Friday, February 29, 2008

Environmentally Friendly Ramblings

I'm trying to do my best to be more environmentally friendly, it's hard to comprehend this recent research article on plastic grocery bags:

-A Plastic bag takes 450 years to biodegrade. Imagine 10 billion of them!
-The production of Paper bags causes 70% more pollution than Plastic.
-When Plastic "photo degrades" it ends up in our oceans. Incidentally, it appears much like a plankton, and is then consumed by fish. Fish eat it, and it winds up on your dinner table.
-The recipe for making paper bags starts with 1 part pulp, 400 parts WATER. What a waste of water!
-The recycling of plastic emits heavy metals into the air causing extreme air pollution
-An average person will use over 350 bags in a single year!
-In New York City, one less grocery bag per person would reduce waste by 5 million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs!

You can order bags, one popular brand is Baggu... there are cute bags like this available in most stores now, target sells some, and there's also this site and this site that offers fairly low cost bags! I found some super cute ones by doing a search on Etsy , and yesterday while in the checkout like I saw another mom sporting her re-usable bags by Skeeda. One time cost, for a serious impact on our part. It's well worth it.

We're buying mostly organic foods, it's not always cost friendly, so it's not always possible. I clip coupons, subscribe to brand newsletters online and received free product coupons, and I cost compare. I can buy organic milk for my family for the same price as store brand most of the time by simply visiting the organic manufacturer's website and printing a instant coupon! I'm a frugal shopper, and it's paying off in more then one way! I use Method cleaning products (they have re-usable bags also), and have bought Clorox Greenworks to give that a try also. Whichever is on sale, that's what we'll get.

I also read alot about product ingredients on shampoo's, soaps, etc., now; I'm interested in knowing what each additive is. I recently received information on Quaternium-15 and it's possible effects. Isn't it a bit scary that 90% of every infant shampoo and soap that I had contained this. The words "acts as a formaldehyde releaser" was enough for me. I'm not easily pulled into trends, but this one hit home. A built in allergen in baby wash, wow. Some of the products I had included higher doses of this preservative. We're now using organic bathing products, Target sells Nature Babycare and it's in the same price range as all other baby products and w/o any chemical additives, they even offer a line of diapers that are priced the same as Pampers/Huggies. When it comes to bath soaps and shampoo's, I'm personally a huge fan of Berts Baby Bee's, so I watch for sales and buy that in bulk!

I look at it like this, I'm super careful to make sure my kids are playing safe and buckled in the car safe - I should be equally concerned about what goes in and on their bodies.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

sharing a laugh

Saturday, February 23, 2008

not much

Nothing major to speak of, but here's what we've been up to!

  • Ezra has a middle of the year review test this week, he's been studying and doing fun things at school last week for practice. They had their own version of a game show, and the 'phone a friend' option... funny! He's mastering 2 digit x 2 digit multiplication and moving right along, after several days of practice sheets he's got it! He's decided he wants to be a chef OR a movie writer/producer when he grows up... he has a broad spectrum of ideas on that one! Both are artistic in their own respect.

  • Jesse's had a few changes going on and I think I finally put my finger on it this morning. His 2nd year molars are coming in, 3 of them for sure, possibly all 4. Lower left is over 1/2 of the way in, and I didn't even know it until today! He's had a few different things going on that should have been a red light for me to be aware, but with him being a late teether, I honestly was not expecting them at 24 months! He's been a trooper, those are large teeth! On a less painful topic, he's really surprised us with his recognition of letters and numbers. We have an AquaDoodle wall mat, and we sit together for a few minutes each day and draw letters and numbers, he can recognize 1-10 on his own, and he recognizes A,B,C,D,E,G,J,S - why those letters I have no idea, but those are dedicated to memory. He's so proud when we draw a number and he can tell us what it is. We're proud for him!!

  • Me and hubby - nothing new really, outside of staying busy with work, kids and life!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 Photo Journal

With some regret that I've missed several days of photographing for Project 365... I've decided to rename my project. I have revised my goal, and it is to take at minimum 15 meaningful photos a month. There may be more, but that's my official commitment. I really want to make a photo trail of days, but I realize that I'm also multi-tasking and I'll forget my camera (which is the case of why there's so many missing!)

I'm renaming my project: 2008 Photo Journal. I may go for the 365 next year. At the end of the year, I think I'll upload my pictures to something like and do a scrapbook. It will help put a memory back to a date - which is sometimes hard to do when it's just the mundane.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Interest rates going up...

Interest rates are going up around my books!! It's so exciting that both of our boys are book lovers. Ezra has finished the Lemony Snicket series, and decided to read them over again. He reads one in about a week reading during commutes and some on weekends. He is currently reading two books! This Hardy Boys book, and a this Lemony Snicket book - he alternates reading them during morning/afternoon commutes.

Jesse is also becoming more and more interested in books, right now his favorite book is There were Ten Bears in a Bed. It's a pop up book, and each page is filled with tons of pictures to point at, the objects change positions on each new page, causing you to seek and find! He loves looking for the airplane and choo-choo train! On the last page a giant bed pops up, and there are objects to find discover all around the room and under the bed!!

Jesse decided he'd try out a Nicholas Sparks novel, I couldn't resist taking a picture. He was so excited about grabbing the book!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A not so lazy day!

Today we went back to the Lazy 5 Ranch. I had taken the kids back in August but Jonathon had never been, so we took another family day today! The ranch is home to over 750 animals from 6 continents, and can be viewed from your vehicle on a 3.5 mile long safari ride! We bought 2 buckets of feed, and fed them by bucket and by hand. It's an amazing learning experience for everyone!

It's amazing to know that this (owned by Henry Hampton) once was not open to the public, and in 1993 it opened its doors for everyone to enjoy with having only 5 (lazy - ha) employees!! As a teen I used to drive by this land before it ever opened and gaze at the giraffes and zebras wandering leisurely around and I'd wonder what it must be like behind those gates. We're fortunate to live close by!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day 08

We don't do alot of frills on Valentines day, the boys received a few goodies (few being a key word) and I got Jonathon his favorite chocolate candy (Reese's) ... it never fails to suprise me that each year Jonathon brings me flowers. I guess I should expect it by now, but I'm fairly adament in letting him know that I'm ok with simple. I've never really considered Valentines Day a huge deal, it's so over the top for some - but we just hung out at home, had a nice meal together, and enjoyed just a few sweet treats. I'm enjoying my temporary floral centerpiece!!

What surprised me even more... as Jonathon brings my flowers through the foyer, Jesse watched. Soon after Jonathon handed me my vase of roses, there came Jesse with the arrangement of flowers regularly sits on the foyer table... so he brought them proudly and offered them to me so sweet... he wanted to bring me flowers too. We all giggled, but my heart melted.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Baby Trey updates....

I've moved updates to the side bar - will update when I get new information...

Watch your step!

This is our family room before Jesse wakes.....

This is our family room after Jesse wakes....

Any questions?

It has been said by Montessorian’s worldwide that play is the work of the child. Play time plays an important role in the development of infants and young children, play includes a variety of cognitive, motor and sensory activities as well as language, social, and practical life activities.
Bring on the mess my little guy... bring on the learning!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

a field trip

We went on a family field trip today. We rarely take advantage of some of the local venues for learning... so we decided to splurge a little today and have some fun! Jesse had alot of fun in the water play area and Ezra had lots of fun at the light table designing connecting shapes.

There was a Norman Rothwell exibit, as well as a Kapla building block exibit with several building stations set up. The kapla exibit included a 8 foot replica of the Eiffle Tower, and also a replica of the London Bridge. They also had individual building stations set up so that you could do it yourself. It was amazing!

The boys both had a blast today!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hopeful Hearts for Trey

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have taken an opportunity to foster, with fostering they’ve prepared themselves for babies/toddlers with delicate medical conditions, preemie’s and babies born to drug addicted moms. They’ve been parents to Trey, 8 weeks old, since he was discharged from the hospital after delivery. Trey has been diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome… DiGeorge syndrome is a genetic disorder with varying conditions present in each individual with the syndrome. However, conditions that are common to the syndrome include certain heart defects (Trey has 4), effects on facial appearance (Trey has lowered ears and a widened nose), and lack of or underdeveloped thymus and parathyroid glands. You can read/learn more about it here; right now his full range of diagnosis (so far) are tetralogy of fallot, DiGeorge Syndrome, 14 Q deletion, Velopharyngeal Insufficiency, Moderate dysphagia, severe GER, umbilical hernia, possible spinal bifida, and then whatever the diagnosis name is (don't know yet) for him having very poor immunity in skin related disorders.

Right now, Trey is having complications with the 4 defects he has with his heart from birth. This week, he was hospitalized for 2 days for a virus and it seems that since then his heart has not been able to remain stable. His oxygen sats have been low and dangerous (60’s,70’s,and 80’s), and they’re not improving; and it is feared that congestive heart failure may be what’s causing these sudden changes. There’s so much more to his delicate medical condition, and at 8 weeks old he’s been seen by and has been placed under the care of more doctors then most of us will have in our lifetime…but I am writing for one thing. Only to ask that you take a moment and put your thoughts and prayers with Trey and his family while they face a hard road ahead in the next week. Tuesday of next week he will be admitted for pre-op surgery, then open heart surgery on Wednesday. He will likely be in the hospital for a while (according to sis-in-law, she’s been told to prepare for 3 days in ICU then move to the heart floor), at the time of surgery he’ll be around 9-10 weeks old, and while it’s amazing that there are doctors and surgeons capable of overseeing and performing such a task on such a tiny heart, it would make sense to say that it will be a delicate recovery for Trey.

There’s another bit of information that makes this road ahead a little more difficult, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, their youngest daughter and their 9 month old foster son (also born a preemie and addicted to meth) ALL came down with the flu this week.

Here’s a picture of Trey. How adorable is this little guy who has to endure so much so early… Thanks for taking a moment to read this, and taking a moment to send well wishes, thoughts and prayers their way.

**You're welcome to leave well wishes, and thoughts as a comment here for the family, and I will forward them to the family. I am not at liberty to share their personal email info/blog info due to the fostering rules they respect and live by in order to protect the identities of their little foster angels.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Update on the planets...

For all who are interested... Ezra passed his Accelerated Reader test on Uranus. He scored 100%, proving that he's now somewhat of an expert on Uranus. He decided he liked it so much, he brought home a different Uranus book this week. I laugh... hysterically.

Wednesday's 5

Wednesday's mark the middle of the week... the day with the most unusual spelling and/or pronunciation whichever way you look at it; it is a grand example of how the English language can be strange and confusing! Wednesday is said 'Windsday' try to explain this to kids (I've had too) and you'll find yourself in a debate of 'buy why is that?' with your little one! In general it's Wacky Wednesday for me most weeks. So I figured I'd at least poke fun at, discuss, or share my '5' each Wednesday… anything from a mid-week wrap-up or just details of the day, random things about life, etc.

Today’s random 5 things I’ve discovered since I’ve been a mom…

1. It is possible to eat, drive, talk on the cellphone (yes, I use a headset when driving), and watch your kids from the rearview – all at the same time… I often wondered how my parents did all of this (minus the cellphone of course)… now I know – it’s part of the package I received when I enlisted as a mom… you know – the Superhuman skills and strengths package? You’re familiar, right?

2. Animal cookies double as cement, especially when it’s smeared on the car seat of the toddler who sits in it… even more cement like when crammed into the seatbelt hole area. Somewhere on the box it should say 'wet, and smear the goo to secure anything to fabric'... kindof makes you wonder how digestion works with these things...

3. Restaurants should have a ‘cooling area’ for the orders placed for our kids, and place the food there while the grownups food is being prepared… this way, grownups and kids can eat at the same time, preventing the mom or dad from having to sit and tear or cut the food and blow on it to cool it… all while the grownup food gets cold!!

4. Telemarketer’s bothering you? Just record your smallest one screaming (seems cruel, but works later…) and when the telemarketer calls and you accidentally answer on a whim (thinking it’s a REAL phone call) press play on your recording and use the ‘this is not a good time, my toddler’s fussy’ excuse and hang up. Tested this recently, and it works for me!

5. Despite our greatest efforts in choosing classic and developmentally educational toys… we’ve found that our money is best spent on the following: random string/ribbons/bows/paper, empty boxes (any will do) and pots and pans … don’t forget the wooden spoon.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Project 365 update

I've uploaded my photos finally, January was somewhat incomplete so my project will be less then 365...I'm trying my best to keep up with this fun photo project!!

You can find what I've added in the 'Project 365' folder of our photo hosting site: Email me or comment here w/ your email address for the password, I'm a little paranoid about cyberfreaks, so I've made it private it for that purpose. If you're already a smugmug member, I may have added you for access w/o requiring password.