Friday, April 30, 2010
Happy Gramma over on Happiest Family on the Block (at http://happyfamilyhappykids.blogspot.com) is holding the following contest and it looks like a wonderful, relaxing prize for any Mama (whether you have kiddies, doggies or kitties).
Here is the information:
Friday, April 30, 2010
Happy Mother's Day Giveaway!!! Friday Evening - Monday Noon
Hi everyone! Sorry I am late!! I have tried to do too many things in one day. Here is my latest giveaway:
A Gorgeous Mother's Day Spa Basket
Spa Facial Scrub pads
Spa Makeup Headband
and a beautiful miniature plate that says,
"Faith, Family & Friends"
All in a delightful orange chamomile fragrance!
Surprise your mother, grandmother, sister, wife or daughter
with this wonderful basket!
Go over and check it out and enter... you'll be competing against me, but I won't be sad if you win!
We picked up the wonderful cupcakes our friend, Karin, bought for Savannah after we "lost" the cake topper.
Since we're not having an actual birthday party for Savannah, having both cupcakes and a cake is really too much so we'll be sharing lots of leftovers with the lucky folks who are working at the newspaper this weekend.
Karin ordered a dozen special cupcakes — including two with Sully and two with Mike — and the bakery did a wonderful job. They made the characters in fondant and although they were very fragile they were very realistic.
The only sad thing is one our way to lunch I tipped the box slightly and when I opened it several of the cupcakes had collided into the other.
Sully and Mike lost a few parts, but they still look REALLY cool and they tasted great!
Savannah's birthday, which is actually tomorrow, is off to a great start!
I just realized I didn't let everyone know that Savannah's Monsters Inc. cake topper FINALLY turned up after a week of being on the WANTED list!
Apparently our mail lady was off last week and a new substitute handled our part of the route. She somehow delivered all of our mail that day (which also included a check) to the neighbors two doors down. I'm not sure how she did this as our address is 663 and their address is in the 700s.
Anyway, it took them a week to bring our mail to us and I actually met them as I was driving the trash down to the trash can at 9:30 p.m. Luckily, they were at the bottom of our driveway and didn't have to jump out of the way to avoid a crazy woman who doesn't like to back down our driveway at night.
So, with Savannah's cake topper in our possession we made the decision to reorder the cake I canceled on Monday. She will now get custom-made Monster Inc. cupcakes and a Monsters Inc. birthday cake.
I can see Pat's co-workers will have plenty of sweets to eat this weekend!
I was doing a little FF cruising this morning (while Julius is watching Mary Poppins for the @#$% time!) and I found the Family of Shorts blog (http://familyofshorts.blogspot.com).
I saw this effort to lose weight and since that has been my longtime battle I thought it would be fun to join in this link as well.
After getting a diagnosis this week that I'm anemic and deficient in Vitamin D, I know it's time to put myself back on the priority list!
Here are this month's questions:
How did you do on our first month of the journey?
I'm new to this so it's actually my first month, but it looks like this will be a lot of fun!
Were you able to stay on track with the 3 simple changes you chose in our first challenge? I'm going to make my three things for May be drinking more water, limiting eating after 8 p.m. and taking my vitamins every day.
Are there adjustments that you can see you need to make in order to continue to be successful at winning this battle of losing weight? I think the main thing for me is to put myself back on the priority list. I spend so much time worrying about everyone else, I don't take enough time for myself and it shows on the waistline!
Here were are again at another Friday Follow and an important FF it is. This is the Friday before my daughter, Savannah's, third birthday and we're celebrating tomorrow with a family day.
For those of you stopping by to say hello let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a 37-year-old stay-at-home Mama and freelance writer who left the newspaper world three years ago when Savannah was born. Since then we've added a son, Julius, into the family and moved from Arkansas to Virginia to be closer to our families.
There is plenty more to our story and I hope you come back and visit us again...
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My children are lucky to have a lot of people who love them. I know that is a simple statement, but it's so true.
I don't think we can have enough people in the world who love us and I think it's even more important for children as it's that love that helps them grown into happy, productive people.
Savannah and Julius have a Grammy, a Grandma and a Nana — three women who are very important to me and love my children unconditionally. My friend, Sandra, is their Nana and she considers them to be the youngest of her six grandchildren.
Sandra and I met more than 10 years ago when I briefly dated her son, Shane, and she's been in my life ever since. She's like a second Mama to me so it would seem fitting that she loves my husband and children like they were her own as well.
Shane was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago and is now facing a kidney transplant. His family is raising money to help pay for his medical expenses and a local a local artist, Melissa, at MJH Designs (who doesn't know Shane) donated $6 to Shane's fund for every item she sold last week.
I asked Melissa to make Sandra a plaque (in Sandra's favorite color purple) and list all six of her grandchildren.
This is the result and I think it's just beautiful! I know Sandra will love it and it was a way to honor Sandra and help Shane in some little way!
So if you need any kind of gift (Mother's Day or other) and are interested in this plaque you can find Melissa's work on Facebook (MJH Designs) or at etsy.com (at mjhdesigns.etsy.com).
I went to the doctor last week for my annual physical... well, not so annual as it's been a few years since I had one due to being pregnant or taking care of little ones. Once I had children I seemed to put my own health on the back burner and I haven't been to the doctor since my six-week check-up after Julius was born.
To be honest with you, I haven't been feeling really good lately so I knew there was something going on. I've been very tired and achy no matter how much rest I have and fighting a lot of mental murkiness.
The doctor poked and prodded and took some blood work and I heard the terms diabetes and sleep apnea - two things I would not be excited to have. She told me to take Vitamin D and Calcium tablets and we would wait to see what the blood work came back to show.
Well, my blood work results came back today and I am anemic and very deficient in Vitamin D. The doctor has ordered me to take more Vitamin D and come back in in a few weeks for a follow-up.
The good news is I don't have diabetes and the rest of my blood work looked good.
So now I just have to thicken my blood up and get out in the sun... and hope I start feeling better soon.
The doctor reminded me that I have to put myself back on my priority list as the kiddies deserve a healthy Mama... and I agree.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I'm feeling very nostalgic in the days leading up to Savannah's third birthday. It's so hard to believe that three years ago I gave up my newspaper job and focused on getting ready for our little girl to arrive.
I thought I knew what being a Mama really meant, but I really had no idea and, the truth is, I'm still learning every day. I now know it's the hardest, most rewarding job you can have and I'm blessed to have two healthy, beautiful children that I'm playing a major role in molding into adults.
There are days when I wonder if I lose my patience and raise my voice too much or if I play with or experience new things enough. I wonder if I get them out around other kids as much as I should or give them enough healthy foods each day.
I'm sure these are things every parent deals with, but it stays on my mind constantly since I'm with them every day.
Pat and I started late in the baby-making game we decided to stop with two children and as they get older I wonder if I will regret not having more children. Having two babies in two years makes me realize that there are benefits to having children when you're younger, but I wouldn't change my life for anything because I don't think I would be the Mama I am if I hadn't lived my working life first.
There have been many debates between being a stay-at-home or working Mama and I think it's a personal decision each woman has to make for herself... some women don't even get the chance to make the decision as financial issues force them back to the workplace.
My own Mama worked hard all of her adult life and she spent many of our growing up years working multiple jobs to keep our family of six afloat. I can still remember her coming home so tired and all of us vying for what attention she had left to give.
I made the decision years ago that I wanted to stay home with my kids if my husband and I could afford it and we've been blessed to be able to do it. It has meant squeezing in freelance stories before Pat goes to work and not doing everything we would like to do, but we've made it work.
So as we celebrates Savannah's third birthday Saturday with a Family Day, I will also be marking the day one chapter of my life (that of being a newspaper reporter) closed and a new, and hopefully much longer, chapter of being a Mama began.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Have you ever put a bag of trash on top of your car to get it to the trash can?
Well, we live on top of a hill and taking out the trash means walking it down the hill or taking it by vehicle.
When I take the trash out (which I seldom do) I put it in the passenger's seat or in the back of the van. But when Pat takes the trash down he puts it on top of the van (and sometimes loses it in the turnaround or as he's driving down the hill and has to stop and pick it up - HA HA!).
Today, we were going to Target and all of us were in the van. I remember Pat putting the bag of trash on top of the van, but he and I quickly got distracted by Savannah's sippy cup drama (another tale).
So when Pat turned on to the main highway to go to his office, he was surprised to look out his rear view mirror and see our trash bag hit the pavement!
He quickly turned the van around and went back to see our trash was strewn all over the right side of the road. There were smashed diapers and napkins from our breakfast stuck to the highway.
Fast forward 20 minutes and Pat is on the side of the road with a broom and trash bags he bought from Family Dollar. He collected all of the trash he could and made sure the road was clear before we finished our drive into town.
I know some people think that might be crazy, but it relieved our minds of a sheriff's deputy coming up to our door to tell us our trash had caused an accident.
What a crazy day it has been!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I woke up this morning and realized the cake topper I ordered last week for Savannah's birthday had not arrived. It's a Monsters Inc. cake topper and most stores don't regularly carry it anymore since the movie is several years old.
I didn't really start worrying until I looked up the package's tracking number and it said the package was delivered to our house on Wednesday.
I knew that couldn't be the case because I checked the mail as the carrier was about three houses up the street and there was nothing in the box. I know it was Wednesday because we went to the job fair that day and I dropped Pat off at his office.
So, I called the Postal Service and asked for an investigation... and then I left a note for the mail lady to see if maybe she had it in her Jeep.
In the meantime I started thinking about a Plan B as Savannah has her heart set on having a Monsters Inc. cake for her birthday.
Enter our friend, Karin, who is Julius' godmother and apparently is thinking much clearer than I am on the subject. She got on the phone from her home in south Florida and started calling bakeries in Charlottesville... and she found a local bakery who would custom-make Sully and Mike, the two main characters on Monsters Inc, for us.
So on Friday I will pick up a dozen custom made cupcakes, four designed with Monsters!
And the post office will continue looking for our cake topper... I'm sure it will be found the following week after Savannah's birthday!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Savannah asked me if she could go outside this afternoon and blow bubbles while Julius took his afternoon nap. I agreed since it gives me a chance to spend some one-on-one time with my little girl and not have to keep Julius from getting too close to the hill that is our front yard!
Savannah has become proficient at blowing bubbles and as the last few days before her birthday she's reminding me just how grown up she's becoming.
This is what we did on Earth Day... Pat cut the grass before he went into the office, Savannah played with the friendly outdoor cat she named Spider and I took pictures of both of them and some of the beautiful flowers in our yard.
I wouldn't say Pat and I are the most eco-conscience people in the world, but we both appreciate the beauty of nature and are in awe by how beautiful the world seems with our children in it.
Although I created this blog for family and friends to be able to keep up with us, I've also found a great community of other bloggers out there and I love to learn more about as many of you as I can.
So please say hello and peek a little into my life... leave a comment and I'll make sure to stop by your blog and say hello!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Pat and I dressed up and went out to meet a few employers this morning at a job fair in Charlottesville. There were several great employers there who are actively hiring and I made sure to visit each of them and leave my resume.
We've decided that both of us will be actively looking for work and, if we can continue to afford it, the other one will stay at home with the children. Although I would miss my children tremendously if I returned to the working world, I'll have no regrets because I know they have a strong foundation from what I've been able to teach them thus far.
We're fortunate to have been able to have me stay at home for the last three years and raise Savannah in our home. There are many debates about the benefits of moms staying at home and working full-time outside the house... some women don't have an option and I'm glad I had one and I was able to do what I wanted to do.
I've always said that I would stay at home with the children until it was in our best interest for me to go back to work... if that is sooner than later than I'm ready to go!
We had to go to Toys-R-Us yesterday to buy toddler swings for the new swing set because there is no way Julius can sit in a regular swing.
While we were there we picked up a set of kiddie chairs with an attached table and umbrella. Another family we used to know has a set like this and I'm so glad we found one for the children.
It was only $19.99, a deal when you consider it is a place both children can sit on at least through the summer.
Now we're all set for the lazy, dog days of summer to begin...
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I thought you might enjoy seeing a few more pictures of the children from yesterday. I can't believe how grown up my children are getting... they don't understand all of the chaos we have coming up with Pat's job loss and I hope to keep it that way as long as possible.
In the next few weeks we're going to look at ways to trim our budget and live as frugally as possible until Pat or I one finds a job. We already have plans tomorrow to attend a job fair in Charlottesville in the hopes that one of us will meet a future employer.
I also have lined up some more freelance work and plan to continue that while we search for work.
Monday, April 19, 2010
is we FINALLY got the swing set put together!
We hired a dad and son, rent-a-husband crew to come out and finish up the swing set and they got it together in about 3.5 hours. Savannah and I sat outside and watched them work while Pat went into Charlottesville for a meeting at his office (he had the camera in the van so I couldn't get any construction photos).
Savannah was so excited to see their work as the slide came together and then the swing set... and then both kids had a blast enjoying their new outdoor toy!
The swing set takes up our small back yard, but it's well worth it to see how excited the kids were to have a playset so close to their disposal.
Here are a few pictures...
Well, it will soon be the end of an era for the Fitzgerald house as Pat's newspaper job comes to a close. Despite a combined more than 35 years in the newspapering world, Pat and I are both hoping for jobs in other fields.
Hubby found out today that his editor's job will be relocated next month and there is really no way he can take a position there (it would be a daily four-hour commute). Therefore, he will be unemployed as of May 13.
We knew this was coming, but it's still been a shock to the system to have a real end date.
While Pat is finishing up his last weeks at the newspaper, I'm polishing up my own resume and thinking about the kind of full-time work I'm interested in.
We figure that having two educated people looking for solid, full-time jobs would be better than one.
I know that in the long run we'll be OK, but there are still a lot of scary times ahead and it worries me... and anyone who knows me knows I'm a worrier.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I've been asking Savannah for several weeks now to narrow down her cake selection so I could place an order for her birthday cake. After going over her selections ... Mickey Mouse, Disney Princesses and Monsters Inc., she decided that Sully, Mike and Boo had to adorn her third birthday cake.
For all of you cartoon novices, those are the three major characters of Monsters Inc., a movie I've now seen dozens of times after recording it off the Starz channel. We need to find it on DVD so I can let Savannah watch it in her own room or I'll soon be able to recite it word for word.
Monsters Inc,. came out several years ago so HT no longer sold the cake kit, but I found it on eBay and bought it. I talked to the cake decorator yesterday and she told me she would decorate the cake for no extra charge since I've got the kit.
If you have a Harris Teeter nearby, I highly recommend their bakery cakes as they taste very much like the ones we've bought from the bakery but with a far less price tag.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
I've found some new blogs to follow and thought I would try this out...
List 5 things that made you really happy this week. No matter how bad or boring you think your week was, I bet you can find 5 things.
* Getting to have a date night with Hubby to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary.
* Having Savannah crawl up into my lap in the mornings for a little snuggle time.
* Getting a real hug from Julius now that he understands the concept of giving one.
* The fact that I finished up three freelance stories in time to get paid next week.
* Spending the weekend with Mom and Dad Fitzgerald in Virginia Beach... once again we had a wonderful time with family.
We've got a little girl in this house who will be celebrating her third birthday in a few weeks.
Savannah has been talking about her birthday "party" since February when it was Julius' birthday. If you remember, she and I missed his birthday bash because she woke up sick that morning.
Now I'm glad she wasn't there because we've decided not to throw her a big party this year and just celebrate her special day at the National Zoo in D.C. Pat has taken the weekend off (her birthday is on Saturday this year) and we're going to make it all about her, but not throw a party.
Now I have to get her to settle on a birthday cake topper... Mickey Mouse, Princesses, Monster Inc., even Mary Poppins has come up.
I guess I could just throw a little bit of everything together as I know she would love it.
Pat and I were sitting at dinner last night when it dawned on me that we just don't get enough time to have some child-free conversation. I'm not talking about a meal where we don't talk about our children, but one where we're not constantly focused on them.
That is why I think date nights are so important... every couple needs time to hear each other share their thoughts and feelings and it's hard to do that when you're keeping children quiet and making sure their needs are met.
Several months ago Pat and I decided we were going to work harder to have more date nights, but his work schedule and our desire to save money has kept us from doing that.
I'm hoping we can once again work harder to have at least once a month when we can take a little time to ourselves and enjoy an evening out.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
In just a few hours we'll be heading out for a Date Night to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. Our niece, Samantha, is coming to watch the children this evening so we can go to dinner and a movie.
Thoughts of having a few child-free hours has been on my mind for several weeks now as it's unusual for Pat and I to travel without our kids in tow. The last time we had a child-free meal was last month when Mom and Dad watched the children so we could go to lunch.
Tonight we're going to our favorite local restaurant, The Bavarian Chef, and then off (hopefully) to see Date Night, a movie about a couple who try to drum up the ho-hum marriage by having a date night and it goes hilariously wrong!
Although I'm looking forward to a great meal and a funny movie, I'm most excited to be having some one-on-one time with Pat.
A few weeks ago I had lunch with my friend, Charlie, and he said to me “Who would have thought 10 years ago that this would be your life today?”
Of course, I was sitting across from him as a harried mother of two who had one kid clinging to me because she was sick and another one sulking because he had to sit in a high chair after a two-hour car ride.
It was certainly not one of the many entertaining lunches Charlie and I shared in the past when the only thing we had to worry about was how long we had before it was what we would choose off the menu and how much time we could chat before going back to work.
At that time I was a single working newspaper reporter who lived for the excitement and drama of a crime scene. I spent the majority of my time working or thinking about work and how I was going to get better at it.
If anyone would have told me that I would move to Arkansas and meet my wonderful husband, Pat, and be married a year later I would have told them they were crazy. Life like that happened to people in the movies and books and not to me.
But the funny thing is that just over four years ago my life did start moving at warp speed for me and it hasn’t stopped yet.
In April 2005, I moved to Arkansas to take a job at the state’s largest newspaper and met and married Pat just a year later. Savannah was born in May 2007 and Julius came along in February 2009.
During that time we’ve moved from Arkansas to Virginia, bought our first home together and traded our little Scion for a Dodge Grand Caravan. The only thing we don’t have is a dog and (no offense to you animal lovers) that is certainly OK with me.
I went from being a woman who wrote about other people’s lives to one who can’t find much alone time in my own. There are weeks when the only break from little voices I get is to when I go to the grocery store by myself and although there are other little kids around, you tend to tune out the ones you don’t raise in your house!
I have written all of this to celebrate Pat and all of the things he does to keep our little family afloat.
Pat gets up in the morning and makes our lunch and then heads into his job that has its own challenges. There are many weekends he does more than his share of the house work while I keep the children from dirtying up his efforts and just rest because I have an extra pair of eyes and hands to help.
In the hours between all of this he tries to make individual time for the three of us and I know he feels like it’s not enough, but I’m not sure there is ever enough time to be with the people you love the most.
Pat loves and accepts me for all of my quirks and crazy ways and has taught me that it is OK to take the passenger’s seat in life at times instead of having to always be in control. After growing up in a family of strong women, it’s nice to be able to have someone to lean on and not be the one who always carries the load.
I worry sometimes that I spend more time worrying about what will happen in our future and not enough time celebrating all of the wonderful accomplishments we have made in the present.
I certainly know I don’t thank him enough for his efforts so this is my way to celebrate him and our life together.
I love Pat much more today than I did when I married four years ago in that little chapel in Eureka Springs, AR. Together we have created two of the most precious little people in the world.
It can be a crazy life, but it’s one that I always hoped for and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I don’t know what the next year or four years will bring, but I hope it includes more time for our family to grow together and love each other. We might not be living at such warp-speed, but at some point us old folks have to rest… we can’t keep living like we’re 25!
Happy Anniversary Dear Hubby… I love ys very much.