i feel pretty

Liz just posted more pics of our family photo shoot. they are stunning. getting my family to look natural in a photo is as elusive as capturing Nessie... and yet... see for yourself!



successful shin.dig

Last week I threw my first BIRTHDAY PARTY extravaganza! The night before I panicked because I had so much food, but last minute friends (as in, I'm tacky enough to invite people last minute) pulled through and we ended up with a CROWD (I think we had 37 humans... 8 of them youngsters)! Here are a few pics from the evening (just realized I didn't take pics of the decor... oh well, lots of owls, balloons, and my favorite- a homemade birthday banner from my sis!)

Hazel was super! It was really hot and crowded, yet she enjoyed opening her gifts... almost as much as she loved playing with baby Olson (who she totally pushed over at one point). Olson's older sister, Amelia "helped" open the enormous pile of presents, so that made things much more entertaining. However, as you can see in the pic, Hazel did open some herself (that was a present she opened before the party... a bicycle helmet from Aunt Marianne and Uncle Christoph).

When it came to eating her owl cupcake, Hazel did not disappoint. Well, I think she wanted more icing (psst... just noticed that she is doing the sign for "more" in the pic where I'm holding her with the silly bow on my head. That was Amelia's styling. ANYWAY, her birthday weekend was the first time we noticed her doing that... so Ty, our photographer for the night, might have captured the true FIRST SIGN! Rock on Hazel!). You'll notice, that our sweet Hazel was willing to share her cake with her mama, dada, and Uncle Josh. How nice of her! She probably would have shared with anyone, but we're the only ones brave enough to eat off those grubby fingers :)

Soon I'll post her 12-month pics and reflection... and that will be the end of the monthly updates. My baby is now a toddler! *mixed feelings on that one!*

raising a human

This is my forum for being a sappy contemplative mom... just a warning :)

This morning Hazel and I were playing our usual early morning game: I lie on the floor of the living room, throw balls and soft blocks around while Hazel crawls over and around me. It's a nice way to wake up. Hazel is now drinking milk (other people call this breast feeding, but in the off chance that Hazel is an early talker, I don't want one of her first words being "breast") 2-3 times a day. The only time she really needs it is early morning. At 5 am, she wants a little milk and then wants to sleep for another 2 hours. The mid afternoon snack is nice especially if she is upset, but we often skip it. The before bed feeding is also nice as a way to wind down and cuddle, but she doesn't require it. I'm glad of that because that means other people can put her to bed. Sometime soon I'll experiment with not giving her the early morning feeding. Then I might get a whole night to MYSELF! I could even go away for a day... be ALONE!?!?! However, I L.O.V.E breastfeeding. It's so calming, cuddly and comforting to both Hazel and I. When we finally give it up, I anticipate a period of mourning. I know that Hazel and I will still have cuddle time, but it won't be the same. not as intimate. not as peaceful. not giving her life.

On the other hand, I've also been thinking a lot about other children in the world. I have so much love to give and I know there are so many children out there not getting the love and care they need to thrive. Sometimes when I look at Hazel, I can't believe that anyone could ever hurt or neglect a baby. They are gorgeous, full of life and promise, completely accepting, fascinating. Then the next minute, I can't believe that more babies aren't hurt or neglected because caring for a baby is SO MUCH WORK! Avert your gaze for 2 milliseconds and they've discovered something potentially hazardous in your uber childproof house. Miss a full nights rest and they don't give you the quiet-time or space you so desperately need.

Today I'm going to spend some time thinking about babies... and figure out how I can best help those who can't help themselves. As a school counselor, I have the opportunity to be a part of every kids' life. I like that. It's not only the kids referred to a counselor that I get to see... I get to see all kids. But is that using my gifts in the best way? Is that my passion? Is that career best for my family?


and the WINNER of Nellie's All Natural Laundry Products is...

Ok, so there were only 12 entries and 4 of them were my sister. This was fun for me 'cause I happen to know and love everyone who entered. That being said, I'm cringing knowing that some people are going to consider themselves LOSERS.... well, maybe they're right ;)


I find this delightfully ironic because
1. hers was the first blog I ever saw and it inspired me to start blogging
2. tonight I'm meeting with her for a photo shoot that I won on her blog

Congrats Liz! Hope Nash and Haven enjoy dirting their clothes as much as you enjoy your new laundry products :)

Cynthia/Marianne/Mom/Dad: I am mulling over how to host a LOSERS CONTEST. You'll be the first to know when I do ;)


GroBaby CD update

It's late and I'm tired and I NEED to work on closing up the Nellie's Giveaway, Bubble Pics and Birthday Pics... but I might have been doing a late night stroll through the blogosphere and I might have stumbled upon a fabulous giveaway and I might get an extra entry for blogging about it ;)

I've mentioned before how I'm a fan of the GroBaby diapers, but that their velcro doesn't stick in the wash and has kinda destroyed the cover and now barely sticks at all.... well, clearly I wasn't the only one griping and they've now come out with a new and improved diaper... the GroVia. Oh how I want to win one and try it out!!!

Do you want to win one too (and then give it to me... or not ;) ? Head over to Boutique Cafe to enter this giveaway :)


the eve of her birth

All day I have been reflecting on one year ago. Swimming for the first time in my pregnancy because with 5 weeks to go... it was time to get in shape! My water breaking around 10pm ("um honey?!? I'm leaking!?!"). The quick, leaky, nervousy packing for the hospital (I had thought about doing it before, but packing my bag that early seemed dorky), the labor...

Today I made Hazel her 1st birthday cake. The theme is LOOK WHOO's TURNING 1! I am quite pleased with my first effort at a birthday cake :)

I've learned SO much this year. Today for instance, I learned not to pack my bag of cake decorating supplies, set it on the ground, and then turn my back to finish washing the dishes. Guess tomorrow won't be Hazel's first taste of chocolate icing!


Giant Eagle & 7th Generation Mega Deal

This is just TOO good to keep to myself!  Yesterday, a friend told me about this deal, I jumped through the necessary hoops to get the 7th Generation coupons, paired them with Giant Eagle's current special (buy two packs of 7 Gen wipes, get a FREE package of 7 Gen diapers), and walked out of the store with TWO PACKS OF WIPES, 1 PACK OF DIAPERS FOR $5!

I'm not sure how long Giant Eagle is running this special, but 7th Gen lets you print the coupons twice... so I'll be going back today (note:  my Giant Eagle didn't accept the $2 coupon, but accepted the two $1 coupon.  Even if you don't take coupons, you'll only pay $7 for the deal!).

Here's where I got the info:  http://www.thethriftymama.com/2010/07/giant-eagle-1-pack-seventh-generation-diapers-2-cases-wipes-4.html

Disclaimer:  yes I am a Cloth Diapering Obsessed Mama, but after our last road trip, which ended with a fully packed car, diaper bag on the top of the heap... right at nose height... I decided that the torture of having to smell the dirty diapers was too horrid.  Sorry Planet Earth!


How 'bout a GIVEAWAY for YOU?

My Koskereaders have been a really good sport about this young whipper-snapper called Lazy Green Mama.  I'm trying not to ignore Kosker's Idlewild, but I know it often stays at the bottom of my to-do list.

So, I'm bringing one of my giveaways over here... JUST for you.  Ok, I have the same one on LGM, but since the company is awarding TWO winners... I figure I'll give one of the giveaways JUST TO READERS OF KOSKER's IDLEWILD.  Plus, it's laundry detergent and everyone regardless of family size/age/hobby uses the stuff (I hope!).
Here's the product review:
For a new blog, I have written about laundry A LOT! It makes sense… I do a lot of it and I enjoy it (GASP! I finally admitted it. I actually get mad at my husband if he “helps” and does a load. The whole {lazy} thing must just be a cover to hide this fact!).

One of the first companies I contacted to join this BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA was Nellie’s. I’ve seen them in the Gaiam catalog for quite awhile and the time was finally the right time to try it out. My laundry needs have grown exponentially with the arrival of Zel (Hazel's spy name for LGM) and I really dislike buying baby detergents, but she has sensitive skin…

My verdict: It’s fabulous. I got to try the Laundry Soda and the Laundry Nuggets (same product, but pre-measured… perfect for a {lazy} or busy mama!). I love that I can use ONE detergent for all of my family’s needs: mama’s yoga attire, Cob’s business casual AND farmer gear, Zel’s baby clothes & DIAPERS. This stuff is all-natural without any additives or fragrances (to quote a Nellie’s cartoon: “After all, you wash your clothes to get the smell out!”). Plus, it works just as well in cold water. Hello Planet Earth… we’re here to save you. (yikes, I need more sleep, eh? That was for Claude, my new Canadian reader! Oh and Claude, Nellie’s is a Canadian product! Cool, eh? Somebody please stop me!)

Truthfully, my favorite thing about the product… it really UPS my washer’s coolness factor. The packaging is cool. I’m a sucker for marketing. Even my father-in-law commented on it. Head to their web-site and I swear on my organic(ish) garden that you’ll find reading about laundry products ENJOYABLE!

As for the cloth diapers: It worked really well. I did a cold rinse, hot soak then wash, cold rinse. I do soak the diapers for 4-8 hours about every other load so I’m sure that helps. I don’t think it’s what I’d turn to when dealing with stains, but I’m ok with stained diapers. Anyway, I’ve got my eye on another Nellie’s product to deal with the stains… when and if I do want to tackle them.

Buy it:
Nellie’s All-Natural Laundry Nuggets (36 loads for $9.99. Also sold in larger quantities and in a cool tin!)
Nellie’s All-Natural Laundry Soda (50 loads for $9.99. Also sold in larger quantities and in a cool tin!)

WIN IT: You will receive both the Laundry Soda AND the Laundry Nuggets
*To enter, please just leave a comment telling me a laundry tip

Extra Entries:
*Visit Nellie's and leave me a comment (or add it to your previous comment) telling me which other Nellie's product you'd like to try.
*Subscribe by entering your email address (top left column of blog).  You'll get my new posts sent directly to your inbox!  (Leave a comment to let me know!  You are welcome to combine comments.)
*Follow me with Google Friend Connect (this is how I impress companies and get them to sponsor giveaways.  ALSO, I sometimes send Newsletters through this program).  (Leave a comment to let me know!  You are welcome to combine comments.)

Winner will be chosen by random.org.  All entries must be completed by July 8th (happy birthday Hazel!) at 11:59 pm.