Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Care packages for military service members

I just learned about this today. The USPS offers a "military kit" of shipping supplies for military families:

While it can’t cut postage costs, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) does provide help to military families and friends shipping care packages overseas to their deployed service members. Since Priority Mail® supplies are the packaging of choice for families and friends preparing care packages for service members overseas, the post office has created a "Mili-kit" based on the items most frequently requested by the military. This kit is available for free to military families.
It contains:
Three (3) each of flat rate boxes
Two each of Cube boxes
Address labels
One roll of Priority Mail tape
15 customs forms with envelopes
The kit may be requested by calling 1-800-610-8734 Choose your language (1 is English, 2 is Spanish).
Choose option 1 (it states it is for Express Mail®, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed® products).
When you reach a live agent, request CAREKIT04, the “Military Kit. Allow 7-10 days for delivery. Note: These are free supplies only. Military families must still affix postage to the package.

I will be ordering mine tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Halloween (just in time for New Year's)

Dexter's first Halloween! He was a pea pod (& thrilled, as you can see),

so we decided Cooper should be a veggie too. Since corn on the cob is his favorite, that's what he dressed up as. Mommy sewed some felt on green pants for a stalk & husks & Daddy painted the shirt. (The robot hoodie doesn't exactly match, but it was a bit chilly.)

Cooper went trick-or-treating, but after encountering some motion sensor ghoolies, he decided he didn't like it so much. We went to two houses before turning around & coming home.

Cooper discovered "brown candy" (chocolate) & was on a sugar high for the night.

He definitely preferred handing out candy to trick-or-treating, and made sure to tell everyone, "Happy Ho'ween!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Catching up a bit...

Alright, so I'm really far behind in my blogging. Where did I leave off? Just before Cooper's birthday. So I finished these for a swap on Craftster:

Then the weekend before Cooper's birthday we took him out shopping (Build A Bear & the Lego Store) & he rode on a mall train for the first time. He was a big fan, especially because he had to have a ticket.

On Cooper's actual birthday, John was working so Cooper & I went to the zoo. We walked around quite a bit & I started having contractions. I'd been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for quite a while, but at some point they got more regular & I realized labor was starting. My contractions stayed about 10 minutes about for at least 24 hours before they started to pick up. In that time I walked around the zoo, slept all night, went shopping with John & Cooper, & we all took the dogs for a walk, so I was obviously not feeling too bad.
Wonderful cousin Karen (a nurse who does home births) came out to our house to check on me (after her bedtime even! & she lives an hour away!) so I could postpone the hospital as long as possible. (Thanks Karen!) A few hours after she left my contractions were 3 minutes apart & even though I was sure we had a long time, John insisted we head to the hospital. My mom (who lives an hour & a half away) was able to meet us at the hospital (and I'm sure she didn't break any traffic laws doing it). As I suspected, we had plenty of time. I was only 5-6 cm. Unfortunately, the hospital insisted I lay flat on the bed so they could monitor the baby, making the contractions much worse & me much more tense. Three hours later when I was still at 5-6 cm I gave up & asked for the epidural. Not the natural birth I'd been hoping for, but it all worked out in the end. Dexter was born after only 3 pushes & he was healthy & beautiful.


We came home from the hospital a couple days later & a swap package was waiting for me. This was probably the best one I've gotten so far - a rocket zipper pouch:

And a personalized toddler busy book:

Shapes that snap on, velcroed finger puppet animals,

velcroed finger puppet space characters,

a magnetic tic tac "toad" game, and buttoned flowers. Just in time too. Cooper got these as soon as he came home from spending a few days with Grandma & Papa Fred & it kept him busy as we adjusted to having the baby home.

The day after we got home we got to see Adam! His training was done & he had a weekend break before leaving for Afghanistan. He has a condo with basically four rooms (living room, bedroom, office, & kitchen/dining room) & we filled it with screaming kids: Zak, Caycee, Cooper, Lynzee, & Dexter. We're getting close to being outnumbered by the kids which is pretty scary, but we had a great time (although Adam's neighbors probably hated us for being so loud; good thing he won't be living there for almost a year). Here's Uncle Adam with Cooper & Dexter (in green eggs & ham shirts mommy made them!):

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy birthday Mom!!!



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BBD (before baby Dexter): Cooper's birthday party

Since I was due on Cooper's 2nd birthday, we scheduled his party for a week & a half before. Cooper didn't seem to mind. I must have been crazy though, because I hosted a birthday play date on Friday, then a birthday party on Saturday while 38 weeks pregnant. Not something I'd recommend if you can avoid it.

It was a Blue's Clues party, so we had the paw print cake:

... and treat bags for the kids (sewn by me) with a paw print on them (stenciled & painted by John) with lots of goodies inside, including a "handy dandy notebook" (made by my mom):

Cooper enjoyed cake,

and presents.

And continued to enjoy his presents after the party:

Monday, November 9, 2009

50 free photo cards

I swear, a real post is coming soon, but I had to share this: 50 free photo greeting cards - good until November 30!

http://freebies4mom.blogspot.com/2009/11/50-free-photocards-shipped-free-too.html

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy birthday Cooper!

The big 2!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

My solemate

I thought it was John, but then I saw this. (Get it - "sole"mate instead of soulmate? I'm hilarious.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Me & my big mouth...

So I'm 38+ weeks pregnant now which means weekly doctor's appointments. It wouldn't be so bad except that the wait at the doctor's is RIDICULOUS. Thankfully, John's mom agreed to watch Cooper today so I didn't have the entertain him for the hour & 20 minutes in the waiting room & then the extra 20 minutes in the examining room. So I finally see the doctor & all she has to do is measure me & listen to the baby's heartbeat. It should be quick & simple. She asks, "So, is the baby moving?" And my answer should have been, "Yes, absolutely," but instead I say, "Yeah, not as much as before, but he's moving." BIG MISTAKE. What I mean to convey is that the baby is no longer doing somersaults & flip flops, mostly likely because it's starting to get a little cramped in there, but what the doctor hears is "decreased fetal movement". So she asks me to do a fetal non-stress test. Today. Just to be sure everything's okay. Luckily, John's mom agrees to blow off whatever plans she had for the day to stay with Cooper longer, & I spend another couple hours at the doctors office.
At 2:30 pm I'm finally finished (I arrived minutes before my scheduled doctor's appointment time of 10:30 am). The ultrasound shows the baby is measuring correctly, head down, weighs approximately 6 lbs & 15 oz, & has a good heartbeat & is testing out his breathing skills. Non-stress test shows everything to be fine.
BUT, once they order a NST, they recommend you continue having them twice a week until delivery, so now I'm expected to take a NST every Monday & Thursday from now until the baby arrives. UGH! And for what purpose? Basically because I made a comment that was a little too close to a red flag & now everyone wants to cover their butt.
My doctor says that she just ordered the one & now it's up to the NST specialist to decide follow up. NST specialist says they follow up with bi-weekly test for everyone where another doctor is concerned enough to send them for one. Are you kidding me?? Not that I don't want to do whatever is necessary to make sure my baby is safe & healthy, but come on! What a huge waste of time & money! And they say the test only takes half an hour, but factor in travel time, waiting time, and the fact that Cooper naps right in the middle of the day & the whole day is shot. So instead of spending my last week or so before the baby just relaxing, preparing for the baby, & spending quality time with Cooper I will be wasting 2 entire days a week on unnecessary testing.
So the next time you're complaining about the high cost of insurance, think of me. It's people like me that make dumb, random, poorly thought out comments to doctors causing hundreds (or is it thousands?) of dollars to go towards unnecessary tests. Yah me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coolest swap..

Okay, I know I babble & post about swaps a lot. I just can't resist. And here's why! I participated in a "wist" swap. If you're unfamiliar with a wist, check this out. A wist is basically a wish list you create on the www.wists.com website. You can include any picture you find on the internet, even if it's not a store or item for sale. So for this swap we were supposed to check out the other person's wist & craft items they had included on there or items inspired by things they included on there. That way, you're surprised at what you're getting, but guaranteed to like it! Perfect!
Here's just some of what I got:

A sign for my perpetually-messy/noisy house


Onesies for the new baby & a shirt for Cooper


And a 2-piece painting.

Not pictured here is a robot keychain, a fabric embroidered family tree wall hanging, and matching ironing board cover & pin cushion with thread catcher.
How awesome is that?

Garage sale weekend

We've been needing to clear out a lot of stuff lately so I decided to have a garage sale. My mom suggested I bring all my stuff to her house because they have a town-wide garage sale weekend. Sounded good to me! No cleaning our garage, no advertising, I got all the stuff out of the house (& unlike if I had in my garage, nothing stayed - since I had to pack everything in the car anyway it went straight to the Salvation Army), & great babysitters!

Cooper helped to "test" some of the merchandise. He also claimed two hideous Homer Simpson dolls that talk & sing & dubbed them his "guys". He couldn't be separated from them all weekend or most of the next week. Luckily, I was able to hide them away eventually & there has been no mention of them for a while.

There was obviously a lot of pricing to do...

But, there was a little goofing off too.

Okay, maybe a lot.

And by the end of the weekend, we were all exhausted.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Desperate cry for help

Cooper's never been a great sleeper, but he got to be a pretty good napper once he was really walking/running around all day. It got to the point where we could sing or tell him stories for 15 minutes, put him in his crib, & check on him a few times & he would go to sleep.
BUT, this week has been HELL. Every naptime and every bedtime is preceded by an hour, or two, or two & a half, of horrendous tantrums & blood-curdling screams. I'm not a believer in the "cry it out" method, so we've been trying to calm him down & stay with him when we can, but it's become impossible.
At bedtime, Cooper has his stuffed elephants, blanket, & a sippy of water in his crib. He screams if he's missing any of those. Then he screams harder when we give it to him. We offer to tell him stories or sing to him and he says, "no" and screams louder. We bring him into our bed (our routine before we put him in his crib; he gets 3 stories in our bed then goes to his crib to sleep) and he's fine, then screams when it's time to go in his crib. Or he screams in our bed. We've offered books in the crib, more cuddling time with mom & dad, a new stuffed animal, a nightlight. We've refused to tell stories or sing songs until he's calm (so then there are none). We've stayed with him for half an hour or an hour while he screams. We've left him in his room for half an hour while he screams.
And through it all, he's screamed louder, flailed around (hitting his head), turned on the bedroom light, taken off his pants & diaper, and generally been a demon child. But only at bedtime. Sure, he's testing us a little during the day, but nothing like what's happening at night or naps. And then when he does fall asleep, he sleeps just as much as he normally would.
So, any suggestions? I'm really, really ready to try almost anything.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too little, too late

Forgive me. I've been a completely negligent blogger. I would like to promise I'll be better, but I'm now 8 months pregnant, we're trying to sell our house & move, I'm planning Cooper's 2nd birthday (which will be a very small affair considering I'm due on his birthday) & the crafts projects are piling up (not that that's a bad thing, it just keeps me busy).

Cooper & I babysat my parents' 5 dogs & cat at their house while they went to visit my brother for his family day at Army training in Minnesota. We hung out at the house a lot, but managed to get out for some ice cream & the park.

"I like it!"


Cousin Karen came to visit & we stayed for a bit after my Mom & Dad got home. We did some crafting & visited the quilt shop.


Back at home, Cooper discovered stickers.

Future blackmail picture

Me & Cooper cuddling on the couch with our "blankets"

Monday, September 7, 2009

Recent swaps

I recently made a couple gifts for my friend Becca's daughter Samantha's 3rd birthday: a monster hooded towel (by request!) and a Abby shirt:


And I sent out some stuff for a few more swaps on Craftster.org. For one recipient, four onesies,

and an owl shirt and baby leg warmers for another.


For a larger swap, a baking set with apron & felt cookies, a pillowcase dress, headbands, flower garland party lights, and a doorway puppet theatre.






I've also gotten some swap packages recently (not for the big swap above yet). Some reusable Swiffer covers along with some fabric, velcro, elastic, & candy:

And some hand-dyed playsilks for Cooper with some fabric and a polymer clay rolling pin (I've been wanting to dabble in some polymer clay crafting):

And more swap packages are on their way in & out! :)