Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012!

Wow, what a great year we had... one of our biggest dreams came true early this year - we became parents!  So yeah, 2012 was a good one.  And gosh it was a fast year... Sam is no longer "Baby Sam" - he is a little boy who is into EVERYTHING!  And his 1st birthday is just days away.  Which means, the party planning I started oh, like nine months ago, is in full execution mode.

The cake was ordered yesterday.  We started the first phase of decorating over the weekend.  (Oh yes, there are phases.)  This involved bringing down Christmas decorations a little earlier than we usually do (I generally wait till New Year's Day).  But I must say... having a January birthday to look forward to really helps with the after-Christmas blues!  I was not at all bummed taking down our decorations, knowing Sam's "Winter ONE-derland" craziness would immediately follow. 

We are keeping our tree up for the party.  I stripped it this weekend, added blue lights, a white skirt (already had years ago), and will add some tinsel and possibly icicle ornaments.  We actually need more blue lights... it is pre-lit with white ones and they are literally outshining the blue ones right now!  I forgot how many strands it takes to do a tree.  We've been spoiled by our pre-lit Costco tree!  I've been hunting for clearance lights but so far everyone is out.  So Amazon will rescue me if I don't nail some down in the next few days.

Transforming the mantle as well... this is just the beginning stages - no judging.  I'm either going to wrap that arch thing or move it.  Haven't decided.  Soon to come... tulle and more lights.  There are really tall ladders involved.  And clearly, I'm crazy.

We are also doing the finishing touches on the playroom!  That room is basically his 1st birthday present from us.  Lord knows we don't need to buy him anything else.  We're already tripping over toys from Christmas.  The room has an Eric Carle theme - so lots of his prints and coordinating fabrics involved.  We've got to do a dreaded IKEA run this weekend to get the last bits and pieces.  I promise to get pics up soon - it is AWESOME if I do say so myself.  Such a fun room.  Glad to have the party as a target date to get that room finished... we tend to drag out projects forever and ever (especially with the little guy around)... so we have to invite people to our house in order to make ourselves get stuff done.

More on the party soon...

Until then, please have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!  And may 2013 bring you all much joy and many, many blessings!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I'm sure this pic is microscopic since I'm posting from my phone...  anyway, using my hubby's family as guinea pigs for these "snow-covered strawberries" tonight. Planning to have them on the cake table for Sam's birthday party next month. I thought them up but have no idea if coconut and chocolate and strawberries mesh well. I should think so...

Happy holiday baking and cooking to you all! If you're like me, your kitchen is an absolute disaster area right now!  Good times...


Friday, December 14, 2012

Me and my buddy, Santa.

This cracks me up...


This is a phone pic of an actual print, so excuse the poor quality, but yeah... hilarious.  Why?  Because he's just so chill with Santa.  This one was taken at school, so we weren't even there.  That's probably why it's so good.  We're still trying to figure out a time to take him to see Santa, but geez our schedule is packed this season and we can't seem to all stay well. 

Hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season!  It is busy as always but it is certainly EXTRA fun this year with this little guy around.  He is pulling up on everything and cruising like a champ.  It won't be long till he steps out on his own... and then we're really in trouble!!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Best. Purchase. Ever.


Well, in recent history at least. As I was about to head up north to a work retreat this week, it dawned on me that our dinners were going to be outdoors. And while I packed appropriate clothing for the weather in general,  I wasn't well prepared to sit out in it for an extended amount of time.
 
Enter emergency trip to Old Navy on the way out of town. I knew they had some decent puffer jackets. But luck was totally on my side... someone had returned this coat from an online purchase (you can tell by the tags) and it was the only one in store. So I'm guessing it's an online-only item. Tried it on and immediately fell in love. Snagged it with my 20% off coupon and got back on the road.
 
Put the coat to the test last night... everyone was complaining about the cold. But I was nice and toasty ALL night. Seriously so happy with this purchase. Very stylish and WARM. Can't beat it for the price. So I highly recommend it if you're hunting for a good coat for yourself or assisting Santa!
 




 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Must. Have. This.


For Sam's party.

It's just perfect.

Actually, it looks really gross if you ask me... but it TOTALLY matches his winter wonderland theme and I think the kids would get a kick out of these.  The blue color is perfect.

Anyone know of a great place to order or buy these that won't cost an arm and a leg?  I would want two dozen tops and probably not even that much.  I seriously don't need to be left with a supply of blue soda after the party's over.  Most places I've looked want like $2 a pop for these...ha!  I've seen this flavor in a variety pack.  Don't want a variety pack.  Just want these.

I can dig around but thought one of my dear readers might have the inside scoop on this blue cuteness!

Monday, November 12, 2012

And... how has it been TEN months?!

Seriously, nearly a year old we are! 

My sneaky shopping buddy snagged some new tub toys.

The birthday party planning is in full swing.  I mean, duh... I had the theme picked out at like 3 months.  But we actually started assembling some decorations this weekend... me and Sam's sweet Aunt Jenn!  Tissue pom-poms...

Fabulous tutorial here on these.  Chic but cheap - my motto in life.  So very easy, but time consuming.  Which is why an early start is necessary!  Especially when you have about 1/5 of the time you had before having a kid.  I had to leave Sam with his daddy and bring all my junk to Auntie Jenn's to actually accomplish anything.  I see many late nights in my future getting ready for this party!

I think I've mentioned it before, but it's a winter wonderland / arctic theme.  I got totally hooked up at Hobby Lobby as TONS of their current Christmas stuff works for this theme.  Endless amounts of turquoise, silver, and white Christmas decor.  The party colors are heavy on teal blue and turquoise, with white and silver, and little pops of red here and there.  Sam will be one of the red pops... as he has hot red corduroy pants to wear!  It's gonna be awesome... lots of tissue and tulle and lights involved.  Over the top? Definitely.  More to come...

Oh and yes, Cancun was wicked awesome.  Still sorting through pics, so I'll get a few up soon!  Of course, I use the term *soon* quite loosely.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How has it been TEN years already?!

November 2, 2002
 
After Sam's Halloween festivities tonight, we are heading out of town in the weeeee hours of the morning to celebrate our anniversary in Cancun!!!!!!  Y'all, this is our first *real* vacation in years.  YEARS.  So uh, yeah... we're pretty darn excited.  Four nights away from our little munchkin will be hard, but he will be in great hands while we're gone.  Thanks to Nana, Gran, and his Aunt Jenn!  So grateful for sweet family to love on our boy.

And more than blessed to celebrate ten wonderfully crazy years with my #1 man.  Love you, hubs!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sam's Dedication

This past Sunday, Sam was dedicated at church along with 33 other sweet babies.  I could go on and on about what that day meant to us, but I think the prayer the hub and I wrote together sums it all up perfectly...

Thanks for the great pic, Auntie Jenn!


Mighty God,
 
Thank you for loving us so much and allowing us to come to you and call you Father.  Today we celebrate our little warrior, Samuel.  What a gift he is and oh how many endless prayers you answered by bringing him into our lives.  We pray you protect him, but most of all we pray you guide us as his parents. 
 
What a tremendous honor it is to be entrusted to raise one of your children.  We ask that you walk with us as we introduce him to you.  As he quickly grows into a little boy, may he learn that Jesus loves him and wants to be his friend.  He will soon start testing our limits and his own.  May he learn that no matter how far he runs, you will always await his return with open arms.  And as he becomes a man, may he declare his dependence on you, God.
 
We love this boy madly, but we know you love him more.  And we cannot wait to see how he fits into your story.  Please walk with us daily as we seek to guide him into a growing relationship with you, and we pray for the day Sam accepts Christ as his Savior.  We are grateful for an amazing church that will partner with us in doing so, but we understand it is ultimately about what happens at home.
 
Protect our marriage and help us to continue to love each other well through every season.  And help us to love Sam well.  We are bound to mess up, but may he never question our love for him.
 
Lastly, thank you for making us wait for Sam.  In those six years, you molded our hearts and changed us for the better.  We would not have chosen this journey, but you have blessed us with it.  May your grace and peace continue to carry us as we begin this new adventure of parenthood.
 
In your loving Son's name,
 
Amen

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Little Pumpkin

We had to do the obligatory pumpkin patch photos this year, of course!  I swear these things did not exist when I was a kid.  But yes, the pumpkin patch visit has been on my "oh, I can't wait!" list for a long time.  And it was SO fun... Sam loved it!


We took a ridiculous amount of pictures.  Hope you all are enjoying your Fall!  We are off to a marriage retreat this weekend up at the WinShape Retreat in Rome (GA).  It's our first weekend away from little buddy... we have spent a night away from him a couple of times, but not a whole weekend.  It'll be less than 48 hours that we'll be away from him but OH I'm going to miss my sweet boy!!!!  He'll be in good hands though.  My parents are keeping him and his Auntie Jenn is going to scoop him up for an afternoon of fun too. 

And then on Sunday, we have Sam's dedication at church.  Been preparing stuff for that all week... I'm going to be one hot mess.  The waterproof mascara is packed.  It's going to be such a special day celebrating our boy.  More details on that later!!!!

Enjoy your weekend.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pulling on up...

Excuse my absense of late as I'm buried in work!  Enjoy this shot of the little man - he's pulling up like a champ lately.  I wonder if he'll be walking by Christmas.  Hmmm...

Sam climbing up on his Papa - 10/7/12

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Look who was up late last night...

Sam, Daddy, and Aunt Jenn at the county fair!  Hee Haw!

The only thing I'm a real stickler about as far as Sam's schedule is his bedtime.  But, sometimes rules are worth breaking.  He may end up being a little cranky today, but seeing his face light up and jaw drop in utter amazement last night?  Totally. Worth. It.



Mom and Dad had some fun, too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Made. Shade. Lemonade.

Our little dude is 8 months old today.  Eight months!  As in 2/3 of a year!  What?!  So very grateful for this healthy little boy.  That was born in a fabulous hospital surrounded by some of the best doctors and nurses on the planet providing 24/7 care.  And if something had gone wrong, they would've fought for his life with everything they had - in a separate area designed for infants in need of extra special care.  And if we want to come back and do it 15 more times, we can.

A few days after his birth, we brought our baby home.  We drove in our very own car on smoothly paved roads to our ridiculously large home.  The hub got to spend a lot of time with us at home in the first few weeks because he started his very own business earlier this year.  In the spring I returned to my full-time job where I provide a valuable service to people all over and I get paid to do it.  Years ago, I learned my trade at an amazing school, right in my own backyard.  This spring, Sam also started at his own school, where he is surrounded by teachers who love on him every single day.  The weather also got warmer in the spring... so we used some extra water to make the grass and trees around our house pretty.

The weather is cooling off now, and we will soon take our little man to a nearby pumpkin patch.  To pick out a pumpkin not for food, but just for fun... to cut up and decorate and sit on the porch of our own home.  We will dress him in these clothes that his Nana bought for him at a store, not because he needs them, but just because they're cute...


Soon I'm ordering a onesie for him to wear in his Christmas pictures.  You know, the time of year when those of us who choose to follow Jesus get to celebrate his birth.  We will give and receive lots of gifts from friends and family.   And eat ridiculous amounts of food and probably a lot will be left over and thrown away.  Then we'll snuggle up by the fire in our toasty ridiculously large home and sigh...

I'm so very humbled and thankful to live in this great country.  Look at the freedoms we have and the silly things we get to do - because we can.  We are rich beyond measure compared to the rest of the world.  But anytime there is something great, there is someone not far away trying to unravel it.  Because we are such a great nation, we will always be threatened.  Today I am remembering all of those who lost their lives 11 years ago, as well as their loved ones left behind.  And I'm more than grateful for the men and women who have served and are serving our country today to preserve our freedoms.  As sweet Tim Russert said many times, "What a country!"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Casting Call: MTV's True Life on Infertility



So yesterday was a pretty typical Friday... other than I had the rare pleasure of chatting with an MTV producer about an upcoming episode of True Life!  Random, huh?  She found me through my blog so before I knew what the scoop was, I was pretty certain it had something to do with our infertility journey.  Sure enough, MTV is casting for a future episode of their documentary series, True Life, focusing on young adults struggling with infertility.  AWESOME!


Obviously, I'm too much of an old fart to be on the show, and well... I've got my prize (Sam!).  They are currently looking for people in the midst of their battle who are willing to share their journey.  This entails having cameras capture doctor visits and all that jazz... there is no hiding.  Because you know, it's on TV.  As in the whole world can see it.  And your spouse/partner needs to be a willing participant too - they are very interested in documenting how infertility affects relationships. 

Before I give the specifics of what MTV is after in terms of casting, I first want to say this has the potential to create amazing strides toward infertility awareness.  I am super excited about this and so honored that the producers genuinely wanted to hear my thoughts and opinions on the subject.  I was asked what I struggled with most.  Obviously everyone's journey is different.  I told her for me, it was an emotional battle more than anything.  A battle over my heart.  I struggled to find my place in the world... watching all our friends start and grow their own families while we were sitting in a perpetual state of childlessness.  To protect my heart, I armed myself with God's word and prayer.  And leaned heavily on my husband and held hands with dear sisters who were walking the same path.  Some days were peaceful.  Others weren't.

I told the producer my advice to those going through this mess... reach out and find those few friends who have been down this road.  Infertility is one of those struggles that can't be fully understood unless you've "been there."  Love and support from family and friends is invaluable, but you NEED those sisters to walk along side you.  Even if you're keeping your journey private, find a friend or two with whom you can be real.

And for those outside of this, for those looking to support friends and family who are battling this... educate yourself.  Find out what all that silly infertility lingo means and show a genuine interest in what your friends are facing.  Instead of saying, "Have you tried...?", simply say, "Keep trying."  In the six years it took us to bring Sam home, those are the two best words I heard anyone on the outside say... keep trying.

Now!  On to the specifics.  If you're not familiar with MTV's True Life series, I encourage you to hop on their site and peruse through some past episodes.  It is a true documentary with each episode focusing on a different struggle and highlighting two to three young people facing those struggles.  Given MTV's demographics, they are obviously looking for participants of a younger age.  So that's really the only "gotcha" here... cast members have to be 29 or younger.  Which for infertility is a bit harder given that the majority of adults going in and out of fertility clinics are in their 30's and 40's.  But there are certainly many out there getting an early start!  I definitely know friends who got aggressive with treatments in their mid-20's.  So here is the skinny...

AWARD WINNING MTV DOCUMENTARY SERIES--TRUE LIFE


TRUE LIFE: I'M HAVING FERTILITY ISSUES

Have you always wanted to have a baby and are finding out that getting pregnant isn't as easy as it seems? Have you been trying for months -- or even years -- to get pregnant without success? Have you or your partner been diagnosed with a condition that makes it difficult to conceive naturally and plan to seek help from a fertility clinic? Are you so consumed with having a baby that you'll stop at nothing to have your own? If so, is your partner right there with you? Or is he or she reluctant to spend the money and energy it would take to conceive through high tech means? Are your fertility issues causing problems with your relationship? Has trying to have a baby left you emotionally, physically, and financially drained? Do you have a pre-existing health condition where being pregnant could be dangerous for you and your baby, but you're determined to beat the odds?

If you appear to be the ages of 18-29 and you're CURRENTLY struggling with fertility issues, please email us:

-------->> MTVInfertile@mtv.com <<-----------

Please include your name, story, location, PHONE NUMBER, and photograph if possible. Please remember to include your PHONE NUMBER.

Since its first episode in 1998, True Life has provided a window into the struggles, hopes, and dreams of young people. Narrated solely by its characters, each episode documents the unusual--and often remarkable--circumstances of real individuals, whether it's about soldiers returning from Iraq, deaf teenagers, or people living with autism. We've given all of them--and hundreds of others--the opportunity to tell their own stories directly to their peers in this powerful series that uniquely reflects the experiences and cultures of this generation.

Also please note that you have to be in the US to qualify.  And certainly, there is NO pressure for a cast member to get pregnant through this process.  This is meant to be a REAL look at this struggle.  And as we all know, there are not always happy endings.  They simply want to document the journey.  I would love it if you would repost or tweet this post... MTV is looking to wrap up casting in the next two weeks, so this is an immediate need.  As I said, this has the potential to be really great.  The producers already have great orgs like Resolve in the loop, so they are now depending heavily on social media to get the word out and find a great cast.  After speaking with the producer, it was clear that they really want to get this right.  Thanks, all!  Can't wait to see this play out.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guess who's in the finals?!

Remember when I mentioned my love for this guy at the Atlanta auditions back in June?  Well apparently America loves him too!  I grin from ear to ear whenever Cyrus gets on the stage.  He just oozes pure joy when he dances.  And whether you like his style or not, you've got to give it to him - he's NEVER done choreography before this show.  He was solely a freestyler.  What amazing talent.  I think what's also so darn appealing about him is his humility.  He knows he friggin' rocks his own signature style, but has been so eager to learn more.  LOVE this kid.  Here's one of his performances from last night...


Friday, August 31, 2012

Success!

Just a quick update... our first babysitting experience went great!  Sam did awesome.  He's a pretty easy baby, generally, but I was hoping he'd be especially easy on this first go so our sitter wouldn't be like, "Um, no thanks."  But that boy went right to bed on cue and didn't make a peep.  Only burp was the sitter not being able to operate the TV.  Which I know plenty of y'all warned me about! The hub did give a quick Remote 101 lesson (and we left the TV on), but obviously we weren't thorough enough.  Our TV is not all that complicated, but sometimes the receiver will "go to sleep" and if you push the wrong button all hell breaks loose.  Or, really you just lose TV.  But she kept herself busy with magazines and texting her friends... so no biggie.  Lesson learned for next time.

Thanks again for all your great advice! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Babysitter Virgin



So tomorrow night we're having our first true sitter come watch Sam while we go to our couples' small group.  We just joined a new group last week at church... our last group fizzled out just before the holidays last year and then, you know, we had a kid.  So we are starting back up with a fresh new group, and we are trying to figure out this childcare thing!  We have tons of willing friends in the area and certainly family.  But this is really a situation where it just makes more sense to have a neighborhood kid come over and stay with our little dude for a couple of hours.  And we have plenty of great neighbors.  It's just a matter of us getting comfortable with it!

I have no problem leaving Sam with other people.  He does great with our family, friends, school teachers, Waumba (nursery at church) teachers, and even strangers.  No problem there.  But we are total virgins when it comes to having a teenage babysitter.  So dear readers, what do I need to consider here?  Here are some of my questions...
  • What's the going rate?  I have no friggin clue.  Sam is almost 8 months.  But this 2-3 hour period with him will basically consist of almost immediately putting him to bed and then just hanging out till we get home.  Our church reimburses us but I don't know at what rate.
  • The sitter will come around 6 o'clock... so I assume we need to provide dinner? What's the norm there?
  • What important info do I need to leave with the sitter?  I don't want to bombard her with unnecessary stuff, but what should I NOT miss?  She's a pro with kids - at least that's the word on the street.  And yes, Sam has hung around her before.
  • Besides dinner, is there anything else we need to provide for the sitter?  I seriously have no clue.  I can provide some loads of laundry.  Haha...
Once again, virgin here.  So any advice on this is appreciated!  Not at all worried about leaving our boy with this sitter... more so just wanting to know what WE need to do/have ready for tomorrow night.  Thanks, y'all!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pill Poppin' - Prenatal Vitamins

OK this is a really weird thing to get excited about, but I just had to log on to this site and update my debit card info and realized I needed to share it with y'all! (The site, not my debit card number.)  I've basically been on prenatal vitatmins for years... and a lot of insurance plans don't cover them and I'm sure some of y'all know, they're wicked expensive!  Not like IVF drug expensive, but it's still a sucker punch to your wallet every month.  I was paying about $60/mo just for these damn vitamins.  And it was also fun to have the pharmacist inquire about me being pregnant when I wasn't.  I realize normal people just get on them when pregnant or when they start to "try."  ANYWAY...



At some point down the road when I needed a new Rx, one of my nurses at RBA asked how much I was paying and quickly sent me to VitaMedMD to try their vitamins.  I'm not going to write a bunch on this, but if you or a friend are needing prenatal vitamins, please consider this site's awesomeness:

  • A 30-day supply of the Prenatal combo pack (Reg vitamin + DHA) is only $29.99.
  • The DHA pill is plant-based, not fish or whatever that a lot of pregos have a hard time swallowing (literally).  I can't taste a thing, personally.
  • You don't need a written Rx... if your doctor is in their system, you can just look them up when you order.
  • The vitamins are shipped to you FREE and they have auto-refill programs at no extra cost/obligation.  I don't have to do anything.  My vitamins just show up in my mailbox every month.  No awkward conversations with pharmacist.
  • They have awesome customer service.  Once or twice they have called me when they were running a special to make sure I got the better deal than what I was automatically signed up for.
So there you have it. There are a bunch of other vitamin products on the site I know nothing about.  And no, I was not asked to endorse this site or product... I just happen to think it's awesome compared to dropping twice as much money and making monthly pharmacy runs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I didn't do it.



So... my Monday was pretty typical till I got home with Sam and had five police officers and detectives banging on our door with a search warrant.  For OUR house.  Uh, yeah. 

I had literally been home maybe 5 minutes and was upstairs with Sam.  Suddenly I heard a loud banging and Belly was downstairs and went nuts, of course.  So Gertie (who was in the nursery with us) followed suit and went nuts.  It was so loud (the banging), that I really didn't know what it was.  It wasn't till I got Gertie put up in our bedroom and took Sam downstairs that I realized someone was indeed at the door.  Annoying.

I saw a tall slender guy outside our door who looked young from where I was standing.  Great.  Some high schooler trying to sell me a bucket of frozen cookie dough or some discount card.  I don't have time for this, much less the cash.  But wait... is that a... gun?  Yes, the dude has a bullet-proof vest and a gun on his hip.  OK... maybe he's not fundraising.

So I open the door with Sam on my hip while trying to restrain Belly, who is still barking like mad.  Now that I'm in front of the door, I see it's not just this one dude, but FIVE.  One uniformed officer and four detectives (as I later learned).  I of course let them in and the main guy explained that they had a search warrant for our house but didn't really elaborate on why exactly.  (And while I'm sure I had every right to question them and find out exactly why they were here, I was just trying to process the fact that there were 5 men with badges and guns coming into my house.  So I said, "yes sir.")

I soon learned that someone reported a stolen iPhone and the GPS on said phone had pointed to our house at some point over the weekend.  So I was questioned about where we had been over the weekend, who lived in our house, had anybody been staying with us, etc etc... had we gotten a new phone recently...  Eventually I was able to call the hub and he of course came flying home (his office is just a few miles away, thank goodness).  Obviously no phone on our property and the GPS, while very close in proximity, still has some margin for error.  Well, "error" is not really the best word... but you know it's like, the phone is *here* give or take 15 or 20 feet in any direction.  Well I guess the "center" of that area hit right on the edge of our house, but the perimeter went into our neighbor's house as well.  So maybe our neighbor is involved?  Who knows!  It's all very strange.  And seriously... FOUR detectives in separate unmarked cars searching for... a phone?!  Makes me wonder if there is more to it.

Well, as I said... no phone found on our property.  And they searched high and low, including in the toilets!  The officer and detectives were actually super nice, once I could get past the sheer shock of the situation.  They were really appreciative of our cooperation and very sincere.  While the detectives were searching the house (and before the hub got home), I was being babysat by the officer in uniform.  He had to escort me around the house if I needed something (my phone, Sam's bottle, my shotgun, etc.).  He was there literally as an "officer in uniform" because the detectives were not.  He was not involved with the case at all.  So we just talked about the Olympics while the other guys fished around in our toilets. 

The hub of course had to take pictures with the cops and post it on Facebook.  And I'm sure we'll have to have a page in Sam's book of firsts... "My first run-in with the cops!"  Several friends commented that they'd have been pissed about it.  I mean, yeah I guess it's a little invasive, but I certainly wasn't pissed.  More so embarrassed that my stack of freshly washed unmentionables was sitting on the dining room table.  But these guys were completely courteous and honestly just doing their job.  Nothing to get hot about, in my opinion.  I'm sure they are accustomed to dealing with idiots and crazies.  We got some good stories out of the officer babysitting me.  Did you know they have to be tasered in training before they can use a taser gun?  Yeah, we learned all kinds of fun things.

The crew did go over to our neighbor's house, but they weren't home.  Interested to see how this unfolds... the hub's been listening to the police radio thing all night.  Too funny.  Well, definitely not the Monday afternoon I envisioned, but all's well that ends well, I suppose!  But let's hope for a less dramatic Tuesday, OK?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Golden Girls

All the gymnastics and swimming usually top my list of Olympic favorites, but this moment last night was right up there with the best...

  Photo by DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/GettyImages
 And it's not that I'm all big into beach volleyball... but I have loved watching these two girls play together and to cap off their career as a team with one last Olympic Gold?  Pretty sweet.

Also fun?  The Google search page changing daily with Olympic doodles.  Here's today's...


Nothing much to report here... been SUPER busy at work and the whole fam is also coming off a week of sickness.  We all got hit pretty hard and I learned quickly that mothering a little one while feeling like death is HARD WORK.  Grateful for my hubby giving me extra help, even though he was feeling crappy too.  It was a rough week in our household, but we survived!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Last Night



How cute was this NappyTabs routine?  And quite timely seeing as Sam woke up twice last night screaming.  Poor kid is still sore from his 6-month shots.  And I often bust a move like this in the middle of the night.  Hahaha...

And I love seeing Tabatha working it out with that big buddha belly.  So funny.  I took a hip hop class at the Atlanta Ballet years ago and one of the instructors was seriously like 8 months pregnant.  Didn't slow her down ONE bit.

I haven't seen the whole show yet from last night... I'm sure there are other good ones!  Such great talent this year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daycare Funnies.

Have I told you guys how much we love Sam's school?  We do.  Everyone there is great and we've been completely happy with them so far.  And Sam has a good ole time, which is most important!  This summer has been pretty low-key... apparently many of the parents of Sam's school buddies are teachers because there are only a few kids in his class during the summer.

So this week we started bringing a "lunch" for Sam.  Yeah, that made me cry.  It's like he's a little boy... eating a lunch?  OMG.  We've been experimenting with solids since he turned 4 months, but are just now trying to establish actual meals.  My goal is to work up to 3 meals a day by 9 months.  He likes most of what we've given him, but he still seems to prefer filling up on milk.  Which is fine for now - that's most important anyway at this point!  So his first lunch at school barely got touched.  But on day 2, we got this note:


So funny.  He must have picked this behavior up from the dogs.  They live in constant fear of someone else taking their food.  Definitely not grazers. 

And then today, we get this...



Hilarious.  So unnecessary - I mean y'all, it was seriously like the smallest scratch ever.  I had to sign off on this "incident report."  But I know they have to do this kind of crap because there are people who will raise all kinds of hell over nothing.  So it is appreciated, sure, but I had a good laugh.  And yes, Sam is recovering quite well - not to worry!!!  ;-)

He also had some special summer helpers along with his main teacher.  A couple are students who are studying teaching or child and family development - all really great girls.  So we made a little goodie basket for them.  Sam loves making prezzies...


It took a lot not to crack open that bag of peanut m&m's.

OK so I've been working on my post of mom and baby's favorites, 3-6 months addition.  Hope to have it up soon!  It's amazing the difference a few months make.  It looks totally different from our 0-3 months favorites!  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Halfway to ONE!

Hard to believe that in six short months we went from this...


to this...



What a ride it's been so far! 

We were looking at videos from the hospital over the weekend and could not believe how much he has changed.  And gosh, now it's like serious crunch time for first birthday party planning!!!  At least for neurotic party planners, like me.  I was in Hobby Lobby recently and they already had Christmas stuff out.  That's absurd.  BUT, not all bad given that much of it will work for Sam's party theme (artic/winter wonderland) so I can start stocking up now!  Getting anything done with an infant around takes 5x as long.  So the more I can do ahead of time, the better.  More on that to come!  Hope y'all have a great week...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hey, now...

Not surprisingly, my last post ruffled a few feathers.  Kinda funny though since I'm usually the type to avoid conflict like the plague!  I know not everyone shares my opinion, duh.  (And I completely welcome yours here, so long as you play nice.)  But let me lay out a couple of points in an attempt to answer some concerns and then I'll let it rest...

Several of you mentioned the book may not be right for me, but it is for you (or something to that effect).  Fair enough.  I know plenty of friends that have read it. You all are adults (I assume) and can make your own decisions.  And never have I thought anyone is "bad" for reading it, nor am I "good" for not.  My intent was to share my personal decision and why I made it, not to finger point.  But if my words or anyone else's cause you to give pause, I don't think that's ever a bad thing.  What you ultimately decide is of course up to you.  One of the best lessons I've learned - as an adult, mind you - is that the question isn't always "Is this right or wrong?"  Not everything in life is that black and white.  Often, the better question to ask is, "Is this the wise thing to do?"  Given what I know, where I am, and where I want to go... I have to answer, no.  Reading that book is not the wise thing for me to do.

Stuff like this always brings up accusations of "judgment."  As I said, finger-pointing was not my intention and I don't consider anyone who has read the book to be a bad person or bad Christian.  That's ridiculous and nowhere did I say that.  My statements were simply a profession of what I'm personally doing to guard my heart.  But I have to answer the judgment thing because it's one of THE most misunderstood concepts (or whatever you want to call it) in the Bible.  When it comes to people outside our faith, you're right - it's not our place to judge.  Because, hello... they don't play by our rules so why should we hold those people to them?  But God does call us to hold each other accountable, as Christians.  Though - again, that's not even what I was trying to do here.  I really didn't bring Christianity into my post at all.  But porn is an equal opportunity offender, so I think anyone would be wise to give pause before picking it up - Christian or not.  That's really all I would ask of anyone... just think a moment before diving into this book.  My frustration really is not over people reading the book, but more so the hoopla surrounding it and where that has led (namely young girls picking it up, argh).  My post was about my own decision not to read it - not what any of you should do. 

Thanks, as always, for reading.  I value your opinions and welcome them.  And like I said, I'll put this one to rest and venture back to fluffier subjects like pictures of my friggin cute kid. :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012

What I'm NOT reading this summer...

Bestest did a fun post the other day on random things she doesn't get.  I have a running list too - we all do.  But here's one that has me shaking my head lately... this 50 Shades of Grey shit.  Just so we're clear - no, I haven't read it and I never plan on reading it. 

I fell into the Twilight craze and the Hunger Games craze.  Those were fun reads (and obviously meant for younger audiences).  But this latest obsession women have over this 50 Shades series leaves me baffled.  And today on the radio, they were talking about how teenage girls are getting their hands on this "adult" book and eating it up.  And often putting it into practice.  If that doesn't scare the crap out of you, it should. 

What bugs me is that women flaunt the fact that they've read this book like it's a badge of honor.  There is nothing honorable about it.  It's porn - plain and simple.  "Oh but it's so good - just read it, you'll love it!"  Yeah, I'm sure I would.  I'm sure it's awesome.  Obviously it's appealing or it wouldn't get the attention it has.  I could go on for pages as to why this is so poisonous.  I have a huge issue with pornography in general.  It is a multi-billion dollar industry that is an absolute cancer to our society.  It corrupts people, creates monsters, and destroys marriages.  Don't be fooled into thinking it is harmless.  It is so easy to come by these days.  And easier to get more.  It's not a craving you can ever fully satisfy.  You get a taste.  And you want more.  Watch your step, friends.

You can call me a prude.  I really don't care.  I'm not missing out on anything by not reading this book.  I'm proactively protecting not just my marriage, but my heart.  Everyday I'm faced with temptation - things vying for my heart.  Just as you are.  We are all created with the inherent desire and need to worship something.  If it's not our God, it's something else.   And really, don't even get me started on the damage this is doing to young girls.  It absolutely enrages me to the point of tears. Would reading this silly book destroy me or my marriage?  Yeah, probably not.  But it would surely turn my heart away from where it should be.  And I'm not about to make that gamble.  I'm a big believer in establishing guardrails in your life.  And this is just one I'm not willing to cross.


See my follow-up post here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Teaser Photo

I mean, seriously...

Me, the hubs, and scientists make friggin' cute babies.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Fun!

Sorry for the lack of posts of late... doing life with my boys and an unusally busy June/July at work make it tough to get on the 'puter.  Sam had a fabulous 4th and I hope y'all did too! 


Sam took an early dip in the pool and while Momma was at the liquor store, he discovered his legs when Daddy had him in the Jumperoo.  So now we are a bouncin' fool!  Hilarious...


video


He's been in the Jumperoo many times but just figured out he can BOUNCE.  We were cracking up so hard.  So after LOTS of bouncing plus ridiculous amounts of attention from friends we had over yesterday for a BBQ, he was tuckered out come bedtime.   A fantastic 1st Independence Day, indeed.

Have a great weekend, all!  Sam has his 6-month (WHAT?!?!) photo shoot tomorrow with our awesome photographer, so I can't wait to share those with you soon!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Two Years.

I love our girls, but oh how I miss this sweet boy...


Two years later and I still think about that goofy face every day.  Probably wouldn't have needed my Snoogle if he had been around for my pregnancy... he was the best spooner.  Love you, buddy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

First Homemade Baby Food Attempt

Since before Sam was even born, I've been stocking up on jars of baby food.  Publix puts the Earth's Best Organic jars BOGO about once a month, so I loaded up.  I'm not a crazy coupon lady, but I am big into stockpiling when stuff goes on sale.  Anyway... despite the half-off price, baby food is still wicked expensive when you consider how cheap it is to make it yourself. 

Initially I thought making my own was a ridiculous idea.  There's just no way I have time for that while working FT, right?  And hell if I'm buying one of those expensive baby food makers.  But after researching it a little more, it really is so darn easy.  Insanely cheap in comparison to store-bought.  And the fancy-pants baby food makers are SO not necessary.  It's called a blender, y'all.  I put baby food makers in the same category with things like panini makers. 

I've got a honkin' huge bag of frozen green beans that I'm going to work with soon, but I went super easy for my first attempt... Bananas.  No cooking required.  Just mushing. 


I simply sliced them up and tossed them in our little mini food processor.  Then I poured into oversized ice trays.  Regular ice trays are totally fine - I just like these bigger ones for freezing bigger portions.  These cubes make for about a 3oz portion.


After letting them harden overnight, I popped them out and tossed them in a ziplock bag.


Now, you know I love you when I am willing to slice up and MUSH bananas for you.  They are on my very short list of foods I don't like.  But Sam thinks they are pretty awesome.  (Yet he hates avocados... is this really my kid?!)

So these 9+ portions of bananas cost me $1.35 (I say 9+ because sometimes he will not finish a serving in one sitting).  Actually a little less because the hub ate a couple of the bananas from the bunch.  I used six.  And since no cooking was involved, this took very little time.  I paid $1 for 4oz of pureed bananas at the grocery.  So clearly, we came out way ahead making our own!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Last Night's Favorite



I watched this routine like 5x last night. What incredible talent... I love seeing trained dancers, but stuff like this is amazing to witness too.  His two roommates also did similar style routines (and all 3 made it to Vegas), but his was my favorite - just love his personality!  How can you not smile watching this?!

Happy Thursday, all.  Little man and I are out of work and school tomorrow and I'm also taking Monday off.  Looking forward to a nice long weekend!  No major plans, just being.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kudos, Nordstrom.



As if I needed another reason to love this place, they have the most amazing Mother's Room for nursing mommas!  Pammy and I went shopping with our little ones (who are boyfriend and girlfriend, but it's not serious yet) last week and we took a break at Nordstrom (Perimeter Mall location) to feed them. 

This is a random video I found so you can see what it looks like - the Mother's Room at Perimeter is very similar (but actually a little bigger - ours had couches).  Like in the video, the Mother's Room is set off from the Women's Lounge - so people aren't passing right by you with your boob hanging out.  It's actually quite private.  Which is a huge plus for me as I'm extremely modest!  By far the most fabulous Mother's Room we've found to date at a retail establishment.  I will have to go to my local Nordstrom at Mall of GA to see how theirs compares.  ATL moms, any other great mother's rooms you have found around town?  I've looked around a bit for listings online but haven't found anything super helpful. I know BRU has one... but (a) I hear it's gross, and (b) when am I ever in there long enough to need to feed Sam?  Answer: Never.

Besides shopping areas, other places where a good mother's room is really nice are big conference centers and event facilities.  There are times throughout the year when I'll be at a continuing ed seminar for a day or two and I will have to pump on site.  Worst case, I can run out to my car and do it, but that's a pain in the arse.  Surely some of these bigger locales have nice areas to pump?  I have heard Cobb Galleria has a great mother's area.  Can't confirm that though.  If y'all know of any good ones, please share!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Little 5K Buddy

Well, more like 3K. Momma got a nasty blister at mile 2 and had to call it quits. But we had a wonderful time nonetheless! The weather was perfect.



The hub said I have to get new shoes before the Peachtree.  So I guess I have to.  My shoes are definitely lousy and that can make all the difference. 



We just walked this one.  I suck at running right now.  Sure wish I could take sweet Sam with me on the Peachtree, but the other 59,999 runners would squish him!  No strollers allowed. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An early favorite!



OK this girl sold me last night on SYTYCD... bitter sweet story, and her name is Sam... but then she danced (rather beautifully) to one of my favorite songs off Jewel's Lullaby album.  My Sam and I listen to it every night!

There was also another amazing girl from the LA auditions last night... the one who likes pole dancing.  Holy cow, she will no doubt be in the top 20! Can't remember her name, but yeah I'm already hooked this season!

Friday, May 18, 2012

4 Month Update

Sam had his 4-month well visit yesterday and our boy is doing great!  He has officially doubled his birth weight (of 7lb 10oz) with a little extra to boot!  I figured he was right around 15lb, just by jumping on our home scale with and without him.  Though it only gives you figures by the half pound, so hard to know exactly where he fell.  He weighed in at 15lb 8oz yesterday, so I was close!  And that officially graduates him out of our size 1/2 diaper stash. I knew he was about to blow out of those, so we donated what was left of our unopened stock and have been finishing off those that were opened.  But we quickly realized that diaper sizing is confusing.  I had assumed that he'd go from size 1/2 straight to 3.  You know... 1, 2, 3.  Makes sense, right? Well there's a small gap between the weight ranges for size 1/2 and size 3.  Like a pound.  But the weight range for size 3 is HUGE... and we have a ginormous supply of size 3 because it looks like he'll camp out in those for a while once he's in them.  But I failed to consider he'd actually need a size "2" for a while, which are harder to find.  I mean, the 3's look huge.  OK I'm quickly realizing this is like the most boring paragraph ever written.  Let's move on.
 
So yes, Sam is continuing to pack on the sweet pounds and hitting his milestones, etc. as expected for his age.  Only real thing that is somewhat "off" is his head size.  Before parenthood, I didn't even know you looked at head size, but yeah I guess that makes sense.  He is on the very, very low end of the scale when it comes to the circumference of his noggin for his age.  It is growing, so the doctor is not at all concerned.  But of course I consulted Dr. Google after our visit yesterday and read horrible things.  Hubby was not worried, but called the doctor to put my mind at ease (*sweet hubby*) and she said stop talking to Dr. Google.  Some babes have little heads and it is no cause for concern, as he is hitting and/or exceeding all of his developmental milestones.  And most importantly, it IS growing.  And it certainly doesn't look small, but I have seen other babies his age with ginormous heads - haha...  something you never really notice till you have a kid, I guess!
 
He is at a really fun age right now... we sit up a lot to play - with support of course, but he enjoys sitting up and looking around.  He giggles and coos and smiles like crazy.  And is really, really into his toys now - which is so fun.  He's such a cool little dude.  We are also in the clear to start solids!  So I imagine we'll start with some cereal this weekend.  We've been playing with spoons some just to see if he knows what the heck to do with them.  I would just give him a little milk "froth" on a spoon while  I was putting his bottles together and he seemed to take it fine.  We plan to video his actual first feeding with cereal - should be fun!  My face apparently lit up like I won the lottery when I had my first bite of solids.
 
Also speaking of food, I've definitely experienced how going back to work can take a toll on your milk supply.  Before Sam was here I kinda had an I'll-try-this-breastfeeding-thing-but-if-it-doesn't-work-that's-OK attitude. Now that he's here, I'm like THIS. IS. GOING. TO. WORK.  I'm so grateful that Sam loves the boob... he took right to it from day one.  And breastfeeding has been such a joy... it is our "special time."  We introduced a bottle early because I wanted other family members to be able to feed him, so my pump and I became tight very quickly.  And of course returning to work means bottles for daycare.  But returning to work and the stress that comes with that also can put a kink in your supply.  Before long, I was barely keeping up with him.  I remember one or two days where I didn't even pump enough to fill two of the three bottles he needed for the next day and this was stressing me OUT (which only makes matters worse).  How much I pump is also largely tied to stress and emotions - how crazy is that?  I had to dip into my frozen supply (which was minimal to begin with and now gone) just to get him by. 
 
So then I started asking around about formula... and meanwhile feeling absolutely defeated.  I knew that it would of course be OK to supplement some formula along with breastmilk.  But I just really didn't want to if I didn't have to.  So as a first course of action, I got very aggressive with increasing my supply.  I have the Medela Pump 'n Style (which I love) and earlier had gotten a set of larger shields to see if they worked better for me (than the standard ones the pump came with).  I realize this is totally Greek to you if you've never breastfed - I'm moving on quickly, promise.  The larger shields definitely helped, so I recently got another set so that I can pump with those exclusively.  That, combined with being a little more strategic with my pumping regimen, has made all the difference.  I'm now easily filling Sam's three bottles.  So I feel so much better about it.  And yes, I know my milk supply is not a reflection of me as a momma... but it's hard to take emotion out of it.  Just is.  I would totally add in formula if he needed it, and will if it comes to that - nothing wrong with that.  It's just my own personal will that is pushing me to keep the boy solely on the boob as long as I can.  I'm shooting for one year.  We will have to wean him whenever we go back for the next embryo transfer anyway, so just hoping to make it to the one-year mark.  (And no, we don't have a set date for the next round! Hush!)
 
And I must say on the breastfeeding thing... it is totally a personal decision whether you do it or not and if you do, how long you do it.  But I was telling the hub the other day, how freaking fascinating is it that we (meaning smart science people) have never been able to duplicate breastmilk?  Formula does the job, but even formula makers will tell you breast is best.  The more I read, the more I learn about the crazy "powers" of breastmilk.  Baby's got red eyes? Drop some breastmilk in there.  Chapped lips?  Rub on some breastmilk.  Mom is sick?  Keep feeding baby - the milk is his best defense - even if he gets sick, chances are he'll have the mildest case in the family.  It's pretty nuts!
 
Alright... off to wrap up my week so that I can enjoy the weekend with my little family! Hope you all have a great one. Our big project at home is working on the playroom downstairs for Sam (which up until now has been a pretty empty room).  It's going to be wicked cool... so I will begin posting pics on our progress!  Oh and yeah, party-planning for Sam's 1st birthday is in full force.  Yeah, the one in January.  More to come...
 
Oh and I think I want a minivan.  What the hell?  Go ahead and discuss that.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What a year...

One year ago today was transfer day.  Today, we have a 4-month old.
 
Completely humbled and grateful today.  Thankful for amazing doctors, wonderfully supportive friends and family, and a gracious God who's bigger than all of this.  Wow, just wow.
 
 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Pampering

Last one, kids! Sam's out on Fridays, so today is our last day of gifts.  And Sam's sweet teachers deserve a little pampering!


There are lots of fun ideas for a "pampering" gift, but I wanted to steer clear of bath gels and candles... I figure teachers get a ton of that stuff.  So I found these super soft neck wraps at Kohl's that you heat up in the microwave.  Regular price was $14 each, but are things ever not on sale at Kohl's?  These were 60% off, plus I had a 20% off shopping pass, so they ended up being less than $5 each.  Then I wrapped those up with a magazine and secured it with fun ribbon and a tag with a cute poem.  By far the easiest gift of the bunch!


And though Sam won't be there tomorrow, I did want to contribute a little something for Friday's theme - which is "something for the classroom." I mentioned this CD in my list of favorite baby items.  I know every dang word to every stinkin' song on this thing.  It's awesome. And I may or may not listen to it at work sometimes when I'm missing my little man.  So we got a copy for the class!


I had such fun coming up with these fun gifts and putting them together.  Not too shabby for our first run... especially on one week's notice!  You can bet your britches it's on my calendar already for next year.  And it's also got me thinking about other occasions when teacher typically get gifts... Christmas... birthdays (?)... when else?  He's in daycare year-round, so there's not really a beginning or end of year yet (as far as gift speak).  What else do I need to prepared for?  This is all new territory.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Fun

This stuff is a blast, but it's wearing me out, y'all.  Phew!  Thankfully, the most labor-intensive gifts are done.  Today and tomorrow's stuff was pretty quick to throw together.  I struggled a little coming up with something for the "fun" theme for today, but finally landed on this...


It's a survival kit stashed full of little goodies to help Sam's teachers make it through the day with all the sweet rugrats. I raided the section at Walmart with all the travel size tolietries and grabbed a few other goodies like Starbucks Via packs, Tazo Herbal Tea, a Luna Bar, and a 5-Hour Energy Drink.  My friend suggested throwing earplugs in there - that would've been hilarious, but the only ones I could find were like $4 a pack. Um, no.


I think these are my favorite so far this week.  Super easy, fun to shop for, and a breeze to put together.  I already had these favor boxes on hand.  I bought a bulk pack of these years ago from Bags & Bows.  Friggin' love that site... And side note - I have exactly 25 of those boxes left and I'm saving them to use for Sam's 1st birthday party!  They'll be perfect for the kids' treat bags. 


The ribbon and labels I of course already had on hand.  I used to run a small stationery biz if you remember, so I have ridiculous amounts of this kind of stuff.  It comes in handy!

Tomorrow's theme is "pampering!"  Ahhh... God bless Kohl's for helping me with that one.  More to come!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Food

Today's theme for Sam's teacher gifts is "food." I told y'all about my BBQ rub favors last week.  That was such an easy food item to put together (and cheap), so it was a shoe-in for one of our teacher gifts.  Of course I did a much bigger portion for Sam's teachers and put the rub in mason jars (um, Paige... I owe you two mason jars). 


I love this one... as I said, cheap and easy, yet totally cute and practical.  I had some burlap yardage and cut squares to top the jars and secured those with ribbon and a gift tag I made...


The tag is a little too big for the jars, but whatever.  That drives the libra in me nuts.

AND as if that wasn't enough... I told y'all I was baking! There are a few other helpers in Sam's room at school that work part-time and I didn't want to leave them out.  So I did a batch of chocolate cream cheese cupcakes for the whole gang... 


Wednesday's theme is "fun."  Thankfully, I've already got that one assembled cuz this Momma is BEAT.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week: Favorite Thing

Especially since this is our first go ever at Teacher Appreciation gifts, I thought I'd show you our goodies day by day this week.  I finished up all the shopping at Wally World this past weekend, so now I'm down to just assembling everything.  Monday's theme is a "favorite thing" of the teacher's... and both of Sam's teachers love Starbucks. 




A sweet friend of mine shared an idea of giving Hershey's Hugs and Kisses with a note saying something about Sam's teachers needing lots of hugs and kisses... so I incorporated that with Starbucks.  Sure they need hugs and kisses... but I'm bettin' they need some real caffeine too. 

I'm curious to see what other mommas bring... I just have no idea what the "standard" is, but whatever.  I had fun with it and yeah, probably went a little overboard.  But I love this kind of stuff and I really DO appreciate all the ladies that love on my sweet boy everyday.




So the basics of this one... a clear glass mug ($2.50 at Walmart) filled with Hershey's Hugs and Kisses, with a $5 Starbucks card.  Tied up with cellophane and ribbon and this label...



Mmm... what's not to love?

Tomorrow's theme is "food" and yes... I will be baking.  Look out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Easy Summer Party Favor: BBQ Rub


Y'all know I like to throw a good party.  Of course, those are harder to squeeze in now with the little man around.  But last weekend we helped my parents host a couples shower for my godmother's son and his bride-to-be.  It was a relaxed, casual affair held outside with catered BBQ and checkered tablecloths.  The weather was perfect - it was such a fun night!  And of course I raised my hand excitedly to handle the favors.  Party favors are never necessary, but I LOVE to do them.  And my absolute thrill is finding something fun that looks amazing and costs mere pennies. 

So my usual rules on favors are these... (1) Never do them merely for the sake of doing them.  People don't need more crap and you don't owe them anything.  (2) Make it something consumable.  Either edible or usable in some other way.  Cheap little trinkets usually wind up in a junk drawer, the trash bin, or up Junior's nose in less than 24 hours.  So why waste your time and money on that?  (3) Keep favors in theme with the party.  And particularly if you're talking wedding favors, make it personal to the couple.
I love all aspects of party planning... I'm already in the throws of planning Sam's first birthday shindig.  Yeah, he'll be 4 mos next week.  But y'all, there is so much to do!  I only have 8 months left!  I've got the theme, color scheme, and his outfit already worked out.  Neurotic - I know.  More on that later... but yes, of all the party planning fun, favors are my absolute FAVORITE part.  So I thought I'd just share this last one I did because it's so stinkin' easy and great for all kinds of summer parties...

Homemade BBQ Rub Party Favors

There are a million good BBQ rub recipes online, but here is the one I found and used.  It has only a few ingredients, all of which are cheap or I already had on hand.  I also love the Allrecipes site because they let you play with the quantities and recalculate the ingredient needs for you.  For this particular rub, you'll need...

- 5 parts white sugar
- 5 parts brown sugar
- 2 parts salt
- 1 part black pepper
- 1 part paprika

For the favors, I did 1/3 cup servings.  The hub and I tested it out on some grilled chicken and it was (a) delicious and (b) more than enough in the packet for us to use on three large chicken breasts.  How you package them is totally up to you.  I got some small clear treat bags from Michael's (4x6 I think) for the outer wrapper, and then mini ziplock bags (3x4 maybe?) to actually hold the rub.  The outer wrappers were merely folded over and secured with ribbon (already had on hand) and sticker labels.  Back in the day I would've designed and printed my own labels.  This time I recruited Tiny Prints.  They were cheap, matched the invites, and also uber cute.  I did, however, print plain white labels for the back of the packets that shared the recipe and instructions for the rub.   I already had a bunch of different size labels on hand, so for me there was very little cost to make these 40 favors.  We had to buy a few ingredients, the main labels, and the bags - totaling about $33.  If I had made my own labels, that amount would be nearly sliced in half. 

So if nothing else, make some of this rub for yourself - it's delish!  I also plan to make another batch this weekend for a couple of teacher appreciation gifts.  Yeah, I was just clued in to the fact that next week is Teacher Appreciation Week and we are "encouraged" to bring themed gifts EACH day for Sam's teachers at daycare.  I had no prior knowledge of the world of teacher gifts... I've never been a teacher or had a kid in a class, so this is an entirely new thing for me.  I've been trading ideas with friends and searching blogs and Pinterest... and holy hell at some of the gifts these Martha McCrafty's out there do.  I actually enjoy this kind of stuff... receiving gifts is one of my love languages and I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving.  But I would've appreciated more than one week's notice to gather this shit together.  So yeah I've been in overdrive the last couple of days getting these gifts together.  More on that later... I will take pics of our daily prezzies!

Tomorrow I'm off work but Nana and Gran will be keeping Sam in the morning while I get the house ready for weekend company.  One of the hub's best buds is getting married this weekend, so we've got an exciting few days ahead.  Hope you all have fantastic weekends!  Back soon...