Thursday, April 29, 2010

Because They're Dutch

Apparently, if you're Dutch, it's a tradition to don a Dutch costume and get your picture taken with the tulips.


Brad, 11 months old, 1977

Brad, almost 2 years old, 1978

Brad, almost 3 years old, & his brother Brent, 1979

(Cute, right?)

I know nothing of this tradition.

I'm not Dutch.

Not one itty-bitty teeny-tiny bit. None. Nope. Nada.

And much to Brad's chagrin, our boys aren't 100% Dutch either.

(But he married me anyway, right? That's all that really matters.) :)

But the boys are kinda Dutch :) so while they were in Pella with Grandma and Grandpa this last weekend, it was their turn to partake in this special tradition.

I'd say they fit in quite well.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Stay-cation

I learned something so valuable back in November, after Brad and I had returned from our vacation to San Francisco:

One of the best things I can do for my children is to spend some time away from them.

It's good for me. It's good for them.

Time apart allows me to be a better mom when we are together again.

Time apart allows them to learn how to rely on other people, experience something different, and learn new things.

About a month ago, I knew that it was creeping slowly closer to me needing some time away from the boys. And not just a couple hours on one afternoon. I needed some time...a few focus on me for a while. It sounds so selfish, I know. To a large degree, it feels selfish.

But taking the time for me so that I can be a better me for them, has been one of the greatest lessons I've learned as mother.

Don't get me wrong, I miss them like crazy. It's more difficult than I thought to switch my attention to something else, even something enjoyable. It's hard to break out of my normal mommy routine. I found myself losing motivation to do something for a lengthy period of time because I don't normally have the time to do anything for any duration longer than five or 30 minutes.

But I did do a lot. And as a list-maker, I crossed a lot off my list. :)

But first, the things I didn't do...

I didn't clean,

do laundry,

cook (or do dishes),

change diapers,

step on any small toys that are usually littered throughout the kitchen floor,

nor did I sleep in...because apparently my body doesn't let me anymore...

...and neither does she.

So, what did I do?

I ran some errands,

picked up a *FREE* tumbler at Starbucks, filled with hot cocoa (it was a little chilly in all that ran on Friday),

caught up on DVR'd episodes of Lost,

blogged, Photoshopped, and caught up on my Goggle Reader,

organized my coupons and made shopping lists,

started a new book,









watched Brad play...

...Drew's new game for the XBox,

ran more errands,

and watched a couple movies

while I

created my

own mess

during my personal "Scrap Fest".

I'm not sure that the mess I created was warranted considering I didn't get as much done in Reed's album as I was hoping. I scrapped from (roughly) 7:30am until 5:30pm (with several distractions in between) on Saturday, and then I began to lose a little steam. I found myself motivated, but kind of bored (odd, I know) without the boys underfoot all day long.

I was able to accomplish a lot, around the house and with my favorite hobby. I was productive in doing those things that so often take so much time and effort when my priority is the boys. It's been so, so good to have this time. (And I'm so thankful to my in-laws for taking them for the weekend...thank you thank you thank you!)

I feel refreshed. And relaxed. And ready.

We pick up the boys tomorrow. It's time for them to come home.

It's too quiet around here.

Picture of the Day, Week 16

Drew's preschool Sunday school class. Drew...and a bunch of girls!

Brad's favorite season...Golfing Season! I asked him to take the camera this morning to get a few shots. And he wants me to tell you that because he wants credit for this. :)

I had intended for today's POTD to be Brad playing in the church softball league's opening game. I snapped this instead. Drew and some of the older boys at church playing their own softball "game." I think it was a combination of Keep Away, Tag, and Catch. Drew was having

We signed up for a new cell phone plan and received our new phones via UPS today. After the boys went to bed, Brad was showing me the phone's basics.

Foodie! Reed is an eating machine. An animal, if you will. He could eat all the time; he has no "full" sensor, and he about bounces out of his highchair with excitement every time he's in it!

Again, this wasn't my intended POTD for the day. We met Brad's parents in Burlington this morning to drop off the boys so they could go to their house for the weekend. I wanted a photo of the boys in the van, but because it was raining cats and dogs, I didn't get my photo op. We skyped with the boys on Saturday, so I'm using it as Friday's photo to remember that they were gone from home for the weekend.

With the boys gone at Grandma and Grandpa's, I was having a little stay-cation of my own. I scrapped most of the day today. This was how my scrap room looked at 5:30 tonight. This picture doesn't do my mess justice...the floor is covered in paper, books, and albums!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Deal of the Day


I've been inspired. Again.

And I have Brad's cousins, Amber and Jenny, to thank for it. (Thanks, ladies!)

Oh, and Oprah.

I remember seeing an episode of Oprah a few years ago in which she had the "Coupon Mom" on. And on this particular show, Coupon Mom took a trip to the store, spending roughly $35 for $100 in groceries. W.O.W.

And I guess I kind of filed that away in the 'ol noggin, and upon seeing some of the deals Amber and Jenny were happening upon...

I officially jumped on the couponing bandwagon.

Now. I have a lot to learn. And I've been doing some "research" and a whole lot of printing and clipping of coupons, and trying to remain patient and *smart* through the whole learning experience. I have a ways to go in terms of learning how exactly to finagle the sales with coupons and gimmicks and rebates and bucks back and there are so many angles...BUT there is so much help and advice online, it takes a lot of the guess work out of the whole process.

And, I've gotta's kind of fun. :)

Here are some of my "beginner deals" from this week.

From Walgreens:
$8.99 SALE Huggies Jumbo Pack Diapers
$7.50 SALE for 3 Glade Products
$3.49 SALE for Kotex Tampons
(TMI? Absolutely, but they were a part of this bargain so I'm sharing!)
$.78 SALE for 2 packages Gummy Bears
(I wouldn't have normally bought these but Walgreens has a policy that you have to purchase more products than the number of coupons used so I had to pick up a couple super cheap items to save with all the coupons I wanted to use...and Drew didn't mind this one bit!)
$3.00 off Huggies manufacturer's coupon
$2.00 off 3 Glade Products manufacturer's coupon
$1.00 off Kotex product manufacturer's coupon
$5.00 off Walgreen's Register Rewards coupons

(+ tax)

$11.42 out of my pocket today.



I will save an additional $5.00 for a mail-in rebate on those Glade products
I earned an additional $2.5o in Walgreen's Register Rewards to use on a future purchase.

Total cost = $3.92! (What?!)
(I prefer to apply my Register Reward coupon to the purchase I actually use it on, so for this purchase, my total cost would be $6.42...but still!)

From Dollar General...
$6.00 SALE for 2 All Laundry Detergent
$4.00 for 2 2-packs Reach Toothbrushes
$2.00 for 2 boxes Reach Floss
2 x $2.00 = $4.00 off All Detergent manufacturer's coupons
2 x $1.00 = $2.00 off Reach Toothbrushes manufacturer's coupons
2 x $1.00 = $2.00 off Reach Floss manufacturer's coupons
(making these FREE!)

(+ tax)


And at Walmart today, I used six coupons, saving me $8.00.

Pretty cool, huh?

I'm hooked.

(**For those of you who coupon, please don't burst my bubble and tell me these deals aren't really deals at all. Keep me ignorant, just for now, please??? Thank you!) :)

And all of this is really good, considering I spent an extra $6.00 on Drew's new shoes because he no longer fits in toddler sizes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Picture of the Day, Week 15

Fifteen weeks. Let me tell ya, this isn't as easy as it was when I first started. I find remembering to take pictures the easy part...finding just what to take a picture of is beginning to become tricky. It's easy when something special is going on; someone is visiting us or we're doing something special/out of the ordinary.

But this album is called Project Life. The whole concept is based on capturing our life, every single tiny mundane routine ordinary thing.

And that's the hard part.

But not because things can seem boring. It's because some things are so regular and a part of our everyday life, I simply glaze over them and forget.

But I don't want to forget. So when I came up a few days short on photos at the end of this week, I started to think. And then I started to make a list, of the things I look over in day to day life because they are the norm. As cute as my kids are (call me partial), I want to be sure I'm capturing even the tiniest things that make us us.

You might find them boring. And that's okay. I hope, though, that you'll begin to look at the the very normal things in your day and see a little inspiration...maybe even a few blessings.

So I hope you enjoy this week's photos. Be sure to click on the Project Life Tuesday button at the bottom if you're starting to feel inspired and want to sneak a peek into others' versions of this project.

The boys with Grammy & Papa. My parents were here for a long weekend visit, helping take care of the boys while I worked on some serious spring cleaning projects.

Everyday life: The medicine cabinet in our bathroom.

Our van. A 2009 Honda Odyssey. I love this van. We've had it now for almost a year, and it has serviced us very nicely. I love loading up the boys, cruisin' around town, running errands, or taking trips. Love it love it love it.

It's pretty nostalgic dressing Reed in all of Drew's old clothes. When I dressed Reed this morning, I knew I had this picture of Drew wearing the same outfit at about the same age, and thought it would make for a sweet comparison shot. Stinkin' adorable!

Bedtime routine: Snack, potty, jammies, teeth, books, prayers, love you, sweet dreams, good night!

Brad made chocolate chip cookies tonight for snack (by "made" I mean bought the dough, spooned it onto cookies sheet, and put in the oven). Unfortunately, he didn't set the timer on the oven and forgot about them. Ah well. Drew didn't seem to mind.

'Tis the spring season...time to mow again. Drew's helping out daddy, but about five seconds after I took this picture, Brad got too close for Drew's liking and decided he was done helping!