Normal Day Treasures

6 10 2015

normal day

The sun is back. It’s been a long time since we have caught even a ray of it! Today can pretty much be chalked up to a perfect “normal” day. I thought a lot about how grateful I am to have a generally positive attitude, as I was pulled in a million different directions at work while my sons were away from me at daycare. I began to look for the treasures hidden in the day, reflecting on each one as its own silver lining. I hope to collect these thoughts later in my journal of blessings (inspired by Ann Voskamp).

The fog settling over the valley was so pretty during my drive to work this morning. Stumbling over my words as I tried to explain fog to my 3-year-old.

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My 12-month-old waving goodbye to me from the comfort of his teacher’s arms. A tear-free transition. Finally.

Arriving to work 10 minutes early and using the time to walk a prayer circle behind the school. Still in awe that I get to work in such a beautiful place.

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And feeling blessed that at my new job, I get to be a full-blown counselor. Almost 100% of my time is spent directly with students individually, in small groups, and in the classroom (I log my hours in NoteCounselor after school every day). When I’m not directly with students, I’m talking to their parents or conferencing with their teachers, also direct hours. It makes for busy days, and my principal has begun to exclaim, “You came back!” after some of the most eventful days.

Getting a handwritten card from my principal, just thanking me for being at the school and being a positive light.

Having one of the most respected teachers in the school, the one who never speaks when I teach in her classroom, seek me out in my office later just to say, “Thank you. You have such a calm and soothing voice for the kids, you talk to them in such a way that they have no choice but to want to follow your directions.”

Me: an awe-struck puddle on the floor.

Missing lunch to facilitate the toughest small group of them all, and seeing the boys’ tough exteriors begin to crack as they slowly trust each other. Finding a pocket of 10 minutes afterward to eat a bowl of hot soup and a full-size Hershey bar.

At car rider duty, a parent sincerely telling me, “It’s so nice to see a smiling face every single day. Thank you.”

Staying after school to coach a running club, running alongside a new coworker who is exactly my pace, and finding out we grew up in the same hometown.

My 3-year-old, after spotting me at daycare, running toward the gate with open arms, not yet too cool for such affection over Mommy or for falling head over heels to hug me.

Finding a free book for the boys in our mailbox: “Llama Llama and the Bully Goat.”

Wolfing down leftover Greek dinner my husband made last night before leaving the house one last time for the evening.

Driving through my favorite canopy of trees today…

…six different times.

The first and sixth trips with cups of hot coffee.

Opting to let my hairdresser straighten my hair before I left. (I ALWAYS leave the salon with wet curly hair.) Laughing with her about the 3 wiry white hairs I found on my head this week.

Teaching my 3-year-old how to play a board game before bed. How to roll a die. How to take turns and play fairly.

Watching his excitement as he taught his daddy how to play the same game while I watched, nursing the baby to sleep.

Trying on pretty Stitch Fix items, debating what to keep and what to send back.

Finding quiet time to blog and do laundry.

Grateful for my decision to cloth diaper as I hung them to dry. Looking forward to having a new friend over next week who wants to learn about cloth diapers.

Thinking about the 5 cute little cloth diaper pails, lined up all in a row at daycare.

Being able to answer my toddler when he asked, “Mommy, are you coming to the pumpkin patch with me and my class?”

“Yes, Mommy is coming.”

I’d rearrange the world for you. 





Five on Friday

5 12 2014

Linking up for Five on Friday with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy. On a side note, my blog space is 95% full… help!! What do I do next?

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one | On Monday, I took my little boys on a date to our local Chick-fil-a, where they were giving out free peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes. Yum!

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two | We didn’t really do Black Friday shopping – we walked around the mall in the late afternoon and I found a dress (not on sale) for my brother’s January wedding. It’s a pretty jewel tone and had to be nursing-friendly (which ruled out 99% of dresses). We ran into Olaf while walking the mall.

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three |

We did shop Small Business Saturday at our local cloth diaper store, although we had to book it from my grandma’s (3 hours away) to make it there! Thankfully, because it is a small business, I was able to call ahead and she stayed open later for me. In turn, I bought 2 diapers, a cozy nursing scarf, and Aden + Anais crib sheets (not pictured). 🙂

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four | We enjoyed our first snow of the season – about 5 inches. Thank goodness we had just bought snow boots on our trip to Williamsburg! E was much more ready to play in this snow than last winter – he begged to be out in it all day!

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five | My Christmas cards arrived! When is a socially acceptable date to send them out? They’re all addressed, stamped, and ready to go! As much as I love Cardstore, I tried Minted this year b/c I received $25 for signing up via a friend’s link and then had a coupon code + free shipping. The cards are super-thick and came in fun packaging! The colors are bright and printing is clear. I might be hooked! They miiiight have sent me several other people’s cards, but those were fun to look thru, too! 😉 Want to design your own? If you use my link, we’ll both get a $25 credit!

Minted

 

Happy Friday! I’m off to run 5 miles in and around Busch Gardens ChristmasTown! 🙂





oh hey | five on friday

10 10 2014
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Happy Friday! I am loving every minute of my maternity leave! I am so lucky that my boys seem to be on the same sleeping schedule. One day, they both napped for 5 hours (in separate rooms). Another day, they both slept in til noon! But when they’re awake, we’ve enjoyed getting out and about to take advantage of the fall weather.

Also, I’m linking up with darciaprilchristina, and natasha for their Five on Friday Fall Giveaway!

Five on Friday Fall Giveaway

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one | This little guy turns 2 weeks old tomorrow! I’m doing a variation on the monthly sticker onesies that I used for his big brother and using this tree scrap (with rings) for size perspective.

2012 - 2014 E and S just born

two | I love having friends over to meet the baby! And one of my friends set up a Take Them a Meal site for us, so we’ve been blessed to have a handful of meals dropped off in the evenings. I’ve been reading Blue Eyed Bride’s 31 Days of Breaking Bread series, which has also given me a simplified perspective on entertaining guests and putting people at ease in our home.

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three | While my husband was home last week (on baby leave), our family visited a local pumpkin patch. This one is really fun – you can load up a whole wagon for only $25! I’ve heard they sell out fast, so we went early in the season and on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Worth it. Recap here!

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four | Wednesday, I took my boys to run lots of errands and do some Christmas shopping. I had both in cloth diapers and wore my newborn in a carrier. (3 stores in 3 hours.) That night, I attended a major Board of Supervisors meeting about whether the aging school where I work will be getting a new facility. The meeting was 3 hours long, and the baby slept in my Boba 3G for the entire meeting with just one bout of sleepy giggles and one squeaky hiccup. It was fun to see my coworkers again.

10-8-14 downtown shopping

five | Every month, I recycle 10 ink cartridges (that I purchase in bulk off eBay with my in-laws) and get $20 to spend at Staples. This month, I intended to pick up more fabric cube bins for toys in E’s new toddler room, but they don’t carry them anymore. One of the managers offered to sell me some cubes that were part of furniture floor models for $1.99 each! I wish I had bought all of them, but I only got 4. And here is the before/after, which will probably last about 5 seconds:

10-8-14 toddler room

Linking up for Five on Friday with Darci, Christina, April, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy





A Labor of Luxury

26 07 2014

Ok so this post is not about labor. When I tell people that we’re expecting a boy, the first thing they always say is, “oh good, you’ll save money on clothes!” It hit me this week as I was washing and sorting through E’s newborn clothes what a blessing it IS to already have so much, as well as the basic baby essentials. Still, I am changing up a lot of things so that it’s not all the same, and I’ve been constantly tweaking my Amazon Baby Registry with things I’ve been swooning over I’d like to try out for the new baby. (This is beyond the simple things I still need –  hangers, bottle brushes, wipes, detergent for cloth diapering, etc.)

I would love to use more-natural products with this baby (essential oils, Burts Bees, Mum + Bub, etc.), and more Aden + Anais fabrics surrounding him. We love their swaddles, and E still carries his favorite A + A blanket everywhere!

Baby Boy Luxury Wishlist

These comments are all mine, with no affiliate links used: 

1 Wubbanub | We had tremendous success with these pacifiers with E. Maybe a little TOO much – they’re his second limbs. We’ve only used these and no other brands. I’m hoping our new baby will also love them, and I’ve been drooling over the red dragon since its release! And we need 2 for obvious reasons.

2 JJ Cole Satchel Diaper Bag in Stone Arbor| This brand seriously has the best customer service. And this bag is gorgeous! I’m gonna need lots of frills with a household full of boys!

NoseFrida | We never got around to buying one of these for E, but I’m convinced we NEED one.

Aden + Anais Dream blanket | Let’s be honest. I want this for ME. Always have. In bamboo.

Aden + Anais RED series | A + A released a limited edition RED series, and the designs are classic and bold. Love them!

BumGenius Freetime in Armadillo | BG released this new color in their cloth diapers. I just bought the adorable “Chaplin” print, and I’d love to have a couple grey freetimes!

Aden + Anais Easy Swaddle | Seriously. so. soft.

What “luxury” baby items do you love?





Snail Mail Love

29 10 2013

MAIL!

I love getting fun mail, and this week has been good so far! I’m not getting compensated for any of these items, but here goes!

  • Stitch Fix: some of my friends must be receiving their first fixes this week, because I got another $50 in referral credits! Wanna get your own box of cute, trendy clothes in the mail? Fill out your profile here! (I do get a sweet $25 credit for each person who schedules her first fix through my link!) Here’s a recap of my first review! So much fun!!

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  • New kicks! A running shop recommended that I wear Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s, and they’ve been perfect for me (and my orthotics) for my last several half marathons, and when it came time to start breaking in a new pair of shoes, Mizuno came out with a pink and lime green version!(!!!!) I watched them on Amazon for awhile until the price dropped, then used my Amazon points to purchase the shoes! These will be the shoes I’ll be wearing for my marathon! Pink? Disney? Perfect!

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  • My mom overnighted this package that arrived tonight. It contains my ballet recital finale costume from June 21, 1999… naturally, I will be wearing it to work tomorrow. Unrelated to Halloween but completely related to tomorrow being the 50th day of school.

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  • Waiting on a budget-friendly cardigan I ordered from Jane.com, a site I just discovered in the last few weeks. Dangerous!
  • Cloth diaper flushable liners – Imse Vimse flushable liners have been a lifesaver this week, as E has had a horrible skin reaction that I am PRAYING is not due to a peanut allergy, and these have made for easier diaper cleanups. I’ve had to break out the diaper sprayer several times this week, which we’ve rarely used in 15 months. I’ve tried a zillion brands of these, but these are my favorites b/c they’re disposable OR reusable. The toddler sizes arrived in my mailbox this week!

Hopefully to come this week, though not via snail mail:

  • Recap of lots of fall festivities we’ve attended with our toddler!
  • {Five on Friday} Roadtrip Adventures!




Cloth diapering in daycare

9 08 2013

When we were pregnant with my son, my husband and I made the personal decision to cloth diaper him. There were a lot of reasons — cheaper, better for the environment, softer, cuter, and no chemicals, to name some of the top reasons. I spent time visiting 3 cloth diaper stores, talking to people who’ve done it, and researching online about brands, fit, and wash cycles. I entered tons of contests and shopped using lots of deals, and came away with a nice stash to start with with not a lot of the upfront cost that dissuades some people from considering them. We have been more than pleased with them. There have been a handful of times when we’ve used disposables (a week at Disney, a week at the beach), and I’m always relieved to get back into the cloth habit once we get home. For some reason, disposables always smell dirty to me, even if they’re dry, but maybe that’s just me because I’m not used to their *distinct* smell.

I was very fortunate in that at every single daycare (or home) we interviewed, people were open to the idea, which otherwise would have been a deal-breaker. I only brought two diapering items with me to these interviews, a wetbag and a diaper. Once people saw how easy they were, and the only difference (for them) was where to toss the diaper after a change (into a zippered wetbag instead of a pail or the trash), they would say things like “oh, okay! I didn’t know it was that easy. Cloth diapers have changed, haven’t they?”

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One of the Planet Wise wet bags that I sent to his babysitter last year.

If you get on cloth diaper store listserves and wait for deals, you can occasionally get these free with a purchase, or with points accumulated from buying diapers, etc. I’ve never paid full price for any of these diapering accessories (or the diapers themselves, for the record). I also used wetbags at the pool this summer and to carry milky pump parts home from work last year.

I read somewhere that a daycare refusing cloth diapers would be like discriminating against certain brands of disposables. Today when I took my son to visit the new school/daycare again where he’ll start next week, they were agreeable to using the cloth diapers, as promised. They have several other, younger, babies in cloth, and the directors even used cloth diapers (the same brand, even!) on their own children, so they  agreed to continue them here, as long as I provided a sealed container for the dirty ones. That’s where the wetbags come in.

Here are some of my favorite pocket diapers. I have used these for over a year now, and they still look squeaky clean!

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ImageI love that they’re adjustable in size, so I don’t have to buy more as my son grows. When we’re all done with them, I’ll sell them on ebay and make back most of what I spent initially (which wasn’t much, since I won a lot of them!). I know this because sometimes I’ll buy them used for super cheap at a consignment sale and then sell them on ebay, and make a lot more than what I paid, because there’s more of a market online for them than at these small consignment sales, where people might not know what they are or how to price them.

When I asked the teacher today how often they do diaper changes, she said once every hour. I can’t imagine how many dry disposables they waste!

On wash cycles:

Cloth diapers are much easier to clean than people think, at least the way I do it. People probably think I spend a lot of time swirling them around in the toilet, or in Woolite or something, but no! I don’t really touch them much. When I get home from work, I empty the wetbag straight into his lined diaper pail, which is just a 13-gallon trashcan with a lid, and the pail liner (link is similar to mine, but cuter prints!) into the washer every other day. In the machine I do a warm rinse, a hot wash, and another rinse, then hang them up by the window to dry. (I could use the dryer, but I choose not to.) It’s very rare that they stain, but if they do, the sun bleaches anything out. If the diaper has poop, I just plop the poop into the toilet (no touching required), with the disposable liner that it’s stuck to. The diaper stays pretty free of residue that way. There have been about 2 times where the diaper has been so gross that I’ve had to use a diaper sprayer, but twice in 13 months isn’t bad.

I use flushable liners to catch the solids, which makes it easier for me, but people do different things. The liner looks like a dryer sheet and is soft. I tend to wash them with the diapers if they don’t get soiled, so I’ve only gone through 1.5 packs in the last 7 months:

ImageAnd here is my happy toddler in his diaper after visiting his new school today!

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What questions do you have about cloth diapering? What is your favorite type of diaper, or favorite brand?

Not compensated for links used.





Starting Over

1 07 2013

I’m pretty happy that it’s finally July 1. Last week had its share of challenges: my car was in the shop for over a week, our washing machine died, our diaper bag got stuck shut, etc., etc. But each of those weren’t really such a big deal… I got to drive around in a $50,000 rental Jeep, we bought a new washer, and I got to destroy the bag with scissors and a Sharpie with the guarantee of a free replacement.

I’m already missing *my* nice big Jeep, so of course hubby and I had to go window-shopping yesterday, just for fun. Sundays are good because no salesmen are there, so we peeked at Hondas, Jeeps, Toyotas, Mazdas, Dodges, and a few other places at our leisure.

We had to buy a new washer IMMEDIATELY because we cloth diaper our son, and those must be washed every other day. Luckily, his diapers require nothing fancy — the best kind of washer for those seems to be of the old-school, top-loading, agitating, non-HE variety. Our old washer was a score on CraigsList — it cost $50, lasted exactly 4 years, and we got paid $12 for it when we took it to our metal recycling place. It was leaking oil onto our clothes (ugh!), so there was no way to resell it. This time, because of time constraints, we purchased a new one. Speaking of cloth diapers, I found some brand-new Thirsties at Target that had been clearanced to $2 each because they had been purchased online and returned to the store, and they’re only sold online. I bought each of them and posted them on eBay, and I’ll definitely make at least 5 times what I paid for them.

When my diaper bag broke, I checked into the warranty on it, contacted, JJ Cole, and was given 2 options: “1.  You may mail the bag to us…and upon receipt your replacement will be sent to you,” or “2. You may make a cut through the opening of the main compartment down into the front of the bag 6” and send us an image with your Reference number written visible [on the bag].  We will use this as a record you have disposed of the item, and then send your replacement. Please see example below.” And then they attached an example of a destroyed bag. Naturally I chose the latter option (FUN!!), and my new bag should be here any day!

Today is also officially Day #1 of my Disney Marathon training program. The race is only 6 months away! Right now I am following the program provided by runDisney and designed by Jeff Galloway: http://www.rundisney.com/training/running/. I am choosing the “To Finish in the Upright Position: 29-week program.” I’ve been training all along, but not always as faithfully as I would like to, so today begins a fresh start. My husband got up at 4:45 to run his 4 miles, then painted our fence while I took my turn to run 4 miles before the baby woke up.

Today also marks the start of birthday week! My son was due on my birthday and came a day early, so we are able to celebrate together this weekend. The 4th of July also happens to be my favorite holiday, which hopefully I’ll blog about later on in the week. Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on his party preparations: I sent out invites I designed in PhotoShop, finished his slideshow, bought the party food, my mom is making his outfit, I’ve handmade all the decorations, made plans for the cakes, made the favor bags, and wrapped his presents. All that remains is lots and lots of baking! I’ll share pictures on the blog after the party. 🙂

 

 

Affiliate links used… I’m not sponsored by any of these companies and do not officially endorse them… 🙂





Nine Months

10 04 2013

Nine months in elapsed time looks like my baby. My crawling, teething, waving, clapping bundle of pink grape toes, strawberry blonde hair, and eyelashes that reach forever. And nine months from now, I know exactly what I’ll be doing.

You’re thinking the b-word, I know.

But no. I made one of those decisions where you close your eyes and click “Pay Now,” knowing there’s no turning back after committing to run 26.2 miles through Disney World. On a day so far away that you can’t predict the weather in Florida let alone what kind of shape your body will be in! Yesterday I registered to run my first full marathon.

272 days away.

9 months.

It wasn’t really all that impulsive. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now. But I was still half-hoping my computer would freeze and the race would sell out so that I wouldn’t have to commit. But for once, my laptop worked like it was half its age, and I registered to run a full marathon and a 10k and had just enough time before my son’s 9-month checkup to register my hubby for the Goofy challenge.

At least I kind-of know what I’m doing. I’ve done a Disney race before, with a 7-month-old in tow (well, not literally during the race, but I did wear him around Epcot and Magic Kingdom in my fabulous Boba 3G). I did run throughout my pregnancy, with my last race (a 5k) at 8 months. These last six weeks have been one race after another – my first, second, and third half marathons. Lucky for me, the courses seemed to get progressively less-interesting than the one before– unplanned, but it did help me made a PR each time.

And so I start this blog, to chronicle my journey of balancing mommy-hood, running, and working in an elementary school. And cloth diapering. Because that’s another obsession of mine, maybe even as much as running. So sometimes I might talk about those, too. And that charming nine-month-old who sports them. 🙂

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