call-don't-text-we're-over bit with JB, and yet she's upset by Kristin's interest in him. I don't know what the attraction is. He just doesn't bring out the unicorns and fairydust for me. He does make me want offer him a gilette though.

It appears that Steph is still the pot-stirrer. I mean, did she not start up the whole Kristin/Audrina battle at the Speidi party? I think there wouldn't have even been an altercation, no less the girl-on-girl warfare that went down. (PS. Recent pics show Stephanie very thin. Anyone else notice that?)

And look at Lo trying to be all I'm staying on her good side. It doesn't look like anyone stays on her good side for long.

Other random things I picked up on...

1) During the intro's, Lo is introduced as Audrina's Friend rather than LC's Friend. I think she's been on the show long enough that she can stand independently without the lame title.

2) Spencer's cowboy hat.

3) The presence of Stacie as a frequent guest. Wasn't she just a bartender last season?

4) The absence of Justin Bobby's beard in future episodes.

5) Heidi's emphasis on the word nursery. Emphasis on the ser. Every dang time she said it.


6) Prediction: LC will make a guest appearance at least once this season.


The City

My first thought (among many actually): Where is Erin? I really like her. Suddenly they're not friends anymore? I need to know if she'll be back or not. Sad face.

And, I'm not going to lie, I really wanted to know what's happened in the interim since Whitney's break-up with Jay. Like, did they get back together temporarily? Was it put in his Season One contract that he needed to make himself disappear by Season Two so that she could pal around single with LA transplant Roxy? Can the producers arrange a surprise meeting at a bar so that we can witness more awkward awkward moments? Plllllease? Merely a suggestion.

And then there's Roxy. Where to begin? How about that interview where she pushed sweet Whitney under the bus and criticized, well, everything about her? And then Kelly allows Whitney to hire her? And, unbeknownst to her, Whitney hires someone who dogged her choice in the color yellow! Ludacris! Er, ludicrous. When Roxy immediately met up with Whit and invited herself to room with her, I about died. A real friend that Roxy is. Rrrrrrr.

Oh, Olivia {picture me looking to ground, shaking head}. I just don't even have words for your level of self-absorbtion.

Overall, the show was very little about Whitney, but more so about the introduction of the new cast. Hopefully, the storyline will develop more on Tuesday when the second installment of my most favorite show airs. Swoon.

So, dish up! Your turn to spill!

PS. I am not sitting at home only blogging on a Saturday night. I did go on a date with my handsome husband sans baby and it was delightful. More on that later, BFFs. Nite ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

TGtomorowIF

Hello, BFFs.

I am working on a post-Hills/City post with all my intuitive opinions, but it's not quite ready for submission. I'm overthinking it, I'm sure.

We've been busy this week around the Babbling household, yet the week has seemed to last forever. Don't you hate weeks like that?

Becks had his 15-month well baby check-up, and they again confirmed how perfect he is. Only he wasn't so perfect at the appointment. He cried almost the entire time, pausing only to play with one of those wooden-bead-moving-contraptions (is there a better name for that thing?) that would surely test positive for anything swine flu related, I'm sure. Then he got mad at it, threw it to the ground, and looked for something to bite. Biting things is the way he releases agression, apparently. He's even tries to bite the wall at times. I try not to laugh, but am not always successful. Thankfully, he hasn't bit an actual person yet. That will not be funny.

In other news, I decided to embrace the season wholeheartedly this week, donning my black knit Uggs to school with tights and a sweaterdress. I mean, it was like 40 degrees when I left for school. That is cold. However, I wasn't near as cute as Beck was in his little boy jeans. Unlike the quest for the perfect pair for myself, his are an easy buy - pretty much any pair is a score as long as it bears an elastic waistband.

Here he is with bedhead after a nap, rockin' the denim. Are they not the sweetest when they wake up all sleepy and snuggly? Love him.

He's also taken to hobby that we really don't condone. But it's funny. Kind of like the whole biting the wall bit. We discourage sharing your dinner with the dog, of course, but he derives so much pleasure from letting the dog lick his sticky fingers that we just kind of watch his little kid wonder at its best. It's pretty much worth seeing him giggle, even as we cringe as he scoops up mashed potatoes with the same hand. Ick.



Well, this was a boring and random post, but such is life sometimes. TGtomorrowIF!