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: