Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #70

A Year of Gratitude #70: Family Movie Night

We had our very first Family Movie Night tonight and it was so awesome!! We spent the morning shopping at Costco and then came home and had lunch, Gus went down for his nap and I headed to Kroger for the rest of our groceries. 

When I got home and Gus woke up, we decided to use our free Hot-n-Read pizza coupon that our "Welcome Wagon" sent us. We got our pizza, took it downstairs, and watched a movie together in the entertainment room.

We just resubscribed to Netflix (after being gone for almost a year) and looked through the possibilities. We went to the comedies and found "Hot Tub Time Machine." I didn't think I'd like it. 


It was such a funny movie!! I laughed more during that movie than I have in a really long time! Gus played for a little bit, but mostly snuggled with us while we all watched the movie. After it was over, Gus and I watched "Scout and the Phonics Farm" which is a Leap Frog video about the ABCs and their sounds. It was cute and Gus really enjoyed it.

Here are some pictures from today:

Enjoying his pizza

Fun with Daddy

Watching from his chair

Scout and Violet!

After we put Gus to bed, I was able to take off another post-it from my monthly goal chart! We have our trip to MI and IN planned! 
 We're excited to head to the mitten in May and we're even going to have a joint birthday party for Gus and his cousin Charlie! She turns one on May 13 and Gus is turning two on May 11! It'll be so fun!!

I'm so thankful for our day today. I told Steve, "We should make every Saturday our Family Movie Night!" He said he didn't see why we couldn't do that! YAY!!

A Year of Gratitude #69

A Year of Gratitude #69: Hugs and Kisses

I can vividly remember when Gus was first born, maybe three or four weeks old, and looking at him and doing everything I could to get him to smile at me. I remember thinking, "How awesome is it going to be when he can smile back at me?!?" Sure enough, I remember the first time he did smile at me. It made me cry.

Gus is going to be 22 months tomorrow... and it's still incredible to me that he's not a wee little baby anymore. I'm not sure where that teeny-tiny little guy went, but he's definitely growing into a boy with a mind of his own. 

Gus loves to laugh and dance. He likes to clap and have you clap for/with him. He will say, "Whooo hooo" after you've clapped or even better, he'll applaud you and say, "Whooo hooo" after you've sung him a song. If that doesn't boost your ego, I don't know what will!

I'm thankful that I have a son who is so caring and compassionate. He REALLY cares about others and is very empathetic. If someone is crying, he gets upset too and makes a frowny face. He doesn't like to see others hurting.

I absolutely adore asking Gus for a hug or a kiss and he reaches out his little arms for the hug, or puckers up for a kiss. It's the sweetest thing in the entire world. I'm so thankful that I have a child. I've wanted to be a mom my whole life, and went through a period of time when it didn't seem like I'd ever be anyone's mom. I'm so thankful that God brought Gus into my life and allows me to get hugs and kisses from the sweetest little boy in the whole wide world.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #68

A Year of Gratitude #68: A Strong Marriage

Our wedding: July 8, 2006

When I was in my early 20s, I was living with my ex. He and I started dating when I turned 15 and dated for ten years before we got married. In those ten years, I grew and changed, he grew and changed, and the whole time we stayed together because we had been together for so long. I'll call it what it really was, convenience. 

He and I were kids, put simply. We never should have gotten married, and never should have stayed together for as long as we did. I vividly remember trying to break up with him quite a few times, and for whatever reason, he wouldn't "allow" it. So we stayed together. We were as different as two people can be.

I was overly outgoing and he was incredibly shy. I loved to go out and go dancing and go to parties, while he preferred staying home and watching movies. He loathed dancing and refused to go to a dance club. When you're just turning 21, you WANT to go out... you FINALLY can!! I went to college and he did not. I think this might have been the BIGGEST difference between us.

So anyway, when I was working for my Uncle Daryl at the "foot doctor's office" (Steve that was purposely done for you), I remember having a conversation with some of the ladies (including my fabulous Aunt Margie) about how things change when you get married. I begged to differ. How much more different could it get?? I mean I was already living with him and felt committed... nothing would change.

When we got married, it honestly didn't feel like anything had changed. In fact, it seemed EXACTLY the same. And I guess, that should have been the biggest red flag that something was wrong... because marriage IS different.

Obviously, the rest of that story ends with a divorce... but when I met Steve, it WAS different. It was different in so many ways, and on so many levels. It was almost like the prior relationship-marriage was me as a kid, and with Steve, I had grown into an adult.

So when I was thinking about how we've been together for eight years already, it made me really grateful that I have him in my life, but also that we have such a solid relationship. 

I value our marriage and the openness that we share. I am grateful that when I want to talk about something with him he listens and we talk it out. While our marriage isn't perfect, it's close. I've never known anyone who understands me like Steve does. He can read my cues, whether I mean to send them or not, and he knows just what to say and do to let me know he cares.

I'm grateful to have someone who is ALWAYS in my corner and is my biggest fan. I have a marriage that I'm proud of, and one that many people can only dream about. 

I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to marry my ex... and for going through that starter marriage. While statistically, being divorced makes any consecutive marriage at a higher risk for failure, I feel like it prepared me for Steve. It showed me what matters, what's important, and most importantly, what NOT to do.

I'm grateful for my husband, my son, and my marriage being stronger than ever before.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #67

A Year of Gratitude #67: No Pacifier Addiction

I don't know if there's anything that I find more annoying than a child over the age of one with a pacifier in their mouth. I'm sure there are people who will hate me for this post, but it's my blog and I'll write what I want.  :-)

When Gus was six months, his pediatrician and I talked about the paci and if there was any real benefit to continue using it after the first six months. She said that if he could go without, it was probably best because it becomes addictive and habitual for many children.

Steve and I decided that there are other things that we'd rather have him become addicted to (such as a lovey) than a paci. So after November 11, 2010, we said goodbye to all the pacifiers in the house and Gus knew no different.

As he's gotten older, I've been more and more thankful that we stopped it when we did. I know MANY people with kiddos his age (and older) who STILL have to deal with the paci issue. Some only let their child have it when driving (it calms them I guess?) or at bedtime. 

I've always been one to believe that you do whatever you have to do at bedtime to get your child to sleep. If it's co-sleeping, reading 1,000 books, leaving a nightlight for them, giving a bottle, and yes, giving the paci, do whatever it takes. 

It's seeing a child out in public, with a paci in their mouth that annoys me to no end. It just might be my #1 pet peeve. It's even worse when the child is old enough to talk. 

I was just reading a post that one of the May 2010 moms wrote on my May Monsters 2010 FB board wrote. She said that her child won't sleep through the night unless they have a paci in their mouth and if it falls out, when they wake, they scream because they don't have it. It made me SO THANKFUL that I don't have this problem.

I think children can easily get fixated on things and pacis seem to be something that MANY grow insanely attached to. Why don't more doctors tell parents (like mine did) that after six months, there's no real benefit to using a pacifier? The first six months, yes, it's a great soother, and helps reduce the risk of SIDS. But after six months? After a year? After two years? It just becomes a habit. A VERY VERY difficult (and ugly IMO) habit to break.

And this is why I am so grateful that we never got started in the paci problem.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #66

A Year of Gratitude #66: Our Basement

I am so thankful to have a basement. When we had the storms come through here on Friday, we were able to head down and were in a safe spot. 

Growing up, we didn't have a basement and when we had tornado warnings, we had to take cover in the hallway closet. While it was the safest spot in the house, it still wasn't "safe."

I'm so glad that not only do we have a basement, but it's finished and beautiful. When we lived in Canton, MI, we had thought about paying to finish the basement and it would have cost us about $20,000. We decided not to do it, and less than a month later, Steve had the interview with Burt's. It was a great decision NOT to finish the basement.

When we looked for houses in NC, NONE had basements. So we squeezed all our stuff into the house and it seemed like it was bursting with stuff from the floor to the ceiling.

Now that we're here in this house... it's like all the stuff that we have, fits perfectly. We have de-cluttered the house because we have room for everything. I'm sure there are things that we could should get rid of, but for now it's fine.

When I had the MOMS Club play group come over on Monday for our playdate, it was nice to have a place for everyone to go, that was large enough for seven mamas and kiddos, and not be sitting on top of each other.

I love our basement. I love the entertainment room... and I love the game/play room. I love that we have a guest room for family and friends and it's away from the rest of the house... it gives them a bit more privacy than in either of our previous homes.

I'm thankful that we were able to find this house, and that it has a beautiful basement that we get to enjoy daily.

Monday, March 05, 2012

What's New??

"What's New With You?""

I feel like I've been posting nothing but gratitude posts. I've had to rethink the decision to do a post on what I'm grateful for... sometimes it's just really hard to think of something new to be grateful for. That sounds really bad doesn't it?  :-(

We had our MOMS Club playdate here at our house this morning and it was so wonderful. All the moms came and it was a flurry of activity in the basement! The kids all had fun on Gus's roller coaster and loved the activity center and slide. I'm so glad that we have a basement (hold that thought... that's tomorrow's gratitude)!

Here are some pictures from this morning:
Riggs (one of Gus's friends)

Fun on the activity center and slide

Gus and Riggs

King Gustafer

Aubree and little Ryan

Logan and Gus

Gus with Logan's shoes


This past Friday we had a tornado come through the area... it touched down in Marietta and then the path brought it right through Johns Creek. Thankfully we were safe, but we did have to take cover. We had to get Gus up and bring him downstairs and he was a bit confused, but happy to be with us. Thankfully he went back to bed without a problem.
Gus and Daddy watching the news in the guest bedroom

This was from my phone

Seeing Johns Creek on the news was scary!

A little scared but okay

He felt safe and that's all that mattered!

This weekend I went and got my nails done and decided to also get a pedicure. It's been getting warmer and I've been wearing flip-flops more, but without a pedicure, I've been embarrassed to show my feet. Now they're cute and I loved the foot massage that I got.  :-)

We went to dinner Saturday night (Outback) with the gift card that Michelle and Josh gave me for taking pictures of June. We had an excellent experience and Gus was so well behaved. He ate a TON of food and was happy to be out with us. We even received a compliment from an older lady sitting near us... she said he was such a well-behaved little boy and she was surprised to see someone so young behaving so well.

I love getting compliments on Gus. When we go to Wal-Mart (usually Monday or Tuesday), I often get compliments on his behavior and on how well he sits in the cart and doesn't cause a fuss. It's not always the case... sometimes he's a beast, but usually he's pretty good and I'm proud of him.

Yesterday I framed the dinosaur picture that I made for Gus's dinosaur room. I'm starting to get it planned and hopefully it'll be ready for him to move into on his 2nd birthday. We'll see. If he's not ready to be out of the crib, he'll stay in the nursery for as long as it takes.
I think it's so cute!
I also made my goal list... I saw this on Pinterest and was inspired to make one just like it. I added color to mine... but I think it's great!

Hopefully I'll be able to blog more about day-to-day things and not get so far behind on the gratitude posts!!!

See you later!!

A Year of Gratitude #65

A Year of Gratitude #65: Routines

As a teacher I lived by a schedule. I knew how much time I had for morning work, reading, math, science, social studies, recess, snack, read aloud, silent reading, writing, character education, lunch, and packing up at the end of the day. Having a routine not only helped save my sanity, but it helped my students know what to expect and gave them a sense of calmness and serenity.

When things are not routine, it can be VERY chaotic and crazy. I learned that you can't be too focused on maintaining the schedule and you must be somewhat flexible for the "life happens" moments. However, there was always an over-all plan in place and it helped everyone involved.

I feel like teaching for ten years has totally prepared me for motherhood. There are definitely times when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, but for the most part, I have it under control, and there's a plan in place.

We have a daily schedule that we follow during the week. The weekends are a hot mess because Steve's home with us and he adds a different dynamic to our day. When Steve's not with us, there's a set routine that we follow and Gus has adapted to it quite well. It's like clock-work and runs beautifully.

I'm thankful today, that I took the time to establish a routine with him (from the time he was born) and have stayed with it. As he's gotten older, the routine has pretty much stayed the same, but there's been some adjusting. He no longer takes two naps, and is down to just one. That's been the biggest adjustment that we've had to face recently.

I have a schedule for the day on the fridge and so far Gus has been too little to understand it. He's still a wee bit too young, but in the very near future we'll be able to use it as it's intended.

I like having a plan in place for the day and knowing what to expect. I think Gus does too and it's helped build his trust that he's safe and secure. He never has to feel like there's no stability and things are changing from one minute to the next. I try to keep a calm household and one where he knows that we can adapt our schedule as needed, but that we have something in place for our sanity.

I'm thankful for our routine. I'm thankful that at 1:00 he starts to yawn, and will go to the stairs because he knows it's nap time. I'm grateful that I've been able to provide a sense of routine into his life. I hope it's something I can maintain for a long time to come... the world is full of routines!

A Year of Gratitude #64

A Year of Gratitude #64: Facebook

Yes, I am thankful for Facebook! Not only do I credit Facebook for the adoption of Gus, but I'm so thankful that I get to see pictures of things that my family members are doing. Obviously, I'd rather be close enough to do the things that I see on Facebook with them, but seeing pictures is the next best thing.

I love seeing my brothers and their families through FB pictures. I love to hear what my parents are up to, and more importantly, I love seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews. I miss them so very much, and I am thankful that I get to see pictures of them through FB!!

I should also add that I'm thankful that my SIL Heather blogs frequently and posts pictures and posts of what they're doing out in AZ. I miss them terribly, but at least I can read about their day and know what they've been up to each week.

I think technology is wonderful and I'm thankful for having family members who embrace it and share with me so I don't feel like I live so far away.