Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 Things Loving Fathers Do for Their Children

Our friend Reed posted this on Facebook and I loved it! Here's the link: http://www.allprodad.com/top10/parenting/10-things-loving-fathers-do-for-their-children.

  1. Loving fathers… love their children’s mother: This is huge – possibly the most beneficial intervention dads can do on behalf of their children. Love your wife without reservation - you can’t do much more for your kids than that.
  2. Love them unconditionally: Make sure that your children know you love them “no matter what.” Don’t confuse this with permissiveness - unconditional love does nothing to encourage the wrong kind of behavior. In fact, kids who are secure in their father’s love tend to act out less, not more.
  3. Grow up: We’re talking about the dads here, not the kids! Children don’t want another buddy - they want a dad. They want someone who thinks things through, makes tough decisions and engages life with responsibility – someone they can count on.
  4. Be there: “Quality time” is all well and good… but it has nothing on quantity time. Make the time. Everyone has the same 24 hours available. Make yours count.
  5. Provide: Just do it.
    - A stable home
    - Love and affection
    - Material needs
    - Presence
  6. Discipline: Children appreciate an even hand, balance, accountability and love-drenched discipline. It’s called consistency, and without clearly defined boundaries, it is very difficult to grow up.
  7. Value education: Don’t just read to them – read with them. Don’t just fuss about grades – get involved with their homework. Don’t just talk about learning – be a hands-on advocate
  8. Raise them to leave: The simple goal of being a family, of parenting our children, doesn’t look any more complicated than this: raise them well equipped to leave home and to establish faithful lives.
  9. Teach them to take responsibility: Kids who learn how to duck responsibility and avoid cost will – sooner or later – fall flat on their faces. Loving fathers make sure their children know how to own up, clean up, and move forward.
  10. Teach them to love this life: The best predictor of happiness in children is happiness in their parents. If we learn how to love this life, and then give that blessing to our kids, then they will be well prepared for satisfaction.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Picture Post!

 out to dinner at Amici's
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sending a carload of supplies to Tuscaloosa after the tornadoes

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Cushion > Toys

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She's such a good sharer!
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helping with the laundry by grabbing a pair of Daddy's (clean) undies

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8 Months Old!

Our sweet baby girl is 8 months old today! Honestly, I feel like I was just writing her 7 month post yesterday. I even went and double-checked her ticker in the blog just to make sure, because it really didn't feel like a whole month just went by. We have been insanely busy but having lots of fun along the way!

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Bananasaurus is really SUCH a fun little girl. Her personality is so sweet and giggly - even on her crankiest of cranky days, she is such a delight to be around and to take care of. She's definitely my little buddy and I couldn't ask for a better 24/7 companion!

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(helping with the laundry)

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I have discovered that she is extremely ticklish on her thighs...giving her a good squeeze on the legs results in peals of laughter and lots of squirming.


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I also discovered that stealing the pacifier out of her hand with my mouth will also result in peals of laughter, especially when I accompany the theft with lots of growly monster noises. Today she even started holding the pacifier up to my face, trying to tempt the Paci Monster. Giggling all the while, of course.

She is not quite crawling, but she is SO close. She can crawl backwards though, and she is quite adept at rolling or squirming wherever she wants to go. Her daddy keeps getting down on the floor with her and showing her how to crawl, but she still seems completely content rolling.

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The other day we played a game in her nursery while I was putting away her clean diapers - I stuck her all the way on the other side of the room up against the wall, and then went back to the diaper drawer. Within minutes I'd feel her little body roll up to my feet. Back to the wall she'd go, and we "rinsed and repeated" that over and over until the diapers were done. 

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She will also constantly flip herself over in the crib. I love walking into the nursery in the morning to see her little face peeking up over the crib rail at me (guess it's getting time to lower the crib!).

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The changing table is now a mean-mommy-instrument-of-torture, and must be escaped from as quickly as humanly possible. Anna isn't really concerned with whether or not there is a clean diaper on her tush, she just wants off that freaking table :-).

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We are going through quite a spell of separation anxiety though - she is NOT impressed when I leave her line of sight, and heaven forbid there be a closed door in between us while she's awake!!

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This week we are gearing up to go to the lake and to the beach - swim suits, swim diapers, and plenty of fun floatie toys are stocked and ready to go. We're looking forward to another fun month!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Fatherly Post

I've been trying to get Stevo to write a blog post about being a daddy for literally months. About 8 months, to be exact. Then I had a girls night out with some of my favorite ladies, and they specifically requested a "view from the male" entry on the blog. I relayed this wish to Steve, and he rolled his eyes, grabbed Anna, plopped on a chair, and said, "Fine....interview me." He even requested that I take notes. LOL! So, here we go!

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What is your favorite thing about being a daddy so far?

I love seeing Anna's personality develop, and I love making her laugh and smile. 

How have things changed?

I've been really surprised at just how much my priorities have changed. Just a year ago, I really looked forward to going off with the guys for a week, and planning the next big vacation. But now whenever an opportunity comes up to spend time and money, I find that I really just want to spend time with my family. I also find myself getting really excited looking forward to Anna getting older and getting to teach her things like how to water-ski.

How has our relationship changed?

I think it's gotten better! Having Anna has really given us a truly common interest. I mean, obviously we always had things that we liked to do together, but it was more about humoring each others' passions and interests. Anna is our first TRULY mutual interest and I love having that with you. I also think that you being at home has significantly decreased the household stress levels, which has helped us get along even better. 

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Speaking of me staying at home, how do you think that's going?

I think it's been a success. I see and appreciate the level of bonding that you've been able to build with Anna, and I don't know how you would be able to do that as effectively if you had to go to work every day. I honestly believe that this is going to pay off immensely down the line, and I don't think that's something that money can buy. I also think that it makes my life immensely easier- it's nice being able to come home and relax after work in a clean house, and also knowing that you're at home to "man the helm".  I admit that sometimes I do wonder what we'd be able to afford if we still had your income, especially in a good sales year, but I know that the benefits of you being at home far outweigh that European vacation or the new roof. 

What are you most looking forward to in the next year or two?

For 2011, I'm excited about her babbling more and saying "Dada". And her walking. 
For 2012, I'm excited about taking her to Disney World!
What toy are you most excited about?

Pow-Pow-Power Wheels!!!!!

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What preconceived notions did you have before Anna came, and were they accurate?

I had no idea what kind of timeline the milestones fell on, so I thought she'd be doing a lot more a lot sooner. I also thought the night time schedule would be easier and I also thought it would be easier to go out together and leave her back with someone. 

What's Anna going to be when she grows up?

A mommy or a teacher. Or an astronaut.

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Who does Anna look more like, me or you?

I hope she looks like you, and I hope to God she doesn't have my receding hairline. 

Any other random thoughts?

Anna is the cutest baby that I've ever seen. Also she's the prettiest baby in the entire world.      

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Research Studies = $$$

When I was about 5 months pregnant, I got a random voice mail from a company claiming to have gotten my information from a friend and they were inviting me to be a part of a research study. I was about to delete it, thinking it was some kind of spam voice mail, when they mentioned that they got my contact info from my very good friend Kelly. So I emailed her and asked her if she did in fact give my info to them, and she responded with an enthusiastic "Yes! Do it!". So, I called them back and got into the world of market research.

I have since discovered that Atlanta is actually quite the hot spot for market research for new and expectant mommies. So far I have done studies for Pack 'n Plays, baby clothing, baby toys, baby equipment, and diapers. Steve even got into it and signed up for several of the taste tests (I get disqualified automatically for the taste test focus groups because I'm nursing). It's not a reliable income by any means, but we've been able to get several hundred dollars (plus some free baby toys!) over the past year through these focus groups. It's fun and we usually spend the money on something fun to do together  :-).

The only catch is that you do need to be somewhat flexible, you need to be able to have someone watch your kiddo, and you don't always qualify for studies. There are numerous studies for formula that I don't qualify for, for obvious reasons, and I also didn't qualify for a very high-paying study for Diaper Genies (damn!), but they do qualify you over the phone so you don't waste your time showing up for something that you can't do. Then they hand you cash or a check right after the study, and I have never been paid under $40 for less than 2 hours of offering my opinion on things. Today I got paid $125 for essentially window-shopping for baby clothes!

I am under the impression that most major cities have research companies, and I would highly encourage other mommies to get their information into local databases and see if you can earn some easy money! You can usually do a google search for your area, and a lot of the companies have forms where you can sign up on their website. The companies that I've worked with in Atlanta are:

http://www.pvr-research.com/
http://dynamicresearchinc.net/

Those two companies are seriously ALWAYS looking for more moms, so sign up and have fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

Sleep is not overrated.

Socks are not disposable.

My grocery list is not a teething toy.

Please adjust your behavior accordingly.

Love,

Your mother

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Picture Post!

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Eating her puzzle

 Auntie Ally took us out to lunch for Mother's Day (and brought me pretty flowers!). Thank you Allyson!
 Oh, and she gave up her cell phone for baby entertaining purposes.



Banana put on her bumble bee outfit to go meet Nicole. We didn't get any pictures actually WITH Nicole because we were having too much fun, but I wish we had!!

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this one is from Mother's Day but I think it's funny and cute!

Pinterest

Okay, I'll add this to the list of things that everyone probably already knew about and I'm just now discovering, but this site is pretty cool. Pinterest.com is an online organizational site that lets you "pin" things from around the web, onto boards that you've created. I guess the main purpose of the site is for you to follow people (and have them follow you) and stalk each other's boards, but honestly I'm excited about it for my own selfish purposes.

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I have been bookmarking my favorite recipes, craft ideas, baby info, and decor inspirations for years...and all it resulted in was a bookmark list three miles long. I just spent a little time the other night moving all of my google reader bookmarked recipes to Pinterest, and I am loving how easy it is to scroll through the pictures and select what looks tasty. Everything is all laid out in one place, and can be easily sorted or re-sorted into whatever categories I choose.

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I have a feeling that this is going to be a very useful little website. Right now I have all the recipes sorted, and I've also started a "Weekly Menu" board. For any recipes that are online and pinned, all I have to do is re-pin them to the Weekly Menu board and there's my dinner menu for the week. My grocery list will be easy to write, and the recipes will be very easy to find when it's time to cook. It takes only a few seconds to create new boards, so I can easily see this expanding to a month's worth of meal plans in just a couple of minutes.

I also created a "To Get To" board. I run across interesting-looking books and movies all the time online, and I always think to myself, "Wow, self...remember that because you'd probably like to read it." And then two seconds later I forget. I love being able to easily pin the books and movies to this board, and then find them at the library or buy or borrow them as I get time. I also see a lot of boards devoted to specific room decorating ideas and I think that's also a great use for this.

I do admit that it's still a little buggy. There are a few sites that I can't get to pin for the life of me (like The Pioneer Woman), and I guess you have to rely on websites not changing or being deleted, but I think that this website will prove to be quite useful!

Pinterest is also doing that obnoxious "build hype by controlling access" scheme, so you can only sign up by requesting access to their website or by being invited by someone who's already a member. Apparently requesting via the website takes quite a bit of time so if you want to join, send me an email or leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you an invitation.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What a Wonderful Day!

Today was my first official Mother's Day and Banana and Steve really made this happy momma feel special. After sleeping in until the luxurious time of 9:00, we went on a walk in the park, and then came home to a delicious brunch.

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Then, imagine my delight when I discovered what Steve had been up to all day yesterday with Kristy- they found an adorable little rocking chair for Anna, and had it primed and ready to be decked out in over-the-top girly splendor. I giggled imagining Steve picking out the big pink fabric daisies and the pink pom pom fringe, but I absolutely love it and I think Anna does too! That will be a fun project for this week  :-).

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He also surprised me with pots and pots of beautiful flowers, ready to be planted in a new flower garden. He got everything planted today while Anna and I played on our blanket in the yard. I've been wanting a flower garden ever since we bought the house so I'm excited that we finally have one!

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Dinner tonight was going to be a gourmet affair with New York strip steaks, baked potatoes, and salad, but we are still pretty stuffed from brunch so we're extending the holiday through tomorrow too. But really...I could get used to this kind of treatment EVERY weekend!

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I hope all of my other mommy friends had a wonderful Mother's Day too!

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