Monday, December 31, 2007

Good-bye to 2007...



This year has been an interesting one for me. Not much has really changed - no big milestones or anything like that. I did not have a baby, get pregnant, start a new job, or move. For me, the theme of 2007 could probably be something like, "same old, same old".

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Especially after the ups and downs (mostly downs) of 2006 - I was very glad to have a relatively quiet and peaceful time this year.

There is one big thing from 2007 for me to celebrate however. The birth of... this blog! On May 30th, I started writing here, with no real purpose in mind except to chronicle my life as the mom to my 3 wonderful daughters, as a 'working out of the house' mom, to hopefully write some things worth reading, and also to maybe meet some other moms or people I could connect with. And I have to say, from my own perspective, I think that I've been pretty successful so far. I have journaled a lot of my children's milestones, stories and photographs, I've met some incredible and amazing people, and I hope that I've connected with at least some of you through what I've written. It's been a wonderful and fun time and I can only hope that 2008 will be just as good.

I wanted to do a few things to thank some people - those of you who have helped me learn more about this whole 'blogging' thing and have supported me in one way or another. I've received such love through links, awards, tags and giveaways that I want to give something back. I thought long and hard, and finally decided that the best way to do this is to spread some linky love here to everyone I can think of who's helped make 2007 such a wonderful blogging year for me.

I've learned a lot about how blogging works from MamaBlogga, ProBlogger, Blogging Tips, and by reading and participating in blogs like Pediascribe, Scribbit and Write From Karen.

I've learned more about writing from reading posts and participating in writing contests and group writing projects at MamaBlogga, Scribbit, and Summer's Nook.

I've had posts included in the Carnival of Family Life and the Mothers and Daughters Blog Carnival.

I've done weekly meme's such as Give Me Five Monday, Monday Madness, Memory Lane Monday, Heads or Tails, Tackle It Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Thursday Thirteen, Throwback Thursday, and Aloha Friday.

I've been tagged for meme's by One Mom’s World, Are We There Yet, Believer in Balance, My 3 Wisemans, Coming to a Nursery Near You, My Life As Mama Jodi, An Island Life, Mason & Terri's Mom, Beth & Cory's Mom, Mama Pajama, MomOfThree, ...And Miles To Go Before We Sleep..., Confessions of an Organized Mess, A "Sample" of Jennifer's Thoughts..., ExPat Mom, Pediascribe, Amanda, Mom Knows Everything, The Natural News, Working Momma 247, Becca's Buzz, Brainfizzles, and Mommin' It Up (yes, I'll get to it soon!). I've got a few to get caught up on as well, and if I've missed anyone, I'm sorry and please let me know so I can add you to the list. :)

I've received awards from a lot of wonderful new friends as well, like Holly, Megan, Anna, Michelle, Donetta, Elizabeth, Jen, Jean, Kellie, Jennifer, Momma Bean, Tammy, Bridget, Shana, Neena, Laura, MomOfThree, ExPat Mom, Natalie, Jenn, Jenny, and Nap Warden. Thank you so much again to all of you!

It's been fun doing special projects or being involved in meaningful activities like Blog Day 2007, cyber baby showers at 5 Minutes for Mom, and again at Classy Mommy, the Christmas Tour of Homes, and Blog Day for 'The Mother's Act'. I hope to participate in these and others like them again in 2008.

I've discovered many sites for women - blogs and others - full of helpful tips, reviews, contests, and blog posts by amazing women. Sites like 5 Minutes For Mom, Pinks and Blues Girls, BlogHer, Blog Mommas, eMoms At Home, iMommies, Working Moms Against Guilt, MomsBlogging, and Work It, Mom!. I'm sure there are many more out there that I have yet to find and I look forward to doing so!

And I can't finish this without mentioning all of the amazing blogs that I've found in 2007. Trying to recognize everyone would probably be impossible, but I want to share some link love with as many as I can. Some of these I read regularly, some have become blogging friends, some I read whenever I can squeeze in an extra moment, and some are regular commenters here that I try to check out whenever I can. And I'm sure there are many more out there yet to be discovered!

~Enjoying The Ride, A little bit about me!!, ...And Miles To Go Before We Sleep..., A Life Of Triggers, a day in the life of..., A Life Uncommon, A "Sample" of Jennifer's Thoughts, A Whole Lot of Nothing, Absolutely Bananas, Adventures in Babywearing, Amanda, An Iowa Mom, An Island Life, And Babies Make Six, and baby makes four, Any Apples, arewethereyetmom.com, BECAUSE I SAID SO, Becca's Buzz, Believer in Balance, Beth & Cory's Mom, Big Binder, Blog That Mommy!, Brainfizzles, Casual Friday Everyday, Comedy Plus, Coming To A Nursery Near You, Confessions of an Organized Mess, Confessions of a Working Mom, Crazy Thoughts, CrAzY Working Mom, Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Dare To Get Organized, Desperately Seeking Sanity, Don't Call Me Mummy, don't make me get the flying monkeys!, eastcoastlife, Echoes in Eternity, Eleanorblog, Ellinghouse, Everything Moms, ExPat Mom, Expecting Executive Blog, From Under the Clutter, Full Plate, GirlGoneWild-Biblestyle, Gliding Through Motherhood, Green Grass Grows, hola, isabel, Hootin' Anni's, Hug Twice, I'm a Drama Mama, In The Life Of A Child, Jenn's Nook, Joy Is My Goal, Joyful Days, Just Jessie, Kelley Rees, Kitchen Table Chat, Life From A Cat's Perspective, Life Is A Journey. Enjoy The Ride!, Life With Hannah and Lily, Lisa C Writes, LIVE! and In Color, Living and Loving Every Minute Of It, Lost in Wisconsin, Love Shak, Baby, love, to the moon and back, Mama Pajama, MamaBlogga, Manic Mommies, meeyauw, Memoirs of a Mommy, Mindless Chatter of a Busy Mom, MOM KNOWS EVERYTHING, Momma Bean, Mommin' It Up!, mommy bytes, Mommy from the Midwest, Mommy Needs Coffee, Mommy Zabs, MomOfThree, MotherThoughts, My Chaos My Bliss, My Joyful Life as a Momma and a Wife, My Life as Mama Jodi, My Minivan is Faster Than Yours, My Three Wisemans, Nazarene Family Services, Never a Dull Moment, Notes from the Trenches, Not Just a Working Mom, Not That I Don't Love My Kids, OhAmanda, One Moms World, O So Mo Love, Ordinary Days, Our Happy Happenings, Overstuffed, PediaScribe, Real Life, Pointless Babbling By Mason & Terri's Mom, Rocks In My Dryer, Sarah and Jordan updates, scribbit, Siani's Pot-Pourri, Single Parents Unite, Skimbaco, Skittles' Place, Slurping Life, so, what do you do all day?, SortaCrunchy, Suburban Oblivion, Summer's Nook, Surviving Motherhood, Table for Five, The Chronicles of a SAHM, The Laughs Will Go On..., The Natural News, the r house, The Pumkin Patch, The Road to Home, The Twinkies, The Wilson Six, This Eclectic Life, Three Peas in a Pod, Three-Girl Circus, Tricotine, Twist & Skewer, Two Lines On a Stick, Up With Moms, Velveteen Mind, Virtual Ramblings, We Are Reilly..., WeSnLaNi, Where's Mommy's Prozac?, Writing in Faith, Working Momma 247, and, last but certainly not least, Write From Karen.

I would like to wish everyone reading this, whether friend, lurker, commenter or just passing by - the very best of wishes for a wonderful 2008. May your New Year be joyous and all you want it to be!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Contest round-up #17

It's a bit late, but here is this week's contest round-up! A lot of these end tonight, so hurry over and check them out! :)

Bloggy Giveaways is taking a break over the holidays - but check back in January for more great contests!

At 5 Minutes For Mom right now you could win a year of delicious Orville popcorn with an “Orville popcorn for a year” coupon book, along with a 12 month, 2 at-a-time subscription to Netflix. Enter by January 1st. Or you could win a surprise book - check out how!

New Habits in the New Year

And check back at 5MFM ever yday between January 1st and 8th for information and giveaways related to starting new habits in the New Year!

Check out An Island Life for Kailani's giveaways this week! You could win one of two $25 gift certificates to Ju Ju Beane Boutique (enter by January 3rd). Or you could win one of three 2008 Hawaiian Pictorial Calendars - but you only have until tonight (December 31st) at midnight to enter this one!

I'm still hoping to win a sling - maybe this will be my shot! Much More Than A Mom is giving away a pouch sling from ModMum! You have until midnight on December 31st to enter.

Over at Boston Mamas you could win a $100 gift certificate to Tiny Prints. Check it out before midnight on December 31st to find out how to enter.

Here's an awesome giveaway opportunity for those of you babywearing mamas (or babywearing wannabees like me) out there! Along For The Ride is giving away a total of $650 in gift certificates to their site, where they offer a huge variety of sling types and styles. The grand prize alone is a $250 gift certificate! You have until December 31st to enter, so check it out soon!

The Moms Blogs is giving away 3 sets of Snowflake Flannel Pajamas from Pajamagram.com - these look warm and cozy! You have until December 31st to enter, so head over to check it out.

Here's a big one. One that I would so love to win. Click to enter for your chance to win a Walt Disney World® dream vacation for 8 from Sharpie®! The deadline to enter is December 31st.

Amanda is giving away a lounge set for your little one! She's making the flannel pants herself (I envy her sewing ability!) and the shirt will be a Valentine-themed one from Creations By Lisa McGrath - and the winner gets to choose what's embroidered on it. How cute will that be! You have until January 1st to enter.

Win a FREE book at writefromkaren.com

It's Buy A Friend A Book week again over at Write From Karen! You have until January 3rd to comment on this post to enter for your chance to win a free book (up to $15 in value)!

Do you have a blog? If so, do you need a new look? Nap Warden is giving away her Photoshop skills to help pimp your blog - head over before January 3rd to enter for your chance to win!

Here's another chance to win free movies for a year! Head over to Table for Five and see how you could win a year’s supply of Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Popcorn AND a 12 month subscription to Netflix! You have until January 5th to enter.

Check out superdumb supervillian to find out how to win a necklace of your choice from i love blocks! You have until January 6th to enter.

As usual, if you know of a contest or giveaway that I missed, just e-mail me or leave a comment below and I'll add it in! Enjoy and good luck! :)

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well we almost made it down here without mishap...

So it's Saturday night and the kids are all in bed - at least my 3
are. Mary's ADHD 11-year-old whose medication has worn off for the
night is slowly and protestingly headed in that direction too. The
threat of taking away his video games and new Nintendo DS seems to be
working though, thank goodness.

It's been a nice weekend so far. Although, we did have a slight
adventure on the way down - after a forecast that included snow up
near Grand Rapids that wasn't supposed to start until around noon, but
instead involved snow, blowing and drifting and extremely slippery
conditions the closer we got to Mary's. It was pretty bad but I took
it slow and careful and we did ok - until I took a turn about a mile
away from Mary's house and slid across the road and partially into a
ditch.

Hmm, well now what? Is pretty much what went through my head. Abby
burst into tears and started freaking out. Which then set off the
other two girls. It was somewhat scary since we were partially over
the side into the (fairly deep) ditch, but we weren't in any danger of
going further in, thank goodness.

I got the girls out of the van (Hannah immediately scooped up a
handful of fresh snow to munch on) and took stock of the situation.

One crying, blankie-clutching 6-year-old. Check.

One snow-munching, otherwise content 5-year-old. Check.

One confused but happy to be held after 2+ hours in the van almost
2-year-old. Check.

One minivan in fine running condition, with Dora the Explorer CD still
playing, however currently sitting at a very strange angle, half in a
ditch. Check.

One cell phone which very frustratingly had been giving a 'call
failed' message every time a number was dialed all day - including my
attempt to call 911 for another car I'd seen stuck in a ditch off the
freeway earlier. (Let's just say that AT&T isn't in my good graces
right now...) Check.

And one kind stranger who stopped and let me borrow his phone to call
Mary. Her hubby Dave was thankfully still home (he works 2nd shift)
and came right out. And a fire rescue person came by as well and
radioed for a wrecker to come and pull my van out. Dave had a tow
strap with him though, so they tried using the fire rescue pickup to
pull it out - and it worked! So no tow truck needed for us, although
there was definitely plenty else to keep the wreckers busy - just in
the mile trip back to Mary and Dave's house, we had to detour around
where a large truck had jacknifed and gone off the road.

But we made it. Over an hour later than originally planned and with a
few scared, confused kids, but it could've been much, much worse so I
am very thankful that it wasn't.

I should probably mention my 'bad mommy' moment too... Becca had
kicked her boots off in the van on the way. When we got stuck and I
grabbed her out of her seat, I didn't put them back on, thinking that
I would be holding her anyway and her socks were warm enough. Well
then I realized her hands were getting cold so I wanted to put her
mittens on (they were dangling from her sleeves), so without thinking
about it, I set her down so I could use both hands to get the mittens
on. It took me about 30 seconds to remember that she wasn't wearing
her boots - I scooped her back up as soon as I realized what I'd done
but her little socks were all wet. Apologizing to her profusely, I
went around to the side of the van, opened the slider, sat her in
there, fished a dry pair of socks from her overnight bag, changed her
socks, put her boots on - and then set her back down in the snow and
put her mittens on. Sigh.

So that was the big 'excitement' of this trip, so far anyway.
Thankfully there's not supposed to be snow tomorrow for the drive home
- and hopefully this forecast will hold up! :)

--
Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Saturday, December 29, 2007

This is a test

This is only a test. Do not adjust your screen... LOL

I am just trying out this whole 'mobile' option to see if I can post
to my blog via e-mail from my cell phone.

So if you're reading this, then it worked. And if you're not reading
it then I'm talking (typing?) to myself... And I should mention that
this is the 2nd time I've typed this all out, so you know that this is
'Plan B' already.

So if a tree falls in the forest with nobody there to hear - or if a
blogger is writing with no idea if this will post... Oh never mind!

Time to see if this will actually work... :)

--
Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Friday, December 28, 2007

Aloha Friday #14

alohafriday5 It's Friday again! My favorite day of the week. Although I'm all messed up with my days this week so it doesn't even really feel like an actual Friday... But I'm sneaking in a quick question before I head off to bed and our trip tomorrow.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? If so, do you usually keep them?

I have sometimes made them, but I can't really say that I've put a lot of effort into keeping them. I tend to either pick things that are really difficult and so I give up right at the beginning, or things that I know I'm going to do anyway, so there's no extra effort involved.

I am making one this year though, that I hope to keep. It's not creative or different, but I really want (and need) to try and live healthier. Hopefully this will also lead to losing weight as well, but I want the focus to be on eating and living healthy in general, so that hopefully I can start (and stop) some habits for good. We'll see if this is something achievable or not, but I really plan to try.

Be sure to check out An Island Life for other fun Aloha Friday questions and to play along!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

On the road again...

Tomorrow is the second road trip of this holiday vacation of mine. The first was on Christmas Day when we drove to Detroit and back in the space of about 10 hours. Tomorrow, after taking Abby and Hannah to the dentist, we will be heading down to my friend Mary's house for the weekend. No plans - just a lot of visiting and letting the kids all run around and play. And with Mary due in just a few weeks with her 3rd child, lots of baby talk as well.  :)

I don't know if I'll have a chance to post at all while I'm gone and I know I won't be able to read many blogs (now that I finally got my reader caught up from over Christmas - sigh), but I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I'll be checking back in before the New Year, I promise!

I thought I'd leave you with a few random photos (of course!) and a video of Becca with her two new Backyardigan stuffed friends (Austin and Tasha) that she opened up on Christmas Eve, to go along with the 3 that she'd already stolen acquired from Hannah previously. Just ignore the quick view of Abby's legs - she was wrestling with Uncle Donnie at the time.   :)

Xmas2007-ChristmasEve_022

Yes, I know that Becca is missing a sock and her pants - what can I say, Daddy had just changed her diaper...   :)

The only presents that were underneath our tree before Christmas morning were the three that the girls were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. I put them there that morning and all 3 girls drove me nuts about it all day. Abby even made a sign warning nobody to mess with them:

Xmas2007-ChristmasEve_041

On the way to Detroit...  Abby wasn't sleeping though, just playing with her Leapster.

Xmas2007-UncleBob's_046

Xmas2007-UncleBob's_006

Becca apparently decided that the tray tables at my uncle's house were a great jungle gym for her Backyardigan friends...

 Xmas2007-UncleBob's_005

Here's Becca and Hannah pretending to be asleep - the fluffy purple dress in the middle belongs to my cousin Gwen's daughter Jasmine. Jasmine is almost a year younger than Hannah - the two of them ran around together like two peas in a pod the whole evening.

Xmas2007-UncleBob's_029

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The doggie is my uncle and aunt's - his name is Otis.

Xmas2007-UncleBob's_028

This pretty much sums up Abby's evening - she spent every possible moment attached to the Leapster that my mom gave her for Christmas.

Xmas2007-UncleBob's_032

The 'kids' table at Christmas dinner. I tried putting Becca on my lap originally, but that didn't work out too well, so she sat with the 'big' girls.

Xmas2007-UncleBob's_039

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #21 - Our Christmas in a list

ttsnowman

It's been a long week! That's the only problem with taking vacation at holiday time - it goes by so fast... This year has been a very good one holiday-wise for us and I hope it has been for you as well. I thought I'd share a few highlights (and photos) and since it's Thursday, I decided to do it in list format.

So here are 13 highlights of our Christmas!

  1. Taking a toddler to a house with a staircase right in the middle, especially if said staircase is unblocked by a safety gate is - challenging, to say the least.

    You can probably see where this is going.

    Xmas2007-Steenhagens_007

    Let's just say that I have gone up and down the staircase at Ron's brother's house many, many more times than I ever wanted to, since I don't trust Becca not to take a tumble if she's climbing up or down on her own.

  2. Apparently the game "Perfection" is equally enthralling to both 6-year-olds and 1-year-olds.

    Xmas2007-Steenhagens_026

  3. Hannah's air hockey skills increase exponentially in the 'two-fisted' version.

    Xmas2007-Steenhagens_003

  4. Getting 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds to pose nicely by the Christmas tree isn't very difficult.

    Xmas2007-Abby&HannahByTree

  5. However, getting 1-year-olds to pose by the tree and smile for the camera is pretty much impossible. This is the best we could do, taken as she was walking away from the tree:

    Xmas2007-BeccaByTree_002

  6. Being Santa is exhausting. And oh yes - 'Santa' snores... LOL

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_008

  7. Telling kids not to wake you up before 7:30am would work much better if they could tell time. Because someone really needs to tell my kids the difference between 7:30am and 6:30am! :)

  8. It doesn't take 1-year-olds very long to get the whole idea of the present-unwrapping thing. Getting them to understand that they can't unwrap every present under the tree, one after the other, is much more difficult.

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_095

  9. Seeing your child's face as she opens the one gift that she was convinced that Santa would bring, that she's been talking about for days = priceless.

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_049


    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_050

  10. Toddlers insist on having everything taken out of the box right after the gift is unwrapped so that they can play with it. The box, that is. :)

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_114

  11. Then there's the art of playing with the toys and the boxes, at the same time...

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_105

  12. My brother buys very strange things as gifts for my kids.

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_108

  13. But that doesn't matter since they get plenty of other things from us, Santa, and their grandparents. Too many things usually.

    Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_116

There have to be more presents around here someplace, right? Maybe you didn't look hard enough behind the tree...

Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_085

Links to other Thursday Thirteeners:

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Thank you to Write From Karen for the header graphic this week!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #24 - Christmas joy!

Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_009

Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_044Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_041

Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_025

Xmas2007-XmasDayHome_097

Check out more Wordless Wednesday here and here!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

December Write-Away Contest winner!

Thank you so much to Michelle and to this month's guest judge, Kailani - my submission for the December Write Away Contest at Scribbit was judged as the winner!

This was such a wonderful surprise to find in my stocking (aka e-mail) over Christmas - I am absolutely thrilled, honored and blessed, especially since there were so many great submissions this month (as usual). If you get a spare moment, you really should check some of them out.

Thank you, and I will proudly display the badge on my sidebar! :)

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wishing you a very, Merry Christmas!


I don't know if I'll have time to post tomorrow, so I just wanted to stop in while the girls are playing napping and having quiet time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I can't wait to catch up on blog reading later this week and see how everyone's holidays went and share our stories and photos as well. Wishing you all a joyous holiday and fun times with your families and friends.



And thank you to Nap Warden for the wonderful graphics!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My "baby's" eyes

The other night Becca woke up at midnight and I spent some time snuggling with her in the recliner. Cradling her as I used to do when she was a tiny baby in the middle of the night while she would nurse, I gazed into her eyes by the dim light of the Christmas tree, and I remembered...

Tiny baby eyes fixed on mine while greedily sucking away at breast or bottle...

Sleepy baby eyes blinking heavily and then slowly closing as she fell into slumber...

Scrunched up, mad baby eyes while wailing for me to pick her up and feed her...

Sparkling baby eyes as she learned to smile and then to laugh...

Sad baby eyes filled with tears as she reached out for me the first day that I dropped her off at daycare...

Mischevious baby eyes peeking to see if I was watching while she crawled away to find something fun to play with or climb on...

Proud baby eyes on a little girl learning to walk - and run...

Flashing, angry baby eyes as she crossed her arms and stomped her little foot when I couldn't understand what she it was that she was asking for...

But now, not so much 'baby' eyes anymore as I looked into my toddler's eyes that night. She reached out with her small (but not tiny!) hands and gently cupped my face between them.

"Mommy!"

"Yes, Becca-boo, Mommy."

She sighed contentedly and patted my cheek. I rested my head against hers as she closed her eyes and gently drifted back off to sleep.

My eyes filled with tears, as I realized just how much my life has changed since the first time I looked into her eyes - my third, and possibly my last, baby.

Good-night, sweetheart, Mommy loves you.

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Friday, December 21, 2007

Contest round-up #16 - updated

I'm posting this a bit early since I don't know what's on the agenda for tomorrow. So here is this week's contest round-up! There are a few running over Christmas, so don't forget to check them out - good luck! :)

Note - updated on December 23rd to add one additional giveaway (in blue).

Bloggy Giveaways is taking a break over the holidays - but check back in January for more great contests!

At 5 Minutes For Mom right now you could win a copy of either This is My Planet: The Kids’ Guide to Global Warming, or The World Atlas for Young Explorers. And check this one out - you could win a year of delicious Orville popcorn with an “Orville popcorn for a year” coupon book, along with a 12 month, 2 at-a-time subscription to Netflix. Enter by January 1st.

Check out An Island Life for Kailani's giveaways this week! You could win a $25 gift certificate to MyMommyBracelets.com (enter by December 24th), or you could win beauty products (a Malie Natural Soy Candle Koke’e and Get Fresh Look Better Naked) from Allizon.com (enter by midnight on December 26th).

Do you still need a great way to get organized? You could win a Busy Body Book from Complete Organizing Solutions! But hurry - you only have until December 23rd to enter.

Over at the Blessed Nest you could win several great prizes - a LaMa Bra, a copy of Moms' Lifesavers (Tips to Make Life Easier For New Mothers), and a $25.00 gift certificate to the Blessed Nest Store. Head over by December 24th to find out how to win all three of these!

Head over to Musings of a Housewife to see how you could win one of four Lands End diaper bags! She has two 'girly' ones and two 'boy-ish' ones to give away and they are both really cute. You have until 5:00pm on December 24th to enter.

Check out The Opinionated Parent for your chance to win a pair of squeaky baby/toddler shoes of your choice from Itzy Bitzy. You have until midnight MST on December 24th to enter.

Here's an awesome giveaway - you could win a Wii, courtesy of CellforCash.com! Check out Contest Beat to find out how - you have until midnight on Christmas Eve (December 24th) to enter. And if you want to sell your cell phone, don't forget to head over to CellforCash! I may have to check them out to sell my old one. :)


Break out those holiday recipes for the Christmas Confection Collection over at Summer's Nook. Head over before December 25th to share your favorite holiday recipes and see what treats others are making!

Check out Everything Moms for your chance to win a copy of the book The Art of Simplicity by Candy Paull. Head on over before the 4th week of December to find out how to enter. And Sher is also giving away a $30 gift certificate to her online store, Sher's Wares - she sells such lovely baby girl jewelry, so make sure to head on over to enter!

Head over to Mamanista to find out how to win a personalized framed print from Olive Kids. You have until 5:00 pm EST on December 28th to enter.

ModMum contest at Much More Than a Mom

I'm still hoping to win a sling - maybe this will be my shot! Much More Than A Mom is giving away a pouch sling from ModMum! You have until midnight on December 31st to enter.

Over at Boston Mamas you could win a $100 gift certificate to Tiny Prints. Check it out before midnight on December 31st to find out how to enter.

Here's an awesome giveaway opportunity for those of you babywearing mamas (or babywearing wannabees like me) out there! Along For The Ride is giving away a total of $650 in gift certificates to their site, where they offer a huge variety of sling types and styles. The grand prize alone is a $250 gift certificate! You have until December 31st to enter, so check it out soon!

The Moms Blogs is giving away 3 sets of Snowflake Flannel Pajamas from Pajamagram.com - these look warm and cozy! You have until December 31st to enter, so head over to check it out.

Here's a big one. One that I would so love to win. Click to enter for your chance to win a Walt Disney World® dream vacation for 8 from Sharpie®! The deadline to enter is December 31st.

Amanda is giving away a lounge set for your little one! She's making the flannel pants herself (I envy her sewing ability!) and the shirt will be a Valentine-themed one from Creations By Lisa McGrath - and the winner gets to choose what's embroidered on it. How cute will that be! You have until January 1st to enter.

Do you have a blog? If so, do you need a new look? Nap Warden is giving away her Photoshop skills to help pimp your blog - head over before January 3rd to enter for your chance to win!

Check out superdumb supervillian to find out how to win a necklace of your choice from i love blocks! You have until January 6th to enter.

As usual, if you know of a contest or giveaway that I missed, just e-mail me or leave a comment below and I'll add it in! Enjoy and good luck! :)

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Here's some weekend reading for you

My oldest daughter is an author!

Well, sort of. One of Abby's favorite activities lately is to write 'books', which generally involves several sheets of paper which she then begs to have us staple together for her. As with her schoolwork on many occasions, she often rushes to get something down on paper, without a care for the quality of it - to her, done is done, no matter how well or not.

Here's an example - she wrote this 'book' a few weeks ago.

Just ignore the spelling - she is only in first grade after all!

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_001

Ok, so the illustrations are a bit - lacking.  She can draw much, much better than this, when she tries. But I love that she understands how a book is put together - that you need a cover/title page.

Oh, and 'bake' is supposed to be 'bank'... That may clear up a few things for you.

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_002
(Once there was a piggy bank)

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_003
(The piggy bank ran off)

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_004
(The piggy bank came back)

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_005
(The piggy bank stayed home)

Ok, ok so maybe she needs a little bit more work on her plot too.

But she did develop the story rather well in just a few pages (and words) and it even has a happy ending.  I'm pretty proud of her.

And just to show you how she can do when she does really try - here's something she brought home from school. The spelling is unique, but I love how she did the pictures on the back, and how they relate to what she wrote on the front:

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_010

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_011

There's the helping with dishes picture (on the right), the helping clean her room picture (bottom left) and the helping friends one (upper left).

Oh yes, and here's the inside of the Christmas card she made for us at school...

AbbysWriting&Drawing-Dec07_007

That one just melted my heart!  :)

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Aloha Friday #13

alohafriday5 It's Friday again! My favorite day of the week. Especially today since I have the day off and am happily spending it home with my kids. So while I have a quick moment during nap/quiet time, here's my question for this week's Aloha Friday.

Do you have all of your shopping done? If not, are you going to brave the stores looking for great deals this weekend?

I think I have everything done. I might go out over the weekend if I see any awesome, too good to pass up, 'worth dealing with crowds and finding a parking space' kind of deals though! :)

Be sure to check out An Island Life for other fun Aloha Friday questions and to play along!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And we didn't even give Daddy a time-out...

We were eating at McDonalds the other night while Abby was at her latest counseling appointment.

I know, I know - not the healthiest of options, but when you have a total of 50 minutes after dropping Abby off to pack the other kids back into the car, drive somewhere, unpack the kids, order and wait for food, eat, pack everyone back up into the car, drive back and unpack the kids yet again, you do what you have to...

Ron was with us this time so he, Hannah, Becca and I found a booth and we got everyone situated with Becca in a high chair. However, she was not impressed by being the only one at the table in a high chair, and proceeded to both let us know (loudly) while attempting to simultaneously climb out of the high chair and stuff her face full of chicken nuggets and fries.

I have very talented children, you see.

Ron was getting a bit frustrated with her, especially since she was covered in ranch dressing and the world would come to an end if he got one tiny little minuscule amount of it on himself. So he was trying to hold her in the high chair, and Becca was quite upset about that.

So Becca then turns to me, and as clearly as you can imagine, bursts out with, "Moooooommmmyyyy, Daddy pushed me!" in that drawn out, accusatory yet whiny tone of voice that kids always seem to use when tattling or trying to get someone else into trouble.

Ron and I tried (not too successfully) to hold in our laughter because she said it exactly the same way, inflection and all, that her big sisters do.

Sigh.  Is it too late to re-think this whole third child thing?   :)

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt

Throwback Thursday #21 - Christmases Past

Just a few random photos of some of the girls' previous Christmases... Enjoy!  :)

Abby with all of her gifts - looking a bit overwhelmed on her first Christmas morning:

By the next year, she had a pretty good idea of what it was all about:

Although I think Hannah was a bit unnerved by it all that year.  Well, she was only 26 days old...
47b2cc08b3127cce9f5f5fb9611600000016108QbM27Ru1Z0

Hmm, now there's only a few shopping days left, who do I have left to buy for again...

Hannah was still a bit unsure of the whole 'Christmas' idea the next year:

Although, the presents pretty much won her over!

And she was definitely into it by the next year:

2005 was the year of Abby's eyes being closed in every picture I took of her on Christmas morning.

And I'm not kidding:

She did have them open long enough to unwrap a few gifts, however.

Last year they really got into the candy canes:

And Becca enjoyed her first Christmas as well.

No screaming for this little one!  :)

Check out more Throwback Thursday over at Pinks and Blues Girls!

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network add to sk*rt